All businesses have different goals when it comes to developing their IT infrastructure. While some might struggle just making ends meet with important maintenance, others might decide that it’s time to branch out and try innovative new solutions to take their infrastructures to the next level. We want to make one thing clear; both situations are perfectly fine, so long as you are willing to accept that you could always be doing things better, and today is the perfect time to take the next steps.
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Data breaches have become all too common for small businesses over the past several years and when it seems like there is a solution to one problem, something even worse pops up. Part of a comprehensive risk management strategy is identifying problems and doing what you can to keep them from affecting your business. Let’s take a look at the major cybersecurity threats small businesses are facing in 2021 and what you can do to keep them from hurting your business.
We don’t want to think about possible negative situations when it comes to our lives or our businesses. Planning for disasters means that we’re able to quickly recover from their consequences. In our previous blogs on data disaster recovery, we've covered how to plan for disasters and what types of disasters to consider when writing a data recovery plan. In this blog, we'll take a look at the main points as a refresher.
The key elements of data recovery plans
A good disaster recovery plan will have assigned roles and responsibilities to different team members in advance. Planning ahead should ensure there is no time wasted when a disaster occurs. Having clearly defined roles means that team members can get on with their tasks quickly to mitigate the effects of a disaster.
Another important point is the identification of which assets are critical to operating the business. In a disaster, you need to know which things to protect and sort out first to enable business operations to continue. If someone spends too much time dealing with a puddle on the floor instead of dealing with customer calls, for example, your business could be in turmoil.
Backing up data is a must for every business. You’re on a dangerous path if you don’t have a plan in place for regular data backups. After all, you can’t recover your data after a disaster if you haven’t backed it up. Businesses must also consider whether they need to back up their IT infrastructure using a ‘cold site’ (a basic version of their infrastructure off-premises) or a ‘hot site’ (up-to-date data backups). As you can guess, the more data you back up, the better off you’ll be.
Types of disasters to plan for
It’s difficult to plan for any eventuality; however, there are certain things that all businesses should consider.
Disasters can include technological disasters like:
Or natural disasters like:
The impacts of any of these disasters are huge. Essentially, they can result in a business completely folding. Depending on the type of disaster, there could be all sorts of consequences. For example, the loss of supply chains, loss of assets and buildings, loss of life or personnel, and the loss of data. Since these consequences can be disastrous, it’s important for all businesses, regardless of size, to have contingency plans for disasters.
Planning for disasters
Businesses need to have contingency plans for dealing with disasters of every possible type. Different companies will, of course, have different needs. However, some things are necessary for all businesses to include in their data recovery strategy plan. These include data, insurance, finances, resources, personnel, technology, compliance requirements, and the supply chain.
Types of disaster data recovery
There are a variety of options when it comes to data recovery. Perhaps the simplest method is backup. Your data is stored on or off-premises, or both for extra safety. However, relying solely on data backup gives minimal protection for businesses. If there is no backup of the IT infrastructure as well, there could be even bigger issues.
An effective data recovery plan needs strategies and procedures for backups. You should know who will perform the backups and how often they will be done. Those responsible for data backups must also work out the business’s recovery time. Calculate the amount of time the organization can be ‘down’ after a disaster and work from there.
The data recovery strategy should be tested and updated continually to protect the business from new threats. In this way, the business will be able to navigate challenges successfully. Planning a response to a cyberattack ahead of time will make sure your team will know what to do.
Whatever your business and size, the ultimate aim is to ensure you’re well protected and have plans in place for any type of disaster. If you’re struggling to finalize your plans or even start writing one, get in touch with us for a free consultation.
Many businesses struggle with IT maintenance and management. Maybe they don’t have the resources to perform in-house maintenance due to a lack of funding and, consequently, the inability to hire full-time technicians. Maybe they believe that their technology is perfectly fine as is and doesn’t require regular maintenance. We’re here to burst that bubble; you should always have maintenance at the top of mind, and in today’s business environment, there is no excuse not to.
For the past year or so, most workers around the world were forced to work remotely in order to adhere to the strict social distancing guidelines imposed by governing bodies. Now that the time has come to return to the office, many workers are finding that their expectations are a bit different than they were previously, forcing business owners to respond.
