Five simple steps for crisis survival

It’s surprising how much value the average business now stores in digital form.

Imagine what would happen right now if you lost all your computers and servers through a fire, flood, or other extreme event. How long would it take you to get up and running again? Think of your accounting records, customer history and databases, emails, templates, spreadsheets, tenders and quotes, project management records, software programs and many more digital assets.

Just a few years ago, it might have taken days, weeks or even months to restore everything. Now, thanks to the latest technology, you can keep running seamlessly. You might lose other assets in a disaster, but there’s no longer any need to lose valuable digital assets.

Try these simple steps to improve your survivability in a crisis:

1. Take advantage of web storage for your key documents. Services offering some free online storage (you can pay for more if you need it) include Microsoft’s SkyDrive (7GB for free); Google Docs (5GB); and Apple’s iCloud (5GB).

2. Make sure you and key staff have smart phones, tablets and laptops, loaded with communication, collaboration and continuity apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Evernote, plus any mobile banking apps your bank may offer.

3. Rather than buying software outright, try Software as a Service (SaaS) Two advantages: you always have the latest upgrades, and you can access your programs and files from anywhere, at any time. Examples include Microsoft Office 365 (monthly subscription, free trial) or Google Drive.

4. Consider moving your accounting data to the web using cloud-based accounting
programs such as Xero. Being able to access your financial data from anywhere at any time is both highly convenient and eliminates worries about losing precious data.

5. Take a further step and run your office processes entirely on the cloud. Services such as Microsoft SharePoint or Central Desktop enable you to share, manage and track projects, hold web meetings, and create controlled work spaces clients can access. Keeping connected.

Finally, keeping in touch with staff and customers after a crisis is critical. You need to let staff know what’s happening and keep customers informed about projects and deliveries, and when or where you’ll be up and running again. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all valuable communication tools, supplemented by Skype, Tango or Apple FaceTime for some reassuring visual contact.

Learn more about disaster recovery.

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