Regardless of what you think of it and how you feel, the fact that the modern world relies on data is undeniable. In fact, it runs on it. With around 2.5 quintillion bytes worth of data being generated each day, it’s clear that everyone should take data as seriously as possible.
But nobody needs to understand the importance of data more than businesses and entrepreneurs. Companies nowadays can’t find success if they don’t understand the importance of keeping data safe and what to do if a disaster happens. In that case, you need a good data recovery plan and backup strategy.
Why Having a Data Recovery Plan Is Critical for Entrepreneurs
If you’ve never heard the term before, this guide we created will explain everything you need to know about data backup and recovery and what it does. But why is this so critical, especially for entrepreneurs?
Data and a data recovery plan are like two sides of the same coin. You as a business owner use data in almost every business process and procedure, and it’s what keeps your entire company running.
But what happens if that data is compromised in any way? It will simply put a halt to your normal business operations.
For one, your website might experience downtime and your customers won’t have access to it. As we all know, most business nowadays is performed online, and if a customer can’t access a website, they will soon switch to a competitor’s site, and you know how bad that is for sales and overall profit.
The average cost of downtime is $1,410 per minute, so every second counts. And even if something happens to your data and website, you can be sure that your data recovery plan will be there to retrieve all of your information within just a few minutes, saving your business in the meantime.
Another reason why data is critical for entrepreneurs and business owners is because of trust. If a data hack occurs and you lose critical customer data, you will also lose your customers’ trust and in turn their business. But that won’t happen if you think about recovery strategies.
The Dangers of Not Having a Data Recovery Plan
If you don’t have a reliable data recovery plan in place, you are putting your business in danger and leaving it vulnerable to scenarios that might cause you to lose your data. Unfortunately, data disasters can come in all shapes and sizes and even one unplanned incident can cause data loss.
What follows are some of the biggest concerns regarding data safety and how a data recovery plan can help you save your business even during the worst-case scenario.
One of the most common worries of entrepreneurs across the globe is cybersecurity. Understanding why cybersecurity is important for your business will help you understand why you need to take every measure to protect your data from all potential threats and thus ensure business recovery.
Ransomware attacks, malware threats, and phishing scams are just some of the ways malicious outsiders might access your systems and steal all of your information. These attacks are becoming more common every year and no matter how much you try to avoid them, you can never be 100% safe.
If a hacker gets into your system and installs a virus or malware, your entire hard drive could be damaged and all of the data lost.
Even though no business owner wants to think about it, a threat from malicious insiders is also always a possibility. One of your employees, either by accident or on purpose, might compromise your systems and your data, leaving the livelihood of your business in danger.
Humans make mistakes, that’s simply unavoidable. One of your employees could accidentally delete an important item or overwrite some data without intending to. There are a lot of accidental ways an employee can compromise your data, or even do it on purpose.
As we already mentioned, operating without a data recovery plan leaves you vulnerable to serious network downtime issues that will lead to losing your customers’ trust. So, learning how to protect your data and retrieve it quickly is one of the most important business lessons you can learn.
Hardware and software issues
If you don’t have a data recovery plan and don’t use cloud services, you’re entrusting all of your data to your devices and office equipment, and that just leaves you vulnerable to all kinds of scenarios.
Hardware issues happen all the time. Whether it’s a hard drive corruption due to mechanical issues or something as simple as dust build-up and the age of the hardware, these can cause a complete hardware failure. And even power outages can be dangerous for your critical systems and storage devices.
Software corruption is also a big concern. If a virus finds its way into your computer and your software processes get damaged, you can say goodbye to your data forever. Even though we rely on these machines and a business IT infrastructure is necessary, you need to learn not to put your entire faith in them.
One thing that can never be stopped and something you can’t prepare for is a natural disaster. Whether it’s a fire, flood, tornado, or anything else, when a disaster strikes, it can harm the devices you keep in your office space and leave your data exposed and vulnerable. That is, unless you have a recovery plan up your sleeve.
A disaster recovery process is there to help you during all kinds of disasters, including natural ones. And seeing as how more than 90% of small businesses fail within two years after being struck by a disaster, it’s smart to always be prepared for every type of disaster that may come your way.
Nowadays, compliance is extremely important for most businesses. Compliance requirements that are set by HIPPA and GDPR not only ensure the safety of your customers but if you find yourself guilty of non-compliance, you could be facing serious penalties and monetary fines.
How To Build a Data Recovery Plan for a Small Business
If you care about keeping your business operational and your customers happy, you need a data recovery plan. This plan will ensure that no matter what happens to the data, it will always be tucked away in a safe place and ready for retrieval if you ever need it.
Here is a disaster recovery plan checklist that can help you during the process.
Evaluate your data
Evaluate all of the data you have in your company to determine in what way you will prioritize it. Not all data is made equal. When creating a data recovery process, you need to decide which data is important and business-critical, and which isn’t. Not all data is important nor does it need to be backed up.
Establish your goals
Every data recovery plan needs to have two objectives:
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
In other words, you need to decide how much time it will take to restore normal operations and how much data you can afford to lose.
Choose the best backup methodology
There are multiple ways you can back up your data and you need to decide which one would be best for your business:
- Essential data backup. Involves making a copy of all your critical data either on the cloud or a device.
- Total and differential backups. This type of backup involves backing up all of the data you have in your system, even metadata. It’s best if you do it in the cloud, but it’s important to note that total backups require a lot of time.
- Local backups. Finally, a local backup involves saving all of your data on a local storage device. However, we don’t recommend this type of backup because it’s the most vulnerable type of backup.
Don’t forget to test disaster recovery procedures
The only way to make sure your data recovery plan can do the job you created it for is to test it out before a disaster happens. Run your plan to see how quickly you can meet your established objectives and see if there are any ways you can improve the plan.
The Bottom Line
Human error, cybercrime, and natural disasters are just some of the risks your company is facing if it doesn’t implement a data recovery plan. Not to mention the danger of being non-compliant with more and more strict data regulations enforced around the world.
Disaster recovery planning has become a staple in the world of business due to the modern world’s reliance on data. Ensuring critical business applications and processes needs to be a top priority for every entrepreneur and business owner, and nothing will give you that peace of mind as much as a data recovery plan.
If you’re not confident enough to make a plan by yourself, you can always use the help of a data recovery service or use a disaster recovery plan template. But as long as you know why it’s important to have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, you will be motivated to make one.