Disaster preparednessBolstering SMBs’ disaster preparedness

Published 7 June 2012

Small and medium business (SMB) in the United States are not ready for natural or man-made disasters, and for the consequences of such disasters; this is worrisome, because for a small business a disaster can be potentially devastating; being prepared can sometimes mean the difference between surviving and sinking

AT&T says the small and medium business (SMB) in the United States are not ready for natural or man-made disasters, and for the consequences of such disasters. This is worrisome, because for a small business, a disaster can be potentially devastating. Being prepared can sometimes mean the difference between surviving and sinking.

There are more than twenty-seven million small businesses in the United States, and they play a significant role in the economy. Together, they have generated more than 60 percent of new jobs over the last fifteen years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Not only the national economy, but the strength of local communities often depends on the success of small businesses. As a result, entire communities benefit when small businesses are prepared for emergencies and natural or manmade disasters.

One example: more than 125,000 jobs were lost in the Gulf Coast area due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In Louisiana alone, more than 20,000 businesses were shuttered. In short, when emergencies and disasters strike small businesses, the “ripple effect” can cause surrounding communities to be negatively impacted as well.

Here are some figures:

  • More than one in four small businesses will experience a “significant crisis” — hurricane, wildfire, tornado, power outage, flash flood, cyber breach, etc. — in any given year (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Nearly two-thirds of small businesses do not have an emergency plan in place for their business (Insurance Information Institute)
  • At least 40 percent of businesses affected by a natural or man-made disaster never reopen (Insurance Information Institute)
  • Putting a disaster plan in motion now will improve the likelihood that businesses and organizations will not only survive and recover themselves, but also help their neighbors and communities recover more quickly (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Cyber Security
Digital data is more valuable than some small business owners may realize. Customer files, financial records, and digital resources are vital to reopen after a hacking incident, and storing data remotely or online makes the process easier.

  • Nearly one-third of businesses indicate that a major security breach has the potential to put them out of business entirely (National Computer Security Association)
  • Spyware infections require two-and-a-half days to resolve and cost small businesses $8,000 a year, in addition to any lost revenue associated with the incident (CompTIA)
  • While 92 percent of businesses back up data, less than one-third do so remotely either via Internet or by taking storage devices offsite (2012 AT&T Small Business Tech Poll)
  • Seven in ten small businesses go out of business within a year of a severe data loss (Price Waterhouse Coopers)

To see what types of disasters most affect your state, click here.

Safeguarding businesses
AT&T says that to help mitigate the impact of disasters, it yesterday launched an initiative — Safeguard Your Business — to shine light on the importance of small businesses being prepared and offer simple steps to preparedness. Small businesses do not have to be an AT&T customer to participate.

Specifically, the initiative includes:

  • An interactive Quick Check for Disaster Prep online tool, enabling small businesses to assess their state of preparedness or “readiness” for emergencies and disasters, based on responses to ten simple questions. The check:
    • Takes a few minutes to complete, calculating a “score” from one to ten and providing some topline recommendations for individual small businesses.
    • Integrates with the American Red Cross Ready Rating program, which helps businesses become better prepared for emergencies. The Ready Rating Web site, ReadyRating.org, provides a free assessment tool that dives deeper into specific areas of preparedness.
  • 100 sweepstakes winners to receive AT&T Tech Support 360 Premium PLUS 1-year subscriptions valued at $425 each