There are a lot of things that can bring down a business. But one thing that all businesses have in common is data. Companies that have a major data loss with no backup plan or disaster recovery are extremely unlikely to survive. Some can make it a few years trying to patch things back together but in most cases they close their doors fairly quickly.
Business owners often have so much to worry about that they don’t always have the time to put much focus on their data. Sometimes we get complacent in the idea that the data is just there and it will always be there. That is certainly not the case.
Financial data is often the only focus. However, it is even overlooked on some occasions. Intuit has developed a cloud version of Quickbooks that keeps your data on their remote servers and backed up, safe from any disasters within your office. Some business owners or financial leaders do not like the idea of having their financial data on someone else’s servers. If that is the case, then the data should be encrypted and backed up off site.
I have seen a lot of businesses back up their server or financial data to an external drive attached to the server. While that is a good start, it doesn’t save the data in an event of a natural disaster like a flood, tornado, hurricane, or even things like electrical fires and surges. This is why off site backups are extremely important. The data can be secured through encryption processes ensuring that even if the location is compromised, the data will be harder or impossible to get without the encryption keys. Taking the external drive home is a good alternative but it still gives a few major flaws like the human interaction. The one time it is left on site is when that disaster will happen.
Disaster recovery plans start with the question of “If your business were to burn down tomorrow and everything in the building is lost, how long would your business last?”. From that base we build other questions like “If your data is backed up in the cloud, where will that data be restored, how long will that take, and is that acceptable based on the first question”. These are all things that should be planned out, tested and verified before something happens. If you are asking these after a disaster, you’re hurting your business and yourself.
As I said before, business owners typically already have enough on their plate that these questions and disaster recovery planning is not something they have addressed. Even businesses that have managers and supervisors are typically working on the daily functions of the business and not what you don’t see on the back end. This is why it is extremely critical that all businesses (big and small) have an IT company help the at least setup a disaster recovery plan, if not manage and maintain it for them.