Disaster Planning: HP and SCORE Lead the Way

How would you conduct business if a storm came through and shutdown power to your business for a week, or a pipe burst in your office building, and your computers were under water? All the smarts, money, time and effort you put into building your business means absolutely nothing – if you don’t have a contingency plan in the event that something goes very, very wrong.

For the second year running, HP and SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business,” have joined forces to host the Small Business Wellness Workshops, a 16-city nationwide event. The first kicked off in Sacramento, Calif., on April 2, the rest follow the schedule below:

  • April 29: Fairfax, Va.
  • May 13: Philadelphia, Pa.
  • May 20: San Jose, Calif.
  • May 29: Warwick, R.I.
  • June 4: Austin, Texas
  • June 11: Birmingham, Ala.
  • June 25: Nashville, Tenn.
  • July 9: Raleigh, N.C.
  • Sept. 10: Denver, Colo.
  • Sept. 17: Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Oct. 8: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Oct. 22: Louisville, Ky.
  • Nov. 19: Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Dec. 2: Tampa, Fla.
  • Dec. 9: Kansas City, Mo.

According to Lisa Baker, HP’s director of small business marketing, the workshops are designed to help small business owners understand the importance of planning for disaster – to go beyond the basics of anti-virus and spam protection &#151 and to showcase the solutions that exist today that can help them protect their livelihood.

Ontrack 2000 Safeware Loss Study
Causes of Data Loss: Findings from the 2000 Safeware Loss Study: ONTRACK Data International, Inc. “Understanding Data Loss.”
(Click for larger image)

Baker said that they’re improving on last year’s event by introducing attendees to local HP resellers. “Last year, most people came away from the workshops excited and ready to take action, but lacked the technical help they needed,” she said. “This year, they’ll have local, affordable resources – people they can talk to who know how to get them moving in the right direction.”

In preparation for this series, said Baker, HP compiled data from both public and private sources and produced a paper, Impact on U.S. Small Business of Natural & Man-Made Disasters, outlining the issues and risks small business owners face if they don’t have a contingency plan.

The paper’s findings make a compelling case for planning ahead:

  • 80 percent of companies that do not recover from a disaster within one month are likely to go out of business.
  • 75 percent of companies without business continuity plans fail within three years of a disaster
  • Companies that aren’t able to resume operations within 10 days (of a disaster hit) are not likely to survive.

Of those businesses that experience a disaster and have no emergency plan, 43 percent never reopen; of those that do reopen, only 29 percent are still operating two years later.

Of course disasters aren’t always exotic – an extended power outage can devastate a small business just as effectively as a major earthquake. Personal disasters are even more likely, though, according to the following statistics gleaned from research at the University of North Carolina’s Information Technology Service.

  • A hard drive crashes every 15 seconds
  • 2,000 laptops are stolen or lost every day
  • 32 percent of data loss is caused by human error
  • 31 percent of PC users have lost all of their PC files to events beyond their control.
  • 25 percent of lost data is due to the failure of a portable drive
  • 44 percent of data loss caused by mechanical failures
  • 15 percent or more of laptops are stolen or suffer hard drive failures
  • One in 5 computers suffer a fatal hard drive crash during their lifetime.
  • 40 percent of Small and Medium Sized Businesses don’t back up their data at all.
  • 60 percent of all data is held on PC Desktops and laptops

The good new is that no matter which type of disaster you may encounter, one good emergency plan can protect your investment. If you’re unable to attend any of these workshops or you would like more information on contingency planning, check out Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses, by Donna Childs (published by Wiley).

You’ll find more information about the workshops – and be able to register for them – here.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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