Think about some of the unexpected things that could happen that would affect your business – fire, flood or losing a large percentage of your staff due to a Lotto Max win.
You can rebuild or relocate after a fire; clean up from a flood; and hire new staff to replace those that have left. There is no doubt that the process would be painful and likely time consuming, but you would recover, you would continue to do what you do, business would go on.
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The Tougher Thing to Recover From – Data Loss
Now think about the one thing that could happen to your business that you could not recover from. The one thing that, if it happens, has a greater than 60% chance of putting you out of business for good – data loss. While fire and flood might affect you, it is much more likely that hardware failure or simple human error will be the root cause of a devastating loss of data. So, do you have a backup and disaster recovery plan?
Even if you have done things right and ensured that data is stored centrally on a server and not on end users computers, your critical financial, inventory, project work and/or customer data sits on thin magnetic platters spinning at 10,000 rpm. Users require the ability to read, write and modify databases, documents and financial information in order to do their day to day work. Your business may be a simple mechanical failure or accidental press of the delete key away from irrecoverable loss.
How to Protect Your Data
The only way to protect your business and in turn your livelihood is to prepare for the worst by implementing, utilizing and testing a reliable, proven data backup solution that supports disaster recovery and a business continuity plan. But this is not a simple as it sounds.
Data backup solutions have come in many shapes and sizes over the years. The most common solution has been a tape drive, in fact many business still use these even though the technology has long since disappeared from our automobiles and home entertainment systems. Tapes are unreliable, expensive, have a limited shelf life and are slow – really slow.
Another common solution has been to use inexpensive USB connected hard disk drives. While much faster and more efficient than tapes, ensuring an offsite copy exists means taking a drive home with you. Think about the most recent privacy breaches in the news, many involved the loss of portable hard drives or storage devices. Have you ever lost or misplaced something? What if that something was all your company data?
An excellent and increasingly popular option for backups today are Web based “Cloud” backups. These are in fact a great solution, however they are not alone sufficient to protect your business. It is only when online network backups are combined with an effective software solution and onsite component that they become truly effective. Without the software and onsite components, you can recover your files and documents but the business continuity element is missing, to get your systems back online would require reinstalling your systems first, then restoring your data.
Ask These Questions to Protect Your Data Security
Your business relies on data to run. Loss of this data would be a devastating blow to your business and in turn your livelihood so understanding and having confidence in the backup solution that protects it is critical. Here are some simple questions to ask that will help you assess your risk, if the answer to any of the questions is yes, perhaps it is time to take a closer look at your small business data security.
- Are users saving their work on local hard drives?
- Do we use a tape drive to back up our data?
- Are multiple hard disk drives used as backup media?
- Do we use an online backup system that only includes day to day files?