Superheroes are called in to save the world from disaster, but with these IT support tips you won’t need Star-Lord or Groot on speed dial. You’ll become the guardian of your own galaxy. The first step in keeping your business operating unabated is to know what you’re up against.
What Counts as a Disaster?
Any event that causes data loss and disrupts your business is a disaster. Whether that’s an earthquake or coffee spilled on a computer, frying its contents. Here are 3 of the top causes of crises.
The unforeseen, unexpectedly devastating event
Random power outages caused by traffic accidents or animals can cause as much disruption as a ransomware attack. Accidental file deletion, water pipes breaking and server rooms overheating also fall into this category.
From malware to socially engineered attacks, new threats will continue to emerge because cybercrime is an easy payday for any criminal with a computer and internet access.
The natural disasters
We’ve grown accustomed to the never-ending wildfire season, but that’s not the only natural disaster Californians have to deal with. Earthquakes are another constant threat. And soaring temperatures.
Protect yourself and your business
Now that you have a good idea of what can go wrong and why, it’s time to prepare.
Predict What Could Go Wrong
You can’t forecast every potential calamity. But you can see how your business would fare by asking your IT consultant for an assessment.
Insights you gain after an assessment
- Technology assessments show the state and health of your current IT systems
- Security assessments expose your current vulnerabilities
- Compliance assessments show how you stack up against industry regulations
Assessments prevent unnecessary risks
A spreading wildfire caused a business owner to save his data by grabbing his server and running. His frantic search for safety didn’t have to happen. An assessment would have shown the risk of not backing up his data and recommended a managed cloud-based solution.
Use IT Support and Cybersecurity Training To Stop Breaches
A Kern County business with global partners came perilously close to wiring money to a criminal in a phishing scam. The attacker successfully tricked the employee into thinking the “boss” was requesting the funds. Our systems flagged the suspicious email, and we reached out immediately to ensure no money changed hands. The narrow escape prompted the business to invest in cybersecurity awareness training for their employees.
The threat is always there
Having a vigilant IT partner is another way to decrease the likelihood that you’ll become the victim of a phishing scheme or ransomware attack. You further lessen your chances of falling for a scam if your employees know how to spot malicious emails. Cybersecurity awareness training arms your team with the knowledge it takes to prevent cybercrime.
Recovery Plans Turn Disasters Into Manageable Events
The fire in the server room – a cautionary tale
The medical office was in a state of chaos. Other than calling the fire department to put out the fire in the server room, no one knew what to do. We arrived on the scene and asked about their disaster recovery plan. There wasn’t one. The clinic couldn’t see patients, answer phones or send emails.
It’s hard to think straight during a disaster
Experiencing the direct impacts of wildfires or living through any kind of disaster is traumatic. Create a disaster recovery plan now, when your mind is calm and clear.
5 questions to answer as you develop your plan
1. How much downtime can you tolerate?
Downtime is unavoidable. A backup system that makes all your applications and data available 24/7 is too expensive. For anyone. It’s more affordable, and practical, to conduct a department-by-department evaluation and determine:
- How much data you need access to
- The order in which you’ll bring systems back online
Set your order and data recovery objectives based on what will keep your business operational. Sales might want immediate access to their CRM software and accounting wants the payroll system. Cloud consulting can help you weigh these competing needs and prioritize the departments and systems that minimize your losses.
2. Who is responsible for what?
Assemble your disaster recovery team and assign responsibilities. Know who is in charge of reaching out to partners, notifying clients, managing internal communications, etc. This will help everyone remain calm and prevent multiple people from doing the same task.
3. Who needs to be notified?
Does someone need to contact your insurance company? What about clients? Should your IT provider be looped in? Think through all your partners, vendors, clients, employees, contractors and any other business associate so you don’t leave anyone out.
4. Are there requirements we need to meet?
If you’re dealing with a cyberattack, you’ll need to disclose the breach to any California citizen whose data was compromised. Other reporting requirements could exist based on your industry. Know which requirements apply to your organization and set out how you’ll meet them.
5. Will my insurance policy cover the damage?
Minor mistakes could cause you to not receive a payout on your insurance policy. Read through your policy. Check that you’ll receive adequate funding to replace IT systems. When the server room caught fire at the medical office, they only had $50K allocated to replacing IT – not nearly enough.
3 More Ways To Prepare for a Worst-Case Scenario
So far, we’ve shared that you can prepare for disaster by:
- Getting an assessment to uncover weaknesses
- Having a fail-proof backup system
- Training your team to spot scams
- Monitoring your systems 24/7
- Implementing a disaster recovery plan
But there are 3 more insights we want you to know about preparing for disaster.
1. Get cyber insurance, but don’t rely on it
If you’ve attended one of our cybersecurity events with insurance expert Howard Miller, you know insurers will look for reasons to not pay out on your policy. Cyber insurance is still a useful tool and worth getting. But don’t think of it as your complete solution for cybersecurity or disaster preparedness.
If you have questions about getting a cyber policy, read this article: How to Get and Keep Cyber Insurance.
2. Make your managed IT services provider test everything
This applies to your disaster recovery and backup plans. You can’t blindly accept that because your IT provider set up backups that they’re working. Require that your partner regularly test the system and report back to you.
3. Use IT consulting to create a fool-proof plan
This article covered a lot of ground, but it’s only the beginning of what you need to think about if you want to be the guardian of your business’ galaxy. Everything from your backup plan to your cyber policy needs to be thought through with your unique business needs in mind. Unless you have a business-focused IT expert on staff, this is overwhelming.
You don’t have to do it all yourself
The Guardians of the Galaxy are stronger when they work together. Add our IT and cybersecurity experts to your team and be prepared for any disaster.