Why SaaS-y Companies Need a Preparedness Plan
When running a small business, any CEO/COO/Owner knows that there is a finite amount of resources and time to get everything done in a day (or week or month). With that being the case, any advantage that you can take to lighten your workload to allow your small business startup to focus on the important tasks of running a business is taken.
Since a small business might not have the capacity to bring on full time staff to administer these positions, business operations such as human resources, accounting, payroll, IT, and others are then completed by third party firms or brought in house through the use of software-as-a-service (Saas).
While SaaS services can be a life saver for a small business in providing essential operations at a reduced cost, it can be a disaster if something happens to the SaaS provider and your business is caught in the middle. Just minutes of downtime can cost your small business thousands of dollars in lost revenue and customers. Now consider if a regional disaster struck the area, would you still be able to access all your SaaS resources and conversely, what if the regional disaster struck your SaaS provider?
Therefore, when considering SaaS providers for your small business, make sure to ask the following question: What disaster preparedness plans are in place at the SaaS company?
If a disaster strikes your region, your small business will be operating off of your Emergency Response Plan (Don't have an emergency response plan for your office? You can get one here.) . Integrated in your plan is the response part of protecting your employees, assets, and operations. Due to the nature of the disaster, your area may be affected for days or months. During that time, you will still need access to all the documents, apps, computers, and other things that make an office run.
If any SaaS companies that you use are in the affected disaster area, are they ready and able to sustain their operations for that long during the recovery? Are their servers secure and their IT infrastructure able to handle a flooded building or loss of power for weeks? Are their employees prepared to answer customer service calls (or even come to work if they are not prepared at home). Will you be able to access important functions such as payroll and accounting for your business while they are in recovery mode?
SaaS providers should have at a minimum an emergency plan that outlines what their processes are in the event they know a disaster is going to occur, such as a hurricane or a winter storm and their processes for moving operations. Their plan also must account for what will happen in no-notice events like an earthquake. SaaS providers should provide employees training in emergency preparedness and other necessary skills such as Stop the Bleed. And finally, SaaS providers should TRAIN and TEST their procedures to ensure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a disaster.
It is therefore prudent, if not critical, to take a hard look at your SaaS providers and ask what their disaster preparedness plans are. It is not a criticism of their operations, in fact it is seeking assurance and good customer service to advise that you are prepared for a disaster. If you are a SaaS provider and want to create or review your office emergency plan, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and contact me at Edward@ReadyNorthwest.com .