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Cbeyond Offers Top Five Disaster Prevention Tips for SMBs

Data protection strategies to enhance business continuity

In the wake of superstorm Sandy, and with the potential for disruptive winter storms in the coming months, Cbeyond Inc. on Tuesday released its top five disaster prevention strategies IT teams can implement now to ensure business continuity.

With the threat of natural disasters such as storms and floods as well as man-made hazards such as fires, power outages and theft constantly looming, businesses need to prepare for incidents that could potentially inhibit their ability to operate. In the worst case scenarios, these events can force businesses to close permanently. The end of the year is the ideal time for small and mid-sized businesses to evaluate and refine their current disaster recovery plans or, if such plans do not already exist, build a first-time strategy.

To maintain continuous communications and secure work capacity in the event of natural and man-made threats, Cbeyond recommends the following five best practices:

  1. Plan now: Consider what technological and logistical steps are needed to ensure your mission-critical data and applications will be protected and establish a plan to communicate with your team and important stakeholders. Testing and reviewing your plans quarterly will identify gaps to fix.
  2. Back-up your data off-site: Ensure your business has a secure backup solution in place to allow data to be stored off-site. In the event of a disaster affecting the home office, critical business information can still be recovered.
  3. Consider deploying applications in the cloud: Many businesses still maintain their most important infrastructure (such as servers for business-critical applications) at their own premises. In many cases, it is possible to run applications in the "cloud" instead. Cloud facilities, typically located in hardened infrastructure and remote locations, are more disaster-resistant than typical office locations.
  4. Evaluate redundant network connectivity options: In the event of a disaster, network connectivity from the office may become unavailable. Today, it is possible to have a wireless back-up system to increase the chances of maintaining connectivity.
  5. Reroute communications as necessary: While the advancements in smart phone and tablet technology have made workers more "disaster-ready," businesses should still verify that all employees have access to e-mail via mobile and web sources, and that desk phones can be forwarded to personal cell or home numbers to ensure contact with customers and partners.

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