What would you do?
If your computer system suddenly stopped working and access to its info was gone, what would you do? Could your business still function? Do you have a recovery plan in place?
IT systems are made up of three primary components: hardware, software and data. All are vulnerable to a variety of risks, and all can be damaged independently. Therefore, a recovery plan needs to address the survival and/or replacement of all three components.
Implementing a data recovery plan
Take inventory of your systems and create a detailed listing of all the components. The hardware breakdown essentially becomes a shopping list that you can use in the event of a total loss. Identify potential suppliers, as well as the technicians required to install the equipment, and ask them for cost estimates and timeframes for replacement. Ensure you have financing in place that will allow you to make the purchase in the event of a disaster.
Software suppliers typically require specific access codes and license numbers to re-install software on systems, so make a list of the software you’re running (on each of your computers) and the codes needed to install it. If some of the software is out of date and you’re concerned about your ability to replace it, consider upgrading to newer software before a crisis occurs.
The last step is to ensure you have a system in place that fully backs up all of your critical data on an ongoing basis. The backups should be multilayered with backups from a variety of dates. The purpose being, if your data becomes corrupted by malicious software, you can go back to an earlier version that pre-dates the problem. Consider hiring an expert to guarantee it’s done on a timely basis.
Backup systems should be remote from the computer system itself to ensure they’re not destroyed by the same event(s) that disabled things in the first place. The system should be tested on a regular basis to make certain it’s working correctly.
Once you’ve completed your recovery plan, keep necessary info and backups in a safe place that’s easily accessible should the unthinkable happen. Keep your plan current as your business matures and your systems are updated.
Recovery plans won’t stop crashes from occurring, but they certainly help lessen the impact!
David Christie is a Chartered Professional Accountant, CGA and Manager with Presley & Partners, CPAs and Business Advisors in Courtenay, BC. He can be reached at 250.338.1394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.