Backup and Disaster Recovery: How Storing Data to a Cloud Can Benefit You

cloud can benefit you

Backup and disaster recovery of your business’s data should be a top priority, no matter how small or large your business is. Anyone who doesn’t have some kind of backup system for their data in today’s time is playing as much risk as driving without car insurance. Regardless, deciding which method to use in backing up data might be nearly as challenging when so many options exist.

The trend seems to be honing into one system away from the office that may become standard before the end of the decade. That’s because it’s usually the most reliable in how quickly data is saved and in the data retrieval time.

Cloud-Based Backup as Most Reliable System

Saving business data to a cloud means taking your data to an outside hosted server that manages it for you. It’s a solution that’s much more manageable than the era when all data had to be transferred to tape or disk and then stored in another location for security purposes. This isn’t to say most decisions behind using cloud-based backup aren’t going to vary depending on the assessment of a business’s data recovery objectives. Because of those usually more convenient aspects, it explains why cloud-based systems are predicted to become the main solution to most backup issues in companies. 

The Cost and Security Aspects are Becoming Attractive

The affordability of cloud-based systems is likely one reason why they’re becoming so popular. That’s because they usually charge a flat rate for the data storage and only charge you more when you need to use their services to recover lost data. Other outsourced backup systems don’t work that way, so it’s a cost-effective strategy for any upstart business.

Plus, with new advanced encryption methods on cloud systems, you don’t have to worry as much about your data being hacked. Each cloud-based server will allow a particular security setting depending on the requests of that business.

Retrieval During Disasters

Companies that live in disaster-prone areas are particularly starting to turn to cloud systems to ensure data can be recovered. In locations where hurricanes or earthquakes are increasing, the destruction of a business and loss of data can disrupt any chance of a business getting back on its feet. Clouds are known for backing up data often and running recurring tests to make sure everything will be there when it’s desperately needed.

How long it’ll take to get your data back is also a major selling point. Because cloud-based systems are managed so well, it won’t take months to retrieve your data as you’d find with other outsourced backup plans.

But those are just a few of the advantages of using a cloud for your data storage. If you’re looking for the most cutting edge cloud system, consider 4 Corner IT as your source in finding the right one. Contact us and we’ll connect you with many of our partnered cloud vendors that provide the most robust backup solutions while saving you considerable money.

Disaster Recovery Services Every Florida Business Needs

florida businesses need backup

Massive data loss can destroy a business. Ransomware, fires, floods, and physical theft are just a few of the ways that your data could be wiped out. The irrecoverable loss of business records is worse than any physical loss. Insurance can cover the harm to furniture, equipment, and even an entire office, but it can’t bring back lost information. Research has shown that half of all organizations haven’t implemented the data protection and recovery processes they need to survive a disaster. Without disaster recovery services, a business will take weeks to put its data back together, and some data will be impossible to get back. Downtime means lost revenue, and it will eventually lead to bankruptcy.

The Causes of Data Loss

Physical disasters are a leading cause of on-site data loss. A fire, electrical surge, or flood can make disk drives inoperable. Combined with other damage from the event, the inability to continue normal data processing seriously disrupts business operations.

Online crime targets a company’s most valuable data. Ransomware encrypts files, making them unusable, and demands a payment for restoring them. It attacks backup files if it can reach them. Giving in to the extortion demand doesn’t always get the files back.

Burglars can break into an office and steal computers. The chances of getting them back are low. Break-ins cause damage beyond what is physically carried off.

User error can wipe out or corrupt important files. It might be a long time before you notice, making it hard to restore them.

The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

A widely recommended approach to protecting data is the 3-2-1 strategy. This means having at least three copies of your data, on two or more devices, with at least one of them in a remote location.

The three copies include the active version of the data, a local backup, and a remote backup. The local backup is the easiest to keep up to date, since you have a high-bandwidth connection to it that doesn’t depend on the Internet. The remote one is safe from events that affect your office and could damage the local backup.

