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Top disasters that threaten your business

The top 5 natural disasters threatening your business

Natural disasters can occur when we don’t often expect them. And while you might be taught to ‘batten down the hatches’ when it comes to your office or your equipment, what about protecting your data?

Here’s what we’re talking about when we look at the types of natural disasters that can threaten your business operations. It comes from data put together in 2015 by the the Eastern Kentucky University Department of Safety, Security, and Emergency Management, who looked at the top 5 significant events in the US in 2013:

  1. May 2013: Severe weather resulting in 29 deaths and an economic loss of $3.8 billion
  2. Jan 2013: Drought resulting in an economic loss of $3.5 billion
  3. March 2013: Severe drought resulting in 2 deaths and an economic loss of $3.5 billion
  4. May/June 2013: Severe weather resultings in 27 deaths and an economic loss of $3.5 billion
  5. September 2014: Catastrophic flooding JUST in Colorado resulted in an economic loss of $2 billion

Preparation is key

While you might not think your business will ever get hit by a natural disaster (and let’s not forget about fires), the reality is they can happen anywhere, when you least expect them and, according to these stats, when you haven’t prepared adequately:

  • 1 in 4 small businesses hit by a major storm do not open ever again
  • The average loss to a small business after closing due to a major storm is $3,000 a day
  • 1 in 3 small biz owners said they have been personally affected by a storm or extreme weather; and
  • While 94% of small businesses back up critical financial data to prepare for an emergency only 4 in 10 of them keep that data off-site!

Back-ups need to be off-site

Being the backup specialists as we are here at SOS Online Backup, it’s only natural we want to highlight this last point: that less than half of businesses hold their critical data off-site. There is very little point in having backups of your business data all in the one place. Let’s look at one specific example of why this can be awful should your business be hit by a natural disaster.

Think about the types of data that can be lost: not just customer information, finances etc… but what about employee data? If your business is hit by a natural disaster, chances are homes in your area are hit too – potentially the homes of your employees. If you don’t have quick access to their records you might not be able to help them – or pay them – when they really need it. Employees might be the last think you think of when looking at a business disaster recovery plan – but human nature dictates it’s probably the first thing you’ll think of should a disaster hit.

Most people get frustrated trying to run their business when they have to refresh their cache and lose their bookmarks, what if you lost the entirety of your data? Customer records, product notes, new projects you’re working on, photos of your stock… literally everything and anything saved on a hard drive or network that you need to run your business.

At SOS Online Backup we like to suggest you follow the rule of 3-2-1 rule of backing up: three copies of what you need, stored in two different formats, with at least one copy of those being stored offsite.

Thinking laterally like this is important when planning for an emergency as it can make you see how even though a natural disaster might not hit your physical business, it could affect suppliers such as your technology service provider.

So, what decisions will you make today about your data protection?