Did you know that small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are the most likely to get hit with cyber-attacks? Not only that, but your SMB can also suffer from other types of disruptions. This could include natural disasters like fires and floods. These attacks can be very destructive. But don’t worry, you can reduce the potential harm caused by disruptions by disaster-proofing your SMB with these 3 key IT strategies.
Importance of Disaster Proofing Your IT Infrastructure
You have to disaster-proof your small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) in today’s unpredictable business landscape. Your business can suffer natural and cyber-related disasters, which can disrupt your business and cause problems ranging from data loss to business closure.
You can only protect your business from such threats by using disaster-proof strategies. You need a proactive approach to disaster-proof your business. Otherwise, you may not have the resources or preparation to recover from such threats.
These threats can significantly disrupt your business. The consequences of these disruptions range from financial loss to decreasing customer support and diminished employee morale.
Losing data is particularly disastrous in today’s information age.
How can you assess potential IT disasters effectively?
Use the following 6 tips to assess potential IT disasters.
Understanding the Scope of Potential IT Disasters
The first step to managing disasters is understanding the potential disaster types you can experience. There’s a range of potential issues, from data breaches to hardware failures and cyber-attacks.
By understanding the full range of potential threats, your SMB can design its assessment process to identify relevant vulnerabilities.
Conducting a Risk Assessment Audit
A risk assessment audit systematically and structurally evaluates your SMB’s IT infrastructure. Such an audit involves collaboration between IT professionals and other stakeholders, including department heads.
During these audits, you review your entire IT ecosystem, including your system’s software, hardware, and network aspects.
The process aims to identify vulnerabilities, assess their impact and prioritise which areas to correct. Regular risk assessment audits will uncover weaknesses that would otherwise not have been detected.
Prioritising Critical Assets and Functions
Some IT assets are more important than others for your SMB’s operations. You have to prioritise these assets based on their importance for your business. You’ll achieve this with collaboration between your IT and business departments.
Their goal will be to identify critical systems for your main business functions like service delivery. Your SMB can ensure you’re prepared for disasters by focusing your resources on protecting these critical systems.
The scenario-based analysis involves analysing hypothetical disaster scenarios to assess their potential impact on your business. You can tailor your disaster recovery plan to mitigate specific problems.
For instance, you could train your team to react during a malicious emails, (phishing) attack. Your team will be ready to react to the situation. The benefits of scenario-based analysis improve your team’s preparation for potential risks.
Utilising Technological Tools
Leverage technology to assess potential IT disasters. Specifically, you should perform penetration testing software and monitoring systems to constantly evaluate your IT environment’s potential weaknesses.
You’ll use these tools to analyse your vulnerabilities and develop solutions. The goal is to proactively deploy these tools to systematically detect and mitigate vulnerabilities before they’re exploited.
Continuous Monitoring and Improvement
You have to continuously monitor and improve your IT environment to identify emerging issues. You have to regularly update your software, patches, and security protocols to stay relevant.
Similarly, you have to regularly review and improve your disaster recovery plans because of changing circumstances. As long as you take a proactive stance, your SMB will be prepared for an evolving ecosystem.
Tools that Make your SMB Disaster Proof
You need a comprehensive business continuity (BC) and disaster recovery (DR) plan to disaster-proof your SMB. These tools are most important because technology is the foundation of modern business infrastructure.
So deploying effective infrastructure ensures your systems can be efficiently restored during disruptions.
Having redundant systems, both software and physical, is one of the best ways to safeguard your systems because it reduces downtime. When a disruption causes your systems to break down, you’ll activate the redundant systems to compensate.
For example, you could use geographically dispersed data centres in case your main data centre suffers natural disasters like a flood. Once the flood disrupts your main data centre, you’ll activate the redundant systems to compensate.
Additional ways to integrate system redundancy include backup servers, network connections, and backup power supplies. The purpose is to minimise downtime.
For instance, you can use regular data backups to prevent data losses. Your failover systems will take over once the primary ones fail. As a result, you’ll experience continuous service delivery.
