IT Disaster Recovery Tips for Small Businesses
Every business needs to have a disaster recovery plan. However, the word “disaster” often brings to mind natural occurrences only. With this in mind, most small businesses are well-prepared to manage natural disasters but fall short when human-made disasters strike. One of the most formidable human-made disasters is damage to the IT infrastructure of an organization or unauthorized access of a cybercriminal into a company’s system.
Microsoft estimates the cost of a data breach to an average organization to be $3.8 million. Even if the monetary damage is lower for small businesses, its magnitude suggests that a small business will find it costly to recover from a cyber attack. However, small businesses can reduce their proneness to successful cyber attacks if they take these steps:
Do not take passwords for granted
Allowing employees to use weak or default passwords to access company systems and applications is a recipe for disaster. Requiring passwords to be complex and changed regularly is a simple way to safeguard your network. You might be surprised to know that “123456” remained the most common password in 2016 and 2017. Allowing simple passwords to be used creates an easy entry point for cybercriminals.
Employees should be required to change their passwords as soon as they are given their initial credentials to access a service or device. More importantly, company IT policy should enforce robust passwords and frequent password changes.
Keep your systems up to date
Software and hardware vendors release patches and updates regularly. The bulk of these regular updates are to address bugs and security flaws, not to include new features. Outdated software and hardware versions are an open invitation for cybercriminals to attack an organization’s network.
Your IT team should be vigilant about deploying patches and security updates. Utilizing the most current, secure versions of software and hardware on your network will help prevent outside individuals from accessing your sensitive information.
Install Antivirus and Anti-malware protection
Every device that connects to your organization’s network should have antivirus and anti-malware software installed on it. These devices include computers, smartphones, tablets and anything that can connect to your network. It takes only one infected device to compromise your entire environment. With a robust Antivirus solution deployed, an infected machine can be prevented from spreading its payload to other devices on the network, and protect your data.
Have a good backup plan
Having backups is the most critical step you can take to make IT disaster recovery possible for your small business. Whether from hardware failure, human error, or a cyber-attack, you need to be sure your company data is accessible in the event disaster strikes. Having a current – and tested – backup of your environment is of paramount importance. With a proper backup plan in place, you can recover from any disaster scenario.
Hire Managed IT Services
If there is one thing that keeps small businesses from being as protected as large corporations, it’s their limited budget. However, a tight budget is no excuse for small businesses to leave their systems vulnerable, due to the availability of managed IT services. Small business owners can outsource their IT to these experienced professionals who will oversee every IT process within the organization. From acting as a helpdesk to helping the business recover from a cyber-attack, managed IT services can provide small businesses with full IT coverage.
While the idea of having an in-house team of IT professionals might sound enticing you, it’s not necessarily viable for small businesses due to the costs involved. Managed IT services are, on the other hand, are only a fraction of the cost of having an in-house IT department. In the end, it is imperative for every small business owner to take IT security as a top-priority issue and get over the “why will they attack my business” attitude.