You might be aware that disasters of varying types can have devastating consequences on businesses. The key to mitigating such occurrences is to have a data recovery strategy plan in place. This means that you have a structured and documented approach detailing how your organization can resume work quickly after an unforeseen disaster. This is an essential tool for your company's continuity plan and applies to all parts of the organization that is dependent on your IT infrastructure. This data recovery plan will help you resolve any data loss and will allow the recovery of your system’s functionality. This means that you can continue operating your business with minimal disruption.
Types of Disasters to consider
Potential disasters are plentiful. We’re not just talking about hacking and data breaches, but natural disasters too. Being able to handle disasters efficiently means there will be minimal impact financially. Having a data recovery strategy plan will allow you to ensure that all requirements for compliance are met. The plan will also provide a clear recovery roadmap. Here are some of the potential disasters that might affect your businesses:
Building disaster (Fire, power outage, etc.)
Communication failure (Due to data breach, hacking or natural disaster)
Application failure (Outdated hardware, viruses, etc.)
Datacenter disaster (Hacking, data breach, natural disaster)
City disaster (Earthquake, tornado, flood, etc.)
Regional disaster (Power grid outage, wildfires, etc.)
National disaster (Epidemic)
Multinational disaster (Pandemic, computer viruses, ransomware)
You can see that this list covers lots of different types of disasters. It's worth noting, however, that it's not exhaustive. When making data recovery strategy plans, businesses need to consider their potential individual circumstances. If you’re based in the Midwest, for example, it’s very unlikely that your business will be affected by a volcanic eruption. But there are other natural disasters like floods or tornados that are more likely to happen. With that said, the 2010 Iceland volcanic eruption had repercussions worldwide, so you never know!
Considerations for your Data Recovery Plan
A data recovery strategy plan should begin at the business level. You need to determine what infrastructure is most important to your organization. The plan should implement an RTO (a recovery time objective), which describes how much time each application could be down for as a target.
A data recovery strategy defines your business’s plan for incident response. To determine your optimal data recovery strategy, you must consider the following issues:
Resources (both facilities and personnel)
The supply chain
How to write a Data Recovery Strategy Plan
A business can start its plan by prioritizing a list of contacts and vital software programs so that the most important information is easily and quickly accessible.
The data recovery plan should define each team member’s role and responsibilities in the recovery process. This is so there is no panic or time wasted should an unexpected disaster occur.
There are many important points to write into a data recovery plan. These include:
A policy statement or statement of intent.
Specific tasks assigned to staff.
Goals of the plan.
Passwords and other authentication tools essential to data recovery.
Geographical factors and risks appropriate to the local, regional or national area.
Advice on dealing with the media.
Legal and financial information with points of action.
A history of the plan – and any amendments that have been made to it.
As you can see, being prepared for these events is not difficult, but it will take some time. It is, however, very important that you take the time to complete it. You should also run through the plan in a mock rehearsal. That way you’ll find out if you’ve missed any steps or if they are gaps in your plan.
The bottom line is, you want to be as prepared as possible for any disaster that causes data loss. After all, keeping your doors open when other’s can't sure makes you the popular choice over your competitors.
If you need advice or want help to build your data recovery strategy plan, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can book a consultation at any time.
A lot has been made about 5G and the way that it is going to significantly alter what is possible, without much mention about the other technology that will fuel this complete digital transformation. We thought that we would talk a little bit about smart technology, how your business can use it to your advantage, and what this technology needs to do to be ready for the world to come.
As a business owner, we are sure that you have your fair share of day-to-day stressors. Oftentimes, these stressors can lead to the development of bad habits. When this happens, you might get the urge to correct the bad behavior and replace it with good, productive habits. That said, it’s easier said than done to build good habits, especially when you have so much else on your plate.
Almost daily there is another data breach reported that exposes data for hundreds of thousands or millions of people. This is a troubling trend. One of the most troubling events happened recently as 700 million profiles from the social media network LinkedIn were found for sale on a popular hackers forum. What’s worse is that the company isn’t admitting that it had been breached recently. Let’s take a brief look at this situation and try to unpack what is going on with LinkedIn.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations were forced to transition to remote work, even though they would have preferred to keep operations within the office. While the transition was rough at first, these organizations may have found that remote work offers certain flexibilities that were impossible in the traditional office environment. That said, one looming threat was (and still is) a major concern for the remote workplace: security.
The success of a business is often attributed to the strong decisions of its management. Yet, that is not the entire story. Often, both failure and success can be determined by how a business deals with situations out of its control. A business may fail because it wasn’t prepared for an unexpected event. Conversely, another business might be able to survive a natural disaster simply because it had a plan in place for such an event.
