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Developing a Disaster Recovery Plan for Small Businesses



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Businesses need to plan for when disaster strikes. Whether it’s a fire, a major flood, or a cyberattack, there’s always a chance that something could happen that disrupts their operations.

This is particularly important for small businesses. Available data suggest that between 40% and 60% of SMEs without a set response plan for a major disaster will shut down permanently when that disaster happens.

Organizations that want to recover quickly from these events should have a Disaster Recovery plan in place. Such a plan enables them to cope, and bounce back within the shortest possible time.

What Is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

A Disaster Recovery (DR) plan is a document that’s created by an organization, detailing the steps it will take to ensure that it quickly resumes work in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

The principal aim of such a plan is to ensure the recovery or continuity of vital organizational infrastructure, including IT systems. Unless these resources are brought back to functionality, the affected business will struggle—and fail –to run normally and serve its customers.

A critical part of the Disaster Recovery process is safeguarding or replicating data that may otherwise be lost when a disaster strikes. In the past, this involved a lot of physical work, from recalling data stored in hard drives to setting up IT infrastructure in a physical location, getting support staff to conduct maintenance, and engaging security to protect the facility.

These steps are costly and time-consuming. But today, businesses can bypass these processes by leveraging cloud Disaster Recovery.

Cloud Disaster Recovery: The Basics

Cloud Disaster Recovery works because it involves recalling and using data and applications that have been backed up in the cloud.

If the cloud is supported by infrastructure located on a different site from where the disaster struck, it will enable the organization involved to resume its workloads within a few hours or even minutes of the disruption occurring.

There are three approaches to cloud Disaster Recovery (DR): cold DR, warm DR, and hot DR.

Cold DR is the simplest of the three approaches—it just involves storing data or virtual machine (VM) images. But its recovery process is the most time-consuming of the lot, as users will have to download the stored data when a disruption happens—a process that may take a long while to complete.

In Warm DR, data and applications are duplicated, and these duplicates are stored with a cloud DR provider. They are also updated to conform to the originals. When a disruption happens, they can be accessed from the DR provider on a virtual machine (VM). This may take just a short while, but there’s still some downtime experienced.

In Hot DR, both the primary data and the DR site are running simultaneously. When there’s a disruption to the former, the latter remains active, and work can continue on it without any downtimes. This provides the quickest resolutions of the three alternatives, but it’s also the most expensive of them.

Besides the time savings that come with cloud DR, there’s also the benefit of backing up data in multiple locations, the ease with which cloud DR can be implemented, and the fact that it’s scalable.

Creating a Cloud Disaster Recovery Plan: The First Steps

Although cloud-based Disaster Recovery planning is often thought of as the preserve of large companies, small businesses are apt to develop a DR plan that will work for them. As has already been noted, it will protect them from a lot of losses, and strengthen their push for business continuity.

The first step to take in creating a Disaster Recovery Plan is to assess existing IT infrastructure. Things to note include their specifications, quantities, how much each asset is worth, and where they are stored. It’s also important to note possible risks to them, whether this is prolonged power outages, natural disasters, or cyberattacks.

Next, businesses will want to analyze the possible impact that a disaster could have on their operations. Two things have to be considered here.

First, the Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which is the upper time limit for when operations have to be restarted or else the business would begin to be negatively affected. There’s also the Recovery Point Objective (RPO), which is the maximum amount of time a business can bear data loss due to a crisis.

The smaller the RTO and RPO are, the more significant the effects of a disaster on the business tend to be.

After ascertaining what the RTO and RPO are, the business may proceed to create a DR plan based on them. For example, if these indices are much shorter, the organization in question can plan around having a Hot DR approach. But if these indices are longer, they could settle for a warm DR or even a cold DR.

Getting Expert Help: Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Often, a Disaster Recovery plan will have to include working with a vendor that provides Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). They could help with the next stages of the cloud DR plan, including building cloud DR infrastructure and putting the Disaster Recovery plan on paper.

A good deal of the planning process remains the responsibility of small businesses. For example, they will have to test their plan often to ensure that it works well. This may be done quarterly.

Yet, DRaaS providers play a key role. Working along with these vendors, smaller organizations can design a plan that’s suited for them, and their plan with minimal hiccups.

When choosing a DRaaS partner, SMEs will want to go for one that’s reliable, provides service that scores high on usability and scalability, and makes setup and recovery as easy as possible. These factors are crucial for making DR plans a success.

Layer3Cloud takes care of these concerns with its DRaaS offering. Its product guarantees the restoration of service within minutes, the limitation of outages, and the security of virtual operating environments. It’s flexible and scalable and assures users of significant geo-redundancy.

Let’s help you protect your business’s IT assets from disaster. Get in touch with our consultants here.

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Davido Launches Chatter, Own Social Media App



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David Adeleke, Nigerian musician well known as Davido, has launched Chatter, a new social media application.

Davido Launches Chatter, Own Social Media App

Chatter is a social audiovisual utility platform designed to help amplify the voice of content creators and connect them with a vibrant community.

However, the app’s usage goes beyond content creators; business-minded individuals, as well as people looking to connect, have a place on it.

The musician used his social media accounts to announce the app’s release.

He gave a brief history of the development of the software and its features with his friend.

The well-known musician from Nigeria stated that he and Sir Banko, his close friend  are the owners of the app.

The music icon posted information about Chatter, a social audiovisual utility platform that connects content creators to a lively community and helps them magnify their voices.

In the past eight months, Davido has undertaken three internet projects.

Recall that the musician introduced his cryptocurrency.

However, the $DAVIDO coin fell a few days after it launched, prompting some cryptocurrency fans to call it a scam and a rug-pull.



