Small business has changed dramatically within the last decade. No change has been more profound than our dependency on information technology (I.T.) systems to support critical day-to-day business functions.
In today’s increasingly competitive high-tech environment, it is critical that all business operations run smoothly and efficiently. Business momentum, employee productivity, and customer service all depend on an I.T. infrastructure that must be both accessible and secure at all times. Constant network availability has become essential to most small and midsize businesses (SMBs) today.
This reliance on I.T. systems has also created a stronger link between data center accessibility and total cost of ownership (TCO). Even minimal amounts of unplanned downtime today will result in lost revenue, productivity, and negatively impact overall brand reputation.
Preventing or rebounding from downtime was once deemed the I.T. team’s problem, however, this unprecedented modern-day dependence on technology has made the frequency and costs of downtime more of a business problem. Prolonged or recurring downtime can cripple small businesses and requires the attention and understanding of C-suite management in order to be properly addressed.
Unfortunately, many executives at SMBs are still not as tuned into daily network operations as they need to be. For this reason, they lack a true awareness of the frequency of downtime. This lack of insight and visibility is regrettably putting far too many SMBs at an increased risk for downtime and the costs associated with it.
1. Bridging the Gap Between C-Suite Executives and In-House IT Teams
The number of businesses that never backup their network is astonishing. According to the Symantec SMB data, only 23% of SMBs are backing up their data daily. Fewer than 50% are backing up data weekly. A number of events can result in data loss. The importance of frequently backing up your network cannot be overstated.
2. Ensure Backup Procedures Are Checked Regularly
Many times business owners think they have a backup system in place only to find out when it’s too late that it hasn’t been working properly. It may seem like files are being backed up daily, however, the backup has become corrupt or huge chunks of critical data aren’t backed up. Check backup procedures regularly to make sure they are working properly. Be sure that ALL data can be recovered. In this age of BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Devices) it is also important to frequently backup data on the personal laptops, iPads, or Blackberrys of employees.
3. Make Sure Updated Virus Protection and Firewalls Are Always Enabled
Far too many companies either have no virus protection software installed, expired virus software licenses, or disabled virus programs that aren’t running at all. This makes their business technology vulnerable to virus attacks from emails, spam, data downloads, and other websites. Files corrupted by a virus won’t only bring down your network. If the virus is somehow spread to customers and e-mail contacts, it’s a surefire way to damage your reputation as well.
Roughly 40% of small-to-medium-sized businesses will have their network compromised by a hacker. Chances are, they will have no clue whatsoever that they were attacked. Hackers look online for unprotected and open ports and then infiltrate whatever space they can with malicious code and files. If this malicious code cannot be removed, the hard drive will have to be reformatted and all files could potentially be lost.
This is another reason why file backup is so critical in today’s business world. Updating critical security patches and changing passwords on the departure of employees are also necessary to deter hacking attempts.
4. Monitor Server Drives
Dangerously full server drives can bring on a slew of problems, ranging from program and server crashes to sluggish email delivery. Some proactive monitoring and maintenance of the server can spare businesses a lot of problems down the road.
5 Regularly Check Critical Built-In Logs
Very few tech problems emerge suddenly overnight. They typically progress and worsen over time into a more serious problem. Frequently reviewing the critical built-in log files can often indicate something is amiss before it becomes a major problem that wreaks havoc on your business infrastructure.
The Benefit of Managed Cloud Migration for SMBs
Many SMBs today are turning to cloud-based services and virtualized backup solutions as a means to mitigate downtime and recover from network failures and outages. Virtualization and cloud computing have enabled cost-efficient improved business continuity by allowing entire servers to be grouped into one software bundle or virtual server – this includes all data, operating systems, applications, and patches.
This simplifies the backup process and allows for quick data restoration when needed. But migrating to the cloud or a virtualization infrastructure must also be handled with care as these new technologies still pose significant risks.
While virtual resources and hosted services reduce overall business technology expenses and improve availability, “managed cloud migration” allows for gradual integration of a company or organization’s I.T. infrastructure and virtual data center to the cloud. This can alleviate many of the security and privacy fears that come with moving to a shared space while offering a more varied approach to recovery processes with more customization and control.