Everyone relies on technology. It could be as simple as using an alarm clock instead of the sun. Most people use some type of vehicle instead of running or walking including down the street to a local corner store. Those who are not living in the dark ages literally use electricity rather than candles. What about the phone industry? Most people have gone from viewing cell phones as an extra item to use only in case of an emergency to something they literally CAN’T leave home without. With this surge in reliance on communication and accessibility, how many business owners and individuals have a disaster recovery plan?
Everyone is told they need to have backups of all the necessary areas to continue to do business, but what if they don’t? Some people have flash drives to store important files. Unfortunately, flash drives can fail too. Imagine this: there was a disaster of some type that destroyed the main location of the business in Charlotte, NC. What is the next step? How will the services or products get to customers? How will those customers be billed for those services or products? Some businesses are so inadequately prepared that they are more than temporarily handicapped; they go out of business completely.
Let’s step away for a moment and talk about the internet. Many companies have websites, right? If their businesses did falter due to a disaster, that website will still be up and running, wouldn’t it? Companies pay for their websites to be hosted. That hosting takes place outside of the physical location of the business. If a business owner knows his user name and password, he can log onto and update his website any time he wants no matter where he is physically located. That website might even be automatically backed up daily. That’s a built in disaster recovery plan for the website.
The premise of hosting on the internet can be applied to other areas as well, which is why the term “Cloud Computing” is becoming more prevalent. The definition from http://www.techterms.com for Cloud Computing is as follows: “Cloud computing refers to applications and services offered over the Internet. These services are offered from data centers all over the world, which collectively are referred to as the ‘cloud.’ This metaphor represents the intangible, yet universal nature of the Internet.” The television commercials have been showing everyday uses for individuals using the “cloud,” such as adjusting family pictures and watching television shows recorded on the home television.
What does this mean for the average business owner though? Here are a couple of examples. (1) A service based business experiences a disaster. The business owner maintains his customer contact information and calendar on the cloud. He is able to communicate with each customer that has a scheduled appointment to let that customer know of a new location where services will be able to be provided. The business owner also updates the website with the alternate location. After providing services, the business owner is able to logon to his QuickBooks application file maintained on the cloud and bill the customer and take payment for the services provided. (2) A product based business experiences a disaster. That business owner has a secondary site in Rock Hill, SC for products and is also able to drop ship from his suppliers so that his customers will only experience a short delay in getting what they need. After providing the products, the business owner is able to logon to his QuickBooks application file maintained on the cloud and bill the customers as well as pay suppliers for the products. Therefore, even though the businesses have experienced a loss for which they will file an insurance claim, those businesses will still be able to operate as well as get paid for services and products. The business will stay in business and still have an opportunity to be profitable, which is what everyone wants at the end of the day.
One of Benjamin Franklin’s well known quotes is, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Knowing how much everyone relies on technology, isn’t it important to protect the technology each person has? Because cloud computing includes maintaining information in a secure area that is backed up daily, it just makes sense to implement a disaster recovery plan that includes cloud computing so that even when faced with a disaster, the business can still continue.