85% of the time I audit a prospective client, I find that they either (1) have no backups or (2) have backups, but when we test them, they fail! If your business doesn’t invest time into backing up your network regularly, you may find any type of disaster—natural or human—will cripple it.

AND even more worrisome: Your Business Likely Has No Plan of Recovery

Your business likely relies heavily on one person that has a great depth of institutional knowledge and have no idea of how they can help. Many businesses continue to run with no recovery plan—plans to get the right materials to rebuild. Here, I’m not talking about bricks and mortar. There’s a lot more to disaster recovery and prevention than rebuilding a store front. When confronted with disaster, if you only have one or a handful of people “in-the-know” and no plan for your entire team, you risk a hard up-hill recovery, if recovery is even possible.

What’s particularly vulnerable in modern businesses is the technology integrating operations, sales and all of your customer and business-related data; the technology makes your business run smoothly day to day. Without computers, most of us nowadays couldn’t imagine tracking all of the pieces of the business puzzle that make things run.

Computers and other technology resources make managing and running your business much more manageable. What many in business today lack in preparedness is having a plan to get their hardware that is vital to business operations rebuilt. Most have no contingency plan—no place for staff to work after a disaster strikes and no way for people to effectively communicate. Their systems are inflexible to natural or man-made disasters and their businesses may one day be crippled or even worse, ruined, because of their lack of preventive measures and preparation for worst-case-scenarios.

Your data is now gone—once stored on a server that crashed and irreparable. You no longer have important passwords, lost important phone numbers and contact information and have no idea how to get in touch with someone who can help because that information, too, was undependably stored on that one server as well. You probably have taken some precaution to routinely— possibly monthly— back up your own data, so not all is lost.

But having a backup of just the data might not be sufficient to get things running even close to how they were. More often than not, there’s some critical data stored on a workstation somewhere that for some reason—is not where you thought it would be.

You won’t have any archival information if it was kept on site. This means you won’t be able to reconfigure your systems and risk prolonged downtime. In truth, there are 4 essential data components that need to be recovered: operating system (OS), configuration files, software and data files. If you’ve made a simple data backup, you likely are missing one or several of these components are left in a worse situation than you ever had imagined.

Often times, even if you have “the data”, you can’t even access it without the software and software configuration files. You’re almost as well-off as being stuck in a complete power outage.

And even if you’ve backed up more than just the raw data, you likely have never tested your backups! Assuming that a backup is successful and will completely recover your essential business information is too risky. You need to, if you haven’t already, identify and have in place the proper tools to read your backed-up data. You need a plan that has all the critical steps and bases covered—not one that missed an important piece—for instance, overlooking to easily access the encryption file password.