Conducting a thorough risk analysis is the best way to identify which backup systems. Then identify how to allocate resources accordingly.
Data Backup and Recovery
Most SMBs depend on data backup and recovery to protect their data and infrastructure. Your business needs to recognise your data as a valuable asset and protect it through a (BC/DR) plan.
You can use automated cloud backups as a reliable and efficient solution for data protection. You’ll ensure real-time replication and redundancy by storing data in the cloud and minimising data loss risks. Another benefit of cloud services includes advanced security measures to protect your data from cyber threats.
You’ll have to regularly test your backup systems to ensure they function appropriately during disruptions. You should also perform regular recovery drills to maintain your backup’s integrity. Lastly, you’ll want to ensure you can also easily restore your data.
When conducting a data backup strategy, you’ll have to consider both how your data is backed up and restored. You can do that by setting your Recovery Time Object (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO).
Your RTO is the maximum downtime your business can accept. And your RPO is the maximum data you’re allowed to lose. Set these objectives to formulate your backup and recovery plans to align with your business’s needs.
You can’t overestimate the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital age, especially because the danger of cyber threats is increasing in frequency and danger. So your business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) strategy should prioritise cybersecurity.
The first step to improving your cybersecurity is updating your systems with the latest security patches. Being updated prevents your systems from being attacked by the latest cybersecurity threats. Regularly updating your digital infrastructure prevents any weaknesses from being exploitable.
Educating your staff is the most important way to improve your digital infrastructure. Train them to recognise and respond to potential cybersecurity threats. This is particularly important because an increasing aspect of cybersecurity threats includes social engineering.
Social engineering attacks include gaining unauthorised access to your data by tricking your employees. So educating your workforce creates a ‘human firewall’ that reduces social engineering threats.
Additional ways to improve your cybersecurity include integrating strict access controls. You should limit access to sensitive data to minimise potential data breaches. You could also include Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) to detect threats early by monitoring and analysing network traffic.
In case of successful cyber attacks, you want a good incident response plan. Such a plan identifies which steps to take after suffering a security breach. Your response plan aims to help your organisation’s IT and security team identify and isolate cyber threats.
A good incident response plan lets your IT team quickly and effectively identify threats to minimise them. Effectively reacting to threats also reduces the potential data loss and disruption to your service delivery.
How to Budget for Disaster-Proofing your IT Infrastructure
- Effectively safeguarding your business against potential IT disasters requires a delicate balance between prudent resource allocation and budgetary limitations.
- Striking this balance involves prioritising critical IT security investments that align with your business’s unique risk profile.
- By channelling resources into enhancing crucial IT infrastructure, you fortify your defences and lay the groundwork for long-term cost savings.
- Proactive disaster prevention measures, though an initial investment, can yield substantial returns by mitigating the financial and operational fallout that disasters can entail.
- In the realm of IT, a strategic budget can be the linchpin to a resilient and disaster-ready business.
Tips to increase disaster proofing for SMB
Use these tips to disaster-proof your SMB.
- Educate your employees about disaster preparation and train them to execute your BC/DR plan. Achieve this by conducting regular training sessions and ensuring all team members know their exact responsibilities.
- Create clear communication protocols for all stakeholders, including employees and customers, during emergencies. You’ll want to keep updated contact lists and deploy multiple contacts to spread information efficiently.
- Ensure you have appropriate insurance coverage to protect your SMB from common cybersecurity risks, including data loss and service interruption.
- Examine your partners, including vendors and suppliers, to determine how resilient they are against disruptions. Your vendors and suppliers should have their own BC/DR plans.
SMBs today inevitably suffer from disruptions, cyberattacks, or natural disasters. The only way for your business to adapt is to disaster-proof your business. You can do this by implementing effective disaster-proof strategies, including backups and redundant systems.
Figuring out the right disaster-proof strategies for your business isn’t easy. You may even need professional help. You can contact PowerbITs today for a free consultation to help you build a disaster-proofing strategy.