Determining if your data protection plan needs a facelift

The data that a business holds is central to its operation. Data encompasses all information, from customer files and account folders to business applications and client information.  It’s imperative, then, that organizations of all shapes and sizes have a plan in place to protect that data in the event of a disaster, accident, cyberattack, or power outage. On top of that, you need to review your data protection plan to keep it relevant, up-to-date, and fit for purpose. Here’s what you need to know about data protection strategies and how to tell when it’s time to review them.

What is a data protection plan? 

Data protection strategies encompass data availability and data management. In other words, it’s the means by which a business stores, backs-up, moves, and protects its data and makes it available to relevant personnel in order to comply with the law. 

Data privacy laws and regulations vary from country to country and even from state to state. Not being compliant can mean steep fines and other penalties and could even mean that you have to stop doing business in the country or region in which the law or regulation is breached. 

A data protection plan will ensure that:

  • No data is lost in the event of a disaster, accident, or cyberattack
  • Data is protected from corruption, compromise, manipulation, malware, and loss.
  • Data can be restored quickly in the event of any damage, corruption, or loss. 
  • Data is available to users at all times, whatever the circumstances. 
  • Data is kept private and can only be accessed by authorized personnel. 

A data protection plan is essential to secure compliance with the law, safeguard information and records, and save a business from downtime and lost productivity that could prove disastrous. 

Do you need one?

CNBC.com reported that 40 percent of small businesses never recover from a disaster.  

When hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or fires destroy customer records, invoices, contracts, tax returns, insurance policies, and so on, they lose customers, and the damage is irreparable.

Despite this, The Global State of Information Security Survey 2018 (GSISS) found that 33 percent of respondents do not have an IoT security strategy in place. Tech & Innovation reports that many organizations do not have sufficient plans in place to protect their data. Forty-four percent of respondents did not have an overall information security strategy, 48 percent did not have a security awareness training program for their employees, and 54 percent do not have an incident-response process in place. 

Determining if it’s time to update your data protection plan 

How often you update your data protection plan will depend on the nature of your business, the data that you hold, how many people have access to it, and the means by which they access and use it, both inside and outside the work environment. For example, you might need to review your data protection plan with staff changes and when new devices, such as laptops, are obtained. 

For data that must be kept private, you need to maintain strict control over who can access your data. A breach of privacy can lead to data security issues. Your employees must be fully trained in the nuances of data privacy and security to avoid any violations, and you need to keep firm control of BYOD devices and devices used outside the office environment. 

Remember to review: 

  • The security of passwords
  • The reporting of violations
  • Where rules are posted and who can and should read them
  • How data, files, paperwork, and printouts are destroyed when they are no longer needed 
  • How data is transmitted and shared between staff 

Also, assess whether you are you using your data in the most effective way for reporting, analytics, test and development enablement, and other purposes. If you’d like to know more about data protection plans or our suite of services for businesses in the New York Tri-State area, please get in touch with us.

5 Ways to Protect Your Data When Sharing It

To increase workplace flexibility and mobilize their workforce, many businesses are embracing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model. However, while BYOD policies help to increase employee efficiency, they also come with unique security risks. 

Below, we’re summarizing what you need to know about BYOD and data security, and we’re sharing our top five tips for keeping data safe on the go.  

Why keeping your data secure online is so important

No matter what industry you operate in, your business is vulnerable to cyberattacks. 43% of hacking attempts are aimed at small businesses, and mobile devices are especially susceptible because they often lack the security measures found on desktop devices.

Moreover, hackers are deliberately targeting mobile devices to exploit this vulnerability. Reports show that malware attacks against Android devices have increased by over 76%, and the trend shows no signs of slowing. 

Worryingly, although there’s an uptake in the number of SMBs adopting BYOD, many are still unprepared for detecting and handling security breaches. In fact, statistics show that only 48% of businesses can detect a breach or security weakness on their mobile devices. 

So, what can businesses do to keep their mobile devices safe and ensure that their employees can still share information online?  

Five ways to keep data secure on the go  

Although there are many ways to protect your online data and mobile devices, here’s a rundown of our top five suggestions. 

