Keeping computers up and running is a fundamental requirement for any business. Whether you are a sole trader or running a business with thousands of customers, system failure can result in loss of crucial data, time, money and clients.
Companies are starting to recognise the importance of having good data backup processes but this is only part of the picture. If there is a major incident, how quickly can the backed up data be restored to provide operational systems again? Many small businesses don’t know, and most lack an effective IT Recovery Strategy.
So what should you consider for your IT recovery strategy?
There are 4 main points to consider:
- Location – where can you continue to operate if you are unable to gain access to your regular office or if it is destroyed?
- Data – have you backed up your data to a safe place?
- Equipment – how quickly can you obtain new hardware on which to run your systems?
- Configuration – how quickly can the systems be set up again and who will do this?
We will not be covering the issues of location or backup in this newsletter. Whilst very important, loss of access to or destruction of premises is unlikely to occur so we’ll keep our focus on the issues most likely to affect you; and the topic of backup was covered in our last newsletter. We’re going to focus on the remaining considerations that are far more likely to affect you.
So let’s start with equipment. If a PC or laptop fails, how quickly can you get it fixed or replaced? You may have a next day on-site hardware warranty but can you afford to be without that system for a day? What if you need to have it repaired and it will take a week or more? A recovery strategy doesn’t have to be complicated but you should have an idea of “what if…”.
Things get potentially more complicated if you have a server. If a new server is required it could take a week or more just to be delivered, and that is before the engineering time to configure it that can take days, sometimes even parts can take days or weeks to come in. How many days or weeks could your business survive without any access to the server? Again, your recovery strategy should consider this and plan accordingly.
Even if the hardware is available immediately, not all backups allow the systems to be instantly restored.
If you use a file based backup system then restoring all your backed up files to their original locations with the right security settings, and reinstalling all the missing programs can take several days to complete. This could be disastrous for a business.
Conversely, an entire system can be relatively quickly restored using an image based backup system. An image based backup is a “picture” of the whole computer, enabling the re-installation of all the data, programs and settings, reducing a restore operation, usually from days to hours.
After a server crash, depending on the scenario there may be a number of different issues to deal with, such as when:
• Your main server crashes, and has to be rebuilt from scratch.
• Your server can be access remotely, but you can’t get to your physical location
• There is a fire, flood or other disaster.
• Servers and computers are destroyed and data is stolen.
There are many ways your IT systems can become inoperable: hardware failure, fire, theft, etc. Assessing what the possible scenarios are will allow a company to calculate what steps need to be in place to put together a plan for recovery.
In today’s economic climate it’s more important than ever to invest in an IT recovery strategy.
If you would like to discuss your recovery strategy and ensure your business is safe then contact The PC Support Group on 0845 2233116 or fill in the contact form on the right hand side of this page.