6 Simple Steps to Business Continuity in a Disaster

Network Support

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 developing a plan of action 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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

4 Common Sources of Computer Viruses

4 Common Sources of Computer Viruses

When you think of computer safety, the first thing that comes to mind is avoiding and preventing computer viruses. Everyone knows that a computer virus can destroy your laptop to the point where it’s completely non-functional. If it hasn’t happened to you before, then it’s happened to someone you know.

The thing is, we never really talk about how we get viruses in the first place. You probably have a firewall on your computer, but you should still know where viruses come from.

In general, viruses attack through four mediums. Even though you typically use them every day, there’s still steps you can take to protect your computer.

Internet

An obvious way to get a computer virus is through the Internet. You should always exercise caution before you download any file or document. Always check the source and be particularly careful of .exe files. At any rate, use an anti-virus software to scan all files before downloading.

Email

Besides randomly downloading files on the Internet, email is the next most common source of viruses. Be careful of downloading email attachments that are forwarded to several addresses. If you receive an out-of-character message from a friend or family member, send the email right to your spam folder.

Removable Storage

Viruses from removable storage may not occur as frequently as the from the aforementioned sources, but it’s still a possibility. Don’t let just anybody plug a flash drive into your computer. And when they do, have the files checked by an anti-virus software.

Bluetooth

Even less common than from removable storage, viruses can also come from bluetooth transfers. You can unknowingly have a virus transferred to your computer through a bluetooth transfer. Again, the answer is to use an anti-virus software to check all files gained through file transfer.

To learn more about computer viruses and how to keep your computer safe, please contact us.

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.

Early Preparation for the 2019 Hurricane

Early Preparation for the 2019 Hurricane
Early Preparation

It is a great idea that everyone has a good plan in place for the upcoming 2019 hurricane to protect their IT systems. We understand the massive damages that hurricanes can do when it gets us unprepared.

Below are some steps you can follow in preparation for a hurricane:

  • Property check – Ensure your property is well protected from water damages as it is the main thing that affects IT  systems during a storm.
  • Regarding your building protection, ensure any openings near the IT systems are well covered to keep water at bay. These openings include doors and windows.
  • Disable the restart feature of your electronic devices. This is because, once power is back after a blackout, the presence of water can cause a short electric circuit. This, in turn, can lead to unexpected damages.
  • You can also back up your data and files in case computers fail. Offsite backup is more advisable since you’ll still retrieve them in case of damages at your data center.
  • Most importantly, have hard copies of some relevant documents that may be needed when your IT system is still offline after the hurricane.
  • Good communication plan

Check out 7 Tips for Preparing Your Business for a Hurricane

When disaster strikes, you’ll probably need a reliable way of communication for emergency purposes. That is why you are advised to use cell-phones as they are quick ii matters of emergency and you need immediate help.

Landlines and VoIP phones need aren’t much convenient during this time as they use electricity which is likely to be absent during a hurricane.

Remember to charge your cell-phones earlier before the hurricane.

To conclude, a hurricane is something that needs appropriate preparedness to avoid damages which means extra costs to repair and even replace some valuable assets. It is therefore crucial that you keep the above measures in mind and the earlier, the better.

Contact us if in need of professional information regarding hurricane preparedness.