Two-factor authentication 

With two-factor authentication, a user must provide a password and one other method of identification before they can access the data or the device. This protects the data if hackers get hold of the password. 

An example of two-factor authentication would be answering a security question. 

Backup data

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how careful you are. Data breaches can still happen. Back your data up so you can still access it if a hacker manages to corrupt or delete the original records. 

For example, you can backup data on an external server, a portable device, or the cloud. 

Use only trusted networks 

Never connect to an unsecured network. With unprotected networks, it’s possible for a “middleman” to intercept your device and harvest the information you share online. Secured networks, on the other hand, protect you from unwittingly sharing this information with cybercriminals.  

Encryption

Make use of encryption technology. Encryption “scrambles” data so that it can’t be read without an access key. This key could be, for example, a fingerprint. Use encryption tools on all mobile devices, and encrypt laptop hard drives so thieves can’t read the data if they steal the device. 

Stay educated

Mobile threats are evolving all the time, and criminals are constantly finding new ways to read and intercept the data you share online. Stay on top of emerging threats by educating yourself and your staff, and seek the advice of managed service providers for the most up-to-date advice. 

And remember, always stay vigilant. Lock your devices when you’re not using them, and don’t let anyone read your screen if you’re working remotely. 

Conclusion

As the modern workplace continues to evolve towards remote working and cloud-based collaboration, devising a solid data security strategy has never been more important. To find out more about BYOD policies, the cloud, and data security planning, contact us today.

What Data Security Means for Your Business Now and in the Future

The reality is, cyber crime is one of the fastest-growing criminal threats affecting businesses across the US. What does this mean? It’s simple. A failure to properly secure your sensitive company and customer data puts your entire business’ operations in jeopardy. Here’s a closer look at why data security is so vital to every business, and some tips on how to defend your company against this evolving threat.  

Why data security so important to your business 

Cyber crime doesn’t just affect large companies or international corporations. Hackers targets small and medium-sized businesses, too. In fact, recent reports show that around 43% of cyber attacks are aimed at SMBs, and these attacks are costing small businesses around $200,000 a year. 

Alarmingly, however, only 14% of SMBs are properly prepared to defend themselves against cyber attacks. In short, this means that your business may be extremely vulnerable to data loss or corruption. 

The current threat landscape

While there are many cyber threats to watch out for, there are a few that affect SMBs in particular. Let’s take a look at the threats most likely to affect your business in 2020 and beyond.

Email

One of the most common ways for hackers to attack SMBs is through email. A 2019 report showed that 1 in 323 emails to SMBs are malicious and aimed at either corrupting data or harvesting information. 

Employee Negligence

Too often, employees and contractors accidentally cause data breaches. This may be through a lack of training or simple negligence; for example, an employee leaking a password. A 2018 report revealed that employee negligence accounts for over 60% of SMB data breaches

Ransomware

Ransomware is a huge problem for businesses. Ransomware programs either threaten to leak data or they prohibit access to files until a company pays a ransom. A 2019 annual cyber crime report estimates that, by 2021, a business will suffer a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.

How to effectively prepare your company for the future 

The simple truth is that data security issues cause downtime which in turn costs your business time, money, and resources. In some cases, this will be enough to cause your company to fail. The good news is that there are steps you can take to prevent your business from falling prey to a data security breach. 

Train your staff 

Preserving data security within a business is a team effort. Ensure your employees know how to spot a malicious email, and help them choose strong, robust passwords that they change regularly. 

Budget for IT

While protecting company data may feel like an unnecessary cost, it’s crucial that you allocate sufficient resources to cybersecurity in your IT budget. Given that SMBs invest on average less than $500 per year in security products, it’s unsurprising that they’re prime targets for hackers. Don’t become a statistic. Invest in cybersecurity.

Outsource your data security needs

The easiest way to protect your company data from hackers is to employ expert assistance. Managed service providers and IT specialists don’t just understand cyber crime – they understand specifically how evolving cyber threats affect your specific business. This support is invaluable in an increasingly threatening landscape.

Conclusion

The future of business is digital, which means it has never been more important for companies to think about their cybersecurity strategies. For more information on how cybersecurity or data security affects your business, contact us now. 

