Eric Webster,chief revenue officer of Doyenz (, says:

Disasters come in all shapes, sizes and material. In major natural disasters, there can be loss of property and belongings, a sense of disconnect from the world and for some, a long recovery time. In the IT world, when a disaster strikes it can cause the same effects, interrupting a business’ ability to function, lose information, disconnect the network and can cause hours to days of downtime while trying to reboot and recover all of the information.

Unlike natural disasters, issues like hardware failures, faulty software upgrades and man-made errors are usually the culprit for IT disasters. No matter what the reason is for the disaster, every business, no matter the size should have a plan to avoid the most unimaginable to happen, losing revenue due to downtime or even shutting down.

By keeping in mind these 5 “disaster life preservers” SMBs can ease their minds knowing their business will be prepared for any failure or error thrown their way.

Data encryption is vital to the mobile workforce and is quickly evolving in every industry. The need for employees to work remotely in times of disaster should require everyone to use a secure connection when accessing the corporate network. Demanding a service provider to use the U.S. government standard AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)-256 encryption ensures that the business’ data is secure and stays uncompromised.

To many, having your businesses data backed-up seems like a perfect solution. For those wanting to ensure their business is disaster proof, the strategy of redundancy and geographic distribution is critical. Maintaining multiple copies of your files and distributing those copies in data centers that are at least 250 miles apart guarantees that if one data center goes offline then you will still be able to access the backup and even a secondary backup.

The next step is having all of your secure and backed-up data available to your employees. One method becoming more common is cloud computing. With a cloud-based disaster recovery service, the entire production environment can be in the cloud at any time. The ability to do this allows for employees to access all of the critical data needed including Excel, Quicken and Quickbooks from any location.

How do you know this works? Regular tests should be required to ensure that all equipment is running correctly. By poking holes and testing the plan at least once a quarter, you will be able to know that if something were to happen that everything is doing what it is supposed to.

Finally, the ability to ensure that your company can get back to business with as minimal of downtime as possible should be something that all business owners pay attention to. This is one step that many SMB owners often lack at adding to their plan. To minimize the downtime in the case of a disaster, you should always ask if your cloud-based disaster recovery service will allow you to create replicas of the production environment in a secure virtual lab. This allows for testing of software upgrades or tedious, error-prone migrations before integrating them into the work environment.

By implementing a waterproof disaster recovery plan like this into your business, you are not only implementing a plan, but you are also incorporating a disaster prevention mechanism into your business’ every day function.

About the author: Eric Webster has 15+ years of experience in the area of high availability and business continuity. He has served in management and executive roles at Oracle, Ricoh, NetBrowser and XOsoft which was acquired by CA for its IP-based replication solutions that help customers migrate data from physical to virtual machines in the event of an outage. He currently serves as chief revenue officer of Doyenz, a provider of cloud-based disaster recovery solutions.