If your data is important to your business and you cannot afford to have your operations halted for days – even weeks – due to data loss or corruption, then you need to read this report and act on the information shared.
A disaster can happen at any time on any day and is likely to occur at the most inconvenient time. If you have not already prepared, you may run the risk of having the disaster coming before you have your house in order. This report will outline 10 things you should have in place to make sure your business could be back up and running again in the event of a disaster.
1. Have a written plan
As simple as it may sound, just thinking through in advance what needs to happen if your server, service, data or device has a meltdown or a natural disaster impacts your workplace, will go a long way in getting it back fast. At a minimum, the plan should contain a disaster impact statement and a step-by-step process of what to do, who should do it and how.
Also include contact information for various providers and ensure access information is available (Secure password vault) for various key platforms. Writing this plan will also allow you to think about what you need to budget for backup, maintenance and disaster recovery. If you can’t afford to have your network down for more than a few hours, then you need a plan that can get you back up and running within that time frame.
You may want the ability to run your platforms (VMs), data and services from a cloud provider (Linktech Australia’s Cloud Backup) or physical recovery site, allowing the office to run off of the recovery platforms while the primary platforms are repaired.
If you can afford to be down for a couple of days, there are cheaper solutions available for consideration, such as remote backup and recovery. Once you have written your plan, print out a copy and store it securely so that it can be accessed if and when required – why not use a secure Vault on your SharePoint Online or OneDrive?
2. Hire a trusted professional
Trying to recover your data after a disaster without little to no experience is potentially stressful, time-consuming, and a little risky; one misstep during the recovery process can result in lost data or weeks of downtime. Make sure you work with someone who has experience in both setting up business contingency plans (so you have a good framework from which you can restore your systems) and experience in data recovery.
3. Have a communications plan
If something should happen where employees couldn’t access your workplace, e-mail or use the phones, how should they communicate with you? Make sure your plan includes this information, including multiple communications methods.
4. Automate your backups
If backing up your data depends on a human being doing something, it’s potentially flawed. The #1 cause of data loss is human error (people not swapping out tapes properly, someone not setting up the backup to run properly, forgetting to back up that new platform, etc.). Always automate your backups and configure alerting, so they run like clockwork.
5. Have an off-site backup of your data
Always, always, always maintain a recent copy of your data off-site, on a different server, or on a storage device. Remember the 3-2-1 rule – keep at least three (3) copies of your data, and store two (2) backup copies on different storage media, with one (1) of them located off-site.
Onsite backups are good, but they won’t help you if they get stolen, flooded, burned or hacked along with your server. Ensure your backup data is protected from crypto attacks; it’s a widespread and increasingly worrisome cyber attack strategy to destroy or compromise your backup data.
6. Have secure remote access and management of your network
Not only will this allow you and your staff to keep working if you can’t go into your office, but you’ll love the convenience it offers. Plus, your IT staff or an IT consultant should be able to access your network remotely in the event of an emergency or for routine maintenance.
Please speak to us about our Windows Virtual Desktop solutions which provide an excellent option for disaster recovery.
7. Network documentation
Network documentation is simply a blueprint of the software, data, systems and hardware you have in your network. Your IT manager or IT consultant should put this together for you. This will make the job of restoring your network faster, easier and cheaper.
It also speeds up the process of everyday repairs on your network since the technicians don’t have to spend time figuring out where things are located and how they are configured.
8. Maintain your infrastructure
One of the most important ways to avoid disaster is by maintaining the security of your network. While fires, floods, theft and natural disasters are certainly a threat, you are much more likely to experience downtime and data loss due to a malware, phishing or security attack.
That’s why it’s critical to keep your network patched, secure and up to date. Have a plan to retire Windows 7 workstations and Windows Server 2008 machines, these products are no longer supported by Microsoft and will be a prime target for cybercriminals going forward.
9. Test, test, test!
A 2018 study by Spiceworks uncovered that 95% of companies have a disaster recovery plan, and 27% of companies have lost revenue due to an outage within the last 12 months. 95% of respondents in the Spiceworks study stated they have a DR plan in place, but 23% never test their DR plan. If you’re going to go through the trouble of setting up a plan, then you should test it at least once a month. After all, the worst time to test your parachute is after you’ve jumped out of the plane.
Need help with your Disaster Recovery? Call us for an obligation-free Disaster Recovery Audit