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5 Common Disasters that Strike Small Businesses

The challenges that small businesses deal with never end — and for the small number of employees who have to take on these tasks, it can quickly get overwhelming. No wonder, then, that many small businesses have all but ignored the important task of developing a disaster recovery plan, which involves understanding the risks of the disasters that small businesses face, figuring out how best to prevent against the deleterious effects of these disasters, and implementing a business continuity solution to minimize downtime.

Importantly, the disasters that cause small 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 small businesses face, so that business owners have a sense of perspective when considering the importance of a disaster recovery strategy.

  1. Hardware failure

One of the most disruptive disasters that can strike a small business at any time is hardware failure. Whether it is a clicking hard drive in an email 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, yet completely unpredictable. In fact, 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 Failed hardware leads to downtime and lost productivity, both of which can cost small businesses dearly.

  1. Software corruption

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: a study by CERN, the world’s largest particle physics lab, revealed software corruption in 1 out of every 1,500 files.2 Software corruption could severely disrupt small businesses that do not have a backup and disaster recovery solution in place.

  1. Cyber-attacks

Viruses, worms, Trojans — any and all forms of malware can wreak serious havoc on small businesses. 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 The consequences stemming from cyber-attacks – such as data theft, data corruption, and permanent data deletion — can seriously affect businesses and their customers. Though deploying a firewall and security software is an important first step, having a fallback continuity strategy in place in case cyber-attacks get through to a company’s systems is crucial.

  1. Power outages

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; according to a May 2013 survey by research firm Aberdeen Group, the average cost of downtime for small companies was a whopping $8,581 per hour.5 Electrical issues are real — and they are costly.

  1. Natural or site-wide disasters

Natural disasters, such as include tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes, can cripple small 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.

Conclusion

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 by visiting www.lammtech.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.

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10 Ways Your Phone System Improves Your Customers’ Experience

Business competition in today’s economy is fierce. Your customers expect the highest level of customer care, and you and your staff need to be reachable, professional and customer focused at all times – no matter where you’re located.

If that’s your business model, is your phone system serving you like you serve your customers?

Use this checklist to evaluate if your phone system gives your customers the experience they now expect from their chosen providers.  Any items you can’t check off may signal that you could be getting more out of your phone system.

Reachability and professionalism

  • Customers can access your sales staff anytime and anywhere with mobile capability that directs incoming office calls to be received on your sales staff’s mobile phones
  • Outbound calls look professional, coming from the main company number, even when your employees are using their smartphones
  • Customer focus is enhanced by connecting your CRM tools with Outlook to give you conversation history with your client
  • Employee productivity is increased by merging call records with customer records to improve sales trending projections and staffing optimization

Employee productivity

  • Employees and partners can communicate in ways that are easy and intuitive through audio and web conferencing, regardless of where they’re working
  • Employees use presence features to be reachable by establishing if they are in the office, out of office, or in a meeting by using presence features
  • Teamwork is made easy with voice and video calling,  including screen sharing

Cost effectiveness

  • Ongoing administration, such as adding a new employee is easy, not labor intensive
  • Local support is available to train your staff to use features that improve customer experience
  • You have the option of outsourcing your phone system management to an experienced local company

How did you do? Depending on your responses, here are some things to think about.

  • If you scored an 8-10, you’re using your phone system to improve your customers’ experience as they work with you.
  • If you scored a 5-7, there may be some phone system features you can use to improve your company’s competitive positioning and your customers’ experience.
  • If you scored less than 5, it’s time to look at phone system capabilities you can bring to your company to help your staff be more reachable, professional and customer-focused.   

You want your employees to function effectively while improving company productivity and increasing customer satisfaction. Your phone system should help you do all that – and boost your competitive advantage.

If you’d like to discuss your phone system’s capabilities and see what’s possible for your business, give us a call at 660-827-9944.

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Beyond Business Continuity

Beyond Business Continuity: How Backup and Disaster Recovery Benefits Your Business

Backup and disaster recovery solutions are invaluable solutions for businesses who need to be able to respond to disruptions within minutes or hours of an outage or disaster taking place. They work by taking a carbon-copy backup of servers and storing them in two locations — on-site and in-the-cloud. Backup and disaster recovery enables a multitude of recovery options, so businesses are able to get back up and running as soon as possible.

But beyond giving business owners a solution to outages and disasters, backup and disaster recovery services provide many more benefits to organizations. This blog post explains how a backup and disaster recovery solution can help organizations avoid the high costs of downtime, comply with important regulations, and boost the bottom line.

Backup and disaster recovery saves businesses from downtime.

Many business owners don’t realize how costly downtime is for their organizations, likely because it is essentially an opportunity cost rather than something businesses pay for directly. That said, downtime is extremely expensive. The cost of implementing a business continuity solution is far less than the annual cost of downtime for the average SMB, which CA Technologies recently estimated to be $55,000. Here is how backup and disaster recovery helps save businesses from the costs of downtime:

Maintain employee productivity and the ability to generate revenue.

Simply put, when organizations cannot conduct business as usual, they lose money. Backup and disaster recovery lets businesses remain productive by ensuring they can serve their customers and generate revenue, even after a major disruption or disaster.

Preserve your reputation:

Businesses that experience severe outages and downtime may make customers angry and experience a loss in reputation. For example, a dentist’s office that cannot operate as normal due to downtime could end up with upset patients. A backup and disaster recovery solution helps keep downtime to a minimum, which benefits businesses by ensuring customers remain happy.

Meet obligations with clients:

Downtime could lead to the inability for businesses to meet certain contractual agreements or deadlines. For instance, if a CPA firm experiences downtime around tax time and cannot get up and running within a short period of time, a client could sue the firm for failing to render services by the tax submission deadline. Backup and disaster recovery lets businesses meet critical deadlines, even if disaster strikes.

Prevent losing business to competitors:

The costs of acquiring new customers are astronomically high compared to the cost of merely retaining existing customers, so it is important that organizations do everything they can to reduce customer churn by eliminating the damaging effects of prolonged downtime. Backup and disaster recovery ensures businesses do not lose business to a competitor if downtime occurs.

Ensure compliance with industry regulations:

Three important laws governing the protection of digital data — HIPAA, SOX, and GLBA — require businesses to closely safeguard and retain sensitive digital information, a requirement that backup and disaster recovery is designed for. Backup and disaster recovery ensures organizations do not have to worry about compliance violations and legal issues related to data preservation, so businesses can focus on generating revenue and making clients happy.

Conclusion

Organizations that need to recover their data quickly need a backup and disaster recovery solution. Yet the benefits of backup and disaster recovery extend far beyond rapid data recovery. Companies that adopt this kind of solution are able to withstand disasters and eliminate the negative effects of downtime.

Our business continuity service is a simple and comprehensive solution to protect your business and data. Ensuring uptime is just one aspect of a business continuity solution; we are confident that our solution will enhance your business’s financial health and overall well-being. Learn more about our business continuity solution at www.lammtech.com.

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