The TV images just keep on coming: Individuals, families and businesses making herculean efforts to clean up and rebuild. Areas ravaged by Superstorm Sandy slowly coming back to life. But also many, one full year later, still struggling.
October 25 marks 12 long months since Superstorm Sandy blew through the Northeast. You’d think at the very least, weather-related disaster planning would have been kicked into high gear, with businesses, especially, better prepared for the next big one. But surprisingly, a new survey from cloud solutions provider Carbonitesays that small businesses are still at risk for downtime and data loss following natural disasters. In fact, according to the survey, although more than 40 percent of small businesses in the tri-state area hit by Sandy think they’ll be hit again by natural disaster in the next year, only 22 percent feel prepared.
Downtime and data loss can devastate small businesses. Nearly a third said they’d never be able to recover or recreate important business data. Think about business bank accounts. Carbonite said small businesses would lose nearly $3,000 a day if they were unable to operate. That’s nearly $50,000 in a little over two weeks! Despite the scary stats, more than two-thirds of small businesses have not created a disaster plan, laboring under the (often false) assumptions that insurance will cover more than it actually does. Traditional insurance, by the way, does not cover data loss. The good news: Nearly three-quarters back up their data electronically. The bad news: Sixty-three percent do it on site, with external hard drives or servers that a natural disaster would wipe out. Only 39 percent use the cloud to back up data.
So one year later, business owners have taken some lessons from Sandy, but maybe not nearly enough. Forbes.com contributor Sunday Steinkirchner owns B&B Rare Books in lower Manhattan and has first-hand experience with how Sandy and its aftermath affected small business owners. Here are her lessons from that experience:
There have been other disasters besides Superstorm Sandy across the U.S., which have also hit small businesses hard in all kinds of ways. To help business owners plan and execute those plans, FedEx and the Red Cross put together tips on disaster preparedness which include everything from having necessary safety equipment to having a written emergency plan with detailed steps for continuity—getting your business up and running again. The Red Cross also offers a free Ready RatingTM program to help all kinds of organizations, businesses included, prepare for disasters and emergencies with tools, resources and information. Click here to join and for more information.
Disaster planning experts say small businesses should be looking at three broad questions:
Although data security and recovery needs to be central, there’s so much more: an evacuation plan, backup power and physical security to name a few. You might consider a collective or neighborhood plan. And don’t forget employees who will need a clear understanding of things like time off/getting paid during recovery.
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