It’s Time For Small Businesses To Take Action

iStock_000061843572_SmallIntroduction

Not a single day goes by without reading about another hack, data breach or research showing how vulnerable some of our internet-enabled, everyday devices really are. Followers of XSolutions’ Company LinkedIn page as well as my 1700+ personal LinkedIn connections have been treated to articles on topics involving:

  • Infected Google Play Apps
  • Smartwatch security
  • Android password-stealing malware
  • Ransomware-infected URL shorteners
  • Spying webcams

I review over 20 Security Blogs each day, and these are only a small segment of what I posted. There are many more eye-openers that I didn’t share for fear of overwhelming my readers!

The point that I’m trying to make is that the internet has gotten more dangerous, yet many small business owners don’t heed the warnings. Instead they rely only on anti-virus software and data backup as their means of protection—putting themselves and their customer’s information at risk.

Data is the lifeblood of business

In today’s world, massive amounts of data are being created every second. Depending on the industry, even small firms with less than 5 employees generate terabytes of data. Small firms are increasingly being targeted by cyber-thieves because they know they don’t protect their systems the way they should.

Question: What would happen to your business if one day, you came into your office and all of your documents, customer records and financial information were gone forever?

Here are some statistics:

  • Companies that suffer a catastrophic data loss, 43% never reopen and 51% close their doors after two years. (Source: University of Texas)
  • 30% of businesses that have a major fire go out of business and 70% fail within five years. (Source: Boston Computing network, Data Loss Statistics)
  • One (1) billion data records were compromised in 2014. (Source: Gemalto Releases Findings of 2014 Breach Level Index, February 12, 2015)
  • 70% of Small-to-Medium Size Businesses (SMBs) go out of business within one year of a catastrophic data loss. (Source: Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark. The State of Global Disaster recovery Preparedness, Annual Report)

Another question: How long can your business survive without access to your critical data?

The above stats show that many small business owners don’t realize how important their information really is—until they lose it. That’s the only reasonable explanation I can think of for another startling statistic:

96% of business workstations are not being backed up. (Source: Contingency Planning and Strategic Research Corporation)

Many small businesses that do have a server feel they’re safe because it’s backed up. However, most don’t enforce rules requiring employees to save all files to the server. Employees usually save documents to their own hard drives for convenience while working on them but forget to save them back to the server when they’re done. In many instances, the server has older versions of critical documents or worse, they’re missing them altogether.

If you depend on your data, you need to protect it wherever it lives and that includes your server and workstations.

Do you even know if your backup system is working?

Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it. Sadly, many small business owners think they know the answer, but they really don’t. They just assume it is working.

The worst time to find out that your backup isn’t working is when you need it!

 I can’t tell you how many times we’ve performed IT assessments only to find that the backup system wasn’t functioning and the owner was completely unaware. The fact is that many IT providers, usually break-fix firms, rely on automated alerts to tell them something is wrong. Their reasoning—no alert, no worries. RIDICULOUS! Automated alerts can fail and should not be solely relied upon.

Because of their critical importance, Backup Systems should be monitored by a real person. For instance, XSolutions checks all Data Backup and Business Continuity Systems each day, making sure that a backup has indeed occurred. For Business Continuity Platforms, we even check that the screenshot’s date of the virtual logon screen is current and within acceptable timeframes. If it’s not, we fix it!

If your IT guy isn’t doing this—get rid of him, he’s putting your company at risk!

Your goal as a business owner should be Business Continuity not merely survival

Data Backup alone can’t insure a quick recovery—only a full Business Continuity system can do that. Data backup only saves data but not the Operating System and source programs, increasing your time-to-recovery by days to weeks.

On the other hand, a Business Continuity System takes a complete picture of your server and/or high-value workstations, including the Operating System, source programs, settings, etc., making recovery much faster. How fast? A Business Continuity System can reduce your recovery to minutes and hours.

Final question: If your business can’t tolerate downtime for more than a few hours, why would you install a data backup system rather than a Business Continuity Solution?

We see it every day. We go in for an assessment and the business owner states flat out that his systems must be up and running at all times or he’ll lose an enormous amount of revenue, profit, customers, etc. Then he selects a data backup system because of the price. It just doesn’t make sense.

 Match the needs of your business and customers to the solution you put in place because going out of business is more expensive, disruptive and stressful.

 Conclusion

It’s your company! After all, if you lose your data and your backup isn’t working, who suffers? Small businesses must take responsibility for their survival and that means putting in place a Business Continuity system that makes sense.

Have questions about what type of backup is good for you? Give us a call. Better yet, if you’re located in the New York/New Jersey/ Connecticut area call us and ask about our FREE Disaster Recovery Assessment for qualified businesses.

 

Joseph Imperato Sr. is the Managing Partner for XSolutions Consulting Services, a Managed Services Provider (MSP) delivering Computer Support, Business Continuity, Cloud Services, and IT Consulting to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut businesses. Call us at (845) 362-9675 and see how we can help your company.