For small businesses in 2013, downtime is never an option. Disrupting your business operations for even a few hours can cause you to miss important deadlines, delay projects, waste your employees’ time, and possibly even lose a significant amount of revenue. Sometimes a network goes down due to technical problems, a faulty piece of equipment, for example. Other times, it’s caused by forces outside your control or the control of your IT services provider. A small fire in your building could cause huge problems for your IT systems if the sprinklers go off. Extended power outages can wreak havoc on your business processes, as well. And that’s not to mention natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, hurricane-force winds, and so on. For businesses large and small in 2013, it’s vitally important they create a backup and disaster recovery plan (BDR) with the help of their outsourced IT provider or managed service IT provider (MSP). Part of this planning involves setting an RTO, a recovery time objective. An RTO is the length of time a business deems it acceptable to have a particular business process offline. Shorter RTOs require more robust, instantly accessible solutions.
How does a modern backup and disaster recovery plan work?
In past decades, backing up your business’s data meant saving it to a drive, tape, or other form of storage media and physically transferring it to a location offsite (or keeping the backups onsite, which, for purposes of disaster recovery, is not a recommended practice). In 2013, the cloud—storing data on hosted solutions offsite—plays a central role in disaster recovery planning. The most effective solutions back up a business’s data to the cloud automatically on a daily basis and monitor each backup to ensure they have been completed successfully. An additional backup to onsite storage may also be performed to allow for a quicker recovery in the event of data loss.
How will you know the backup is getting done?
Many businesses never experience a disaster, but still want to ensure they’re protected “just in case.” But if they’re sending their data to be stored in the cloud, how do they know it’s staying there, ready for use in case of emergency? Your IT solution provider, MSP or cloud backup provider should issue monthly reports on the status of the backup and schedule test restores at least twice a year to prove the solution is working.
Can a business back up more than its data?
When businesspeople think about backing up their IT systems, they think primarily about their data, but businesses rely on more than just their data to get their work done. Their entire IT system, or at least the critical ones, must be functioning for them to get business done at their usual pace. For advanced backup and disaster recovery, IT providers can duplicate a business’s mission critical servers onsite or offsite and have it ready to go when it is deemed the current outage or failure is going to be lengthy. This option is referred to as business continuity. It allows an IT service provider to get an entire failed system running even when an extended outage is occurring.
For more information on the IT decisions faced in 2013 by small businesses and their options for IT providers, download our free “Ultimate Small Business Guide to IT Outsourcing” by clicking on the image below.