By Dr Malcolm Newdick, Riverbank IT

When it comes to back up and disaster recovery in small businesses, it’s an absolute must-have. We sometimes meet companies that are reluctant to invest in this safeguard against business continuity and ultimately, reputation.

The formula for back-up and recovery is simple; the risk of data loss is measured against the impact of downtime in your business as you recover this and get back on track. The questions are therefore how much downtime can you afford and how much data can you afford to lose? Riverbank IT founder and MD shares his top tips on effective back-up and recovery management.

Understand your back-up and recovery needs

Ultimately the impact of any data loss — business downtime, impact on customer trust and reputational damage — stops with you as the business owner. IT can be daunting for growing businesses, as your needs change. In our experience, clients often don’t know the right questions to ask. You therefore need to work with your IT team or provider to ensure you have the right system in place for your business’ specific needs.

We always recommend an all-in-one integrated system as this simplifies processes and takes the headache out of IT back-up for busy business owners.

Can you afford not to?

As a business owner or entrepreneur, chances are you are not completely risk averse. Some companies choose to “chance it” when it comes to back-up on the basis that “this won’t happen to me.” Lack of understanding and complacency around “unknown unknowns” is the key barrier to businesses having the right back-up and recovery processes in place. Appreciating the financial impact of any data loss and subsequent recovery time and costs will help you appreciate the true value of an effective back-up and recovery system.

Test, test, test

This may sound like a no-brainer, but I often ask my SME clients when they last tested the effectiveness of their back-up systems. They in turn draw a blank. Your back-up is only as secure as your last test, so ensure this is 100% reliable to give you the peace of mind to run your business.

Evolve with your business

It goes without saying that as your business evolves, so will your IT requirements especially around back-up and recovery. Monitor these constantly to ensure your systems are as reliable as possible. We recommend an annual test for full recovery too. In the fast-changing world of technology, new options will always be available. Right now we’re transitioning a number of clients’ back-up processes to the cloud to make any recovery faster and more effective.Through your IT partner check that your back-up and disaster recovery system is workable for your specific business needs.