Within the small business community, more complex IT systems, increasing cyber security threats and the growing value of data all point to the importance of having robust data backup procedures.
Most small businesses have cottoned on to this. If you do already back up your business data on a regular basis, that is a good start. But is it enough? Would you know what to do next, if disaster actually struck?
Planning for some possible scenarios is very important. This requires thinking about what might actually happen (for example: fire, flood, ransonware attack); determining the business's response in each scenario; and setting out who will do what and when, to get the business up and running again. Making these decisions after the crisis has already unfolded can seriously impact productivity.
From an IT perspective, small businesses are increasingly reliant on software, and may use many different systems; some daily, some less frequently; some business-critical, some less so. A great example would be something like an ePOS (electronic point of sale) till system, which might be business-critical to a retailer. Having a plan to get the ePOS system up and running, perhaps on alternative hardware, perhaps even as a standalone till may be critical to keeping the business trading.
Disaster recovery planning is not a static, one-time exercise. Consider where you keep your plan, how you communicate it to employees (who may be responsible for putting the plan into action when the unthinkable happens), how often you review and update it; and how you test it to ensure it actually works as intended. If your plan is stored on your business's IT systems, it may be inaccessible at the very time it is required so it is important that all key parties to the plan have access to it at alternative locations!
Review your plan from time to time, and in response to significant changes in the business; for example, a major change in hardware/ software, operations, or staff changes.