CHAPTER 1: Top IT planning tips to protect your business operations
Before the digital revolution, businesses across all industries were burdened with storing and archiving mountains of paperwork, documents and files – requiring admin staff, endless filing cabinets and archive boxes to manage and organise it all!
As technology advanced, accessing your entire business records and essential information through one laptop, PC, or external hard drive became possible. However, whilst convenient, working with physical, local data storage will cause significant operational issues if something goes wrong. Relying on just one server or device to manage and back up your data can put your business at risk of data loss, income loss and expensive downtime. This can happen in multiple ways – device misplacement or theft, fire or water damage, breakage or even corruption caused by a virus or cyberattack – becoming an increasingly common problem.
The world advanced further, and we now enjoy the many benefits of cloud technology – but even that isn’t without risk. For example, reliance on one of the most common cloud platforms in the world – Microsoft Office 365 can put your business at risk of losing critical information.
This guide is designed to provide the key information you need to make sure you’re storing data correctly, protecting your business from the extensive problems data loss can cause.
Hardware failure is responsible for up to 45% of organisation downtime
Losing access to your business data can instantly cause a tsunami of problems across your business. Think about this – how would your business operate if you lost access to:
- Customer records
- Emails and calendars
- Office documents
- Order processing
- Accounts data
The average cost of downtime is £4000 per hour
It’s essential to explore the options available to ensure copies of all your critical files are accessible from a secure secondary location. This helps your business avoid dependency on single-point access to your data – keeping all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea!
There are two main options businesses consider when investigating the best data backup management policy to protect and secure your critical information. Which option is recommended, and which should be avoided?
Local Data Backups
This option involves using physical technology to back up your files offline on a local server or external hard drive. While local backup is better than no backup (helpful if your connectivity goes down, preventing access to cloud backup), it can’t be relied upon on its own as it creates a single point of failure.
- What would happen if your office experienced a fire or flooding?
- What would happen if a virus got into your server or hard drive and corrupted the data?
- What if you lost your backup hard drive or your server was damaged due to improper environmental conditions (such as overheating, a common problem)?
Local data backup does not provide complete data protection. The hardware required can be expensive and, in the case of physical servers, can require regular maintenance from specialist IT staff or outsourced IT Support. Physical local servers can also incur expensive energy running costs.
However, local data backup does have a part to play in conjunction with cloud backup as part of a robust data backup strategy.
Cloud Data Backup & Archiving
Investing in a reputable cloud data backup platform is the most effective and reliable method to protect your business data. A good cloud data backup provider will duplicate and store your data for easy and quick retrieval in the event of hardware failure or data loss. We recommend a cloud data backup solution that includes features such as:
- UK-based servers for GDPR compliance purposes
- Data stored in duplicate via multiple server locations to ensure your data is fully protected
- Rapid recovery of data with instant access to essential records
Our online data backup service and cloud storage space provides a snapshot from a specific point in time to recover your data quickly.
An online cloud data backup solution is much easier to manage when compared to a physical server, as non-technical staff members can easily control and manage backups and storage. It can be managed through an easy-to-use dashboard, and you can even create a schedule to fully automate the backup process. With regular automated backups in place, you can be safe knowing that up-to-date copies of your business data are always available.
Does Microsoft 365 Back Up My Data?
The short answer is no. There is a common misconception that Microsoft 365 users do not need data backup – and that would be a dangerous assumption to make. Microsoft 365 offers no data backup facilities, in fact Microsoft themselves recommend that you regularly back up data held with their services. A simple recovery can be a big problem if your Microsoft data has been deleted ot simply disappeared. You can avoid this with a cloud data backup service that allows you to quickly and easily recover your lost data.
How Can I Protect My Office 365 Data?
The right cloud data backup solution can directly link to your Microsoft Office 365 exchange servers to duplicate essential data from your M365 account – delivering backup access to your documents, emails, MS Teams content, and SharePoint data.
How to Avoid Losing M365 Data When Employees Leave Your Business
Did you know that when a staff member leaves your business, their emails, documents and records are held on M365 for only 30 days? This can be an issue when trying to access a leaver’s work documents or if an email needs to be accessed to find an invoice, for example. By protecting leavers data, it can make their replacements job much easier.
As part of a robust cloud data backup strategy, M365 user data should be backed up to a secure location, allowing continued access to any information required from the leaver’s M365 account.
Disaster Recovery – An Overall Cloud Strategy
Data backup is a key component of an effective Disaster Recovery plan and overall cloud data strategy.
With a Disaster Recovery plan in place, your business will be well-equipped to get back up and running quickly in the event of an emergency, such as a power surge or environmental damage such as flooding. A Disaster Recovery plan is also an important form of defence if you’re targeted by online fraud or cybercrime
Much more than just data backup, an effective cloud data strategy and disaster recovery plan will allow your business to:
Save money through optimised storage, particularly when compared to offline data backup options, which can involve buying expensive new hardware plus ongoing maintenance.
Provide additional online security around your sensitive information. Elements like additional encryption and protective firewalls can be factored into your cloud strategy. If you are subject to a ransomware attack, restoring your data to a point of safety is possible.
Respond rapidly when an emergency happens. We provide server replication every 15 seconds across our network of UK data centres, so you can quickly roll back to a data backup at any point in time.
Access increased backup flexibility. By implementing a cloud strategy that covers all business risks, whether human error or cyber security threats, you’ll have a robust process to get your business operating again as quickly as possible.
We have set out a range of reasons why protecting your business with a solid data backup and disaster recovery strategy is crucial. But it’s also important to remember that Microsoft state it is the responsibility of M365 users to back up their data. To learn more, read our article: 7 Reasons Why You Need Additional Data Backup With Microsoft 365
Our range of IT and cybersecurity specialists was on hand to support Tardis Environmental UK when they were hit with an aggressive cyberattack. The result was loss of access to their essential data and four days of expensive downtime for the business, forcing them to revert to pen and paper! When the Tardis team turned to their IT Support provider for help, they found they were subject to significant unexpected additional charges.
After speaking to Tardis, we carried out a comprehensive IT Health Check, allowing us to identify the current weaknesses in their overall IT strategy and put together a custom Managed IT solution:
Our experts delivered an IT Strategy tailored to the company, including data backup, virtualisation of servers, improved security and simplified, cost-effective IT Support. we also created a new Disaster Recovery strategy – ensuring the business is fully prepared for any future risks.
What’s Next For My Business?
Don’t wait until precious data has been deleted before you take action. Securing additional data backup needn’t be a post-mortem ‘lessons learned’ action. If you’re concerned about how your business would function in the event of data loss, we can help.
Get in touch to discuss the best IT options available to power your business success. Our team of IT experts are always on hand to help.