Did Tropical Storm Andrea catch you off-guard? Us too! Such is the character of Mother Nature. Tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, fires, tornados, and even sinkholes happen with astounding frequency and little warning. More troublesome, however, are the human errors, power outages, general mishaps, accidents, hacking and viruses that bring business operations to an unexpected halt.

business continuity plan

Whatever the disruption, Gartner reports that 40% of small to midsize businesses that can’t get to their data within 24 hours after a crisis eventually close as a result. According to the National Archives and Records Administration, 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year.  More specifically yet, the US National Fire Protection Agency found that 43% of companies never resume business after a fire.

You may think you’re prepared, but are you really?

If your organization hopes to survive an operation-halting event, you should have a working, tested, and current disaster recovery (DR) or business continuity (BC) plan. Putting one together doesn’t have to be painful; it can actually be fun. You just need to know where to start.

Step 1: Identify Critical Systems.  Let’s be realistic. If the Keurig in the break room goes kaput, it won’t have a major impact on your business. However, what about the mail server? What about the CRM application? Identify the key business systems that without your business cannot function.

Step 2: Create a disaster recovery plan for each system.  Once you have your list of business critical systems, you know where to focus your efforts. Define what the contingency plan should be for varying levels of issues, from a minor application glitch to full-scale hurricane-like disaster.

Step 3: Test out your plan.  Have some fun! Simulating some of the disasters and recovery plans you put together will give you the critical information needed to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan. For example, when your CRM app goes down and you need to restore from your backup tapes, how long does it take to get everyone back up and running? Is that timeframe acceptable? Furthermore, did you remember to move the tape/hdd to the cloud in case of flood or fire? These kind of dress rehearsals help identify any gaps in your current plan.

Step 4: Re-evaluate.  Your business isn’t static and your disaster recovery plan shouldn’t be either. Set a reoccurring schedule (perhaps twice per year) to re-evaluate your DR/BC plan.  Does your business have any other changes in the network that need to be factored in? Does your plan for getting back to normal still fly?

These simple steps works for any business but are especially catered for SMBs. You can find a more in-depth Ready.Gov business continuity plan by clicking here.  At the end of the day, having the right disaster recovery plan could determine whether you have a business to return to or not.


ICS provides data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity services to protect your organization from these threats. Let us show you how!


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