In our work with business owners and senior management of organizations with less that 200 staff we regularly come across the same, repeated concerns facing SME IT management. One of the big recurring issues is data recovery from backups.
IT management in SMEs tends to be undertaken by staff who are fulfilling dual roles with IT management as a secondary responsibility to their primary functional role. This is illustrated in a recent study which investigated IT in SMEs quotes a senior manager of an accounting practice:
“It is left to me [as a senior partner] on a day-to-day basis. I am the only one who does backups”.
The challenge here is how a lack of knowledge of best practise can inadvertently put the business at great risk.
Statistics show that 60% of backups are incomplete, and 50% of restores failed.
You may have a back up strategy but because you do NOT regularly test your strategy you can not be 100% sure you are able to recover your data in the event of a major disaster or loss.
Whilst having a backup strategy is a good first-step, your failure to regularly test your recovery strategy leaves you massively exposed on recovering your business critical data in the event of a crunch.
How long can your business survive without key data?
We are asked many times about how and what is required for backup. There are many ways to approach this, and many solutions, but the real factors are not how and what to backup, but rather how long an organisation can operate without their data while it is being restored.
Backups today are generally performed online, with little or no downtime required, but this is not true when it comes to restoring data, which almost always requires systems to be taken offline during the process.
Consider also that depending on the reason a restore is required, new hardware/software may have to be acquired and configured as part of the recovery process.
When choosing a backup strategy, ask yourself the following questions:
- How long can I afford to be offline if I have to recover data – worst case scenario
- As this time decreases, costs to implement a viable solution increase exponentially, so choose something realistic.
- What is my backup protecting me from?
- Hardware failure is a primary candidate, but don’t forget the possibilities of malware infection, employee acts – both accidental and malicious.
- What legal/regulatory requirements are there for data retention?
- Do I just need to recover to the last known good data, or do I need multiple generations spanning weeks, months or years?
Please note the following statistics
In considering your answers to the above, please remember:
- 6% of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year (The Cost Of Lost Data, David M. Smith)
- 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster
- Almost 3 out of every 100 hard drives fail every year. (Schroeder and Garth)
- Man-made disasters affect 10% of small businesses. (NFIB National Small Business Poll)
- 20% of SMEs will suffer a major disaster causing loss of critical data every 5 years. (Richmond House Group)
- Simple drive recovery can cost upwards of S$2,000 and success is not guaranteed
If you would like to discuss this issue and what it means for your business, please get in touch. Since inception in 1996, PASR Technologies has been providing SME business owners with a level of service and support to the SME business owner that is typically only directly available in very large organisations.
Servicing businesses from 10 to up to 200 employees, our clients range from local SMEs through to regional offices of larger MNCs, and include airlines.
At PASR Technologies, we solve your IT problems before you even realize you have one!