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National Preparedness Month: 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Be Prepared

Written by  Larry Lang September 18, 2013

Often times, business owners lose sight of the importance of being prepared for unexpected disasters, especially when it comes to protecting their precious company data.


Natural disasters, equipment failure, human error, and cyber-attacks are common causes of IT downtime, which can cost business owners up to $6,900 per hour, according to a report from Aberdeen Group. 


This month, in honor of National Preparedness Month, I am sharing three ways small businesses can be prepared for the worst and always keep their data secured.


1. Always Be Testing “ABT”:Testing on a regular basis is crucial to business continuity, and it should be done more frequently than most businesses currently test. Many business owners don’t test at all! However, many small and mid-sized business run into barriers that make frequent testing difficult or impossible. Ask yourself these questions: Does your vendor charge extra to test your disaster recovery system? How hard is it to test your recovery system? Some solutions take hours to spin up virtual machines. How long will it take to test yours?


2. The Best Recovery is Business Continuity:Any business can implement a backup solution that covers every device and machine used, but being able to recover that data quickly should the system go down is the real test. Building an always-on IT environment in a virtualized computing world isn’t rocket science, but it does require the ability to make the right choices. Unlike in fashion, vintage accouterments like tape don’t look very good when it comes to disaster recovery. You also have to do your due diligence to ensure that the tools that are more attractive — cloud and appliance solutions — don’t come with a built-in Pandora’s Box effect. As Alexander Graham Bell said, “Preparation is the key to success,” and nowhere is this more true than in disaster recovery and business continuity. 


3. Attention to Details:  Any recovery solution should be effective when faced with a major disaster like a hurricane. But it should be just as effective if a power strip fails. Having a system that cannot handle a minor setback is just as troublesome as one that cannot recover from a major catastrophe. For a small to mid-sized business, it’s imperative to know what types of natural disasters can occur in the area and ensure the right backup solution is in place to handle them. Just as important is knowing what errors could occur in technical systems — whether a power outage or hard-drive failure. Do a back-of-napkin calculation on how long your vendor will take to recover your systems. Does your vendor need time to manually rebuild recovery nodes during the recovery process? Can you have an unlimited number of recovery nodes running at one time? If not, you may experience processing delays during the recovery process. Can the recovery nodes run inside the same appliance? Some vendors export recovery nodes from spare servers — and charge you for it. Ask for a recovery scenario demo to clarify everything. 


In today’s world, if Mother Nature messes with your business and you can’t get back up and running, you have no one to blame but yourself. Know your risks, plan ahead, and always be prepared


About Larry Lang ,Quorum Chief Executive Officer: larry Larry Lang brings more than 20 years of global business-building experience to Quorum, which offers appliance and hybrid cloud solutions for one-click backup, recovery and continuity. His innovative views on business demands for rapid assured disaster recovery have been shared through industry forums and quoted in publications like the Wall Street Journal and Forbes. He has led Quorum through substantial revenue growth and several rounds of financing. Previously, as general manager of the Mobility Business Unit at Cisco Systems, Lang grew Cisco’s mobile internet business to several hundred million dollars, driven by the infrastructure demands of smart phones.Lang defined product strategy at Ipsilon Networks leading up to its acquisition by Nokia.Lang is especially adept at translating highly technical information into clear value propositions, and working with customers to understand how to support their success. Lang received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Duke and an MS in Operations Research from Stanford.