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Business Continuity Planning- The IT Disaster Survival Strategy

Most businesses now, even the smallest ones, are reliant on their computer network to run their business. Just the internal data that a business uses, such as the accounts and customer contact details, can be difficult to rebuild or replace if some IT disaster were to put your computers offline, but reestablishing your corporate website or the internet marketing software that you are using can be expensive and the downtime can cost you a lot of sales. The way to be sure that your downtime is minimal is to have a Business Continuity Plan in place so that you have an established course of action to take when a problem arises.

Business Continuity Planning (BCP) extends beyond IT to cover all of the aspects of a business’ operations, and most businesses will have some sort of idea of what they would do in the event of an unforeseen breakdown or other interruption to operating their business. For businesses in which IT isn’t a core activity, computer breakdowns can be a real disaster because fixing it is well outside of their comfort zone. Companies like can help businesses to explore their business continuity options but there are also a couple of things that you can do to minimize the amount of damage that occurs if your computer network suddenly and unexpectedly goes offline.

Backup, Backup, Backup
Everyone that owns a computer knows this IT mantra and yet the majority of people can’t find the time to do it regularly enough. Usually when a computer breaks down the data can be retrieved from the hard drive but if you don’t know how to do it for yourself it can be a costly and time consuming process. Even if it is only copying a few files to a thumb drive it is still vital to make sure that the data that your business relies on is backed up regularly. How often you should do a back up of your data really depends on how much you use it. If losing a day’s transaction records and new contacts will severely affect you, then it may be a good idea to back up once or twice a day. If you can get by with once a week or once a month it is still better than never backing up at all.

Safe in the Cloud
An emerging option is not to have your data on any of your computers in the first place and to use one of the cloud services for your IT. This has many advantages as your data can be accessed on any device and from any place that has internet connectivity. It also means that access to your data will be guaranteed by the cloud service provider. A large part of recovering from IT disasters is the time that it takes to reinstall the applications that you use in your business. Cloud computing takes this downtime out of the equation altogether by providing Software as a Service (SaaS) instead of an installed application.

We have all come to rely on computers to some extent, and for many businesses, computer problems cost them more than just the repair bills for their computer equipment. It makes sense to have a plan in place to make sure that such an important part of your business doesn’t let you down. Even if it is as simple as having an old PC ready to go, and backing your data up regularly enough so that you can pick up the pieces after an IT disaster, it is preferable to having no plan in place at all.

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