How to Keep Business Running During an IT Disaster
Today’s technology is so fast, powerful, and convenient that it’s often easy to forget it’s not always perfectly secure and infallible. Many Canadian businesses experience unfortunate events like malware infections, network failures and data breaches due to IT environments that simply aren’t protected well enough or at all.
Today’s post details a few steps you can take to keep your business running during an IT disaster and outlines how you can ultimately recover from this scenario as quickly as possible.
These steps include:
Developing a business continuity plan
It’s never too late, or too early, to plan for an IT disaster. Every business should draw up a business continuity plan beforehand to keep operating if an IT disaster strikes. A basic plan should include:
- A list of key staff, their location and contact information, and the duties they’re responsible for under your continuity plan
- Arrangements for key staff to work from home or remotely (see more on mobile devices later)
- A plan to notify your staff, customers, suppliers and others of the disruption, with details of how it will affect them and which method(s) they should use to communicate with your company
- A list of critical IT passwords and business files (both paper and digital) needed to keep the company operational
- Hard copies and paperless versions of your business continuity plan that can be distributed to key staff and updated as needed
Harnessing the power of technology
Many current technologies can be extremely helpful in keeping your business going if your IT network experiences downtime or a security incident. For example, social media tools can provide a quick, centralized way for several staff or customers to exchange general information in a pinch (so long as it’s done without exposing sensitive data).
Employees can also use their smartphones and other mobile devices (provided they’re not infected with the same malady as your company network) to stay productive and communicate with coworkers and clients. And thanks to cloud-based services, your staff can continue to create, access, store and collaborate on company data in real time from any location with Internet service.
Backup and recovery systems are the cornerstones of any business continuity plan. Like your plan, they need to be well thought out and prepared before trouble happens.
Besides just backing up copies of key company files and databases, you can also backup software, applications, websites, eCommerce sites and entire operating systems. Options for backup include on-premises, off-site in a data centre or a combination of both. Cloud-based data backup is particularly popular these days because it’s quick and easy to implement, very scalable to your needs and allows you to retrieve data remotely from any location over the Internet.
The bottom line
Your business doesn’t have to come to a complete standstill if an IT disaster hits your network. The steps and tools outlined above will help you stay operational and recover quickly. And as always, the best strategy is to be proactive. Ensure you have a business continuity plan in place that’s complimented by a comprehensive security solution like Bell Total Protection that allows you to tap into several security and backup features in one package to safeguard your network from calamity before it strikes.
If you’re looking for more helpful advice, recent blog posts that are worth reviewing include IT Security Weaknesses: 6 Areas to Consider, A Backup and Recovery Plan can Save Your Data – and Your Business, and Your Top Security Weapons Against Web-based Threats.
What’s in your business continuity and recovery plan? Have you ever had to use it? Share your thoughts and experiences in our comments area below.
The Bell Blog team