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SmartBiz's Keys to Online Success: Be Ready For Emergencies Big and Small
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By Carl Weinschenk

It may seem that there arenít enough hours in the day to take care of everything that needs to get done. Preparing for emergencies may seem like a luxury, since these events only rarely come to pass.

Resist the temptation to put off these preparations. Skimping on disaster recovery and business continuity (DR and BC) plans is extraordinarily risky.

DR and BC cover a wide territory. They can be something as simple as backing up key files on a weekly basis and storing the copies in a separate location or ensuring that everyone knows their managers' cell phone numbers. Conversely, preparations can be as sophisticated as buying and deploying fuel-driven backup power generators that will continue to operate indefinitely or running full scale drills in which personnel are called at their homes and told to facilitate prearranged plans.

From 9-11 to Hurricane Katrina, we've (unfortunately) had no shortage of dramatic examples of the value DR and BC. However, there are myriad more subtle instances in which these procedures are vital. Perhaps a small but strong storm cuts power. Perhaps the hard drive on a key PC gets fried by a power surge. Perhaps a branch office burns down.

There are thousands of books, documents, websites and other tools devoted to DR and BC. Small business managers must take advantage of these to become conversant with the main concepts.

Two examples: It is important to differentiate between must be saved and would be saved in a perfect world. It also is important that managers decide how often backups are needed. Is monthly backup enough, or is the nature of the business such that not backing up weekly irresponsible?

These and a long list of other decisions must be made within the bigger context of budgetary, manpower, legal, regulatory and other issues. The key to this all is simply the recognition that disaster recovery and business continuity are as important for a small and startup business as they are for an enterprise.



Carl Weinschenk is the Editorial Director of SmartBiz.
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