Mother Nature has been keen to remind us of our vulnerability. Calamities such as fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes are relentless, leaving cities, states and countries in desperate situations. While government and municipal authorities have done their best to prepare and communicate the potential dangers, every business owner has had to face a crucial question: “Are we ready for this?”
The list of threats to small businesses is endless
Sometimes you don’t realize how important your business data is until you lose it. You might think these spectacular natural disasters are your only threat. But don’t forget about the invisible ones.
But the danger doesn’t always come from outside the company. Uneducated, distracted or disgruntled collaborators can harm an entire business with a simple delete action or by executing a malicious file.
Unfortunately, small business owners downplay the disaster issue
Getting prepared for any disaster requires time and dedication. Small business owners tend to downplay the problem and will never work on it. “It doesn’t matter,” they say, “I have all my files copied to a USB drive. If everything burns, I’m ok.”
Well, not all your business data sits on documents, spreadsheets or files. A lot of it is in emails, online applications or mobile devices, and this list is not exhaustive. It’s better to take a few hours to think about the issue and decide on a proper disaster recovery plan, rather than spend days trying to fix an issue when it arises.
Mobile devices create increased risk of data loss
You manage your business from the palm of your hand. Just imagine what could happen if you forgot your unlocked mobile device in a public place—free access to your company! In most cases, your passwords are saved, so in a few taps, anyone who finds your device can access sensitive information. Nothing can stop a curious person (even your own child, for example) from pressing the wrong buttons and deleting or modifying information. By the time you notice it, it can be too late. We all love our smartphones, but they can be better enemies than friends.
5 things that will happen without an IT disaster recovery plan
The way a business handles disaster will determine its future. Ensuring the continuity of your company means you have to plan well in advance. A disaster recovery strategy cannot be built in a hurry, under pressure and without an assessment.
To better understand the need to plan for disaster recovery, you have to know the consequences of data loss to your business.
Here’s what to expect if your company fails to keep its clients satisfied in the face of disaster.
1. Your business’s reputation will be harmed
You certainly know the power of word of mouth, especially when you have customers or partners promoting your services. It works the same way when you have detractors. News travels fast and your company reputation can be badly harmed because you weren’t able to deliver services as promised. When disaster strikes, customers may be supportive and patient for a few hours, especially if you’ve put everything in place in advance so they can at least access minimal services. But this is the era of social media, which means you can’t be sure your disgruntled customers will keep the news to themselves.
2. Potential clients will be afraid to do future business with you
We all have big plans for our businesses and we see globalization and the internet as opportunities to reach more customers. But there are also situations where you’d love to have the right to be forgotten online. Unfortunately, posts from unhappy clients might not be deleted after you’ve fixed their issue. And if you tend to delete negative comments on your own social media posts, you might end up with more negative press than sympathy. You have to see your online identity and reputation as a business card for many of your future clients.
3. Unsatisfied customers will leave you
It’s not hard to understand. Today’s customers aren’t patient because they don’t have to be. Your customers rely on you for specific products and services. When they can’t have what they’re paying for right away, they’ll leave you for a better offer down the road. This means you’ll lose revenue immediately. And it can become a long-term problem because these clients might never come back to you. The way you handle disasters can result in a big churn for your company!
4. Your employees will jump ship
Your employees will be unhappy because they’ll be under pressure to satisfy disgruntled clients. They can feel helpless if their usual tools (emails, phones, software, etc.) aren’t available. This can also affect their self-esteem. If your employees can’t work because of a disaster that you didn’t prepare for, they won’t be happy. Their salary and lifestyle will be at stake. Don’t expect them to thank you for your negligence!
5. You’ll have to fire staff
As mentioned earlier, client churn might cause your business to lose revenue. Consequently, you might have to decrease salaries, impose or even fire people who’ve been loyal to you for many years. It’s very easy to go from running a prosperous company to filing for bankruptcy. It’s in your interest to avoid this situation!
Showing you’re prepared will make you more prosperous
Think about it. If your services remain available when your competitors are struggling to operate, there’s a chance you’ll get new customers during or after a disaster. So, what do you have to do?
Not all situations can be solved within a few minutes or hours. Some might require days, weeks or even months. But in the meantime, you need to maintain your services as much as possible.
- You may rely on a temporary solution before you totally restore your services. But this solution needs to deliver a relatively normal level of service, which means your data must be up to date.
- To restore your services completely, you need to get back to a state where your services are fully operational. If this means you have to reinstall computers, you need reliable copies of your files and databases to rebuild everything.
In all cases, you need to make sure you have a usable copy of the last data processed before an incident occurred. The best way to get this is to have a trusted backup solution in place.