The best businesses always have a contingency plan for things that might go wrong unexpectedly—so when disaster strikes, they’re always ready to put a stop to the bleeding.
Contingencies are a must in any sound business planning. And this is especially vital when it comes to a company’s IT infrastructure. You see, companies create large amounts of valuable information and data as they do business, most of which are stored in their computers and networks. Without a proper “backup” plan in case these networks and computers malfunction, there is a severe risk of losing all that data—some of which may be integral to a company’s survival.
So how does a company know that it’s vulnerable from data corruption, theft, hardware failure and the like? We’ve outlined the warning signs here to help you out.
1. Your company is overlooking one or more IT component.
Your IT infrastructure relies on hardware, software applications, connectivity, data back-up centers, and the actual physical environment where these components reside. If one component can’t run properly, that could serve as the weak link that takes down the whole system with it.
A system wherein each of these components can be repaired, replaced or adjusted quickly and effectively in case of malfunction must therefore be put in place. The potential loss of each component must be accounted for, with a preparedness plan for each.
2. You haven’t adequately compiled your inventory of IT-related components or your network isn’t properly documented.
The first step of a company’s IT business planning and preparedness plan should be to document and catalog its entire inventory of IT components mentioned above. Quickly knowing what specific hardware or software application went wrong—its manufacturer, specs and other specific details—is crucial to being able to address its issues just as quickly. For IT experts to be able to help, one must be able to provide specific details of the malfunctioning component.
3. Your hardware and software applications are not standardized.
One way to expedite the repair or replacement of fallen equipment is by standardizing the components you use. Ensure that you know which vendors and manufacturers to contact immediately should you need new copies of a business-critical software program of hardware component. With a standardized line of equipment across your infrastructure, you’ll worry less about system incompatibility issues—which might occur when you replace something with something new from a new manufacturer or component provider.
4. Your systems haven’t undergone preliminary risk assessment tests.
Risk assessment should be done very early on. The goal is to have a general overview of the risks and threats that each component might face. That way, you can immediately address these issues before they even happen.
5. You don’t routinely test the efficacy of your IT business planning and disaster contingencies.
It doesn’t stop at a one-time risk assessment though. Your preparedness plan for the potential breakdown of a component must also routinely be tested. This must be incorporated in the IT maintenance schedule as a means to being ready for when real disaster strikes. Think of it as the computer equivalent of a fire drill.
6. You don’t have an alternate back-up facility.
Beyond component replication and data backup, bigger companies can also invest in a backup facility that mirrors your data. The backup facility, ideally, must run the same hardware and software to avert incompatibility issues as well. With data mirroring, you’ll be able to restore data or processes immediately—while an IT team works on restoring your main facility. This strategy is especially helpful to those industries whose processes must run 24/7, and can’t suffer any downtime.