How to Be Ready for Anything

Do you have a plan for disaster recovery preparedness?
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This story appears in the February 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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Not to be Chicken Little or anything, but just because the sky isn't falling now doesn't mean it won't sooner or later. So it's reassuring to learn that 82 percent of small and medium-sized businesses worldwide express confidence in their disaster recovery preparedness, according to a recent survey conducted by security, storage and systems management solutions giant Symantec. Moreover, 84 percent contend their computer and technology systems are secure in the event of outages or disruptions.

But maybe small businesses are a little too confident for their own good: Two-thirds tell Symantec they believe their customers would wait patiently until systems are restored, with only 34 percent believing consumers instead would evaluate alternatives, including the competition.

Here's the kicker: Symantec indicates that only 53 percent of the businesses surveyed report having solid disaster recovery plans in place, even though 76 percent are headquartered in regions susceptible to natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados and earthquakes.

Symantec adds that 89 percent of businesses without a disaster preparedness plan promise to create one within six months. Here are some tips for how:

  • Identify critical needs. Pinpoint which information must be secured and protected, placing a priority on customer, financial and business information, trade secrets and related documents.
  • Turn to trusted advisers. Solution providers can help formulate plans, institute automated security services, monitor trends and threats and educate employees.
  • Automate wherever possible. Automating backup processes can reduce the costs of downtime by minimizing human involvement and addressing weaknesses in disaster recovery plans.
  • Test annually. Don't wait until disaster strikes to learn your system isn't secure. Testing also evaluates and implements non-disruptive recovery methods. After all, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. (Sorry, Chicken Little.)
Edition: July 2017

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