Detroit winters are some of the toughest in the nation. Even though winter storms continue to pummel the northeast, it’s not too late to protect your business from extreme weather conditions and other natural disasters. Here are two must-take steps to keep the technology your business relies upon up and running.
Congratulations, We Made It Through Another Winter!
It’s tempting to breathe a sigh of relief now that we are past the coldest months of the year. However, before you relax, it’s important to remember that while 6 out of 10 of Detroit’s heaviest snowstorms happened in February, the effects were felt well into March. When it comes to extreme weather, snow is a trifecta; it can cause water, electrical, and structural damage—any of which can bring your business to a standstill if you’re not prepared.
While organizations understand that downtime isn’t a great thing, many don’t realize that a disaster, if not properly managed, can result in their business permanently shutting down. This isn’t due to the apparent structural damage but due to data loss. A business’ data is its greatest asset because once lost, it can’t be replaced, and with it gone, so is your business’ ability to generate revenue.
Fortunately, tried and tested methods are available to any organization, ensuring they can quickly get back in business after a disaster. These methods are crucial, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses when it comes to preparing for a Detroit winter. Although spring is just about here, it’s not too late to protect your business.
Why Disaster Planning is a Critical Step
Many businesses don’t know or underestimate the importance of disaster planning to their business’ long-term survival. It is an essential component for an organization if they want to have the chance to remain in business when disaster strikes. If a natural disaster such as extreme weather or man-made (ransomware, hardware failures, or user errors) threatens your business, having a disaster plan will provide your team with the direction they need to ensure you can remain open. Companies, especially smaller ones, may feel they don’t have the necessary resources or need to invest in a sufficiently developed plan to protect their IT infrastructure.
This mistake has been the downfall of many organizations who realized too late that their data was the most valuable asset of their business. Once gone, so was the possibility of a relatively, (if ever) quick return to business. This is why it is important to have a plan in place before a disaster occurs,and here are two fundamental steps your business should enact.
Two Must-Have Plans In Case Of Disaster
When disaster strikes, there are two main areas your organization should focus on, ensuring your team can be productive and that your data is safe. This makes sense because your team and your data are the most valuable asset your company has. As such it is in your best interest to ensure both assets are able to operate when you need them the most, during a disaster. Here are the best methods to give your team and your data the support needed to keep them up and running.
Give your Remote Workforce the tools to be successful.
Whenever winter storms hit Michigan (and Detroit in particular) there is always the possibility of some of your team not being able to make it into work. Working from home was once considered a luxury, and even discouraged. However in today’s business environment, the ability to work remotely is now considered an essential component for a modern business.
As we have previously mentioned, enabling your team to work remotely requires more than giving them a laptop with a webcam. There are several factors to consider before your team begins to work from home, most notably productivity and security.
Data security should be the primary focus for all businesses, and crucial when your team is accessing your data from their home. It’s important to remember that your team will interact with your data, the same way to do with their own. Since most people don’t follow best practices in regard to cybersecurity in their personal lives, there is a high probability they won’t follow it when working with your data. This is why training your employees in security is an important step to implement. Here are some steps you should take:
Ensure they have a robust Cybersecurity Plan in place. If your team is like most average computer users, there’s a high probability that they are using the free antivirus that came pre-installed and which most likely has expired. Add to that a consumer-grade router with a weak password (usually the default that came with it), and you have a recipe for disaster—one which invites bad actors into your team’s system and eventually into your organization’s.
It helps to treat your team as your customers and provide an IT Audit. Check their broadband—is it robust enough to allow them to participate fully in the day-to-day activities, such as video conferencing and sharing files? Is their computer up to the task of performing in a work environment? Do they need a security upgrade, such as antivirus, a firewall, and of course, a VPN?
Finally, have you trained them to recognize a phishing attack? The easiest way to access your network isn’t through a brute force attack but instead through an email to a team member, who inadvertently provides the credentials needed to access your network. As cybercriminals refine their tactics, investing resources to train your team is essential to protecting the data your business needs to operate.
However, despite your best efforts, there is the possibility that a bad actor will gain access and control of your data. Unless you are proactive and have a plan in place, the chances of you recovering your data are slim. This is why when it comes to disaster planning, having a backup of your data in place is the best chance your business has to retain its data.
Have a Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan in Place
The lack of a backup is often the primary reason a business cannot recover after a disaster. Whenever you learn about a company falling victim to a ransomware attack, the first thing often noted is that there wasn’t a backup in place. This resulted in the organization either paying the ransom or losing its data. A backup is important because it allows your business to regain control of its data. Unless a company can control its data, it will have little chance to get up and running quickly after a disaster.
While a backup is essential, it is only part of the equation. Equally important is the ability to recover the data promptly. If your backup consists of copies of files on physical hard drives or, worse, paper files, it is only a matter of time before you suffer a catastrophic data loss. A backup is only as good as your ability to recover your data.
Modern backup and recovery protocols follow a series of practices designed to ensure you can recover your data as quickly as possible. These practices include:
- Incremental backups only back up files that have changed instead of the entire database, saving time.
- Versioning keeps different versions of your data backed up. This is crucial in fighting ransomware because it allows you to recover your data at a point before it becomes compromised.
- Redundancy is designed to protect your data by having copies of it stored on different media in different locations. This is critical because a natural disaster may cause structural damage to infrastructure in one area. If your data is stored in a different location entirely, you have a greater chance of recovering it quicker than in the exact location where the disaster occurred.
Detroit Businesses, It’s Time to Prepare for a Disaster
The time to plan for a disaster isn’t after extreme weather hits or your organization is the target of a ransomware attack, because it’s too late at that point. With Fuse Technology Group as your partner, you will be working with a local organization familiar with the Detroit and greater Michigan business environment. Call 248.545.0800 today to schedule an appointment and stop leaving your business’ survival to chance.