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BOSTON, Sept. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hurricanes. Tornados. Equipment failure. Theft. They're the stuff of nightmares for small business owners who rely on access to their data to keep their businesses thriving. September is National Preparedness Month, and Carbonite, Inc. (NASDAQ: CARB), a leading provider of cloud solutions that keep small businesses and home offices running smoothly, urges small businesses to take the time to develop a disaster preparedness plan for their businesses.
"When you think about all the things that can compromise your data - from earthquakes and blizzards to fires and human error - it's surprising that only 13 percent of small businesses think a data disaster could happen to them*," said Pete Lamson, senior vice president of Cloud Backup, Carbonite. "Small business owners should ask themselves what they would do if their company's emails, billing records, customer files, inventory reports and tax information suddenly disappeared. If they're unsure, it's time to create a data disaster preparedness plan."
Creating a data disaster plan may seem intimidating, but here are a few simple tips to help small business owners get started:
- Develop a written plan: Think of your disaster plan as a business plan you can turn to when the worst happens. Your written plan should contain emergency contact information for employees and key external partners, outline the processes that should take place if something happens to your office, and tell everyone how they'll be contacted. Print out copies for employees to keep offsite, because the plan won't do any good sitting on a desk if no one can get to the office!
- Designate an alternative site of operation (or two!): Once you've figured out who you will contact in an emergency, it's time to figure out where you can all work if something happens to your primary location. This could be a coffee shop an hour away, an external partner's office, or it may make sense for everyone to stay home and work remotely from their living rooms. Let your employees know how you'll get a hold of them so no one ends up heading into work in an unsafe situation. Email might not be the best option if your server is damaged too, so think about communicating by phone tree or text message.
- Review your data protection plan: A Carbonite study found that 81 percent of small businesses say data is their most valuable asset - so make sure your files are included in your disaster plan!* Choosing an automatic backup solution that is constantly backing up your most recent files and showing your employees how to access and recover their data will help decrease downtime and losses. In the case of Doug Duncan, a human resources consultant in New Jersey, backing up with Carbonite allowed him to stay in business when Superstorm Sandy ravaged his town in 2012. In spite of not having power for weeks, Doug was able to use Carbonite's Anytime, Anywhere Access to retrieve all of his files from another computer, and even completed payroll on time!
- Do a dry run: All-company meetings can be a drag, but practice makes perfect (and a pizza delivery can help cut down on the eye rolls!). Walk employees through a simulation so everyone has the right contact information, knows where to show up if they can't get to the office, and can access their important files when they're away from the office.
No one wants to think about their office burning down or a computer glitch taking out their entire system, but preparing - just in case - is the first step to recovering quickly after a data disaster. Still living in denial? Keep these sobering statistics in mind: 65 percent of small business owners believe they would lose less than $500 if they couldn't function for a day*, but 40 percent of small businesses impacted by disaster never reopen.**
For more information about Carbonite, or to start a free trial of Carbonite cloud backup this National Preparedness Month, visit www.carbonite.com.
* Carbonite Small Business Study. Q3 2011.
Carbonite (NASDAQ: CARB) keeps small businesses and home offices running smoothly. Carbonite offers a comprehensive suite of affordable services for data protection, recovery and anywhere, anytime access. More than 1.5 million customers, including 50,000 small businesses, trust Carbonite's secure, easy-to-use cloud backup solutions and award-winning U.S.-based customer support. For more information, please visit Carbonite.com, connect with us on Twitter @carbonite and @carbonitebiz, or visit our Facebook page.
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