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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.

The 6 basic components of a modern ERP

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can be a significant benefit to your business. Most systems have a large selection of features and functionality. ERP software has the ability to help you manage finances, customers, projects, service, commerce, and more. With an ERP system, you’ll have the ability to adapt and change, improve processes, reduce errors, and track and manage assets.

ERP’s are fast becoming a sought after platform for businesses, with the market expected to hit $47 billion in revenue by 2022. However, there are certain key components your ERP software should have for it to be effective in your organization. Let’s look at the six basic components of a modern ERP.

When selecting and implementing an ERP, there are many considerations. Those considerations will be influenced by the major components that every system should have. When you have functionality that aligns with your business goals, you are more likely to see results. In fact, 95% of businesses that implemented an ERP saw an improvement in their processes. Another study found that the top three benefits of ERP usage were reduced process time, increased collaboration, and centralization of enterprise-wide data.

Top components your ERP needs

Human resources

Managing employees is critical to your success so your ERP system should do this job well, handling the entire spectrum of employee administration. This includes onboarding, offboarding, benefits, and time tracking.

The most important feature you need within the HR capabilities is payroll software. You don’t want your HR staff doing this manually as it’s time-consuming and can lead to human error. An HR component can automate payments in addition to tax and benefit deductions. With an integrated time tracking system, hourly employees can be paid automatically, with no need to manually input timesheet information.

Customer relationship management

Another high priority for any business is managing customers and leads. Every company needs a highly functional customer relationship management (CRM) platform as part of its ERP. The insights you’ll gain from a central hub will enable you to sell and market better to your target audiences.

Use a CRM to track buying behaviors, conversation histories, or interactions to determine how to best communicate with customers and leads to generate more revenue.

Business intelligence

When using a cloud ERP, you’ll want to make sure it has business intelligence functionality. This component can collect and analyze data, providing your team with actionable insights. Look for a system that provides reports on valuable business intelligence insights so you can have a clear view as to what actions to take.

Supply chain management

Having an efficient supply chain is imperative, and with the right ERP system, it can be easier to accomplish this. With powerful features, you can optimize your supply chain and collect data in real-time. This allows you to respond immediately when there is a problem.

Inventory management system

Inventory management goes hand-in-hand with the supply chain management piece. It will also help you manage other processes like fulfillment and stocking. You’ll want to find a system that enables this tracking to be automated, reducing manual practices.

Financial management

All the other data from your ERP feeds into financial management, as basically, every business process involves money. You can have a clear view of all your financial data and see spending trends that could help you reduce costs.

Choosing the right ERP system can be tricky. There are lots of options. We can help. We offer an ERP system that has all these components and more. Contact us today to learn more.

The top 7 ways data backup builds a better business

Could you imagine business life without data? From your clients’ information to files on the latest projects, all your data plays a central role in helping your business move forward. It’s often the case that businesses don’t realize how important data is until it’s gone. Because of this, it’s hard to understate just how necessary data backup is. If it hasn’t been one of your primary concerns recently, now’s the time to learn about how it builds a better business.

Your business becomes more reliable    

Although local data storage comes with its perks, it’s also risky in the event of a complete hard drive failure. Losing the contents of your hard drive means that your data is gone forever. The exception to this is if you use an additional form of local storage, although there’s always a chance that could fail too.

If you want to avoid the perils of a hard drive failure, consider using cloud storage as a backup. When your data enters the cloud, you don’t need to worry about what will happen if your hard drive fails. You can continue using local storage but your business becomes more reliable because of your contingency plan.

You reduce the cost of downtime

According to some studies, data downtime can cost as much as $1 million dollars per incident. Let’s say your data becomes inaccessible for some reason. Said reason could be anything from an electrical failure to having to move offices due to an adverse weather event. When this happens, not having a data backup plan results in you having to close your business until the problem is over.

When you consider that some adverse weather events can last for days at a time, closing your business is less than ideal. In extreme cases, the recovery period following severe weather events lasts for weeks. This could mean a significant loss of revenue, which you become responsible for.

Having a managed backup plan means you can access your data, even when the worst happens. Although you won’t always be able to run your business at full capacity, having access to the essentials prevents a complete shutdown and helps you continue with as much normality as you can manage.

