Small Business Data Backup | PREVENT | by Exigent Technologies (Part 1 of 5)
Dan: Well, good day, everyone, and thank you for attending today’s presentation on data backup and disaster recovery. My name is Dan Haurey, and I’m the president of Exigent Technologies, an 11-year-old IT solutions provider and Microsoft Gold partner with offices in Morristown, New Jersey, and New York City.
Now, if for some reason you’re having difficulty viewing today’s presentation on your screen, we do have a support engineer standing by in our help desk, and we’d be happy to assist you. So if you’re having an issue, just call into our help desk at 973-770-0500 and choose option 3 from the phone menu, and we’ll try our best to get any issues ironed out for you. Once again, that number is 973-770-0500, and choose option 3. Additionally, all attendees will receive a copy of the presentation slides by way of email before the end of the week.
Now, before we begin, I should tell you that we’re making some assumptions here that you have at least one server in your environment and of course, that you are interested in the protection of your firm’s data or IT operations. So let’s talk about the goals for the day. First, we intend to educate you. So if you walk away today having learned even one or a few items, we would relish in the fact that we provided some value, of course. But more importantly, with the rapid shift away from tape backup to the more robust technology that’s available now, it’s important for us to know that you know that you have a choice. And make no mistake about it, we hope that by the end of today’s presentation, you feel as we do, that you shouldn’t rely exclusively on tapes for your disaster recovery needs.
So let’s look at today’s agenda. First, we’re going to define some of the terms or buzz words. So what exactly do we mean when we use the terms disaster recovery or business continuity? Then we’ll look at two critical components of any recovery. We want you to see that there are two critical parts to any IT disaster recovery process and that today you’re probably only doing one of them. After that, we’ll talk about trends and advances in technology that allow for us to provide very advanced backup and business continuity features without the huge costs formerly associated with those technologies. Included in that will be a little trip down memory lane, where we review the different methods or types of equipment that we’ve been using over the years to perform data backup.
Now our goal isn’t to scare anyone here today, but we pulled down a few facts to share. A recent study discovered that of companies experiencing a major loss of computer records, 43% never reopened, 51% closed within 2 years of the loss, and a mere 6% survived over the long term. So I, myself, am pretty skeptical about these studies that you find out there on the internet. But when I thought about it in terms of my own organization and talked it over with my coworkers, meaning we thought about losing all of our client data, accounting information, service tickets and service records, et cetera, it didn’t take me long to realize that this could be quite accurate, meaning that if you were to have a loss that major where you couldn’t get all of that information back, chances are the business would be severely impacted, maybe even to the point of closing down due to complications.
I can tell you that this slide and the purported facts in it are true. So I can’t see a raise of hands on the conference call, but many of you might admit to having forgotten to take your backup tapes offsite or, worse, maybe you don’t even have a process for taking tapes offsite today.
Unfortunately, for many smaller to midsize organizations, the data backup or the tapes that are involved in the backup are an afterthought. I just can’t tell you how many times in the past 11 years in business that we’ve come across a situation where someone thought that someone else was doing something with regards to the backup and in fact, no one was doing anything at all, such as taking the tapes home or swapping tapes or monitoring the tape backup jobs, or how many times we walked into a disaster where the client thought that the backup was working fine but indeed it wasn’t. One client said, “Well, it was set up 18 months ago, and we were told that it was automated and that it was an automated solution. That’s what we paid for.” So they figured it was automatic, but the fact is that it’s a mechanical technology, and human error does happen, as well.
We’ve had several instances where the person who was in charge of taking the tapes home with them left them in a car half the time, never realizing that the car heats up to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit on a nice July day here in New Jersey. Sadly, there are many people out there that are relying on that exact tape that was sitting in the hot car all summer long, or maybe that same tape also sits in the below freezing car all winter long. Hopefully no one on this call has that situation.
So let’s look at these two concepts of business continuity and disaster recovery. So when you think of business continuity, I want you to think big picture. Don’t focus only on the IT aspects of the business or the backing of data. I want you to rise up to the 20,000 foot view and think about some of the issues that are at risk in your particular organization. And it may not be your job to do that, but follow along, just for the illustration purposes here. For example, if you or your employees couldn’t access your offices for a few hours, a few days or a few weeks, would the organization or office still be able to function without that physical access?
Last year, one of our clients came in on a Monday morning to find that their entire office was flooded with 2 to 3 feet of water, depending where you were. Our technicians literally went in there with waders on to rescue the equipment, some of which was floating away. So business continuity is the high level thinking about what would happen if, right? What would happen if something happened?
So for example, what would happen if we lost a most valuable salesperson? Again, that might not be your job to think about this, but it’s part of business continuity planning. What would happen if the president of our company suddenly passed away? What would happen if the electricity at the office or at the plant were interrupted for an hour, a day, or a week? Could happen. And then taking all those things, all those what-ifs into consideration, how would you deal with them? That’s part of business continuity planning. So perhaps to protect your company in the event of a death of a key person, you’d buy some key man insurance to cover the fallout from the loss and then the search for a replacement.
Perhaps you have a method, like a VPN, for working remotely if you couldn’t physically access your offices due to some type of road closure, like a steam pipe explosion or a water main break. Some of you might recall New York City. I believe it was last year in the summer, there were a couple of violent explosions in the street, where literally if you lived or worked in that area, you could not access your residence or your office. So these things do happen, granted they don’t happen frequently, but it might be something to think about when you think about the business continuity for your particular organization.
So the message here is that when you hear this is continuity, know that there are many factors that come into play, and the IT and the safety of your data is just one aspect of that. Of course, with that said, ideally every organization should have a business continuity plan in place.