Recovering after an IT Disaster

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You spill coffee all over your laptop keyboard, and now it refuses to boot up. You log onto your computer to find your files are corrupted and unusable. Worse, you power up your computer only to get a black screen with a message that your computer has been taken ransom. All of your data is being held hostage until you pay the cyber criminals who’ve taken over your computer. How do you buy bitcoin, anyway?

IT disasters can strike anyone, anytime. That’s why many companies have disaster recovery and data backup plans in place. Recovering from an IT disaster is easier when your team understands their responsibilities and you have the policies and technologies in place to minimize the interruption a data loss causes to your business operations.

Know Who’s in Charge of What

A good disaster plan includes the team members at your business who will be involved in the recovery after an IT disaster. These people should be ready to jump into action in the event of a loss of data or other IT disruption. The rest of your staff should know who is on this team as well so they can approach them with any questions or concerns they have.

The people on your disaster recovery team may include a point person who is managing the entire recovery process, someone who’s in charge of assessing the damage, a team member who is responsible for repairing the damage (or coordinating with a professional IT team who can do so), someone who is in charge of recovering data from backup storage, and a team member who is responsible for communicating all of these actions to your team and any other affected stakeholders.

Tackle the First Few Hours

Spend the first few hours after an IT disaster addressing immediate concerns. Assess the damage that the disaster caused and run through your inventory of hardware and software to understand how extensive the damage is. You may need to source new devices so your team can continue to work as you recover from the incident, even if they are working with limited IT resources. Then, put your disaster recovery plan into action.

Get Everyone Back Up and Running

Once you have an idea of the extent of the damage the disaster caused, prioritize how you’ll roll out your recovery. What data and systems are mission critical to your business operations, and which ones can wait a day or two? Once you have your list of priorities, work with your disaster recovery team to execute them. These items may include:

  • Repairing damaged server hardware and software
  • Replacing failed hardware and software
  • Restoring email access to employees
  • Restoring website content and data after a cyber attack
  • Training employees on new tools and new data policies
  • Communicating a data loss event with stakeholders

Communicate with Your Team

Don’t forget to continue to communicate with your team throughout the disaster recovery process. Inform them that a data loss or technology failure has occurred and let them know that your recovery team is working hard to get them back up and running. Communicating with your team allows you to manage their expectations for when they’ll be back to normal.

Not sure what would happen to your data in the event of an IT disaster? The Now IT Connects team is here to help. To start protecting your company’s data, contact us today.


Give Your Business an IT Disaster Recovery Check-Up

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These last few months have been tough, and the last thing anyone needs is another crisis on their hands. It’s impossible to know when an IT disaster may strike, but you can minimize the stress and the damage with a disaster recovery plan and experienced IT pros on your side.

Disaster Recovery Basics

IT disasters may be instigated by an actual physical disaster, such as fire or flooding at your business or other physical damage to your hardware. But more often, disasters occur within your systems themselves. This could be a fatal failure of your hardware or software or a direct attack on your network by cyber criminals. Malware, ransomware, denial-of-service attacks, and phishing scams can all create wreak havoc on your network.

While it’s impossible to prevent all disasters, it is possible to protect yourself from many of them. You can also create a plan for what happens when disaster strikes so your network can get back up and running quickly and your staff can get back to work.

Review Your Current Disaster Recovery Plan

When is the last time you’ve looked at your IT disaster recovery plan? If it’s been awhile, it’s time to get to work. Older disaster recovery plans often include technologies that are obsolete or degraded beyond usability (think those old tape backup systems). Even cloud-based data backup solutions should be tested annually to ensure they are set up properly.

Disaster recovery plans include more than just your procedure for backing up data. Here’s a list of common items found in a disaster recovery plan:

  • Who is responsible for executing and managing the plan
  • Immediate steps following the disaster
  • Inventory of hardware and software that may be affected by a disaster
  • Post-disaster business continuity plan
  • Strategies for communicating with stakeholders
  • Policies for data, email, and social media use

Work with a DRaaS and DR Provider

Managing data is a complicated, high-stakes task. If left vulnerable to attack or disaster, data can be lost forever, crippling a business. As data security becomes a top priority for businesses, IT companies are increasingly offering DRaaS (Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service) and DR (Disaster Recovery) as services. Companies can outsource their disaster recovery plans and procedures to IT experts who can provide a multi-faceted solution that includes backup recovery, file syncing, and cloud-based data storage to prevent the loss of data.

Not sure what would happen to your data in the event of an IT disaster? The Now IT Connects team is here to help. To start protecting your company’s data, contact us today.


