Data is the heart of your business—every bit of customer information, every transaction, must be saved and transmitted. It’s how you run your company in the present and make the projections that will allow you to plan for improvements in the future. However, if your business relies on just the hardware you have in-house to save all that precious data, it makes you vulnerable to threats ranging from cyber attacks to natural disasters. Even something as ordinary as a power surge could cause you to lose valuable information.
With so many variables in place, it only makes sense to take steps to protect your data in case the worst should happen. (Losing last year’s sales figures because a mouse chewed through a wire is nobody’s finest hour.)
Here are several proactive measures you and your managed service provider should take to ensure that all your data stays with you—no matter what.
A Disaster Recovery Plan
Having a plan in place allows you to prepare for any eventuality, including the possibility that your data could become lost or compromised. Ready.gov recommends that your I.T. disaster recovery plan (or I.T. DRP) should be compiled at the same time as your business continuity plan to prevent further losses and setbacks.
First, your business should create an inventory of hardware such as servers, laptops, desktop computers, and wireless devices, as well as necessary software applications and data. This makes it easier to replace your hardware if you need to and ensures that you have the correct software ready to install. Preventative measures should also be taken, such as making an alternate power supply available in the event of outages. Next, a strategy must be implemented to back up all crucial data. The plan should be tested periodically to make sure it runs smoothly, and all employees are aware of their roles—as well as to ensure that it remains comprehensive as your business infrastructure changes and grows.
In recent years, cloud computing has continued to become safer and more accessible. Backing up your data via the cloud not only keeps it safe, but it also makes it that much easier for everyone in your organization to have instant access, as long as they have the correct permissions.
Moving your data to cloud servers involves the use of a type of cloud computing known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), meaning that data that was once housed on physical hardware now lives in the cloud, where you or anyone with permission can access it anywhere. Services provided include servers, network devices, data center storage space, and storage systems, eliminating the need for buying and maintaining costly hardware. This solves several logistical problems, in addition to maintaining security.
Blockchain might be the latest buzzword out of Silicon Valley, but the technology has implications that reach far beyond the still relatively Wild West realm of cryptocurrency—including keeping information safe. A blockchain is simply a very secure ledger, a shared database that is continually updated in real time. This ensures that everyone with access to it has a complete, transparent picture of all the data it contains. The fact that it is decentralized, meaning it is not stored in any one place, makes blockchain technology highly resistant to hackers.
While blockchain technology lends itself most easily to recording financial transactions, a number of other applications are in the process of being realized. File storage, supply chain auditing, identity protection and many other uses are being explored. According to IBM, the technology can be used to improve data security in fields as diverse as financial services, government, healthcare, and insurance.
Backup Hard Drives
Sometimes the hand of fate just reaches out and smites your hardware; it can use something as grandiose as a hurricane or as mundane as a cup of coffee. To make sure you don’t lose anything vital, it is essential not to leave things to chance when it comes to your important information.
Ideally, you should have multiple secure backup options in use. One viable solution is large capacity USB drives with integrated data backup software that can be used to copy and store your data regularly. Of course, if these drives are stored in the same facility as the rest of your important hardware, there is always the risk that they could be destroyed as well in the event of a fire or other disaster. For this reason, cloud storage is a secure and cost-effective data backup method many businesses opt to use in addition to manually backing up hard drives.