Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

You’ll hope that your business goes from strength to strength. However, it’s always important to keep in mind that there’ll always be things that can derail your progress. Take, for example, a natural disaster. We get a lot of hurricanes here in South Louisiana, and if you’ve ever lived through one, then you’ll know just how much damage they can cause. While your first priority will be to think about how a hurricane will impact your home and loved ones, you should also think about how it’ll affect your ability to work. If you don’t take business continuity and disaster recovery measures, then you might find that the hurricane brings your business to its knees.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself. In this blog, we’ll run through everything you need to know about BC/DR, including what it is, features to look for, selecting the right MSP, and more.

How Disaster Can Impact Your Business

Your business will work well when everything’s running as it should. But if a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, hits your work premises, then there’s a high probability that this won’t be possible. A natural disaster can cause catastrophic damage, not just to your building premises but also to the hardware and data you store within those premises.

In the aftermath of a hurricane, the data that you need to work -- such as your customer’s details, orders, billing information, and so forth -- may be irreversibly lost. And that will impact your business far beyond the time it takes to clean up the physical damage to your premises. You’ll know the harm that can follow your network being down for just one hour. But what if it’s much more than that? This problem has caused businesses to permanently close before.

What To Do

The good news is that you don’t have to sit idly by, living in fear that a hurricane will cause major problems for your business. There are things you can do that’ll ensure your company’s core data and operations can stay up and running, no matter what’s going on at your physical premises.

It’s all about investing in your business continuity and disaster recovery operations. This is multifaceted and can include thinking about how you’ll fulfil services, manage staff, and so forth. A key part of preparing yourself is to find an MSP - Managed Service Provider - that can handle the IT elements of your business continuity and disaster recovery plan.

It’s a good idea to work with an MSP anyway, because of the advantages they can bring to a company. But the services they provide can be extremely helpful following a disaster. More than anything, they allow you to move forward with more urgent issues, secure in the knowledge that the technical side of your business has been taken care of.

So what types of services do MSPs offer that’ll keep you up and running? Let’s take a look.

Hosted VoIP

Communication is key at the best of times. When there’s something wrong, it’s outright essential. You’ll need your lines to be open so your suppliers, customers, and staff, among others, can all get in touch with you. There aren’t too many things more annoying than having to speak with people but being unable to do so. That’s the reality you could find yourself in if your old-school telephone lines were knocked out due to force majeure. If you have hosted VoIP, however, you’ll be able to stay in contact with others, just as always.

That’s because hosted VoIP relies on the internet, not phone lines. You can use it wherever you have the internet. You’ll be able to make phone calls even if you’re unable to access your work premises. Inbound, outbound and external calls won’t be impacted.

Offsite Backups

You’ll already know just how important your company’s data is to your operations. Without it, you’ll be unlikely to work as well as you usually do -- and, in many cases, won’t be able to work at all. If your premises are damaged during a storm, then you’ll need to wait until you can get back into your space before you can access your data. And, of course, there’s always a chance that the data has been irreversibly lost (for instance, if your computers and so forth have been damaged).

Your MSP will offer offsite data backups. That means that, since your data is also located elsewhere, you won’t lose everything -- or even anything -- in the event of a disaster. You’ll simply be able to restore your essential data to another device.

Cloud Computing

It used to be that if the computer was destroyed, all of the software, memories, data, and so forth went with it. But that’s not the case anymore. Thanks to the cloud, it’s possible to access a whole host of services via the internet. This is useful at all times -- it allows you to login no matter where you are -- but it’s positively indispensable when you’re facing a potential catastrophe.

With cloud computing, your actual computers become less important. They don’t hold all of the data, software, and other resources that you need to work well: it’s all in the cloud. It’s an on-demand service that you can access whenever and wherever you need it. If you can locate another device, you’ll be able to work virtually as you would have with your regular device.

IT Support

You don’t necessarily need an MSP to provide IT support. But what they can do is make the process much more straightforward, especially for small to medium-sized businesses. Larger companies tend to have their own in-house tech support that can help them stay on top of their technology needs. Smaller companies don’t have the same option because their personnel numbers are much smaller.

Having an MSP onboard allows companies to focus on the other important post-disaster recovery process, secure in the knowledge that the tech side of their business is working as it should.

What To Look For In an MSP

It’s important to remember that not every MSP is created equal and that some will be better suited for your company than others. So what should you look for when you’re looking for the right MSP?

The first is geographical location. There are MSPs all over the world, and many of them will say that it doesn’t matter where they’re located because they’re always able to help. But the truth is a little more nuanced. It’s better to work with a local managed service provider because they will know the unique threats that your geographical region faces. In South Louisiana, for example, local MSPs will know all about hurricanes. It’s also beneficial if you can meet with the MSP in person, too, when you’re developing your business continuity and disaster recovery plan.

Beyond that, it’s about making sure that they have experience and expertise in their field, and that they offer everything that you need, such as hosted services. If they have a proven track record, offer fast response times, and are rich in features and benefits, then they may be the right option for you.

Other Types of Disaster

So far, we’ve talked about disasters in relation to hurricanes. But they’re not the only threats that can cause problems for a company. In some parts of the country, wildfires and tornadoes can pose a threat to businesses. And all companies can be affected by flooding, technological disasters, or cybercrime. Any one of those things could cause irreversible damage to your company’s business operations.

When you work with an MSP, you’ll be safeguarding your business against these threats. Of particular concern should be the rise of cybercrime, which is affecting more and more businesses each year. Because fighting cybercrime -- and managing other aspects of your IT network -- can be challenging, it’s best to put the job in the hands of experts.

Keeping Your Business Running

Ultimately, business continuity and disaster recovery is all about ensuring that your company has more chance of continuing as normal in the event of a problem, such as a hurricane. While the risk of being affected may seem low, it’s not something that you’ll want to take any chances with! Because even just one major problem can cause enough damage to severely impact your business or even ensure that you end up going out of business for good. Not a risk worth taking.

Final Thoughts

You never know what’s going to happen in business or in life. All you can do is be ready for whatever comes your way. Here in South Louisiana, there’s always a chance that a hurricane will strike, and when it does, it’s possible that your business will be impacted in one way or another. By developing a business continuity and disaster recovery plan, you can ensure that you’re as well-prepared as can be. While there are various elements that’ll affect the effectiveness of the plan, having a reliable and trustworthy MSP on your side will be essential.

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