3 tips for protecting your SMB’s business continuity

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Even if technology isn’t your core business, your company relies on its IT environment. Issues affecting your systems can slow or even halt your operations, wreaking serious damage on your finances and reputation. That’s why you need to prepare in advance for potential operational disruptions.

How do you prevent or recover from system failures, slowdowns or cyberattacks? To keep risks under control, there are 3 key factors to consider.

1. Create an IT business continuity plan

The unexpected can and will happen. When it does, you’ll be glad to have a well-thought-out action plan to get your critical systems up and running again after an incident. The idea is to get as much equipment restored as quickly as possible. Developing a solid plan takes time, so be proactive and get started when things are quiet. You’ll need a cool head and a solid overview of your business’ operations.

The plan will be based on:

  • An inventory of your systems
  • An in-depth analysis of the various potential risks and their impacts
  • A list of your activities, divided by their degree of criticality

You can then use this complex matrix to develop prevention and recovery strategies for each scenario and activity, including various security/monitoring, backup and contingency mechanisms. Don’t forget that technology evolves quickly, just like your business reality, so your continuity plan will need to be reviewed regularly.

2. Set up continuous maintenance for your environments

All system components—including servers, PCs and peripherals—need continual monitoring and maintenance, as do your data backups and system security features. Ongoing attention can help prevent failures and ensure better protection in the event of a crisis. Yet, far too many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) put off maintenance activities because they’re short on time or expertise.

How often you perform maintenance interventions—quarterly, daily or in real time—depends largely on the composition of your infrastructure and your business needs. Here are some of the things you should be doing regularly:

  • Detect and analyze server errors
  • Apply patches, critical updates and regression testing
  • Verify and manage disk space, partitions and virtual machines (VMs), with alerts when thresholds are exceeded
  • Monitor server performance through regular analysis of disk I/O, RAM, CPU and fragmentation
  • Track backup notifications
  • Backup maintenance and problem detection

3. Get help from specialists

Effectively managing your IT assets and protecting their continuity takes time and specialized knowledge. But most SMBs can’t afford to keep this kind of expertise on payroll year-round. Calling on an external partner can help you manage risks while keeping expenses in check.

With so many suppliers on the market, it can be hard to know which one to choose. To make an informed decision, here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:

  • What’s unique about our IT infrastructure?
  • Which of our business activities are hosted on site? In the cloud? Or in a hybrid environment?
  • Which activities do we feel comfortable outsourcing to a third party?
  • How much technical support and assistance do we need to adequately protect our business continuity?
  • How much are we willing to spend on this partnership, and how does this compare to the cost of recruiting, training and retaining qualified personnel?

R2i offers a wide range of managed services to SMBs. Our goal is to give business owners the peace of mind that comes with knowing your critical operations have been safeguarded. Want to talk to an expert? Contact us and a member of our team will be happy to explain what we can do for you.

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