Four Things Businesses NEED to Know About Disaster Recovery

After all the laborious hours that go into the development of a business – shouldn’t equal thought be put into protecting it?

Let’s put this in perspective, take the lesser publicized 1993 World Trade Center bombing for example. For those of you that need a refresher, at about lunch time on February 26, 1993 a bomb blew a crater size hole, roughly 150 feet in diameter in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Of the 350 operational businesses headquartered in the tower, only 200 were still in business a year later. We’re not suggesting that it’s reasonable your business prepare for an outright terrorist attack, but it does speak tremendous volumes about the business disaster recovery rate. In 1993, business data dependency was still in its infancy. We are now in an era where, irrefutably data is king and should be treated as such. This got us thinking – What does the average business need to know about disaster recovery to make educated decisions?

We formulated a list of the top four things businesses need to know about disaster recovery:

1. Disasters aren’t always natural.

Fires. Check. Floods. Check. Earthquakes. Check.

While, yes, we should be aware of and prepared for natural disasters, we also need to be mindful of other “disasters” as well. In fact, more often than not disasters come in non-natural form. And when we say more often, we mean approximately 97% of the time. The largest cause of data loss is actually hardware/system malfunctions coming in at 44%; followed closely by, wait for it, human error accounting for 32% of all business data loss. While you can be selective in your hardware and diligent in your training, the susceptibility to disaster related data loss is always a possibility.

2. It’s more common than you think.

Inherent or not, people subscribe to the notion that, “it’s not going to happen to me.” According to Mashable.com, it might surprise you to find that 78% of businesses have experienced at least one data breach over the past two years. In fact, a data breach is far more likely to occur to the average business than your average natural disaster.

3. Average cost to business is astronomical.

This is all relative to the industry and size of the business of course – but proportionately a disaster, natural or otherwise, can and often times will be detrimental for a business. According to a report by Dun & Bradstreet, “59% of Fortune 500 companies experience a minimum of 1.6 hours of downtime each week. Assuming 10,000 employees averaging $56 per hour including benefits, this average downtime adds up to $896,000 weekly or $46 million per year.” That is just the cost of the average company being down for an hour or so each week. What about the businesses that are down for days at a time? Statistics show that if a business is without data for ten days or more, there is a 90% chance they will not be in business longer than one year afterward.

4. What can you do about it?

Now that we know disasters aren’t always natural, are more likely to happen than not and the cost can be more than we expected – let’s consider what we can do about it. No one likes to focus on the worst-case scenario, but can your business afford not to plan an appropriate course of action should a disaster strike?

First, make sure you company has a formal (documented) business continuity plan. Any good business continuity plan will outline: the instance when this plan will take place, the steps for recovery, corresponding timeline for objectives and areas of responsibility. This should go without saying, but this documented procedure should be located safely outside of your place of business (i.e. the cloud). Make sure this plan is well communicated with your management team and that they are prepared for any responsibilities they will need to assume.

Once, you have outlined a plan you need to ensure the protection of your data. Opting to backup onsite as well as offsite is pivotal. Backing up your files automatically offsite to the cloud can save a lot of time and money. Another important consideration is the frequency of backups, we recommend daily at a minimum – imagine if you lost all of the material you were working with over the course of the last month. How much time would it take you personally to recover from just that loss?

After making the decision to backup up your data it’s important to keep security and support in mind when selecting a backup service. Safety and security of your business’ proprietary information should be on the forefront of your mind. Consider the providers track record for timeliness, reliability and their commitment to provide thorough support. Getting your business back up and running can be more complicated than flipping a switch, so during such a high-pressure situation you want to be sure they are intent on providing support through to completion.

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