Sunday, June 6, 2010

Backup or be devastated

Here’s a copy of an article I wrote that appears in an e-zine from MyMate (on page 13) which can be found at:

 

http://www.wanttobebigger.com/MyMate-e-zine-June-2010.html

 

In the world of technology your last line of defence is the humble back
up, yet many businesses, especially small ones, remain extremely
caviller about this critical function of a business.

Nearly every business these days depends on IT. So what happens
when IT isn't available? You have probably experienced a mild disaster
such as the internet being unavailable or a hard disk failing. The
question is, how long did that issue interrupt your business and how
much money did it cost you?

Now imagine a much bigger disaster, say your office being burnt down
or flooded. How long would it take you to get up and running again?
Most small businesses have never invested the time to consider their
disaster recovery planning – and they should – because without it there
is good chance they'll go out of business after even a minor problem.

Let's examine one simple aspect of disaster planning, backups. Most
businesses would probably say that they do backups, the problem is that
is only half of the solution. When was the last time that you actually
tested that your backups worked? You certainly don't want to find out
that your backups don't work after a disaster. So it is important that you
regularly test that you can restore from your backups. You should also
plan on doing a complete restore of all your data somewhere every 6-12
months to make sure you can get it all back.

Next consider how you would cope in a real disaster like a fire. What
plans do you have in place to keep your business operational? How long
will it take you to get up and going? How are you going to cope having to
get new IT resources like workstations, servers and printers? It really is
much better to plan for these eventualities ahead of time rather than
trying to have to manage them on top of everything else in the event of a
disaster.

Hopefully you will never have to implement your IT disaster plan but it is
important that you not only have one but that you practice its
implementation. This means that at least once a year you should
simulate an IT disaster and see how well your plan works and what may
need adjusting.

Too many businesses see their IT as simply an overhead. They fail to
realise that it is one of the most vulnerable parts of your business –
without which, you may be unable to operate.

If you value your data then you should value your backup and disaster
recovery plan, as they are going to save you. It is no good trying to
develop these in the middle of a disaster. They need to be planned,
implemented and tested beforehand, because as they say failing
to plan only means you're planning to fail.