Business continuity for small business
Anthony Jones
Listen to: "Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses"

It’s not only large companies that are affected by a wide range of disasters. Small businesses are experiencing the devastating impacts that disasters create as these hazards can have short-term and long-term effects on operations. As a small business owner, you may focus your time and resources toward preparing for natural disasters such as flooding, fire, tornado, hurricane, earthquake, and strong storms. Yet man-made technology disasters are becoming more commonplace in this day and age.

Cyber-attacks from outside sources, unauthorized access to network systems by employees to create computer disruptions or perform fraud, and other information technology risks can completely incapacitate a small business. Now, more than ever, small businesses need to develop disaster preparedness plans and recovery protocols for their operations.

Understanding Disaster Risks

The first step in preparing for a disaster is understanding the types of risks that could stop your operations. Every small business is different based on the products and services they offer. So you may have a unique set of disasters that may only impact your specific business industry.

For example, if you are a website hosting company, you may experience more problems with complete network shutdowns due to distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Meanwhile, a metal fabrication company would have to deal with fire hazards and workers inhaling welding fumes that could stop operations on the shop floor.

As a business owner, you should perform due diligence of the working environment and operations. Consider the types of natural and manmade disasters that could impact your business. Then you can create several different lists of disasters based on their severity and location in your business so you can create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan to minimize these risks.

Determine Short-Term and Long-Term Business Disruptions

Your business may be able to bounce back faster from certain disasters versus those that could shut down or slow down operations for longer periods of time. Categorizing disasters based on their impact to operations during short-term and long-term time frames can give you a deeper clarity in regards to the tools, resources and funding you will need to invest in to have the right disaster recovery services. You can determine which operations are critical to your business and how you will reassign employees to different tasks to keep your operations running while dealing with the disaster.

Create Appropriate Recovery Procedures and Systems

You should have multiple recovery procedures and plans for your operations versus one plan designed to deal with all disasters in the same manner. This tactic will help you further define what equipment you will need and help you establish job rules during the disaster so every employee knows what to do. Also, you can develop the appropriate budgets so you have enough funds to place toward the disaster without overspending.

Consider making a separate disaster recovery plan for your administrative office, IT department, production floor, and warehousing department. You should also make recovery plans for any additional building structures that may be separate from your main offices.

Develop Contingency and Business Continuity Plans

You man discover that your main operations cannot fully recover as planned due to unforeseen and extenuating circumstances. Always have a contingency plan in place if you need to move your operations to a secondary site location. Consider the costs, time and setup work that will be needed. You should also have a contingency plan available for your data storage and network systems. Back up and store critical network data offsite and develop both software and hardware solutions that you can turn to immediately when disaster strikes.

Periodically Test Disaster Recovery Procedures

Having a disaster recovery plan is great, but never testing it can lead to serious problems at the absolutely worse time in your business operations. Have your employees trained and tested so they can efficiently place your disaster recovery plans and business continuity plans in action. Then you will be able to discover any issues with your procedures that need to be addressed. You can also have an outside auditing company evaluate your existing plans or develop your disaster recovery plans based on your present operations to ensure your business can make a full recovery.

Be prepared for any disaster that could affect your small business. Develop the appropriate disaster recovery and business continuity plans for your operations. Let I.S. Partners, LLC take charge of your technology infrastructure as we can help your business better recover from information technology disasters that you could impact your networks and computer data. Send us a message or call us at 215-675-1400 to begin discussing your disaster recovery plan.

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