How a Business Continuity Plan Saved the Day for These Companies

For some companies, downtime or natural disasters spell the end of their operations. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Below, we take a look at some business continuity successes, and what other companies can learn from their stories.

What is business continuity planning?

Also referred to as contingency planning, business continuity planning is all about a company’s ability to bounce back after an incident causes downtime. In other words, it’s how well a business adapts to changing circumstances beyond its control. 

Business continuity planning is important because recovering from downtime is a costly endeavor. In fact, up to 60 percent of small businesses fail to reopen after downtime, whether as a result of natural disasters, employee error, or cyber crime, because the costs are simply too high to recover from. 

How, then, do successful businesses rise above these challenges and stay operational? Let’s take a look at some examples.

Business continuity planning saved these companies

In no particular order, here are three companies that credit business continuity planning with saving their operations. 

1. Cupcake Kitchen

Houston-based bakery Cupcake Kitchen lost access to its premises for around three weeks after a hurricane caused severe water damage. The company lost multiple appliances and perishable goods to a total loss of around $30,000.00. 

The owner actively kept her customers notified on social media about what was happening and the steps she was taking to get the bakery up and running again. A few months later, revenue returned to 80 percent of pre-hurricane levels. 

The key point here is that, as a local business, the owner found a way to connect to her clients and ensure they understood that the kitchen would open again. She turned an obstacle–picking a new location for her bakery–into an opportunity, which is a hallmark of a great contingency planning strategy. 

2. Georgia Power

Georgia Power, a major electricity supplier, lost a transformer to fire damage back in 2017. In response, Georgia Power aligned with a tech company to upgrade its transformer testing capabilities. 

The transformers now have sensors that record dissolved levels and instantly alert engineers if the levels exceed a safe amount. What’s more, the transformers generate gas readings at far more frequent intervals than before. 

What does this tell us? Well, Georgia Power instantly reacted to the crisis and took steps to prevent a similar incident from arising in the future. They learned from the failure and moved the company forward as a result. 

3. Gaille Media 

In 2017, Gaille Media, a small online marketing agency, lost its entire office space to hurricane damage. No one could enter the building for three months, and it wasn’t possible to salvage any hardware from inside. 

What happened? Surprisingly, it was business as usual at Gaille Media. The agency continued operating because it kept its business data, and all its backups, in the cloud. Employees worked remotely and provided their usual service to clients. The office didn’t reopen and the employees all now work remotely. 

The key takeaway is that Gaille Media had an effective contingency plan in place before disaster struck. They understood their core business processes and ensured that, whatever happened to their physical office space, they could access the data they needed to run their day-to-day operations. This is a great example of a truly proactive business continuity plan.

Conclusion

The good news is that it’s possible to keep your company afloat and active even when disaster strikes. As you can see from these company success stories, all it takes is some careful business continuity planning. For more information on business continuity planning and how the right strategy can save your company, contact us today.

6 Goals You Should Have in Mind When Creating Your BCP

Are you prepared for the unexpected? Can you recover from an incident and be back online with minimal downtime? Without a complete business continuity plan, it will be hard to achieve this. 

Business continuity is really about what happens after the disaster or incident—it relates to the key steps you’ll take to deal with the impact of such an event. It has many aspects, including communication, getting critical business processes back online, and providing customers with a means to contact you.

There are many reasons why you need a business continuity plan. Downtime is costly. Disruption to business can have a lingering effect that may take considerable time to recover from.

“Good business continuity planning should look at the business as a whole — with a goal to support business resilience.” – Small Business Trends

But when you begin the process of creating a business continuity plan, what should your goals be? And how can you improve your strategy?

Goal one: document it

First, your business continuity plan should be documented. It seems easy enough, but many companies miss this step. So, consider this your first goal, which you don’t have to craft on your own. Partner with your managed IT services provider for guidance.

By documenting the process, everyone understands their role and responsibilities. There is a procedure to follow that takes into account all the mission-critical systems and how to best resume business as usual.

