Have your head in the cloud
Enterprise Strategy Group on Thursday released a new report on replication technologies that are available for business continuity and disaster recovery.
Particularly advantageous for SMBs are cloud services, which now offer enterprise-class disaster recovery capabilities at a cost that's affordable. But, don't hog the bandwidth. The more data you want to recover, the more it'll cost you. So store only what you need to get the business running again, and not up to full speed.
When choosing a cloud service provider, make sure you consider where they're located. If they're on your power grid, don't use them.
"A business may think they're pretty well covered because they're replicating data to an offsite data center miles away, but it may be on same power grid as their office building," Berman said.
One other point to remember is that while a disaster may strike entire regions or coastlines, companies - no matter how large - must learn to react locally.
For example, find out how your municipal Office of Emergency Management, local fire department and electrical utility is planning to react if outages occur.
Companies should have cots, flashlights, food, and water on hand for employees who may need to stay in the building during the storm to ensure they can restore systems after it passes.
Chapa said businesses must identify alternative forms of communications for employees, such as text messaging over cellular phones.
Examine your data: What's critical?
"Think of it from an end-user perspective. What are most the most critical data assets. Put them together as part of a solid plan for what it takes to recover," Chapa said.
If your company has a large sales organization, and you predominantly drive business through a call center, then you should have a backup call center in place, along with a list of clients both on paper and in a database.
For SMBs, the question to ask is: What generates revenue? Make sure those systems can be up and functioning in a different location before anything else. "If people are placing orders and you're doing e-commerce, that's your focus. You don't care about HR or payroll," Peldzus said.
Also, consider call trees -- or methods of who and how to notify key employees of what's needed after a disaster.
"I had a client in Chicago several years ago who had a call tree, but it was in their facility. During the disaster, they couldn't get into that facility, so they weren't able to get the right people lined up to recover systems," Chapa said.
Last but not least, let the disaster recovery team you've put together do its job. Experts say executives often try to usurp a recovery team's authority after a disaster, which can lead to the failure to recover in a timely manner.
"They go off plan so they don't execute as well as they should," Chapa said. "That's where a lot of companies get wrapped around the axle."