It’s another day and business is in full swing, as usual. Everything is running smoothly and your office is abuzz with activity. While at your desk responding to a few emails, you notice your internet has frozen and stopped responding. Sitting back from the computer, slightly annoyed, you find yourself thinking about how much time you’re wasting while you wait for the connection to reestablish itself. Looking down at the WiFi icon, you notice it keeps connecting and disconnecting—and that’s never a good sign.
Taking a deep breath, you try to focus on something else, hoping this isn’t going to take all day. Yet you’re unable to shake that nagging feeling in the back of your mind. That “what if…?” A warning chime sounds from your computer, snapping your attention sharply into focus. It’s not just the internet; the entire system isn’t responding. More than frustrated, you pick up the phone to get IT on the line, but you’re interrupted by a knock on your office door. A flustered looking IT tech walks in and it’s written all over her face: there’s a serious problem.
This is an all-too-common scenario most business management face sooner or later. It doesn’t really matter whatcaused the system failure; what matters is it has now failed and until the problem is rectified, your company can no longer function. Your operations are down and your productivity for the day is blown.
Red alert. This is one of the worst situations your company can ever be in—a state of impotence due to IT failure. What are you thinking about right now? Are you thinking “Shouldn’t we have a backup plan?” Yes, you should. We call it your IT Plan B.
When ‘Plan A’ Fails
Given a long enough timeline, it’s likely you’ll find yourself in a similar scenario: dead in the water and unable to do business. There are all sorts of reasons why your systems could fail: natural disaster, old or outdated technology, a lack of technology maintenance and management, unstable infrastructure, data compromise, or even hackers, viruses and malware.
So what do you do when your company’s IT fails? Do you have a backup plan that can guarantee stability? If not, you have to ask yourself, “Why not?”
Good. You’re asking questions. Let’s explore what Plan B means to your company’s IT. Your first step: Whether your company has an in-house IT department or outsourced IT, determine if your IT Plan B is documented.
Question your IT people on things like:
Procedures in place in the event of a disaster scenario
- Winter is coming. The first question to ask your IT professionals is what systems and procedures are in place in the event of an IT catastrophe. Is there a solid plan for each potential threat? Do these plans allow for flexibility and creativity to adapt to a particular scenario, especially if it turns out to be a completely unexpected disaster? Are there multiple backups in place to ensure your company can protect its sensitive and valuable data?
Knowing your recovery solution options for any given situation will also allow you and your IT professionals to evaluate how effective they are today—before your system goes down. IT is constantly changing. How often do your IT people review your backup and recovery procedures—and are they operating under current best practices?
Security measures in place to prevent AND address a compromised data scenario
- You can’t just have a plan to prevent data breaches. No matter how good your data protection may be, there are always ways around it. Hopefully, your company never falls victim to data compromise, but you also can’t hope it won’t happen to you. A solid Plan B outlining exactly how your company will react in case of data compromise will help everyone sleep better at night. Plus, it can even be a selling point to your customers, clients and business partners, as it can be used to illustrate why they can trust your company over your competition.
Data backup solutions
- Data loss is one of the most common and notorious scenarios that nearly every company will experience at one time or another, so data protection is one of the more important functions of an excellent IT department. What sort of daily, weekly and monthly backup solutions are in place in the event of system failure? Does your company have a cloud backup solution to securely back up sensitive data? Does your company have insurance in place? Is everything stored on one master server or across servers in multiple locations—and how often is all that information backed up?
Setting Up Your IT Plan B
While you can’t control the weather or the life choices of data thieves, you can control how prepared your company is when it comes to protecting your systems and your data. The first step is to ask your IT department focused questions about their backup plans for any given disaster scenario. The next step is to evaluate these plans, walking through each step with a qualified IT professional to ensure you’re IT Plan B is structured with the most current industry best practices in mind. When a chink in your company’s IT armor is found, you and your IT department must work together to find solutions to protect your company, long-term.
By working with your IT professionals to evaluate and improve your IT Plan B, you’re proactively strengthening your brand, your company, and your value to everyone you work with. You’ll be effectively building an IT safety net to guarantee your company will never go out of business due to technology failure. This sort of stability doesn’t just happen; it is built and maintained, purposefully.