Keep Your Business Continuity Plans Current

Keep Your Business Continuity Plans Current 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Is there one thing we can count on now with COVID-19? The situation can change in an instant. You may have been confident in your business continuity plans in the past, but the pandemic has shaken us all up. It’s a solid reminder to review our plans to get back to business quickly and seamlessly.

A good business continuity plan ensures maintained operations before and during unexpected disruptions. Generally, decision-makers strategize in advance to ride out:

  • natural disasters
  • man-made disasters
  • national emergencies
  • utility failures
  • sabotage
  • data breaches or cybersecurity attack
  • theft

These could impact a system or network or prevent you accessing your location to get to your computers and important data.

Now, we also know that we should prepare for the effects of an international health pandemic!

Such business-centric planning considers all necessary elements of staying on track. You’ll look at physical premises and staffing, and hardware and software requirements.

Preparing for the Unexpected

A business continuity plan tries to anticipate the worst that could happen. The problem is that we can never know what the next bad thing might be.

You may not ever need to use your plan, but taking a “these things happen to other businesses” point of view could leave you in a serious lurch.

The COVID-19 crisis has also made things real for many businesses. Governments required organizations across industries, regardless of size, to migrate to remote work. Companies with business continuity plans in place responded with greater agility, whereas others were left scrambling.

Now, many countries are beginning to slowly reopen for business. Sure, there are constraints, but the idea is to get the global economy up and running. While you’re adapting, take some time to revise your business continuity plan.

It’s better to get your decision-makers around a table (or in a virtual meeting) now, while things are calmer. Most people think more clearly when not in the midst of a crisis. So, be proactive. Plan now for the worst. You can weigh up options at leisure, pursuing many different what ifs to determine the best plan of attack.

Look back at what worked and what didn’t during the COVID-19-related disruptions. This review can provide real insight into opportunities, and you’ll be even better prepared in the future.

Planning with an MSP Partner

Business continuity plans lay out how the business will move forward amidst disruption. Work with a managed services provider (MSP) to ensure your planning is comprehensive. Our IT experts can help enable remote work, set up data protection, and develop a backup setup.

Give us a call. Put a business continuity plan in place, and be more confident you’re ready for whatever happens next.

The Importance of Testing Your Backups

The Importance of Testing Your Backups 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Most businesses are aware of the need for data backup. Without it they risk losing important files in the event of a hard drive failure or cyberattack. Yet having a backup in place isn’t enough: it’s important to also regularly test that backup. You need to be able to restore that essential data when you need it.

The many reasons to establish data backups include:

  • protecting against natural or man-made disasters (including hacker or insider attack);
  • ensuring compliance with tax, financial, and other industry standards;
  • preserving relationships with clients;
  • reducing downtime;
  • improving productivity;
  • establishing credibility with customers, investors, and employees.

We recommend backing up in three places. You might have one on a local, on-site computer. You’d also have a backup on a remote device and another in the cloud. The cloud option gives you the most flexibility. It can be accessed from anywhere, regardless of conditions in your particular environment.

Yet while many people know they need backups, too few do recovery tests. The worst time to find out there’s a problem with your backup solution is when you need it the most.

Testing Data Backups

Regular data backups can offer peace of mind, but you’ll really know you are ready to go if you regularly test your ability to recover your system from a backup.

Testing your backup lets you verify the necessary data is available for recovery. Plus, testing helps you learn how to actually implement recovery following a data loss. If a backup test fails, you can take the steps needed to ensure you don’t actually lose valuable information. Otherwise, you’re throwing money at storage space and backup services that are no help, and you’ll find out too late.

Regular monitoring helps you keep track of any software or hardware changes that may have an impact on data backups. Via testing, you might also learn some staff members are storing data somewhere that isn’t being backed up, and you can now intervene with those employees or extend your backup protocols to prevent that data getting lost.

Scheduling data backup tests can also help you to identify a misconfiguration in the backup software or ways in which you’re not adequately addressing your backup needs. For instance, you might not have set up a complete backup in the first place. This might mean you’re backing up the data but not the settings. Most backup software will send error messages if there was an issue backing up. Still, they’re easy for an overworked IT team to miss.

Actively testing backups allows the business to confirm fallback data accuracy and effectiveness. Additionally, you’ll be able to gauge:

  • how long it takes to perform the backup;
  • any issues that arise during recovery;
  • what steps need to be taken to address those problems.

