As a small business owner, automation and technology play a crucial role in your daily operations. Email, customer management software, various databases and more allow you to compete on a national scale, without the associated payroll. Access to data forms the basis for most of your customer interactions and activities. All of your online sales depend on your servers and so do many of your in-store sales. Server crashes bring your business to a screeching halt. If a customer calls to place an order during a crash, you lose out on the sale. If a huge multi-national company like Amazon.com can face massive server failure, so can you. A server crash is not an if, it's a when. Be prepared to handle the crisis like a pro with a few simple preventative and proactive steps.
1. Create/Update your comprehensive disaster plan
Take a look at worst case scenario and create a plan to address it. Multiple redundancies are the name of the game in backup and disaster recovery (BDR). Bring in IT specialists to offer server support and analyse your existing systems for vulnerabilities. Server failure can be caused by any number of issues both internal and external, so have a plan in place to handle both on-site and off-site issues.
2. Consider server outsourcing
One of the biggest mistakes many business owners make is storing all backup data in one physical location. Yes, it is important to have a current copy of your systems on-site, but what happens in the event of a natural disaster? Businesses in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and even New Hampshire still face logistical problems due to Hurricane Sandy. The entire northeast corridor dealt with massive flooding, power outages and property damage. In those conditions, any data stored locally can be lost permanently, and it is certainly inaccessible until the disaster conditions end. Server outsourcing allows off-site BDR. When choosing a server outsourcing option, be sure to find one that stores your information on servers physically located a considerable distance from your location. For example, Massachusetts and New Hampshire businesses might look for server hosting on the west coast. Make your concerns clear to the provider, to ensure remote access during an emergency.
3. Put security first
Even without natural disasters, many businesses deal with technology failures on a daily basis. Malicious software attacks, ISP downtime, power outages and many other factors affect your ability to access your data. Some simple hardware and software installations can minimize your risks. Install and run your BDR software regularly. Be sure your antivirus software remains up-to-date. Consider installing a continuing power supply to keep your servers up and running. These simple tricks are easy to implement, and they go a long way toward ensuring data quality.
As a small business owner, you are at higher risk than many large corporate entities. Hackers know that small businesses often do not have the resources of a larger corporation, and they attack viciously. In Massachusetts, you are required to take reasonable steps to ensure the security of your customer data. These security precautions help you meet legal requirements while also protecting your business. At the enterprise level, a server outage often costs $90,000 an hour or more. Take proactive steps to prevent data loss by implementing a BDR plan.