As networks and devices become increasingly complex, more and more things can go wrong. As a result, disaster recovery plans have also become more complex. Is yours good enough? According to Jon William Toigo, the author of Disaster Recovery Planning , 15 or 20 years ago a disaster recovery plan might consist of powering down a mainframe and other computers, disassembling components, and drying circuit boards in the parking lot with a hair dryer. That’s because a disaster, in those days, was usually a fire that set off a company’s sprinklers. Today, there are many more threats, including sabotage. Moreover, most companies’ IT systems are too large to be recovered using such a simple hands-on approach. Even if you could recover from a disaster in the manner Toigo recalls, you probably wouldn’t want to due to the downtime it would require—downtime that could have a significant financial impact. Consider the case of Hurricane Katrina. When it slammed the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, it wiped out the communications infrastructure of a whole region, uprooting 1,000 wireless towers and knocking down 11,000 utility poles. Many businesses were forced to shut down entirely—even critical ones, including 25 hospitals and 100 broadcast stations. But clients of such company did stay in business—by relocating to off-site facilities equipped with the computing power and backed-up data to keep systems and services online. Some even utilized 18-wheelers with servers and other office equipment inside. Disaster recovery in the modern age is a detailed, step-by-step course of action for quickly getting back on your feet after a natural or manmade disaster. The details may vary depending on your business needs, and can be developed in-house or purchased as a service. How prepared are you for disaster? Call us today for a review of your plan.
With the start of a new year, businesses commonly implement changes and launch new initiatives that have ramifications for your IT environment. Ignore them at your own peril. Chief among your IT considerations should be a Business Continuity Plan, or BCP, which will allow your business to resume normal operations in the event of a significant data loss or network downtime. Unfortunately, recent studies have found that about half of small and midsize businesses have no BCP. That’s a huge risk; more than half of companies that experience catastrophic data losses go out of business within a couple of years. And while it’s important to have a plan in the first place, it’s equally important that your BCP is flexible and scalable to adapt as your business undergoes changes. Software installations, modifications, and updates as well as the addition of new hardware are an important part of business continuity planning. You must ensure your backup, storage, and recovery procedures and systems are kept current with these changes. Improper maintenance and outdated procedures can lead to backup errors that result in costly data losses. Unfortunately, some companies discover these errors too late – when they try to recover the data. In addition to the IT considerations of a BCP, don’t ignore the human element. Someone, typically your IT staff, has to be in charge of overseeing BCP execution. But it doesn’t end there. Other employees have their roles, too, but do they know what those roles are? Have they been brought up to speed on the importance of backup and recovery, and what they need to do should you experience a catastrophic data loss? Has your business produced and printed a manual for employees to use as a reference? Let us help you assess your business continuity strategy to make sure it takes all relevant aspects into account and is kept current with your evolving needs. Your business may depend on it.
Data breaches are costing companies more than ever, according to a recent study—and smaller companies may be most at risk. Data losses, which can result from theft or carelessness, are a downside of the information age. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), more than 35 million data records were breached in 2008 in the United States—47 percent more than in 2007. How much do data losses cost? The Ponemon Institute, which studies business privacy practices, surveyed 43 U.S. companies across 17 industry sectors that lost data in 2008. According to the study, data losses ranged from 4,200 records to 113,000 records, and each data record lost cost $202—making the total cost between $848,400 and $22,826,000. That number was up from $197 per data record lost in 2007, $182 in 2006, and $138 in 2005, the first year the study was conducted. Why are data losses so costly? When you lose data, a number of costs are incurred, including detecting data losses, notifying victims, paying for victim reparations (such as free credit checks), and hiring experts to remedy the problem. You also must account for business lost as a result of customer mistrust. In fact, in the Ponemon study, $139 of the lost $202 per data record represented the cost of lost business. Small companies may suffer the most from data losses. Another study conducted earlier this year by StollzNow Research asked IT managers from 945 companies about their experiences related to data management. They found that an alarming 49 percent of small companies fail to back up their data on a daily basis. This is despite the fact that nearly half of all participants experienced data loss in their workplace in the past two years, and 36 percent felt that data loss could have a significant impact on their business. Don’t put yourself at risk. We can help you prevent costly data loss by implementing a policy for the preservation of data, and by installing and testing backup systems on a regular basis. Related articles: Tech Managers Often Underestimate Impact of Data Loss Study: Data Losses Proving More Costly for Businesses