The bumper sticker says, "Stuff happens" (or a cruder version of that). But, it’s true. Stuff does happen... when you least expect it and when you’re least prepared.Think about this for a minute: You're at home in your pajamas ready to settle into bed when you receive an urgent call from your IT department that your systems have crashed and your data is rapidly being lost. You’d think you were having the worst nightmare of your life. You'd want to scream, “Implement our recovery plan!” But, what if you didn’'t have a plan? Your nightmare would have just begun. And, therein lies the answer, being prepared for infrastructure interruption and potential data loss.
You don't want to lose your organization's data. It can be a death sentence. You need to be absolutely certain you can recover all important data should the worst happen. How do you ensure you can recover your company's crucial information? Follow this four-point strategy:
CREATE A BACKUP & RECOVERY PLAN
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Yet, many companies have no backup plan or they have a shoddy plan that isn’t likely to be of much help when the "stuff" we talked about hits the fan. If experience has taught us one thing, it's that failures occur, humans err, and every company has vulnerabilities. If you don’t plan for data loss contingencies, you will be caught with your pants around your ankles.
TEST, TESt, & TEST SOME MORE
Some companies with whom we've worked say, “Oh, we have a plan. We've had it since 2007." This is a common response, to which we ask, "When was the last time you tested your plan?" They say, "Hmmm, I'm not sure we tested it at all." Obviously, if you have a data recovery plan that's ten years old, you may be asking for trouble when a crisis occurs and your system fails. We've seen older recovery plans that cannot stand the demands of a potential crisis today.
HAVE REDUNDANT SYSTEMS
If you have a recovery plan that relies on one solution, on-site, or in the cloud, you may be asking for heartbreak. Your system needs to work if one or more major systems goes down. You need to have the right combination of servers and cloud-based solutions. Putting all your eggs in one basket means you’re likely to have scrambled systems.
THINK ABOUT THE PHYSICAL ISSUES
Make sure a flood doesn’t ruin your day. We have seen businesses that keep their servers in places that they wouldn’t keep anything perishable. What would happen to your equipment if a few inches of rain or a broken pipe were to flood your server room? Wouldn't you be happy if you had backed up data to the cloud?
Your best bet is to respond to a crisis BEFORE it happens. You can expect natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and the power outages and surges that accompany them. They will surely bring down your business as your data slips away into the void. Or, you can expect an employee to error, in any of a number of ways, (for instance responding to a phishing scam). This can bring your systems to a screeching halt as you watch critical data being compromised. Or, you can be hacked and suffer a malware infection; then you've got a big problem on your hands.
So, what do you do when your turn comes, when your systems go down as they are very likely to do some day, when you are faced with an infrastructure crisis?
Well, you've got to communicate, that's for sure. Your customers are going to want to know what's happening. They deserve to know what's happening. Communication needs to be a primary piece of your overall plan. If you communicate well, you will save yourself many headaches and fewer lost clients. So, think about your primary audiences, make a list of them, have their contact information ready, be sure you know how they like to be reached. Have the right messages ready. In fact, only communicate with your primary audiences when you have something to say. Don't speculate. Be ready to share the facts, especially if you're using email. Don’t make excuses, and always see the crisis from your customers' point of view. They will likely help you through the crisis and they will forgive you, as long as you are honest with them.
No one imagines a major business crisis like an infrastructure failure, and that’s the problem, the lack of imagination. If we know one thing, Stuff Happens, and it can/will happen to you. Vology can help you when that day comes, by helping you long before that day comes.