When the term disaster recovery comes to mind most people think about the slew of natural disasters--tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, and more. However, in the small business world these types of disasters make-up only 10-14% of all disasters. What makes up the other 86-90% of these disasters and how can you protect your company’s data?
You may have guessed some of the top reasons companies suffer: human error, security breaches, and equipment failure. It is easy to think that none of these problems will happen, but without a plan of action you are creating the conditions for possible disaster.
Len Oppenheimer’s near disaster story should become a reminder for all of us. Len Oppenheimer, Chief Executive of the Golden Box, a company that supplies packing materials for its clients in the NYC tristate area, was almost out of luck when a power surge in his office damaged an essential server. He said, “We had started doing backups literally three days before the server went down.”
Where to Begin:
First-things-first, define your need. Jennifer Walzer, an experienced small business owner and New York Times writer, asks the most important question,“If you walked into your office tomorrow and your data was gone, what would you miss the most?”
The Chief Executive went on to say, “if we hadn’t had that safety net in place, I hate to even think about where we’d be right now.” Before all of this scares you too much, there is good news: disaster preparation is always available. Knowing exactly how to prepare is crucial.
Most companies that have experienced a disaster consider the construction of a recovery plan to be the best way to prevent total disaster.
Here are Four Steps You can Take
Step 1: Define your need
First thing first, define your need. Jennifer Walzer, an experienced small business owner and New York Times writer, asks the most important question,“If you walked into your office tomorrow and your data was gone, what would you miss the most?”
It may take some time to define, but once defined you can create an action plan based on this definition. An IT expert can inform you about the best data backup support systems and design an infrastructure to fit your needs.
Step 2: Perform an audit:
Secondly, a recovery plan requires your company to perform an audit to determine answers to some of your business’ life-or-death questions. You should know how at risk your company will be if a disaster strikes and how much downtime is possible before things worsen.
For example, you may have an employee that tends to cook soup or another lunch item on your company stove. Just this once she or he decides to leave the stove unattended to go to the bathroom. Only a minute or two later the food boils over and causes smoke to envelop the kitchen. Suddenly, the fire sprinklers rain down onto your in-house servers and company computers. Now, what?
If such a disaster strikes, it is necessary to create a fallback plan to keep your business running as smoothly as possible. A fallback plan should consist of a secondary location to do work or an alternative way to communicate with clients.
Step 3: Disseminate the Information:
Next, before the plan is completely outlined with details and priorities it is best to give each employee a part of the recovery process, this distinguishes between what is supposed to be done and who is supposed to do it.
Owners and managers should disseminate this information to staff so they are in the know about recovery procedures. You may think it is not important, but communication is one of the essential aspects of the recovery process. For instance, if one of your employees clicks on a malicious link instantly knowing their computer is infected with a virus, you would rather them come to management instead of briefly glossing over the subject to another employee. Company culture is key, and company cultural practices with make a positive impact.
Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice:
However, none of this will work unless your company practices their plan alongside other mandatory mock natural disaster tests. Make sure your company is well-rehearsed so employees can be held accountable for a real disaster.
Mock tests also include checking on backup systems frequently. All backup prevention support varies; therefore, your company should know how all your backup systems work.
As the years go on, preparing for business continuity is becoming more imperative--especially for small businesses where a trivial disaster can knock them down with a single wave. However, disaster recovery plans can feel tedious and costly especially since the disaster may or may not happen. But Len Oppenheimer can be our cautionary tale, by reminding us that unexpected things do happen. We all know about Murphy’s Law. If you want to acquire further assistance or have additional questions about backups, Total Computer Solutions offers a no obligation review of your current solution and can make recommendations for improvement. For more infomation call us at 336.804.8449 or fill out a form here.