2023 has brought a rollercoaster of weather events that underscore the dire need for businesses to embrace disaster recovery planning. Just consider these headlines:
- NOAA: 2023 worst year on record for billion-dollar disasters
- Severe weather pummels U.S. Midwest and South
- Extreme weather sweeps the U.S., and more
Weather unpredictability is becoming the new norm. In the U.S. alone, we have experienced 24 climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion to date this year. And the year isn’t even over.
In the Midwest, as hurricane season subsides, winter looms ominously on the horizon. Tornado season follows closely, only to circle back to hurricane season. In the face of such uncertainty, it’s essential for small businesses to include disaster recovery in their preparations for whatever Mother Nature has in store.
Disaster Recovery Planning Has Never Been More Important
Simply put, disaster recovery planning is the ultimate insurance policy for your business. The increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters is only one of the many compelling reasons why disaster recovery planning is a must-do:
- Technological Reliance: Modern businesses rely heavily on technology, including data storage and online operations. Any disruption, whether from a natural disaster or a cyberattack, can lead to significant financial losses and operational downtime. Disaster recovery planning is essential to ensure data integrity and continuity of business operations.
- Global Interconnectedness: In today’s interconnected world, supply chains and business networks span the globe. A disaster affecting one part of the world can have a domino effect on businesses worldwide. Disaster recovery planning helps businesses adapt to these global disruptions.
- Customer and Stakeholder Expectations: Customers, investors, and stakeholders expect businesses to be resilient and recover quickly from disruptions. Failing to do so can result in reputational damage and loss of trust. A well-prepared disaster recovery plan demonstrates a commitment to fulfilling these expectations.
- Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Many industries and regions have implemented regulations requiring businesses to have disaster recovery and data protection plans. Noncompliance can lead to legal penalties and liabilities.
- Cybersecurity Threats: Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and prevalent. Ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other cyberthreats can cause substantial damage. Effective disaster recovery plans include measures to combat these threats and recover data and systems if an attack occurs.
- Insurance and Risk Management: Having a disaster recovery plan in place can positively impact insurance premiums and risk management efforts. It shows that a business is actively working to minimize risks and reduce potential claims.
40% of small businesses do not recover from disasters, and another 25% will fold within the subsequent year. It is not alarmist to state that the consequences of lacking a robust disaster recovery plan can be truly catastrophic.
When Disaster Strikes
When a natural disaster – such as a hurricane, tornado, or ice storm – hits, it thrusts businesses into a state of confusion and chaos. Physical destruction may have rendered office space unusable. There may be a communication breakdown, disrupting the flow of information. Data loss may be a pressing concern. In the wake of such turmoil, business leaders find themselves grappling with a myriad of uncertainties and challenges and facing some hard-hitting questions:
- How long can I go without my data? Consider this – a financial institution can’t afford to be down for more than a couple of days. What’s your organization’s tolerance for data downtime?
- Even if I can back up my data, where do I restore it to if my building is destroyed? Data backups are invaluable, but without a secure, off-site location for restoration, like a managed data center, they might as well be inaccessible.
- Where do I tell employees to go, and how do they connect to the data? Ensuring your team has access to vital data and can collaborate remotely is essential.
- How long will it take to resume business as usual? The timeline for recovery matters. It can mean the difference between surviving the storm and succumbing to it.
These questions are anything but easy to answer when disaster strikes. That’s why meticulous disaster recovery planning is essential.
Disaster Recovery Planning Is Good Business
Amidst all the talk about the weather, it’s easy to overlook the fact that 95% of disasters are related to errors, corrupted data, and technical issues. While less dramatic, these run-of-the-mill missteps are just as devastating to small businesses and demand advanced disaster recovery planning. Being prepared offers a plethora of benefits. It minimizes downtime and financial loss while maintaining customer trust and confidence.
Don’t wait until disaster strikes to protect yourself. The need for disaster preparedness is critical, whether it’s a weather-related calamity or a technical glitch. Act proactively today. By doing so, your small business can weather any storm, emerging stronger on the other side.