According to some insights from PropertyCasualty360, large businesses take disaster planning much more seriously than the majority of small businesses. However, as the Small Business Administration points out, 40 to 60 percent of small companies never reopen for business after a disaster. Since the “risk managers” in most small businesses are simply the owners or managers who may need to spend most of their time actually operating their businesses and not running all sorts of “what if” scenarios, this is understandable but leaves smaller companies very vulnerable.
While small business owners and managers may plan for some calamities well, they often only think of physical losses and not data losses. These are some mistakes to avoid when implementing a data backup and recovery strategy:
1. Your Business Has No Backup and Recovery Plan at All
While some small businesses have paid more attention to data security in recent years, PropertyCasualty360 reported that 90 percent of small businesses spend less than one workday out of a month reviewing disaster plans and 20 percent spend absolutely no time on this critical task. To compare, big companies spend an average of 10 workdays a month preparing and reviewing disaster plans.
2. You Keep Your Backup Drives in Your Office
It’s tempting to purchase inexpensive external drives to backup critical business data. However, if these drives get stored in the office, they are just as vulnerable to a fire, flood, or other physical disaster as the devices they are intended to backup.
3. You Don’t Automate Backups
Many third-party services can automate and manage the entire backup and recovery process, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it one night or not knowing how to complete the recovery process in case you do lose your machines. This is particularly helpful for small companies that don’t have their own IT departments.
4. You Trust Third-Party Providers Too Much
In a perfect world, third-party providers really would be able to have your entire data collection restored promptly and would never be prone to their own security vulnerabilities. However, there has been plenty of news about third-party providers suffering from data losses because of physical or manmade disasters. This is true of backup services and third-party applications that are hosted on provider’s servers. Before selecting business partners, learn how they secure data and plan for disasters.
5. You Don’t Prioritize Recovery Plans
These days, most small businesses keep a lot of data. In all likelihood, only a small percentage of that data is truly critical to opening your doors the next day for business. Since recovery of large amounts of data can take time in the best of circumstances, it’s important to isolate really critical data and applications into a first tier for rapid recovery, frequent backups, and the most protection. Other data might serve you just as well if it is left in an archive.
Effective backup and data recovery plans don’t have to become incredibly complex or expensive. In fact, there may be a universal rule that the simplest plans tend to work out the best, and this is especially true for the 10 to 20 percent of your data that is absolutely critical to run your business the next day. Take the time to devise a plan, rely on automation when you can, check out your data-protection partners, and set priorities.