Business Mentoring in the Cloud? A discussion on protecting your business in face of disaster…

April 21, 2011Post by Laura Humphreys

Had another great Q&A session on Skype with some members from my online liber8yourbusiness programme yesterday.  I love these sessions.  Participants all email me a question beforehand and then the group provides thoughts to the business owner on their issue/question.  I am really the facilitator of the session but of course I throw my 10 cents worth in too!

One of the questions this time was from a client who has a business based at her home in Christchurch.  Her question was this:  “I’d like to discuss resilience strategies for small businesses.  The recent earthquakes have really highlighted to me how much will fall through the gaps with even comprehensive insurance, so I want to discuss ways how I (or others) might set things up to be better able to survive events like these in the future”.

As you can imagine, some pretty robust discussion poured forth.  We are all now acutely aware of how real an impending disaster could be for any of us.  Seeing the devastation in Christchurch, right on our doorstep, has brought this threat even closer to home for us.  Many businesses have gone under because they just could not reach their premises, access their stock, sell their wares or find their IP/data/critical information.  Could be us next right?

So great question.  What should we be doing?  The small group on Skype all got stuck in with ideas.  Not least of which was that someone should start a business called ‘What if?” and start working with small businesses all over the world on their business protection strategies.  We talked about having your valuable IP, information and working systems based in the internet Cloud rather than (or as well as) on local servers or hardware.  Which of course led on to a quick meander around the likelihood of a worldwide internet crash, or perhaps government regulation on internet access that could threaten businesses in this information age.  We talked about insurance and how policies will be changing now after Christchurch earthquakes.   It seems insurance agencies are talking about making home-based business related equipment insurable under separate cover, so people who can currently claim for loss of stock, computers/laptops, filing cabinets etc under a normal household contents policy may not be able to in future.   Careful analysis of what might be buried in the fine print of all new documents will be needed to ensure we’re all covered under the right policies. If you actually do have to fall off a cliff, its helpful if there IS an ambulance at the bottom…

As I said it was a robust discussion with the main agreement being that all of us need to ask the ‘What if’ questions around every aspect of our business risk in the face of disaster.  Look at every thing your business does to make money and how it would be impacted if there were an earthquake, tsunami, nuclear reactor melt down, mass evacuation… whatever you think relevant to you.  Identify risks and make changes to protect.  Would love to hear any other thoughts on this one.