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2FA or MFA – That is the Question

Keeping your company’s cyber safe and training your people to follow suit is a bit unnerving for a small to mid-sized business. The good news is that there are ways to simplify keeping your company’s cyber safe that will make a world of difference for your IT folks.

Asking your employees to make long, complicated passwords that “cannot be guessed” is no longer the best way to safeguard your data.

In today’s digital business world, a great defensive method to stay clear of potential cyber threats and cybercrimes is with two-factor authentication and multi-factor authentication.

 

Two-Factor Authentication

You’ve certainly seen it and encountered it on applications and social media accounts that we all use. Twitter, Facebook and Gmail have begun using two-factor authentication, otherwise known as 2FA. It can also be referenced as a “two-step verification” process.

Think of it like when you call your credit card company and are asked for pieces of information that only you would know, providing evidence that you are, in fact, YOU.

When two-factor authentication is utilized, it requires two forms of identity verification prior to having access to an application. When both factors are verified, the end user has access. For example, you may be sent an SMS code that is valid for a short time and must be entered correctly in order to gain access to an application.

2FA is an added layer of protection for your data and is certainly more secure than just one single factor, such as a complex, long password with numerous unique characters that, despite the user’s best efforts, can easily be stolen or hacked.

With the two-factor authentication, the cyber attacker or imposter would need not only your password, but would also need your second factor as well to gain access to an application on your behalf.

 

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, combines what you are, what you know, and what you have. When multi-factor authentication is enabled, the administrator defines a second factor in addition to a password that a user must validate in order to gain access. Multi-factor grants access to your company’s applications through multiple data points.

While MFAs seem great, there are organization that are not adopting this security measure as to not disrupt or irritate their end users or customers. However, this should not be the case. The key is to keep a flexible policy alongside your MFA so that users are not compromised or annoyed while gaining access to your application.

 

2FA or MFA: Which is Better?

As always, choosing if a 2FA or MFA is better for your company’s security is not a one size fits all answer. To analyze this for your company, keep in mind that there are three possible ways that a user can validate that it is in fact them. They are knowledge, possession, and inherence.

Knowledge is what he or she knows, which would be like asking for a password and requesting answers to security questions.

Possession would be what supplies the person has on them, such as a mobile device, a one-time password or even a YubiKey.

Inherence, on the other hand, is based on a unique characteristic that the user has. This can be items such as voice recognition, a retina scan, or a fingerprint.

Two-factor authentication is just that, it relies on two factors as described above. Multi-factor can be two of the above factors or it can possibly involve all three, even inherence. If you think about it, iPhones use a fingerprint for access – and are increasingly moving towards MFA for financial applications.

Whichever authentication you choose for your company’s application, 2FA or MFA, it is better than asking users for one long, complex password – which can be easily forgotten and, year by year, more easily cracked.

Simply adding one more factor can be your best defense against cyber attackers and cyber criminals.

What an SMB Should Expect from their CIO

Great Chief Information Officers are invaluable resources for any organization. They are also expensive, and for good reason. It’s a high-profile job with a lot of responsibility. They create business value through technology and plan strategically for business growth. They ensure that the company’s technology systems and processes are aligned with business goals.

Some of the other critical items that a CIO is responsible for are security and risk management, customer service platforms, IT architecture, vendor negotiations, supplier management, budgets and more.

According to PC Magazine, small businesses with basic technology can temporarily survive on cloud-based tools and “gumption.” But, there comes a time when someone other than the CEO is needed to oversee long-term IT initiatives.

The key goal in every organization is not just surviving, but thriving. SMBs want to grow the business. A major tool for growing the company is the technology it utilizes. When an SMB does not invest in its technology correctly or sufficiently, it will likely lose customers and market share to competitors. It is the CIO’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

 

The Benefits of a CIO

While the Chief Information Officer has a very demanding job, it is important to have a highly skilled professional handling these responsibilities. With limited C-Level executive oversight, the SMB needs a reliable partner to count on to make  informed decisions. The CIO has a thorough understanding of the needs of the business. This also lends itself to someone who is considered “centralized” across departments and company initiatives.

If your SMB is fragmented and departments do not collaborate, the CIO brings it all together, which in turn, lends itself to a better overall business strategy. A CIO’s strategy reaches across business goals and objectives as a company whole.

Chief Information Officers often have a long-standing history of professional excellence and with a large base salary, and, while they are critical to the success of an SMB, it can weigh heavily on the annual budget, not leaving room for other important items too, like lead generation, talent development/succession planning and sales initiatives.

