You may have taken steps to prevent the advanced threat of ransomeware. You may have done your best to secure your business’ web applications and have chosen a SaaS that leads the way in enterprise level data security and compliance. However, no single business is completely free from the risk of data loss as the potential for disaster in some shape or form looms overhead. This disaster can come from the aforementioned cyber security concerns, but there are other scenarios that can threaten this invaluable business resource. Weather events and electronic malfunctions can also take down your systems and leave you without access.
For all of these well publicized concerns, you may be surprised to find out nearly 60 percent of small businesses are without an IT disaster recovery plan, with a staggering 90 percent failing within a year unless they can resume operations within five days following an event. This is not exclusive to mom & pop operations mind you, as studies show that 60 percent of both small and medium sized businesses alike shut down within six months without a data recovery plan in place.
The odds, unfortunately, are that if you’re reading this, you’re among the lot without an adequate (much less airtight) solution to follow any event that results in the loss of important documents, records, lists of vendors and suppliers, contracts, and more. The good news, is that you can change that today.
5 Steps to Achieving Business Continuity in an Unfortunate Event Leading to Data Loss
1. Understanding the Difference Between Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Ask most businesses if they have an IT disaster recovery plan and they’ll respond with a statement about how they backup their data once per day or week (etc.). This inability to differentiate between the two is the leading cause of a false sense of security.
There’s a big difference data backup and a disaster recovery plan.
Data backup in the most basic sense refers to the act of making one or more copies of your data to account for loss, inaccessibility, or lack of usability. The purpose is to recover your data should it be lost or corrupted.
A disaster recovery plan however, is much more robust. It is a set of policies and procedures which focus on IT infrastructure and all technological systems that support the critical functions of your organization. It assists in keeping all of the essential components (data warehouse, internet, VOIP, etc.) of your business in play no matter what disruptive event occurs. This includes everything from floods and lightning strikes to internal sabotage and cyberattacks from the other side of the world.
Remember, data backup is a part of your disaster recovery plan, not the plan in itself, while your disaster recovery plan is the key component in your business continuity strategy.
2. Increased Adoption of the Cloud
Most businesses now know that migrating to the cloud affords them a stringent data backup plan, but again, disaster recovery is not just about backup. And the cloud, is about so much more than that too.
By increasing adoption of the cloud, your business also gains business continuity. For example, you can rapidly redeploy infrastructure or services within minutes, as opposed to waiting for hours, days, or even weeks for restorative measures to return systems back to normal. In addition, the cloud allows you, your staff, and your stakeholders the opportunity to reliably access workloads from anywhere. If a given event (i.e. weather) makes it impossible for staff to come into the office, they can still access data and key business SaaS elements to ensure that the ability to work and service customers/clients continues despite the incident. Your entire hierarchy can work in “real time” as one cohesive unit no matter where in the city or world each individual may be.
This capacity to work from a location-independent environment is absolutely critical to any truly efficient disaster recovery plan.
3. Inspect Systems and Repair/Replace/Update/Upgrade as Needed
In the same manner that a property owner inspects a residential/commercial space for disrepair as a preventative means to prepare for an impending weather event, you too must consider the same for the hardware and software your business depends on. You need to look at everything, from Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the office to the power bar in the corner of your colocation (colo) where off-site servers/hardware may reside. Create comprehensive lists of all business equipment and applications so that no item goes unchecked when creating your recovery strategy. If you and your IT team find that repair, replacement, update, or upgrade is needed, make it happen right away and devise an ongoing schedule to perform the same in the future.
4. Institute a System of Reporting to Immediately Meet New Privacy Compliance Mandates
The game changed in 2018. The EU’s adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) act was big enough on its own, but the November 1 update to Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) put the icing on the cake and delivered a critical call to action for all businesses hoping to keep a data breach under wraps for public relations purposes. It is now mandatory to report security breaches to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada in addition to all affected individuals (i.e. your clients/customers). The law requires that notification to individuals must be provided as soon as feasible after you have determined a breach involving a real risk of significant harm has occurred. You don’t want to leave the interpretation of “as soon as feasible” up to the courts.
Long story short, given that an unfortunate event can compromise data, your disaster recovery plan must institute an efficient and timely system of reporting to the Commissioner and potentially impacted customers/clients.
5. Secure a Partner with Expertise in IT Disaster Recovery Planning / Testing
There’s a lot that goes into setting your disaster recovery policies and procedures.
An effective business continuity strategy requires a significant amount of budgeting and planning, and must identify which IT systems are mission critical, complete with a predefined order of recovery and stringent communication process. In addition, there must be a way to perform valid tests / trial-runs of the plan, otherwise you won’t know if it actually works until a disaster has occurred, which may be too late. Think of it like an elementary school fire drill for your business. You don’t want staff stumbling over one another as each seeks to fulfill their respective duties. All of the above however, can seems like a daunting task for a business, regardless of whether or not you have an in-house IT team.
Do not attempt to budget and build your recovery plan alone. Instead, seek counsel from an IT firm with expertise in setting policies, procedures, and testing of business continuity. This firm should boast partnerships with disaster recovery solution providers. For example, Fully Managed Inc is a Blue status partner with Datto, a leader in business continuity solutions that offers protection of business data while providing secure connectivity to deliver uninterrupted access to business resources on site, in transit, and in the cloud. But there’s more. In addition, Fully Managed will help your business prevent disaster from occurring in the first place by offering advanced threat protection, total data protection, and will help educate and train key staff so that a disaster recovery plan is not only created, but understood by all applicable parties.
Don’t wait another day to get the ball rolling on the disaster recovery plan for your data and IT infrastructure. Contact Fully Managed today