Attention all Businesses: Plan to Fail

The Blue Fox Blog
The Blue Fox Blog
Attention all Businesses: Plan to Fail

Sit up and take notice: you should plan to fail. 

A Texas-based pharmacy experienced an outage at 2 AM on a Sunday morning. Because this pharmacy had hired an outsourced IT firm to monitor its IT network and systems, the alert was immediately noticed by their outsourced IT provider. Acting quickly, the  IT provider deployed a technician in the early hours of the morning to see what was wrong with their system, but nothing could have prepared them for what they found:

  • Heavy rains had saturated the ceiling, allowing rain from the weekend’s storm to fall directly on to the pharmacy’s equipment.

  • To make matters worse, vandals had noticed the hole and tore a larger hole in the roof in an attempt to steal the equipment inside the building.

  • Hard drives from all the servers had been pulled apart and various cabling had been cut.

  • Because the pharmacy’s prescription records, a digital fax server that stored data, and exchange server that stored email, a server that ran printers and the pharmacy’s only phone system was stored at a remote location, monitored by the IT company, everything was safe.

The good news is that this pharmacy had off-site back-ups installed as a part of their disaster recovery plan. Within 2 hours, their backup data was being accessed from the cloud and by 9 am Monday morning, all employees were able to access files, email and client data.

The roof had to be repaired but the pharmacy was open for business Monday AM due to their advanced disaster recovery plan.

Prepared

Simply put: disasters will happen as we mentioned in our last blog. It’s how you plan for them that make the difference in whether your business will survive a disaster.

In this blog, we address the key steps a business must take to ensure it is prepared, costs are minimized and all areas of business continuity are considered.

To prepare for a disaster you must take a set of actions. We call this disaster recovery planning.

Follow These Steps When Building Your Own Plan:

Identify Key Business Issues & Critical Functions:

  • What functions of business must remain operational at all times?

  • What are the dependencies between various business areas and functions?
  • Which functions, if disabled, could cripple your operations?

Audit Your Systems.

  • Audit your endpoints.
  • Determine precisely what the entire IT landscape looks like and what can be improved upon.
  • What needs to be replaced? Is there a plan for updating, refresh or replacing certain technology?

Test the Existing Equipment:

  • What works?
  • What needs to be replaced?
  • What can be moved into the cloud at a lower price point?
  • What can be entrusted to an outsourced IT expert and taken off your plate?

Build a Plan:

  • Work with an experienced team of IT experts to decide what technology is critical to your growth now and into the future for maximum security, uptime, and productivity.
  • Build in your RPO (recovery point objective) and RTO (recovery time objective). Determine which files must be recovered from backup storage in the maximum amount of time allowable.

Disaster Recovery Simulate & Test

  • Create a test environment that simulates an actual disaster, evaluate that environment and continue to improve and upkeep. Disaster testing is never a one and done. Prevention is always less costly and impactful than recovery. Taking additional steps now could save the business in the event a disaster.

Is Disaster Planning Similar to Buying Insurance?

Insurance is simply one of those necessary costs we all appreciate when we need to use it. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity planning act more like a prevention plan than an insurance plan. Taking the extra steps to safeguard your data can save hundreds and thousands of dollars down the road. The biggest savings might be the hardest to quantify and that is peace of mind. And if that not enough to push you to act, insurance companies often provide favorable rates to organizations that have a documented BC/DR (Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery) plan in place.

How Much Will it Cost Me?

While offsite back-up is a commoditized fee due to inexpensive off-the-shelf software that can be installed and accessed remotely, we recommend you consider other factors when you price BC/DR services. The cost of labor, certification, 24-7 remote monitoring, software updates and infrastructure updates make an outsourced IT provider who can offer all these services at a low monthly fee, very attractive to most businesses. Keeping your data redundant is only step one. Being able to access, replicate and get that data operational in just hours facing a disaster is worth the small price of outside IT help.

Who can Help and Where do we Begin?

Outsourced IT experts are often the greatest resource to any type of business at nearly any size. It used to be that state-of-the-art technology and IT expertise was reserved only for the companies who could afford it, today’s Managed IT Services model provides small and medium-sized businesses with enterprise technology at a small business price tag. Working with an outsourced IT provider can not only ensure that your data is redundant and safe, they can ensure that your recovery time from any systems failure is almost zero.

  • Is it time for your business to take the next big step?
  • Maybe scaling your infrastructure?
  • Replacing outdated equipment? Implementing a Disaster Recovery plan?

Before the next big step, take this smart step—with a from Blue Fox Group. After all, an average business has about 14 hours of IT downtime per year, at a loss of between $55,000 to more than $1 million. And half of the network crashes are avoidable. Reduce your risk of disaster and make a smart plan for the future of your business.

Recovery