Don’t Wait for Disaster to Strike – 10 Tips to Prepare your Business for Disaster Recovery

Sitting in my office watching the rain stream down my windows – I heard a quick “beep” from my computer.  Then a quick “blip” and my lights flickered.  With a sigh of relief I thought, “Thank goodness my UPS (uninterruptable power-supply) was working!”  Do you have that peace-of-mind?

We are fortunate in RI that Hurricane Isaac did not make his way up the East Coast.  He certainly hit hard in the Gulf Coast though.  I know that memories of Tropical Storm Irene and the flooding of 2010 still haunt our minds.  Did you know that approximately 35% of small and medium-size businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place?  For those companies who have experienced a disaster, 53% of the victims never recoup their data.  How long would your business survive without your data?  How long would it take you to rebuild your business?  Would it even be possible?

Does your business have a plan for disaster?  Too many of my client’s have said “Oh – it won’t happen to me!”   PC Troubleshooters is celebrating our 20th Anniversary this year and I can quite confidently say “Yes it will!”  It is just a matter of time as to when.  Have I caught your interest and scared you a bit?  Good.

So why do you need a disaster recovery plan?  The answer is simple:  to ensure information system uptime, data integrity and business continuity.

Where do you begin?  Follow these 10 Action Steps :

  1. Create a Business Continuity Action Plan – Who on your team will be in charge of this effort?  Who will contact your vendors (phone systems, IT provider, landlord, the media etc.)?  Who will communicate with personnel?  There are several FREE business continuity templates online that will help jumpstart this effort.  Check out for a comprehensive and customizable template.  YouTube is a great resource as well.
  2. Determine an alternate office location.  Where will your employees report should the primary office be underwater or without power?  This is a great opportunity to install a “virtual-private-network” (VPN) in your office.
  3. Stock up on all sizes of batteries, power cords and power strips.  These will come in handy for flashlights, generators and other portable electronics that do not require internet access or electricity.
  4. Consider purchasing a gas or propane generator.  Tropical Storm Irene created an extensive and lengthy power outage.  Thanks to generators, many businesses kept their doors open and lights on.
  5. Make sure you have a current uninterruptable power-supply, including high quality surge protection.  Lightning only needs to strike once to bring down your network.  Be prepared!
  6. Before a pending storm, set up “remote call forwarding” of your phone system to your mobile phones.  Purchase a mobile access “hot spot” to ensure continuity of your internet access.
  7. Best Practice – before a storm manually turn-off your computers first and then your servers.  Make sure you’ve saved all work and closed out all programs before shutting down to avoid lost data.  In case of a pending flood:  It’s also a good idea to elevate your equipment (servers, computers, battery backups, etc.) off of ground level.
  8. Have a secure data backup and disaster recovery plan.  This is the most important component to your disaster recovery plan.  Lost data = a closed business!  A cloud based program with your data stored in offsite co-locations is ideal.  How quickly you can retrieve your data and get on with your day is key!  Make sure you perform several checks to ensure the data is being stored properly and can be retrieved easily.
  9. Change your attitude – yes I said it!  Start today.  Think about your data, your employees, your physical office.  It would be too costly to lose any or all of those vital pieces to human error or Mother Nature.  Change from nonchalance to “let’s be ready for the unforeseen!”
  10. TEST – TEST – TEST – Create your plan, educate your team members and then perform a few random dry runs to ensure your company is prepared.

Are you confident your business would survive a fire, flood, hurricane, tornado or even a server crash?  We are amid hurricane season right now, don’t wait for the next big disaster to react.  It could be too late…

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