How to Avoid Business Disruptions and Data Loss

How to Avoid Business Disruptions and Data Loss

Let’s face it, technology is not perfect. Yet most businesses are heavily dependent on technology to help run their operations.

In this fast-paced world, full of cybercrime and uncertainty, it’s vital to protect your most important business assets you rely on to help you succeed and stay ahead of the competition.

A crisis can come at you in many forms and can disrupt your network resulting in the loss of data or the failure to capture data. IT resilience ensures business continuity in crisis. Do you have a plan to conduct business in the event your systems go down?

If not, here are six tips to help get you started:

1. Understand your business and risk tolerance

First identify your critical systems. Then ask yourself the following questions to determine your risk tolerance:

  • How much data loss and downtime can I withstand for my critical and non-critical systems?
  • What’s an adequate protection schedule? What would be the impact of being down for an hour, a day, or a week?
  • Can I quantify a potential outage in terms of lost revenue, lost customers, or decreased employee productivity?

These factors will contribute to how your organization should prepare for handling an unexpected outage.

2. Identify various scenarios that could disrupt your business

Most businesses assume a natural disaster as their biggest threat. While this should certainly be a major concern, there are many other business disruptions that you should account for including ransomware attacks, server failures, power outages and user errors (like accidental deletion of data).

Incorporate these scenarios when building a comprehensive continuity strategy.

3. Outline the technical requirements that will ensure recovery

Some technical requirements might include items like:

  • Point-in-time snapshots to allow going back in time and recovering the state of data and systems.
  • Full image protection to recover an entire failed system rather than having to build up a new system from scratch; i.e., having to install the operating system, apply maintenance patches, install applications, restore data, and so on.
  • Failover to quickly bring up systems while IT works to restore primary infrastructure, such as restoring power or replacing hardware.

4. Cost of implementing a protection solution

When implementing a protection solution, weigh the cost versus coverage in your decision-making process. Apply a benefit-risk analysis to investigate coverage against the risk tolerance for your business.

Consider how seamless your total solution needs to be from an IT administrative and recoverability perspective. This will guide your decision about which systems need to be accessed immediately and thus fully protected, and which systems could be restored to the last backup.  

Your managed IT service provider will be able to provide you with various options and help you decide which is right for you. Additionally, if you require protection and backups of all of your data, it might be worthwhile to consider the on-demand backup advantages and operating costs of a hosted or cloud-based network.

5. Keep concise documentation and update regularly

The midst of a crisis is the worst time to try and figure out recovery protocols. From a disaster readiness perspective, a mature network has a clearly documented protection and recovery plan with detailed, current procedures. Having an executable recovery plan in place enables swift and direct action and less interruption to your business.

6. Test the solution regularly

Building IT resilience for business continuity requires sustained attention. Recovery protocols need to be run through regularly to ensure adequate breadth and depth of test coverage and to uncover any gaps or technical issues before a crisis hits. Changes in primary infrastructure will likely impact your solution. So, the only way to ensure readiness is through frequent testing. IT resilience is dynamic and your solution needs continued attention to ensure successful recovery.

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