The 2 Critical Steps to Ensure Your Small Business Data is Never Lost

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 1/29/13 8:00 AM

small business it data lossAs a small business owner, you face constant challenges. Increasing competition and economic uncertainty along with managing cash flow and maintaining productivity numbers all take considerable organizational skills and time. A good IT infrastructure allows you to meet the growing demands on your business. Your small business data is one of the single most valuable parts of your entire organization. Customer files, business intellectual property, expense tracking and much more happen using IT systems. 

Imagine a day when all your stored data is inaccessible. When a client calls in, no one can tell them anything about an existing order, track payment information or provide any service to the client. When you need to send an email, the system is down, allowing no incoming or outgoing mail. These issues not only impact client facing matters you also have employees that cannot work. The ripple effect from even a single day of downtime can come with tremendous costs for your company.

Two critical steps stand between your business and major losses in the event of unrecoverable data loss: Backup and Disaster Recovery and Testing Your Data for Accessibility.

Step 1 - Backup and Disaster Recovery

First, be sure you know where all your company data is stored and be sure those locations are part of your backup strategy. Is data on employee computers as well as servers? Are your employees aware of what locations actually get backed up? Train your employees to know where to store their files for safe backup. If all of your information is stored locally on your machines and your backup media is also stored at your office, a disaster at your office can wipe it out forever. A fire, sprinklers going off, water pipes bursting or other natural disasters, even theft could have lasting effects on your business. Off-site backup keeps your data safe, even if something destroys all of your on-site storage. Remote storage can be located in one or more datacenters anywhere in the world, and cloud backup opens up the possibility of a completely virtual backup system. Either way you choose, you need to be sure that your data is backed up regularly in several physical locations.

Step 2 - Testing Your Data for Accessibility

Beyond setting up a backup and disaster recovery system, you need to know exactly how accessible that backed up data is. You need to know how long it will take to restore your most critical functions, so you can plan for an IT infrastructure interruption. Your recovery time objective should be as minimal as possible. After all, the longer it takes to restore systems after a disaster or malware attack, the longer your company loses money or productivity. The only way to know real recovery times is through testing. Work with your small business IT outsourcing service for your off-site backup to run several tests.  Performing test restores of critical data is a must. These should be done a few times a year. Backups are one of the most finicky applications IT has to deal with, there is no backup solution that does not have hickups occasionally , so you should take care to schedule backups regularly and have your IT service provider monitor the backups jobs daily and take action on failed backups to minimize potential losses.

In the case of your business critical data and infrastructure technology, your data provides the foundation for all business functions. The tremendous potential for productivity losses through data inaccessibility make it crucial for you to have BDR systems in place and plans to handle a rapid and smooth reinstallation of these critical systems and your business data.

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