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Sponsor Content: One critical thing every business owner needs to do now

Sponsor Content: One critical thing every business owner needs to do now
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There are plenty of threats to the future of your small business, from price-slashing competitors and negative reviews to hacking attacks and ransomware. However, with so many businesses dependent on computers, there's an even more basic danger you need to think about.

According to a recent survey of 251 small businesses, in 2015, 22% of businesses had computer crashes that resulted in data loss. In nearly 50% of those situations, the business recovered less than half of their files. At some point, 80% of small companies have had downtime due to computer crashes, which cost each company from $80,000 to $256,000. That's not all that surprising, but what is surprising is what happened before those crashes.

The survey shows that the main worry for nearly half of businesses is losing critical data. In fact, 64% of the companies surveyed said they would go out of business if they had major data loss. However, most don't take the steps they need to survive a major computer disruption.

In all, 88% of small businesses rely on data insurance as their disaster recovery plan. Insurance provides some financial help, but it won't get the business up and running any faster or salvage critical lost data.

That's why your company needs to have an actual disaster recovery plan. If you're a small business owner, you probably know that it's hard enough keeping up with day-to-day operations, much less thinking ahead and planning for a disaster.

Still, that's exactly what you need to do or you might suddenly find yourself with no business. So, check out these tips from our sponsor Carbonite. (Use promo code KIM, and get a free 15-day trial.)

1. Identify the weak points

Your first step is to figure out what the biggest disruptions are for your business. Is there a computer you can't function without? Will a power loss or natural disaster at the office hurt any sales, deals or deadlines? What would happen if your Internet stopped working?

Make a list of the worst things that could happen to your particular business. Be sure to get input from your employees as well, if you have them. They might know of a weak point you don't.

2. Create and test alternatives

For each weak point in your business, decide what you're going to do if that event happens. For example, if a mission-critical computer goes down, do you have a spare ready to spring into action? Is there a less-critical computer that can be pulled into service until the other computer is repaired or replaced?

If your Internet stops working, can your employees work from home temporarily?  If the power goes out, can you rent a generator? How are you going to communicate with your clients that you're experiencing temporary problems?

Once you're gotten your biggest dangers on paper and sketched out some alternatives, test them. Pretend that the disaster has actually happened and go through the motions to make sure your recovery plan actually works. You don't want to find out too late that the alternative you chose leaves you high and dry.

Of course, there's one more step. No matter what disaster you face, this one thing will help your business survive.

3. Protect your information

As the intro to this article made clear, one guaranteed disaster you'll face is your business is data loss. Whether one computer loses a hard drive or a flood wipes out every computer in your office, your need to be assured your data is safe.

That's why every business needs to have an automated, off-site backup solution. In the event of a local disaster, this keeps your data secure so you can get your business up and running again. Of course, there are a lot of backup options, but we're going to tell you the best one.

For secure, reliable off-site backup we recommend our sponsor Carbonite. Its Pro plans let you back up as many computers as you have, and there are even plans that back up external drives, NAS devices and servers.

Carbonite encrypts your data before it's backed up, and it's then sent over an encrypted connection, which keeps it safe from hackers. For businesses in the medical field, Carbonite is HIPAA compliant.

Carbonite backs up every important file as it changes, so you never lose any work. Restoring files to another computer is a snap, and you can access your backup and download individual files on any computer. This lets you continue working on important projects while your business is recovering.

Plus, Carbonite has business-friendly features like remotely deployment, centralized Web management, and courier recovery, which ships you your backed up files on a hard drive. It also offers free U.S.-based tech support 7 days a week.

Don't leave your business data unprotected another day. Get Carbonite today and help your business survive far into the future.

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