Goal two: identify roles

Determining who will be responsible for recovery internally, or how you’ll work with your third-party IT provider, is another vital objective. Document everyone’s individual role and, most importantly, how they can be reached in the event of an emergency.

Goal three: risk and impact assessment

A key part of a business continuity plan is a risk assessment or network audit to understand what threats are most likely to disrupt business. 

Consider how different types of events can hinder your business, and if different steps need to be made depending on the nature of the disruption. For example, dealing with a data breach due to malware and a power outage from a storm both need a recovery plan, but each plan will be different.

Goal four: determine the tools you need to recover quickly

Many of the tools you need for business continuity relate to off-site backups or other means to ensure that your data is secure. Redundancy features are also necessary, as are things like generators. But what about using technology in a different way, such as artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is becoming an important aspect of business continuity. There are several ways AI can impact business continuity. Those include predictive analytics and automation functionality.

Goal five: identify your critical data and assets

A business continuity plan should clearly identify where your critical data and assets reside. By documenting this, it’s much easier for recovery teams to act. This part of your plan should allow anyone to move forward with recovery efforts, should you or another team leader be unavailable.

Goal six: outline preventative measures

Determine what preventative measures your company is taking to prevent downtime. Much of the time, this includes advanced monitoring of your network for threats. It may also involve things like policies and protocols that you take every day to maintain security, both virtually and physically.

Focusing on these six goals can substantially strengthen your business continuity plan. If you have questions about augmenting your current plan or building a new one, we’re happy to help. 

Connect with us today to learn more.

Your Guide to a Successful ERP System Implementation

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is changing the game for organizations looking to improve and organize their day-to-day business processes. The trouble is, while there are many benefits to ERP, a badly executed strategy can make or break your commercial success. 

When an ERP project fails, it’s often down to poor implementation – here’s what you should know to prepare your business for ERP and ensure its successful integration into your organization. 

What is ERP? 

ERP, or enterprise resource planning, is a “catch-all” term for business management software that automates some or much of an organization’s day-to-day activities. These activities can include: 

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Product planning and development
  • Manufacturing 

Since around 64% of businesses use ERP to improve their business performance, it follows that the ERP solution you implement must be efficient and tailored to your organization’s individual needs. So, how do you ensure your ERP works for you? 

ERP system installation: a step-by-step guide

To get you started on your ERP journey, here are our top tips for a successful ERP implementation. 

1: Define your goals

Every business is different, which means there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building an ERP solution. Decide what you need from your system – whether it’s inventory management, or lead capturing, etc. – and prioritize your ERP search based around these needs. If you need help narrowing down your priorities, an MSP can help with this. 

2: Do your research

Once you know what you need from the ERP, have a look at the companies and the software available in your budget range. Don’t rush into any decisions and ask as many questions as you need to make your decision. The right consultant will be more than happy to help you choose the perfect ERP for your needs.  

3: Backup your data

If you have data stored across different products and platforms, back it all up so that you don’t lose it if it’s corrupted upon migration to the new system. Make a list of where all your data is and where it’s coming from so that you can keep track of it all. This is also a good time to review your cybersecurity and ensure your key business data is properly protected.

4: Set up a timeline

Decide when you want your ERP system to go live and plan your implementation process accordingly. Always leave time for setbacks and set aside a budget for “unexpected” costs so that your budget doesn’t hold up your implementation schedule. Review your progress regularly and take action if you’re falling behind.  

5: Test the system

Test every aspect of your ERP solution before it goes live. This is the only way to spot any real-time problems and solve them before they affect your business operations. Create testing procedures or scripts for as many scenarios as you can think of, and you’re well on the way to error-free ERP implementation when it goes live. 

6: Train your employees

Even the best laid ERP system is hopeless if your employees don’t know how to use it effectively. Make sure you train your staff on the new system and ensure they know who they can ask for advice. It’s a good idea to appoint a dedicated point of contact for any problems, particularly for the first few months. 

Conclusion

The right ERP solution can help you reduce your manpower needs and improve your bottom line, all while increasing your overall business efficiency. For more information on ERP software and how to choose the right solution for your organization, contact us today.

