It’s National Preparedness Month: Time for SMB's to Review Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans

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When was the last time you reviewed your business continuity and disaster recovery plans? September is National Preparedness Month, a great opportunity for businesses to set aside time to revisit—or start creating—a preparedness plan.

Disasters are somewhat akin to IRS audits: few of us prepare for them until they happen, making them more painful and costly than necessary. Small businesses tend to lag behind in business continuity and disaster preparedness planning, especially when it comes to backing up critical business data. According to leading SMB e-commerce firms Alibaba, Vendio and Auctiva’s 2012 survey, 74% of small businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan. The increased frequency and ferocity of natural disasters in recent years—from Superstorm Sandy to the tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma—underscore the imperative for small businesses to be adequately prepared for disasters.

Unfortunately, many small businesses have little experience with business continuity solutions, which leaves most of them using ineffective backup solutions. Thumb drives, external hard drives, and backup tapes may seem like viable options, but these methods still leave the backed up data in the same building or with the same employee—and therefore vulnerable to disasters.

Fortunately, more small businesses are turning to cloud-based backup solutions to achieve business continuity. In the same 2012 survey, 30% of the respondents noted that they were implementing cloud storage for their data. One highly effective and strongly recommended cloud-based disaster recovery option for small businesses is an online backup solution, such as Windstream’s Online Data Backup and Storage, which is easy to use and integrate into normal business operations.

A key advantage to cloud-based storage is its “anywhere, any time, any device” accessibility. When 2012’s Superstorm Sandy pounded businesses in Manhattan, some businesses were able to recover more quickly from the devastation than others, simply because their employees had the remote access they needed in order to access company data, systems and applications. This flexibility is critical when working with time-sensitive data in disaster-prone zones—and as the weather forecasts continue to prove, geographic areas impacted by chronic disasters are growing.

The real Cadillac option for business continuity is Disaster Recovery as a Service, or DRaaS. Although a more costly alternative for small businesses, DRaaS offers many benefits that give business owners peace of mind, including 24x7 managed recovery, data and server replication and network failover plans. DRaaS takes the stress off the business owner and allows Windstream to manage the process from preparedness to recovery.

No matter what business continuity solution you settle on, the experts at Windstream encourage you to use National Preparedness Month to your advantage—let us help you take inventory of your current disaster recovery situation and prepare Mother Nature’s potential wrath. Your trusted Windstream business continuity advisor can walk you through the process and help find a solution that works for your business—ahead of the storm.