Have you ever thought about what you would do if your office burned down? Or what would happen to your business if Microsoft or Google crashed, and all your unbacked-up files just vanished? Well, no need to worry, we can help answer some of these for you. As an IT service provider, we not only help our clients answer these questions, but we also prepare their IT environments for when things go VERY wrong. Business continuity planning is the best thing an owner can do to ensure their business’s IT environment is always backed-up.
What is Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning?
When disaster strikes a business, the a business owner should have a previously designed disaster recovery plan that can be used to restore their business operations as quickly as possible. Business continuity planning can help with that. This process helps business owners prepare themselves for any event that may cause them to lose important business technology or data. This event could be: a natural disaster such as a hurricane or a tornado, it could also be power outages, hardware issues, a cyberattack, or any other event that may cause your business to experience downtime. The goal of any good BCDR plan is simple: restore technology as quickly as possible and with as little data loss as possible.
Important Things to Consider When Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
The quicker you restore basic business functions and data, the faster you can get back to business. When it comes to planning, here are a few things to think about:
- Scope of Possible Disaster: An important thing to think about when BCDR planning is the scope of disaster. A disaster could be as major as the office burning down or it could be as minor as the power going out for a couple hours. Do not leave your business vulnerable to downtime and lost revenue. You should be prepared for it all.
- Physical Environment: Part of this a BCDR plan is addressing the physical environment. This can be viewed as a broad term to describe anything that resides in the office such as computers, servers, printers. All these machines play a critical role in your operations and each needs to be restored quickly in the event of disaster.
- Data Restoration: Another part of this process is defining the critical business data that needs to be recoverable. For example, this could be employee laptop data, contracts, employee records, business documents or files, health records, other business data. This will allow your IT team to systematically ensure that the process is automated, that data is continually backed up, and always up-to-date.
- The Cost of Down Time: Between paying employees with little to no production and lost revenue, being out of operation can quickly cost your business thousands of dollars. With the possibility of being down a couple hours or a few weeks, be sure that you have clear expectations around how quickly things be restored.
- Business Insurance: Depending on the disaster you experience; insurance may be able to help your business offset the cost of the recovery and lost revenue. For example: in the event of a ransomware attack, you could be eligible to receive a payout to help off-set the cost of the ransom. Be sure to check in with your provider to understand where they can assist you.
How can your business avoid disaster?
Planning for disaster is just that – planning. Ideally, if your organization is consistently checking in on network endpoints and other vulnerable areas of your network, you should be okay. Although there are always risks of a business breach, there are ways you can avoid these incidents completely and ways you can mitigate the pain.
- Data Back-Ups: There are many tools out there that are designed to help IT teams back up their organization’s data and their client data. These tools provide businesses with daily data back-ups that run on every computer throughout the organization. This allows the team to restore any lost data quickly, minimizing the amount of downtime you experience.
- FUN FACT: These types of back-ups can help prevent the total cost of a ransomware attack. With ransomware attacks on the rise, many malicious hackers are targeting more businesses and asking for more money. The average cost of business downtime doubled from $141,000 in 2019 to $283,000 in 2020. With proper data back-up processes, you should be able to recover most of your data without paying an attacker to regain access.
- Employee Training: More than 50% of data breaches are caused by employee error. Many scammers will try to infiltrate an organization by purchasing their breached credentials online, through phishing emails, and by simply contacting them pretending to be someone else. Training employees on how to identify these types of scams is easy and could potentially save your business money.
- FUN FACT: A good IT team will also put in place spam tools and other notifications that help flag potentially malicious emails. This prevents harmful emails from even reaching your employee’s inbox.
- Regular Network Health Checks: Network auditing or health checks should regularly be conducted to identify possible IT vulnerabilities. Our team regularly checks our clients’ networks to ensure that all their hardware/software are up to date and that their security tools are operating as they should be. This simple routine check-up can help you keep hackers out of your network.
- FUN FACT: Hackers are lazy. From our experience, attackers are looking for easy ways to inconvenience your business and get paid out. If the path to their payout is too complicated, they will simply move on to the next business.
When it comes to protecting your business, your IT infrastructure should be a top priority, because you never know when disaster may strike. Protecting this means protecting your data, your files, your contracts, your hardware and other business critical resources that live online and on the computers within the organization. If you are interested in learning more about business continuity planning or if you want to start building your plan, visit our website.