There’s nothing as sickening to a business owner as experiencing a loss of data and discovering that an adequate backup and restoration plan wasn’t in place. Proper data protection, backup and disaster recovery are crucial for any enterprise, yet many businesses—particularly small ones—are vulnerable to a catastrophic data loss. Unfortunately, many businesses are unaware of their own susceptibility.
Why Data Backup, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery is Important
Simply put, data storage systems fail, and they fail spectacularly and with numbing frequency. Peruse the Internet for a few minutes and you will come across a remarkable number of horror stories about businesses and data loss. It doesn’t matter how and where the data is stored—on hard drives, optical disks, tapes, cloud computing services, etc.—they’ve all succumbed to catastrophic failure of one variety or another.
Imagine what that could mean—the loss of all the data you have about your customers, your product and service records, proprietary business documents, financial records, employee and payment information. Basically, the documentary and recorded history of your entire business could be lost. It may be literally impossible to conduct or resurrect your business if you suffer a severe data loss of this kind.
Even many companies that perform regular on-site data backups find themselves crippled when some sort of disaster—a fire, for instance, or flood or theft—causes severe damage to the physical plant. In some such instances, the active data set and the backup are destroyed at the same time.
What Happens When Data is Lost
According to a business audit conducted by DTI/PricewaterhouseCoopers, 70% of small businesses that suffer a significant data loss are out of business within a year of the event. That’s a sobering piece of news that should quickly grab the attention of any business owner, even those that think they have a foolproof plan in place. The price to be paid for being wrong on this subject is a heavy one.
More Than Just a Backup Plan it’s Business Continuity
As some of the examples above suggest, having an actionable data backup plan means more than just backing up your data once in a while. A plan must cover every contingency and it must be regularly checked to make sure that it is functioning as designed. For example, it is not only important to have an offsite backup in place to account for any instance that would destroy onsite data, it is imperative to check the offsite backup on a regular, sustained basis to be certain that it remains viable. There are numerous examples of businesses who thought they were doing everything they needed to do, but when an event required them to attempt to restore data from a backup, it was discovered that the backup set was incomplete or compromised. No one had ever thought to test the backup data itself.