No one wants to think about losing their files or access to important business systems. However, failing to consider the what ifs – and not planning in advance – leaves you and your business vulnerable. And the vulnerability could be in places you least suspect. Even public USB charging stations commonly found at airports and malls can be points of entry for hackers to steal and access data including accessing your contacts, messages and login credentials or installing malware onto your mobile device. In fact this type of “juice jacking” is so worrisome the FBI recently released a warning to urge people to stop using public charging stations and to tighten security protocols at businesses in the chance you have used an infected charging station and may have been hacked.
Let’s admit it, the unexpected can happen. Whether it’s cyberhacking – or being caught in the storm of a natural disaster – having a disaster recovery plan in place is mission critical for small and mid-size businesses.
What are the benefits of having an IT disaster recovery plan in place?
Before disaster strikes – the benefits of having an IT disaster recovery plan are not only tied to business survival, but also a business owner’s peace-of-mind.
From large corporations to small businesses, every company and individual can be the victim of a malware attack or phishing scam or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). But disruptions in service aren’t always malicious. Natural disasters like tornadoes and lightning strikes can put you – and your customers – out of business for hours or even weeks.
Minimize downtime: If disaster strikes, be it a cyber-attack, a natural disaster or hardware failure, your IT systems may go down and for a significant time. It may take a longer time to get your IT systems back up and running, without a disaster recovery plan. Think about what the downtime could mean, including significant financial losses for you and your clients, not to mention the impact an outage can have on your business's reputation.
Avoid unnecessary data loss: A recovery plan helps you avoid losing customer information, financial records and other critical and private customer data. The losses could be financial and, in some cases, recovery may not be possible if the systems weren’t backed up.
Meet legal and regulatory requirements: Recovery plans aren’t just suggestions, in many cases specific industries – including the auto retailer industry – follow regulatory guidelines that require businesses to have a disaster recovery plan in place. Failure to comply with these regulations includes having a written plan in place, in some instances, and a designated administrator. Thinking ahead and working with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help you and your business avoid legal and regulatory headaches, including fines and penalties.
Maintain customer trust: Customers are savvy and aware of malicious attempts to steal data. Having a disaster recovery plan in place can help better ensure your customers can access your services or products in the event of an event, and this assurance in your ability to handle the situation and protect their data and their privacy can help maintain their trust in you.
What are the consequences of not having a security plan in place?
There are often unintended consequences – after an IT disruption occurs – that small businesses don’t always consider when their systems are down or inaccessible for any length of time.
No business expects to fall victim to an outside malware attack or to have their systems hacked. And while you may have taken some steps, not having a disaster recovery system in place has consequences you may not expect.
Increased recovery time: Without a disaster recovery plan in place, recovering your data and files can take extended periods of time you, and your customers, may not be able to afford. Time spent dealing with customer concerns, the security breach or system failure, and not being able to access files can further result in revenue loss.
Reduced productivity: The longer your IT systems are down, the more impact the outage can have on your business's productivity, your business’s reputation, and your revenue. While the IT outage continues – for any length of time – your work productivity and ability to deliver goods, services or products to your customers is reduced and so are your revenue compounding problems you simply can’t afford.
Technical debt: Companies both large and small who fail to secure the systems, to regularly backup their systems, and who avoid investment in their IT infrastructure are increasing their technical debt, the costs associated with not doing the necessary updates and preventive IT maintenance and routine planning. Even big businesses, like the airlines, have been caught in the chaos related to not regularly updating their IT systems and firewalls.
Having a comprehensive disaster recovery plan – investing in managed IT solutions, preventative assessments and a trusted MSP – can mitigate cyber threats and better ensure your company and customers can return to normal after an event. If an event happens, and you do not have the right services in place, the ability to recover “back to normal” may not be realistic. That’s why IT professionals are so adamant about having your data disaster recovery plan and services in place.
NerdsToGo can assess your risks and set priorities that can get you back to “business as usual” more easily and quickly. Our comprehensive services and technical experts can create the right recovery plan, including onsite and cloud data backup.