How to avoid a data disaster
I was listening to the news on the way to work this past winter, the rainiest in California's in recorded history, when the Emergency Broadcast System's warning broke in, announcing flash flooding in a neighboring community. It got me to thinking.
If my business was about to be destroyed by a flood, a fire, or an earthquake, and I had one minute to save one file, what would it be?
What would you do?
Is your business set up for for such emergencies? If disaster strikes, recovering from it could cost you thousands of dollars, plus lose your customer’s good faith.
Most businesses rely on technology to run their day-to-day processes, such as email, Word docs, customer information and ordering systems, inventory, accounting. Other companies are all about the tech. Think Uber, Airbnb, Constant Contact and many others.
So, if something disastrous happens, your business could grind to a halt, whether tech is your main business or ‘just’ how you get your work done every day.
Floods, electrical storms, hurricanes, fire and people who leave with your passwords or source code are just some of the wildcards you'll be left to deal with. Without a backup plan, your business could be in trouble.
What’s included in a plan?
Disaster plans can cover everything from how to get out of your store or office during a fire drill, to how to get back up and running if your servers are underwater.
Then, you can take it a step further. If you think about staying in business during a disaster, as well as recovery, you’ll be in the best shape you could be.
While it’s important to customize a plan for your business, every plan should include:
- Technology asset inventory that names mission critical processes and data
- Schedule for updating and testing any disaster recovery plans
- Clear understanding of the trade-offs between cost and complexity
Murphy’s Law says that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. That’s why it’s important to understand how your plan works. If you are a business decision maker, you might hand this over to your IT team. But it’s important to ask some questions to make sure you have full coverage for your business. A few questions:
- Does your plan include an inventory of mission critical business processes and data?
- When was the last time anyone reviewed your plan? Tested your plan?
- Is cyberattack preparedness included in your current plan?
- How much depends upon human intervention?
Evaluate Cloud Solutions
During a disaster, humans have other priorities than failing over their virtual machines. Automating your solution is key to ensuring success.
A cloud solution can help you recover quickly.And it’s less expensive than having your own datacenter to support and protect. It’s a practical solution for a business, whether it’s large or small. But it makes especially good financial sense for a smaller organization.
Not all cloud providers are equal, so you’ll need to do some research to compare. A few considerations:
- Do they offer a hybrid solution, so that you can keep some data on premise as well as in the cloud?
- Do they offer metered service so that you can save even more money by ‘turning off’ services when you don’t need them?
- Is the service easy to use, with good support for your team?
- Do they offer geo-redundancy?
- Are they compliant with your industry?
Is the cloud safe?
But wait a minute, you might say. I’ve read about companies, even big companies, losing data in the cloud during a disaster.
It’s true, there have been times when the cloud failed companies. When this happened, it was because the data was only stored in one location. And it was based in the same region as the company. That’s an obvious mistake.
With the Microsoft cloud, you can get ‘geo-redundancy.’ This means that your data is in more than one location. So, if your area is hit with a hurricane, along with floods and electrical storms, your data would be safe in a datacenter across the country.
That also means that your company data is available even during the storm.
Menlo Technologies is a proud member of the Microsoft Partner Network that serves more than 430,000 businesses with more than 160 million mutual customers worldwide. We have demonstrated our proven capabilities and expertise as a Microsoft Competency Partner in Cloud Development.
We prepared an informative e-Guide Protect your Business from Data Downtime that helps small and midsized businesses understand the benefits of moving backup to the cloud, and why a disaster recovery plan is absolutely necessary.