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.

Computer Upgrading

Upgrading
Upgrading

Holding onto an old computer that’s maintained until the wheels fall off can be a good thing — a way to save money which is part of the battle in running any kind of business. Sometimes, however, businesses are compelled to upgrade or buy new computer equipment even though old equipment can still be used. A compelling to upgrade computer equipment can come from a variety of avenues, but let’s look at what is probably the three most important reasons businesses upgrade their computer equipment:

  • Security
  • Usage
  • Budget

Businesses change over time and so the capabilities of computers running those businesses must be able to handle the general workload that those computers are needed for. In some cases, the data being processed on business computers requires a much higher standard of security to protect it. If the data being processed through a business computer requires a higher standard of security, there are various ways that a computer can be upgraded, especially if a business manager is looking for free or economical ways of upgrading. Searching the internet for solutions is a good place to start. 

In some cases, the motive for upgrading computer equipment can stem from what the computer is being used for. Although that can encompass computer security as part of the motive, sometimes, for example, computer programs won’t run well on old versions of computer operating systems (such as Microsoft Windowsand so the computer operating system must be upgraded in order to run the newly written computer program (such as Microsoft Office). If for whatever reason, a computer operating system cannot be upgraded, continuing to use the computer for other jobs is a common way to get one’s money’s worth out of it.

Obviously, the budget of any business or organization is going to affect how and when computer equipment can be upgraded. If upgrading hardware or software is cost-prohibitive, there are economical ways to upgrade computer hardware as well as computer software. The internet contains a sea of free software that can usually do just as well as some of the more popular software — Open Office and Kingsoft Office are free alternatives to using Microsoft Word. Buying used computer hardware from eBay or Amazon can be a good place to acquire needed computer hardware.  

Please contact us if assistance is needed in upgrading computer hardware or software. It can be a tedious job and in many cases, business owners and managers don’t have time to dedicate to such a task. 

Are You Receiving The Services Your Need From Your Network Support Provider?

Are You Receiving The Services Your Need From Your Network Support Provider?
Services Needed Network Support

Getting ahead of the competition is always important in every industry, especially when the industry is filled with competition and is very lively. One of the key ways you can ensure that you will place yourself in front of your competitors is to make sure you have the right network support service on your side. The right network support service will ensure that you are equipped with a variety of services.

Secured Data

Due to the numerous risks of identity theft and data breaches, your business needs to have a network support service that is engaging at all times because an engaged network support service will give you a better chance at managing these risks. The right network support service will be able to create a security system that will not be easy for outsiders to access. The security system will also be used to monitor the security of your networks on a regular basis.

Established Network

Another important feature that your network support service will provide you is the maintenance and establishment of your network. Your business needs to have a network that is able to store data and share the data when needed. The network support service will also be able to create a network that every employee will be able to connect to. When you use strong networks and cloud technology, you will quickly discover that your business will become more productive and more efficient.

Are you currently receiving any of the above from your current network support provider? If you are not receiving the services or support you feel your business needs, it may be time to think about switching network support providers.

If you have experienced hardware failures, if your support questions are never answered, and if you are not able to retrieve any of your backups, please do not hesitate to contact us today for more information about our network support services and how we can increase your business’s efficiency.