3 IT Disaster Recovery Tools

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Have you put together an IT disaster recovery plan for your business? If not, check out our blog for tips on how to get started. Once your plan is in place, you may be looking for recommendations on ways to keep your data secure and safe. Here are three of the top tools Now IT Connects recommends to clients to prevent and mitigate damage from IT disasters.

1. Barracuda Intronis MSP

Now IT Connects is a managed service provider. We support our clients by managing their devices in-office and in the field, monitoring their hardware, software, and applications, and prioritizing alerts or updates. It’s a big job, and Barracuda’s Intronis MSP product helps us do it.

Intronis MSP allows us to keep your network and email secure and back up your data. It gives us secure access to your systems remotely so we can monitor and update your systems in real time without stopping by your office and interrupting your day. It offers three data backup solutions to help you restore systems and protect data. Barracuda Backup helps get large, multisite networks up and running. Intronis Backup is a software backup solution that helps you recover files, emails, applications, and your servers. Barracuda also offers on-premises and cloud backup through Office 365.

2. Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is a disaster recovery system that backs up your servers and data to Microsoft’s robust and secure cloud. If you’re considering managing your own, physical, off-site backup, check out Microsoft Azure before you pull the trigger. Azure can restore in two to three hours what would take days to restore physically.

We like Microsoft Azure because it’s highly scalable and very secure. Plus, we can use it to test our clients’ backup recovery plans without shutting down their systems. Whether you’re a startup business or established company in growth mode, Microsoft Azure is a great disaster recovery and backup solution for you.

3. WatchGuard Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to prevent data loss in the event of a disaster is to prevent the loss in the first place. WatchGuard is one of our favorite firewall vendors. But they offer robust data loss prevention solutions, too. Data lost to intentional or accidental leaks can swiftly turn into a PR or reputation disaster. Just ask Equifax.

WatchGuard’s DLP product has built-in rules to help you stay compliant with HIPAA, PCI DSS, and other industry regulations. It will scour attachments in emails before sending to find sensitive data before it leaves your servers. If it finds any, it will prevent the data from being leaked.

If you’d like help identifying the right solutions for your disaster recovery and backup plan, Now IT Connects is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about the tools we use and how they could protect your business.


Respond, Resume, Restore: Create a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business Data

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Minnesota’s storm season is fast-approaching. While you’re dusting off your weather radio, Now IT Connects hopes you consider preparing for another type of disaster, one that can strike any time of year.

Every business should have an IT disaster recovery plan. The plan covers how the business intends to bounce back from an event where their data, software, and hardware are compromised, stolen, or destroyed. Sounds like a disaster to us!

Your disaster recovery does not need to be complicated, but it should be thorough. IBM has a 13-point recovery plan template you can use to make sure all your bases are covered. We’ve distilled the basic elements down to three major action steps: respond, resume, restore.

Respond to the Disaster

The first section of your disaster recovery plan should cover how your organization will immediately respond to a disaster and who is responsible for each response. Often, businesses include an inventory of all of their hardware, software, applications, and other IT assets in their response plan. It helps to have the names and contact information of key staff members, too.

The respond step of your recovery plan should include all the actions you need to take immediately following the disaster. Examples include meeting with your recovery team, identifying compromised systems, and prioritizing essential systems and services.

Resume IT Operations

With your team in place and list of action steps, it’s time to implement your plan. What needs to happen so your organization can resume essential systems and services? Once you have recovered essential tools and data, notify staff members that they are able to resume work.

Restore IT Operations Completely

Once you have your essential systems and services back up and running, your disaster recovery team can start to restore the rest of your IT. Once everything has been restored completely, your recovery team should meet to review the plan and identify what worked well and what needs to be improved.

Prevent and Minimize Future Damage and Disruption

Once you have a disaster recovery plan in place, consider investing in tools that help you minimize damage and disruption from a disaster or prevent it altogether. If you currently back up your data on your premises, consider adding another layer of protection with cloud backup. Now IT Connects often recommends Microsoft Azure. Azure is off-site, cloud backup built for business. It is secure, compliant, and allows you to scale your business without sacrificing security or efficiency.

One of the most powerful disaster recovery tools on the market is Barracuda’s Intronis MSP platform. This allows us, your managed IT provider, to access and monitor your system remotely. We can often identify and address threats and issues before they become disasters.

We’d love the opportunity to help you create your IT disaster recovery plan and implement solutions to keep your data secure and your team productive. Contact Now IT Connects today to get started.