Tag Archive for: disaster recovery

Disasters come in various forms, from malicious cyberattacks to unexpected system failures to natural calamities. With these threats becoming increasingly common, businesses must navigate through a maze of myths and misconceptions surrounding disaster recovery. Here are the top six disaster recovery myths you should be aware of.

Myth 1: Disaster recovery is only necessary for large corporations

News outlets often report on major disruptions and disasters that impact big corporations because they make for great headlines. After all, corporations that are typically presumed to have several safeguards falling victim to disasters is a gripping story.

However, this has led to the misconception that only large corporations need disaster recovery plans. Cyberattacks, technical issues, and natural disasters affect businesses of all sizes, and no organization is immune to the potential damages. Whether it’s a small business with limited resources or a large corporation with an extensive IT infrastructure, having a disaster recovery plan in place is essential for keeping operations running smoothly.

Myth 2: Data backups are all you need for disaster recovery

Despite being a crucial component of disaster recovery, data backups are not sufficient on their own. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan encompasses backup solutions along with other critical elements such as disaster response protocols, alternate infrastructure options, and communication strategies. Companies with mission-critical systems may even need to set up a secondary worksite to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster. Without a well-rounded plan in place, businesses risk losing valuable time and resources trying to piece together a recovery strategy in the midst of a disaster.

Myth 3: Disaster recovery is expensive and complex

While implementing a robust disaster recovery plan requires investment, it is not inherently prohibitively expensive or overly complex. Cloud-based data backups and disaster recovery solutions from managed IT services providers have made it more affordable and manageable for businesses of all sizes to have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan in place. Plus, the cost of a disaster recovery plan is significantly lower than the potential losses a business could face in the event of a disaster.

Myth 4: Only IT departments are responsible for disaster recovery

Disaster recovery planning should involve the entire organization, not just the IT department. While the IT team plays a critical role in implementing and maintaining disaster recovery solutions, it is essential for all employees to understand their responsibilities in case of a disaster. Business continuity planning should involve cross-departmental collaboration, awareness training for employees, and clear communication protocols during emergencies.

Myth 5: Achieving zero downtime and data loss is always feasible for disaster recovery

Although zero downtime and zero data loss are ideal scenarios for disaster recovery, they may not always be practical or achievable for every business. The cost and complexity of implementing such high levels of resilience can be prohibitive for many organizations.

Instead, businesses should establish realistic recovery objectives based on their specific needs and prioritize the most critical systems and data for recovery. Less critical systems and data may have a longer recovery timeframe, but as long as the most vital functions are restored quickly, the business can continue to operate.

Myth 6: Disaster recovery planning is a one-time task

Disaster recovery planning isn’t something that can be checked off a to-do list and forgotten about. Business environments evolve, new threats emerge, and technology advances, making it crucial to revisit and revise the recovery plan periodically. Conducting regular assessments, testing procedures, and incorporating lessons learned from simulations or real incidents are essential for maintaining an effective disaster recovery strategy.

If you want a truly effective disaster recovery plan that’s not based on myths and misconceptions but rather on hard data, contact us today. We provide comprehensive disaster recovery planning and solutions that can help your business mitigate risks, reduce downtime, and ensure minimal loss in case of a disaster.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

As a business owner, you know that data security is paramount. It’s therefore essential to ensure you have taken all necessary steps to protect yourself against potential data loss events, such as data breaches and natural disasters. In this essential guide, we will outline the key steps you should take in creating a disaster recovery plan (DRP). Following these can save your business from an incredibly costly catastrophe.

A DRP is a documented set of processes and strategies that an organization puts in place to be able to recover and restore its critical data and systems in case of a disaster or an unexpected event. The plan outlines the steps to be taken before, during, and after a disaster to minimize the impacts on the organization’s operations and ensure business continuity.

To create an effective DRP, follow these steps:

Conduct a risk assessment

A risk assessment is a critical component of any DRP, as it helps identify potential hazards, vulnerabilities, and risks that could impact an organization’s operations in the event of a disaster. By conducting a risk assessment, you can identify and prioritize the risks your organization faces and develop appropriate strategies and actions to mitigate those risks.

