IT Disaster Recovery for SMEs – What Is It and Can You Afford It?

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IT Disaster Recovery for SMEs — What Is It and Can You Afford It?

Disasters can come in many forms for a business, whether it be fire, theft, or perhaps more likely, having your IT systems corrupted or hacked. Even if you only have a modest SME in Singapore, you are most likely heavily reliant on your IT infrastructure — so a disaster that affects your IT systems can be devastating to your business’s ability to operate. Just imagine for a moment if you completely lost any one of the following in the event of a disaster:
  • Emails
  • Financial records
  • Tax information
  • Customer databases
  • Sensitive corporate information
It’s little surprise then that it’s been shown that 90% of companies will eventually fail after a disaster, if they do not have a disaster recovery plan. The good news, is that with a reliable disaster recovery plan, you won’t have to worry about that bleak statistic at all. While we can never predict when or even if a disaster will happen, we do know that your business can be protected from any IT related fallout with a Disaster Recovery Plan. And thankfully these days, it’s now such a common practice that you might be surprised how accessible a tailored Disaster Recovery Plan can be for your business. We take a look at what a Disaster Recovery Plan can do to protect your small to medium business in Singapore, and whether you can afford it.

Disaster Recovery Plan vs. Business Continuity Plan — What’s the Difference?

This is something that gets mixed up a lot, so let’s clear this up before we get into the details. While a disaster recovery plan can be a subset of a business continuity plan, they are both two very different things. A Disaster Recovery Plan is designed to ensure that in the event of a disastrous event, your IT systems are backed up with redundancies (protective measures), so they can continue to operate. This includes things like communications and avoiding data loss, like your financial records and emails. A business continuity plan, on the other hand, is designed to ensure that when disaster strikes, your business as a whole is able to continue running without too much disruption. Things to factor in a business continuity plan are things like keeping supply channels open, and making sure your staff have a place to work.

What Does a Disaster Recovery Plan Protect Your Singapore Business From?

When you hear the words ‘disaster recovery’, it’s easy to assume this just means things like fire, flooding, and other acts of God. And while they all do in fact constitute disasters in this context, there are many other disasters that are actually far more likely to happen. Let’s go through them all, and you should get an idea of how much exposure to risk your company has without a disaster recovery plan.

Power Outages/Blackouts

While usually something you might take for granted, any given power grid in Singapore could go down with substantial overloading. Even a single breaker in your building could cut off power to everything you have plugged in. When this happens, you lose any unsaved work, and existing files can be corrupted, since your systems weren’t shut down properly. In fact, if a computer is saving data to the disk when there is a power outage, that computer may never start up again, along with whatever data you had on it.

Liquid Damage

Yes, this can mean flooding, either by natural causes or a fault with your building’s plumbing. But what about the more likely scenario of somebody dropping their phone or laptop in water? That’s the type of ‘oopsie’ that could cost you more than just the price of the device. If that water corrodes a device’s internals, you may lose whatever data it holds.

Natural Disasters

This one speaks for itself — earthquakes, fires, and other natural disasters are entirely unpredictable and wreak massive damage. Notably, flash flooding is a particular risk in Singapore.

Human Error

To err is human, as they say, and most of us can admit that we’ve lost our own work at some stage by not saving before a computer crash, or we overwrote some important data accidentally. The more staff you have, the more prevalent human error is as a factor in losing data that is crucial to your business.

Damage to Hard Drives

Not every hard drive that comes off the factory line is going to last forever. 11.8% of hard drives will fail after 4 years. At some stage, at least one of your hard drives will fail, and you may lose the data on it. And that’s assuming your equipment is treated well; the chances of your hard drives failing will increase if your staff treat them improperly.

Data Corruption

Admit it, you don’t always shut down your computer correctly. Sometimes (okay most of the time), you’re in a bit of a rush, and so you just close that laptop lid and make your way to the next meeting. There’s no harm in it right? Well it turns out it can cause quite a bit of harm. Whether it be your computer shutting down improperly, or if it just runs out of battery, you are liable to lose important data through corruption. We see it happen all the time, and it can be a costly error to make.

Theft of Company Equipment

Whether it’s someone stealing from your office, or more likely from a staff member’s car, theft is an unfortunate reality for any company, even in the relative safety of SIngapore. Globally, over 40% of all data breaches are caused by lost or stolen mobile devices. If a laptop or phone is stolen, that data is gone.

Malware and Viruses

Malware and viruses may seem like a relic of the early 2000s, but with so much money floating around the world in the form of ones and zeros, there is no shortage of shady people looking to steal your data. Anti-virus software is a good start, but may not protect you from data loss/theft.

Hackers

Again, while some might think of hackers typing away in a dark room, hacking has become a mainstream revenue maker for criminals in the 21st century. Your data is worth money, and there are people out there who are willing to take it. Even if a hacker does not want to steal your data directly, they may lock you out of your data by holding you monetary to ransom.

Do You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan?

Hopefully after you read the above scenarios for disaster, you’d be convinced that you yes, like any other company, you could be affected by disaster. If you aren’t convinced, the statistics are stark: 54% of organizations say they have encountered downtime at least once. And given that each hour downtime can cost $84,000 (yes, that’s each hour) it is a costly affair, to say the least. Add to that, small to medium enterprises don’t have the resources of large corporations, so any form of disaster could take you to the brink of insolvency. So yes, you are more likely to go through a disaster than not, and each and every hour of downtime you have could cripple your business. This isn’t about compliance, it’s about necessity. The need for a disaster plan is crucial for any Singapore SME. What’s Next — Getting Your Own Disaster Recovery Setup To answer that last question in the title, we think it’s clear that it’s not whether you can afford a disaster recovery plan/setup, it’s whether you can afford not to have it. Most businesses will ultimately suffer from potentially bottom line-breaking downtime. We’ve painted a pretty bleak picture here, so we wanted to end with some good news — we are absolutely certain that you’ll be surprised how inexpensive this business saving service can be. A disaster recovery plan is accessible for even the most modest SME in Singapore, thanks to modern cloud solutions. This basically means that a good IT solutions provider can create systems that automatically store your sensitive data on our own secure servers, which creates a safe backup for every piece of work you do. And because this practice of implementing disaster recovery plans is now so common (and therefore efficient), the price for the service has been driven down considerably, making it accessible to Singapore businesses of all sizes. Assuming you use a trusted and established IT partner, disaster recovery plan is very much within your reach, even if you are a small business. Even the most bare-bones, ultra low cost disaster recovery setup could save your business, so if you’d like to find out how you can protect your data, and your livelihood, contact us today.  
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