Backup vs. Disaster Recovery

Having a backup is important, but it’s not the same as a disaster recovery plan. Saving files isn’t enough. Configuration data, user account information, and license keys are vital to operations. To get back up and running quickly, you need procedures for restoring data and operations when your hardware fails. If you lose an entire disk, can you install a fresh one that will let employees use business applications just as they did before?

To do this, you need not just a file backup but a disk image or a failover system. A complete disk image lets you get everything back into place — files, directories, accounts, and databases. A failover system goes a step further; you turn it on, and it runs everything just as the old system did. Cloud-based failover systems are within the reach of many IT budgets.

Setting up a disaster recovery plan isn’t something you can wing. It starts with an analysis to determine all your requirements. The backup mechanisms need to cover all your essential data, and the recovery process needs to operate with an acceptable amount of downtime. Once it’s in place, the plan needs testing. If a crucial system isn’t being backed up, you want to know about it and correct it before you experience data loss.

Having expert advice will make sure your recovery plan works. We offer backup and recovery plans for businesses throughout South Florida, letting you run your business in confidence that a data-loss incident won’t be more than an inconvenience.

Get in touch with us to discuss the plan that is best for your business. Or if you’re not ready yet, grab the Comprehensive Guide to Disaster Recovery eBook from WheelHouse IT to learn more.

The Comprehensive Guide to Disaster Recovery

6 Simple Steps to Business Continuity Planning in a Disaster

6 simple steps to business continuity planning in a disaster

Disaster can strike anytime, anywhere. No business owners likes to think of what may happen in the event critical processes and information are compromised, but creating simple steps for business continuity planning is the most proactive approach a company can take. Consider how your business might preserve core functions and integrity in the event of:

  • Data loss or damage
  • Flood or fire
  • Downtime of critical technology systems
  • Loss of key members
  • Loss of access to software and accounts
  • Hacking and data theft

Many companies tend to focus on the recovery stage, once the damage has been done. While coming back from a disaster is undoubtedly an important component in any business structure, at 4 Corner IT we are firm believers in active data protection and core process defense. That’s why we’ve put together 6 Simple Steps to Business Continuity in a Disaster. With your business is facing a cyber breach or a more tangible crisis, be sure to have a backup plan ready and waiting.

Prepare a Business Impact Analysis

Think of a business impact analysis, or BIA, as a fire drill for your company. A concise, predictive model simulates the likely impacts that may result from a potential loss scenario. Risk assessment may include any scenario from a direct loss of resources to failure of a major vendor or service. Items to consider when mapping a BIA include:

  • Lost sales and income
  • Delayed sales or income
  • Increased expenses (e.g., overtime labor, outsourcing, expediting costs, etc.)
  • Regulatory fines
  • Contractual penalties or loss of contractual bonuses
  • Customer dissatisfaction or defection
  • Delay of new business plans

Determining the financial and global impacts of each gives businesses direction when it comes to investing in recovery and mitigation.

Rate Your Readiness

Look for the weak links in your company chain. Grading your performance is never fun, but a thorough audit allows us to identify vulnerabilities before they become threats. Give your large or small business a health check by evaluating firewalls, network security, corporate protocol for sensitive information such as passwords and data, and overall readiness should a disaster strike. Assign a numerical grade to each item, with 1 being not at all prepared and 5 being fully ready to withstand a crisis.

Construct a Plan

Now it’s time to work out a plan. An effective disaster recovery plan should closely mirror the BIA you’ve prepared. For each scenario, include a triage approach to how your business will handle a crisis based on the severity and magnitude of the threat. A solid plan should include:

  • Communication
  • Delegation
  • Plan for hard assets (office equipment, electronics, furniture)
  • Plan for digital assets (data, passwords, accounts and software) 
  • Backup check
  • Detailed asset inventory
  • Vendor communication and service restoration plan

Specific details of each can be aligned to your business’ needs and priorities.

It Takes a Team

Do your employees know what to do in the event of a disaster? Is there a clear chain of command to delegate tasks if key members of the team are suddenly absent? Will key processes be able to continue in the event of a delivery delay or supply shortage?

