How to survive a data disaster

Most businesses rely on technology in some form, whether for email, Microsoft Office applications, customer information and ordering systems, inventory, accounting, or something else entirely. And some companies depend entirely on technology for their operations – Uber, Airbnb, Constant Contact, and many others come to mind.

But whether tech is your main business or just how you get your work done every day, a digital disaster can grind operations to a halt.

What could go wrong? Well, there’s flooding. Plus, electrical storms, hurricanes, fire, and more – not to mention human causes, such as users leaving with your passwords or source code.

Recovering from data loss could cost you thousands of dollars and the priceless trust of your customers. Can you find your way back from the road to disaster?

Without a backup plan, it could be a difficult journey.

What’s included in a plan?

A robust disaster recovery plan covers everything from how to get back up when your servers end up under water to staying up and running right through the storm.

In fact, thinking about what it might take to stay in business during a disaster – as well as what it will take to recover – puts you in the best position possible.

While it’s important to customize a plan for your business, every plan should include:

  • A technology asset inventory that names mission-critical processes and data
  • A schedule for updating and testing any disaster recovery plans
  • A clear understanding of the trade-offs between cost and complexity

Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law says that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. That’s why it’s important to develop and study your plan ahead of time. If you are a business decision maker, you might hand this over to your IT team. But it’s important to ask some questions to make sure you have full coverage for your business. A few questions:

  • Does your plan include an inventory of mission-critical business processes and data?
  • When was the last time anyone reviewed your plan? Tested your plan?
  • Is cyberattack preparedness included in your current plan?
  • How much of the plan depends upon human intervention?

Evaluate Cloud Solutions

During a disaster, humans can’t afford to devote all of their attention to their equipment. Automating your solution is key to ensuring success.

A cloud solution can help you recover quickly. And it’s less expensive than supporting your own data center, making it a practical solution for businesses of any size, and for smaller organizations in particular.

Of course, not all cloud providers are equal, so you’ll need to do some research to compare before choosing. When weighing your options, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do they offer a hybrid solution so that you can keep some data on premise as well as in the cloud?
  • Do they offer metered service so that you can save even more money by turning off services when you don’t need them?
  • Is the service easy to use, with good support for your team?
  • Do they offer geo-redundancy?
  • Are they compliant with your industry?

Is the cloud safe?

“But wait a minute,” you might say. “I’ve read about some companies losing data in the cloud during a disaster.”

It’s true – not even the cloud can ward off every problem. But those shortcomings were largely due to storage practices (i.e., only storing data in one location, often in the same region as the company). That’s an avoidable mistake.

With the Microsoft Cloud, you can get geo-redundancy by storing your data in more than one location. So even if your area were hit with a hurricane, your data would be safe in a data center across the country. That also means that your company data is available even during the storm.

So what’s next?

Have you started developing a recovery plan of your own? We’d love to hear about it. Our experts can even help you assess it. For further reading on cloud backup and recovery, click here.

If you’d like to try the cloud out, you’re in luck – enrolling in the Azure Access Program gives qualified businesses access to $10,000 in Azure credits for two full months – FREE. Click here for details

We’re also holding a webinar on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 11 a.m. PST, where you can learn all about maximizing the benefits of Azure Cloud Backup in your organization. RSVP today and join us to learn about better backup practices and more.