You never know when it will happen or what form it will take, but a technological disaster can strike your business. Technology disaster plans are like car insurance, most people don’t want to think about a crash and how it could affect them, but smart people prepare for it. Technology disaster preparation should be specific to your business situation. But there are a few things you can do now to protect your business, and a couple of things that will require some thought and planning.
First the quick preparation you can do today for your business.
Surge Protector and Battery Back-up
This is life saver for business owners if the outage occurs over night or on the weekend. Have every piece of hardware connected to a surge protector with battery back-up. Battery back-ups even have the capability to maintain power to your systems long enough for them to shut down safely. Surge protectors and battery back-ups reduce the possibility of hardware failure due to electrical issues. Be sure to check the ratings of the surge protectors and battery back-ups to ensure they will perform their task properly. If you are concerned about the wiring in your home or office consult a licensed electrician.
Ensure that you have antivirus software on all of your computers. The software must have the latest updates and be turned on at all times. This is your best defense against viruses and malware that can harm your systems and data.
Off-site Data Back-up
This can be as simple as copying your business data to an external drive and keeping it in another location, or as complex as back-up every few minutes to an off-site or cloud service. There are a lot of back-up options for your business. The key is to back-up your data. Back-up offers an additional layer of protection beyond the surge protector, battery back-up, and antivirus. This is your ‘ace in the hole’ if all else fails.
Now the longer term preparation to further develop the quick foundation laid out in the points above.
A security policy is more comprehensive and includes a road map for your business technology security. A security policy should define how confidential information is protected, accessed, and shared.
Who has access to information? How is that information accessed? Can employees bring their own devices? Can information be accessed off-site? What information can be accessed from off-site? Can users add software or apps to a device? How is this policy reviewed? Who can change the security policy? How is lost or compromised information recovered? How is stolen or lost hardware wiped of sensitive information?
As you can see each question and its respective answer can lead to further questions depending upon your business situation. A security policy should contain or lead to a continuity plan.
This is your business’ plan for a worst case scenario. It should contain enough information about your business technology, that any employee could pick it up and know who to contact so that business could carry on with minimal disruption.
Your continuity plan should include:
- Contacts and their responsibilities in the event of a disaster
- Systems your business has in place, and any gaps that were previously identified
- An initial response to assess damage and contact the appropriate people
- Service recovery defining how quickly and to what extent service can be restored
- Service in abnormal circumstances as a temporary measure which may include relocation or using spare equipment
- Resuming normal services after incident or abnormal service.
So for the sake of your business, implement the first three points today, and work on the long term policy and plan. Once you have completed these, your business will be able to confidently face any technological challenges.