It feels like we hear about data breaches and technology disasters on an almost daily basis. Target, Yahoo, Home Depot and Weebly are just some of the major players who have experienced data breaches or hacks in recent years. (If you’re curious about learning more about some of the larger data breaches that have occurred, check out this cool interactive infographic).
While there are many high-profile cases affecting well-known businesses, the fact is, these types of disasters can affect all businesses, no matter the size. In fact, smaller businesses can be even more vulnerable due to lack of protocols or safety nets in place. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that your business has a disaster recovery plan in place.
When many business owners think about disaster recovery, they equate it with a natural disaster such as a large-scale power outage or flooding. Because of this, it can be easy to think the odds of such an event happening are small. In reality, disasters also include events such as human error or hardware failure and it is much more likely that one of these will affect your business at least once. The question is not so much if, but when, such an event will occur.
Man-made disasters affect 10 percent of all small businesses, according to the NFIB National Small Business poll. And natural disasters affect up to 30 percent of businesses.
For companies that suffer a catastrophic data loss, it doesn’t look good. Research by the University of Texas has shown that only 6 percent of companies suffering from a catastrophic data loss survive. 43 percent never reopen and 51 percent close within two years!
5 reasons to have a disaster plan for your business:
1. Machines and computer hardware fail – hard drives are one of the biggest culprits.
They are the most fragile part of a computer and have many moving parts. The largest reason for data loss, when a hard drive fails, it can be very difficult and expensive to recover the data.
Hardware may also fail due to a manufacturing defect or simply from someone dropping or spilling something on a device.
Having a data recovery plan can help eliminate this potential problem. And no, backing up your data once every few months or years, isn’t going to cut it. While it may be tempting to back up your own data (and this is certainly not a bad idea) to an external drive or cloud based server, getting the data back can still be a problem.
If your hardware is corrupted, you will need someone to find the source of the problem and fix it. If you have backed up your data, you will likely need someone to help you restore the data quickly to a usable format.
A more cost-effective option would be to outsource your IT Infrastructure to a Managed Services Provider (MSP). With MSP, you can eliminate unexpected IT repair expenses. MSP will also provide continued support to get your data systems back up and running when you need it.
2. We are only human – How many times have you hit “Save” while realizing, with a sinking feeling, that you meant to hit “Save As,” accidentally saving over the file you were just working on?
The main reason people lose files is from saving the files incorrectly, or accidentally deleting a file (I know I have done this multiple times!). Even having careful procedures doesn’t prevent users from making simple mistakes.
Viruses and ransomware become a problem when a user clicks on a malicious link or file. Typically, the link or file appears legitimate, and the user is a victim before they realize what is happening. Ransomware hijacks your computer, making it impossible to access files and data. Viruses can corrupt files or destroy your machine completely.
Having firewalls and adequate virus protection is a must for all businesses. However, keeping these up-to-date can often be a challenge. Having managed IT support through your MSP can help by providing continuous protection for your system so you can focus on other things.
3. Top quality customer service is a priority – These days, with most businesses using the web to do business, customer service is of the utmost importance.
Customers know they have choices. And if your website is down when they need it, they will give their business to another company. Don’t let you customers leave simply because you had a power outage and weren’t able to recover your data quickly.
Having a disaster recovery plan will ensure you to get your business back on track as quickly as possible. A plan will also limit downtime. This will in turn help keep customers happy and money in your pocket.
4. It can be almost impossible to get your customers back – It is more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep existing ones. But, the cost to re-acquire customers after a data breach can be astronomical.
The most important thing you have with your customers is trust. But once that trust is gone, it can be next to impossible to get them back.
According to the 2015 SANS report, “27% (of business) report relatively short term financial loss or impact from their breach (less than one week), others experienced significantly longer periods, with 15% reporting 1–3 months, 12% reporting 3–6 months; and another 15% reporting that their financial impacts lasted 6–12 months. In 8% of the cases, financial losses continued for more than 3 years.”
Customers know they can easily find someone else. Most likely they will if they feel their trust has been violated.
Make sure your data recovery plan includes how you will handle public relations issues and letting customers know about your data breach, if necessary.
5. No one is invulnerable – The time to make a plan is now!
It’s easy to put off thinking about something that may or may not happen. The fact is, if you don’t think about it, you won’t be ready when the time comes. There is no excuse for not creating a data recovery plan. You owe it to your employees, your customers and yourself.
Want more information or support? Higher State Technology can examine your network to help you analyze your risks and create a plan. We will provide IT disaster recovery services that are tailored specifically for your business.
You’ve spent a lifetime working hard to get where you are. You earned every penny and every client. Why risk losing it all? Get the facts so you can be certain your business, your reputation and your data are protected. Call us at 512-900-9478 or you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t Wait for the Wicked Witch or a Tornado to make a Disaster Recovery Plan!
Live in or near Austin? Want to get some practical disaster planning information you can use to create your own backup plan?
About Higher State Technology (HST) Since 2004, specialists at Austin-based Higher State Technology (HST) have provided implementation, troubleshooting, hardware, software and managed services solutions for multi-location companies and for solopreneurs. HST helps companies safeguard their IT assets through network protection, backups and disaster recovery, antimalware and anti-spam protection, and other risk management services. HST offers remote and onsite IT support and management tailored to the needs of each client. For more information, visit www.Higher-State.com.
Author: Meredith Clark