Individuals are increasingly understanding the value of their data, and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, a lot of small and medium-sized businesses are operating today without any type of data backup protecting their business’ data, and that, of course, is bad. It is important that if you don’t have a dedicated data backup and recovery strategy in place, that you work to fix that immediately. Today we’ll tell you why.
The calendar is chock-full of novelty holidays, March specifically starting with things like World Compliment Day (you look great, by the way) and ending with the very scientific Bunsen Burner Day. However, while things like National Pears Helene Day—March 15—are fun, some of these days touch on more important topics.
Let’s go over some of the novelty days in March that can provide us with some IT best practices to keep in mind.
While nobody wants their company to suffer a data breach, the nature of today’s workplace makes these occurrences harder and harder to avoid. In fact, chances are that you’ll eventually encounter one, which makes it important to prepare to deal with it when it comes about.
Here, we’ve outlined a few steps to help your business weather the storm:
Business owners are now concerned about how they are spending capital on solutions to help them to avoid procedural interruptions. One issue that all businesses should be aware of—and work to mitigate—is the loss of data that can cause these interruptions.
When considering a continuity plan for your business, you need to consider some scenarios that may not ever happen. This is called risk management and it is the basis of keeping your business up and running regardless of the situations that it encounters. This month, we thought we would outline some of the variables that need to be addressed when creating a comprehensive business continuity plan.
Your business’ data is extremely important to the livelihood of your business and as a result, you need to have plans in place to protect it. Sure, you can invest in all the top notch cybersecurity tools and services, and they may keep you from getting your data stolen or corrupted, but what happens if something terrible happens to the servers that it is stored on? No level of threat detection is going to save a server if it is charred, under water, or its components are completely fried.
Imagine for a minute that you work in a small factory or machine shop. Some wind comes through and drops a 200-year-old maple tree through the roof onto the machines that you use to create your product. The devastation is total. If you have a second factory built to scale from the first, you could just ship your workers over to that one and keep productivity high. Chances are, however, there is no second factory. Your business is done until you can get the situation fixed. It could take days, weeks, or even months to get your business back on track; and if the stats are any indication, it probably won’t.
In order to function properly, the modern business needs data. With the predictions of serious cyberattacks, like ransomware, that have been made for the coming year there is no business that can neglect its data protections. Here, we’ll discuss what these predictions are, and what you need to do to prepare.
It’s true that managed IT service do a lot to make technology accessible to small and medium-sized organizations that wouldn’t typically look immediately to technology to fix parts of their business. One of the innovations that modern business has made is that they prioritize a smarter approach. Apart from data storage and database management, modern businesses are using the data their marketing, sales, fulfillment/distribution, and support departments take in to see exactly how their business is actually functioning and make sound business decisions as a result. Today, we’ll take a look at how the managed IT service provider can help a business with its data management.
Chances are you’ve found yourself in a situation where you have accidentally deleted an important file. However, it’s possible that you can restore the data, depending on the scenario. We’ll walk you through the processes required just in case you find yourself scratching your head over a potentially deleted file.
World Backup Day is a time when every business should contemplate whether or not they have proper data backup strategies in place. Considering it was about a month ago, did your organization take the time to think about it? Granted, there isn’t a single day in the year that could explain what your data means to your business, the importance of data backup, and that your businesses should always do what it can to avoid data loss.
Businesses need data in order to exist. That’s just the way things work nowadays. This reliance on data, however, then makes it a strong requirement to protect it from mishaps. You’d protect your finances, after all, and your intellectual property… why not protect the resource that leads to these things from all of the many circumstances that could put them at risk?
While data backup is a necessary component to any modern business’ success, the idea itself certainly isn’t modern. The act of protecting information dates back to before dates were even an inkling, when humanity was still writing data on cave walls to preserve it and notching animal bones to aid in primitive mathematics. Let’s review the history of data preservation, and how we’ve gotten to our current point.
Each organization has a different definition for how they define a disaster. One business might feel that they can get away with losing a few files here and there, while another might need every file to be secure and protected against data loss. Regardless, the importance of being able to define the severity of a disaster cannot be underestimated, as you will need to properly gauge just how much hot water your business has landed in before it can pull itself up by the bootstraps and push forward.
How would your company react to the worst-case scenario of your technology failing during a critical moment? By this, we mean a server unit failing or a hardware failure causing a catastrophic loss of data. There are other situations where you experience a similar loss of data, including natural disasters that completely destroy physical infrastructure; yet, the end result is the same, and it keeps your business from functioning as intended.
