How a Disaster Recovery Plan Can Help Your Small Business Survive

On the afternoon of May 22, 2011, a tornado ripped through Joplin, MO, leaving a mile-wide path of destruction behind. The office building of SNC Squared was completely demolished.

“After the tornado, I could do a 360 degree turn and there was nothing left standing,” said CEO John Motazedi in a recent article by

Within five hours of the tornado leveling his office, all 10 SNC Squared employees were accounted for and the IT services company was back up and running. After 72 hours of coming back online, the company had all of its clients in a position to conduct business. According to Motazedi, SNC Squared was saved by the company’s 10-page disaster recovery plan and its off-site data backups.

While many business owners do not implement disaster recovery plans because they think the chance of a disaster affecting their business is small, it’s important that every business plan for the unexpected. Unfortunately, more than 25 percent of small businesses that close after a disaster do not reopen, says Barbara Goldberg, owner of Back on Track Solutions.

Motazedi and Goldberg agree that it is the small-scale disasters, rather than regional natural disasters, that will most likely affect your business. But an electrical fire, power outage, flooded office or failed hard drive with no backup can force you to send employees home and hang up your closed sign.

“The one thing I’ve always said is that if you’re not prepared you’re going to be surprised. And I’d much rather be prepared than surprised,” said Motazedi.

For some best-practice tips to help small businesses get started in creating a disaster recovery plan, visit

We’re Ready for Hurricane Sandy — Are You?

Hurricane Sandy, a strong Category 2 hurricane, is currently headed for the East Coast, where inhabitants will soon experience rainfall up to 5 inches and winds blasting over 50 mph.

By Tuesday morning, the storm is predicted to breach the shores of New Jersey and, according to forecasters, broaden its reach to the coastal areas from Florida to Maine.

Our clients have put disaster recovery plans in place in preparation for natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy so that they can truly feel calm before the storm. We would like to remind our clients within these regions to have our declaration number and an up-to-date schedule of your contracted resources readily available and to review your list of authorized declaration representatives.

If your business is affected by Hurricane Sandy, or you expect it to be, have your authorized representative contact us as soon as possible. We’re ready to help your business survive.

What to Do When... Your Business is Burglarized

It’s a business owner’s worst nightmare: someone breaking into your business, leaving you and your team with no computers or office equipment. What should you do to prepare for such a scenario?

Create a Burglary Response Strategy

First, recognize that burglary response strategies require planning and coordination. Think about how you might react in a burglary situation and create a plan of action. Incorporate this strategy into your business continuity plan and make sure your coworkers and employees are apprised of the action steps they’ll need to take in the event that your business is burglarized (e.g., calling the police, taking inventory, etc.).

Have Important Equipment and Resources on Standby

To prepare for such a serious disruption, determine what equipment and resources are crucial to continuing your business’s operations, and then contact your disaster recovery services provider to make sure they have duplicate equipment and resources at your disposal.

If any of your equipment is stolen, you can use the equipment provided by your disaster recovery service while you are attempting to recover your stolen equipment or negotiating with your insurance company for funds to replace the equipment.

With proper planning and preparation, your business doesn't have to suffer extended downtime in the event that it is burglarized.

Part 3 — $22 Million Worth of Reasons Why It Pays to Comply with Regulatory Organizations

In Part 2 of this five-part series dealing with regulatory fines, Phoenix Cardiac Surgery received a $100,000 fine for an HIPAA violation after the practice posted its patients’ appointments online. While Phoenix Cardiac found itself in hot water as a result of releasing too much information, this next company made the mistake of withholding important data.

Merrill Lynch — $2.8 million

In June 2012 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) fined Merrill Lynch $2.8 million for overcharging 95,000 customer accounts more than $32 million dollars in fees and for failing to provide required trade notices due to programming errors. On top of these hefty offenses, during the investigation, FINRA also found that Merrill Lynch failed to provide business continuity plans.

Keep checking back for Part 4!

It’s Not Just the Leaves That Are Falling

Late fall and winter are the seasons for some of nature’s most severe weather. One of the dangers businesses face during storms is falling trees and limbs. For instance, if a branch crashes through a company’s roof or windows during a natural disaster, rain can pour in and ruin computers, printers, fax machines and other office equipment.

To determine if trees are at risk of falling during a storm or strong wind, watch for these signs:

  • Tree branches with V-shaped forks, which can split more easily than branches with U-shaped forks.
  • Indications of structural weakness, such as peeling bark or gaping wounds in the trunk, that can make the tree more likely to fall.
  • Trees that are in contact with power lines, putting your business at risk of power outages, fires and other damage should the tree fall.

If any of the trees around your business pose a danger to your business or employees, take the proper steps to remedy the situation:

  • Have branches or trees that are broken or in danger of falling removed.
  • Have trees pruned to control size and growth direction to protect your employees, customers and property. Be aware, however, that over-pruning can weaken trees.

Taking care of the trees around your business can prevent unnecessary and expensive downtime. Make sure that leaves are the only things falling around your business.

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