For many people, the word disaster means an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, or flood.
To an IT professional the term ‘disaster’ is associated with the loss of important data or applications. Businesses and corporations of all sizes are reliant on the critical data stored on their servers, even more so now that the majority of businesses need computers to function efficiently. Small businesses with a lack of resources are at an even bigger risk. In this article I will provide you with a number of tips to help prevent the loss of critical data.
Create and implement a disaster recovery plan
IT disaster recovery planning can be a somewhat daunting task, especially with such a variety of scenarios to analyze and options to consider. Just cover the basics to begin with and then add more to the plan over time. First you will need to define which elements of your infrastructure are most important to keep the business running – e.g. email access and database backups. You should also consider how fast the company needs to be up and running after a disaster. Another key component to your plan should be determining which staff member within your business declares the disaster, how staff members are informed about the disaster, and how your business communicates with clients/customers to reassure them that everything is under control.
Test your recovery plan on a regular basis
Failure to test your recovery plan on a regular basis will leave your infrastructure vulnerable to huge technology and business failures in the unfortunate event of a disaster. Not testing your recovery plan is just as much as a hindrance as not having one in place. The effectiveness of a disaster recovery plan can only be assessed if regular testing is carried out in realistic situations that would be applicable in a real life disaster.
Consider cloud disaster recovery
Rather than investing in a secondary data centre at an external location, many businesses are now moving towards cloud based disaster recovery , or bundling the whole server into a VPS that can be duplicated and backed up to an external data centre. The introduction of cloud storage has created a more cost effective option to backing up critical data for retrieval after disasters. Some of the many benefits include improved data protection, lower energy consumption, and the ability to increase or decrease your storage capacity as you see fit.
Backup any laptops and desktop computers
Backing up laptops and desktop computers is important and will protect critical data in the event of a damaged, lost, or stolen computer. Consider using an automatic data protection and recovery solution, an IT Support Company should be able to advise you on the best one to choose. Try implementing a policy whereby staff members are required to back up their files on a regular basis.
Understand the difference between disaster recovery and backup
Many people are under the illusion that disaster recovery and data backup is the same thing, when in actual fact they are quite different. Backup is when you copy files to another location such as a disk, hard-drive, memory stick, or a cloud based backup solution. Disaster recovery is the process of preparing to recover IT infrastructures that are vital to the everyday running of businesses and organisations.
Consider managed IT services
Managed hosting is an ideal business continuity solution. This will allow you to host your systems, files and networks offsite; your telephone systems can also be protected in the same way. IT support providers will be able to offer you a number of hosted services that will look after your entire IT infrastructure. There are many benefits involved with choosing an IT support company to oversee your disaster recovery, such as reduced overheads, increased efficiency and scalability.
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