Disasters don’t just happen to someone else. Granted, you may not be in a tornado zone or run the risk of losing your house from a Tsunami, but disasters don’t always have to be major natural events.
A small business owner may have sunk their entire life savings into a startup just before COVID came and gave us all a hiding. Another business may be struggling to stay afloat when a few days of load shedding broke their servers and suddenly nobody could do any work. These too, are disasters for the people that they affect.
It’s no secret that the winners in the world have a backup plan. In business, this is essential, and notably so when it comes to your tech.
So, What’s the Plan?
Unless you operate a boerewors stand outside the rugby stadium, we’re going to assume that your business leans heavily on technology and connectivity. Landlines, mobile phones, cloud services, multiple servers, POS devices, CRM tools, and super-fast connectivity likely play an essential role in your day-to-day operations.
What happens when you take one or more of these away? Well, only you can answer that as it pertains to your company, but when ‘what if’ turns into ‘what the….!” then you’re going to wish you had this information sooner.
A disaster recovery plan is a must, as well as incremental steps along the way. These include backup, failover, and redundancy – but, what’s the difference between these?
Data backup is the process of saving your company data in a secure environment, whether this is on physical servers, tapes, or cloud servers. Data backups should be run regularly and with a frequency that matches the information turnover within your business.
Did you know that 93% of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster, and 50% filed for bankruptcy immediately? (Source)
With pretty much everything being done online in today’s business world, we can’t afford to lose sales data, customer or product information, or staff records. If the worst happens, we want to be able to access the most recent data as quickly as possible.
A failover system means that when one system stops working, another one replaces it.
Failover in IT
In the world of IT, a failover could take the form of another server that kicks into action when one fails. This server carries the load until IT can fix the original server and business can carry on as usual.
We all know that sickening feeling when everything suddenly goes dark and quiet. Power failures are, sadly, part of our lives here in SA so a failover is a good idea. A UPS system that allows your computer to run for an hour or so is a relatively inexpensive option and will switch over as soon as the main power system fails.
Failover in Connectivity
In much the same way, a connectivity failover is a system that will fire up when your main connection drops. For example, if your business makes use of Wi-Fi over a fibre line and we enjoy a little unscheduled load shedding then you really want your card devices to switch over to a GSM network so you can continue taking payments.
Likewise, if your business landline is still on ADSL and some enterprising people steal the copper cables, you can make use of LTE or another mobile network straight away.
Essentially, failover allows for business continuity.
Redundancy and backup are much the same in the world of data in that they store copies of critical information in separate repositories. Cloud storage is used more often than ever, offering a secure, off-site location for essential data.
Redundancy for power outages is a little more complex and include generators and solar systems.
Backing Up and Moving Forward
Disasters don’t announce their arrival or give us advance notice, which means we have to be ready at any time to switch over to another system and keep the lights on.
How healthy is your disaster recovery plan? Do you have a backup and failover system in place?
Wise business owners know that it’s not a matter of if they’ll need a backup or failover system, but when. Today’s tech offers so many easy-to-implement solutions that don’t have to cost the earth, so it makes sense to get on board with the systems that work best for you.
Please give the Huge Connect team a call and let’s help you to plan for the unexpected.