Small Business Disaster Preparedness
A single major event can make or break a business. Fires, flooding, storm damage or even a simple power outage can deny you the use of your office space, and a virus or network failure can cripple your company’s operations if you are caught unawares. In an environment where even a few hours of down time can have a serious impact, having the right measures in place to keep your business running is critical to long-term stability.
Strong disaster preparedness means securing a disaster recovery space, backing up your network, and developing a plan for how your business can cope with a drastic changes to your normal workflow. The details will vary depending on the specifics of your business, but here are some key steps worth considering:
- Secure a space. If you are unable to make use of your regular office space, your best option to keep your business running smoothly is to have a predetermined backup site. Temporary office space is available in most areas for a flat monthly fee, with workstations and a functional network already in place. This disaster recovery space will give your staff a new office and allow them to keep working with at least a degree of normalcy.
- Preserve your data. It is not only critical to secure your company’s files to prevent them from being corrupted or lost when your network goes down, but a reliable backup can let your staff take their work with them if you have to move your operations offsite. Hosted backup systems that automatically create a duplicate of your data on a secure remote server; alternately, cloud-based data storage could remove your data from your physical office space entirely, allowing you to access it from any new location. The simplest way to maintain continuity of operations after a disaster is to ensure that your staff has access to the information they normally relied on.
- Rebuild your communications. Once you have a location and your data in place, actually resuming operations means keeping in touch with your clients, customers and partners. If your business uses a Hosted PBX service, this may be as simple as moving your phones from the primary office to the disaster recovery space, or setting your Hosted PBX up to deliver calls to cell phones or phones provided by the space. It’s also possible to work with your provider to link your old phone lines to a phone system provided as an adjunct service to your disaster recovery space.
- Inform your staff. The goal of a solid disaster recovery plan should be to make the transition as seamless as possible for your staff, and making sure your staff knows what steps they will need to take is a critical part of that process. Keeping them in the loop, and explaining their role in the post-disaster migration, can be the key to preventing a disaster from crippling your business.
No business wants to face a disaster, but every business can be subject to events beyond its control. Successfully navigating your company through this challenge can depend on how much work you put into developing a strong recovery plan before a disaster strikes.
Photo by Boudewijn Berends