Small business owners in Houston are well aware of the disasters this city has seen. (Hey Hurricane Harvey, hope to never see your flood lines again!)
However, there’s more than just flooding to worry about. Fires can destroy property, and thieves aren’t slowing down anytime soon. And your IT vulnerabilities will make themselves known as soon as disaster strikes.
So what happens if your business is hit by disaster – natural or otherwise?
It can go one of two ways, depending on whether you already have an IT recovery plan in place.
In one instance, you pick up where you left off because you made proactive choices to protect your small business. On the other hand, a disaster or robbery could leave you picking up the pieces of the business you worked so hard to build.
Since we’re in the business of helping small businesses in Houston, we want to prepare you for the worst.
5 Tips To Create A Strong IT Recovery Plan
Follow these 5 tips to make sure your IT vulnerabilities are covered in your IT recovery plan.
1. Identify Your Critical Operations & Processes
This may be hard to think about, but what if your most crucial employee was in an accident? Or decided to join the Great Resignation without enough notice to document their processes? Not only would you be losing an employee that you count on, but you would be left to figure out exactly how they were accomplishing their tasks.
This is where documentation comes in. It is so important to identify your critical operations and processes. Not only will this help transition after an employee leaves, but it will make onboarding new employees a breeze.
After each operation and process is identified, you need to document all of its components. This can be anything from client communications to exporting CSV files to upload into certain programs. Don’t know what any of that means? Then you definitely need to follow this step today.
This documentation should include step-by-step instructions to accomplish every single task that takes place in your business. Review and update these annually, at the very least.
Does identifying your critical operations and processes seem overwhelming? Don’t worry – BITS can help! Contact us to find out how we can develop a strong IT recovery plan for your business.
2. Examine Potential Weak Spots Or Disruptions
Unknown weak spots in your network can lead to your business’s IT vulnerabilities. These can stem from a number of factors, including:
- Non-existent password protocols
- Defensive software not being updated regularly
- Allowing malicious USB thumb drives to be used
- Not changing default passwords
A common weak spot many businesses encounter is the router password. Everyone wants a secure WiFi password to keep neighbors from leeching off of the service and slowing down your speed. But the router has its own password. And unless you’ve changed it, it’s still set to the default password that hackers can easily access.
Speaking of passwords, you need a password protocol across the board. Every account that has access to anything in your network needs a secure password. Furthermore, the passwords need to change often. Keep these key points in mind when creating your password protocol:
- Don’t include any personal information, including addresses, birthdays, pet names, and more
- Include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters
- Change all passwords quarterly, at the very least
Additionally, make sure to update your defensive software regularly. This includes antivirus, antispyware, antimalware, and more. If you’re not updating this software, then it’s not able to learn the newest data it needs to keep your network secure.
Another thing to watch out for is USB thumb drives. While they used to be all the craze, dial up was that popular once, too. These days it’s better to send encrypted documents through the cloud. Some major companies around the world have a strict no thumb drive policy because of the malicious viruses they can contain.
3. Determine The Best Responses To Each Possible Situation
Do fleeting thoughts of disaster keep you up at night?
Put that anxiety to bed by jotting down every worst case scenario that crosses your mind. Then, when you wake up in the morning, look into each possibility. This is a great opportunity to come up with the best responses to each and every possible situation.
Don’t stop there! Put your solutions to the test!
Go through test runs of how your IT recovery plan will actually work if and when the time comes. This is your chance to correct flaws and have the best possible IT recovery plan.
Need help performing test runs of your IT recovery plan? Contact Brooks IT Services today to set up your small business for success, even in the face of disaster.
4. Make Sure Your Data Is ALWAYS Backed Up
You could have the most secure network in the city of Houston, but without your data backup, it could mean nothing.
Especially when it comes to natural disasters, backing up your data in the cloud is crucial. Take this as your cue to stop relying on in-house servers.
The problem with in-house servers is that they are not secure from natural disasters or theft. Someone could literally break in and walk away with your servers. This would leave you without the data you need to run your business. And the hacker thief would be in control of the data.
Furthermore, in-house servers are susceptible to destruction from floods and fires. Don’t wait until it’s too late to jump on the cloud train. Instead, ask Brooks IT Services how BITSCloud can work for you. It’s secure and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. As an added bonus, this will give you the freedom to travel more or just simply work from home when you want.
5. Have A Documented Plan In Place
The biggest part of your IT recovery plan is to have it documented somewhere you can easily access. If you’re already using the cloud, that would be a great place to store the documentation.
If setting up the cloud is still on your to-do list, make sure to email yourself a copy. After all, email is a component of the cloud.
The documented plan should contain everything you need to start your business over from scratch. Imagine all new devices and staff. If you’re all starting from zero, a documented recovery plan will get your business back up and running much quicker.
Find Out How BITS Can Prepare You With An IT Recovery Plan
If reading this blog made you realize there’s a lot more that goes into an IT recovery plan than you were previously aware of, we should talk.
As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Learning everything that IT security entails would be another full-time job. On the other hand, it is our full-time job. We stay up to date with the latest software, programs, and securities.
If you’re ready to get your IT security and recovery plan ready for whatever comes your way, contact us today to get started.