The Importance of Data Protection in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

The Importance of Data Protection in Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

In the last week, two earthquakes have shaken southern California, alerting us to the need to have our businesses prepared for a disaster, whether natural or manmade. Not only can fires, floods and earthquakes cause business interruptions, but so can systems failures, human error, malware and ransomware attacks. It’s never too soon to evaluate what needs to be done to prepare your business for a disaster. And a disaster doesn’t have to be large-scale; a power outage of an hour or two can be enough to stall business operations. Read on to learn about the most important things to do before an emergency Make Data Protection a Key Part of Business Continuity Data is the lifeblood of many businesses, its loss or compromise affecting their ability to do business. Data is needed for transactions and communications, among other functions, and even a short period of downtime can have a potentially disastrous impact on revenue and reputation. When considering the data protection aspect of your business continuity plan, focus on your mission-critical data and applications. What do you need in order to stay in business during a disaster, or recover afterward? Perhaps it’s customer records, or an in-house research database. Be sure to get mission-critical data backed up first, so your business can continue operating. Make sure there is failover—when one network backbone falters, another picks up the slack.   Different Methods Can Achieve the Same Goal While the ultimate goal is to remain in business without compromise of revenue or reputation, different methods exist to realize this goal. However, one common thread is the idea of storing data offsite, in...
Consider Unified Communications for Your Business

Consider Unified Communications for Your Business

Imagine being able to integrate business class phone systems, collaboration and virtual meetings and your contact call center all within a secure and reliable unified communications suite. This means you can work anywhere, get customer information instantly and route calls efficiently to communicate in real time all over the world. Increasingly, Unified Communications can integrate your office communications and help you help customers. Unified Communications Adoption Continues to Grow According to an article by Grand View Research, the market for Unified Communications is expected to grow to $167.1 billion by 2025, with a growth rate of 16.8% in upcoming years. Unified Communications, provides businesses a tightly integrated solution consisting of VoIP, along with applications such as video, web collaboration, and mobility. Three popular components of Unified Communications are Voice Over IP (VoIP) technology, web conferencing and call center technology. Voice Over IP helps businesses move from a private-branch exchange to a methodology that uses the Internet. Web conferencing allows companies to communicate with customers and employees in other parts of the world. Call center technology can speed communication through integration with CRM, to route the call to the best person to serve the customer. Benefits of Adopting Unified Communications Not only is UC an efficient way to integrate a business’ operations, it can help companies save money and increase revenue. Managers in the office can communicate with employees out in the field, and with voice mail that flows to email, employees in the office can get a quick answer to a question, or more information, with minimal wait time. The speed of processes can improve, helping a business gain...
Staying Secure and Compliant After Windows End of Life (EOL)

Staying Secure and Compliant After Windows End of Life (EOL)

In less than a year, support for Windows 7 will be ended, making operation systems patches and updates unavailable, according to a 2018 article. Since this will impact cybersecurity as well as compliance.  Many companies are migrating to a new operating system. A key consideration is protecting your business from data loss and compromise, and in some cases complying with stringent regulations, such as, PCI-DDS and HIPAA. What are the risks inherent in migration, and how can a business navigate the migration? Read on to learn more about handling the coming change and keeping your data safe. Preparing for Windows 7 End of Service With the upcoming Windows 7 end of service, operating systems patches will no longer work on your devices, possibly leaving your network and data open to cyberattack. Not only that, if compliance to regulatory standards like HIPAA is required, a company may incur fines if data is lost or exposed to cyberattack. However, with a detailed plan and preparation, the transition can be made to the new operating system. First, as already mentioned, conduct an audit of all devices still using Windows 7. Determine which mission-critical data and systems need to remain accessible during the migration. Streamlining data and applications—removing old data and obsolete applications—can help alleviate the burden of moving unneeded assets. Once the audit has been conducted and a plan developed with the help of your IT advisor, testing can begin. Test Before Going Live Before going live with the new operating system, testing the plan is vital, to ensure that no data is lost or corrupted during migration. Testing should help identify...
Cybersecurity Risks and Preventive Action

