Information technology (IT) has transformed the business world by enabling data to be processed quickly and efficiently. Computer systems, laptops and mobile devices are in every office and home. E-mail and VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephone systems are primary forms of communication. All types of data (including orders and payments) are transferred from one business to another via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Servers process enormous volumes of information and store vast quantities of critical data. However, disaster can strike in a nanosecond and all this technology stops working. This is why local IT support is so important.
A computer network crash is not just a temporary inconvenience. The inaccessibility, or worse the complete loss, of critical data has a huge negative impact on the continued operation and even the viability of the affected business. The adverse effects of data loss or corruption from hardware failure, hacking, malware, or simple human error are huge. Information Week magazine reports that computer downtime costs US businesses $26.5 billion per year. A report from Pepperdine University indicates that companies suffering a network failure lasting over ten days never completely get back on their feet financially, and roughly half of them will fail within five years. Therefore, it’s vital for every business to have a plan to backup and restore digital information.
Does Your Organization Have a Recovery Plan in Place?
If it does, that’s obviously a good thing, but then the question is, is the plan adequate? The following are some recommended steps to set up or enhance a disaster recovery plan.
- Look at your current plan (if there is one) and make an assessment of the level of protection it provides. Is this level high enough?
- Determine how long your business can reasonably afford to have its computer network be down.
- Assess how much data your business can afford to lose.
- Review your current backup system and determine whether it needs improvement.
- Make a list of all your system’s crucial components – servers, other kinds of hardware, and software applications.
- Document the processes needed to bring your server(s) back online.
- Take a look at your IT staff. Do they possess the necessary expertise to cope with an unpredictable disaster? If you have a contract with a local IT support firm, how quickly can their personnel be on your premises?
- If you have on-site servers, review the control room environment. Is it sufficiently secure, does it have a backup power supply and effective climate control?
The Importance of Testing
There are several excuses you can come up with for not testing a recovery program on a regular basis – no funds in the budget, not enough time, workflow interruptions, etc., etc. However, if you don’t test your plan, you have no idea if it’s even going to work. You certainly don’t want to wait until disaster strikes to discover its flaws. So, run a test of your recovery system and find out how well it works (or doesn’t work) as soon as possible.
Virtual or Physical Servers?
Does it help to have both physical and virtual servers (which is usual these days)? The answer is not really – deletion of data on virtual servers occurs just as often as on the physical kind. And, keep in mind that physical servers usually run your firm’s most critical applications, such as those processing payroll data.
Help is Available
If creating and testing a disaster recovery plan seems a little overwhelming, or you don’t have the personnel or expertise to effectively handle the project, please contact us. With CompuData’s local IT support you can stop being concerned about network crashes and loss of data. We will make sure that you only have to cope with the absolute minimum of downtime and are back up and operational again as quickly as possible.