We Dodged The Bullet—This Time

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Hurricane Joaquin smashed into Bermuda causing havoc and drenched the Southern United States, particularly South Carolina, with deadly rain. Nature intervened changing Joaquin’s course, sparing the Eastern U.S. from the hurricane’s wrath. Good for us here in the New York/New Jersey area, but Tri-State businesses shouldn’t get complacent!

Many businesses, especially small companies, don’t think they need to prepare for a disaster. They believe they’ll just ride it out. Studies prove otherwise. A well-known joint study by HP and SCORE found that 70% of companies that experienced a catastrophic data loss closed their doors within one year.

Every business no matter its size, should have a written and tested IT Business Continuity Plan. True—very small businesses will have a less rigorous plan, but they need one nevertheless and the main focus should be Business Continuity, not just survival.

Rule: If a disaster occurs and you cannot quickly recover to serve your clients, a better prepared competitor will be more than happy to step in. Any questions?

Two types of backups—they’re not the same!

There are two types of backups a business can deploy, data backup and image-based backup:

  • Data backup only backs up data. It does not backup the Operating System or Source programs such as Microsoft Office, Adobe, etc. Data backup does not guarantee a quick recovery.
    • Data backup saves and restores files one at a time, so it’s very slow.
    • If equipment needs to be fixed or replaced then systems need to be prepped, updated and Source Programs loaded before data files can be applied. This is a very slow process.
    • Oftentimes, you don’t know if backup files are corrupted until you try to restore them.
    • Recovery with data backup systems are measured in days to weeks.
  • Image-based solutions are commonly referred to as Business Continuity systems. Business Continuity solutions take a complete picture of a server or workstation, saving everything (Operating System, Source programs, Data, Pictures, etc.), allowing for fast restores of the entire system. Copies are saved to an onsite device and to the cloud.
    • If your server should fail or get damaged and need repairs, the onsite device can function as a server using the latest image it has captured.
    • Virtualized images can be booted up to check for viability prior to restoration.
    • Restorations are fast because whole system snapshots are applied (i.e. Operating System, Source Programs and data) at one time.
    • Recovery with Business Continuity solutions are measured in minutes to hours.

As you can see, there is a vast difference in recovery times between the two types of systems.

Choose your backup solution wisely

The backup solution you choose comes down to this question: How long can your business survive without access to your computer system?

If you don’t realize it now, you’ll soon find out that your computer system is an integral part of your business operation. Most owners don’t realize it until they lose access to it.

Many times, I’ve heard business owners claim they cannot be down even for a minute, then choose a data backup solution because it’s less expensive. The expense of a Business Continuity solution must be compared to the money it will cost to rebuild from scratch—if they can.

Why bother? Hurricanes hitting the Eastern U.S. are rare!

Maybe so, but disasters are not confined to hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural phenomena. In fact, studies show that 78% of incidents involving data loss are caused by hardware failure or software malfunction; the next highest—11% are from human error. Natural disasters only account for 1%.

89% of incidents in which companies lost their data had nothing to do with natural disasters. Hardware failure and human error can happen at any time to any business no matter their size.

Now, add the above stats to the study cited in the beginning of this article and you’ll quickly conclude that a Business Continuity solution is one of the best investments you can make in your business.

Also, it is clear from recent history that weather patterns are changing and the Eastern U.S. is being subjected to more violent storms (i.e. Hurricanes Irene, Sandy, etc.). Businesses need to be prepared.

Conclusion

Certainly, business owners and company executives must assess their company’s computer systems and the risk they take if they lose it all. That’s why planning is so important. The time to plan is not when hurricane-force winds are knocking down trees and power lines or the company contracts a virus that wipes out their server’s hard drives!

A Business Continuity solution is the best choice for your company’s survivability and, while more expensive than data backup, will give you the best option for not only surviving a disaster, but to thrive after it.

To help you create an IT Disaster Recovery Plan for your business, click here to download our free MS Excel-based template.

 

XSolutions is a Managed Services Provider (MSP) and provides 24/7/365 remote monitoring, scheduled workstation and server maintenance, Help Desk Services, Business Continuity Solutions, Cloud & Hosted Services and IT Consulting. Call us at (845) 362-9675 and see how we can help your company.