When a business’s data is compromised, it’s just a matter of time before things begin to fall apart. As a result, the importance of having a business continuity plan in place is never clearer than during times like those. Sometimes known as a disaster recovery plan, a business continuity plan not only prepares your business for how to protect its data, but also how to prepare itself in the event of a catastrophic power failure or natural disaster.
As far as protecting your business is concerned, a business continuity plan is also the least expensive option for small companies because it costs virtually nothing to produce. Utilizing tools such as HP Business Continuity and Recovery Services, and putting the plan into practice, will dramatically improve your chances of continuing operations during a significant event.
Putting a plan in place
In layman’s terms, the plan details how employees can go about their daily jobs and communicate in the event of a disaster or emergency. Here is an abbreviated look at how a small or medium-sized business can establish a business continuity plan:
- Document and backup key internal personnel
- Identify employees who can telecommute
- Document external contacts and critical equipment
- Identify critical documents, contingency equipment options and secondary office locations
- Make a list of who should do what and when
- Communicate and test the plan
- Review, revise and revise again
Where did it all go wrong?
Like it or not, small and medium-sized businesses are more susceptible to catastrophic data loss. Not because they’re necessarily unprepared for a disaster, but because they’re inappropriately prepared.
And it’s not all about fires and tornados, either. A simple errant keystroke could lead to the introduction of a virus or worm, in turn, leading to the corruption or deletion of thousands of files.
Limited budgets often mean that businesses are coming up with insufficient ways to keep their data stored—if they’re storing it at all. External hard drives, USB/flash memory sticks, and even CDs and DVDs are just some of the ways that small and medium businesses are storing data. The obvious problems with these “solutions” is that few—if any—are satisfactory methods should a disaster occur.
USB drives and CDs/DVDs are acceptable in the event of a hardware or software failure, virus, or accidental deletion, but they will offer little to no protection in the event of a catastrophe.
If a disaster were to hit the office, the benefits of cloud-based data storage become immediately recognizable. You don’t have to store your data exclusively in the cloud to appreciate the benefits, either. Used in conjunction with a common approach such as using an HP ProLiant Gen8 DL380 as a file server, backing your data up in a cloud environment gives you peace of mind should the unthinkable happen.
Stop it before it happens
The key to preventing data loss is stopping it before it happens. The most important thing a small or medium-sized business can do is make multiple backups of the information and keep those backups off-site. And keep in mind that syncing data is not the same as backing it up. Syncing is a nice complement to backing up data, but it’s not a substitute.
Lastly, most backup systems retain copies of deleted files for 30 days, but most experts agree that they should be retained indefinitely. This will help to avoid the loss of files that weren’t identified until after the 30-day timeframe.
Safer in the cloud
Below are a number of ways small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from cloud storage:
- Physical and virtual security—whether it’s protection from a physical office break-in (your data won’t be in the office), or protection from malware in your office’s network, storing your data in the cloud keeps it safe. (This isn't for everyone and it's necesary to make sure that the offsite storage is compliant.)
- Ease-of-use—the best cloud solutions offer continuous data syncing, making data backup duplication easier than ever.
- Cheap and easy redundancy—keeping critical files and databases backed up isn’t as expensive as you think.
When an organization’s systems and data are at risk, the consequences can be severe. Having a business continuity plan in place—and putting it into practice—can not only moderate risk, but can ensure that your business continues to operate through a disruption.
We at The Computing Center have implemented many kinds of business continuity plans. We work with Hewlett Packard and many other suppliers to understand and be able to implement many different solutions. Most importantly, we will work closely with you to understand your needs, figure out what is your critical data, and determine your budget for an effective solution.