 

The Case for a Fractional CIO

There comes a time when all growing companies should invest in a Chief Information Officer – so the leader can focus on their best and brightest use, as well as have an experience IT leader ensuring the organization reaps the rewards of growth-aligned technology.

When a small to mid-sized business is looking to get the benefits of a CIO without breaking the bank, outsourcing a “fractional” CIO (often called “vCIO”) can be a better option and more feasible.

The reasons for this are the same as for a full time CIO…

  • Having a fractional CIO still means that your SMB can expect technology and innovations to align to business objectives and growth plans.
  • A fractional CIO, just like a full time CIO, will build a strategic information technology
  • They will oversee technology initiatives, vendor selection, technology adoption, including any needed internal training.
  • They will oversee security and compliance and partner with risk management for the organization.
  • They will plan for disaster and recovery, helping assess your business continuity plan.
  • They will attend all important business meetings, as well as board meetings.
  • They will also build and test the role of the potential future full-time CIO, once you have the scale to require (and better afford) that position.

… with one exception: You will not incur the risk, time and cost of a full-time hire. An additional benefit of a fractional CIO is that they often come with the technical and process support of the greater organization that provides your company with the service offering.

For many organizations, the fractional option could very well deliver the best return on investment, provide a perfect transitional solution, as well as better define the role as you grow to a place where a full time CIO makes sense financially.

What “Digital Disruption” Means for your Growing Small Business

Digital disruption is affecting every type of company out there, regardless if you’re small, mid-sized or large. Companies must respond quickly to new and improved demands for digital technology. If your company does not act and stay on top of digital transformation trends, then your company will lose valuable business and revenue.  Once a customer is lost to someone who is doing it better, it’s hard to get them back.

First, Some Statistics on Digital Disruption in 2018

Over half of the world’s population is online with 4.1 billion internet users. During the past 12 months, there was one quarter of one billion new users. The average person using the internet reports spending about 6 hours each day online.

The cloud continues to gain momentum. By this year, 60% of enterprise IT will be in the cloud versus off-premises. Also, this year, 90% of the population will have data storage in the cloud that is both free and unlimited.

Good news comes in spades when it comes to companies keeping up with digital disruption. A recent article from Converge Technology + Business says that 65% of businesses feel positive about change. They feel that, in the next 3 years, they can adapt to disruption. What’s even better is that almost half of company’s digital transformation efforts are being led by CEOs or Board Members. Most companies, 2 out of 3 in fact, report to being capable of making the change for digital disruption.

Digital Disruption Offers Many Challenges to SMBs

Small and midsize businesses need to consider multiple departments beyond IT. While the information technology department must be working on efficiency, customer service and other client-facing departments also are a big part of customer experience. The way that your people interact with your customers, organization wide, needs to be efficient, top-notch, seamless and flawless. People are judging your business not only by others in your industry, but by the best-case examples they see any time they open a browser window or click an app.

The biggest challenge for departments to overcome barriers to today’s digital transformation is being on the same page.  Small and midsize businesses may have difficulties integrating with one another. Misaligning objectives and lacking resources create obstacles. To be competitive in today’s digital market, SMBs must finds ways address these challenges.

What’s an SMB to do?

It starts with one word: innovation. Using the same model, “making patches” and “tweaks” no longer works. Technology professionals and small and midsize business leadership must understand what challenges are being faced, both in the present as well as down the road, and find ways to handle it. From application development to new systems, procedures and approaches, recycling old assets won’t win the digital disruption race. Companies must throw out old solutions and create new ones, from the ground up.

They needn’t be wholesale changes, just new ones.  Ones that speed up a process, combine workflows from other applications they use, or remember key information so the customers only have to enter it once, or not repeat it on the phone when they call you. And they needn’t be new to the internet, simply new to your industry.  Efficiency and being nimble is what gives SMB companies an advantage over the enterprise level.

While AI technology may seem like an old topic, with Alexa, Siri, and customer service chatbots being around for some time, it doesn’t mean that it won’t continue to play a big part in the future of digital disruption. There is a lot of power to be seen in artificial intelligence for SMBs, from customer service, to robotics, to analytics and not to mention marketing. AI has the power to surprise and amaze customers. Artificial intelligence can connect and communicate your business with its customers in a way that they may not expect, but will certainly appreciate. From email to content generation, this can be faster, cheaper and smarter automation for your business. When technology professionals are innovating ways for better customer service, make sure to leverage AI.

