The best offense is a good defense: Disaster preparedness essentials

[tweetmeme source=LANSystems only_single=false]Guest blog by Cindy Bates, Vice President of Microsoft’s US SMB Organization

Planning for “the worst” isn’t quite as fun as refining a business plan or coming up with new ways to market your products or services, but doing so just might make the difference between the success or failure of your company. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a disaster; and, of the remaining companies, at least 25 percent will close in two years.

Yet, small businesses that take time to develop a disaster preparedness plan that includes preventive measures as well as actions to be taken in the event of disaster greatly increase their odds of withstanding catastrophe. To get started with creating a disaster preparedness plan, I recommend small- business decision makers consider the following:

  • Insurance plans and policies – Understanding the intricacies of an insurance plan or policy requires a good bit of time, but it’s a step well worth taking now since it’s unlikely there will be much time to do so when disaster strikes. Also, you might notice gaps in your plan that can be addressed before it’s too late.
  • Money management – It’s always wise to keep your finances in order, but all the more so when it comes to disaster preparedness. Have all financial obligations, including bill payments, payroll details and account information, in a safe place, since these responsibilities will still require attention even in the midst of dealing with a disaster.
  • Cloud-based software for storage and more – Cloud-based software services designed for small businesses store data in secure, offsite locations and provide access to data from anywhere employees have an Internet connection. If your physical office is hit by a natural disaster, you’d still be able to access your information for business continuity. Furthermore, many small businesses have found cloud-based software to provide a host of other benefits, including access to enterprise-class capabilities at an affordable price.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home or small- business PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free download from Microsoft that is simple to install and easy to use and that is automatically updated to protect your PC with the latest technology. The greater the security of your PCs, the less the chance that a virtual disaster like cybercrime could impact your business.
  • Technology      updates – By maintaining updated technology, small businesses can      prevent many virtual disasters from happening in the first place. Install updates      whenever prompted to do so, or set company PCs to install updates      automatically.
  • Virtualization –      Virtualization consolidates physical server hardware onto virtual machines      that live in the cloud. This not only helps small businesses recover more      swiftly from disaster but also can lead to cost savings and more efficient      operations.

Small businesses that need to implement new technology systems to better prepare for disaster should engage the help of a qualified IT services provider and can find a list of Atlanta-based providers here.

Also, for more advice on preventing and preparing for disaster, check out this free eGuide on disaster preparedness. Finally, I encourage you to keep tabs on my blog, where I regularly address a range of business and technology issues relevant to small businesses.

Cynthia (“Cindy”) Bates is the Vice President of Microsoft’s US SMB Organization where she is responsible for the company’s end-to-end SMB sales and marketing efforts, including SMB strategy, business development, regional field sales and national distribution sales, channel marketing, and customer marketing. 

Cindy and her team align Microsoft’s resources across customer and partner engagement to drive success in serving the millions of Small and Medium Sized Businesses in the US, helping them start, grow and thrive by leveraging today’s powerful and affordable technologies. At the pillar of these technologies lies cloud computing, in which Microsoft has more than 15 years of experience and understands how to meet the demands of SMBs for simplicity and impact, with enterprise-grade capabilities, flexibility and affordability in a familiar environment. 

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2 Responses to “The best offense is a good defense: Disaster preparedness essentials”

  1. apbinfo Says:

    Hello,

    I thought you might be interested in this somewhat related story.

    Best regards,

    Antone P. Braga

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Disaster Aftermath Fairy Tale

    Once upon a time there were calamities taking place. No, not fires, earthquakes, hurricanes or some other catastrophes, but something much less noticeable: insurance adjusters, welcomed with open arms, who took advantage of disaster survivors when they were most vulnerable. If you’ve always thought you were prepared for disaster because you carried insurance, Antone P. Braga’s internet site may have you thinking again. “The millions of people who suffered from a disaster each year such as earthquake, hurricane, tornado, fire and flood usually carried insurance, but they generally had no idea what they should financially expect, even after asking around. Nearly everyone had been left out of the loop, mainly because most of us rather hoped for the best than prepared for the worst,” according to Braga.

    Braga said of the Website he founded, “I hope policyholders find some immediate help there, and realize the greater benefit of preparedness in the long term, before a crisis of having their authority conceded for lack of knowledge. Crucial information and rights are essential, not make-believe.”

    About the author: Braga’s insurance adjusting experience began in 1960, and he first published policyholder preparedness in 1977. His story can be found at http://www.DisasterPrepared.net

    # # #

    Providing awareness/preparedness for the insuring public, well grounded information continues to lend support

    • lansystems Says:

      Thank you for your comment. I can tell that you are passionate about helping policyholders be prepared for disasters. We wish you the best in your endeavors.

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