Making the Case for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning at Small Businesses

By: Eduardo Ulloa
Do you remember the last time your computer or any other device failed on you, losing all your documents, photos, music files, and other precious information? Sure these annoyances can make our lives miserable and lose all trust in technology, but what if your business depended on it?

This is the core of business continuity and disaster recovery

We so often relate the terms of business continuity planning (BCP) and disaster recovery (DR) with major natural disaster and disruptions that can wipe out businesses off the phase of the earth, both physically and virtually. What we fail to realize is that threats to continuity and disaster recovery can take the multiple forms, such as PC/hardware failure, data and connectivity loss, long-term power outages, fire, and inclement weather.

The big issue is that many businesses don’t implement BCP or DR, assuming that the likelihood of major disasters to hit to be slim and implementing a plan too costly. Instead, it is common to adopt a break-and-where we simply wait until systems are down and business is bursting into flames to try recover the data while watching sales, savings, and clients melt away.

The truth is that disruptions are statistically likely to take place at one point or another, and you can never anticipate their nature and impact. Here are a few facts:
• According to Symantec, small and mid-sized (SMBs) experience a median of 6 outages per year, including power outages, cyberattacks, employee errors, and upgrades
• Ponemon Institute found 95% of U.S. companies experienced a data outage in 2010
• According to Gartner research, the average cost of downtime for an SMB can cost $42,000 an hour

The bottom line is: Can your organization afford downtime?

No business is too small to think about BCP and DR. The smaller your business is, the more vulnerable you become to unexpected disruptions and can only take one instance before you may have to close the doors. In fact, PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimates that 70% of small companies (fewer than 100 employees) that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year. The distinction between big and small organizations lies in the complexity and cost of the solution. There are solutions for everyone without having a multinational budget.

An understandable reason to embrace the break-and-fix strategy lies on cost. Smaller organizations have limited financial and human resources to devote to purchasing, maintaining, and upgrading IT infrastructure. But in the age of the cloud and technology as-a-service, SMEs do not have to face this intimidating process alone. SMEs can partner with managed service providers (MSP) that not only take care of these activities in a cost-effective way, but also make sure to minimize unexpected interruptions.

Value of working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP):

• Focus on your business while letting the MSP plan and monitor your IT infrastructure
• A good MSP will make sure to understand your business and advice you on a solution that best serves your operations and scales as your organization grows over time
• Reduce the high cost of purchasing and maintaining IT, including hardware, networks, and licenses
• MSPs are like having an IT department available (usually 24/7) to attend any issues. Remember it is in the MSPs best interest that your systems are up and running smoothly.
• Empower your business with top-of-the-line technology without breaking the bank

 Solutions available to support business continuity and disaster recovery

Virtual desktops: Windows workstations hosted and centrally managed on the cloud, and delivered on-demand. Access to applications, data and files is possible from any internet-enabled device as if employees were at their desk, while enhancing data security.

Automated cloud backup services: These tools allow businesses back-up data offsite automatically, using the highest security standards, and only paying for the storage space needed. Plus, in case of an emergency, data can be restored on-demand with a few clicks

Hosted e-mail solutions: Alternative to spending thousands of dollars on purchasing and maintaining dedicated e-mail servers are hosted business e-mail solutions. For low monthly cost per user, employees are empowered with an e-mail system that is monitored and protected against spam and viruses by the service provider

File syncing and collaboration tools: Key to productivity and business continuity are business-grade file syncing solutions that allow accessing files both online and offline, share even large files easily, across a wide range of devices. Compared to Dropbox, this solution offers better security and may also be less vulnerable to downtime

Working with an MSP does not meant nothing will ever go wrong. Computers hardware is always bound to fail, networks may go down, power outages and snow storms will happen. However, partnering with an MSP will allow you to plan ahead for all these contingencies and provide you with tools and resources to continue operating with minimum disruption.

If you would like more information on how to develop or improve your plans contact us today.

Eduardo Ulloa is a Strategy Consultant at Envision Consulting, LLC

Envision Consulting

Envision Consulting

We started Envision Consulting for businesses that share our passion for building long- term and healthy relationships. While we might be technology experts, we’ve always known that trust, reliability and looking after a client’s best interest are paramount to succeeding in business. But in 2001 and to this day, there were few managed IT providers available that embodied our customer-centric values. There were countless support companies more interested in reacting to issues than paving the road forward for clients, making it far too difficult to build long-term relationships. We felt a strong pull to make something different, and we did.