If you are a business owner, you will be aware of the importance of keeping your data safe. Advancements in technology mean that most data can now be stored electronically, reducing the need to keep vast amounts of information in paper form.
However, imagine the consequences if you were unable to access that data. There are a number of situations that could lead to data loss, such as the flooding of business premises causing damage to your electronic equipment, or a power outage leading to hardware damage. You can, of course, still back up your electronic data with paper files, but in the case of flooding or other incidents which would cause damage to the property, paper records could also be lost.
In the interests of keeping your data safe, you may decide to put a disaster recovery plan in place. This could be vital to business continuity.
According to recent surveys, there are still many businesses in the UK that don’t currently have a disaster recovery plan, despite the potentially serious consequences of data loss to their company. Small businesses are the worst offenders – according to a survey conducted by workspace provider Regus in 2011, only 51% of small businesses have considered their business continuity plan, compared to nearly three quarters of larger organisations.
Why Hire an External IT Company?
You may in fact have your own contingency plans in place should an IT disaster strike, but there are a number of benefits to hiring the services of an external IT company. You will have experts who specialise in data recovery to deal with any issues that may arise, and it will give you peace of mind that help is at hand, if needed.
Your provider will be able to provide a data replication service, so that in the event of any incident which prevents you from accessing your data, they will be able to get you up and running again as soon as possible. Most companies offer various levels of service, so there should be suitable options available, whatever your budget. Top packages sometimes ensure zero downtime in the event of a problem, meaning that your data will be made available immediately. Other services offered may be data replication only, or a specified maximum amount of downtime.
The option which is best for you will depend on how much money you can afford to invest in your disaster recovery plan, and the type of industry you’re in. The larger the impact of data loss to your business, the more important it will be to have immediate access. Ultimately, you will need to consider how long your business could function without access to data. In today’s technology-driven world, chances are your company would come to a standstill without having data readily available, so be prepared to spend some time researching your options and stretching your IT budget further to protect yourself and your staff against unimaginable losses.
Daniel Bellamy specialises in IT maintenance in Essex and creates IT disaster recovery strategies for local businesses.