Further, to conquer digital disruption challenges, once technology professionals create or find new innovative solutions, think API or application program interface. By definition, according to webopedia, API is a set of protocols, routines, and tools for building software applications, specifying how software components should interact.  By making your technologies interface better with the other technologies your customers use, you can increase their satisfaction and the ‘stickiness’ of your solutions.

The ability to connect applications and data – and help your customers interact with you more efficiently – is the difference between surviving and thriving versus being left behind.

For Small Businesses, Properly Staffing IT Is A Key Element to Growth

As your business flourishes, you are bound to experience “growing pains.” Changes happen quickly and unexpected issues can arise.

Despite the unknown, your growing business must plan-ahead to brace for change and increases in work production. This includes correctly anticipating your technology staffing needs.

 

How many people should be on your IT staff?

On average, for small businesses, IT staff head count is as follows:

  • Small: 1 IT staffer for every 14.7 employees
  • Medium: 1 IT staffer for every 24.9 employees
  • Large: 1 IT staffer for every 47 employees
  • Very large: 1 IT staffer for each 69.25 employees

 

Technology staffing should be determined by your people, your customers and your strategic plan.

That being said the actual count of your IT staff (as well as your technology budget) should not be determined by division, but by alignment to the company’s overall positioning and strategic plan.

Ask questions such as…

  • Where is your organization now, and where does it want to be in the future?
  • What does technology mean to your organization and what do you expect – and need – from that function in order to meet your growth goals?
  • Is technology part of your Intellectual Property, an enabler to your solutions (a tech-enabled company), or only office tools.
  • How many people does it take to accomplish this, broken down by each role, including tactical/support and, separately, strategic guidance and development?

 

Create a separation between “steady state” and strategic/project efforts. 

Many small and mid-sized businesses try to have the same person or team run the daily work, such as helpdesk, as well as implement special projects and deliver business insights to management. This causes both efforts to suffer. If you can handle both, you are probably over staffed and wasting money, or, even worse, not getting forward-looking value from your IT department.

>> IT should a collaborator – or, better still, a driver – not a bottleneck.

 

Getting started on right-sizing your IT staffing.

First, see if any current IT or technology employees feel overwhelmed or overburdened. Employees should feel challenged, not stressed. Make sure that tasks are being completed on time. Also make sure that the people who rely on technology are getting the support and insights they require to meet their goals.

Second, see if your people and leadership are receiving the proactive IT support and insights they need.  Are new technologies being rolled out before old ones start failing?  Are people getting trained on new systems and using them to increase productivity and delight your customers? Are your C- and V-level staff getting the insights they need to drive growth? And, last but not least, are you losing sleep over IT security and business continuity risk?

Third, keep in mind that, while overstaffing IT waste of resources, understaffing IT not only affects your company’s growth arc and operations, it can also cause significant damage to morale too. And not just for your team but, as mentioned above, for your customers and value chain as well.

>> Well functioning IT is an HR benefit.  Innovative IT creates a sense of pride and impresses your customers.

Getting your IT head count right, and ensuring you are meeting both the day-to-day and strategic IT needs, is one of the key ways to keep your growth plan on track.

 

 

A quick checklist for staffing your IT function:

When identifying a growing business’s IT staffing needs start with feedback from your people.

  • Talk to both current staff and customers.
  • Get an understanding of how your company’s technology is perceived.  (Perception can often be more important than reality.)
  • Look for what is working as well as areas for improvement, both from a day-to-day and strategic insights perspective.
  • Narrow down the tasks that need to be addressed right away and the projects that can be addressed down the road, as part of a 3-year plan.  Assign hours to these tasks.
  • Determine the number of staff needed to fulfill both the steady state and the strategic halves of your IT function.

 

5 Physical Security Measures You Can Take Now to Prevent Hacking

Many business owners are surprised to learn that a large portion of hacks are inside jobs. For example, disgruntled employees or suppliers, or a former employee with a grudge. Plus, some hacks are caused by one of your staff triggering or enabling an outside hack.

Here are five effective ways you can make “on premises” IT security improvements and decrease the odds you will be hacked by someone with physical access to your technology:

#1 Add a front desk sign-in log and a camera system. Plus restrict who can access your back room

Review your security access plan with your building and implement a sign-in process for visitors. Restrict who can access your offices, and take security measures to prevent someone from wandering into your backroom and having physical contact with your servers and technology. Your server room should be locked with a keycard that logs the people that have access and records the date and time of when they access the room.