Employees enjoying their teamwork.

Your IT team has an easier workload

IT teams dedicate a startling amount of time to frontline tasks such as data recovery. From small lost files through to significant wipeouts, it’s almost as though they’re firefighting in a digital world.

Of course, your IT team’s job isn’t all about managing data losses. They have other tasks to tend to too, but they may not have enough time to tackle them. By using a data backup service, you ensure that your IT team can do more than just tackle file losses. They’ll also have the chance to focus on tasks such as network security and other important elements of IT management.

You’ll find that data backup is easy

Local backup comes with a draining downside: everything is manual. Transferring files to your hard drive is a lengthy process and if you lose power in the middle of it, you need to start all over again.

In contrast, data backup using a remote facility requires little more than a few clicks. Depending on the type of plan you choose, you may also find that it’s automatic. When you and your IT team don’t need to dedicate as much time to backing up data, you can direct your processes to other areas of your business and help it thrive.

You get professional input from a tech team

In most cases, using a data backup service means you’re turning to an external team of tech professionals. They’ll oversee the backup process and they’ll manage any problems that come with it.

Having a team of professionals on your side also means someone’s there to manage any security problems. This means there are fewer drains on your business’s resources and your data backup takes place without you having to give it a second thought.

Your business is globally ready

If you want to do business internationally, you need to ensure your business is globally ready. The use of cloud storage allows you to achieve this in a couple of ways.

First, your data is available no matter where you are. This makes you incredibly flexible as you’ll no longer need to take external hard drives with you.

Second, cloud backup usually comes with super-tough encryption. As different countries have different security policies, the use of a cloud facility increases the likelihood that you’re compliant with the regulations of the country you’re doing business in. As a result, you may not need to make major adjustments to your processes to guarantee that you can press ahead with your plans.

Your data is more secure overall

On the topic of security, using a data backup service means your information is more secure overall. As the per-record cost of a data breach is between $120 and $600, it’s clear that most businesses cannot afford major failures in this area.

Unlike local hard drives, cloud backup benefits from security that’s near-impossible to break through. That doesn’t mean that breaches don’t happen but they’re far less likely to happen when compared with local storage.

In exchange for your increased security, you prevent a potentially significant loss of revenue. Additionally, you avoid a catastrophe that could harm your business’s reputation. Even large businesses struggle to recover from data breaches. Worryingly, data loss can slow your revenue growth by 22%. Arguably, it’s harder to bounce back when you’re running a small or medium-sized organization.

There are many business benefits to data backup. You can reassure your clients that you’re reliable, continue managing your business during a power loss, and reduce the likelihood of a big fine following a data loss.

Everything a Good Business Continuity Plan MUST Have

One of the biggest buzzwords in the business world is continuity. But if that means that business continuity is on your radar, that’s a good thing.

Unfortunately, buzzwords (or phrases) are a double-edged sword. They become so common that you start to ignore them. Ignoring business continuity will be to your detriment.

So, let’s spend a few minutes exploring business continuity, how it’s different from disaster recovery, what could happen if you don’t have a continuity plan, and six essential things your plan should contain.

Business continuity vs. disaster recovery

At first glance, it can seem like business continuity and disaster recovery are the same thing. However, disaster recovery is a part of business continuity. As it’s only a part, you need a complete business continuity plan that moves beyond just disaster recovery.

Disaster recovery is mostly concerned with backing up your data. The thinking is simple enough. When disaster strikes, the negative impact on your business will be far greater if you lose all your critical data. So, disaster recovery plans give you a way to protect that data by making sure there’s a backup copy.

Business continuity, on the other hand, aims to address all the ways your business will be affected in the wake of a disaster. In addition to data backup, it includes factors such as maintaining communication, ensuring critical business processes stay online, continuing to provide your employees with the tools they need to do their jobs, and enabling your customers to contact you as needed.

You need both kinds of plans.

Internal Meeting about planning.

“An effective business continuity plan lays out the instructions and procedures an organization must undergo when some kind of disaster occurs.”
– TechRepublic

What if you don’t have a business continuity plan? 

