An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and a proactive IT management strategy can prevent many disasters before they happen. But even the best efforts will fail at preventing every problem, which is it is crucial to have a strong backup and disaster recover system in place. So what does such a system entail, and what will it cost?
Protecting Your Business from IT Threats
You protect your company’s physical assets with measures like alarms, locks, restricted access, and other measures. IT security can seem daunting and overwhelming, but it’s based on the same principles as all security: imagine how a would-be criminal might try to access your business assets, and design a system that thwarts those methods.
Cyberthreats are not limited to viruses and malware. A powerful tool of cybercriminals is called “phishing,” which is the attempt to acquire sensitive information (such as usernames, passwords, payment details, etc.) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing is so dangerous because it relies not on sophisticated technology, but on the trusting nature of ordinary people.
In addition to IT security measures you may be familiar with such as passwords and firewalls, an expert IT company can help you put protocols in place to ensure all company employees know the proper procedures to protect the company’s electronic assets, and how to spot and report possible threats.
It’s 11:00pm. Do You Know Where Your Data Is?
Be honest: do you really know how your current backup system works? What’s getting backed up – the whole system or just the data (or just some of the data)? How often does that happen and how do you know it was successful? Where does it go – to a hard drive or server in your office? To a cloud-based server? How far back in time do your backups stretch, and is that enough?
It’s smart to back up crucial data, of course, but even better if you can back up an entire system that can then be easily and quickly restored so you can pick up right where you left off. Additionally, many businesses are subject to legal requirements to keep a certain amount of data backed up in case of discovery in a civil or criminal case, for tax purposes, or other reasons. But data storage – whether on a local hard disk or server or on a cloud server – isn’t free, so it’s important to not keep more data than you really need.
In addition to the structure and frequency of backups, a business should consider where and how that backup data is stored. A hard disk or server that is on-site, that is, at the same location as the machines being backed up, is usually the primary storage medium for back ups. And on-site backups are indeed the fastest source for restoring a system after data loss. However, on-site backups are vulnerable to the same physical disasters (fire, storm damage, theft, etc.) that the rest of your IT equipment is. Additionally, cloud servers hosted by major companies like Amazon and Microsoft has unparallelled security that no on-site system, no matter how expensive, could duplicate.
However, cloud-based backups are vulnerable in different ways. If the server isn’t structured properly (unlikely, but still possible) and other data is corrupted, that problem could spread to your data just out of proximity. They don’t call it a virus for no reason! Even in the more likely event that your backup is problem-free, the speed of your data recovery will be limited by the highest bandwidth offered by your Internet Service Provider (such as Comcast or AT&T).
Ok, let’s say you know everything about how, where, and when your system is backed up. Do you know exactly how you would restore your system in the event of a disaster? Without a recovery and restoration plan, your backup system is like an emergency shelter stocked with canned goods but no can opener. Designing, auditing, and maintaining a recovery system is one of the important services a good IT company will provide.
Like other aspects of your IT infrastructure, your backup and disaster recovery system will be most effective at minimal cost when properly designed by trained and experienced specialists. Why spend unnecessary time and money to arrive at an expensive yet subpar results? The right experts can give you and your business security and peace of mind.