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Holiday Shopping Season to Look Different for Retailers this Year as Shoppers Take on more Debt



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By Zuko Mdwaba, Salesforce Area Vice President & Africa Leader

New Salesforce research shows that 37% of indebted consumers are using their credit cards more today than they were a year ago, while 32% report using alternative credit services like “buy now, pay later” more frequently. What’s more, 43% of consumers are carrying more debt compared to 2023. And this isn’t unique to one income bracket — consumers across all levels are tapping into their credit lines more today than they were last year.

Zuko Mdwaba

Zuko Mdwaba

But this increased reliance on credit isn’t due to consumers buying more. According to the Salesforce Shopping Index, online order volumes have been falling since 2022 and decreased by 2% year over year in the first quarter of this year. When they do buy, they’re trading down, buying discounted merchandise, and seeking private labels.

Holiday shopping prediction #1: Chinese shopping apps will take market share

As consumers face uncertainty around rising prices, they’re changing shopping habits. Long gone are the pandemic times when the fastest shipping time could win over new business. Now it comes down to price.

Shoppers are looking for the best deal. Two-thirds of global shoppers report that prices dictate where they chose to shop, with less than one-third prioritising quality of the goods. Temu is the clear winner, with 43% of Western shoppers purchasing on this platform within the last six months. But for Gen Zers, Shein is the top destination, with half of this group placing an order recently.

This holiday season, we predict that Chinese shopping applications will capture $160 billion in global ecommerce market share outside of China.

Holiday shopping prediction #2: Middle-mile shipping puts strain on margins

The Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and rising crude oil prices are driving up container costs worldwide, putting strain on the middle-mile infrastructure for the first half of the year. Additionally, last-mile challenges are also stacking up thanks to events like the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and rising delivery costs – stalling delivery times and adding expenses for retailers.

But retailers shouldn’t push the shipping expenses back on shoppers. Free shipping offers are a top-three reason why consumers choose to make a purchase from a particular brand or retailer. Over half of shoppers say they are more likely to purchase online than in store if delivery is free.

This holiday season we predict brands and retailers will spend an extra $197B in middle-mile expenses, increasing 97% over last year.

Holiday shopping prediction #3: Shoppers embrace AI to search for the perfect gift

Last holiday season, 17% of online purchases were influenced by AI – both predictive and generative. That totalled a whopping $199M of onlines sales worldwide in November and December. This year, consumers will increasingly leverage AI – knowingly or not – to search for the right gift at the right price. In fact, 53% of shoppers surveyed said they are interested in using generative AI for inspiring the perfect present. As retailers increasingly embed AI into search experiences, we predict search will drive a nearly 3x better conversion rate compared to traffic not engaging with site search.

Holiday shopping prediction #4: Black Friday becomes Cyber Friday

Over the years, as online shopping grew in popularity and consumers could shop from anywhere, holiday shopping started earlier and earlier in the month of November. Last year, Black Friday gained back 4% of online holiday sales, establishing itself as the biggest online shopping day of the year.

We’re expecting the same of the upcoming holiday shopping season. Two-thirds of shoppers say they’re holding out on making big purchases until Cyber Week, anticipating better deals. The big news is that Black Friday is going to be the biggest day for digital. Salesforce research predicts online sales will take 7% of in store sales on Black Friday.

Holiday shopping prediction #5: Retailers tap loyal shoppers to avoid skyrocketing digital marketing costs

Customer acquisition continues to be costly for retailers. In the face of a busy election cycles, and as Chinese companies buy up advertising inventory, digital marketing costs continue to get more expensive, and opportunities to get in front of the right audience grow scarce. This means that brands and retailers have to better engage their existing customer base amid this tug of war over digital advertising space.

But there are other opportunities. Shoppers are doubling down on loyalty. According to our Salesforce Shopping Index, the rate of repeat buyers in the first quarter increased by 8% over the last two years. And shoppers are prioritising brands and retailers that offer loyalty programmes. Our research shows 63% of shoppers are making more purchases from stores where they can earn and redeem loyalty points. This holiday season, we predict that 2 out of 5 holiday purchases will be made by a loyal repeat buyer.

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APTS Cyber-Attacks Target African Governments, Others



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Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity firm, has said that it is keeping a close eye on advanced persistent threats (APTs) and nine active threat actors targeting African organisations.

APTS Cyber-Attacks Target African Governments, Others

Kaspersky researchers’ intelligence has identified government, energy, and telecommunications as the primary targets in African countries.

APT groups are long-term, targeted cyber-attacks in which intruders obtain network access and go undiscovered for a lengthy period of time. APT attacks are typically initiated to steal extremely sensitive data.

These APT organisations are frequently driven by espionage, financial gain, or, in some cases, hacktivism.

According to Kaspersky intelligence, MuddyWater, FruityArmor, and Sidewinder are among the region’s most prominent groups.

Kaspersky, which says it protects over a billion devices worldwide from cyberattacks, collaborates with law enforcement and offers intelligence to help them track down these sophisticated hackers.

These threat actors, according to the company, use a variety of methods to infiltrate their targets in the region.

Social engineering is a typical method employed on social media or via email, such as placing a bogus job advertisement for software developers.

According to Amin Hasbini, head of Kaspersky’s global research and analysis team for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, said it is critical to keep up with these sophisticated syndicates and stop corporate espionage.

“The current geopolitical climate is a hotbed for APT activity, therefore, investigating these attacks and gaining intelligence on their movement is vital for security teams and corporations in Africa. Our research allows businesses and government entities to determine the significance of the threat posed, understand the attackers’ next move and accordingly be able to take the appropriate security steps to protect themselves,” he said.




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