#2 Analyze how you and your employees remotely access the data at your office

If the only protection against someone accessing your business’s proprietary data from this device is a simple password, it is time that you make significant improvements to the security of your data and how employees are granted remote access.

An option for businesses is implementing multifactor authentication (MFA). This is a security system that requires more than one method of authentication to verify the user’s identity when logging in. An example would be a text sent to the person’s mobile phone with a 6-digit pin number that also needs to be entered. The goal of MFA is to create a layered defense and make it more difficult for an unauthorized person to access a target such as a physical location, computing device, network or database.

It is also a good idea to create separate share drives for more critical information and limit access to that data on a “need to know” basis. Instead of setting up access to these share drives by person, set up groups of people with specific access levels. This way, when people are moved to new roles or departments their access levels automatically follow the job description.

Periodically audit your remote access policy. Don’t make the mistake of becoming complacent with your security just because you have been without incident. If you are only using two-factor authentication for remote access, consider adding a third to increase protection.

#3 Create a phishing policy

Train employees on how to spot phishing scams and what to do when they think they might have been the recipient of one, or even worse… activated one.

Provide them with examples so that they get an idea of what phishing attempts look like. Give them a set of guidelines outlining what information they are able to disseminate and what information is proprietary. Make sure this policy is in writing and highly visible. Train all new hires on this policy immediately. Lastly, hire a security firm to proactively phish your employees. This proactive technique will give you a better idea of your risk level so you can supply additional training for the employees that click on the fake phishing email and require further guidance.

#4 Request a security plan from your IT provider

A skilled IT provider will provide your business with an adequate level of cyber security protection. They will be able to point out your weaknesses and areas of vulnerability. They can also provide you with helpful tools to train employees on how to protect sensitive data and not fall victim to cyber-crimes. Most IT providers have a handy checklist or short guide they provide to their clients.

#5 Conduct an all-staff security meeting and assemble a technology committee

Go over ways that you and your employees can collectively improve security. For example, if you see a USB that’s not yours, give it to IT, even if it has your company’s logo on it.

Take things one step further and assemble a technology committee. Provide employees with additional incentives to participate in this committee and take on an active role in conveying the importance of cyber security, enforcing security policies, and fostering discussions on ways to improve security.

4 Technology Solutions for Common Small Business Problems

 

Problem #1 Managing the front desk is a costly expense

You no longer need to pay a receptionist just to answer your landline during business hours. These days, small business owners are not tied to an office or computer in order to stay connected. Business owners are no longer required to sit at their desks all day managing dozens of calls. The traditional landline is no longer a vital lifeline for a business owner. Cell phones, VoIP, ​and virtual phone lines are providing business owners with ways to stay connected on the go. They no longer need to employ someone just to answer the phone and screen calls.

Problem #2 Your growth is restricted because you can’t leave your business’s physical location to travel

You no longer are forced to turn down meeting opportunities because of the high expenses of travel and time spent away from the office. You are no longer restricted to a local pool of applicants for an important position within your company. Thanks to teleconference services, you can conduct conference calls with a group of employees and/or clients at different locations at any time. There are many teleconference services available that give small business owners the ability to conduct teleconferences with multiple parties without needing special telephone or bridge line equipment. There are also a number of web conferencing tools that allow business owners to connect with employees or potential clients located all over the world.

Business owners can also take advantage of Collaborate on Word documents with real-time co-authoring. This allows a group to collaborate on a document, using real-time co-authoring to see everyone’s changes as they happen. Collaboration is a simple three step process: Save the document to OneDrive or SharePoint Online so others can work in it, invite people to edit it with you, and have your group open and work in the document in Word 2016, Word Online, or Word Android and you’ll see each other’s changes as soon as they’re made.

Problem #3 Your customer service is lackluster

You can make drastic improvements to your small business’s customer service thanks to technology. Take advantage of social media as a tool to reach out to existing customers and to attract new ones. Offer sales, promotions, and helpful information on popular social media sites to keep in contact with customers. Provide your customers with the opportunity to schedule appointments online at their convenience. Use online surveys and questionnaires to get customer feedback. Technology makes it easy to provide top notch customer service.

Problem #4 Your competitors have a much larger budget than you

Many small businesses have closed their doors simply because their competitors have more money to devote to business growth and development. Thanks to technology, small businesses have more opportunities to grow now than ever before. You can spend a relatively low amount of money to have a professional website built and maintained. You can also have an app developed to foster business growth. Technology gives smaller businesses many innovative opportunities to be successful.

