When I wrote about SMBs not being ready for disasters in my previous post, I referred to a new study by Symantec that found the disaster preparedness state of most SMBs to be far from ideal, despite a general optimism on their part.
For contrite organizations determined to make a change, Symantec has a few recommendations for boosting disaster preparedness, which I list below. As usual, I added my own take on the advice as well as links to relevant resources.
Determine your needs
While it could well give peace of mind to try backing up everything in your SMB - including installation software, there is often no need to do so. In an earlier blog titled Backup Strategies for the SMB, I elaborated on why this isn't necessary. I also made some suggestions on how to create multiple tiers of storage to make more efficient use of your storage space. Indeed, it would be a grave mistake to treat all data as equally important.
Engage trusted advisors
I wrote previously about Forming a united strategy for business continuity and disaster recovery, where I outlined some steps to get the BC and DR planning process moving. Having said that, some SMBs will probably still find it a struggle without additional help. In such situations, tapping into the expertise of specialized solution providers or trusted consultants is another viable option.
Automate where you can
Put it this way: Manual backup processes are often skipped or forgotten about. If this is not true, then why would Microsoft create Windows Update, and the major antivirus makers schedule automated scans of your systems by default? Personally, not only do I favor automatic backups, I use a software that does it in real time, too. You can read more about it in my post, How I back up my computer.
While nobody ever disputes the need to back up or have a disaster recovery plan in place, SMBs tend to skip the crucial step of actually testing backups on a regular basis. In fact, I have my fair share of stories in which backup procedures failed due to undetected issues such as a storage medium running out of space or hardware problems. I elaborate more in my blog Testing backups should not be optional; in a nutshell, though, there is simply no way for you to know if you don't test.
Do you have any comments or recommendations to add for an SMB looking into enhancing their disaster preparedness? Feel free to post them below.