Technology is the foundation of everything that your business does, from minor tasks to major operational functions. Losing access to any part of that technology for any reason is a recipe for disaster, and one that most businesses are wholly unprepared to deal with. Statistics gathered in January of 2017 show that 43% of small and mid-sized businesses have already experienced at least one catastrophic network failure at some point in their existence, and recovered from those incidents with varying degrees of success.
The best way to handle a system or network failure is to take steps now to avoid ever having a failure happen in the first place. Prevention measures truly can make all the difference, especially when every minute counts – both literally and figuratively. Downtime costs a small business an average of $25,806, which is a hefty sum for a smaller operation to face losing. In fact, the financial damage alone that results from a long stretch of downtime can sometimes be enough to sink a business completely.
Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can be subject to unforeseen circumstances. So while stopping downtime before it happens should be your main goal, having a solution in place to minimize downtime when issues arise is crucial. This is where cloud-based technology proves to be incredibly useful. The cloud can protect your business against the most drastic consequences of a system or network failure – data loss, loss of accessibility, and loss of productivity. You might not be able to control the weather or the actions of a hacker or a careless employee, but with cloud-based data backups in place, you can control what happens to your data.
Avoiding System and Network Failure
Keeping your systems and network up and running can spare you and your employees a whole lot of headaches. The common causes of network failure, in particular, can more often than not be avoided completely by putting three simple tricks into practice.
- Spot Hardware Issues Before They Happen – Your system and network likely rely heavily on your internal hardware in order to take time to make sure that servers and computer towers are being stored in well-ventilated areas and are kept free of dust can help keep your hardware healthy. Make a note of when hardware was purchased and installed, and be mindful of what the useful lifespan of these items are. Outdated equipment can often be a disaster waiting to happen. Alternatively, you can look at migrating to a cloud-based environment that instead relies on off-site hardware that is monitored and maintained by your cloud provider and takes the bulk of the faulty hardware threat out of the equation for your business.
- Keep An Eye Out For Suspicious Activity – Network failure caused by a hacker or scammer seems to come out of nowhere. But the reality is that many threats have tells, and a keen observer can spot some of them. Antivirus and anti-malware software can and should protect your network against the bulk of these threats, but you shouldn’t count on these solutions alone. Weird CPU spikes or unusual network traffic can be a major red flag and aren’t something you should ignore. A good IT provider will monitor your network for these types of odd behaviors, and step in to neutralize threats before you ever become aware that they’re there.
- Automate Update and Reboot Processes – Little communication hiccups between your server and system happen. Technology is imperfect, and small, mostly harmless errors will pop up as a result. You can avoid a sudden network outage by making sure that your servers are set up to reboot automatically when one of these communication issues happens, saving you the trouble of having to complete a manual reboot and go without your needed services while the problem is identified and sorted out. Once again, moving to a cloud-based environment can eliminate this issue completely by leaving that task in the hands of your cloud provider.
Protect Your Network In 5 Easy Steps
- Improve Access Controls – Lackluster access controls leave your network open to unauthorized users, which can lead to cyber attacks and data breaches. Make sure access to both your network and workstations that can access your network are password protected, taking advantage of additional measures like Two-Factor Authentication where possible. Strict access controls allow you to limit the scope of access your employees have as well, which can cut down on innocent mistakes made by staff who might stumble into applications or systems they don’t have a solid grasp on using. These innocent mistakes can quickly cause network crashes and data loss.
- Keep Software Up To Date – System and software updates are a critical component of good network security. Updates are released by manufacturers and vendors to correct known flaws or vulnerabilities that can either be exploited by a hacker to gain access to your network or can cause software to “glitch,” leading to frozen or crashed systems. When systems and software are hosted in the cloud, your cloud provider will handle these updates for you, ensuring nothing important is missed.
- Make Full Use Of Your Network Protections – Typical network security measures include antivirus and antimalware software, firewall software, and spam and content filtering. But it’s important to remember that just having these solutions in place is not enough to protect your network. Makes sure all of your software’s advanced features are enabled and configured to your specific network and have a system in place to monitor your endpoint protection measures in order to keep them up to date and working effectively.
- Train Your Staff – Human error is often the biggest threat to network security and the health of your network in general. Ensure your staff is well-versed in cyber security best practices and can spot threats like phishing scams can keep threats out of your network. It’s just as important to make sure your staff understands the technology they’re using each day and follows your policies and protocols. Employees who take shortcuts around security measures or routinely save files in the wrong place can jeopardize the integrity of your data and make your data backups less effective. Businesses with cloud-based networks and data storage solutions can avoid misplaced files disappearing by limiting where and how data can be saved.
- Have Data Backups In Place – Good data backups are the single most important part of protecting your network in the event of any type of As long as your backups are updated at minimum once a day and stored in a secure, offsite location, even if the absolute worst were to happen to your network your files will still be safe.
Data Backup Is Key
At the end of the day, no other precautions or preventative measures can replace the need for a great data backup and recovery system. This system needs to be reliable, flexible, and accessible under any set of circumstances. While there are a few different approaches you can take here, none can offer the same level of adaptability that the cloud can.
Cloud-based backups have the benefit of existing separate from your internal network, helping to insulate them from malware threats or other issues that can corrupt data stored on your network. If you were to find yourself facing a ransomware infection, you could simply wipe your systems clean and restore your data and applications from your cloud-based backups, saving you the cost of a ransom fee and minimizing your downtime and lost profits. Your cloud provider can also offer failover solutions to protect you from service outages, making sure your data is always accessible when you need it most.
Data stored in the cloud can be restored from anywhere, allowing you the option of running your business from a temporary base of operations if your network failure is caused by inclement weather or another source that damages your physical location as well as disrupting your network services.
Ready to seriously consider cloud-based data backups for your business? Contact SmartMetrics at firstname.lastname@example.org or (647) 494-0176 to learn more about the cloud solutions we have to offer. We’re the trusted IT professionals for businesses nationwide.