10 Things You Must Do Now to Prevent a Costly Data Disaster
When it comes to Internet abuse by employees, in less than 60 seconds, you are about to learn 10 things that could save you days – or even weeks – of downtime, not to mention the undue stress on your company, and potentially thousands of dollars lost, due to a data disaster…
Use this article as your checklist in a conversation with your IT company to assure that your business has the right plan in place to get back up and running quickly if and when disaster strikes.
Keep a written plan. Simply thinking through in ADVANCE what needs to happen when things go south on you, and documenting it, can go a long way toward getting your network back up and running quickly if it gets hacked, flooded or compromised by human error or equipment failure.
Outline the types of disasters that could happen, and a step-by-step recovery process. Be sure to include a budget, what to do, who should do it and how. Store printed copies along with key contact information and login details for essential websites 1) in a fireproof safe, 2) off-site at your home, 3) at each key employee’s home and 4) with your IT consultant.
Hire a trusted professional to help you. Trying to recover data after a disaster without professional help is business suicide. One misstep can result in weeks of downtime, or permanent data loss. To improve your odds of a quick recovery, work with a pro who has experience in both setting up your plan and helping you recover when a loss occurs.
Have a communications plan. What if your employees can’t access your office, e-mail or phone system – how should they communicate with you? Make sure your plan details the alternatives, including MULTIPLE ways to stay in touch.
Automate your backups. THE #1 cause of data loss is human error. If your backup system depends on a human being doing something, it’s a recipe for disaster. ALWAYS automate your backups so they run like clockwork.
Keep an off-site backup copy of your data. On-site backups are a good first step, but if they get flooded, burned or hacked along with your server, you’re out of luck. ALWAYS maintain a recent copy of your data off-site.
Be able to access and manage your network remotely. You and your staff will be able to keep working if they can’t get into your office. Your IT manager or consultant can quickly handle an emergency or routine maintenance. And you’ll love the convenience!
Image your server. Storing your data off-site is great – but bear in mind, if your system goes down, the software and architecture that handles all that data must be RESTORED for it to be of any use. Imaging your server creates a replica of the original, saving you an enormous amount of time and energy in getting your network back in gear. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your preferences, configurations or favorites.
Document your network. Network documentation is simply a blueprint of the software, data, systems and hardware that comprise your company’s network. Let your IT manager or consultant create this for you. It’ll save you time and money in the event your network needs to be restored.
It also speeds up everyday repairs and maintenance on your network when technicians don’t have to waste time figuring out where things are and how they’re configured. Plus, it may help with insurance claims in the event of losses due to a disaster.
Maintain your system. While fires, flooding and other natural disasters are certainly a risk, it’s ever more likely that you’ll experience downtime due to a virus, worm or hacker attack. That’s why it’s critical to keep your network patched, secure and up-to-date. And don’t forget: deteriorating hardware and corrupted software can wipe you out. Replace and update them as needed to steer clear of this threat.
Test, test, test! If you’re going to go to the trouble of setting up a plan, at least make sure it works! Hire an IT pro to test monthly to make sure your systems work properly and your data is secure. After all, the worst time to test your parachute is AFTER you jump out of the plane.