Develop a recovery strategy

Design a strategy to address each risk identified in the assessment phase. This could include developing backups of data or systems, investing in cloud-based services, using redundant hardware, or establishing alternative physical locations for your business operations.

Establish availability requirements

Availability refers to the ability of an organization’s systems, applications, and data to be accessible and functional in the event of a disaster or an outage. To determine your company’s availability requirements, identify the resources (e.g., servers, databases, etc.) and services (email, customer service) that are critical for your business operations and determine how quickly they need to be restored following an incident.

Set up backups

Select the most appropriate backup strategy (i.e., full or incremental) for your needs and devise the best plan for storing your backups safely off site so that you can access them when needed.

Without backups, important data and information can be lost permanently, resulting in significant financial and reputational damage to your organization. Backups are also used to restore systems and data to a state before the disaster occurred, helping ensure business continuity while minimizing the impact of the disaster on your business operations.

Test your plan

Test your DRP periodically to make sure it will work as planned when an incident occurs. A DRP is only useful if it can be executed properly, and testing helps identify and address any gaps in the plan.

Testing a DRP also provides an opportunity to identify weaknesses that could be improved or procedures that need adjustments. It allows you to verify that the plan is complete, up to date, and relevant.

Train your employees

Your employees are often your first line of defense when a disaster strikes, and their actions can significantly affect the outcome of a recovery effort.

Training employees on the DRP helps ensure they understand exactly what they need to do during an emergency. It also provides them with the knowledge and skills needed to carry out their duties effectively, minimizing the risk of errors or delays in the recovery process.

Are you concerned about data safety? Don’t leave it to chance — call us for all your DRP needs! With our cutting-edge technology, dedicated team, and industry-leading expertise, you can rest assured that your data and systems are in expert hands.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Hurricane season is here. These harsh weather events can produce devastating high-speed winds, torrential rains, and microbursts, and can bring your business to a grinding halt. To address the threat of hurricanes, your company should have an effective hurricane disaster recovery policy in place.

What is a hurricane disaster recovery plan?

A hurricane disaster recovery plan is a written set of procedures on how to respond to a hurricane. Just like a standard disaster recovery plan, this policy contains steps that should be taken before, during, and after a hurricane, including:

  • How to anticipate and mitigate the effects of a hurricane
  • Emergency procedures to ensure everyone’s safety
  • Steps for restoring vital business systems and operations
  • Long-term plans for full business recovery

How to create a hurricane disaster recovery plan

While each organization’s hurricane disaster recovery plan is unique to its industry, the basic framework should contain the following:

1. Risk assessment
Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment will help pinpoint vulnerabilities your company must address. This lets you prioritize the most critical parts of your planning and help you shape your hurricane disaster recovery policy.

2. Preventive planning
While it’s impossible to stop a hurricane, anticipating and carefully planning for it can help prevent serious damage to your business. Think about how people board up their windows before a hurricane strikes. You need to take preventive steps to protect vital aspects of your business from a hurricane. This includes:

  • Backing up your data
    Data backup is an important component of any disaster recovery strategy. Even if a hurricane does not completely destroy your IT infrastructure, the disruption caused by the loss of huge quantities of data can lead to lost productivity and revenue.Having a robust data backup system allows you to quickly restore vital business data and minimize downtime caused by a hurricane. Examples of data backup solutions include:

    • Off-site backups – Storing copies of your backups in off-site data backup centers in areas rarely hit by hurricanes is an ideal solution. This ensures that you will have secure copies of your data even if your servers and computers are destroyed during a hurricane.
    • Cloud storage – Cloud storage lets you access your data and files remotely, as long as you have a stable internet connection. This allows employees to work from home in case your offices suffer severe damage.
  • Protecting physical assets
    During a hurricane, the biggest threat to your servers and other electronic equipment is flooding and water damage. Here are some ways you can keep them safe.

    • Avoid storing servers in the basement, as this is usually the first area that will be flooded.
    • Choose a storage room with no water pipes in the walls and ceiling to prevent water from leaking in.
    • Install flood detectors to warn you if water enters your facility.
    • Invest in turtle shells to protect electrical equipment from leaks.

