By Ben Barnes and Jason Turner, McLeod Software Customer Advocates
If your company’s data is lost due to a server failure or a natural disaster, can you recover the data? How much data will you lose permanently? How quickly can the business be back up and running?
The worst-case scenarios may never happen to most of us, but the risk is too great to ignore. The statistics on data loss are sobering. Most companies that suffer a major data loss go out of business within a year.
One of the dangers is that it’s easy to think your data is protected, when in fact it’s not. Companies commonly neglect to back up all of their data or to back it up frequently enough. Then there’s the issue of data recovery. All too often, backed-up data can’t be recovered. Some experts say that half of all tape backups fail to restore.
We’ve seen firsthand the damage that data loss can cause to transportation companies. There are steps that you can and should take to ensure that your company’s data is protected. Here is our basic checklist:
1. Make data protection a priority.
Data protection is not something to be put aside temporarily until someone has some extra time available to address the issue. In order to be certain that the right steps are taken in a timely manner, top management has to make data protection a high priority.
2. Ensure that all data is backed up.
LoadMaster and PowerBroker users sometimes forget to include data that resides outside of those systems. Are you using a third-party accounting system, such as Dynamics GP? That data is crucial. Have you added imaging capabilities, such as DocumentPower? Both the documents you’ve scanned into the system and the related DocumentPower database need to be backed up.
3. Determine how frequently data should be backed up and do it on schedule.
The specific nature of your business will dictate how frequently data should be backed up. The longer you go between backups, the more risk you take in terms of losing vital information if a disaster strikes.
4. Back up data offsite.
If servers fail and you have data backed up on media in your office, you should be okay, but if your business is destroyed by fire or a tornado, your onsite back-up is lost along with your primary data. Server failure may be more likely than natural disaster, but given the severe consequences to the business that follow when all data is lost, it makes sense to find an offsite solution. At McLeod, we use Renovo Data as our offsite data protection solution.
5. Routinely check to ensure that your data recovery method works.
Conduct data recovery drills on a regularly-scheduled basis, such as once each quarter. Until you have tested your recovery process, you can’t be certain that it works.
McLeod is Ready to Help
Your business is moving freight. Our business is giving you the software tools you need to succeed. If you need help determining how to create a good data protection plan for your business, call us. We’ll work with you to ensure that if a problem ever arises, you’ll be able to recover your data and get your business running again quickly. You’ll also sleep better at night knowing that your business is protected.