Backup and Disaster Recovery
In our last blog, we touched on some of the reasons why outsourcing your IT department to SquareCubed may be worth considering for your business, especially if you are located in Yorkshire or Lancashire. So, in this month’s blog we are going to take a more in-depth look at one of the areas we highlighted, backup and disaster recovery.
Of course, we hope that disaster never strikes your business, (or any business for that matter), but just like you have commercial insurance to protect the physical assets of your business in case of fire, flood, or theft, it is also good idea to have a disaster recovery plan in place to protect your critical business data. This ensures that all your important data - documents, files, calendars, schedules, customer database, financial accounts, etc. - can be recovered and restored with minimum downtime so your business can carry on as normal following a catastrophic system failure or security breach.
Unfortunately, backup and disaster recovery are quite often an afterthought for a small business. Many think that they would not be targeted by cyber attacks – surely, they would go after larger fish? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. And what would happen in the event of a system failure? Your business data is a major asset and having an effective disaster recovery plan will give you peace of mind regarding how you can carry on should the unthinkable happen. Having a verified backup safeguards your business-critical data so you have something to work from and can be up and running again with minimum disruption.
We all employ different kinds of backup in everyday life, for example a car breakdown/rescue service, so it makes sense to have backup for an important asset like your business data, just in case something should go wrong. Think of all the information you store on your business, let alone all your clients’ details – can you imagine having to call them and say all their information had gone and you couldn’t retrieve it! How embarrassing would that be!
Depending on the industry, you may need to have access to archived data for a certain period of time either for tax purposes, or other regulatory requirements. It, therefore, makes good business sense to store an extra archive data folder system somewhere off the premises or in the cloud, just in case you cannot access your regular archive.
The human factor
We all make mistakes! The accidental opening of an email containing a virus, or the deletion of a vital document can happen to any business at any time by any employee. It is worth remembering that it isn’t always a malicious attack that results in the loss of important data. It is, therefore, crucial that you take regular ‘snapshots’ of your systems to ensure you can restore it from before the virus happened, or before that important document was deleted.
Advantage over competitors
In the event of a system failure, the time it takes to restore them is called downtime. What would happen if your downtime was a matter of days or weeks, rather than minutes or hours? In the event of a major data loss, and when there is no backup in place, businesses may have to set systems up again and employees may have to re-do work going back months – all this costs time, money and reputation.
Downtime can be very damaging to a business, so if your company can be up and running quickly, more quickly than your competitors, it can give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It is not just the fact that you haven’t let customers down because you have been able to continue trading, but also that customers feel able to place more trust in your business.
If you are unsure whether your backup covers all of your critical business data, we have put together a list of simple questions to help make sure you are on track:
What data is stored in your backup? Does it include data critical for business continuity?
If something happened, can you restore that data?
Where is your backup stored? (On the premises, off-premises, in the cloud?)
When do you run the backup?
Is the backup running when it should and backing up what it should? Do you check?
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU TESTED IT?
If you are not sure of the answers, and your business is in Yorkshire or Lancashire, don’t worry about it, take action. Call SquareCubed today to discuss how we can alleviate those worries.
What is an effective disaster recovery plan?
The one question you should ask is “what data can we afford to lose?” The answer will depend on what industry you are in. For example, if your business is based on accounting software, losing that data could have a huge impact on the sales process, profits, the ability to continue to do business, a loss of reputation… and so the list goes on. So, a good plan will take the answer to this question into account.
Once you have decided your plan and the recovery processes, it is a good idea to test it. You need to check that the answer to the question above was correct and that all those vital documents, spreadsheets, files etc. are successfully restored and that business can continue as usual. If this doesn’t happen, your disaster recovery plan should be reviewed, amended and retested. Then continue to test it on a regular basis because business environments, processes, software, personnel, can change. The plan needs to be checked to make sure it is robust enough to withstand these changes – it should still meet the needs of your business.
You will find that your disaster recovery plan will change over time – businesses are themselves organic after all – but as long as you keep testing, you will feel secure in the knowledge that if disaster strikes, you are prepared.
Why outsource backup and disaster recovery?
Some SMEs don’t necessarily have the technical expertise in-house, or the IT department may already be overstretched with technical services personnel taking on many duties. Partnering with the experts at SquareCubed removes an effective plan for backup and disaster recovery from your to-do list, leaving you to concentrate your energy on growing the business.
At SquareCubed, we already work with many businesses in Yorkshire and Lancashire, providing corporate level advice to our clients about backup and disaster recovery. We can advise you about the options available to ensure business continuity in the event of a catastrophic system failure or breach. Contact us to discuss how we can help you to protect your critical business data.