Cyber threats you don’t know about (but you absolutely should)

The reality is that cyber crime is everywhere. It’s one of the top concerns your organization faces – information theft is now overwhelmingly the most common crime committed against a business. Even more worryingly, hackers are attacking computers at the rate of one attack every 39 seconds, which means your IT infrastructure faces countless hacking attempts each day.

While ransomware and malware are still among the most common tools used by hackers to target organizations, there are other threats emerging that every business should know about.

5 less commonly known cyber threats

Although new cyber threats are emerging all the time, there are some which you’re less likely to have heard of. But, they can be just as dangerous. Here are our top 5 obscure cyber threats that you should know about.

1. Denial of service

Denial of service is when hackers use a number of computers and devices to direct huge volumes of traffic to a single database or service. The traffic volume overwhelms the target and it goes offline.

Denial of service attacks cause serious damage to businesses because they can’t provide their service while they’re under attack, which in turn affects their bottom line.

2. Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is all about bitcoin. With cryptojacking, hackers use someone else’s device to generate bitcoin for them. The process is known as mining. They do this by planting a malware-type program on the computer and running it in the background where the other person won’t notice it. 

3. Zero-day exploits

Zero-day exploits are an ever-growing problem. Put simply, zero-days are software vulnerabilities that haven’t been fixed yet. When a developer releases a patch to fix the problem, users soon download and install the fix. Hackers then have a limited window of opportunity for exploiting the vulnerability, hence the name “zero-day”.

4. Attack on IoT devices

IoT devices are everywhere, which makes them a prime target for hackers. They can be manipulated and taken over by hackers who might use them as part of a larger orchestrated cyber attack, or cyber criminals can harvest information from their owners. IoT devices are particularly vulnerable because they’re often running outdated software and security.

5. Man in the middle

Man in the middle, or MitM, is an alarming new threat that’s often very hard to spot. Here, a hacker positions themselves between the sender and the recipient of an electronic message. They don’t just receive the messages – they can change them, too.

While the sender and recipient think they’re corresponding directly with each other, they’re connecting through this hacker who intercepts every correspondence.

MitM is a technique often used by military and political hackers, but it can be used by hackers to target anyone, whatever sector you’re operating in.

How to protect your business from the latest in cyber crime

The good news is, there are a few steps you can take to limit your exposure to cyber criminals.

  • Partner with a managed services provider for up-to-date security information and custom cybersecurity packages tailored to your business.
  • Stay suspicious of emails and unsolicited correspondence encouraging you to click on links or provide information.
  • Back up your key business data.
  • Train your staff on how to spot common threats such as phishing and spearing attacks.

Conclusion

As hackers become increasingly sophisticated, it’s highly unlikely that rates of cyber crime will fall any time soon. For more information on protecting yourself against cyber threats and bolstering your cybersecurity, contact us now.

Exploring Common Cybersecurity Threats and Their Consequences

The online world offers lots of opportunities, especially when you’re a growing business. At the same time, all the Internet’s advantages come at a cost: cybersecurity threats. Each day, businesses like yours are combating threats, whether they’re aware of them or not. By understanding more about the commonest ones, you’ll make it easier to avoid them in the future.

Ransomware viruses

Although computer viruses have been present for quite a while, large-scale ransomware is a relatively new phenomenon. Like computer viruses, ransomware takes hold of your network and restricts you from accessing the information you need. Those who develop the viruses go a step further by demanding that you pay a ransom or face losing your information forever.

According to some statistics, the cost of ransomware is set to hit $11.5 billion during 2019. Not all those costs come from companies having to pay to retrieve their information. For every second you spend trying to recover your data, you’re losing money in the form of business. Additionally, you could face fines for a data breach if you haven’t taken the right steps to protect customer and client information. Because of all these consequences, it’s wise to do what you can to prevent these cybersecurity threats.

Phishing scams

Phishing scams have come a long way since their early days. It’s no longer the case that they’re all obvious requests for bank details. Today, potential thieves are adept at making their emails appear as though they’ve come directly from a verifiable source.

One of the biggest cybersecurity threats you face from a phishing scam is someone obtaining login data that they’ll then use to access your systems. As a result, you could face viruses, security breaches, and data losses. 

