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Storm highlights disaster recovery needs

Data losses suffered during hurricanes and other natural disasters can be catastrophic for small businesses.

Data losses suffered during hurricanes and other natural disasters can be catastrophic for small businesses.

Tropical Storm Isaac is set to make landfall on the Gulf Coast, likely escalating to a Category 1 or 2 hurricane nearly seven years to the day after Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans. These are trying times for everyone in the path of such a powerful storm, especially small businesses.

These firms do not just have to worry about damage to physical structures and traditional IT assets, but loss of sensitive data and business continuity as they struggle to continue operations after a natural disaster.

According to a report by HP and the small-business advisory organization SCORE, 70 percent of smaller companies that suffer significant data losses go out of business within one year.

It is important for all business owners to understand that, while hurricanes are a prime example, there are any number of unforeseen events that could compromise critical information and operations. Even if a company is not located in an area threatened by hurricanes, disaster recovery solutions are essential in today's data-driven world.

The 2012 Disaster Recovery Index compiled by the Ponemon Institute shows that nearly 50 percent of 600 U.S. companies surveyed fear substantial downtime during and immediately following a natural disaster. By taking advantage of managed IT support, cloud-based apps and backup solutions, businesses will be able to resume operations following such an event, even if they cannot access an office and must work remotely. If continuity is maintained, organizations are much more likely to survive such incidents.

"Safety and property damage will always be an issue when major storms roll in. But in 2012, there's no reason why the threat of data loss should cause anyone additional headaches," writes Kirill Bensonoff for Technorati. "Remote backup solutions and cloud storage are available to businesses of every size at every price point."

Whether it is a savage storm bearing down on you or an unfortunate electrical surge, in the digital age data is everything. It is in the best interests of businesses and their clients or customers to safeguard data with effective disaster recovery plans.