If your data is important to you then you can’t afford to lose it. If this happens, your business operations could be halted for days – even weeks.
Disasters can occur at any time, in any place. Whether they are natural or manmade, they can affect your network and result in lost or corrupted data. If you aren’t prepared ahead of time, you run the risk of losing data, productivity, your clients, and even your business!
The following are 11 things you must do to protect your business data and your business before a disaster occurs.
Develop a Written Disaster Plan. Think through in advance what you need to do if a disaster wipes out your office and your server goes down. Your disaster plan should contain:
- Details on the types of disasters that could occur,
- A step-by-step itemization of what to do, who should do it, and how it should be done.
- Contact information for your various providers, and
- Usernames and passwords for key websites.
Once complete, print out a number of copies and store them in a fireproof safe, offsite (in your home), and with your IT consultant (Phoenix Technology).
Implement a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Solution. If you can’t afford for your network to be down for more than a few hours, then you need a solution that can get you back up and running within that time frame. You should speak to your IT provider (Phoenix Technology) about virtualizing your server. This allows you and your staff to work from the virtualized server while the real one is being repaired.
Hire a Trusted Professional (Phoenix Technology) To Help. Trying to recover your data after a disaster without professional help is business suicide. One misstep during the recovery process can result in losing your data forever, or weeks of downtime. Phoenix has the experience in both setting up Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery solutions, and implementing them in a disaster.
Develop a Staff Communications Plan. If a disaster occurs and your employees can’t access your office, e-mail, or use the phones, how would they communicate with you? Make sure your plan details multiple communications methods in case some of them go down.
Automate Your Backups. If backing up your data depends on a human being doing something, it’s flawed from the start. The #1 cause of data loss is human error (people not swapping out tapes properly, someone not setting up the backup to run properly, etc.). Always automate your backups so they run like clockwork. (Phoenix can help.)
Keep Backup of Your Data Offsite. Always maintain a recent copy of your data offsite on a different server or separate storage device. Onsite backups are good, but they won’t help you if they get stolen, flooded, burned or hacked along with your server.
Arrange For 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 the office, but you’ll love the convenience it offers. Plus, your IT provider (Phoenix) should be able to access your network remotely in the event of an emergency or for routine maintenance.
Image Your Server. Having a copy of your data offsite is good, but keep in mind that all this information has to be restored to be of any use. If you don’t have all the software disks and licenses, it could take days to reinstate your applications (like Microsoft Office, your database, accounting software, etc.). Imaging your server is similar to making an exact replica. The replica can then be directly copied to another server, saving an enormous amount of time and money getting your network back. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your preferences, configurations or favorites. To find out more about this type of backup, ask Phoenix Technology.
Network Documentation. Network documentation is simply a blueprint of the software, data, systems and hardware contained in your network. Phoenix can 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 our technicians won’t have to spend time figuring out where things are located and how they are configured.
Maintain Your System. 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 virus, worm or hacker attack. That’s why it’s critical to keep your network patched, secure and up to date. Additionally, you should have Phoenix monitor hardware for deterioration and software for corruption. This is another overlooked threat that can wipe you out. Make sure you replace or repair aging software or hardware to avoid future problems.
Test, Test, Test! A study conducted in October 2007 by Forrester Research and the Disaster Recovery Journal found that 50 percent of companies test their disaster recovery plan just once a year, while 14 percent never do. If you are going to go to the trouble of setting up a plan, then at least hire an IT pro like Phoenix Technologies to run a test once a month to ensure your backups are working and your system is secure.
Remember,— “The worst time to test your parachute is AFTER you’ve jumped out of the plane!” Have your Disaster Planning Essentials ready before the next disaster!