A well-protected small business can fully recover from a natural disaster.

With data backup, SMBs can save themselves from disaster

Stephen Perkins

It is commonly thought that in a natural disaster scenario, smaller businesses are among the first to suffer. After all, they tend to lack the rigorous security infrastructure that their big business counterparts have. The idea that small businesses are hit particularly hard in a disaster recovery scenario was affirmed by Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. According to NJ.com, the natural disaster led to 3,000 businesses – many of them small operations – applying for a total of $167 million in recovery aid.

Unfortunately, according to the New Jersey Main Street Alliance, a mere 6 percent of the businesses applying for grants ended up receiving them – which leaves the vast majority to fend for themselves.

Among the losses small businesses experienced, there is one that is perhaps overlooked by the public, though it can be just as costly and devastating as physical damages: Data loss. For small businesses not equipped with online data backup, a storm like Hurricane Sandy can spell the permanent loss of years' worth of customer data. Such a loss can not only set small businesses back, but in many cases actually lead to them shutting down.

However, not all small enterprises face this fate. For those businesses that take the proper data backup measures, recovering from a disaster can be made significantly more manageable.

A brewery stays afloat thanks to its backup measures
Located in Cockermouth, U.K., Jennings Brewery is a lot like many others in the country in that it is an old family operation with historic roots in the city. But Jennings brewery can add one thing to its pedigree that many comparable businesses likely cannot claim: It survived a major disaster, according to the Birmingham Post.

In November 2009, the brewery found itself underwater after a flood broke through its doors. According to IT services executive Mike Osborne, this kind of situation is one in which many businesses would simply be forced to close up shop.

"A lot of firms which suffer a disaster have not thought it through," he said, "they go out of business or they lose market share. There are a lot of firms which have not got plans in place; it is just a small fraction that have cover."

In the immediate wake of the flood, the prognosis perhaps did not look good for the brewery. It had been covered in eight feet of water, rendering its entire ground floor useless. Recovery would take months.

Fortunately for Jennings Brewery, though, they had the single greatest tool to fight against a natural disaster: A backup plan. Long before the flood, the brewery had aligned itself with an IT services firm to carry out a comprehensive data backup. This backup enabled a disaster recovery plan wherein the enterprise was able to smoothly shift its operations to a separate location while the necessary repairs were carried out.

Harriet Wood, an executive who helps oversee the brewery, said the business was lucky they had a backup plan in place.

Categories: Data Protection, Disaster Recovery