While humans love predictability, the world we live in is decidedly erratic. The unexpected can always happen – and when it does, can your business resume operations rapidly?
The reality is that most small to medium businesses have rudimentary disaster recovery (DR) plans in place, if any at all. More than that, those plans are probably never tested. Admit it – the reality is that despite living in the Shaky Isles, where a flood or a slip is known to happen regularly, you probably haven’t given DR any thought at all.
Now is a good time to change that.
Properly preparing your business to cope with disaster requires considering every part of its operations and identifying those essential aspects necessary to keep things running through lean times.
Effective business continuity (BC) is, above all, a comprehensive and implementable plan that equips your organisation to maintain operations during and after a traumatic event. That event doesn’t have to be spectacular. We think of earthquakes and volcanos, but localised problems specific to your business only can be just as devastating, such as data loss or a burst pipe.
Although a component of a BC plan, it’s not just about a backup location from which to work if your office is underwater. It’s also about having access to the services (and information) necessary to keep things ticking over.
You probably know where this is going: if all your IT is on-premise, replicating it and protecting the information should things go south at the office becomes very difficult…and very expensive. On-premise technology means the biggest disaster could be quietly sitting in your server room waiting for just that moment to unleash itself and wreak havoc. Hardware failure, a fire, an inattentive keystroke. These could send things spiralling out of control.
Not if your data is safeguarded in the cloud. A cloud backup solution to safeguard your business is arguably the best insurance money can buy. And that’s just part of the good news; the rest of it is that cloud backup solutions are so inexpensive that they really should be a no-brainer.
There are plenty of cloud backup solutions available, too. The majority deliver a high level of automation, with ‘set up and forget’ reliability which can protect your data non-stop. Combined with servers hosted in the cloud, getting a BC plan in place can be a lot more about actually sitting down and discussing it, than worrying about those crucial business servers, services and data – because when it is in the cloud, the whole office can go up in smoke and you could still get back to work within a day or two.
The lesson therefore is a simple one: start by discussing a DR and BC plan with your senior people. Then consider the options for data protection.
Here are our top picks of questions to consider when selecting an online backup solution as part of your DR and BC plan:
- Cost (yes, it is still top of the list)
Storage, servers, services: Consider putting data into the cloud. Some servers, too, lend themselves to cloud hosting. Some services, like email and more recently Office applications, do really well in the cloud. If it works for your business, the more in the cloud the merrier.
Recoverability: Set your backups in accordance with your line of business. Some might be OK with a daily backup. Others might want an hourly or even continual schedule in place.
Recovery time and accessibility: Establish just what it will take to get back to work should the office indeed become inaccessible (even if you’re just locked out). What do you need to access the data/services you need (in terms of connectivity and devices)? Knowing is powerful.