Is your business prepared for a data disaster?
Business leaders dedicate the bulk of their time to strategizing for growth, longevity, and arming their organizations with the data and technology required to get things done smarter and faster. But what if something happens to compromise your business data, like a security breach or natural disaster? Do you have safeguards in place to minimize business interruption and restore your organization back to normal? What’s your plan for continuity?
If you haven’t strategized a data backup plan—or need to update your existing one—don’t worry. Enabling business continuity is the third top objective driving investments for cloud initiatives for 58% of businesses, according to research by IDG. IDG’s State of the Network research found 35% of network professionals see business continuity as the biggest challenge related to data security and access.
This article will show the benefits of migrating your core lines of business to the cloud for business continuity purposes, and the threats to contingency if you haven’t migrated.
Faster recovery time
One of the main advantages of operating in the cloud is you can back up your entire server almost simultaneously. All the information coupled with the systems and applications is grouped into one software block or a virtual server for easy recovery. This can be managed in minutes, in comparison to older software with questionable restoration times where possible.
ActualTech Media surveyed 250 IT professionals at US companies and 11% of respondents reported being able to bring key business applications back online within 15 minutes of the critical application outage. Without cloud access to your server, your business is risking the time it will take to get back to business. In the end, some information may end up being lost entirely.
Lower set-up and recovery costs
Recovery efforts for cloud-based operations are more cost-efficient to implement and execute than traditional backup methods. Traditional backup involves setting up physical servers at a remote location, which can be costly. The cloud, on the other hand, enables you to outsource as many hardware and software resources as you need while paying only for what you use.
Any amount of downtime can cost a business tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands in man-hour labor spent to recover or redo the work lost. In some cases, an 8-hour downtime window can cost a small company up to $20k and large enterprises in the tens of thousands. Cloud access mitigates this risk so you’re back to generating revenue faster.
No location ties
Choosing the right location for the disaster recovery facility is highly important because if the facility becomes a victim of the same disaster, the information will be lost forever. Having your main and backup servers in the same location can spell trouble in case of a fire, a hurricane, or a flood. With cloud technology, if disaster strikes you can choose the backup facility located in any part of the world.
Easier recovery of fixed assets
What about your business’ fixed assets—tangible things like desks, chairs, decoration, and equipment? You need an accurate record of purchasing costs and depreciation to give to your insurance provider to start your recovery process. What if that data is damaged in the event as well? Safeguarding that information in the cloud prepares for quick recovery in the unlikely event of a natural or man-made disaster. You can quickly access insurance information to file a claim and receive recovery assistance according to your policy.
Coverage as the business grows
Compared to physical systems, cloud backup is virtually endless. As your organization grows, your cloud solution grows with you at no risk to the additional data workload. Not only are you saving money by only paying for the storage space you need, but you can also easily add additional storage.
Better security against cyber threats
When large enterprises are hit with a data security breach, it makes front-page news. Small businesses, however, are more susceptible to data compromise because they don’t have the resources required to combat today’s savvy cyber-criminal. Manta, a small business directory, surveyed 1,400 small business owners about the IT security controls they use. Anti-virus software, firewalls, anti-malware software, and spam filters were the top choices for the majority. A separate survey by The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers (CIAB) shows 35.6% of U.S. small and medium businesses purchase cyber-security insurance for risk transfer, which implies there may be a lack of confidence in those controls. In fact, 22% of those respondents purchased cyber insurance for post-breach resources.
Operating in the cloud enables you to back up and restore your business-critical files in case they are compromised. When it comes to physical security of their data and facilities, small and medium-sized businesses can only do so much to prevent breaches. Cloud software vendors can employ stronger physical security measures at their facilities to ensure data safety. IT support providers are also equipped to prevent data loss from natural disasters, power outages, and common errors. They can also provide a well-documented disaster recovery plan, so you don’t have to start from scratch.
Things happen. Natural or man-made disasters can come in all forms, from hurricanes to tornadoes, to plain old human error. No one really wants to think about the possibility of a threatening event, but ignoring it could cost you your business. It’s worth the time and money to invest in migrating to a cloud solution that can put your business continuity concerns at ease and help you sleep at night.
To choose the right cloud service that supports your business continuity needs, you need to research different vendors and ask if they have a history of serving businesses similar to yours. Ask each to provide reports for how data is managed an accessed, and what business continuity features are in place to keep your business up and running in case the worst happens.
This article is part of our Managing uncertainty series which offers practical advice and support to help you keep your business moving as we all navigate these unprecedented times.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published July 2019 as “Business continuity in the cloud: where preparedness is built-in.”