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One of the biggest fears of any business – as much as profit and loss – is literal loss of data or work completed that is not properly saved and stored.

Every worker knows this nightmare: You’ve been slaving for days on end to complete a complicated project. Your deadline is now just hours away, and you’re in the final stretch.

Suddenly an earthquake rocks the office and the power goes out.

When power is finally restored, you re-boot your system and wait.

And wait.

And after an interminable amount of the screen’s frustrating spinning hourglass, you see nothing but the blue screen of death.

Your hard drive is toast.

If your company had a disaster recovery plan, you wouldn’t have to worry too much because you’d have backups. If not, well, you just lost days of work that no amount of coffee and energy drinks will restore anytime soon.

For all cases, a business needs a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that proactively protects your network with just the right balance of automated backup frequency in case the world suddenly slips off its axis. It all starts in the planning phase of any start-up or quickly evolving business.

Business Impact Analysis

A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) helps organizations and IT support services get out in front of potential business disruptions or disasters by discovering what would be needed in such a scenario to get back up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible. Risk should be assessed ahead of time and preparation for a force majeure needs to be positioned and practiced in case an act of God suddenly shuts down our old normal.

The BIA is the process of evaluating any potential threat to your business. This can be financial, personal, legal and even public opinion. It covers the exact impact that these factors will have, and the method that you should follow to fix it. One of the most important “in case of emergency” practices is how your system backs up critical data.

The Importance of Redundancy

To get the best results, you need to prioritize redundancy. If you’re only storing one version of your data backups, you remain vulnerable to threats like ransomware and corrupted files. That’s why we always recommend that you store multiple backup images when possible while storing backups in at least two different locations.

Onsite and Offsite Backups

On top of redundant backups, it’s important to utilize both onsite and offsite backup systems whenever possible. Onsite backups make it easy to quickly restore files in the event of minor issues like data corruption or accidental deletion. However, when you store onsite backups on devices like external hard drives, they can be vulnerable to natural disasters, theft or hardware failure. Also, depending on the size of your network, they may not have the data storage capacity to accommodate your backup needs.

A redundant offsite backup system helps protect against the vulnerabilities of onsite backups. Offsite backups will still be there even if your onsite infrastructure is destroyed. They can’t be stolen, and data centers also utilize multiple servers to guard against hardware failure. That’s why it’s critical to implement a backup platform that balances both onsite and offsite backup systems.

Automated Backup Methods

Both onsite and offsite backup systems can be set up to automate the backup process. When you automate your backup platform, you significantly reduce the risk of human error.

Relying on your team to follow through with regular backups can actually interfere with your data security measures: people forget, miscommunication occurs, specific files or folders can be missed, and data breaches become more likely. By automating the process, you add an additional layer of protection to your data security measures. At the same time, your team can focus on more critical day-to-day tasks, and you don’t have to worry about mistakes compromising data or files.

Keep Everything Updated

You want to make sure your data is always up to date. Having irrelevant information can cost you and not be helpful for the issue at hand. It’s a good idea to use management applications to remind you of updates.

In terms of consistency, you should update across the board at least once every quarter. Be Structured, a managed service provider in Los Angeles, recommends updates closer to monthly or every 45 days . If you have to store client’s information on a regular basis or if you stay up all night worrying about your network, then you can update more often. Maybe monthly or biweekly updates will make you sleep better. Regardless of what you do, make sure you and your IT department make a habit of the backup process.

Take Responsibility

You should never assume that someone or some backup system is going to always be there to take care of things for you. At the end of the day, each member of the workforce could be just as responsible as anyone else with data loss.

Whether it is accidental or unavoidable, things happen and your data storage habits can make or break you in times of crisis.

If your business resides in or around Los Angeles, your IT tech support team should outline a disaster recovery plan that always includes making backups upon backups of your important documents. Make sure your team and even your clients are doing the same.

It’s also an excellent rule of thumb for private individuals in their home. Always copy your important documents to a cloud-based storage system. At the very least dump a copy onto a flash or external hard drive. For triple protection, email your important documents to a secure, private email address to ensure safekeeping and extra backup.

Appoint a Team for Recovery

You should always have a special team of well-trained employees who have an intimate working knowledge of your system and who to extract potentially lost data.

Whether your business pays to have an experienced IT department in-house or prefers to offload the data duty to an IT support company that offers network security, any company needs a contingency plan in case of emergency. So when it comes to information technology, operations, and human resources, who can help employees with back up, and get remote workers up and going.

They should have a list of contact information for important personnel and be given all the outside help that they need so they can work effectively from the inside and go straight to you when there is an issue. It’s always a plus to have an extra set of technical eyeballs.

Prioritize Your Needs

During the creation of your BIA, you will need to know where your priorities lie. It’s hard to keep up with everything and if you try to pour your recovery efforts into data that has no prevalence it takes away from the stuff that needs more attention to protect.

Separate these things and list them from the most important to the least. This will make sure you put all of your efforts into your business’s key agenda.

Make Use of the Cloud

In Los Angeles, a cloud computing platform is optimal to assure that no data ever gets lost or accidentally trashed. The cloud is the most cost-effective way to save data securely. It’s a wonder why so many companies are turning towards a cloud-based platform.

Beyond simple security, the cloud comes in handy when large buckets of data need to be saved and shared, making all information accessible to a wide range of employees. It shouldn’t be your only source for data storage, but it is the most reliable, and there are quite a few services available for you to choose from.

It can even help you in the event of a payroll mishap. If the worst happens and you lose data you still have to be able to pay invoices and payroll as you recover.

By using a cloud-based accounting system and a great third-party payroll provider you can help ensure financial continuity. If you add business interruption coverage you can get help covering some of the costs that it will take to bounce back. As you can see, the cloud can do a lot for your business.

Losing your data isn’t the only disaster that your company needs to be prepared for. Natural disasters are always something that is hard to plan for simply because they can pop up at any time. Your company has to be ready in the event of a tornado or a fire or, if your business IT support is in Los Angeles, earthquakes as well.

Identify Evacuation Routes

Beyond loss of data, a business should obviously never overlook the human aspect of an unforeseen disaster.

Every company and every employee needs to conceive of a physical disaster and escape plan which should be practiced monthly for retention. You need to determine evacuation routes or places where your employees can find shelter when the unfortunate happens.

Make sure these places are marked and placed where they can be seen by everyone. Go through drills often like you did as a student in school. It might seem silly, but it will help your team be prepared and calm in an emergency.

What is Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in order, you can lose days or weeks worth of work due to not having backups of your data.

Since corruption can happen at any time, make sure you’re saving data or anything relevant and important to the job onto flash drives and up to the cloud. All of your employees should know what to do in the event of a data breach or, worse, a natural disaster.

If you aren’t too good at maintenance, it might be time for you to hire a third-party vendor to handle all of your IT needs. Contact Be Structured today so you can stick to doing what you do best — running your business.