Preparing your data, and your organization, for the unexpected

Information and data are critical to the operation of every business. Whether running a local law firm or a multinational manufacturing operation, information technology systems are essential to your ongoing success. As data and technology become more and more entrenched in business operations, they can also represent a serious vulnerability. Data connects, facilitates and supports every part of most organizations. What happens if disaster strikes and critical information is suddenly unavailable?

For many businesses, a loss of data or system functionality would be a catastrophic event. Every second without working technology systems may lead to a significant loss in revenue. So how can businesses protect their technology systems and plan for efficient recovery when disaster strikes?

Smart Business spoke with Igor Zaika, IT and security director at Sensiba San Filippo LLP, about how companies can plan for and recover from disasters.
What are some causes of a disaster?

Threats to technology systems can come from many different directions. Hardware failures, human error, and natural disasters such as fire, floods and earthquakes can threaten hardware systems and the data they store.

Software corruption, viruses, ransomware and other unseen threats can also hit at any time, regardless of how well-secured a system may be. And for every known threat, there are many unknown threats that are hard to predict.

How should a company approach disaster recovery?

First and foremost, information security and disaster recovery should be approached strategically at the organizational level. Business owners need to take a proactive approach to protecting their businesses and their clients’ data. In today’s relatively ‘hostile’ IT environment with increasing threats, business owners can no longer hope that their IT teams have it under control. They need to plan for a disaster to occur and proactively have a recovery plan in place. Involve stakeholders throughout the organization, and identify critical processes that could be affected. Ask a lot of what-if questions, identify your most significant vulnerabilities, and develop an overall business strategy to sustain and restore your business operations in the event of a disaster.

What components should a good disaster recovery plan include?

There are several critical components that every disaster recovery plan should address. The first is a critical process assessment.

Understand how critical processes throughout the organization are affected by your technology systems. You’ll also need good back-up procedures. Good, clean data is critical to recovery.

Next, you should develop recovery procedures. Your recovery plan should lay out in detail instructions for each step that must be taken. Implementation and testing procedures will give you the peace of mind of a successful disaster recovery.

Finally, you’ll need a good maintenance plan. Swiftly changing technology, processes and threats will require your recovery plan to be frequently updated to remain effective.

Can the cloud and other technology help?

Utilizing cloud technology can be a great way to gain productivity, simplify your infrastructure and minimize potential risks of a disaster. However, before embracing the cloud, understand the impact to your business processes, compliance requirements and of course, your employees. Technology can be very useful in protecting your business from disaster, but it is important to understand that no single piece of technology constitutes a recovery plan. A great example of utilizing cloud technology as a part of your disaster recovery strategy is an all-in-one backup appliance. It allows you to protect your assets, simplify disaster recovery and replicate data to the cloud for added protection.

Disaster recovery should be a part of every organization’s strategic plan. Data and technology are too important to leave anything to chance. Find a technology partner that you trust and work with them to design, implement and troubleshoot a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Taking a proactive approach today to disaster recover will ensure your success tomorrow.

Igor Zaika is IT and security director at Sensiba San Filippo LLP. Reach him at (925) 271-8700 or [email protected].

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