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Small Business Network Disaster Recovery Planning

July 20, 2010 - 2 Comments

Network Disaster Recovery Planning will keep your company in business after a disaster

The Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared” applies to almost everything in life.Whether it’s having a water bottle and a snack in your bag when a weather delay keeps you on the tarmac for hours, or having a safety pin “just in case.”The truth is; we never know what’s going to happen next.Usually the unexpected isn’t a disaster, it’s merely an inconvenience.But if disaster should strike, being prepared is critical to recovering.

Statistics on what happens to businesses after a networking disaster are varied, but here’s a small sample of what I came across researching this article:

  • 70% of businesses that experience a major data loss are out of business within one year (DTI/ PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • 94% of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss do not survive (University of Texas)
  • 96% of all business workstations are not being backed up. (Contingency Planning and Strategic Research Corporation)
  • 30% of small businesses will experience a natural disaster (NFIB)
  • 10% of small businesses will experience a major data loss as result of human error (NFIB)

Did you ever wonder what restoring data costs? According to the National Computer Security Association, without adequate backup it takes:

  • 19 days and $17,000 to recreate just 20 MB of lost sales/marketing data
  • 21 days and $19,000 to recreate just 20 MB of lost accounting data
  • 42 days and $98,000 to recreate just 20 MB of lost engineering data.

At this point you should be more afraid of a data networking disaster than I am of stinging insects (another story for another time).Please invoke that Boy Scout attitude and get prepared with network disaster recovery plan.

A small business network disaster recovery plan identifies the processes and procedures for returning to business as usual after a disaster. A successful disaster recovery plan should identify:

  • The systems and data that are critical to your business
  • The process for backing up and restoring your critical assets
  • The steps required to get systems back up and running

Will your Network Survive?

You should also ask yourself how long you could afford to be offline.If your sales take place online, hours could be a disaster; in other situations you may be able to withstand a 24 or 48-hour outage.Considerations:

  • How much redundancy do you need?
  • How would the following affect your company:
    • Power outage
    • Loss of Internet access
    • Loss of phone service
    • Natural Disaster
  • Can you make changes to the network remotely in the event of an emergency?
    • Forwarding phone lines?
  • What if your employees can’t get to the office? Would they still be able to work?

Practice Makes Perfect

The goal of any disaster recovery plan is to get your business back up and running as soon as possible to minimize loss of revenue as well as the impact to your customers. So, practice your disaster recovery plan. Run your employees through the entire drill, making sure the backups are working and your staff knows how to restore systems following the procedures outlined in your plan.

The story is not all doom and gloom.Companies with back-up solutions and disaster recovery plans can often be up and running within hours (depending on the nature of the disaster).But even if your business suffers the kind of disaster that keeps your doors shut for days having a plan will ensure that you know how to kep your employees safe and get back to work as soon as possible.Take a look at how planning helped Child’s Capital recover from 9/11.   Child’s Capital was a Grand Prize winner in the 2005 Cisco Growing with Technology Awards thanks to their disaster recovery strategy and use of technology in their business.

Have you had to activate your company’s disaster recovery plan? What worked well? What would you do differently if lightning were to strike your company twice?


FEMA “Are You Ready”

SCORE Disaster Preparedness

Small Business Administration “A Disaster Planning Guide for Small Business Owners”

This post has been so serious that I decided to have a little fun and let you watch My Kitchen Disaster in which I try to set myself on fire.  Don’t worry, it ends with a laugh.

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  1. Terrific insight. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. Our company provides a complete Windows offsite server backup protection and disaster recovery solution catered to small businesses. Small businesses can be up and running in as little as 30 minutes. See more information at