Instead of looking at all the bad things that may happen, reflect on all the good things you’ll miss out on. For example, work won’t be completed, revenue-generating activities will stop, and your ability to communicate internally and externally will come to a grinding halt. You’ll start to lose ground at the moment of disaster and you won’t regain any ground until you identify a way to get things up and running again.

Unfortunately, getting things up and running again or securing business continuity is tough without a plan. As a result of all these consequences, your reputation will take a considerable hit. Even worse, if your competitors appear prepared and you don’t, you may lose business to them.

The 6 essential elements of business continuity

If you’re ready to start building out your own business continuity plan, the best option is to contact your managed IT services provider. They’re already familiar with your business and will be ideally situated to help you put together a solid BC plan.

But if you’re planning to take a DIY approach, here are the things your plan should include.

1. A literal, written plan

This may seem obvious, but not everyone thinks about it. Your business continuity plan should be written down. If you lack thorough documentation, you don’t have a complete business continuity plan.

2. Arrangements for addressing critical operations

Some processes are more critical than others. You need to decide what the most critical operations are for your company and then build out plans for maintaining or restoring them in the event of a disaster.

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Related: Data backup and security best practices 

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3. Clear documentation of who’s responsible for what

It’s not enough to have a plan for maintaining and restoring critical processes. You also need to know who is responsible for each part of each plan. Making sure these details are crystal clear reduces the risk of everything falling apart in the event of an emergency.

4. An emergency communications strategy

What will you do if all the cell phone towers are down? How will your team stay in contact with each other? You need to think about communications strategies that address worst-case scenarios.

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5. Off-site backup

Data backup is important. But to really protect your data, you need to do more than back it up. You need to back it up off-site. Doing so ensures that even if your office is literally destroyed, your data will remain intact.

“Putting in the advance groundwork during quieter times not only leads to cooler heads during more turbulent times, but will also make a tremendous difference to your customers, employees and future business performance.”
-CIO

6. An alternate work location

Finally, you need a plan for moving business operations to another location in the event that your office can’t be used. When this happens, can your staff do everything remotely? Is there another office in a neighboring city that could handle things for a while? Be prepared for this possibility so your business operations flow smoothly.

Making business continuity happen

Business continuity is always going to feel like something you’ll have time to do later. The problem is, if you don’t already have a plan before you need it, you may find yourself in hot water.

We strongly recommend that you put a business continuity plan together, now. Trust us—if the day comes that you need it, you’ll be glad you did.

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Keep reading: Cyber Threats in 2019

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5 Server Maintenance Tips and Tricks to Better Support Your Business

Each and every day, you likely go about your daily business without giving your server much thought. They typically operate 24/7 without much hassle, but like all machines, they do require some level of maintenance.

This is why you need to take a proactive approach.

As you monitor and maintain your server, you will be able to help prevent a possible failure — one that could quickly turn into a disaster. To help guide you, we have created a little tips and tricks checklist. That way, you can avoid costly outages and unnecessary headaches.

Consider These 5 Server Maintenance Tips and Tricks

Unlike larger companies, you may not yet have a dedicated IT department. If this is the case, you may be currently weighed down by technical tasks that are somewhat out of your wheelhouse. The following tips and tricks are intended to guide you. However, if you are completely in the dark, it’s best that you seek the assistance of a managed service provider.

In the meantime, consider the following:

Tip #1: Update your OS

This may seem obvious. However, there are many businesses that are using outdated operating systems, leaving their companies vulnerable. All it takes is one attack, like WannaCry, for you to face a highly disruptive, potentially detrimental situation. The key here is to regularly update your operating system so that it supports regular patch releases. If you don’t, you may not have issues for months, even years — but eventually, an unpatched server will catch up with you.

Related: 9 Things You Can Do to Outsmart Ransomware Attacks

Tip #2: Clean your server

If you have your server tucked away in a closet, it’s important to physically clean it on a regular basis. Although quality servers have fairly powerful fans, that does not mean that dirt and dust can’t settle in the server’s case. This will increase the temperature within the case, potentially leading to a range of issues — including a potential fire. If your server has filters, clean them on a regular basis and use compressed air to access hard-to-reach places.

