Article | December 11, 2012

Data Recovery After Disaster Strikes

Jamie Brenzel

Here’s some tips and scenarios you can use with your customers to ensure your first business continuity conversation with them isn’t after the next natural disaster.

by Jamie Brenzel, CEO of KineticD

Hurricane Sandy has SMBs (small-to-mid-sized businesses) all over the country stopping to take note of how disasters can cripple or even shut down a business. Sandy is a worst-case scenario and one every business owner should fear. Whether it’s due to a storm, a break-in, or the crash of your hard drive, the loss of company data can leave your business stranded.

Business owners often assume that they don’t have time to think about data backup procedures, much less the recovery process involved in the event of a system failure or natural disaster. They are instead focused on the business at hand. Unfortunately, what many don’t realize is that the stalwart back up methods of the past such as tape, CD or memory stick, have become painfully antiquated in today’s data-centric world.

Most believe ALL data is being captured and stored in a safe place, but the reality is that may be a false assumption. All businesses today depend on mission-critical applications and their associated data. What many don’t realize is that there some key programs such as Outlook and QuickBooks that are not being backed up because, when left open, they are outside the parameters of standard backup procedures.

The question all business owners should ask themselves is simple: “If my computer disappeared tomorrow, could my business survive?” If the answer is no, then it’s time to take a closer look at your backup and data recovery procedures. Today, there are a host of cloud backup companies that support SMBs in their efforts to backup simultaneously to a company’s local server and to the cloud, a practice known as “Hybrid-Cloud” data backup. This technology permits efficient backup capabilities and quicker restoration in the event of an emergency or disaster. More importantly, you should look for solutions that backup open programs such as Outlook and QuickBooks.

Not sure if your data is secure? Just like a fire drill, the best way to make sure is to put your backup method to the test. If possible, locate a spare computer, wipe the drive and attempt to do a complete restore of your company applications and associated data. Then ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you able to restore your backup files in one simple step?
  • Do you need to re-install all of your applications individually?
  • Do you have easy access to those applications and have you kept track of the associated upgrades?
  • Does your proprietary software and associated data install easily?
  • Do you end up with the most current data when you have completed the restoration?

Most importantly, keep track of the time it takes you to complete the restoration from beginning to end, then multiply that by the number of computers you have within your organization. Many SMBs are unaware that the “dirty little secret” of data recovery is the time it takes to restore data, which is governed by your company’s bandwidth restrictions. When your computers are down, every minute counts.

In a perfect world, there would be no need to back up your company’s data; computers and hard drives would last forever, outside threats like malicious hackers and natural disasters would be non-existent and employees would never forget to save a file, or close a program. Unfortunately this perfect world does not exist. For this reason, businesses of all types and sizes know that keeping their data backed up and protected at all times must be of the utmost priority if they wish to remain in business after the fact.

About the Author

Jamie brings over 15 years of experience in investment banking and entrepreneurial startups to his role as CEO of KineticD. Jamie's prior business accomplishments are long and varied. He was at Salomon Brothers in London, where he helped build the equity derivatives department into an important profit centre. He then embarked on his future as an entrepreneur, acquiring Wood Printing & Graphics, and later co-founding integrated marketing communications company Sonar Group. Jamie then established a solid foundation for Truition Inc., a leading on-demand eCommerce solution provider that was sold to CDC Software. Jamie holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario.