When you operate your own business, your IT system is your lifeline. Nowadays most technological services of most play a vital part in everyday operations, so when your IT services go down and your business is unable to function, you risk losing everything. As a result, no matter what industry you’re in, you need to prepare ahead. Read on to find out about the steps your business needs to take to survive an IT emergency.
1. Know what can happen during an IT Emergency.
An IT emergency occurs when there is any breakdown or interruption in your IT system. It could be a virus or another variety of malware infiltration, a security breach, a distributed discontinuation of service (DDoS), a breakdown in your storage system, or any other cause for service interruption.
2. Back up your data.
Take preventative measures for backing up your data. Here are just a few preventative measures for an IT emergency available to your company through the services of a qualified IT managed service provider or MSP:
Scan any paper copies of vital records and other historical documents that are not currently in your database. Once they’re in digital form, make sure they’re backed up along with your other digital data.
Data vault services
Data vault services are also known as data protection services or vaulting. In this procedure, data is stored or “vaulted” off-site in case an IT emergency happens at your central data site. Nowadays, an MSP can perform this service remotely as opposed to just a couple of decades ago, when an individual actually had to walk the data in physical form off-site and lock it up. Talk to your IT managed services provider about the latest options to best suit your business needs.
Alternative backup sites
If you pair with an MSP with expertise in IT disaster recovery planning and implementation, you may be advised to invest in alternative off-site facilities for running your data. Depending upon their readiness to process data and continue with uninterrupted operations during an IT emergency, these are often called hot, cold, or warm sites.
- Hot sites: This more expensive option is used by larger organizations in their disaster recovery plan, where the hot site mirrors the organization’s data center infrastructure and/or the site is all set to run mirrored data. The alternate site is already equipped with HVAC, servers, and any necessary office space.
- Cold sites: A cold site is the least expensive option, and is designed for smaller businesses. A cold site is equipped with HVAC, a datacenter, and office space if appropriate, but there’s no connection to a server.
- Warm sites: A warm-site is a solution that falls in between the two previous IT disaster recovery options. It provides data center space or office space, as well as some type of pre-installed server hardware.
- Cloud services: Cloud services provide multiple options for backup in case of a disaster. You’ll want to talk with your MSP provider to determine what options are best for you.
3. Compile your inventory.
This is a great way to survive an IT emergency. Keep an inventory of your hardware, taking note of what each piece does. Your list may include desktops, laptops, servers, and any wireless devices. In addition, there are other steps you’ll want to take:
- Make a list of software: List all the critical software apps that correspond to the hardware that runs them — and keep copies of program software available in case you need to re-install them.
- Prioritize hardware and software restoration: Make another list of the order in which your software needs to be restored. That way, you won’t waste any time when you’re in the midst of an IT disaster, and you’ll know exactly where to start.
- Take before and after pictures: In the same vein, SADOS suggests that you take “before” and “after” pictures of your hardware, including all devices — while they’re in use by your business, as well as after they’re collected and remaining in storage as a precaution against a potential flood or power surge. That way, you’ll have a visual record for insurance purposes of how your business uses and depends upon the hardware displayed in the second picture.
4. Launch a recovery plan.
Contact a company like SADOS to design and launch your own custom disaster recovery plan. When you invest in an IT disaster recovery plan at SADOS, you get the following features:
- A disaster recovery audit: you’ll get an analysis that outlines any type of incident that could harm your business operations.
- Preventative strategies: You’ll receive a list of preventative strategies in a custom-designed business continuity plan devised specifically or your organization. And most importantly, the plan explains all steps necessary to make a full recovery from the very first moment your system has been disrupted.
- Incident response: The plan analyzes and determines the severity of the problems that have occurred in the event of interruption of service, and manages any data loss.
- Plan maintenance: The plan lays out all the activities that will be established for building your organization’s disaster recovery maintenance plan.
5. Hire a 3rd-party to provide managed services.
You can decide whether your business would best benefit from managed care providers through augmented IT services as opposed to simple outsourcing. Regardless, when you select your MSP, make sure that you’re located in that company’s core operating area, and find out what they can and can’t do for you in the event of an IT emergency. Besides working with you extensively on developing a tailor-made disaster recovery plan for your business, they should follow all maintenance protocols, monitor your site for vulnerabilities, and establish the appropriate backup strategies.
6. Have your managed care experts standing by.
Finally, just like when you have a medical emergency and call a doctor, you’ll want to already have an IT specialist lined up before you ever experience an IT emergency. If you have already contracted augmented IT services, the individuals integrated into your team will already be familiar with your system infrastructure. They’ll be standing by ready to implement the disaster recovery plan they designed specifically for your business.
Based in Frederick, MD, SADOS is a leading managed IT service provider. SADOS specializes in protecting and maintaining your data as well as delivering quick, effective, and reliable IT disaster recovery assistance. Let our experienced team of experts keep your business safe and running. For more information on how to survive an IT emergency before it happens, please contact us at SADOS, your premier managed care provider.