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Was Your Company Impacted By The Historic Flooding In St. Louis County?

st. louis flooding

The Recent Floods in St. Louis, MO, Highlight the Importance of Having an IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan.

There are still those who may doubt the looming, constant threat that natural disasters pose to IT networks and businesses. However, they should take note of the historic May 2017 flooding in St. Louis, which highlights the importance of having a solid IT disaster solution plan in place.

Those businesses that (unwisely) didn’t establish a robust disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity plan (BCP) were forced to shut down when roadways were closed due to flooding.  These are as important to running your business as having a competent staff working for you.

In fact, a DR and BCP are absolutely indispensable for today’s web-connected businesses, from micro-companies and sole proprietorships to large corporations—ALL businesses that use computers to store critical data.

How Prepared Is Your Business?

According to the Disaster Recovery Journal:

“The results of our 2016 survey revealed an alarming disconnect between C-level executives and IT professionals when it came to how prepared their organization was to truly handle a disaster. While nearly 70 percent of C-level executives feel their organization is “very prepared” to recover from a disaster, less than half of IT pros at those same organizations shared this view.”

Adding to this general unpreparedness, in 2017 small businesses are averaging around $8,000 per hour in downtime losses, with an average downtime period of 3 days. (Mid-sized and large businesses experience much greater losses on average.)

The survey also uncovered how compliance requirements, and the use of hosted solutions, contributed to an organization’s overall confidence in its disaster recovery capabilities.

Are You Ready for An IT Disaster?  Four Things You Must Confirm.

No matter what kind of business or organization you run, you need effective and secure technologies to access, process and share information.  You may believe that you are doing everything possible to ensure your IT is up to date, stored securely offsite, and is on hand when you need it.  But are you really doing everything you can do to ensure your business survives a disaster?

  1. How long can you survive without your data or workspace? You should determine how long your business can operate without access to your data.  Most businesses won’t be able to do this for more than a day or two without feeling a financial pinch.  Be ready and have a disaster plan of action in place that your employees understand and can follow. This may mean that you need to set up a secondary work site where your staff can relocate if your primary site is unusable.
  2. Have you addressed change management as a part of your mission-critical recovery objectives? Mission-critical applications change frequently. To ensure they can be restored in a timely fashion, you must conduct ongoing tests to ensure their availability. Most importantly, you must ensure your daily management tasks are in tune with your production demands. Change is constant, and you must properly record these changes at your recovery site. Without this, your current procedures will be out of sync with your recovery capabilities.
  3. Have you recently updated your “run book” in regard to disaster recovery? Your run book is a set of defined procedures for maintaining the operations of your network. It contains all the information your employees need to perform their daily operations. Procedures defined in your run book include those for starting and stopping the system, instructions for handling special devices, how to perform backups and recovery, and more.  Step-by-step recovery procedures are a critical component of your run book and should be updated and vetted regularly.
  4. Have you tested your disaster recovery capabilities and ability to failback? Failback and failover are critical to any disaster recovery plan. The failover operation switches production to your backup facility.  Failback returns production to your original location after a disaster and saves specific data to cover any lapses.  It’s imperative that these procedures are tested regularly, documented and controlled.  Plus, be sure that you have the bandwidth in place to be fully recoverable.

Can you answer these questions?  Most small to mid-sized businesses don’t have the expertise to properly confirm that these essentials are covered. 

Having a properly designed and tested Business Continuity Plan plus an IT Disaster Recovery Plan is essential to ensure the future success of your business.

Your IT Disaster Recovery Plan

An IT Disaster Recovery Plan includes a documentation of your technology (e.g., servers, desktops, laptops and wireless devices, etc.), software applications, your data, and a strategy to ensure that all critical information is backed up.

Identify your critical software applications and data along with the hardware required to run them. Using standardized hardware will help to replicate and reimage new hardware. Ensure that copies of your program software are available for re-installation on any equipment you must replace, and prioritize this hardware and software restoration.

Document your IT Disaster Recovery Plan as part of your Business Continuity Plan. And be sure to test your plan periodically to make sure that it works.

Your Business Continuity Plan

Business Continuity Solutions ensure your critical business operations are functional in the event of power outages or office closures. This way you can continue to provide services to clients, patients, suppliers, regulators, and others you do business with.

It includes:

  • Data and IT System Backups,
  • Recovery Solutions,
  • Ongoing Risk & Vulnerability Assessments, and
  • Reliable, live, 24/7 Help-Desk Support.

A business continuity plan must be developed and implemented prior to a disaster. Unfortunately, many businesses in {city} learn this too late after a disaster occurs.

The Top 10 Benefits of Having a Backup and Business Continuity Plan 

  1. Your data and IT will be protected, and your staff will continue to be productive in the event of a disaster. This will save you time and money.
  2. It will protect the image, brand, and reputation of your company. When your business continues functioning despite a disaster, your clients will see you as dependable, and your reputation will be enhanced.
  3. Your clients will be confident doing business with you—You’ll be able to keep your commitments and ensure the continuing quality of the services and/or products you deliver.
  4. It shows your investors that you take your business seriously and that you’re prepared and ready to maintain productivity no matter the circumstance.
  5. Your insurance company will view you more favorably knowing that you’ve done everything you can do to protect your business from a disaster.
  6. Your staff will gain an awareness of business operations they didn’t have before. Backup and Business Continuity Planning often provide employees useful insights into improving the way tasks are performed, particularly in areas they hadn’t previously considered.
  7. If a disaster does occur, the cost of disruptions will be significantly reduced.
  8. You’ll be able to meet your contractual requirements, where competitors who aren’t prepared won’t. It opens the door to new opportunities from prospects who are unhappy with your competitors.
  9. Business operations and security will be improved when you identify inefficiencies and potential cyber threats during ongoing Risk & Vulnerability Assessments as part of your business continuity planning.
  10. The best benefit of a Business Continuity Plan is your ability to deliver services and/or products regardless of any type of disruption.

SSE, Inc.— Your St. Louis Disaster-Recovery and Business Continuity “Gurus.”

Our IT consulting helps businesses like yours lock-in continuity-assuring DR and BC plans. Contact us at sales@sseinc.com or by phone at (314) 439-4700 to speak with a certified SSE Network Services IT professional about getting all the Data Backup, Disaster Recovery Planning, and Business Continuity Planning you’ll ever need.

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Written by Gregory Thorton on July 6th, 2017.

  • 1835 Lackland Hill Parkway,
    St. Louis, MO 63146

  • (314) 439 - _ 4700

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