Tip #3: Check for potential hardware errors

Review your company’s system logs in order to identify signs of hardware issues. From network failures to overheating notices, it is important that you’re aware of how your hardware is operating. This is particularly important if your system has not been running as expected recently. However, even if there are not any apparent issues, checking your logs for hardware errors should become a standard part of your server maintenance strategy.

Tip #4: Confirm that your backup server is running properly

You may have already gotten into the habit of checking your backup system on a weekly basis. However, are you actually verifying that your backups are working as expected? Often overlooked, this step is imperative in regards to a solid backup plan. Even if you decide to outsource this task, you should still have a firm grasp on all the elements within your plan, including the schedule, backup location, and recovery times.

Tip #5: Move to the cloud

The cloud has allowed companies to reduce to reduce outages, which is why you should move at least a portion of your infrastructure to the cloud. This step will help you streamline your operations, hosting, data storage, and more — all while increasing speed, flexibility, and overall peace-of-mind.

Still in need of support? Please feel free to contact us regarding your IT service needs.

Also, be sure to read the following helpful resources:

Include These Key Steps and Elements to Create a Solid Cybersecurity Strategy

Being aware of the most recent cybersecurity trends is imperative when planning for the future. It’s especially true when you take into account the more than 7 in 10 U.S. organizations that were impacted by a data breach over the past few years.

The majority of those affected are small-to-medium sized businesses.

Understanding the associated threats is the first step towards the development of a solid cybersecurity strategy. This will allow you to take a proactive approach, creating a reliable security plan before any issues arise.

SMBs Face Significant Cybersecurity Threats

In the headlines, you often hear of security breaches in regards to large corporations.

Naturally, they’re significant enough – they involve the personal information of thousands (if not millions) of customers. Still, you seldom hear about the more common victims — those who own or operate small businesses.

It makes sense, as from a hacker’s point-of-view. A small business will have more digital assets than a random individual, and they also have fewer security protocols in comparison to larger organizations.

They’re the unfortunate perfect target for these cybercriminals. But all hope is not lost.

In addition to working with a professionally managed service provider, you must be aware of best practices for your business. Start with the basics and continue to invest in vulnerable areas, focusing on firewalls, two-step authentication, data backup solutions, encryption software, etc.

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Related: 8 Business Benefits of Having Managed Services

The Elements in Your Cybersecurity Strategy

When it comes to the current and future success of your business, cybersecurity is a serious issue — and the stakes are higher than ever before. If you are ready to get serious about cybersecurity, be mindful of the following elements and recommended steps.

Step 1: Get (and Stay) Informed

When it comes to a solid cybersecurity strategy, there is one element you need to be aware of — human error. The human component can significantly weaken your level of security, especially if training is not a key priority.

Within your company, you should assign the role of Chief Information Security Officer. This individual (or team of individuals) will have authority and funding to ensure the protection of company data and the IT infrastructure. Although there should be levels of hierarchy, you should provide training for each person within the organization.

From spotting phishing emails to avoiding possible malware attacks, remember that knowledge is power. The key here is due diligence and overall awareness. In addition, if a breach does occur, team members should already know how to respond.

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Tip: Be sure to hold regular meetings and training sessions in regards to software updates, data backup plans, and overall security measures. When you create a culture of cybersecurity in the workplace, you will be able to implement a more effective, proactive strategy.

Step 2: Create and Implement Your Strategy

In order to create a solid cybersecurity strategy, you need to first be mindful of vulnerabilities.

For example, what threats do you currently face in relation to network security? How can you perform your due diligence in regards to cloud security or application security? Do I have the right hardware and software in place to adequately defend my data?

These are the types of questions you must ask yourself.

These elements will coincide with your disaster recovery plan, which you can read all about here. To ensure best practices, depending on your industry, you can rely on some of the latest industry standards, including ISO/IEC 27001 and HIPAA.

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Tip: It is important that you customize your cybersecurity strategy based on the specific threats and vulnerabilities your company faces. In the latest framework, presented by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, you may view key areas to consider (in addition to suggested guidelines).

Step 3: Monitor and Test Your Infrastructure

Creating a cybersecurity strategy is only half the battle. In order to ensure that it’s solid, you must monitor its activity and perform regular tests to ensure that it works. While monitoring your IT infrastructure, be sure to generate incident reports that showcase unusual activity.