Even something as simple as a hacking attack or user error could create complications for your company, impacting operations to the point where your organization can’t even run. In situations like these, it’s imperative that your company has a data backup and disaster recovery solution put into place. In practice, however, data backup and disaster recovery are two very different things. Both of them are crucial to the continued success of your business, though.
Data backup has traditionally taken advantage of magnetic tape that stores data. The reels are then kept on-site where they can be used in the event of an emergency. While these might sound adequate on paper, tape is actually one of the most inefficient ways to back up your data. In a worst-case scenario, you could lose as much as an entire day’s worth of data, and it could take hours to fully restore operations. Of course, all of this is still assuming that the natural disaster or data loss event wasn’t also enough to destroy the tape that you rely on to initiate a restoration. All of these combined factors make for a horribly inconvenient and difficult way to back up and restore data.
The ideal solution to your business’ data backup and disaster recovery woes is to implement a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery (BDR) tool from PCSOFT. Cloud-based data backups can happen more frequently because they take advantage of what are known as snapshot-based backups. These backups only occur for information that has changed since the last one was taken, which means you get more frequent backups throughout the day--often as every fifteen minutes. Since you’re taking backups more often, you will lose minimal data during a disaster. Plus, your data will be stored both on-site and in the cloud, ready to go for whenever you need it most.
The greatest asset that cloud-based BDR provides is that it can be restored to any connected device--including the BDR device itself--in the event of a hardware failure or similar disaster. This means that you’ll experience minimal downtime, which is a considerable benefit in itself. You won’t have to worry about finding a new server to replace your old one--at least, not right away. It provides your business with the sustainability to keep operations moving as intended, even under the worst circumstances imaginable.
To learn more about BDR, reach out to PCSOFT at 02 98730080.
With several large storms, wildfires, earthquakes, and floods trampling major cities all over the world, the concept of data backup and disaster recovery is a particularly relevant topic. Business owners must confront whether or not they are prepared to handle such events, because if they don’t, they’ll be risking the future of their business.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40 percent of small businesses never truly recover from a disaster. This jarring statistic, along with every single article about data loss and disaster recovery, should be enough to convince business owners to prepare for the worst. Yet, they don’t, and it’s often too late.
To ensure that your organization doesn’t forget the most important rules of business continuity, consider the following statements:
- Your data will always be at risk, regardless of where it’s stored. No location is completely safe from a natural disaster.
- Your physical infrastructure will be affected, but so will many other organizations'.
Business continuity planning is one of the most important things that businesses fail to implement before it’s too late to do anything about it. In a recent article published in The Hartford, five businesses struggle to stay afloat following a natural disaster. They describe all of the nightmarish events that happen after the disaster, and the difficulties of recovering from such a devastating incident. Each business faced different challenges, though. One company had to repurchase machinery and inventory that was damaged during the disaster, while another simply found that most businesses they had been working with prior to the disaster were no longer in operation, thereby threatening their business with lack of sales.
If you learn any lesson from these stories, it’s that proactive thinking and planning for the future can make all the difference between your business’ survival, and its failure.
Here are seven of the most important parts of business continuity planning, and why you’ll want to focus on them.
Important Documents and Records
You need to preserve any paper documents that are critical for your business’ success. You should try to keep multiple copies of your documents for storage in both your on-site office and off-site, just in case your office isn’t left standing or is unreachable. You should consider the 3-2-1 rule as well, which we’ll go into more detail later.
Here are a few examples of important business documents:
- Insurance Papers
- Banking Records
- Hard Copy of Business Continuity Plan
Contacts and Communications
The most critical asset a business has is their workforce. Social media has implemented features that let users tell their friends and family that they are safe and sound, and that’s for one reason: it’s terrifying to lose contact with someone you care about during a disaster. You should establish and maintain contact lists to ensure you know who has managed to escape the wrath of the disaster. You also need to retain communication lines, including via a phone call, text message, or email. You can have a web page set up so that your employees can update you with their whereabouts in the event of a disaster, which can be helpful if they’re unable to send a voicemail or make a call. You should be especially certain that your critical staff know how important they are to operations so that you can establish modes of communication with them.
Alternative Locations and Mobility
Virtualization and mobility are the keys to ensuring that your business can survive a disaster--particularly if you want to set up a secondary location in the event your primary site is unavailable for work. Virtualization services and the cloud allow employees to work remotely as well, so even if you have no office, there might be a possibility to continue operations. In situations like this, be sure to explicitly state when you expect to resume normal operations.
Vendor and Critical Client Lists
You want to make sure that you know who your important vendors and clients are following a disaster, as they will certainly be instrumental in your recovery. You want to ensure that you can inform them of your situation so that there is no miscommunication with whether or not you can fulfill your agreements. If you are able to resume operations, you’ll want them on your side so that business as usual can resume.
