With today’s sophisticated threats, security is likely (and for good reason) top of mind for most MSPs. No matter where you turn, it seems like there is another reminder to implement user education, security best practices, and update legacy security solutions to safeguard your SMBs from today’s latent threats. While one successful breach can be detrimental to your customer’s business, it is important to remember that it isn’t the only event that can have a devastating impact.
With little to no warning, natural disasters — like hurricanes — can strike at any time. That’s why it is important to periodically review your customers’ business continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure that all their business-critical data is backed up. To help you make sure you are ticking off the right boxes, we asked a few of your MSP peers to share their advice on how to effectively plan for the next storm.
4 tips to help you effectively protect customers from upcoming storms
- Have a disaster recovery plan. The most important thing a business can do, is “have a disaster plan — The one thing you never think will happen always does, especially when you've prepared for everything else, but that. Run through it, do dry-runs, schedule the time to make sure it works and not hope that it does when it’s really needed,” explained Chris Cable of Techworks Consulting. “We've had a few clients hit by a hurricane — even been hit by them ourselves — in the past. We have learned that no plan is worth its weight until it's been tested… What sets you apart from other companies is not just having a disaster plan but being able to work outside of what 'might' happen, what 'should' happen, and be able to ensure business operations in their time of need. Being able to improvise, adapt, and overcome could be the difference if they are still in business after that incident. For us, this was early in our tenure and showed us that we weren't quite prepared for these types of things. It kick-started us to start looking for opportunities, look for gaps and missing pieces on and expect that anything that could go wrong, will. Be ahead of the curve and prosper!”
- Keep your disaster recovery plan up to date. Steven Lorenz, of Secure Network Administration shared his thoughts on this topic: “Make sure you have a DR plan that has been kept up to date, tested, and verified for your business and your clients. If you go into a large storm without a DR plan, create one based off of the lessons learned. After the storm, table top the variations of the DR plan regularly to make sure key staff members actually know what is expected of them and are capable of executing their portion on the plan.”
- Check off all the boxes. “We have a FEMA Checklist that we send to all clients in advance of Storm — not just IT.” Said Carlos Miyares III of Symbits. This helps to make sure that the disaster recovery plan we have in place checks off all the boxes and that customers’ data and other business assets are adequately protected from the upcoming storm.
- Triage what needs to happen in advance. For MSPs who know they will be impacted by upcoming storms, Perryn Olson of My IT suggests that MSPs help their customers “Triage what needs to happen [ahead of time] so you have time to take care of your family and so your team's can take care of their families as well.” In 2005, some of My IT’s clients were affected by hurricane Katrina. Perryn remembers this and shares, “My firm survived Katrina in 2005. A lot has changed since then, but you need to be prepared to lose contact for several days with anyone in the affected area because cell towers are down, and you may not be able to access physically for days, even weeks or months, in the case of Katrina.”
The last thing your customer wants to worry about in a true emergency is if their business-critical data is safe. By using these tips and periodically reviewing their disaster recovery plan with them, it can give them peace of mind to not worry about their data, and focus on more important things, like their family.
Photo: elRoce / Shutterstock.