3. Response
This covers the emergency procedures that should be taken during a hurricane to minimize the risk of injury to employees, such as:

  • Guidelines on how to protect oneself from strong winds
  • Where to take refuge if trapped in the building
  • Evacuation policies to ensure everyone’s safety

You should also include the names and contact information of emergency personnel to ensure all safety measures are carried out properly.

4. Restoration
This contains steps on how to restore critical business operations and systems after a hurricane, and who will be responsible for the restoration process. It should include clear instructions on what needs to be restored first, such as:

  • Data backups
  • Power
  • Network access
  • Servers and other damaged equipment

Conducting a business impact analysis will identify critical business systems and help you formulate an effective restoration plan that will get your business back up and running as soon as possible.

5. Recovery
Even if your company restores vital systems quickly, you still need a complete, long-term recovery plan. It should include details on how the company will fully restore operations to pre-hurricane levels. Here are some examples:

  • Repairing of damaged structures
  • Replacement of destroyed equipment
  • Relocation of business if needed
  • Returning the workforce to full capacity

Hurricanes are unpredictable, but having a disaster recovery plan in place will help you recover as quickly as possible. Talk to our experts today to learn more about disaster recovery planning.

If you’re concerned about any natural disasters putting you out of business, call us today. We offer comprehensive business continuity services that every company should have.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Power outages are a major inconvenience to businesses. Even a few hours without electricity can lead to thousands of dollars in lost productivity and revenue. Fortunately, there’s something businesses like yours can do to reduce the effects of power outages, and that’s using an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) for your computers and networking equipment. Read on to learn more about the benefits of using a UPS for your network hardware.

UPS for network equipment

Also known as a battery backup, a UPS provides backup power in case of outages. It also protects against power surges, which don’t just damage computers, but also make you lose unsaved work.

Deploying UPS units for Wi-Fi routers and modems allows you to stay connected to the internet when the power goes out unexpectedly. This strategy works particularly well if your employees use laptops, as that means you only need power for your Wi-Fi gear.

UPS-supported modems or routers help you stay online for as long as 90 minutes, which should be enough time to get your bearings before power finally runs out. With a UPS, you will still have a fast, reliable Wi-Fi connection so you can perform your tasks, save important files, and keep serving customers.

Without a UPS, your staff may have to rely on cellular data to do their work, which is not only less reliable than Wi-Fi, but also more expensive. You may even incur additional telecom costs resulting from overreliance on cellular data.

UPS systems vs. generators

Although generators are indispensable for certain businesses, they also require greater upkeep. If you invest in generators, you’ll need to employ an entire team to manage these pieces of high-maintenance equipment. This may not be something that a small- or medium-sized business can afford.

That said, generators can prove useful during extended blackouts, but UPS systems should be enough to keep your business running in the event of an emergency.

What’s more, misusing or mishandling generators can result in fatalities. On the other hand, if you misuse a UPS unit or if it breaks down, the worst that could happen is you lose a day’s work; it’s unlikely that you’ll experience anything life-threatening.

Plug in your network gear now

If your business doesn’t have locations in disaster-prone areas, you probably haven’t given much thought to installing UPS systems for your desktop computers, let alone your modems and routers. But accidents and emergencies are inevitable — and when they happen, you’ll find that having internet access is one of the most important things you need to ensure business continuity.

Think of a UPS as an investment that not just protects your systems from data loss, but also keeps your network equipment functioning in emergency situations.

To learn more about UPS systems and network equipment as well as backup and disaster recovery planning, give our team of IT experts a call today.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Data is everything to a small business in this day and age – which means if you lose access or control of your data, you lose everything.

As dramatic as that might sound, the data backs that up. According to several sources, 93% of companies, no matter how big they are, are out of business within one year if they suffer a major data disaster without having first formulated a strategy for combating it. And since 68% of businesses don’t have any sort of plan for that worst-case scenario, that means losing data would be a death knell for most of the businesses in the country.

Fortunately, your business does not have to be one of them. By taking the following steps, you can ensure that you have a rock-solid disaster recovery plan in place.

