Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst – Protect your Data

As technology dominates more of our business processes, an increasing amount of our valuable data is stored digitally. And, as more of our data exists in the realm of ones and zeroes, it is increasingly critical to have reliable systems in place to ensure that data is stored, protected, and retrieved securely.

Cybercrime is spreading fast, getting more sophisticated every day. This is no longer a someday issue; it must now be a top priority.

When it comes to IT disaster recovery, being prepared can save you time and money.

Let’s take a look at disaster preparedness, and the steps you must take to protect your business, ensuring your data is solidly secure.

Emergencies and Natural Disasters

First, let’s consider what happens should you be unable to access your office or server.  Natural disasters, such as floods and fires, or other emergency situations, can put your office out of reach.

It’s important that you have redundant backup strategies in place, as it is imperative that your data is stored in, and accessible from, somewhere off premises. It is, unfortunately, a common practice to backup data on flash drive, then leave it sitting on top of the server. Yes, backing up is good. No, leaving it in the office is not good enough.

Planning ahead for IT disaster recovery includes having backups in the office as well as out of the office, in the event of a natural disaster.

Don’t Let This Happen to You

We were called in to to work with a new client who was in the habit of keeping their backup files on the server. They had a plan in place to check random backups to make certain everything was in order and correct. After a year of consistent checking, they got lazy.

It had been two weeks since they last checked that their backups were actually working. When they called us, it was because their server had gone down, and they were shocked to discover they had lost two full weeks of work. That meant records were lost for every employer, vendor, payment, and transaction performed over that time span. They were overwhelmed, and frankly, terrified. This can be an IT disaster recovery nightmare for companies.

Backups are Insurance for Your Most Valuable Data

Think of backed up data as an effective and affordable insurance policy for your business. You don’t think about it much until you need it, and, when that moment comes, that insurance policy must already be in place. If you don’t have recent backups, you will be kicking yourself, hard.

Backing up data is one of the most important business practices. It’s generally recommended you have three different methods of backup in effect, or at least three different copies and locations where the data is being stored.

Let’s look at some simple scenarios for backing up your data and protecting your business:

Online backup services. There are a number of these services available, and, while they are reliable, they typically only back up at the file level. When you set up the service, you indicate which folders you want copied, and the data is copied at the intervals you select, usually in real-time, to their server, stored there until you should need it in the future.

Server lever backup. With this type of backup, you are continuously saving everything on your server, files as well as settings and software. The advantage is that you have absolutely everything on your server backed up. This is especially important in the event of any kind of disaster b

ecause you can restore everything, quickly, back to the state it was in when the disaster occurred. There is no need for new hardware, racking the server, setting it up, or any of the aggravation and cost of starting over.

When it comes to IT disaster recovery, we’ve found that creating a virtual environment for our clients not only offers peace of mind, it also offers quick and thorough recovery of the entire system.  Many business owners and managers don’t realize just how dependent they are on their digital data. The more paperless the business environment, the more critical it is to protect the data. Everything from practice management, to billing, scheduling, banking, bids, quotes, and more, are now digital. If your server crashes, you’re down for the count. Suddenly what matters most is how fast you can be up and running. Every hour that your business is offline costs you money, and can potentially result in lost business in the future. Data continuity is critical, and your best insurance is having your data stored remotely.

Recovery Point Objective
When dealing with disaster recovery, the most important question is, “When can I be back up and running?” The recovery point objective is the moment the server can be set back to, when your data was last backed up.  In other words, if the server goes down at 5pm on Friday, do you lose the entire work day? An hour? A whole week?

Virtual Environments Don’t Rely on Hardware

When we create a virtual environment for a client, it’s completely independent of hardware. You won’t ever have to think about getting a new server, nor the expense and time involved in setting it up. We can “spin up” a new server, usually in a matter of hours, taking you back to exactly where you were before the problem arose, without worry, conflict, or compromise.

First Steps to Take

Take the time to consider every digital process you currently rely on: What systems do you have in place to protect these processes? What are you be able to accomplish without your data or systems? You’ll quickly realize whether you have the protection, systems, and strategies you need.

It’s Not IF, It’s When
Most businesses will experience a data breach at some point, through cybercrime, employee error, or in any of the other ways your system can be compromised. Don’t wait until you’re in crisis mode. Talk to us today about your current processes, and whether they’re state-of-the-art, or have room for improvement. We’ll tell you whether you’re rock solid, or how you can improve security based on your needs and your budget.

We urge you, particularly if you haven’t reviewed your backup systems in six months or more, to not let this go another day. It’s all fine until the day it’s not.  There is nothing worse than the bitter pill of regret, knowing you could have done something, but just didn’t take the time, and, now, the time it will take to recover could break you.

Sounds dramatic? Good. Because it is! Do not wait to find out the hard way how IT disaster recovery can impact your company. Call us today at: (303) 383-1627 extension 1.