Is Your Business IT Disaster-Proof?
Any business can be struck by disaster at any time, yet protecting the integrity of your data systems is an often overlooked part of disaster preparedness. From hardware failures to natural disasters like fires and floods, disasters can cause major business disruptions, financial losses and hardship for your customers if your data cannot be restored quickly. In some severe cases, disasters may even result in business closure. That is why planning for a disaster is crucial for any business, with a focus on how to restore regular operations as quickly as possible to minimize the impact.
The most important part of the recovery process is being prepared with a plan before disaster strikes, yet 60% of small and medium size businesses today lack a recovery plan. You shouldn’t risk being in that majority. Here are some guidelines on how to build an effective plan to protect your business from risk.
Build a Recovery Plan
Even a small business should have a recovery plan. There are a few options that are affordable, no matter the size of your business. The approach you adopt should meet two requirements. The first is that any important data is updated on a regular basis and backed up to a secure offsite data store. The second is that there is a well-defined process to bring your systems back up to a similar state as before the disaster struck.
Backup Data Regularly Offsite
To restore your data, you need ensure it is up to date and accessible. In a disaster, you need to be capable of bringing the server back with the same database, operating system and software. This requires a plan for regular data backups to prevent loss of new data and secure backup of that data to ensure that its available when needed. This is typically done by saving a system image on a regularly scheduled basis and then monitoring the backup system to ensure the integrity of the backup. Backup data should be stored in a secure location separate from your business to ensure its protected independent of your business.
Have a Data Restoration Process
Even if you have a server backup available, it must be capable of being run on your hardware. If there has been data loss due to software or hardware failure, you may need to perform maintenance before you can restore such as erasing and reformatting storage disks or replacing hardware components. Your restoration process should first ensure that your systems are sound and operating correctly before restoring data to ensure that restoration is successful.
Remember The People Element
You need to have a way to instantly understand if a disaster happen which requires regular monitoring of your systems. Be certain that you have a clear line of responsibility to oversee your network and a clear protocol to elevate issues and contact the right people in the event of a problem.
Consider Outside IT Services
Even if your business has a plan in place for disaster, sometimes the best option to protect your business from disaster is to have an independent IT service company manage the process for you which removes it from the stress of regular business operations. With their expert help you can create an effective plan right for your business to ensure successful recovery. With outside vendors, be sure to evaluate service level agreements to verify that they can meet your needs.
Disaster-proofing your business requires you prepare ahead of time. You should have a plan that corresponds to the level of risk associated with the work. There are many approaches that aren’t overly expensive and can provide peace of mind. However, the first step is simply to build a plan and put it into place.