Disaster Recovery for Stable IT

Technology, especially personal tech, has become so pervasive and so ingrained in professional culture that it has taken on the characteristic of the kitchen sink. People tend to take it for granted, assume it will always work, and are put off when it backs up.

No matter how much budget you throw at bleeding edge technology, there will be hiccoughs. Being prepared with a good disaster recovery plan is crucial.

Recently, the Gartner Group estimated that nearly half of the SMBs that manage their IT internally will experience a network access violation (They’ll be hacked.) and nearly half of them won’t even know it.

Even though no defense is foolproof, the best first step remains a top notch firewall and anti-malware system. Just as important, though, is a Plan B, disaster recovery, because you know something is going to get past the bulwark.

There are countless ways disaster can come about. Most notable are fires and floods, power and internet outages, and natural disasters. While those are obvious, it’s the more subtle causes of trouble that are truly scary, such as accidental deletion, disgruntled (former) employees, and the ever present threat of a major coffee spill.

Disaster recovery solutions

We’ve all seen the stats that say 93% of companies that lose critical data file for bankruptcy within a year. Essentially, your chances of surviving a catastrophe are less than suffering one, if you are unprepared with a disaster recovery solution.

It’s up to each company to determine the level of data loss and downtime they can withstand. Once that determination is made, there are several options available for backups.

Types of Backup products

Let’s look at the three most common means of backup:

  • USB backup– Affordable, easy, and obvious. And while your techie may turn his nose up at this simple approach (probably because you don’t need him to manage it for you), it is viable and it works. Of course, you do need to be diligent when cycling out drives.
  • Tape backup– Tape is what they used to call USB way back in the days of yore, nearly 15 years ago. It’s just a way to store data, but these days people find it slow and cumbersome, and the media itself is pricey for what it does. As with a USB plan, your diligence will be rewarded.
  • Hosted Backup– For those of you who think (know darn well) that you might not be the most reliable person to manage the backup rotation schedule, you can automate your backups and just send them off to the cloud. Scheduled cloud backups get sent over the internet to be at the ready when you need them. The downsides are the potential expense for high volumes of data, and the connectivity performance for a company that has no true off-peak hours.

Document EVERYTHING in a disaster recovery plan.

The best laid plans are useless if you have no idea how to execute, or how to recover. Keep multiple copies of your recovery plan, including vendor phone numbers, account numbers, passwords, etc.

Also, keep the information current. Schedule updates bi-annually, if not quarterly. Keep copies in various locations.

Plan your disaster recovery steps wisely.

Let your vendors know who in your company has authority to make decisions during a disaster. Create a phone tree and keep it current. If possible, maintain a budget for these types of events.

Consider temporary space, connectivity, equipment and so on for large scale disasters, and consider budget for extra IT attention for the coffee spills and the accidental keystrokes. Also, be able to alert your clients if necessary.

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