Data Backup and Hardware Replacement
Your data is one of the most critical parts of your business, and without a way to recover it, you’re just another business starting over following a disaster. You must make sure that your data is backed up regularly and stored in multiple locations. Furthermore, you must test the backups to make sure they are working as intended.
Planning for Emergencies
This section mostly contains what you want to do in the event of an emergency while you’re in the office. You should set aside provisions such as flashlights, batteries, water, and more, just in case something happens and you can’t escape the office. These supplies should be stocked and checked regularly. Furthermore, you want to plan out emergency exits, meeting points, and an inventory of important items. This is all just in case you need to file an insurance claim.
Review, Update, and Test Important Components
The importance of reviewing your data backups cannot be overstated, but that’s not all you should be testing. You need to check phone numbers, a roster of key individuals, and your alternative site of operations so that you can continue operating in case of the worst.
Is your business prepared to handle the worst data loss incidents and natural disasters? To find out, reach out to us at 02 98730080.
Business continuity is an incredibly important part of running a business, but some smaller organizations underestimate just how crucial it is in the event of a disaster. Although FEMA estimates that more businesses are taking advantage of business continuity than ever before, not enough are. Business continuity is something that must be planned for, practiced consistently, and updated as needed. Does your business have a business continuity plan?
Your business is much more vulnerable to dangerous entities than you’d care to admit. Think about it--all it takes is one unexpected event to cause untold amounts of chaos for your business. To make matters worse, these events are often outside of your control. Data loss incidents might be unpredictable, but they can be soothed thanks to a little bit of preventative management.
Data backup is something of a conundrum for many small businesses. The classic mindset is that they don’t think they need data backup because there’s no way they’ll be struck with a data loss disaster. Their office may not be located in a place prone to natural disasters, and the organization is so small that the assume they are off the hook when it comes to hackers. This doesn’t reduce the value that a good data backup system can offer, though.
Over one-third of businesses don’t have any means of backing up their data. This is a major problem, especially considering how many threats there are that can derail operations. For managed IT providers like us, this is painful, as it’s unfortunate to hear about data disasters that could easily be prevented. We’ll discuss some of the biggest reasons why your business needs data backup and disaster recovery.
Hard Drives Break Easily
The hard drive is the part inside your computer that holds its data, but it is also susceptible to failing for one particular reason: it breaks easily. Consider the fact that the typical hard drive works by spinning a bunch of platters at very high speeds. It’s practically built with the risk of catastrophic breakage. These platters are outfitted with a thin magnetic coat that stores the data itself. A small arm rests over this platter with nothing but a cushion of air to hold it in place. The spinning itself is what keeps these two from colliding. If the head were to touch the platter, well… it’s safe to say that you’ll be wishing you had data backup.
While modern hard disk drives can somewhat bypass these issues and have failsafes built into them, mechanical devices with countless spinning parts should be expected to fail at some point or another. Constant operation will result in wear and tear, and even the most subtle shakes can take their toll on the reliability of the drive. If your data is only located on one drive, all it takes to ruin your day is a bit of bad luck.
User Error is Inevitable
What happens when one of your employees makes an admittedly understandable error and countless troubles follow suit? Perhaps your company uses spreadsheets to keep track of which services each of your clients receive. This template is what’s used for billing purposes. While this is a crude way of doing business at best compared to more recent innovations, if the original copy is lost or the files are changed unexpectedly, you could have a major problem on your hands. If this were to happen when you have data backup, you just need to restore the file from backup and everything would be right as rain.
Ransomware is Tricky and Unpredictable at Best
While the average PC owner understands that they need a firewall and antivirus protection on their computer, commercial-level solutions will simply not do for a business. There are threats out there that can pierce the defenses of the average security protocol. Some of the most renown recent threats include ransomware--malicious programs that encrypt data on your device and only unlock it when a ransom is paid. Cryptolocker and Cryptowall are some of the most notorious types of ransomware out there, and they’re as dangerous as they are crafty. Worst of all is that they are spread through spam and targeted phishing emails, so even some specialized security solutions may not spot them in time. In the event of a ransomware strike, the most practical way to recover is to just restore your data from a time before the ransomware infected your infrastructure.
Not Checking Your Backup
The scariest part of data backup isn’t the thought of not having it, but what would happen if your data backups failed. Frequently testing that your backups work is perhaps the most important part of using data backup and disaster recovery. PCSOFT can assist you with the implementation and upkeep of your backup system. To learn more, reach out to us at 02 98730080.