Historically, the IT Department is the best prepared branch within a business. They are already tasked with backing up data, offsite storage, virus protection, keeping software up-to-date and ensuring a smoothly running infrastructure. In a perfect world, this ensures a comfy level of continuity.
However, along comes some type of interruption. It could be a natural disaster: a fire, flood, hurricane or earthquake, or even a tree falling on the roof. Or it could be a manmade threat: robbery, terrorism or a car using your business as a drive-through.
How does a business recover quickly and continue to do business? Some very careful planning needs to be done, along with a willingness to take the time and spend the money.
Sometimes, SMBs don’t have an IT Department, per se. There may be one or two people who have the added responsibility of scheduling back-ups, updates, and servicing. This scenario is an open invitation for letting things fall into the cracks — assigning responsibilities and rigid enforcement of scheduling is a must.
In larger companies, especially ones with a good amount of square-footage, off-site storage may not be far enough away from the main location, i.e., in another building nearby. In the case of a widespread disaster, the best bet is to have back-ups and cloud storage as far away as possible, so that if your city, county, or state is affected, your data is safe.
What if your business location is deemed unfit after an interruption? Do you have an alternative (temporary) location for IT infrastructure? You may have to lease network connections and phone lines. Oftentimes, network facilities offered by hotels or empty offices are inadequate for voice and simple IT services.
Even if your location is intact, or repairable, if you have a large company with a lot of equipment to replace, you may have to outsource IT needs just to set it up. We also need to think how quickly we can replace destroyed equipment. What is the turn-around time for vendor shipments, even “rush” orders?
Getting back into full swing might also be hindered if software hasn’t been consistently updated (why fix it if it isn’t broken?). If we allow it to become obsolete, there will probably be some loss of data when having to reinstall a newer version.
What if your area has no power? Does your company have a back-up generator? Should the telephone circuits be down, do you have an employee cell phone “network” in place? Depending upon the severity of the interruption, what other modes of power and communication are available?
Sometimes, IT relies so much on modern devices there is no concrete documentation. If you are unable to use customary equipment, is there a written password log or a backup log in place? Procedures also need be tangibly documented. Additionally, we might need client or employee information stashed somewhere safe (or with a trusted person).
To ensure continuity in the event of a disaster or other interruption, careful forecasting needs to be part of your overall business plan. The future, with all of its uncertainties, might be a bit less worrisome if we take an assertive approach to it and give ourselves much-needed coping mechanisms.
You’ve put countless hours into building your business. Make sure you have the right plans and procedures in place to maintain continuity—even in the worst circumstances. To learn more, call Syndeo Communications at (760) 650-3300, a trusted San Diego IT Consulting company who can ensure your business is ready for whatever comes its way.