Rules to Help: Disaster Recovery Compliance

Crossing your fingers or looking on the bright side will not stop an unforeseen disaster from tearing your company offline, or worse, out of business altogether.  Disruptive events and disasters are inevitable. But you can at least prepare your business with a disaster recovery plan. If you don't, you may be one of the 80 percent of businesses who quit the game early because of a major disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, or fire.  Fortunately, there are guidelines available on the steps businesses should take to mitigate the effects of disaster. The Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC) issued a mandate for businesses to follow to install safeguards in case a disruptive event or disaster should occur.  In lay terms, here are the ways to protect your company, if and when disaster should strike.

Store Back-Up Offsite
Pretty basic, right? Yet, many businesses ignore such a simple piece of advice. Encrypt your data, store it on a hard drive, and take it off-site. Vendors offering disaster recovery solutions have stated that between 60 and 70 percent of all disruptive problems that cost businesses a significant amount of revenue or down time are due to hardware or software malfunctions or human errors. Encrypting your data protects you from any man-made disasters or errors that may lead to information being stolen.  Also, keep your back-up within a reasonable distance. If your stored data is too far away from your business, it serves no use. Then again, if it is too close to your business, it is subject to the same damage should a natural disaster occur. Consider realistic disasters that could potentially hit your business and the surrounding area, and plan accordingly.

Plan, Test, Develop
The report issued by the SEC found that many businesses did not develop an adequate plan to deal with disasters. Just as schools have fire drills, business need to train their staff to deal with any disruptive event so they respond quickly and appropriately. Your business should plan ahead, develop a response, test a hypothetical disruption, and implement its BCP. To make your business even safer, have wide-spread remote access that your employees can utilize to keep your business running, and make sure to train them adequately on the system.

Diversify Connectivity and Data Storage
Companies that put all their eggs in one basket make a very big mistake. Using data storage options like cloud computing protects your data on a virtual server, which is accessible anytime, anywhere, and from multiple devices.  40 percent of businesses that experience a critical IT failure go out of business within one year, so use third-party vendors to annually test your BCP and review your IT infrastructure. This ensures your safeguards and back-up servers are updated and functioning properly.  Disasters are real and they show no mercy. The rules provided by the SEC are designed to help businesses stay afloat after an interruption.

Carlos Coutin is Financial Services Technology Strategist at Envision Consulting, He is passionate about RIAs and entrepreneurship, something that led him in his quest to advice people like him, who want to make the best possible tech decisions without stress and with intelligence. Visit his website at You can email Carlos at: and follow him on Twitter @carlos_coutin.
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