By building a threat intelligence base, you will gain greater insight and improve your ongoing strategy. Remember, as technology continues to evolve, new threats will likely surface. Your cybersecurity strategy will need to adapt to these changes, improving overall risk management.

In addition, you must implement a comprehensive response plan — just in case a breach does occur. Once you have developed your disaster plan, you should run a drill to better understand and/or refine your current procedures.

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Tip: If you discover a potential risk, it is important that you have a response checklist prepared. For example, you should record the date and time that the potential breach was discovered, before re-securing the equipment or systems in question. To ensure that no data is lost, always follow the 3-2-1 backup rule prior to any problematic incidents.

AppSolute Protects SMBs Around the Clock

As Neil Rerup, famed cybersecurity architect, once said, “True cybersecurity is preparing for what’s next, not what was last.”

At the end of the day, everyone is at risk when it comes to cybersecurity. As an SMB, it’s imperative that you take action before a problem arises, as a data breach could potentially put you out of business.

If you have any questions regarding your company’s security needs, please contact us today. We can work to protect your data and your clients with next-gen solutions and experience technicians.

Disaster Recovery Planning vs. Business Continuity Plans

Many businesses use the terms ‘disaster recovery plan’ and ‘business continuity plan’ interchangeably. Although both critical components following a disaster, they are independent of one another.

That means that if you have a disaster recovery plan but have failed to complete a business continuity plan (and vice versa), here’s what you need to know.

The Difference Between a Disaster Recovery Plan and a Business Continuity Plan

When a major disaster strikes, more than 40% of all businesses will never recover — and for those who do, only 29% are still operating two years later.

Taking a proactive approach will help ensure that your business not only survives a disaster but is still able to thrive. If you have not taken any action in terms of disaster planning, here’s what you need to know about the following plans (and what they mean for your business).

  • Business continuity plan — If a disaster were to strike, would you be able to continue operating your business? If not, you are significantly reducing your chances of survival. This plan will allow you to re-establish and continue services. That way, you can become fully functional in the shortest amount of time possible. Within this plan, you must think about the most critical operations and processes within your organization. That includes your dependence on equipment, personnel, servers, software, finances, etc.
  • Disaster recovery plan — This will be included within your business continuity plan but should be treated as its own separate entity. Your disaster recovery plan is essentially a subset of your business continuity plan. Disaster recovery is typically more technical, as it mostly focuses on the impact of lost IT services. When developing this plan, you should be aware of the 3-2-1 backup rule.

Bottom line: Your disaster recovery plan is more data-centric. It will allow you to restore and recover lost data following a disaster. In comparison, your business continuity plan is more business-centric. It includes strategies that will minimize downtime following a disaster based on core business operations.

Although different, both plans share the same goal in that they help sustain business operations.

Related: 3 Data Loss Horror Stories

Make Data Protection a Top Priority

As you can imagine, if you developed a business continuity plan but not a disaster recovery plan, it would be challenging to continue operations. Once you lose your data, your company essentially loses its most important asset. This means that it’s not a matter of developing one or the other — but rather how you balance both plans.

Of course, each organization is unique, so you will need to focus on your company’s specific needs. Many small-to-medium businesses benefit from outsourcing these processes, as a third-party can simplify both of these plans. Managed services can also be much more affordable in the long run — especially in terms of productivity.

Related: 5 Signs That It’s Time to Partner with a Managed Service Provider

Also, please be mindful that a disaster recovery plan goes far beyond copying your data. When developing this plan, you will need to outline how often you implement your backups, where you store your copied data, and anything else surrounding data recovery.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity with AppSolute

The takeaway here is that although closely related and in many ways reliant on one another, your disaster recovery plan and business continuity plan are not the same. Now is the time to ensure that both of these plans are up-to-date and that your team has been strategically involved.

With the evolution of cloud-based services, companies of all sizes can now easily afford to implement these plans. Don’t wait until disaster hits to develop critical strategies — contact us today to learn more!

A Guide for Crafting a Small Business Data Backup Strategy

Data backup is a necessity for businesses small businesses. The information you store on your computers is critical to keep your company in business. Imagine what would happen if you lost your customer records, accounts receivable, and accounts payable records. It would be difficult or impossible to keep your business running.

