For small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), a network failure could become devastating, due to the loss of active resources. Preparation against such disaster is the only course of action to avoid failure if possible or survive with minimal damage if there is a disaster. Companies must become proactive in their IT approach, realizing that disasters could come from a wide range of causes, including cyber-attacks or human error.
Being proactive is an essential step for preparation against a disaster. There are two essential steps to prepare for potential failures of your infrastructure. First, identify the weaknesses throughout your systems. Second, determine how you plan to repair those weaknesses and protect your network.
Identify the Weaknesses:
Determine how and why your system could fail, examining your hardware and software. Assess internal and external factors that could contribute to the failure of your networks.
Here are some questions you need to know the answers to:
- Does employee productivity often stall because of downed systems? In these situations, how fast is your IT support able to respond?
- Can you say with certainty that your business will be back online and able to access lost data with minimal disruption in case of failure?
- Your critical data should always be backed up. Including the data on personal laptops, iPads, and other BYOD and mobile devices.
- Are all backups stored in a off-site location accessible in the event of corruption, fire or flood?
- Are you using any custom made software? Can it be reinstalled and updated when needed?
- Is your system protected from hackers and viruses? Do you change passwords when employees leave the company?
- How often do you test your backup processes?
The answers to these questions should give you a clear picture of your network's ability to survive a catastrophe.
Here are five steps that you can take to protect your networks:
1. There are a large number of businesses that never back up data. Only 23% of SMBs are backing up their data daily, and only 50% are doing it weekly. Many issues can result in loss of data. You should back up data every day.
2. Don't find out by mistake that your backup system isn't working properly, by then it's too late! It may seem like your data is being backed up normally, but check frequently if it is backing up the way it should be. In the age of BYOD make sure is following procedures to back up data on their laptops, iPads, etc.
3. Make sure virus and firewall protection are always enabled. Many companies either don't have virus protection installed or it's disabled. This could render their networks vulnerable to virus attacks from emails, spam, and data downloads. Corrupted files have the potential to bring your systems down or worse, spread to your customers through email. That could spell disaster for your reputation. Hackers are always looking for unprotected ports online utilizing malicious code or files.
4. Watch for full server drives. Full drives can cause many problems, ranging from application crashes to sluggish email. Diligent monitoring and maintenance can mitigate this risk.
5. Check built-in logs: Frequent reviews of built-in logs can reveal small issues. Providing you an opportunity to prevent them from becoming bigger, and harder to manage.
We now know IT system failures have very serious consequences for SMBs. We also know that they can avoid such failures by being proactive. As a result of so much uncertainty, many SMBs are turning to cloud and virtualization backup solutions to mitigate downtime.
Virtualization and cloud computing have recently enabled cost-efficient business continuity options. This is done by allowing entire servers to be grouped into one software bundle or virtual server - including data, operating systems, applications, and patches. This simplifies the backup process and allows for quick data restoration when needed.