Cybersecurity Risks and Preventive Action

Even with so much information available about how to protect your network and business from data breaches and cyber attacks, a surprising number of businesses aren’t prepared. Read on to learn about how to make your company an exception. Know and Understand the Risk           A recent Forbes article reports on a new survey of 600 IT security and IT Operations decision-makers. The results reveal the level of risk to networks and the level of business’s preparation—and how much education and preparation are still needed. According to survey results, 60% of respondents had a data breach within the last two years, and more than 30% had experienced more than one breach. Vulnerabilities can occur anywhere—in a company’s on-premise systems, or through an employee’s mobile device accessed in an unsecured area. All it takes is one weak spot in the network, to compromise the entire system. Common causes of breaches include lack of security protocols to begin with (52% of respondents), unpatched software (51%), and lack of automation in patch application. Steps to Protect Your Network’s Security Instead of simply lamenting the lack of security, these statistics serve to point the way to achieving network security.  Knowing problems common to businesses can guide your business in what aspects of network security to focus on first. Businesses can start by performing a network audit to find any weak spots where network security vulnerabilities may exist. Be sure to check that OS patches are up-to-date, and that antivirus and anti-malware definitions are current. Monitor endpoints including mobile devices and devices used by remote workers and perform periodic network scans to detect...
Consider Software as a Service (SaaS) as Part of Your Business Model

Consider Software as a Service (SaaS) as Part of Your Business Model

Imagine if your business had a cost-effective and flexible way of accessing data, applications, and unified communications, without the maintenance and management of on-premise equipment. Read on to learn more about benefits and considerations of this service delivery model. Benefits of Using Software as a Service Software as a service, or SaaS, is becoming increasingly more common, with an average expenditure increasing at 78% between 2017 and 2018, according to Forbes magazine. This cloud-based delivery model is one in which companies can  adopt an economical, ready-to-go approach to accessing the latest technology. The software is managed and maintained by a provider, reducing a company’s need to buy, implement and maintain on-premise infrastructure. With SaaS, rapid deployment of applications–Unified Communications, call center, chat, and more–is possible, all using a unified web-based interface. All that a business needs to have is Internet access and a web browser. From a cost standpoint, a business can pay a provider a monthly or annual subscription, rather than investing a large sum up front. Not only that, the capital expense of on-premise infrastructure is converted to an operating expense that can be spread out over a longer period of time. This allows businesses to focus on innovation and long-term company strategy. What to Consider before SaaS Adoption Even with the benefits of SaaS, individual companies need to assess whether it is the right option. Often, small companies with straightforward operations and which are looking to cut costs, benefit the most from a SaaS model. For those businesses that do opt for SaaS, further considerations exist. For instance, is the network robust enough to handle additional...
How Much Downtime Can You Survive Without a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan?

How Much Downtime Can You Survive Without a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan?

With disasters–natural and manmade–in the news, preparedness in the form of a business continuity plan is vital. Disaster recovery, or the ability of a business to continue running during and after a disaster, is a key part of business continuity. Read on to learn more about developing a plan to keep your business operating even when things go wrong. The Importance of Being Prepared During a Disaster Recovery Scenario According to an article by CompTIA, 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster. A quarter (25%) of unprepared businesses fail within one year. A disaster recovery (DR) plan enables businesses to respond, not just react, in the event of a disaster. It is a subset of an overall plan, and has to do with immediate access to systems and applications–and their associated data. The company can stay in business, without loss of revenue or reputation. Creating a BC/DR Plan: Questions to Consider The first question to consider in developing a DR plan is determining which systems are mission-critical, most crucial to conducting business. Some, such as communications, important applications and data storage, are the most essential; others can wait until the disaster is over. How much downtime can your business handle, without loss of revenue or reputation? With regard to data storage, consider whether it should be kept on-premises or be stored remotely in a data center. Is the network redundant; that is, if one section goes down, can another take up the load in its place? For data storage, the cloud can also be a good option, and using the cloud has become a trend in recent...