Business Continuity

For any business owner, three objectives exist when planning to prevent or recover from a disaster:

  • The assurance of never losing critical information
  • Reducing downtime when emergencies happen
  • Quick recovery after a loss of data.

These three objectives translate into three IT services:

  • Backups: The process of protecting your data by copying it to a secure device so that it can be easily and and quickly recovered in case of loss.
  • Disaster Recovery: The process of reinstating crucial business data and procedures after a disaster happens.
  • Business Continuity: A carefully constructed plan that specifies exactly how your company will recover and re-establish disrupted functions after disaster strikes.

Backups are an essential part of your IT strategy, even if you just have a single computer at your home office. Changes in technology have opened up new options for backup. Cloud computing offers large amounts of storage at low cost. Improvements in broadband service make it more practical to consider backing up over your internet connection.   Imaging tools combined with Virtual Machine technology make it feasible for small business to recover from a lost server in hours instead of days.

However, the fundamentals of disaster prevention have not changed. A backup and disaster prevention strategy is still created by thinking through these issues:

  • Identify the data that is critical to your business, and where it is stored. Be aware of where your email is stored. Identify programs that use some form of database that runs on a server, which may have special backup requirements. Identify offsite data that may need protection as well, such as your website.
  • Identify dependencies – Determine which services, such as internet access, are required for your business to function.
  • Identify information that may be required to restore services – vendor contacts, software media and license keys, passwords etc.
  • Consider the types of things that could go wrong, how likely they are, and the consequences.
  • Determine how long you can be without specific types of data or functionality if these things did go wrong, and what the cost would be, including the cost of loss or temporary unavailability. This determines your “service level”.


  • Create a backup and disaster prevention plan which allows you to recover functionality within the requirements of your service level. Create accountability by determining who is responsible.
  • Develop a plan to monitor and regularly test your business continuity strategy.

Security and disaster prevention are closely related. Preventing Viruses and Hackers has become a critical part of staying in business.

We can consult with you to help develop a good plan of action, and then implement and monitor it. We offer solutions for local and offsite backup.

Suggested Best Practices

Good Procedures

Have an acceptable use policy. This should include a policy on where business data is and is not stored. This will reduce the chances of getting viruses, and other things users can do to damage the systems. Have and follow a security plan. Again, this prevents problems. Have and follow a preventative maintenance plan. Monitoring and maintenance can often prevent problems before they disrupt business.  Clearly define job roles for backup and disaster prevention. Build in accountability. Keep good documentation.


Get backup software that can back up any specialized software such as databases or email systems.  Make sure you can restore a file from as far back in time as needed by keeping multiple copies of your backups. Set it up to notify you of problems.


Use software that will make a complete image of key computers and servers. Make these images regularly, and keep them separate from the system being imaged. Back up the image offsite. Test your ability to restore an image and use the system.

Keep critical data offsite

In addition to offsite backups and images, keep a list of software licenses with keys, documentation on configuration and installation procedures sufficient to rebuild critical equipment, and vendor contact information including account numbers and logins. Keep a copy of all software needed to rebuild your IT systems offsite. In particular, the server operating system and the backup software.

Put redundant parts in servers

Servers can be ordered with redundant power supplies, and redundant hard drives. These are the parts most likely to fail.

Buy more than one of the same equipment

Troubleshooting is much quicker and easier if you have the ability to swap out identical parts. Establish hardware standards.

Use a Battery backup.

Put a hefty UPS on each server, with software that will automatically shut it down if the power stays off. Sudden loss of power can cause the server data to be corrupted. An orderly shutdown prevents this. Schedule regular tests of the battery, and replace it when needed. They usually last 2-3 years.

Keep critical spare parts.

If justified, keep spares of power supplies, hard drives, and other key parts for equipment which can’t be down long enough to order parts