Why do you need an IT continuity plan?

According to statistics most of the people reading this article will have lost a mobile phone in the past few years, so you will have some idea of how disruptive data loss can be. Unfortunately most people also seem to take the “it will never happen to me” approach to backing up their data and disaster recovery; SME’s are the biggest offenders despite the risk to their business that a catastrophic data loss or extended downtime can pose.

When assessing a client’s backup and disaster recovery procedures there are four main data loss scenarios we consider – how would these apply to you?

  1. The major disaster – your office building suffers a serious fire and the building is condemned as unsafe so has to be demolished. All your equipment is destroyed, and your “fireproof” safe is unrecoverable.
  2. The temporary disaster – a broken water main nearby causes a three day power outage, so all your systems are offline.
  3. Data loss – due to hardware failure, theft or unfortunate beverage accident important data is destroyed.
  4. Human error – you discover that some important files were accidentally deleted, several weeks ago.

At help4IT we offer solutions to cover against all such eventualities, from “Virtual Hot Site Disaster Recovery” to cloud file backup, but cost is also a factor. We advise clients to consider it like insurance; assess the cost of each downtime scenario to the business vs. the likelihood of it occurring – if the cost of protecting against it is significantly lower then it is worth implementing.

With that in mind a reliable backup solution for your data should be a no brainer. For maximum protection consider a two stage approach, the traditional “local” backup to disk or tape (still good value for large amounts of data) and online “cloud” backup over the Internet for your critical data. Don’t forget about “retention” as well, how long do you keep those backups before they are overwritten with more recent data?

For one person a cloud storage service like Dropbox or Microsoft SkyDrive is a good start, especially if you configure it to automatically sync important folders like Documents to the cloud, however its no substitute for a proper backup application. Even better, think about a disaster recovery plan for your business, don’t leave it until its too late!

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