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Sponsored: One critical thing every business owner needs to do now

Sponsored: One critical thing every business owner needs to do now
© Edward J Bock 111 | Dreamstime.com

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.

Somewhere between 30,000 and 35,000 devices are infected with ransomware each month. Sometimes that number skyrockets even higher. In March 2016, for example, around 56,000 devices were reported to have ransomware on them. And before it gets any better, it's going to get a whole lot worse. Throughout 2017, ransomware attacks are only expected to climb.

Even more recently, hundreds of businesses were hit by a "ransomworm" called WannaCry. This nasty strand of ransomware spread worldwide by infecting computer after computer. What was most shocking in this entire epidemic was that large-scale businesses, such as hospitals and utility companies, were forced to shut down temporarily. 

Beyond ransomware, businesses are threatened by other things such as outdated equipment, or even irreparable damage. Still, around 88 percent of small businesses rely solely 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 IDrive. (Click here to sign up for IDrive today and be sure to use promo code KIM if you'd like to receive a 50 percent discount.)

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 to your clients that you're experiencing temporary problems?

Once you've 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 in your business is data loss. Whether one computer loses a hard drive or a flood wipes out every computer in your office, you 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 many backup options, but we're going to tell you the best one.

For secure, reliable offsite backup we recommend our sponsor IDrive. With IDrive's Universal Backup you can cover all of the operating systems including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. Plus, you can take advantage of the social media backup tool, and create a safe archive for the posts, photos and videos you've shared on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Plans start at just $5.95 per month for 2TB of storage, which is less than your morning cup of coffee! And as a listener of my show, you can save even more! (Click here to save 50 percent on 2TB of cloud backup storage when you use promo code KIM!)

This is a great option for small businesses that have a handful of employees. For larger businesses, IDrive has recently launched the Onsite Bare-Metal Disaster Recovery (BMR). The BMR offers 6 TB of storage, which allows you to create snapshots of your entire system, including application configurations. And, although the BMR provides you with local backup, it also offers up to 6 TB of cloud backup too.

Additional features include de-duplication, a centralized web console and reliable snapshots of your network. 

With the capability of backing up hundreds of machines, IDrive's BMR makes it easy to restore your files if you're struck by an unexpected loss of data. 

Whether it's days, weeks, months or years before your company experiences a loss of data, no one knows. But one thing is certain: If you're not prepared, an event like this could put you out of business. For more tips on safeguarding your business against potential threats, keep reading. We've rounded up some useful resources for you below.

More ways to protect your business from disaster:

3 ways companies sabotage their own security

How I make sure my business doesn't get hit by ransomware

Insider secrets to building a better business

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