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Does your company have a data-recovery plan?

By Roochu Shah Email By Roochu Shah
May 2013
Does your company have a data-recovery plan?

Catastrophes come in all kinds and from all places. Are your critical customers and financial data protected, or would your business come to a halt in the event of a disaster resulting in data loss?

Few entrepreneurs would knowingly drop fire or liability coverage, yet many companies operate without a disaster recovery (DR) plan to protect one of their most valued assets—business data and information.

The likelihood of your company burning to the ground may be remote, but a business has to be prepared for catastrophes. What if your critical financial and customer data were lost due to a server crash? What if the data could not be recovered, or if the business had to close for several days? It’s impossible to put a price on the information stored in your company’s information systems.

Federal and state regulations require businesses to ensure proper information management procedures. Courts have little sympathy for companies that lose vital information pertaining to a legal proceeding; this could lead to substantial penalties and fees.

Remote Site Backup - Your Security Blanket
DR plans ensure both a timely retrieval of information and the continuity of your company’s operations. At least one data backup system should be off-site, in a separate building or with a third-party information specialist. Having all your backup systems in one facility can be devastating should it be destroyed. The Federal Reserve instructs financial institutions to locate their backup systems at least 200-300 miles from main facilities.

While some organizations place their off-site backup systems in their own facilities to maximize control and safety, assumed cost and security benefits may not be realistic. DR professionals are typically held to higher standards than individual businesses. To serve a variety of industries and markets, these providers have to meet state and federal requirements—including regularly scheduled audits and system upgrades. Third-party DR services invest in enhanced systems to manage and store business data for a number of clients, and offer security and other protections that could be cost prohibitive for individual companies.

Remember the Role of On-Site Backup
An on-site data backup system complements an off-site plan, but should not replace it. An on-site storage solution starts with each computer’s hard disc drive, CDs/DVDs, and USB memory devices. Each business file should also be backed up to the main storage systems. External hard drives are a great complement to individual computers, with affordable systems approaching 2 TB (2,000 gigabytes) that can also be uploaded to a network-based solution.

A more comprehensive option for on-site information backup is a NAS (network attached storage), which connects a hardware device and specialized software to a business network. These systems have dropped in price, while their storage capacities have escalated. Even with the implementation and support costs for IT professionals, a NAS system is a cost-effective solution for most businesses. These backup systems map all network-connected file directories and then schedule backup sessions based on the needs of the individual organization.

Build an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan
A disaster recovery plan should include a complete list of precautions your company must take to minimize the effects of a disaster on the organization, as well as a detailed process for speedily bringing critical systems back online. While this is the responsibility of the management team, it also involves each employee. Each individual’s duties should be outlined in the document.

In many respects, the DR plan is more important than the original business plan. For that reason, companies commonly retain the services of an experienced consultant to develop and implement the program. While such an investment may seem large, recognizing the importance of disaster recovery in your business and implementing a proper plan are invaluable.

[This month’s guest columnist, Roochu Shah, is with TeamLogic IT of Norcross, which is part of a nationwide network of computer consultation and managed services businesses providing outsourced IT services. For more information, contact her at rshah@TeamLogicIT.com or visit www.TeamLogicIT/NorcrossGA ]

[Business Insights is hosted by the Law Firm of Kumar, Prabhu, Patel & Banerjee, LLC.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or other professional advice.]

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