Small Business Technology

Business Continuity Solutions for Small Businesses

Is your small business ready for disaster? We discuss business continuity options for small businesses, including some recommendations on good backup and recovery solutions.

Business continuity planning used to be something that only large businesses had the luxury to afford.

Business Continuity for Small Businesses

But business continuity solutions for small businesses are now much more affordable and accessible.

In fact, if you own a small or mid-sized business, you can't afford not to have a business continuity solution in place.

Think about it.

What would happen if your business had to close down completely for a month or more, simply because you hadn't put a good backup and recovery solution in place for your computer systems?

How Does Disaster Recovery Cost?

How much you should spend on disaster recovery depends on what's at stake: "The greater the potential impact of a disaster, the more money your organization should spend to get back up and running."

In other words, every small business disaster recovery program should start with an assessment of the business impact of a disaster.

This involves thinking through various disasters and what effect they might have on your business. For example, if your server hard drive crashes, what will the impact be? If there is a citywide power blackout for 72 hours, how will that impact your business? If your city experiences a devastating earthquake, how will it affect your business?

By understanding the consequences of a potential disaster, you can determine how much to pay for a disaster recovery solution.

Small Business Data Backup and Recovery Solutions

Whatever your assessment of how vulnerable you are to a disaster, it is key to have a good data backup and recovery plan in place.

The old way is backing up to magnetic tapes. Backup tapes are not all that expensive but to be sure you handle data backup, archival and recovery well, you need to buy a magnetic tape autoloader. That can run $5,000.

As it turns out, traditional hard drive storage has become so cheap that it's now much smarter and much more cost-effective to backup to a hard drive, rather than tape. Savings aside, there are many other advantages of disk storage over tape storage. Disk is faster, more reliable, and more flexible.

Managed Backup and Recovery for Small Businesses

If you are not incredibly tech-savvy, the way to go is to backup your data remotely using a managed offsite backup and recovery solution. One that we like quite a bit is provided by a company called DBLS. They are based in Alexandria, Virginia but serve companies around the country. They offer a complete and affordable small business backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution that includes both on-site and off-site storage. In addition

For very small shops without extremely important mission-critical data and no critical software applications that need to be accessed in the event of a disaster, the online backup solutions can be a good alternative. A good friend strongly recommends DriveHQ Online Backup although we haven't had a chance to play with it yet. Other companies playing in the online backup space include eVault, Carbonite, XDrive and Spare Backup.

You Are Now Officially Jinxed Of Course

It's a basic rule of life in our computerized world that once you start thinking about your hard drives crashing and about how you are not prepared for such a disaster, then, without a doubt, your hard drive will crash within a week or so.

So, sorry, you are now jinxed and had better be very proactive in getting data backups in place!

On the other hand, if you've just been burned by a hard drive crash and that has you here because you are thinking about how to never be burned again, please accept our condolences. We've been there, done that. It isn't fun.

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Have you used any of these small business disaster recovery solutions? We'd love to hear your comments, recommendations and questions regarding small business business continuity and data backup and recovery!

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