“Business Resilience” used to be something that only larger businesses could afford. Small businesses used to lack the foresight and skill to plan for it, the money and infrastructure to implement it, or both.
Not anymore! Long live the SaaS!
Having worked for large enterprises for the past several years, I was fully aware of the SaaS trend, but I really didn’t pay much attention to it. My core responsibilities and focus were on building and maintaining custom systems. For everything else – all tools, infrastructure, and back-office support – there was someone else to worry about.
That paradigm shifted as I decided to reactivate my old, dormant business. It felt like getting back on a bike after 8 years – I was little rusty, but I had a pretty good idea and a plan for what business functions I needed to stand up and what tools I needed to buy first, on a shoe-string budget.
First, I upgraded my own personal laptop to a business-grade, super slick and portable powerhouse (that came at about twice the power and half the price of the last laptop I had to buy). With the laptop came Windows 10 and OneDrive (a PC girl – don’t hate!). Office 365 was the next logical step and a no-brainer decision. At that point, I had to do some research and make a few conscious choices for a project management tool, accounting software, website content management and hosting, and a CRM system. I picked Asana, QuickBooks (online), WordPress, and HubSpot, respectively. All for <$100 per month.
A few weeks into it, as I was halfway through balancing the books and sorting out my Leads and Prospects, Mr. Slick unexpectedly died. Not just the blue-screen-of-death dead, but DEAD! dead.
My initial reaction was an outraged frustration mixed up with tense anguish. The manufacturer had just told me that they will take care of it for free, but I had to ship it and to wait for 5-7 business days to get it back either repaired or replaced. My work was getting delayed, and god forbid I had lost the hard drive, or I had to go through the lengthy setup process all over again.
In my frustrated anguish, I’d forgotten that my entire setup was in the Cloud. All my file data was synced up to OneDrive and all my tools were cloud-based. I was able to open up my old clunker and pick up exactly where I left off (minus the extra second or so of wait time to load a web page). None of my data or any productivity was lost at all. Long and behold, Mr. Slick came back 5 days later with a brand-new motherboard – the OS downloaded my profile, and all my settings and bookmarks were exactly as I wanted them.
I really haven’t planned nor prepared for this “disaster recovery exercise”, but I passed it with high colors. Throw in the fact that all of my tools have mobile apps – I can be fully operational before I even get out of bed. I guess, quite a few things had changed in the past 8 years. Long live the SaaS!
This article is not meant to be an endorsement of any SaaS product or vendor, but a message to my fellow small business owners to take a look at their most valuable information assets and assess how they are being protected from the unexpected. And with the recent uptick in cyber ransomware threats – the Cloud is definitely a lot safer place to go!