All businesses, whether large or small, have lots of potential threats. If one of these threats happens, it can have devastating consequences. According to ZDNet, the top three threats to society include cyberattacks, natural disasters, and extreme weather. Interestingly, they put cyberattacks on the same level of devastation as extreme weather and natural disasters. It is unfortunately true. The consequences of natural disasters, breaches, and hackers lead to threats to businesses and data loss. Since many businesses rely on connected services and the internet, the damage from cyberattacks can be huge. It's one of the biggest risks the world faces today.
Types of natural disasters
There are many types of natural disasters. All of them can affect businesses and data loss. Here are some examples of natural disasters:
• Flooding or extreme precipitation
• Hurricane, tornado, cyclone
• Famine and drought
• Extreme temperature (heat or cold)
• And, as we’ve seen, pandemics
Impact of natural disasters
Before we delve into exploring businesses and data loss from natural disasters, we can’t ignore the devastating results of these natural phenomena outside in general. According to Our World in Data, there are around 60,000 deaths from natural disasters worldwide. The deadliest of natural disasters is usually an earthquake. Typically, natural disasters affect poorer populations more heavily. This is often due to a lack of protective dwelling construction or adequate response to the event.
How does disaster impact businesses?
No one is ever 100% prepared for a disaster. Whether the disaster is an earthquake, tornado, or flood, an organization's plans can be thrown into disarray. There might be a breakdown in supply chains. Maybe employees are unable to reach the premises. Or there may be damage to the facilities, equipment, or the power or internet may be down. In any disaster, including the technological kind, a business will need to find ways to deal with the situation at hand. This is why it is important for all businesses, regardless of size, to have contingency plans for disasters. It should be a priority.
How can businesses plan for natural disasters?
Businesses should ensure they look at their entire operation and consider how a natural disaster might disrupt every branch. It’s not just about planning emergency evacuation routes or having emergency supplies. Businesses also need to consider things like how to contact employees if connections are down.
Depending on the business type, an organization might also need to think about how to sort out their supply chain if they are unable to access the major transit routes due to natural disasters. Having an alternative plan if facilities can’t be used is a must for survival.
Natural disasters, data breaches, and hackers for businesses, and data loss
While we’re talking about disasters that affect businesses, we must also consider technological disasters like hackers and data breaches. These can have just as much of an impact on businesses and data loss. In some parts of the world, these events are more likely than a natural disaster. According to Forbes, hackers and cybercrime are more devastating to business operations than a Transit Strike, a Fire, and even Floods for small and medium-sized businesses.
While we can’t prevent any of these disasters from causing problems for businesses and data loss, there are steps that we can take to reduce their impact. The main takeaway is to plan for all possible scenarios. For the impact of events to be reduced, there must be a detailed process in place.
One solution is an on-site BDR (Backup, Disaster, Recovery) unit. A BDR automatically backs up all your data every 15 minutes. It is connected to an auxiliary power unit so it can back up everything when the power goes out.
There are also Cloud solutions that backup your data safely, in multiple locations. This ensures that your data is always available, no matter what happens.
If you have any questions about Backup solutions or would like to change the ways you are currently saving your data, contact us any time. As your Managed Service Provider, the safety of your data is our concern too.
With such a heavy focus on remote work over the past year or so, if you have tried to procure equipment or technology solutions during this period, you may have noticed that it is much harder than usual to do so. The global chip shortage has led to many challenges for organizations, chief among them getting the parts needed to put together critical technology solutions. This opens up a whole other set of issues, though, particularly in regards to disruption of the supply chain.
All businesses store and transmit data on a regular basis. From financial spreadsheets to client information to employee records, there is no shortage of data required by most organizations to maintain operations. What would you do if all that data were to suddenly vanish into thin air, or worse, be stolen by hackers?
What does disaster data recovery mean? This term describes the method businesses use to regain access to stored information after a disruptive event. Any event, like a cyberattack, ransomware, a natural disaster, or even something new like the Covid-19 pandemic. When data is lost, businesses can employ a variety of methods for their disaster data recovery plan.
How does disaster data recovery work?
Disaster data recovery relies on the data being replicated in an off-site location that has not been affected by the outage. When a server goes down due to a cyberattack, equipment failure, or a natural disaster, businesses can recover their lost data from a backup location. When the data is backed up on the Cloud, businesses can access their data remotely so they can continue to operate.
