How to Make Sure Your Company Data is Accessible

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 3/5/13 8:47 AM

access company data

Company data and technology form the cornerstone of functionality for many small businesses. Your CRM software contains all of your customer data. Your email server has all of your communication records. Saved on your server(s) are all of the company’s marketing materials, reports and current work. When a failure or disaster takes down your network, you need to be able to respond quickly to minimize the downtime. Extended network downtime is more than an inconvenience; it can be a total financial disaster. You need to be sure that your data accessibility options meet your needs, in any situation.


Backup and Disaster Recovery for Data Accessibility

Data backup and disaster recovery offers protection against the worst data loss. Frequent backups with proactive job status checks and test restores ensure you can recover lost or deleted data, but when a crash happens, you need to be able to recover quickly. Your outsourced IT partner may have services specifically designed to enhance operations during network downtime. A business continuity service will allow your critical servers to be started on a local appliance or in the cloud so your users can get back to work while the problem is resolved. It might be slower than your usual network solution, but it still allows access until your network recovery is complete. In fact, you might be able to access all of your normal files and programs, making Internet access the only critical function needed to get your company back up and running.

Have a Plan and Test the System

Whatever system you have in place, you need to have a realistic recovery time objective (RTO). When your network goes down, you need to know what options and how long it will take to be returned to functionality. Your recovery time objective should be measured in hours, not days. Once notified of the issue, your outsourced IT partner can begin running diagnostics remotely. In some cases, when a system reports in as down, you will not need an on-site technician. A remote restart can have your network back up in just a few minutes. What you need to know, and test for, is how long it will take to start up a business continuity solution if you have one. You need to know what hardware is under support with a vendor for hardware support/replacement. And have a worst case plan when you have to roll back to an earlier backup. A rollback can take several hours, even longer depending on the size of the data set, and you need to know what to tell your employees and customers.

Determine a Workable RTO

Even with the best enterprise level security, constant network administration and state-of-the-art hardware, a network crash may be a matter of when, not if. When your network goes down, you need to be able to plan for your RTO. Repeated testing should give you a clear idea of when to expect your network to restart. Your outsourced IT partner should be able to work on the network remotely while waiting for the technician to arrive on site. Frequent backups, a well-planned RTO and a great IT partner can help your network recover as quickly as possible, minimizing your losses from unavoidable crashes.

The Ultimate Small Business Guide to IT Outsourcing