During a recent “weatherbomb” over the Wellington region, a number of properties were without power for several days due to the large number of trees that came down in the storm and other storm related issues with the electricity supply.
While this was disturbing enough for anyone in that situation given the inability to heat homes and cook meals, I was rather startled to read a news article about a woman who runs her business from home (has done for several years) and who couldn’t operate during the power outage.
Obviously I don’t know the details of her circumstances, however I suggest that anyone operating a small business, whether from a home office or business premises, that you organise your business processes so you can operate from somewhere other than your normal premises after some major adverse event such as stormy weather, fire, earthquake, flood or some other similar catastrophe.
It’s not hard, it’s not expensive; it can even come free. The key is to have a backup system somewhere.
You can buy a portable hard drive and store a replica of your business PCs or servers on it. You can either ‘drag and drop’ or ‘copy and paste’ new items into the external drive as you save them or you can configure the external drive so it automatically replicates the complete hard drive on your PC or laptop. Just don’t store this replica hard drive beside your computer when you’re not there. In a fire or flood it won’t be much use to you if you can’t access it.
A modern alternative that can cost zip to set up is to use a cloud based service to back up your files.
Some cloud services are free, and some offer a bit more and you have to pay a bit. You need to decide first:
- How critical is it that you can continue in business when you can’t access your office or computer equipment?
- What data/ information you need to access?
- How quickly do you need to get your business up and running again?
These are classic questions asked by business of all sizes when they are preparing a business continuity plan or disaster recovery plan. These questions are no less important for business from sole traders upwards.
If you can’t make up your mind and you don’t already have a backup system then choose something like Google Drive or Dropbox as an interim measure. This will give you some measure of security at least and may even become a long term solution when you’ve done your homework and decided what level of backup you need.
You can read about more hints and tips to improve productivity in your business in my free eBook; and even more if you download the eWorkbook that gives you a full set of instructions on how to set up a filing system for your business.