If you’re going to reduce the risk of a phishing scam, it’s essential to educate all employees on how to identify them. Additionally, ensure employees know where to go if they believe they’ve accidentally fallen for a scam. By promoting an atmosphere of openness and honesty, you’re more likely to reduce the harmful effects of a scam rather than allowing one to take hold.

DOS and DDOS attacks

Denial of Service (DOS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are attempts to bring a website to its knees. Both attacks aim to flood a website with traffic so that its servers can no longer withstand the incoming information. When the servers reach their bandwidth limit, your website enters a period of downtime. 

Usually, DOS and DDOS attacks make it hard for legitimate users to access a website and its content. As a result, you may lose out on potential customers and clients. Depending on how many of your services are web-based, you could also alienate existing customers and clients.

Despite more businesses making an effort to keep such attacks at bay, they’re on the rise. In 2019 Q1, there was a 200% increase in these attacks compared to the same quarter in 2018. Having a solid cybersecurity threat plan in place can reduce your chances of encountering such attacks and protect your reputation.

As time goes on, the number of cybersecurity threats against businesses increase and evolve. One of the most reliable ways to prevent them affecting you is to alter your business’s threat prevention techniques. By reviewing your cybersecurity prevention plan periodically, you reduce your chances of falling victim to the various threats.

The 6 biggest benefits you’ll get from an ERP system

At some point, you’re going to want to look into ways to make your business more effective and streamline your business process. You’re going to want it to be cost-effective, and able to withstand any future changes to your business. You also want it to meet the specific needs of your business, to focus on your strengths, and identify and remedy any weaknesses.

That’s where an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system comes into play. ERP management can integrate all of the different aspects of your business including purchasing, planning, inventory, sales, marketing, budgets, and human resources. 

Before installing such a system, you’ll want to ask yourself how the benefits of ERP can best serve your business needs.

1. A better view of your business process

Many companies suffer from not being able to look at all of the different aspects of their business, how they’re operating together, and then determining if what is happening is working in the company’s best interest. Decisions become more difficult. Efficiency drops, as do profits.

By centralizing business data–sales, inventory, resource allocation, and others–you can improve the “big picture” of your business to determine where bottlenecks or other problems may lie. You can uncover what conditions might be leading to customer dissatisfaction.

Armed with this information, you can determine which departments might be able to enhance their performance, reduce repetition, or improve their supply chain. Streamlining your business process will lead to a more efficient and productive business.

For mobility advantages with a centralized system for accessing information and business applications, your employees have an easier time conducting business in the field. Orders are placed more efficiently, inventory information is more quickly available, service calls are streamlined, and more.

2. Improved cooperation

While a certain amount of autonomy among the various departments within your business makes good sense, sometimes it can block communication. By centralizing how data is collected and shared between departments, you can reduce wasteful, repetitive procedures and ensure that everybody is working with the same up-to-date information.

When you add cloud computing with shared resources, you can also step up your company’s collaboration game. Projects get completed more quickly and employees have immediate access to information, no matter where they are physically located, as long as they have a secure Internet connection.

3. Enhanced inventory control

ERP systems are particularly useful when it comes to keeping track of inventory, orders, supply chains, and services. Every item and resource can be followed from start to finish. This controls situations in which orders get lost or shipped incorrectly, or when manufacturing gets held up from lack of supply or people-power.

Nothing gets lost in the shuffle. This saves you time, money, and aggravation.

4. Greater customer service

With an effective enterprise resource planning program in place, customers should be able to place orders more easily and even track the order’s progress themselves. They will know who to contact and how, should issues arise or they wish to amend their order.

ERP can be used to oversee customer interaction, information, and history. This means sales teams are better equipped to interact with customers–even preparing solutions for customers before the customer is even aware they’re needed.

5. Stronger security and regulatory compliance

Some businesses turn issues such as security and regulatory compliance into a “fix it when it becomes a problem” sort of scenario. This can end up being expensive and can lead to unwanted downtime. It would be better, perhaps, to have these issues addressed and handled at the very start. That’s something an ERP system can do.