This guide will help you establish a backup strategy for your business.

Why is Data Backup So Critical?

Data backup is critical because you never know when something will happen that threatens your data and your livelihood. Consider these examples:

  • Pixar was close to abandoning the movie Toy Story 2. An employee entered a server command by mistake that began deleting animation files, eliminating a year’s worth of work in 20 seconds. Then, the Disney team discovered that their backups had been failing without anyone noticing. Luckily, one of the supervisors had done backups to a personal computer and the movie was saved.
  • A wedding photographer transferred the photos from one of his client’s event to his computer and reformatted the memory card in his camera to prepare for the next job. When the hard drive on the computer failed, along with the backups the photographer had assumed were running, all the wedding photos were lost.

Data loss can happen because of hardware failure, system problems, a natural disaster, or someone leaning on a computer keyboard. Given how devastating a data loss can be, a secure plan is required.

Steps for Developing Your Small Business Data Backup Strategy

The following steps will assist you in taking an organized approach to developing a data backup strategy that meets your company’s needs.

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1. Determine what needs to be backed up

You may think this is an easy task, but if you have employees, you may find that you have important data stored in a variety of places, including:

  • File servers: If you have a file server, you hope that all of your company’s data is stored there. However, it’s very possible that individual employees aren’t aware of the need to use the file server, or they don’t think it’s convenient, and you have data stored in many different places.
  • Employees’ local drives: It’s easy for employees to assume that the hard drive attached to their computer is always safe, especially if they’ve never experienced a hard drive failure.
  • Employees’ USB drives: USB drives are also sometimes considered to be a safe haven for data storage. However, given the fact that they can be lost or stolen and aren’t free from failure, it’s best to encourage employees not to use them.
  • Laptops: Employees who are mobile may be using laptop computers, and probably don’t think about transferring their files to a central file server.

Since you’re preparing a data backup strategy, take the opportunity to talk to every employee to identify the places where data is stored.

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Related: 8 Business Benefits of Having Managed Services

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2. Decide on Your Backup Goal and Method

Different backup approaches support different goals. Decide whether your business needs the ability to restore data, or to maintain your operations. In addition, decide where you should store your backups.

Today, you can store backups in the cloud, on-premises, both, or some of each. If you choose just one of those alternatives, you’re limiting your ability to recover from a problem. Using a combination or hybrid approach will help you recover from almost every type of failure.

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Related: What Does an MSP Actually Do?

There are two basic methods for performing backups, file level and image level. Any employee can use file-level backups to a server for easy access. To protect an entire system, image-level backups will allow you to do fast recoveries, especially if you use a continuous recovery model where each backup is restored as it is created.

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3. Consider What You are Protecting Yourself Against

The odds are that you need to protect yourself against an employee deleting a file or files. In that situation, performing file-level backups is a good solution. However, you’ll also need to protect yourself against a real disaster.

A natural disaster such as flood or tornado could easily destroy all of your local data. If your backup hardware is in the basement of your office, no recovery will be possible. If you experience a fire in your office, the damage might not extend to your backup servers in the basement. However, if your backup strategy was for every employee to do file backups to that server, your recovery process will take much longer than you want to wait.

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4. Develop Your Strategy

With the information you’ve gathered and the decisions you’ve made in steps one through three, you’re ready to document your strategy.

The strategy document should include an overview of everything that has led you to documenting the strategy. Putting the strategy in writing will help you in a couple of ways:

  • You’ll have a record of the assumptions and decisions that support the strategy. You will know when it’s time to update the strategy when those assumptions are no longer valid.
  • You’ll have a basis for training your employees. In most situations, all employees will need to understand why backing up is important, and their role in the backup process.

Next Steps

Once you’ve defined your strategy, put it into effect and test how well the strategy is working on a regular basis. Many companies have run into trouble because they assumed that their strategy was effective, and lost crippling amounts of data as a result.

If you’re wondering where you’ll acquire the expertise and the time to create, implement and maintain an effective backup plan, keep in mind that our AppSolute experts can relieve you of those burdens.

Contact us for more information today!