Hurricane Joaquin turns out to sea: Do SMBs need to prepare anyway?

Posted by Anne Campbell on Oct 2, 2015 12:23:01 PM

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Hurricane JoaquinInitial forecasts predicted that Hurricane Joaquin, a Category 4 storm currently battering the Bahamas, would strike the U.S. and become the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States in 15 months. Thankfully, the projected path of the storm has changed, with landfall now looking unlikely, however heavy rainfall, strong winds, and serious flooding are still expected up and down the East Coast throughout the weekend. And that means SMBs are still at risk.  

The worst of the flooding is expected to happen in North and South Carolina, where some areas could get as much as 1 to 2 feet of rain, and a state of emergency has been issues in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and North Carolina. MSPs in these states in particular need to make sure their customers are prepared. After all, FEMA reports that 25 percent of businesses do not re-open after a natural disaster —and your customers need your help to avoid being in that 25 percent.

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How you can help

If you live on the East Coast, you should take the following steps to make sure your customers’ data is protected from flooding and storm damage.

  • Verify how recently backups were performed for each customer, and review those backups to make sure there aren’t any errors that need to be addressed.
  • Perform incremental backups as needed to make sure backup sets are as current as possible in case you need to recover lost data after the storm.
  • If possible, move up any backups scheduled to happen during the storm, just to be on the safe side.
  • Contact your customers and ask if they have any other concerns. This is particularly important for any customers that don’t have off-site backup.

Start planning now

Even if you don’t live on the East Coast and won’t be directly affected by Hurricane Joaquin, this is still a good opportunity to talk to your SMB customers about business continuity and disaster recovery and make sure they have a BCDR plan in place. Check out this recent Ask Intronis post for a step-by-step guide to creating a disaster recovery plan for a customer.

Here are a few questions you should ask to get the conversation started:

  1. How much downtime can they afford? The average cost of downtime for a business is roughly $163,674 per hour, according to a study by Aberdeen. This sobering number should get customers’ attention and help get them thinking about what they can do proactively to minimize downtime and make recovery easier if disaster does strike.
  2. Are they backing up everything they need to recover? Now, before anything goes wrong, is a good time to help customers evaluate what they’re backing up and determine if they’re protecting everything that they would need to recover after a disaster.
  3. Do they have a disaster recovery plan? If a customer doesn’t have a disaster recovery plan in place, encourage them to create one with your help. If a customer already has a DR plan, find out if how familiar they are with it. Even the best plan won’t do an SMB any good if the necessary people aren’t familiar enough with it to know how to execute it.
  4. Have they tested that plan recently? Testing disaster recovery plans regularly is also critical to the survival of a business. You don’t want to find out after the fact that part of the plan doesn’t work or that something is missing. Help customers hold a dry run to make sure everyone is prepared and to identify any part of the DR plan that need to be improved or updated.

Natural disasters like floods and hurricanes are a good reminder of why data loss is such a serious threat and why it’s important for SMBs to be prepared.

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Used under CC 2.0 License

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Topics: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

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