Preparing for Business Disaster
You have homeowner insurance – Does your business have the same?
What would happen if you lost access to your complete computer network for a day, … a week, … a month? Or worse yet, if you were not able to recreate your computer network with customer, inventory or sales information at all? More than likely, you would not recover well or maybe not even recover at all. Following the 9/11 tragedy, businesses that were not able to get their computer network up and fully operational within 6 weeks went out of business! Those that survived, have taken significant precautions to guard against disaster in the future.
In addition to terrorist attacks, computer viruses, theft and natural disasters can have a significant effect on your computer network health. One virus can wipe out complete data files on servers and desktops. One lightning strike can fry all electrical devices at your shop. Any one tornado can have calamitous impact.
One break-in can cost a bundle. If you’re like most small and medium sized businesses, planning for disaster entails doing regular data backups and perhaps (perhaps not) moving those backups off site. You may even feel pretty safe with a hardware firewall installed between your local area network and the internet. Most of you have installed virus protection on your desktops. But have you completed the following types of assessment?
- Have you assessed, from a business perspective, what information systems are most critical to your business? What data must be recovered and how quickly?
- Have you done an evaluation of your network vulnerabilities?
- Have you developed a risk mitigation plan to put in place an actionable plan to reduce your risk? Have you tested it?
- Do you know the full extent of your vulnerabilities and do you know what it will cost to eliminate them?
- For example, if you lost a network server, do you know where you would go to get it replaced? Do you know how long it would take? What if you couldn’t find one with exactly the same hardware configuration, do you know how long it would take to restore your old environment? What about lost network equipment?
- What about phone systems?
- What about critical computer devices in your business?
- Do you know who would be in charge of managing the recovery? Have you compiled and maintained a list of key contacts?
- Do you have supporting documentation of your information technology environment?
These are just some of the issues every business must face to protect their turf, their business revenue and their customers. If you believe in homeowners insurance, you need to take that same approach when protecting your business – but without the quarterly premiums!
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