Creating a Business Back-Up Plan

Article by:
Eric Keiles EO Philadelphia
Jennifer Walzer
EO New York

There’s no getting around it— business disasters will happen. I’ve learned that while you can’t avoid unexpected emergencies, you can impact the way you work through a disaster. Regardless of industry, thriving during crises depends on how prepared and protected you are. I own a data back-up company, and I’ve seen my share of turmoil.

Running an emergency-oriented business has afforded me a ton of insight into the importance of preparation and response. In my experience, the companies that most experience crises can be divided into three basic groups:

  • Unprepared and Unprotected – These are the businesses that called for help after they experienced a major data loss. They got lucky, and while their lack of preparation didn’t put their business under, they try and do everything possible to avoid a future incident.
  • Protected but Unprepared – These businesses were protecting their data; however, they didn’t have a full contingency plan in place. Although we were able to help them retrieve their data, they weren’t prepared to deal with other elements of the disaster.
  • Prepared and Protected – These are the business owners who sleep well at night (or at least they would if entrepreneurs ever slept!). Their company data is protected, so they know they can recover it quickly. They also know what everyone in the company will do in an emergency, how they’ll communicate, how they’ll reach their vendors and where to find the information they need.

While most businesses strive to be a part of the “prepared and protected” group, many fall short. In my experience, it all starts with data back-up. If a business is looking to maximize protection, minimize risk and make things as simple as possible, online back-up is best. There are different levels of service when it comes to online back-up, ranging from do-it-yourself to full-service options.

When selecting a provider, I tell my clients to ensure they offer the following:

  • Pre-installation analysis of business needs.
  • Set-up process guided by a support engineer.
  • To ensure correct configuration.
  • Daily monitoring of back-up activity to guarantee back-ups are always running correctly.
  • Support provided by experienced, knowledgeable engineers, as opposed to call center employees with scripts in hand.
  • 24/7 availability for emergencies.
  • At least AES 128-bit encryption technology to protect your data during transmission and storage.
  • An encryption key that the client creates and the provider does not know.
  • Financial stability; i.e., they won’t go out of business any time soon (and take your data with them!).

By selecting an online provider that meets the above criteria, entrepreneurs can be prepared for, and quickly recover from, any type of emergency. However, being fully prepared for a crisis requires having a comprehensive plan that covers all aspects of business.

For example, I have a disaster recovery plan in place that outlines things like alternate office locations, work-from-home information, staff roles during emergencies and contingency communication plans.

In order to ensure this plan is accessible to my employees at all times, I’ve uploaded these documents to a secure online document storage site. In the event of an emergency, my employees will be able to access this information regardless of their location. I will then be able to implement my recovery procedures right away. By having my information adequately stored, I can rest easy knowing I’m ready for the unexpected.

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