It is not so long ago that Disaster Recovery was the preserve of big business only and smaller companies barely had to give it a moment’s thought beyond the occasional tape backup or emailing that all important spreadsheet to another email address for safekeeping.
Back then, such disasters were defined as the “loss of a building or equipment due to fire, theft or flood” and most businesses hoped that such an event would be covered by an insurance policy, with little thought actually given to what a disaster would mean for them as a company.
As modern businesses have become increasingly dependent on IT systems, 24/7 continuous access to business data has become the most important focal point. Old school thinking is no longer valid and a “disaster” can now mean the loss of data, a critical server or an application or network failure that causes unplanned disruption and downtime to a business.
In today’s world, disasters can strike at any time. Business critical systems do go down and information does get lost. It really does happen and it will, to a business like yours.
Business continuity and disaster recovery services aren’t just there for natural disasters like fire or flood anymore, it needs to cover all causes of unexpected downtime and disruption.
So, what can cause unexpected downtime and disruption?
1. Human Error
The leading cause is unintentional human mistakes. Often it is your own staff who pose the most critical risk to your business systems as frequently it is their actions which can inadvertently lead to downtime.
Given that IT is quite complex it is often how systems, software and technology are administered which lead to unintentional human mistakes.
Good outsourced IT support can help avoid these issues through proper staff training and implementation of correctly documented processes and procedures.
2. Failed Hardware
Disaster often strikes because new hardware is installed incorrectly or older hardware becomes unreliable and more prone to cyber attack.
It is important to keep hardware up-to-date and software patched and updated. Having regular hardware monitoring for potential failures, along with preventative maintenance and full patch management should help avoid hardware failure but it can never be completely eliminated.
Having a documented disaster recovery plan in place can help minimise any disruption should the worse happen.
3. Security Flaws
The vulnerability of a network is caused by the failure to frequently update the latest OS or not prioritise patch management. Old or defective software can stop working, become infected with viruses or malware and undermine the network and stopping the key business tools from working.
It is important that cyber security threats are managed appropriately with security controls and processes.
In recent months, due to enhanced GDPR regulations, it can pay dividends to invest in the Cyber Essentials accreditation scheme to improve your security compliance. By taking the time to have your network vulnerabilities tested and rectified you can gain this Government backed accreditation, which is becoming required by businesses in order to tender for contract work.
Having a disaster recovery plan
These above causes of disaster are by no means an exhaustive list, but each one can bring your business to a halt, increase your costs and damage your reputation, so it makes sense to plan for them in advance.
Disaster Recovery Definition: “Disaster recovery in information technology is part of security planning and is developed in conjunction with a business continuity plan. Disaster recovery is a set of policies and procedures which focus on protecting an organization from any significant effects in case of a negative event, which may include cyberattacks, natural disasters or building or device failures. Disaster recovery helps in designing strategies that can restore hardware, applications and data quickly for business continuity”. (Techopedia).
When creating a disaster recovery plan it is crucial is to understand what is most important for your business to continue to work as it should without disruption, then work to reduce that risk and put a plan in place.
Working with a competent IT partner will help you to identify what the most critical elements are for you to protect, understand how long your business could survive without those elements or without access to your key data and create a plan to mitigate those risks.
It can be quite eye opening how much it can cost a business if an employee is unable to work due to unexpected disruption to their working day, along with
- Operational downtime while the issue is being resolved
- Cashflow issues
- Loss of customer / supplier trust in your brand
A Helping Hand
Having an IT partner that can help create, execute and manage disaster recovery plans along with having modern offsite backup and recovery systems in place, can thankfully mitigate many of the risks associated with unexpected disaster.
Concise Technologies have devised a robust managed backup service and disaster recovery service for our clients that can ensure all critical services, applications and data can be recovered inside a defined SLA and within just 1 hour, if necessary.
By backing up critical systems and data, 24/7, to our UK based data centre it also ensures that in the event of a cyber attack your data and systems can also be recovered.
This is an extension of the traditional DR scenarios outlined above but one we are seeing more and more as the instances of cyber attacks and ransomware continue to increase.
» Learn more about our Concise Managed Backup service
- Traditional backups such as tape or USB are no longer enough to keep your business data safe and be able to restore quickly from a ransomware attack.
- Gaining the Cyber Essentials accreditation should be considered, to improve compliance and guard against data breaches and potentially punitive fines from the ICO.
- Make sure you are not stuck in the dark ages by re-evaluating your backup, DR, cyber security and user training needs before the inevitable happens.
You will be glad you did.
Dan Mellett is a Solutions Consultant for Concise Technologies with over 15 years’ experience in the IT industry.