It's Not Just The Data

A lot of businesses, especially small businesses, backup their data to protect against a disaster but they don't plan for the possibility that their offices and equipment may be destroyed or inaccessible. For the sake of discussion, let's say that you are one of the smarter business managers and your data is backed up daily and current copies are stored off site. And let's go one more step and say that your procedures are monitored and you do periodic test restores to make sure your data can be recovered. If your office burned to the ground, would you be able to restore your data and operate your business from an alternate location?

You are certainly much better off because your data is backed up and available to be restored, however, you may not have planned to be down for days while you locate an alternate facility and equipment. I am not suggesting that you need to have a backup office location and equipment ready to take over. Although, that might be appropriate for some businesses. I am suggesting that you go through the exercise of thinking out a realistic scenario and how long it would actually take you to get back in business. How much would it cost if your office were completely down and offline for a week? Three weeks? Some businesses would not survive. Some would not suffer any lasting effects from this type of outage. Every business should think this out and have a plan for how to recover. Maybe your data backups are sufficient. Maybe you need a standby server in an off site location. Maybe you need a backup telephone system.

Off site copies of current backup data is usually the minimum. Each business is different and will have different requirements, but the requirements often go beyond backup data requirements. It all depends on the how much the business would suffer if a major office were offline for an extended period of time. If you are a consulting business and your consultants can continue to work without an office, then you may not need much more than data backups. If you are a credit card processor or bank that would immediately lose customers and business as soon as downtime occurs, then it is probably worth spending some money to protect your business against heavy losses.

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