Does Your Business Need Dedicated IT Support?

Don’t put off your business’s technological needs for another year. Take the time to analyze how you manage your current IT needs and use the questions below to decide if it is time you invest in dedicated IT support.

Are you wasting valuable time and resources trying to handle your own IT needs?

If you find that you are taking away time from core business development to perform routine IT tasks such as updating software or troubleshooting network problems, it is time to transfer all IT related jobs to a managed service provider to free up your time and resources. Spend your time and money doing what you do best and allow a professional to tackle IT responsibilities.

Is your business limited in its growth because substandard technology is holding it back?

Do you feel that with some technological improvements your business could see significant growth? Why limit your business to the equipment and technology you have on hand when a small investment could net your business much larger profits? Whether you need to upgrade some old equipment or outdated software or if you are interested in web and application development, a managed services provider can offer guidance on the next steps you should take towards making these improvements. Hire a professional to get the level of service your business deserves to ensure your technology is optimized to promote and handle growth.

Are you concerned your business continuity plan needs updating?

Having a business continuity plan in the event of a cyber attack or system failure is no longer enough to ensure your business’s survival. You need to have a plan, test this plan, evaluate your plan, and make routine updates and improvements. It is also imperative that you purchase and maintain the right backup appliance. A managed services provider will work with you to devise the strongest business continuity plan possible and help you invest in the right equipment to best serve your needs.

Does your business need to adhere to HIPAA regulations?

Whether you run a chiropractic office or process insurance claims, even small businesses must adhere to the HIPAA regulations governing the privacy of medical information. Violations of these regulations can result in heavy fines should a breach occur. Compliance officers can also audit your business and issue fines for violations. Many small practices readily admit they still have not achieved total compliance. If your small business must adhere to HIPAA regulations, you can not afford to take any chances with data security and storage. A professional can assist you in making sure you meet regulations and remain compliant.

Survey Shows Majority of Small Businesses Unconcerned About Cyber Attacks

Despite a spike in the number of small businesses targeted by hackers, a recent report published by Paychex concludes that most small business owners are not concerned about cybersecurity threats. Paychex, a provider of integrated human capital management for small to mid-sized businesses, found that an astonishing 68% of small business owners are not worried about their business being hacked. However, the National Cyber Security Alliance asserts that over 70% of cyber-attacks target small businesses, and that the cost of recovery can be enough to force a small business into bankruptcy.

The survey also disclosed that 90% of small business owners are at least somewhat confident that their business would be able to recover from a hack. Unfortunately, many small business owners find out the hard way that they should have invested more time and money into protecting their business against cyber-attacks. These business owners need to make a commitment to improving their cybersecurity efforts before becoming a victim.

Follow the tips below to improve cybersecurity:

#1 Consider hiring a managed service provider – Hiring a provider to handle your IT needs can save you money in the long run. You won’t have to waste your time and resources on managing security, storage, and other IT related tasks. Don’t try to cut corners when it comes to data protection and cybersecurity; the consequences can be catastrophic.

#2 Use strong passwords – Make sure that you are using strong passwords to protect accounts and train your employees on how to devise passwords that cannot easily be guessed. Also, do not use the same passwords that you use for personal accounts. Every account should have its own unique password. You could use a free tool like LastPass to help you organize this more complex but safer setup.

#3 Learn how to spot malicious emails – Learn how to spot phishing emails and train employees on how to determine whether or not an email is from a legitimate source.

#4 Manage how your employees are allowed to use personal devices for work related tasks – While you may need your employees to actively check emails from their personal devices, you will want to control what information your employees are allowed to access, store, and transmit on a personal device. Also make sure they do not store passwords on these devices. Every business should have an acceptable use policy as well as a mobile phone policy. If you don’t have one please consult your company attorney to help create them.

#5 Have a backup plan and test this plan – Practice makes perfect. When an attack occurs, being able to get your business back up and running as quickly as possible is essential to your survival. Have a comprehensive backup plan, invest in a strong backup appliance, and test your plan quarterly to ensure business continuity in the event of a hack or other system failure.

