Small businesses need to prepare for disaster as much as big ones. It may be even more crucial because the statistics on small business survival after a disaster are daunting. Only 35% of small businesses have a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). 90% of small businesses fail within 2 years after experiencing a disaster. The experts at ITToolbox detail the two foundational Disaster Recovery Planning points you need to address.
Building a Disaster Recovery Budget
A workable disaster recovery plan must account for both natural and man-made disasters. It should also account for the tools necessary to prevent or discover disasters before they occur, as well as the necessary tools to recover after a disaster. When budgeting for disaster recovery, small businesses should start by allocating the majority of planning towards protecting their greatest resource.
For online businesses or small businesses that built their businesses on the data they collect, an IT disaster could easily eliminate their business. The budget should emphasize protecting that data through a mixture of on-site data backup, off site data backup and redundant firewalls and anti-virus software. Small businesses should investigate low-cost solutions to possible IT problems, such as using cloud storage instead of a backup data center. Small online businesses may also want to investigate paying a vendor to create a hot site that is ready for use in case of an emergency.
At minimum, all small businesses should have their data backed up on site and off site, and make copies of their important software programs. They should also have a way to access their data if all of their hardware was destroyed.
To create a list of other important disaster recovery budget items, small businesses should identify the greatest threats to their businesses and write plans to address them. It can then budget for the tools necessary to place these plans in motion. Each business should also remember to budget for the manpower necessary to protect assets, recover data and set up a temporary business headquarters if necessary.
Funding a Disaster Recovery Budget
While larger companies may allocate a certain percentage of individual departments’ budget towards disaster recovery, small businesses should consider making disaster recovery its own department or line within the annual budget. This helps eliminate the temptation of diverting disaster recovery funds to other projects. When looking for funds, businesses should examine possible disaster relief expenditures already paid for by other areas of the budget. Many small businesses already backup data and pay for anti-virus software as part of their IT budget, so they decrease some IT spending and move these disaster recovery tools into their disaster recovery budget.
For small businesses that rely most on their equipment, inventory or employees, paying for an excellent business interruption insurance policy, in addition to other policies to cover any big-ticket assets, may be the best way to fund their disaster recovery budget. Then, business owners can investigate exactly what their plan provides, and figure out how to operate within that set budget to protect their most important assets. Of course, small businesses will still need to pay for some basic IT disaster recovery tools and protections out of pocket.
If you feel unprepared in the event of a disaster, let the data experts at Great Lakes Computer ensure your data is safe.