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Have a disaster plan in place or risk bankruptcy

17 Dec 2010

Symantec has released the results of its 2011 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey, which measures the attitudes and practices of SMBs towards disaster preparedness.

The survey reveals that many SMBs are still not making disaster preparedness a priority until they experience a disaster or data loss, which is usually too late.

The data also reveals that the cost of not being prepared is high, putting an SMB at risk of going out of business, as downtime not only costs SMBs hundreds of thousands of dollars, it also causes their customers to leave.

“The Canterbury earthquakes demonstrate the tremendous impact natural disasters can have on people and businesses. While large natural disasters are top of mind for many businesses today, they also need to consider the more common disasters of human error and IT systems failures” said Steve Martin, Director Small and Medium Business for the Pacific region, Symantec.

Half of the global respondents do not have a plan in place, compared with 36% of New Zealand survey respondents.

“According to our research findings, SMBs still haven’t recognised the impact a disaster can have on their businesses. By taking the time to do some simple planning, SMBs can protect their information and minimise downtime during a disaster,” Martin added.

80% of New Zealand respondents said that it never occurred to them to put together a plan, compared with 41% of global respondents. 40% of global respondents stated that disaster preparedness is not a priority for them compared with 20% of New Zealand respondents. “In a country of SMBs, Kiwis cannot afford to lose their business data or their customers’ critical information.  The trust between a company and its clientele erodes significantly when an outage grinds business to a halt.  Basic disaster planning enables the SMB to protect critical business information when a disaster strikes.” Symantec suggests you do the following:

Don’t wait until it’s too lateA plan should include identification of key systems and data that is intrinsic to the running of the business.  Basically, identify your critical resources.

Protect information completelyImplement the appropriate security and backup solutions to archive important files, such as customer records and financial information.

Get employees involvedSMB employees play a key role in helping to prevent downtime, and should be educated on computer security best practices and what to do if information is accidentally deleted or cannot easily be found in their files. 

Test frequentlyAfter a disaster hits is the worst time to learn that critical files were not backed up as planned.

Review your planIf frequent testing is not feasible due to resources and bandwidth, SMBs should spend an hour to review their disaster preparedness plan on a six-monthly basis.