You hear it all the time—back up your data; keep your virus protection
current; keep records of software licenses and passwords, and install
and maintain a firewall to protect your business from hackers and other online
threats. However, while these precautions will certainly help you avoid
problems, they can’t do anything to protect your computer network if you don’t have a good backup and disaster recovery plan in place.
We all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; yet disaster recovery planning often takes a distant second to the daily deadlines and pressures of running a business. That means most businesses, including your own, may end up offline and without important data after a simple lightning storm.
Don’t think that could ever happen to you? Well, consider this: “data-erasing disasters” can also take the form of office fires and broken water pipes; not just earthquakes, floods, and tornadoes. If a fire started in your building, the
areas that weren’t burned beyond recovery would probably be destroyed by the firemen’s efforts. Even more common is software corruption, hardware failures, and human error!
7 Disaster Recovery Questions You Need To Answer
A disaster recovery plan doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming or expensive. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you back up your company’s data daily to both an onsite
and offsite location?
- Are you absolutely certain that your backup copy is valid,
complete, and not corrupt? How do you know for sure?
- If disaster strikes, how would you get your data back, and
how long would it take? In many cases it takes days and often weeks. What would you do during that period of down-time?
- Do you have copies of all the software licenses and discs
in a safe location that could be accessed in the event of having to rebuild your network server?
- Would you and your employees have a way to access your
network remotely if you couldn't get to the office?
- Do you store important passwords in a secure place that
company officers can access if you are unavailable?
- Do you have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) device in
place to keep your network and other critical data operations running during a power outage?
If you find yourself having difficulty responding to any of these
questions, you may need to give the safety and security of your business’s
critical data your immediate attention. It’s similar to boarding an airplane; you
always get the drill about how to respond in the event of an emergency. Do you think they would spend all that time if it wasn’t justified, simply for the
sake of appearances?
According to the Gartner Group, one of the world's leading information
technology research and advisory companies, only 35 percent of SMBs (Small
& Medium-sized Businesses) have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in
place. The International Data Corp. (IDC), an information technology analyst
firm, estimates that companies lose an average of $84,000 for every hour of
down-time; yet, according to Strategic Research, the numbers are actually
closer to $90,000 per hour.
A National Small Business Poll recently revealed that man-made disasters
affect 10% of all small businesses; whereas natural disasters (e.g., Super-storm Sandy) have impacted more than 30% of all small businesses in the USA, and are by far the most destructive force causing power failure, flooding, customer loss, and the demise of many businesses. The most salient statistic regarding Disaster Recovery Plans is that the survival rate for those without one is under 10%.
Last, but not least, IDC also reports that about 70% of all successful
attacks on computer networks were carried out by employees and insiders. After reviewing these facts, aren’t you a bit anxious to ensure your business has an effective Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) in place?
About the author
Fred Holzsager, CNE, MCSE, MSBS, M.S., Telecommunications (Pace
University), has been working with computers and information technology since 1979. He has served as an adjunct professor at Westchester Community College and Pratt Institute in Manhattan teaching AutoCAD. Fred is IT Director at Holzsager Technology Services (www.tech4now.com), which provides systems monitoring, maintenance, and network support services to small businesses throughout Northern NJ and the Greater New York Area.