These are the kinds of questions effective leaders need to be asking their team. Disaster recovery and preparedness is a company wide effort. Communicate a consistent protocol to all departments and be sure each member of your team understands the company’s plan of action when it comes to preserving business continuity in the face of a crisis.

Evolve Alongside Your Growing Business

Because your company is constantly growing and evolving, be prepared to review, test, and update your disaster preparedness strategy. A dynamic plan should be reevaluated every six months to take into account changing processes and functions. Make a checklist and involve department managers in the auditing process so that everyone is on board with a proactive approach to loss prevention and recovery.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Even the most disaster savvy businesses rely on experts to fill the gaps in their plan. Trusting in knowledgeable professionals allows you and your staff to focus on your own expertise — the success of the company.

Our IT team is available whenever our New York business owners need us with active solutions to data recovery and disaster preparedness. From managed IT services to support and consulting, we take the stress out of protecting your company’s valuable digital assets.

Contact us today to start preparing for your company’s future.

Backup Data Offsite to Thwart Cyber Criminals

backup data offsite to thwart cyber criminals

Time and time again, managed service providers have stressed the importance of completing regular data backups, even for very small businesses. As even these small businesses have come to rely on their data more and more, most companies do understand why backing up their data is a very smart move on their part. Unfortunately cyber criminals are always on the lookout for additional targets and they do seem to target businesses much more than simple personal users. While performing regular backups is still a must, it’s important to discuss one additional aspect of backing up data that can make or break a company if the worst should happen and they become a target of a cyber thief.

Onsite Backups

If a company never encounters a threat from a cyber criminal, an onsite backup would still be an invaluable asset to have in the event of equipment failure or some other internal failure. All a company would have to do is restore their most recent backup, check for any issues, and once given the all clear sign, employees could continue their work.

The problem with onsite backups is that once a cyber criminal gains access to a company’s network, they likely can gain access to their onsite backup as well. In the case of a ransomware attack, a cyber criminal could hold the data of an entire company hostage, including their onsite backup. Either the company pays the ransom or they face potentially losing all their vital business data.

Offsite Backups

The above scenario is precisely why service providers not only encourage regular backups, but they also encourage companies to store a copy of their backups in an offsite location. As everyone becomes more dependent upon their business data to function, it’s a perpetual race to see whether the cyber criminals will take advantage of vulnerable institutions, or whether companies will start taking their business data seriously and take concrete steps to protect this vital asset.

If you would like to know more about establishing an offsite location for your data backups, please contact us.

Business Continuity – One of the Keys to Maintaining Success

business continuity one of the keys to maintaining success
Maintaining Success

In a global world, a company may find themselves competing with organizations, not just around the block or in another state, but perhaps with other businesses halfway across the globe. With more competition than ever, no reputable company wants to gain a fly-by-night reputation with the public. This is where focusing on business continuity comes into play. What does an organization need to do to cultivate a reputation that says they are reliable, trustworthy, and committed to fulfilling the needs and goals of its customers?

Understanding what contributes to the steadfastness of an organization can make the difference between being a company that quickly rose to the top, (and failed just as quickly), and is a company that truly earned its solid reputation.

Why Resiliency Matters

When the business climate is doing well, it’s relatively easy to rise to the top, perhaps even becoming a star performer. What often separates the wheat from the chaff is when there is a downturn in the economy or a business finds themselves in the middle of a natural disaster. Those who enjoyed success only on a superficial level often find their company’s reputation is in tatters, or perhaps the business simply folded altogether.

In contrast, organizations who incorporated the concepts of business continuity and resilience into their overall business plan may very well take some hits, but ultimately they will persevere through the down times because they used the right building blocks to create their foundation.

IT Providers – A Key Building Block

With today’s heavy reliance on information technology, any business that wants to ensure the resiliency and continuity of their organization must understand that selecting the right provider is one of the key building blocks for success. A successful business absolutely does need continuity in their information services in order to consistently provide the highest level of service to their customers.

It’s very important to find a provider who is not only reliable when business operations are running smoothly, but they are also ready to provide seamless support for your company if a less than desirable event should occur.

If you would like to know more about our commitment to providing outstanding reliable IT support, please contact us.