In the face of a disaster, whether it’s a computer crash or a natural disaster, customers tend to stay with the companies that can continue to provide support rather than those with lost data and crashed computers. And while large corporations tend to have extensive disaster management procedures to deal with everything from fires and floods to sinister forces, small businesses are a bit lax in that department. A survey by Symantec found that 57 percent of small businesses and 47 percent of medium sized businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan in place. In many cases the business owners did not think computers were essential to their businesses. As it turns out, small and medium sized businesses experience about six “outages” per year. The reasons range from power outages to cyber attacks and employee error among others.
Okay, so now that we’ve scared you, what to do? The most basic precaution anyone can take is to simply backup data on an external hard drive. There should be a procedure in place that requires this to be done daily or weekly or at some other interval that makes sense. However, the people at PC Magazine think you should do more. Among the popular recommendations are Carbonite and IDrive which offer relatively cheap online storage. But these can be limited both in storage space and number of computers covered. They recommend choosing the best value for one year of coverage for three computers for a total of 50GB of storage space. At the low end for this level of service is Nomadesk for $75 while at the higher end Carbonite does it for $177. Essentially none of these is out of reach for a small business. There are also backup services for mobile devices, of which the popular choice is KineticD. Obviously, disaster preparedness should include much more but this is a good start.