How prepared are you for the worst-case scenario? Have you taken the steps to be able to recover from man-made and natural disasters that could entirely halt your business operations? Just think about all of the “what if’s” that you prepare for without even necessarily thinking about them. What if I crash my car? Then, you call your insurance provider and they cover your damages, making sure that you get back on the road as fast as you can. What if there’s a massive storm and my house gets flooded? Well, in that case, your homeowner’s insurance will make sure that everything gets sorted out. These are things that we pay for month after month that sometimes seem like they are just one more expense. But the moment that disaster strikes, we are usually pretty grateful that we prepared for the worst.
Backups are an insurance policy for your data
This then begs the question: If we make a point of insuring against catastrophe in other aspects of our lives, then why wouldn’t we do so when it comes to our business operations? Backups are like an insurance policy for your data. In the case of a hard drive failure, you could lose huge amounts of information that is essential to your business. But if you have been properly backing up your data, then you can remediate your situation without much disruption. Or, say that your system gets infected with malware that makes it impossible for you to work. Not a problem. Just restore your system to the most recent, clean backup. Maybe there is a storm that causes physical damage to your systems. As long as your data is backed up off-site or in the cloud, then you can rest assured that your data will be unharmed and readily accessible. There are any number of issues that could befall your business at any point in time, but as long as you’re prepared, then you should be able to proceed with minimal delays to your business operations.
Different Backup Options
When it comes to backups, you have a few different options, all of which have their own sets of pros and cons. For example, simple file-based backups are among the least expensive options, and are certainly better than having no backups at all, but they offer a far less comprehensive solution than other options. We recommend that our clients incorporate backups that utilize Shadow Copy technology, or something similar, that can automatically take “snapshots” of data even while the files are in use. Doing so every hour can ensure that users have complete copies of their data throughout many different points in the day. This is more inclusive than one daily backup because you can restore your data up to a specific hour in the day, thus guaranteeing that you lose as little information as possible in the case of a disruption. It is valuable to have backups available locally for a prompt restore, as well as off-site, to ensure that if the local copy is corrupted or damaged, there is a live copy available elsewhere. Cloud services make it easier than ever to remotely store and have secure access to your data.
Have Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity plan
But just having backups in place isn’t enough to ensure that you are able to recover in the event of a disaster. You also need to make sure that you and/or your IT managed service provider have a clear Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity plan in place. Businesses large and small can create continuity plans to provide information on how their operations will be restored after a natural or operational disaster. Plans often include detailed guidelines for operational restoration based on each type of disaster that may occur. Continuity plans include instructions for training managers and employees to anticipate certain types of disasters and recognize what their responsibilities are if a negative situation occurs. According to FEMA, the government has estimated that nearly 40 percent of small businesses never reopen following a weather-related or natural disaster. In the event of a loss of data, a well-prepared business will be able to mitigate lost time and ultimately save themselves thousands of dollars’ worth of lost revenue. Furthermore, being able to be among the first in your field to recover from a disaster could provide you with a competitive advantage if your competitors have also been affected. Customers will turn to the business that is most prepared to operate, and if your competitors are still scrambling to rebuild, then you will be the obvious choice.
Staying vigilant about disaster recovery means testing your backup solution, as well as practicing your business continuity plan on a regular basis. As soon as a disaster strikes, the clock is ticking to start remedying the situation. Only those who have consistent backups, and a strong disaster recovery/business continuity plan are able to bounce back, because they have taken the steps to insure themselves against the worst-case scenario. Nobody wants to have to deal with a disastrous situation, but if you have to, you’ll be thankful that you armed yourself with the tools that could potentially save you your entire business.
Speaking directly with an IT professional about your needs will help you assess what specific backup and disaster recovery strategy best suits your company’s needs.