Tropical storm reinforces need for disaster recovery plans

    The fear induced by Tropical Storm Isaac may serve as a reminder to small business owners of the importance of disaster recovery plans.

    Tropical Storm Isaac is forecasted to become a Category 1 hurricane and will hit New Orleans on Tuesday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The governors of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are not taking this storm lightly. They have declared states of emergency and issued a hurricane warning.

    "I sense a high level of anxiety," said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "The timing, as fate would have it, on the anniversary of Katrina has everybody in a state of alertness, but that is a good thing."

    As Gulf residents stock up on supplies and secure their homes, businesses should take the same precautions and plan for the worst before the storm hits.

    Draft procedures for recovery plans

    In times of emergency, unified communications is vital to update company employees on disaster plans and necessary steps. According to a survey conducted by Symantec, however, 45 percent of small-to-mid-sized businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan. Experts agree that a plan can help with business continuity and reduce profit losses.

    Companies should draft procedures for recovering lost data. According to the Small Business Disaster Preparedness Study conducted by Sage, 88 percent of respondents have a plan in place to back up their information, but 72 percent of those respondents perform back up on-site. If a company takes its time solving server problems that might have been affected by a disaster on-site, it could result in a loss of business. A cloud service is recommended by experts as a place to store critical information for backup.

    PCWorld suggests that companies educate IT employees on the best way to access data through a company desktop or mobile device in case resources are destroyed. According to Symnatec, tests and re-evaluations should be conducted every quarter and businesses should consider regular updates to their procedures. A contact center can also help to communicate with consumers. Since it can be hosted outside of the organization, a contact center will likely not be affected by a hurricane.

    The key to recovering data quickly is to anticipate the worst. As Tropical Storm Isaac approaches, businesses who haven't invested in a plan should consider doing so as soon as possible.

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