Make data a priority in your emergency planning
The reliance today on digital information makes being prepared for disaster critical for your business. While you may not be able to prevent a flood, earthquake, or wildfire from damaging your business’s physical facilities, you can take steps to keep your data safe so your business can continue to operate even in the worst of times.
As one of our business clients put it, “If your system shuts down and you can’t get that data, you could be down for weeks, months, maybe forever.”
Another owner of a manufacturing business said, “Data has become so crucial, if you take a step back and look at what would happen if you lose it, then it becomes clear that security is an important factor we need to address.”
So how do you protect your customer data and other information that you need to keep your business running through thick and thin?1) Identify: Determine what information is essential to your operations. Customer contact information, for example, is probably a top priority for any business. But you probably also need vendor and supplier contact information handy no matter what. You probably also need contact information for all your employees and your financial institution. Ask yourself: If your main office were closed for an extended period of time, what information would you wish you had at your fingertips? 2) Storage: Determine where all this business-critical information is stored. It may be scattered among multiple computers, tablets, and even on mobile phones used by employees. Keep a list of that information handy, or in a location away from your facilities so you can get to it in an emergency. 3) Backup: This is the key step. Backing up the contents of computers may be one of the best ways to protect your business from disruption due to a disaster or a cyber-attack such as ransomware. Establish a process and a calendar for backing up your systems weekly, monthly, or quarterly at a minimum. These backups should be to the cloud and to an external hard drive, which should then be stored in a secure location such as a fire safe. Backing up your data to both the cloud and an external hard drive will help ensure your business data is doubly secure.
When things are running smoothly, it is easy to ignore preparations. But the three steps above are simple and won’t require much time and effort. And if disaster strikes, you’ll be glad you were prepared – and so will your customers.