6 Elements of a Disaster Prep Plan for Small-Business Customers

Hurricanes.  Tornadoes.  Fires.  Equipment failure.  Theft.  What would happen to your client if their emails, billing records, customer files, inventory reports, payroll and tax information suddenly disappeared?  If there is any level of uncertainty, it is time to engage with your client in creating a disaster preparedness assessment.

June 7, 2013

4 Min Read
6 Elements of a Disaster Prep Plan for Small-Business Customers

By Carbonite Guest Blog

Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Fires. Equipment failure. Theft. What would happen to your customer if its emails, billing records, customer files, inventory reports, payroll and tax information suddenly disappeared? If there is any level of uncertainty, it is time to engage with your customer in creating a disaster preparedness assessment.

For your small-business customers, having a solid plan in place will help their business minimize loss and disruption and return to normal business operations as quickly as possible. Being able to help guide your customer in advance of a disaster can further foster your relationship as their trusted adviser, as well as ensure you aren't called into a panic-filled and unfixable situation should a disaster strike. Having a disaster preparedness plan is critical for your small-business customers and you can help educate them on this. In fact, even though a study conducted by Carbonite, Inc. showed that 54 percent of small-business owners believe a data disaster was unlikely to affect their business, research from the Insurance Information Institute states that up to 40 percent of small businesses affected by disaster will never reopen.

6 Elements of a Disaster Preparedness Plan

1. Develop a written, documented disaster preparedness plan. Work with your customer to create a detailed, written plan of action that makes sense. Be sure the plan includes emergency contact information for vendors, as you may have to help facilitate much of the communication to ensure their IT infrastructure gets back online in a timely manner.

2. Designate an alternative site of operation. The ability for your customer to communicate with its employees and customers is paramount to any disaster preparedness plan. It is also paramount for you to understand where your customer intends to establish an alternative site so you can proactively ensure that your customer is able to get back up and running as quickly as possible.

3. Review your customer’s current backup plan. Disasters tend to strike when they are least expected, and can instantly wipe out a significant amount of a business’s data. Small businesses say that data is their most valuable asset, but unfortunately, many small businesses only back up files once or twice per month, which can result in tremendous loss. Online backup  allows you to work with your customer to ensure it gets all of its files back easily in the result of a disaster, and you will want to ensure the backup provider offers remote data access so your customer can still get the key files it needs even in the midst of dealing with the disaster. 

4. Back up your customer’s data constantly. Make sure you find a service that works automatically and continually in the background. Doing so can save your customer money, save you time and even make you a hero; it can literally save your customer’s company. Look for a cloud backup service that transmits the protected files offsite to a secure data center to ensure that the files are safe.

5. Do a dry run. Practice makes perfect. While it may generate some initial eye-rolling, walking through a simulation will help increase the chances of success during a disaster.

6. Keep your plan current. Companies change. People change. If a customer’s plan is out of date, the plan could quickly become outdated and useless. Make sure its plan is up-to-date and reviewed on an annual basis or each time major changes are made.

While your customer’s disaster preparedness plan will be unique based on its unique business needs, the tips above will help you assess, document and execute a disaster plan so you can help get your customer up and running as soon as possible after a disaster. 

At Carbonite we are committed to working very closely with our channel partners and offer cloud backup—including offsite database backup—for SOHO’s and small businesses. If you’re interested in learning more about Carbonite’s Reseller Program, please email or call us at (877) 391-4759.

David Hauser is Channel Director at Carbonite, a leading cloud backup service provider. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship program.

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