Whether its flooding or the recent Arctic conditions, the weather seems to be having more and more of an effect on businesses (as well as our lives in general).  During December and January’s snow and ice, 1 in 5 workers failed to get to work, an estimated £600 million a day was being lost, and 2000-3000 companies were predicted to fail. 

These figures highlight the potential risks that our businesses face from circumstances beyond our control – and according to business information specialist, Dun and Bradstreet, 9% of businesses fail every year because of ‘disaster’.

The simple fact is that for most businesses, if you can’t get to your premises (snow) or your premises are damaged or destroyed (flood, fire, theft) then you won’t be able to access all the essential information that you need on a day-to-day basis to keep things running (customer details, supplier details, accounting and banking details, lists of who owes you money and who needs to be paid, employee and payroll information).

1 in 5 companies suffer some form of major disruption each year, and 43% of those companies who’ve lost essential data never reopen, and 80% of them go out of business within a year.

I myself, only made it to my office 3 times between 18th December and 15th January (and on 1 of those occasions I had to abandon my car and walk), however, as we’re an online business (or ‘in the Cloud’ as it’s now known!) all our staff have the ability to work from home, and we can access our essential data from anywhere (as long as we’ve got an internet connection!).  This meant that although our offices were empty, for us, it was business as usual in that long cold month.

Also, as we provide online accounting software (also known as Software as a Service, or Cloud Computing) we know that our clients will have been able to continue with their normal business too as they can access their orders, essential accounting, business information and customer and supplier details from anywhere too.

But I know that this hasn’t been the case for other businesses – I’m still waiting for delivery of several items that I ordered online in late December and early January!    

The other issue here is that, as well as remote access, all your data is being regularly, automatically and professionally backed-up to somewhere else other than your office, and usually (as in our case) to more than 1 location – and this is normally one of the key features of online software and a great advantage to the small business owner who can’t afford an extensive IT infrastructure and the expertise to go with it.

One disaster recovery specialist states on their website that:

  • 99% if businesses don’t back-up their essential information daily
  • 60% of back-ups are incomplete or out of date
  • 50% of attempts to restore essential information fail
  • And only 25% of companies who do back-ups store them somewhere other than their office

All of these figures mean that if your offices are flooded, set alight or broken into you are likely to lose some or all of your essential information and that you won’t be able to just set up temporarily somewhere else and operate as normal – you might not even know who your customers and suppliers are to let them know what’s happened and what you’re doing about it!  With this in mind, it’s definitely a good idea for any business of any size to look at online software, Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Computing and the many data storage solutions that are available nowadays for peace of mind at a minimal monthly cost.

Essential business tools that you can access remotely

www.salesforce.com – CRM

our homepage – Cloud accounting software

www.patersons.net – HR and Payroll

www.google.com – webmail and documents/word processing

www.livedrive.com – online back-ups and storage

www.constantcontact.com – online marketing