Tech Survival Kit
What You Need to Put In Place to Keep Your Business Running As Usual During a Disaster
For many businesses, technology is a lifeline. Business owners rely on technology for communications with customers and employees, keeping track of finances, and implementing essential processes. Devastating events like fires, floods, and natural disasters can shut down a company’s technology and bring the business to a screeching halt.
Without access to key documents, customer and vendor contact information, and accounts payable and receivable within days of a disaster, a business may not be able to recover. Creating a technology survival kit can go a long way toward ensuring the survival of your entire business.
Disaster Recovery versus Business Continuity
According to Neil Holme of the Sandy Hook, CT–based Impact Business Technology, a disaster—big or small—doesn’t need to have a negative effect on your business. Things like power outages, equipment failure, and massive data loss should not be a reason to have to “recover” from a disaster. You should be able to continue business as normal.
Double Up on Data Storage
“Anyone who keeps records on a computer should be concerned with disaster recovery,” says Holme. “Records can be emails, customer contacts, accounting records, and so on. Computer data can actually be your work product if you are an attorney, accountant, photographer, or marketing consultant. If you lose that data, you lose your business. Keeping that data in just one place is inviting trouble. Even if your data is backed up onto an external disk, keeping that disk in the same location as your PC doesn’t provide enough safety.”
Document storage is a key component to any tech survival kit. Holme suggests storing all your business records on your Internet service providers backup platform or on a local device.
If your business utilizes a server for important information, there are technology service companies that can provide image-based data backup. Image-based backup replicates those images to a cloud data center that has the ability to restore those backups within minutes.
Once you have planned to keep your data and documents safe from disaster, you then have to plan for how you will access and utilize this information to keep your business going.
“I think most of that kit is in everyday use,” says Holme. “Cell phones and tablets are excellent devices to keep you connected, and they normally don’t leave your side. Your car likely has chargers for both of these devices and will allow you to power up if electricity is unavailable. For prolonged outages, a solar charger is an excellent way to supplement your battery power.”
Other devices to consider putting in your tech survival kit include:
- A laptop or tablet
- A USB battery pack
- Chargers for all your devices, stored in an easily accessible location.
- Mini surge protector with a USB charger
- Flash drives or an external hard drive
- Wired keyboard, mouse, and batteries for all Bluetooth devices
The Power Is in the Planning
The most important item in your tool kit is your continuity plan. “It really comes down to thinking your processes through, due diligence, documenting, and being prepared,” says Andy Strouse, COO and partner of Harrisburg, PA–based IntermixIT. “The best way to determine what you would need is to do a whole planning scenario and put yourself in that situation of a natural disaster and that disaster mentality to really answer the question, ‘What do I need to get back on track?’ Ask that question of every function in your business. Documenting your plan is essential, because when disaster does strike and everyone’s in a panic, you can pull out the documentation and essentially go down a list of things that you need to do.”
Just make sure you save that documentation in more than one place.
Topics: SMALL BUSINESS
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