Backup and disaster recovery planning is, unfortunately, one of those things that too many companies pay lip service to. It is time-consuming, it needs to be regularly reviewed and updated, it should be tested periodically and it doesn’t appear to add anything to the profitability of the business.
This is all true until something goes wrong. At that point having a disaster recovery plan can make the difference between rolling up your shirt sleeves and sorting things out as quickly and efficiently as possible or realising that you may never be able to recover at all. If you have worked in the business world for any length of time it is likely that you can think of at least one example of a company that found itself in difficulties that were compounded by the lack of a recovery plan. It isn’t uncommon to see companies focused on the day-to-day challenges and not paying too much attention to “what ifs”.
It’ll never happen to me
It’s hard to tell sometimes if that statement is an expression of the purest hope and confidence or a crushing comment on human nature. The simple truth is that it can happen to any of us and being prepared is a sensible precaution.
One of the dangers when discussing backup and disaster recovery is that it feels essentially negative; it’s all about things going wrong. Understandably none of us wants to focus on the negative, but a basic risk analysis will highlight areas of your enterprise, regardless of size, that needs to be addressed.
Fundamentally backup and disaster planning is insurance designed to address something that may happen and putting in place the necessary arrangements to deal with them should the worst happen.
What are you protecting yourself against?
The risk to your business here probably depends on geography, Glasgow is less prone to earthquakes than Goa. It may be sensible to include physical risks under this heading – power outages, physical damage to premises even widespread illness amongst staff. How would you deal with any of these should they occur? Could you find alternative premises quickly if necessary? Do you have sufficient staff to maintain your business should you lose a substantial number to illness?
Ideally, you would want to plan for all of this, but even discussing the prospect is a step in the right direction.
What would you do if you came in to find that all your company data was being held hostage and you were facing a demand for a very substantial amount of money?
Regular, secure data backups could render this situation a minor irritation and help you satisfy the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) under which such a situation may well constitute a notifiable breach with you having to demonstrate that you have complied with the requirements of the regulation.
Could you cope if your local hardware was compromised? Are your key applications and tools installed and maintained locally or are they cloud-based and portable? In the former scenario, you may have serious problems, in the latter case you may find it easier to maintain productivity while the underlying issues are resolved.
This requirement, already important has acquired greater priority with the introduction of the GDPR. Companies have a legal duty to protect any personal data that they hold and it is wise to realise that a data breach doesn’t simply mean that data has been stolen. It may be hijacked, corrupted or simply rendered unavailable whether as a result of malicious activity or not.
In such a case could you restore your data in a timely and efficient manner? High-speed internet connections and the availability of cost-effective cloud storage have the potential to make this situation much less of a headache that was once the case, however, there may still be arguments for considering hardware-based off-site backup facilities.
It is worth remembering that all too often problems arise as a result of human failings rather than external malicious activity. Has your electrician just severed your main 415v supply and forced your building into lockdown? Are your data and applications still accessible?
It can be difficult to anticipate the creativity of human error however it is wise to do what you can to mitigate the effects should something go wrong.
It is these which tend to hit the headlines, we are sure that you could name at least two major high-street institutions who have been publicly embarrassed by a system failure.
Risk assessment and planning are key here; identifying what could go wrong and how that failure would be most efficiently resolved. If your business is heavily reliant on your IT infrastructure it makes sense to stress test both it and your response to failures.
What can you do?
We suggested that a discussion of backup and disaster recovery was not the most cheerful business topic, but it doesn’t have to be a cause for despair. Onestop IT have years of experience in helping companies not only find the right solutions for their business but helping them prepare to cope should something go wrong.
At Onestop IT, we believe there are three key aspects to a backup and disaster recovery plan; ease of implementation, redundancy and round the clock availability. This is our gold standard.
Planning for the worst starts with a thorough risk assessment to identify weakness or single points of failure. Once you fully understand the nature of the structural dependencies within your company we can help you find ways to protect yourself against the unforeseen. We can offer alternative strategies and discuss the pros and cons of each, allowing you to balance the competing demands of cost, efficiency and resilience.
The ultimate aim is to help you find a solution that works for you, protecting you against the unknown while allowing you and your business to focus on the day-to-day challenges of commerce.