These five steps could save you days – or even weeks – of downtime, not to mention undue stress on your company and potentially thousands of dollars lost, due to a disaster.
1. Create a Written Plan
Just thinking through in advance what needs to happen when things go south on you is good, but documenting it will go a long way towards quickly getting your business back on its feet and running if your system gets hacked, flooded, or compromised by human error or equipment failure.
Consider the following specific items to put into your plan –
Document Your Network
Network documentation is merely the blueprint of the software, data, systems, and hardware that comprise your company’s network. Any IT provider or consultant worth their weight in silicone should create this for you. For example, be sure to have a copy of your passwords, licenses, vendor contact information, system serial numbers, and warranty information. This documentation will be critical in helping with insurance claims in the event of losses due to a disaster.
Network Documentation also speeds up common repairs and maintenance on your network. Having all of that information handy helps prevent technicians from wasting time having to figure out where things are and how they are configured.
Have a Communication 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.
Plan to Access and Manage Your Network Remotely
You and your staff will be able to keep working if you can’t get into the office. Your IT provider or consultant can quickly handle an emergency or routine maintenance, and you’ll love the convenience.
2. Maintain Your System
While fires, flooding, and other natural disasters are indeed a risk, it’s even 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. Moreover, don’t forget: deteriorating hardware and corrupted software can wipe you out. Replace and update them as needed to steer clear of this threat.
3. Backup, backup, backup
A great backup solution is key to any recovery efforts, and will likely prove more valuable than an insurance policy.
Automate Your Backups
The #1 cause of data loss if the human error. If your backup system depends on a human 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 an excellent 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.
Image Your Server
Storing your data off-site is great but, bear in mind, if your system goes down, you must restore the software and architecture that handles all that data 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 getting your network back in gear. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your preferences, configurations, or favorites.
4. Test, Test, Test!
If you’re going to go through the trouble of setting up a plan, at least make sure it works! Have your IT-pro run tests, at least quarterly, to make sure your recovery systems function and your data is secure. Make sure your employees understand and know to execute the plan in advance of any disaster. After all, the worst time to test your parachute is after you jump out of a plane.
5. 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 seen a few disasters, thus has experience in both setting up your plan and helping you recover when a loss occurs.
Do you need help getting any of these items implemented?
Garner IT provides all of the above as part of our complete plan. We would love to help you ensure your business is protected from a disaster. Give us a call at 850.250.3210 or stop by our office at 1330 Harrison Ave, Panama City, FL 32401.