Disaster Planning for Startups

Disaster recovery planning It sounds a bit melodramatic, but disasters come in many forms, all of which can be terminal for an SME or start-up. A brief glance at any newspaper will show that ‘disasters’ of one kind or another are more or less the norm today. In any case, for a start-up or any small business, a ‘disaster’ doesn’t have to be very big to be very disastrous.

The Normal Insurance, if you have contracted it, will compensate you for physical damages or injuries, but unless you contract specific insurance, it will not compensate you for ‘consequential loss’ defined by Investopedia ace

The amount of loss incurred as a result of not being able to use business property or equipment. If property or equipment is damaged due to a natural disaster or accident, only certain types of insurance can cover the owner for lost business income.

‘direct damage’ they are covered by different types of insurance, like property/casualty or fire insurance, but when your business is closed for days, weeks or months as you struggle to get everything back up and running all the time you are spending money and losing income.

Just sit at your desk and see how little you’d have to ‘miss’ to stop your business: your diary, your address book, your laptop, your server.

And what happens if you or a key worker gets sick? Can your business continue to function?

And if you lose your data, it may not even be possible to “go back to square one” unless you have an effective Disaster Recovery Plan, ideally in writing, in place. Even small setbacks can bring your business to a standstill.

When you set up your new business, you typically have little time and even less money to assess the impact of critical incidents, let alone plan how to respond to and recover from them. However, it is essential that you have some kind of disaster recovery plan, sometimes known as business continuity, on hand.

As a general rule, this plan needs two main axes:


  • Can your business function if you are disabled?
  • Is there equipment without which your business would stop?
  • Who of your staff is key to the operation of your business?

and you.

  • Could the unavailability of a piece of equipment or a location mean the loss or inaccessibility of your key data?
  • Does anyone within your organization, besides you, know how to access your data?

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. Every business is unique and each will have its own list of risks. At a minimum, you should define the critical areas, people, equipment, and data in your organization and protect them.

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