Oct 06, 2014

Small Business Preparedness: Tips on How to Protect Your Small Business from Disaster

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Editors Note: At AWANE, we are continually working to protect our members from every threat that could affect the success of their small businesses. For this reason, we have asked our friends at Jenaly Technology Group to compile a list of the resources, recommendations, and tools best suited to keep any small business’s digital assets secure—even in a time of total catastrophe. Today, we share Jenaly’s most vital information about IT security, backup, and disaster recovery for small businesses, as provided by MJ Shoer. Mr. Shoer is the president and virtual chief technology officer of Jenaly Technology Group, your technology concierge based in Portsmouth, NH.

You probably already know how important IT security, backup, and disaster recovery are. And as such, hopefully you have solid plans in place to address these concerns well in advance. If you do, then the following information will be a good refresher. However, if you do not, please take the time to review the various resources referenced and used here—they will help you devise a strategy that protects your small business.

Disaster Preparedness & Your Small Business

Every year, the Federal government sponsors various disaster preparedness initiatives designed to help call attention to the types of events that may put your business at risk, and they also work to provide you with the resources to address these risks.

In this article, the theme is “Be Disaster Aware” and “Take Action To Prepare.” In this campaign, businesses and individuals are being asked to register for America’s PrepareAthon!. When you register, you will be provided access to a wealth of resources created to help you create or update your plan. This particular event is being promoted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA).  You can learn more and register here.

At this site, you will see several hazards that are a focus for this event, with earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornado’s, wildfires, and winter storms as focal points. With the exception of wildfires, each of these hazards represents a serious threat to businesses in our northeast region, especially to our IT infrastructures. While the risk may be relatively small, you should agree that the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about the continuity of your business operations if one of these hazards ever does threaten you or your business—much like was the case during the unexpected tragedies of Hurricane Sandy.

Both FEMA and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have excellent resource sites to help small businesses plan, prepare, and protect themselves. The resources at each site may be redundant in some cases, but each site offers additional materials like planning recommendations, webinars, and more. It is strongly encouraged that you visit both. Here is the FEMA site and here is the SBA site.

On these sites, you will find everything from a complete business continuity template to table top exercises to risk analysis templates. The FEMA site even has a guided how-to series about how to be sure your physical office is able to withstand some of these hazards. Of course, our favorites are the tools that help you assess and prioritize your risks and how you can leverage technology to help minimize these risks, or in the event of a disaster, recover from them and keep your small business operational.

Another excellent resource mentioned before is the Ready.gov web site. This is a great central clearinghouse for preparedness, as well as links to the previously mentioned resources and more. The site was first launched in 2003, and in 2004, the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA extended this resource to the business community.

Since technology is a critical part of most businesses, a primary concern is educating you about how to properly protect your businesses digital assets. In the event of an emergency that may temporarily damage or somehow make your office inaccessible, our concern is that you are able to maintain reliable communication with your staff, business partners, and customers, as well as transact business during any period where you are not operating normally. This may involve on-site disaster recovery elements, hybrid-Cloud solutions, or off-site continuity services. Our hope is that a campaign like one focused on National Preparedness will cause you to take the time to assess your current situation and use the free resources and tools available to help you craft a plan—though we sincerely hope you will never need to implement it.


For more on how to protect your small business from disaster, continue to visit the AWANE blog for safety tips, contact us, or visit Mr. Shoer’s blog about business IT issues, or reach our directly to him at mshoer@jenaly.com.