Step 1: Know How A Disaster Recovery Plan Is Different From A Business Continuity Plan

The main difference between these two types of plans is that while business continuity plans are proactive, disaster recovery plans are reactive.

More specifically, a business continuity plan is a strategy by which a business ensures that, no matter what disaster befalls it, it can continue to operate and provide products and services to its customers. A disaster recovery plan, on the flip side, is a strategy by which businesses can back up and recover critical data should it get lost or held for ransom.

So, now that we have a clear, concise understanding of what constitutes a disaster recovery plan, we can dive into the steps necessary to create one.

Step 2: Gather Information And Support

In order to get the ball rolling on your disaster recovery plan, start with executive buy-in. This means that everyone, from the CEO to the entry-level employees, needs to be brought in on executing the plan in case your company suffers a data disaster. When everyone is aware of the possibility of a data disaster, it allows for cross-functional collaboration in the creation process – a necessary step if you want to prevent breaches in all parts of your systems.

You need to account for all elements in your tech systems when you’re putting together your disaster recovery plan, including your systems, applications and data. Be sure to account for any issues involving the physical security of your servers as well as physical access to your systems. You’ll need a plan in case those are compromised.

In the end, you’ll need to figure out which processes are absolutely necessary to keep up and running during a worst-case scenario when your capability is limited.

Step 3: Actually Create Your Strategy

When everyone is on board with the disaster recovery plan and they understand their systems’ vulnerabilities, as well as which systems need to stay up and running even in a worst-case scenario, it’s time to actually put together the game plan. In order to do that, you’ll need to have a good grip on your budget, resources, tools and partners.

If you’re a small business, you might want to consider your budget and the timeline for the recovery process. These are good starting points for putting together your plan, and doing so will also give you an idea of what you can tell your customers to expect while you get your business back up to full operating capacity.

Step 4: Test The Plan

Even if you complete the first two steps, you’ll never know that you’re prepared until you actually test out your disaster recovery plan. Running through all the steps with your employees helps them familiarize themselves with the steps they’ll need to take in the event of a real emergency, and it will help you detect any areas of your plan that need improvement. By the time an actual data disaster befalls your business, your systems and employees will easily know how to spring into action.

So, to review, these are the quick actions that you and your employees will need to take in order to make a successful, robust disaster recovery plan:

  • Get executive buy-in for the plan.
  • Research and analyze the different systems in your business to understand how they could be impacted.
  • Prioritize systems that are absolutely necessary to the functioning of your business.
  • Test your disaster recovery plan to evaluate its effectiveness.

Complete these steps, and you can ensure that your business will survive any data disaster that comes your way.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Hurricanes damage property and put lives at risk. If you’re not prepared, hurricanes can also disrupt your operations and put your business through extended downtime. In this blog, we’ll help you quickly regain access to your data and get your business back to operational mode after a disaster.

Determine recovery hierarchy

Certain parts of your IT system are more mission-critical than others. Ask yourself which systems and/or data must be recovered in minutes, hours, or days so your business can resume operations quickly

For example, you may find that recovering sensitive customer information and eCommerce systems take priority over recovering your email server. Whatever the case may be, prioritizing your systems ensures that the right ones are recovered quickly after a disaster.

Pay attention to location

First and foremost, your backup site should be in a hurricane-free zone. Ideally, your off-site facility should be located at least 100 miles away from your main location. If this isn’t possible, make sure it is built to withstand wind speeds of 160 miles per hour (as fast as Category 5 storms) and is supported by backup generators and uninterruptible power supplies.

You should also request an upper floor installation or, at the very least, keep critical IT equipment 18 inches off the ground to prevent water damage in case of floods.

Use image-based backups

Unlike fragile tape backups, image-based backups take “snapshots” of your systems, creating a copy of the OS, software, and data stored in them. From there, you can easily boot the virtual image on any device, allowing you to back up and restore critical business systems in seconds.