Pros and Cons of Storing Your Data in the Cloud

Data storage and security is a growing concern for many small business owners looking for a way to store larger amounts of data in a secure location. Small businesses are more frequently becoming the target of hackers and suffering catastrophic system failures, forcing their owners to actively seek out solutions when it comes to having adequate data storage and security. While utilizing a cloud based infrastructure can provide an excellent solution to data storage problems and is also advantageous during a system failure, cloud storage also raises new concerns about data security.

In order to make sure you meet the challenges the cloud creates for data protection, assess your individual needs. There are numerous options including public cloud, private cloud, and combinations of these options. The key to protecting your data is matching the data to the appropriate cloud architecture while weighing your business’s budget and risk tolerance.

What are the advantages of using cloud based storage?

Cloud storage providers can supply your business with more data storage than ever before. This is the digital age. Thousands of businesses give up the paper trail every day and convert their records and files to digital versions. Even owners of small businesses are being compelled to seek out solutions for storing larger amounts of data, and a cloud subscription is an ideal way to increase data storage.

The cloud also offers an unparalleled amount of flexibility in choosing how you store data. You can easily manage storage tiers and use low-cost storage options for data that doesn’t need accessibility. The cloud is also an effective storage location for data that needs high availability. A cloud based infrastructure can provide immediate recovery, in the event of a system failure, when it is set up to do so.

Lastly, you won’t need to manage your hardware if you move to the cloud. This will free up more of your time and resources to devote to developing your core business. Servers are large pieces of electronic equipment sitting around waiting to break. By moving to hosted services, you have the opportunity to pay a fair price to have someone else set up, maintain, secure, and support an online service, eliminating the need to own your own hardware and manage your own server software.

What are the challenges of using cloud based storage?

The primary challenge of utilizing cloud storage revolves around the security aspect of protecting data against unauthorized access and tampering. Most small business owners opt to store their data in a cloud which is physically located at an off-site location where resources are shared by other tenants. Although cloud vendors are paid to oversee physical security and certain other aspects of security, businesses retain the responsibility for establishing access controls and protecting their data. Subscribing to a service with advanced data encryption should lessen this threat.

The second challenge is how to integrate backup and recovery management of data in the cloud with that of data in the data center. In the event of a hack or system failure, it is imperative to get your business back up and running as soon as possible. Data that is stored in the cloud will need to be accessible to get your system back up and running as quickly as possible. Establish and practice a disaster recovery plan that automates the process of backing up to and recovering from data in the cloud, increasing reliability while speeding up the process.

Macbook air floating on a violent ocean with thunder

Is It Time to Update Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

How often should a business update their disaster recovery plan? Unfortunately, many misinformed business owners believe that developing a disaster recovery plan is a one-time task. This can be a costly and devastating lesson for businesses in the face of a real disaster. An efficient plan should be tested and updated on an annual basis at the very least. Testing and updating your plan quarterly is always best.

Creating a disaster recovery plan is not enough. You will need to test your plan and make sure your employees all know what steps need to be taken when a real disaster does occur. Assign each employee with a role and simulate a disaster. Have your staff carry out the steps of the recovery plan systematically. Evaluate the results of your testing and make any necessary changes or adjustments in areas where improvement is needed.

Cloud data will still need to be recovered in the event of a disaster. There are numerous advantages to having your data stored on the cloud. However, simply storing your data on the cloud doesn’t complete your disaster recovery plan. You will need to know how and where to recover the information stored there in the event of a disaster as quickly as possible.

Take the time to evaluate your plan and recovery priorities. As technology changes over time, the focus of your initial recovery efforts may also change. Make sure your list of business contacts and emergency contacts are up to date and have this list readily accessible. Prioritize which applications your business relies on the most so that they may be restored according to order of importance. Re-evaluate this list every time you update your plan. As technology changes and grows, your plan will need to be amended to your evolving needs.

How often you choose to test and update your plan can depend on several factors. Is your business run solely online? Is your customer’s information stored on the cloud? Do you run or rely on numerous applications? How often does your staff change? Businesses with a lot of new faces should take the time to make sure all employees learn the disaster recovery plan. This should be included as a standard protocol during the hiring and training process. Take these factors into account when scheduling disaster recovery plan testing and updating.

For a busy business owner, outsourcing their IT needs if often the best option for creating and maintaining a strong disaster recovery plan. It frees up valuable time and resources that should be used to focus on core business growth. A professional managed service provider will assist you in devising a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, testing this plan, and making necessary updates in a timely fashion. The risks of trying to handle your own IT security needs negate the costs associated with outsourcing. Don’t wait until it is too late to let a professional implement the right disaster recovery plan for your business.