Network security protocols, firewalls, encryption, and other IT issues related to keeping your data safe and your communications protected can be set up when creating your ERP system. If regulatory compliance is prioritized at the beginning, you save yourself headaches later.

6. Scalability benefits

ERP software systems are not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. Rather, it can be customized to fit the unique needs of your business and, better yet, adapted to meet the changing needs of your business over time. There is no risk of starting over again in a few years after your business grows or changes focus.

Users of your ERP system can be added or removed as your staff changes. Inventory and services can be adjusted to fit the evolving nature of your business. In short, the scalability and flexibility of an ERP system can serve your needs for the long term, while delivering savings by reducing installation costs of a new system every few years.

Implementing an ERP system

There are many reasons to implement an ERP system. Most come down to improving the efficiency of your business process, the productivity of your employees, the effectiveness of your customer service, data and communication security, and adhering to a managed budget.

It’s important to do your research on ERP system providers and insist on one who treats you as a partner, understands your business’s unique needs, and feels invested in your success. At Appsolute, we are keenly interested in how we can help best express your business through technology. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about how we can do that.

The 4 elements of a solid disaster recovery plan

Data loss is something that will affect most businesses at some point. Although it’s wise to have a prevention strategy in place, you also need to embrace the inevitable and create a disaster recovery plan.

The aim of a disaster recovery plan is to mitigate the harms that come with massive data loss. If you’re trying to create one that’s solid, you need to incorporate the following elements:

A detailed inventory

Across the United States, small and medium-sized businesses are set to spend $684 billion on IT in 2021. Most of that expenditure will come from hardware, although that’s set to change in the future.

With that in mind, there’s a chance that your business is doing some serious spending and will continue to do so. As a result, one of the best ways to prepare for a disaster is to have a detailed inventory.

From physical servers and power supply equipment to VoIP and phones, make sure you include it all. Creating a detailed inventory of what you have and how it’s configured gives you a better chance of repairing or replacing it in the event of a disaster.

Identify responses to disasters

Around 98% of organizations say an hour of downtime can cost them $100,000. It’s much easier to waste precious minutes when you haven’t clearly defined your responses to disasters. In contrast, knowing what they are in advance will prevent you from wasting time thinking of solutions.

For example, if you’re aware that IT downtime could bring certain essential processes to a halt, is it worth hosting some of them in the cloud?

In doing so, you could give your employees the chance to work on some processes remotely, which prevents you from losing too much money.

Create a clear outline of roles

According to some statistics, around 57% of employees feel as though they’re not given clear directions. Although that’s easy to rectify during everyday processes, it soon results in a crisis when you’re in the middle of a disaster.

While creating your disaster recovery plan, clearly identify who is going to take on what role. Make sure everyone is familiar with each others’ roles too so there’s no ambiguity about who needs to formulate a response. As a part of this, create a sheet of contact details, roles, and list who may need to communicate with each other.

If you’re going to be really thorough, you’ll also need to assign a person for each crucial role as you don’t want sickness or vacation to impede the success of your disaster recovery plan.

Refresh your disaster recovery plan

Your disaster recovery plan shouldn’t remain inflexible. In addition to personnel changes, technology is a constantly evolving area. You may acquire new equipment and new processes, which means your plan will need updates.

The average employee turnover rate in North America is around 23%. That’s a significant proportion of your workforce, especially when you’re relying on continuity in terms of IT disaster recovery. This doesn’t mean you need to refresh your plan every time someone leaves or joins your business.

Instead, assess the impact of every employee loss or gain on the disaster recovery plan and form an appropriate response. Provide a full refresh only when it’s necessary to do so and focus on educating new team members the rest of the time.

Overall, your disaster recovery plan should exist as a living document. Ensure it evolves as your business does and make sure it contains plenty of detail. Always make sure key stakeholders can pitch in their contributions and you should be able to form a solid plan that minimizes losses.

Need guidance with disaster recovery planning?

If you’d like a second pair of experienced eyes on your disaster recovery plan, you can always count on the AppSolute team. Contact us today and we can help ensure your plan is airtight – and we can even help you create one from scratch.