When it comes to managing your company’s data and cybersecurity, there are a lot of different people involved. Whether your outsourced CIO is making the decisions or your company leader is calling the shots, the IT team needs to be in the loop of what’s going on. And, although your IT team should never be substituted for an unbiased, outsourced professional, they are the ones staying on top of the systems from day to day so that business can run smoothly.
Therefore, if your IT team isn’t prepared for a disaster if and when it strikes, your business is going to suffer. If you want to make sure they’re ready, then hold a meeting and ask these questions:
“Where Exactly is the Data Being Stored?”
As a business, every single piece of data you have now or have collected over the years has played an important role in the growth of your business. It could be archives of your various web designs or brand logos, an extensive email list of your customers and leads, or even the sensitive information belonging to your clients.
So, with all that in mind, where is this information being stored? Can your IT team tell you exactly where it is on your network? How secure it is? Is it encrypted? Who has access? Where the servers are located, etc.?
“Do We have a Disaster Recovery Process and Procedure Documented?”
Unfortunately, no company is invincible to cyber attacks. They can happen any business, no matter how big or how small. That being said, you shouldn’t have any reason to worry — as long as your whole team has a specific protocol to follow. If a cyber attack or blackout does occur, the entire IT team should have a clear document outlining the process and procedure to reach recovery and get back up and running again, without losing any data. These procedures should be in print, of course, and easily accessible in the case of an emergency. Also, as a C-level leader, it’s important to make sure any new staff you hire is aware of these procedures right from their first day
“Do We Frequently Test Restorations?”
There’s no question that companies should be backing up their data as frequently as possible. But, don’t assume that just because you think it’s being backed up, it actually is being backed up. Sometimes, there are problems with the hardware or someone just forgets to click a button. Whatever it is, these back-ups need to be checked consistently and disaster recovery restorations need to be tested on a regular basis. IT teams don’t want to catch a mistake in the disaster recovery process in real-time; better to do a few drills and know the system is ready to go.
“How Far Can We Go Back if It’s Urgent to Retrieve Data?”
This is a big question that might not be the first thing C-levels think of. But, here’s why it’s important. In general, we know how to restore important information — or, rather, what we think is important at the time.
Think about it.
If you were asked to pick out the five most crucial pieces of data that if lost, would pose a huge threat to your business, you could probably think of them very quickly. But, if the time actually comes when your company is a victim of a cyber attack or power outage, you might realize right then and there that you forgot to add something to that list. Something so important, but didn’t occur to you because the last time you checked the file was more than a year ago.
You don’t necessarily need to think about those items now. But, what you do need to think about is asking your IT team how far back they can retrieve data if the worst case scenario happens.
“In the Case of a Natural Disaster or Outage, How Long Until You’re Up and Running Again?”
And, last but not least, there are disasters that happen and they aren’t due to any hacker or any human errors. It’s simply Mother Nature. The power goes out. A local computer burns out. A snowstorm is coming. Any of these things can happen, and it can sometimes put business to a complete halt. Therefore, you need to know how long it will take your IT team to get things up and running again. And, if it might take a while, be aware of how much each minute down can cost your business.
You have the right to know your IT team is prepared. As long as they can answer these questions without hesitation, your business should be in good shape for a disaster recovery.