All of this is something you want to consider proactively. Some people say they work best under pressure, but most of us think more clearly and perform better if not in the midst of a data catastrophe.

A managed service provider can help your business with data backup and recovery testing. Our IT experts can monitor for failures and make any changes needed to get the backup running properly again. You’ll be glad you did recovery testing in advance when things run smoother and quicker in the midst of your disaster recovery.

Give us a call to correct your backups, make sure they are working the way you want to, and set up regular backup restore tests.

Backup solutions

Implementing a Better Backup System for Your Business

Implementing a Better Backup System for Your Business 1000 667 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Using flash drives and CDs for storing copies is no longer the best way to back up your data. These old methods are efficient, but they still put your data at some risk, because it’s easy to lose track of them. Optical disks, like CDs, are also subject to natural oxidization and wear, making them unreadable after some time. Not to mention, they are notoriously hard to update.

In the digital age you need a more reliable and convenient method of backing up data. It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. If you’re spending too much time and effort in creating backup copies for your data, then something’s amiss.

One thing’s for sure: you’re going to have to spend a little more on backup systems. It’s important that you prioritize data backup systems because your business’ existence depends on this. If a natural disaster or human error results in a complete wipe out of your data, it will be hard to recover.

What’s interesting is that there are still many companies that do not realize the dangers of not having a reliable backup system. In fact, a Gartner research initiative showed that less than 20 percent of small to midsize businesses considered data backup solutions as a top spending priority in 2011. If you’re among those who place little importance on data storage, think about the money you’ll lose when you lose data. It’s not impossible either: A 2011 survey of more than 1,000 employees revealed that 48 percent had lost or accidentally deleted data and 13 percent were worried about natural disasters.

You need to shore up your backup systems. Your IT personnel can perform the backup process. This is not a very complicated process and it can save you money. You simply have to make sure that you have a dedicated staff that will perform regular backups and implement proper contingencies. Of course, there is one question that will never be definitively answered: Should you invest in onsite or offsite backup?

Onsite or Offsite?

There are pros and cons to doing both and you’ll need to consider the nature of your business before you can choose one.

If you decide to do onsite backup, you will have to ensure that you store files in more than one place. Ditch the CDs and opt for external hard drives. It’s harder to misplace them and they can store larger amounts of data. Another option are magnetic storage tapes, which are a technology more than half a century old, but still popular due to their low cost, reliability, and capacity of up to four terabytes (over four thousand gigabytes or four million megabytes) in some of the latest models.

Of course, onsite storage will also require taking precautions, including storing the backups in a safe way, like in a safe or dedicated vault, and implementing additional security. Offsite backup plans can be more advantageous, as they reduce the risk of data loss and damage or loss of backup data.

Cloud Storage

The cloud has become a very popular option for data storage because it’s convenient and safe. Many experts believe cloud storage is the most reliable backup solution because it is secure, fully customizable, cost-effective, and easy to use.

But then there’s always the issue of data security. Although cloud storage has gained a reputation for security, this has become  a legitimate concern in the wake of the discovery of Heartbleed, a huge encryption flaw that put the data of millions at risk.

Storage Area Networks

Storage area networks (SAN) may provide the answer. These are storage devices that use a high-speed network that makes it easy to store and retrieve data. SANs don’t store data in the servers. Instead, they combine all data in a place that’s easily accessible to any application.

Backing up data is expedited because information is transferred from one device to another without the need to interact with a server. It also eliminates the need for CPU servers to create backups. Furthermore, these make it possible to store data in remote locations, further increasing your data’s security.

These are no longer as expensive as before, though they can still cost thousands of dollars. But since these reduce the number of hard disks used by 50 percent, investing in them saves you space and money.

Bottom Line

In summary, it’s very important that you prioritize data backup solutions. Your business won’t have a fighting chance if you lose critical information to a natural disaster or unexpected errors. Even if you do find a way to restore some data, the time and money spent for recovery may not be enough to make up for what you’ve lost.

Think of the worst possible scenario. That way you can make multiple copies of your data and store them in various places where they’re protected. Implementing a better backup system for your business won’t just require money; it will call for dedication and prudence. And, of course, the right people.

For finding, implementing, and managing reliable backup solutions, contact Greenlight. Visit