Having a disaster recovery (DR) plan is essential for businesses of all sizes. However, it’s especially important for small and medium-sized businesses.
For a large business or an enterprise, a disaster is certainly a serious event. However, they have the reserves and the resources to weather outages – even extended outages and then resume operations. That’s not always the case for smaller and medium-sized businesses. For many smaller and medium-sized operations, an extended outage can be a catastrophic event from which they can never recover.
Unfortunately, preparing for these types of event is something that many small business overlook or simply don’t get around to discussing. Let’s look at five of the biggest disaster risks that are faced by small and medium-sized businesses.
- Physical disasters – Events like fires, hurricanes, tornados, and storms can physically damage your place of business or your inventory costing thousands of dollars in losses. These types of disasters almost always result in site-wide damage. Smaller businesses with only one or two locations are especially vulnerable because this can completely disrupt the ability to do business. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), almost 40 percent of small businesses permanently close after a disaster. To protect your business from a potentially devastating property loss, it’s important to ensure that you have a DR plan in place as well as adequate site insurance coverage. As part of your DR plan, it is essential that files and data are backed up and there is at least one copy of the backup stored off-site or in the cloud. Site protection insurance can help smaller business shoulder the costs of repairing and restoring their primary place of operations.
- Hardware Failure – The most common disruptive disaster that hits almost all small and medium-sized business is a hardware failure. Hardware failure results in downtime and often the loss of income and productivity — all of which can have a huge impact on a small or medium-sized business. StorageCraft research showed that 99% of small to medium-sized business had experienced a hardware failure. Further, 80.9% of those hardware failures were hard drive failures. Here again, to minimize possible data loss and ensure minimal downtime it’s essential to have a backup plan to be able to recover your critical data following these types of common hardware failures.
- Malware and cyberattacks – Another serious risk for smaller and medium-sized business is the risk of malware and cyber attacks. Malware infections and cyber attacks can result in a number of different business disruptions including data theft, data corruption, and data deletion which can seriously impact businesses operations – even causing business shutdowns in some cases. One of the biggest ways to protect your business from malware and cyber attacks is to be sure to keep your systems patched with the most current security updates. According to Gartner, 99% of vulnerabilities exploited are known to security and IT professionals for at least one year. Unpatched systems are the openings that most of these exploits hit. Keeping your systems patched, implementing firewalls and Anti-Virus programs will go a long way toward safeguarding your business from malware and cyber attacks. A tested backup plan can ensure that you can restore your data before it was compromised.
- The unexpected loss of key personnel – Finally, one of the biggest risks that small businesses face is the loss of key personnel. Unlike large businesses and enterprises where there are almost always people available that can step-in in the event of the unexpected loss of key personnel, that isn’t usually the case for smaller business. The illness or death of an employee crucial to the functioning of your business could end day-to-day operations in a smaller business. While you can’t always completely protect against this cross-training for key operations can help. You can also consider taking out key employee insurance for anyone the business can’t do without.