If your data is critical to your business and you cannot afford to be down for days, or even weeks, due to computer problems or natural disasters, here are 7 simple steps to help you minimize your risks.
1. Have a plan
It sounds simple but just thinking through the steps of handling an emergency in advance will go a long way in getting your computers and data functioning quickly. The plan needs to be documented and contain information on each step, who will do it and how. Once you have written the plan, print three copies; one to put in a safe location at your office, one to bring to your home, and one for your IT partner.
2. Hire a trusted professional
Trying to recover your data after a disaster on your own can be corporate suicide. One wrong click of the mouse during the recovery process can wipe out your data or create long delays. Make sure you work with someone who is experienced in developing disaster recovery plans as well as in executing them.
3. Have a communication plan
Like in all other aspects of life, communication is key during a disaster. If clients and employees can’t contact your office via phone or email, know how you will reach them. It is best to plan for multiple communication methods.
4. Automate your backups
If the success of your daily backup depends on human intervention you’re doing it wrong. The leading cause of data loss is human error. This is not an area you want to cut corners. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does need to be done right. That means having a solution in place that automatically encrypts and sends your data to an offsite location.
5. Network documentation
This is simply a blueprint of your hardware, software and data. Many times, it includes the physical layout of the network but this isn’t required. Start simple and build on it over time.
6. Maintain your system
One of the best ways to avoid a disaster is to do all the little things everyone tells you to do. This includes all those mundane, time-consuming tasks like installing updates and patches, updating firmware, checking for vulnerabilities, etc. While fires, tornados and theft are very real threats, you are much more likely to experience data loss due to a virus or hacker.
7. Test and test
Everyone says they should do it but no one ever does. At a minimum, a test restore of several random files from your backup should be completed periodically. While this won’t guarantee everything is there, it will bring you a lot closer to assuring you can get your data back when you need it most. In other words, don’t wait until you jump out of the plane to test your parachute.
If you have questions about your disaster recovery plan, contact KLH at 952-258-8200 or www.klhmn.com.
KLH – Minneapolis IT Managed Services Provider
Scott Johnson COO, KLH