Data Backup and Disaster Recovery - critical business topic.

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery is once again the headline for this second post on a critical topic to businesses of all sizes.

If you ever have to recover from a data erasing disaster at your business and you’re prepared, you’ll be able to say,“I’ve been there, I’ve done that and it saved my business!”

But if you’re not prepared or you’re not sure about data backup in general, well, you should continue reading.

We’re posting this blog for everyone who feels unprepared for this and for those who did not choose the responsibility of Data Backup and Disaster Recovery at the company they own, or work for.

Our heart goes out to you.

In this blog post

you’re going to learn 3 things:

#1 – A common misunderstanding most business owners have about their current backup system, who say, “. . . it’s good enough to have a copy of my data.”
#2 – The two-step backup system you must have in place to be 100% certain your business is back up and running FAST in the event of a complete disaster.
#3 – The only surefire way to know if your data is being backed up; almost 99% of business owners never perform this simple check.

So let’s begin by inserting you

into your own disaster at your business!

You’re at home one night watching TV and the phone rings. It’s the police department telling you your office building is on fire and you need to be there.

You’re in a state of shock, it’s surreal.

You get dressed and jump in the car.

When you get to your building there are fire engines and red lights and smoke.

Your business location 

has been completely destroyed by fire. 

There’s nothing left. What do you do?

Panic starts setting in. What you have to do is quickly restore your company data so your business will recover.
While you stand there in surreal disbelief you know you have to act, but the odds are stacked against you.

The first challenge for all of us who work in small businesses (SMB) is this:

25% of small businesses do not recover from major disasters: U.S. Small Business Administration

What you need is a tried and true plan to recover your business. A written disaster recovery plan that has been tested, modified and rehearsed.

Because . . .

A good backup of your data + a written and rehearsed disaster recovery plan = recovery. And speed of recovery = the survival of your business!

There are numerous reasons SMB’s may not recover. Let’s talk about 3 of them:

#1 - They’ll say, “I’m okay . . . I’ve got my data backed up!”
Data alone does not equal disaster recovery. It’s a critical piece . . . but it’s only one piece in the puzzle of getting your business up and running. Because even if you have good data, where are you going to put it?

Remember, in this scenario the physical location of your business is gone. You don’t have the hardware and software to put the data into. If you were storing your backups on hard drives located on-site, you’ve lost your backups as well.

Take a hard look at your business. How long you can go without your data?

Not very long is my guess. While you’re looking, consider this: how long in hours or days you can go without:

  1. Client data
  2. Accounting data
  3. Payroll

It’s a long list.

#2 - Outdated backup systems are prone to failure or poor results.
Those old tapes in my story had a lot of degradation and it took 2 weeks to get our data back. Yes, we did get it back, but by today’s standards 2 weeks are very poor results.

Backup tapes are old technology and prone to failure. Eventually 100% failure.

If you’re still using tapes you need to upgrade.

How is your relationship with your IT guy?

Are you thinking your IT guy has it handled? If you answer yes, remember, your building is gone.

#3 - When your building is gone, the IT guy does NOT handle that.
No IT company in the world, or any company, can take care of not being prepared. You have to handle that and your IT company can and should play a major role in that planning.

I want you to think about this. Your building is destroyed, everything will have to be replaced. That means buying all new hardware. How long will that take?

How long will it take to get a working network setup at a temporary location?

And that’s ONLY possible IF you have your software discs.

When you do get the new hardware, you still have to re-install the software. You do have those software discs and keys right?

You still have to restore the data . . . a process that can take days. Then you have to re-configure all your settings. You can’t get a temporary network going until you get all of this working. And all of this is only possible if you have a good, clean copy of your data.

Even then you could be down for 3 to 5 days.

Local backups are a must and the primary source for data restoration. But local backups are useless when your building is gone.

But you say, "We swap tapes or hard drives. We take one of ‘em home each night. That way we’ve always got data off site and that’s good right?”

On one hand, yes, swapping out tapes or hard drives (data devices) is good. But have you considered that those portable tapes and hard drives can be lost, or stolen, or even NOT used?

Its’ true.

We’ve had clients tell us, "We forgot to SWAP OUT the device.”  

We had one of our clients tell us,“I’m not changing those drive things out. Should I be doing that?”  We setup their system for them, trained them on media rotation and verified the data backups were working.

And you know what: it works great, when it’s used.


This story happened right here in Portland, Oregon.

Because I’m a veteran this really bothers me.

A Veteran’s Administration sub-contractor had his laptop stolen from his home.
“The data was not encrypted, which would have prevented a thief from accessing the information . . . on more than 26 million veterans and their spouses.”

The VA has my social security number, my home address and my medical records. But now someone else has my personal information too because
the data was not encrypted!

Do you encrypt the “portable” data of your business to prevent anyone from accessing it?

Encryption is very important.

How’s that for an understatement?

At one time portable data was the “best” we could offer, but thankfully all of that has changed. But thieves are never going to change. Most small business backup tapes and hard drives are easily hacked because those devices are typically not encrypted or even password-protected.

Password-protected? You are you doing that right?

What’s encryption?

Encryption - is the conversion of data into a form, called a ciphertext, which is a fancy way of saying secret code, or gibberish.

Decryption - is the process of converting encrypted data back into its original form, so it can be understood.

For decades encryption has been used by the military. It’s great technology. But only if you’re using it.

I'm just sayin ;)

In our next post we’ll discuss: 3 reasons for SMB’s to consider storing data in the cloud.

If you would like more information on Data Backup and Disaster Recovery, download your Free Business Advisory Guide Here.

Don’t worry about some sales guy calling you from our office because you downloaded information off of our website. No one from our office will call you; I promise. We don’t like sales calls any more than you do!

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If you would like to chat about this, or anything, call us at 503.359.1275

Dedicated to your success,

Wally Moore
dts|infotech . . . computer networks that work