The Complete Backup & Disaster Recovery Checklist

You’re probably familiar with the story of the ant and the grasshopper. The classic fable is meant to teach the importance of preparation.

All summer long, the ant works diligently, storing up food and supplies. But the grasshopper sees no immediate need to prep for colder weather, so he spends his days playing in the sun. When winter comes, the ant is well prepared while the grasshopper has no food.

As morality tales go, it’s a good one—though perhaps a little too simple to apply to you.

Preparation vs. Productivity

You’re a business owner. You’re not playing all day, every day. You’re busy. Really busy. Busy with business stuff. But a full schedule and constant activity don’t equate to preparation.

Maybe it would be better to compare the forward-thinking ant to something other than a frolicking grasshopper.

Consider bees. They tend to be fairly active. So much so that we use phrases like “busy as a bee.” And bees get things done. They make honey and collect pollen. They’re industrious little buzzers, but that doesn’t mean they’re prepared.

We see a lot of busy-ness when working with SMB owners. And we’re not knocking productivity. Productivity is good. But even the most efficient, dynamic small businesses need to think about the future.

Backup & Disaster Recovery

Backup and disaster recovery (or BDR) is all about future-proofing your business. No one wants disaster to strike, but sometimes there’s no avoiding it. Challenges ranging from a simple power outage to a full-blown natural disaster have the potential to take your business offline.

If that happens, all the efficiency in the world won’t keep you from losing money. You’ll need a plan.

Despite the clear need for preparation, 68% of small businesses have no documented BDR plan. In fact, 21% of the small business owners without a plan were alarmingly candid, stating that BDR simply isn’t a priority. This can literally undo your entire organization, causing massive financial loss and a real hit to your reputation.

How is that not a priority?

Building Your BDR Plan: The Checklist

If you’re one of the small business owners without a backup and disaster recovery plan, we recommend addressing that. The sooner the better. And if you’re not sure where to start, you’re in luck.

The following checklist will give you all the basic components of a BDR plan. For full protection—and to make backup and disaster recovery planning much easier on yourself—you might also consider talking to a BDR expert.


You can’t have a plan without . . . well, a plan. To be clear, we’re not talking about a loose idea of what you’d do in a worst-case scenario. We’re talking about written documentation available to all your employees detailing policies and procedures to be following for any kind of emergency, great or small.

Local and remote backups

Not only do you need backups, but you need two kinds of backups: local and remote. Your local backups allow for the quickest possible recovery, assuming they’re unaffected by the disaster. Remote backups are your insurance policy. If something devastating happens to your physical office, destroying your server, your remote backups ensure you don’t lose critical data.

Remote work options

Speaking of disasters that might make it impossible to work from your office, you should also have a plan for continuing business operations remotely. If you’re taking advantage of cloud solutions, a lot of that work is already done. If not, there are still ways to maintain a business while your sort out your workspace. Just be sure to think through how you’d tackle this challenge.

Communications fallback

Finally, you need to know how you’ll keep up communication with employees, customers and vendors. Ideally, this should address essential business processes first, as well as including clear directives for what employees should tell customers. In the midst of a disaster, how and what you communicate has the potential to leave customers feeling either uneasy or reassured.

Getting Started

This checklist is admittedly basic. But for small business owners with absolutely no backup and disaster recovery plan, it’s is a great place to start.

As your business grows and as you come to see the need for a fuller BDR plan, it’s a good idea to revisit the documentation you create. Update it regularly to account for changes in your business process and your growth as a company.

Disasters are no fun. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to prevent every possible unpleasant, unexpected challenge. But a solid backup and disaster recovery plan can take the sting out of otherwise devastating situations.

It’s all about having a plan.

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