The challenges that Pittsburgh’s small and mid-size businesses deal with never end — and for the employees who have to take on these tasks, it can quickly get overwhelming. No wonder, then, that many businesses have all but ignored the important task of developing a disaster recovery plan for their information technology. This plan involves understanding the risks of the disasters that businesses face, figuring out how best to prevent against the deleterious effects of these disasters, and then implementing a business continuity solution to minimize downtime.
The disasters that cause organizations the most damage are the ones that many business owners may not consider to be all that common, such as hardware failure and power outages. This blog post aims to illuminate five common disasters that businesses face, so that business owners have a sense of perspective when considering the importance of a disaster recovery strategy.
- Hardware Failure
- Software corruption
- Power outages
- Natural or site-wide disasters
One of the most disruptive IT disasters that can strike a small or mid-size business at any time is hardware failure. Whether it is a clicking hard drive in an application server or a fried motherboard inside a central file server, any kind of hardware failure can result in the inability to access critical data. Possibly the worst aspect of hardware failure is that it is inevitable. That is why hardware monitoring is a key feature of our WolfTrack network monitoring system. We monitor your hardware so that we can make repairs at the first sign of malfunction—before the hardware fails. This prevents downtime and lost productivity.
A recent survey of nearly 400 partners by data protection firm StorageCraft revealed that 99% of them had experienced a hardware failure, with 80.9% of those failures attributable to hard drive malfunctions.1
Permanent corruption of server data, such as corruption of the server’s operating system or damage to line-of-business applications that run on the server, could lead to significant downtime. Even the most sophisticated storage apparatuses are not immune to software corruption. Software corruption could severely disrupt businesses that do not have a backup and disaster recovery solution in place.
A study by CERN, the world’s largest particle physics lab, revealed software corruption in 1 out of every 1,500 files.2
Viruses, worms, Trojans — any and all forms of malware can wreak serious havoc on small businesses. The consequences stemming from cyber-attacks – such as data theft, data corruption, and permanent data deletion — can seriously affect businesses and their customers. Deploying a firewall and security software is an important first step, but additional security products are also necessary. In addition, having a fallback continuity strategy in place in case cyber-attacks get through to a company’s systems is crucial. At Wolf Consulting, our IT security services go hand-in-hand with a business continuity strategy we work to implement alongside our clients.
According to the National Small Business Association’s Year-End 2014 report, 1 out of every 2 small businesses reported being the victim of a cyber-attack, with the average cost of each cyber-attack exceeding $20,000.3
Blackouts, power shortages, and other power-related issues are not as uncommon as many businesses think. In fact, a 2014 survey by power management firm Eaton Electrical revealed that 37% of IT professionals had dealt with “unplanned downtime due to power-related issues in the last 24 months,” with 32% of outages lasting longer than four hours.4 Even more concerning are the high costs of downtime. Electrical issues are real — and they are costly. Your IT service provider should have a comprehensive strategy in-place to protect your business from power-related issues.
According to a May 2013 survey by research firm Aberdeen Group, the average cost of downtime for small companies was $8,581 per hour.4
Natural disasters, such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes, can cripple small and mid-size businesses. Even more threatening are fires, floods, and other common catastrophes that can occur regardless of a particular geographic location’s propensity toward certain natural disasters. Since these disasters and catastrophes almost always lead to site-wide damage, small businesses with only one or two locations are especially vulnerable.
No amount of money spent can prevent site-wide and natural disasters from occurring; the only recourse for businesses affected by these calamities is to get back up and running as soon as possible after they happen.5
The aforementioned disasters that could befall a small business are relatively consistent across different organizations and industries. Understanding these disasters is just the first step; the next, and more important, task is for every small business to figure out how best to guard itself against these threats.
Adopting business continuity services is essential for every small business looking to protect their data and quickly recover from disasters. Business continuity services ensure that all of a business’s digital data is securely backed up off-site and recoverable whenever necessary. Learn more about our business continuity services and complete managed services offering by visiting WolfConsulting.com.
1 "Which Hardware Fails the Most and Why." Web log post. StorageCraft Recovery Zone. StorageCraft, 2015. Web. 30 June 2015.
2 Panzer-Steindel, Bernd. Data Integrity. Tech. CERN, 8 Apr. 2007. Web. 20 June 2015.
3 2014 Year-End Economic Report. Rep. National Small Business Association, Feb. 2015. Web. 15 June 2015.
4 How 'Software-Defined' Is Redefining the Modern Data Center. White Paper. Eaton Corporation, Oct. 2014. Web. 19 June 2015.
5 Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Don't Go It Alone. Analyst Insight. Aberdeen Group, June 2013. Web. 10 June 2015.