A good business is a data-driven business (at least according to data-driven management practices).
Your marketing strategies, operational procedures and labor recruitment should all be based on carefully collected and analyzed data.
Given this premise, your data is your most valuable asset and losing it could cost you your business.
Is your small business prepared for a data disaster? Here is some info that can help you identify potential issues.
The more "visible" your business is, the greater a target it is for hackers.
This is a lesson that Sony recently learned the hard way when North Korea allegedly gained access to its private emails and data and released them to the world. The security breach before the release of the movie "The Interview" resulted in a media circus for the company and a major threat for the FBI and Homeland Security to contend with.
The Sony hack can be seen as a cautionary tale for small businesses. You do not need sophisticated software to keep your information safe and there are security programs out there that can help like, Norton Suites, which PC Magazine ranks as one of the best.
But, I think the greater lesson here is to not write (and keep) private information you do not want the general public to see. Therefore, you should develop procedures for proper business communication and the deletion of improper ones.
Sometimes you do not need to look far for your digital saboteur. If you do not have appropriate human resource policies in place for employee termination, an angry worker can easily delete important files.
This is where cloud storage can save the day. Although many companies store their information on local servers, disaster-prepared companies keep their data off-site and on the cloud, either as a backup or as a live copy.
Cloud computing allows you to access all of your data in real time and also maintain legacy versions so an angry employee cannot easily destroy files.
Before investing in a cloud storage provider, make sure to compare the security and other features so as to purchase one that suits your needs. This goes a long way in creating a full business sustainability plan.
When devising your data disaster plan, you need a complete process in place to sustain your business despite what type of disaster occurs.
Earthquakes, fires and floods can decimate both the digital and physical form of your business. For digital protection, automatic backups need to be off-site to be effective.
The more valuable your data, the farther away it needs to be. Some companies use cloud backups, and others use physical drives that they send home with a trusted employee who lives the farthest from the office.
This should be the same for insurance policies, cash reserves, and employee files. Create a plan so you can start your business from another place if nature decides to destroy your physical location.
Bugs or crashes can make your data inaccessible, especially if you use proprietary software. Software failure is the number one reason for data disaster, according to The Data Rescue Center.
To safeguard against this type of disaster, create backups in other data formats, such as Excel.
You may not be able to mine your information in the way you are accustomed to, but the data will be there for you to use until your software is fixed.