When you think of disaster preparedness, what comes to mind first? Boarding up in advance of a hurricane? Hunkering down in the face of a tornado? Cleaning up after a flash flood? Thawing out after a killer blizzard?
Depending on what part of the country you live in, natural disasters can mean vastly different things. But one thing ties them all together: each can bring a small to medium-sized business to its knees:
According to a 2013 Aberdeen Group report, 70 percent of companies that suffer from natural disasters go out of business within a year — and only six percent survive long-term.
Yet there’s far more to the story than just preparing for weather-related catastrophes: Natural disasters make up just five percent of the disaster events that knock small to medium-sized businesses out of commission.
The real culprits, according to a 2013 report by Quorum, are more obvious but less acknowledged: 55 percent of disaster-related downtime stems from hardware failure; 22 percent is the result of human error, and; 18 percent occurs because of software failure.
No matter their cause, disasters can take a serious toll on a small to medium-sized business:
According to Aberdeen, the average cost of SMB downtime due to a disaster is $8,581 per hour. The surveyed companies also reported that businesses suffer from an annual average of 1.49 days of downtime per disasters and an annual average of 2.26 disasters.
Most disasters take up to 5.18 hours to fully recover from. So what can you do to prepare your company for the inevitability of a weather, hardware, software, or human-related disaster? Here are a few things you should know:
When it comes to data backups, look for providers that offer the 3-2-1 industry standard. That stands for three copies of your data stored in two off-site locations, backed up a minimum of one time per day. Eventually, as backup technology evolves and cloud services are embraced more and more, we may even get to the ambitious 3-4-5 level: three copies of your data stored in four off-site locations, backed up at five-minute intervals.
Make sure business continuity and virtualization plans are regularly tested and ready to implement. Once your remote, redundant backup needs are being met, turn your attention to business continuity and virtualization plans, which will keep your business running in the face of a serious disaster. Are your technology inventories, license keys, and vendor contact lists easily accessible? Is your plan of action tested and outlined in case emergency strikes? You certainly don’t want to left in a lurch after a disaster— and without a well-planned strategy, your business could suffer immeasurably from even a few days off-line.
Inquire about proactive monitoring and management. Of course, all the disaster preparedness in the world can still fall short — especially when we’re talking about human error, hardware failure, or software failure taking your systems down for an hour here and an hour there. With a proactive monitoring and management solution, many technology problems can be nipped in the bud before they affect productivity and efficiency.
No matter the cause of a disaster, and no matter the severity of damage, CMIT Solutions cares about one thing above all else: getting your business back on its feet as quickly as possible after a disaster — or keeping the disaster from affecting your business in the first place. Want to put preparedness to work for you? Contact us today.