Take advantage of the cloud

The cloud enables you to host applications and store data in high-availability, geo-redundant servers. This means your backups can be accessed via the internet, allowing authorized users to access critical files from any device. Expert technicians will also watch over and secure your backups, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of enterprise-level backup facilities and IT support.

Back up your data frequently

Back up your data as often as possible, especially during disaster season. If your latest backups were created on September 15th and a storm makes landfall in your area on the 28th, you could lose nearly two weeks of data.

Test your disaster recovery (DR) plan

After setting up your backups, check whether they are restoring your files accurately and on time. Your employees should be drilled on the recovery procedures and their responsibilities during and after a disaster. Your DR team should also be trained on how to failover to the backup site before the storm hits. Finally, providers, contractors, and customers need to be notified about how the hurricane will affect your operations.

As cell towers and internet connections may be affected during a hurricane, make sure your company forums are online and have your employees register with the Red Cross Safe and Well website so you can check their statuses.

It’s nearly impossible to experience disruptions during disasters like Harvey or Irma, but with the right support, you can minimize downtime. If you’re concerned about any natural disasters putting you out of business, call us today. We offer comprehensive business continuity services that every company should have.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

A year ago, no one could have predicted that countless businesses would shift to a remote work model. The pandemic hit hard and fast, and small businesses had to think on their toes. Many had only a few weeks to adapt. It was stressful and extremely challenging.

Looking back on it, many SMBs wish they’d had a plan in place that would have made things easier. When the pandemic hit in February/March 2020, SMBs had to absorb the huge cost of getting their employees up and running off-site. Not only was it costly, but it also took a lot of coordination and on-the-fly planning. This meant things slipped through the cracks, including cyber security.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. You may wish you had a plan in place or had more time, but you didn’t. A vast majority didn’t. However, you can still plan for the future! While you never know when disaster is going to strike, you CAN be prepared for it. Whether that disaster is a pandemic, flood, fire or even hardware failure, there are steps you can implement today that will put you in a better place tomorrow. Here’s how to get started.

Put Your Plan Into Writing.
First and foremost, you should have a standard operating procedure to call on should something go wrong. For example, in early 2020, many SMBs didn’t have a security plan in place, let alone a remote work security plan. They had to make it up as they went, which just added to the challenges they were already experiencing.

To get over this challenge, work with an experienced IT services company or managed services provider (MSP) to put together a plan. This plan should include a cyber security protocol. It should define what malware software employees should be using, what number they should call for 24/7 support, who to contact when they receive suspicious e-mails, how to identify suspicious e-mails and so on.

More than that, it should outline exactly what needs to happen when disaster strikes. Pandemic? Here’s how we operate. Fire? Here’s what you need to know. Hardware failure? Call this number immediately. The list goes on, and it can be pretty extensive. This, again, is why it’s so important to work with an MSP. They’ve already put together plans for other SMBs, and they know where to start when they customize a plan with you.

Invest In Security And Backups.
While every business should have network security already in place, the reality is that many don’t. There are a ton of reasons why (cost concerns, lack of time, lack of resources, etc.), but those reasons why aren’t going to stop a cyber-attack. Hackers don’t care that you didn’t have time to put malware protection on your PCs; they just want money and to wreak havoc.

When you have IT security in place, including firewall protection, malware software, strong passwords and a company-wide IT security policy, you put your business and all your employees in a much better place. All of this should be in place for both on-site employees and remote workers. With more people working from home going into 2021, having reliable IT security in place is more important than ever before.

On top of that, you should have secure backups in place. Investing in cloud storage is a great way to go. That way, if anything happens on-site or to your primary data storage, you have backups you can rely on to restore lost or inaccessible data. Plus, having a solid cloud storage option gives remote employees ready access to any data they might need while at home or on the go.

Where Do You Begin?
Some SMBs have the time, money and resources to invest in on-site IT personnel, but most don’t. It is a big investment. This is where partnering with an experienced IT services firm can really pay off. You may have employees in-office or you may have a team working remotely – or you may have a mix of both. You need support that can take care of everyone in your organization while taking care of the data security of the business itself. This is where your IT partner comes into play. They are someone you can rely on 24/7 and someone who will be there for you during a pandemic or any other disaster.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE