How Can You Prepare Your Business For A Data Disaster?

How Can You Prepare Your Business For A Data Disaster?

I’d like to start today’s piece off with a few stories.

Steve works as the IT director at a large financial services firm, which recently decided to retire its legacy systems in favor of newer infrastructure. Together with his department, he begins the long process of migrating business-critical data from the old systems to the new. Unfortunately, during the migration, something goes wrong – a huge swathe of data ends up corrupted.

No big deal, thinks Steve. He searches for the backups, only to find that the solution his organization settled with didn’t do its job. Those files are lost, and totally unrecoverable.

Steve makes a mental note to pick up some aspirin on the way home from work.

——

Kevin works in what might be the only department more reviled than IT – human resources. He doesn’t mind so much, though. He’s good at his job, and his co-workers only treat him with minimal disdain. One day, he receives an email from one of his managers, urging him to click through and complete a workplace survey.

A weird request, he thinks, but he’ll bite. He wants to get in good with the higher-ups, after all. It’s only after clicking the link that he realizes the email isn’t from his supervisor at all.

He’s just fallen for a phishing scam, and released malware into his organization’s network – malware which quickly tears through their servers and starts vacuuming up data. A ton of content ends up getting deleted – content that someone forgot to include in the backups. Unbeknownst to Kevin, he’s just destroyed a bunch of his business’s intellectual property – all because he clicked a seemingly-harmless link.

Lucille is having a bad day. She’s just learned that the data center which stores her startup’s client information has been hit by a nasty hurricane, and knocked offline. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be a problem – she’d just restore the data via her backups.

Unfortunately, it turns out her disaster recovery solution wasn’t properly configured. She’s lost all her client information; information that was essential to her startup’s success. As a result, there’s a good chance her entrepreneurial venture may tank in the very near future.

The three stories above each represent very different – but very real – situations in which an organization might find itself without access to critical data for one reason or another. And while Lucille, Kevin, and Steve are hardly real people, the scenarios in which each has found themselves have all happened before.

In 2014, Kaspersky Labs revealed that 21% of manufacturing businesses had lost intellectual property to malware – and in some cases, the lost data was unrecoverable. A recent survey by Kroll Ontrack found that 32% of businesses have lost data while upgrading or migrating systems.  And we all remember the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Sandy.

Fact is, there are scores of different ways your data might end up corrupted, compromised, or simply gone. If you don’t take the necessary steps to protect it, then you’re just asking for trouble. It isn’t just data, either – the revenue lost in the event of hardware failure can number in the millions, hundreds of millions, or even billions in larger enterprises.

Simply put, you need a disaster recovery solution in place – but it needs certain qualities in order to be worthwhile. Let’s talk about that, shall we?

Preparing For A Crisis

First piece of advice: don’t try to mitigate a disaster while it’s going on. You need to have a disaster recovery solution in place before something goes wrong, otherwise it’s essentially useless. Make sure you’ve got an automated backup system in place that works, and ensure you’ve systems to turn to in the event that your primary hardware fails.

Nobody likes to consider the notion that bad things might happen to them or their business. But being aware that disaster can strike at any time – and that it often will strike at the precise moment you aren’t expecting it – is the first step in readying yourself for a data disaster.  

Weathering The Storm

Maybe an errant storm’s knocked out the power to your primary servers. Maybe an intern deleted something they shouldn’t have, or maybe you’re being subjected to the mother of all cyberattacks. Whatever the case, when you’re in the midst of a data crisis, you need to keep a cool head, and go through the following process:

  • Get in touch with your team to figure out what’s going wrong/what went wrong. Is this a pressing catastrophe, or simply a bungle by somebody in your organization?
  • Figure out what you can do about the ongoing crisis. Is there an active intruder accessing your servers/files, or is there a natural disaster devastating your infrastructure? In some cases, there’ll be no way to stop what’s happened – and that’s fine.
  • Once you’ve taken the necessary steps to mitigate your data loss incident, time to spin up your disaster recovery solution. Assuming you’ve signed on with a halfway-decent host, you should be able to get instant access to the files you’ve backed up, as well as virtualized infrastructure to keep yourself online until the storm calms.
  • Figure out if there’s anything you can do in the future to prevent this disaster from happening again.

Easy, right?

Protect Your Data With Liberty Center One

Plan for the worst, with one of the best hosts in the business: Liberty Center One. In addition to Swan Disaster Recovery, we offer automated backups, IaaS DR infrastructure, and a disaster recovery workspace. In essence, you’ll have access to all the resources necessary to weather any data disaster, no matter how great.

Click here to learn more.


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