In less than 60 seconds, you are about to learn 10 things that could save you days – or even weeks – of downtime, not to mention the undue stress on your company, and potentially thousands of dollars lost, due to a data disaster...
Use this article as your checklist in a conversation with your IT company to assure that your business has the right plan in place to get back up and running quickly if and when disaster strikes.
- Keep a written plan. Thinking through in ADVANCE what needs to happen when things go south, and documenting it, can go a long way toward getting your network back up and running quickly if it gets hacked, flooded, or compromised by human error or equipment failure.
Outline the types of disasters that could happen, and a step-by-step recovery process. Be sure to include a budget, what to do, who should do it and how. Store printed copies of your plan along with key contact information and login credentials 1) in a fireproof safe, 2) off-site at your home, 3) at each key employee’s home and 4) with your IT consultant.
- Hire a trusted professional to help you. Trying to recover data after a disaster without professional help is business suicide. One misstep can result in weeks of downtime, or permanent data loss. To improve your odds of a quick recovery, work with a pro who has experience in both setting up your plan and helping you recover when a loss occurs.
- Have a communications plan. What if your employees can’t access your office, e-mail or phone system – how should they communicate with you? Make sure your plan details the alternatives, including MULTIPLE ways to stay in touch.
- Automate your backups. The #1 cause of data loss is human error. If your backup system also depends on a human being to do something, it’s a recipe for disaster. ALWAYS automate your backups so they run like clockwork.
- Keep an off-site backup copy of your data. On-site backups are a good first step, but if they get flooded, burned or hacked along with your server, you’re out of luck. ALWAYS maintain a recent copy of your data off-site.
- Be able to access and manage your network remotely. You and your staff will be able to keep working if they can’t get into your office. Your IT manager or consultant can quickly handle many emergencies or routine maintenance, and you’ll love the convenience
- Image your server. Storing your data off-site is great – but bear in mind, if your system goes down, the software and architecture that handles all that data must be RESTORED for it to be of any use. Imaging your server creates a replica of the original, saving you an enormous amount of time and energy in getting your network running again. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your configuration and preferences.
- Document your network. Network documentation is simply a blueprint of the software, data, systems and hardware configuration that comprise your company’s network. Let your IT manager or consultant create this for you. It’ll save you time and money in the event your network needs to be restored.It also speeds up everyday repairs and maintenance on your network when technicians don’t have to waste time figuring out where things are and how they’re configured. Plus, it may help with insurance claims in the event of losses due to a disaster.
- Maintain your system. While fires, flooding and other natural disasters are certainly a risk, it’s even more likely that you’ll experience downtime due to a virus, worm or hacker attack. That’s why it’s critical to keep your network patched, secure and up-to-date. And don’t forget: deteriorating hardware can easily lead to downtime and data loss as well. Replace and update your equipment in a timely manner to steer clear of this threat.
- Test, test, test! If you go to the trouble to set up a plan, at least make sure it works! Hire an IT pro to test your plan periodically (at least quarterly) to make sure your systems work properly and your data is secure. After all, the worst time to test your parachute is AFTER you jump out of the plane.
Need help getting this implemented?
Contact us by May 31 at 404-975-4030 or [email protected] for a FREE Backup And Disaster Recovery Audit.