The devastation of hurricane Katrina is a sobering reminder that regional disasters do occur and that they have wide reaching effects. How do businesses protect themselves against such catastrophic events? Most businesses have what is called a Disaster Recovery Plan. A major component of such a plan is having offsite storage of important data and documents. Such data and documents are generally stored at some location in a different region. Chances are, most of the major businesses in New Orleans had such a plan in place. But sadly, chances are that many of the smaller businesses (especially home-based businesses) did not.
Larger business generally use services such as Iron Mountain to handle the details of their offsite storage needs which usually includes a detailed plan for recovering the data and documents. These services are often beyond the budget of home-based businesses but that doesn’t mean we can’t follow the model.
Last week, I wrote about the importance of backing up business data. Taking this one step further – send the data offsite on a regular schedule. Bank Safe Deposit boxes are a very affordable option and they are usually located in vaults built to withstand a variety of disasters. Ideally, a Safe Deposit box in another location at least 50 miles from yours will give you maximum protection. Include in your offsite package copies of your business documents and any other document that would be difficult to replace if your premises (your home) were destroyed.
Many of us live with the risk of widespread natural (and human-made) disasters occurring. For example, here in Seattle we live in the shadows of two active volcanoes and the area is prone to earthquakes. Taking extra precautions such as sending your data to an offsite location on a regular basis can help the home-based business owner breath easier.
By the way, today is ‘Blog For Relief’ day. I am making a contribution to the American Red Cross for Katrina victim relief. How about you? Won’t you please help?