What are some key elements of effective disaster data recovery plans?
We need a plan! A data recovery team will assign specialists to create, implement and manage the data recovery plan. Should a disaster occur, the data recovery team will facilitate communication with employees, customers, and vendors.
Risk evaluations. An effective data recovery plan needs to assess all potential hazards. Depending on the type of disaster, the risk assessment will dictate what needs to happen for the business to resume operations. For example, if there were a cyberattack, what measures will the data recovery team use in response? A natural disaster will require a different response.
Identification of critical assets. For a disaster data recovery plan to be effective, it needs to include a list of all assets. Vital resources, systems, and applications that are critical to the business are at the top of the list. Next, it’s important to have the steps that need to be implemented to recover the data.
Backing up your data. An effective data recovery plan needs strategies and procedures for backups. You should know who will perform the backups and how often they will be done. Those responsible for data backups must also work out the business’s recovery time. Calculate the amount of time the organization can be ‘down’ after a disaster and work from there.
Optimization and testing. The data recovery strategy should be tested and updated continually to protect the business from new threats. In this way, the business will be able to navigate challenges successfully. Planning a response to a cyberattack ahead of time will make sure your team will know what to do.
Types of disaster data recovery
There are a variety of options when it comes to data recovery. Perhaps the simplest method is backup. Your data is stored on or off-premises, or both for extra safety. However, relying solely on data backup gives minimal protection for businesses. If there is no backup of the IT infrastructure as well, there could be even bigger issues. For example, are your critical programs backed up as well?
Using DRaaS – Disaster Recovery as a Service
DRaaS is another way in which businesses can protect their data and infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Your business’s computer processing happens on the DRaaS cloud infrastructure. This means that the business can continue to operate seamlessly, even if its servers are down. A DRaaS plan can be either a pay-per-use or a subscription model. A similar solution is Back UP as a Service. But this only backs up data and not infrastructure.
Why is IT disaster recovery important?
There exists no business that can ignore disaster data recovery. Having a plan in place for this means that businesses can protect themselves from closure. Most businesses can't even afford to close for one extra day. With a strategy in place for disaster data recovery, businesses will be able to get back to normal operations much more quickly. They might even be able to continue operating as normal. Why would anyone risk their business without a Backup Disaster Recovery plan?
As your Managed Service Provider, we can assist you with your Backup Disaster Recovery (BDR) plan. You know how valuable your data is. Don’t run the risk of losing it! Contact us today and we can go over our data recovery solutions.
When you are looking to implement new technology solutions for your business, the last thing you should do is skip the planning process. You need to carefully consider all of your options, your business’ specific needs, and the various benefits that can come from all of these options. Today we will discuss how your business can choose the best technology that suits your organization and its operations.
We know, we know; you’re probably sick of seeing ransomware in headlines, and so are we, but we cannot stress enough how important having an awareness of it is for any business owner. A new study has found that businesses infected by ransomware who choose to pay up experience a different type of fallout--one that is a major cause for concern and a stark reminder that there are no guarantees with ransomware. Ever.
For some companies, their IT is like a boat to a fisherman: they could conceivably do the work without it, but they wouldn’t have a business. For this reason it is important to know how to ascertain which technology investments are right for your business at any given time. Let’s go through a few considerations decision makers should highlight when choosing new technology for their businesses.
Data recovery is a major pain point for small businesses, but not all organizations have the same resources and assets that make it possible. Small businesses in particular are more prone to forego data backup and disaster recovery because it does not provide an immediate return on investment. Well, we’re here to tell you that this mindset is wrong.
If you are looking for a way to smooth out the edges of your business, consider putting together a knowledge base that includes all policies, procedures, and other information so it is readily accessible by the people that interact within and from outside your business. Businesses that have well-documented policies and procedures have a tendency to have less difficulty onboarding new hires, fewer operational problems, and can always provide access to resources needed by employees, customers, and vendors. Today we will give you a few tips on how to successfully create a working knowledge base.
It’s no secret that new technology can be useful for a business, unfortunately too many businesses struggle with their technology implementations. When adding new tools to your business, you will need to understand that the more deliberate you are, the more success you will find. Rushing any new deployment is sure to have some types of issues. For today’s blog, we take you through some of the best practices of adding new technology to your business.