Making Your IT Disaster-Ready: Because Butterflies Happen


 

A ladybug sneezes somewhere over the Pacific and a week later, the ensuing thunderstorm knocks your server, and your business offline with a single lightning bolt. Even if you think the Butterfly Effect is a bunch of hooey, there’s no question that nature and mankind can have a sudden and sizeable impact on the stability of your Information Technology (IT) systems. That’s why properly safeguarding your
company’s data must be a priority.

So how do you go about properly safeguarding your business’ information? It starts with an IT assessment, an inventory of your technology (computers, software, storage, audio-visual systems, etc.). You need to prioritize your property management data and systems and make a plan for keeping those systems running/recovering them quickly in case of a problem.

Can your company operate without its property management software? Will you be lost without an Internet connection? What would happen if your laptop was stolen? Once your evaluation is complete, figure out what it will take to retrieve/keep your must-have systems going, and then put tools in place to prevent their failure. In other words, create an IT disaster-recovery plan.

Offsite is All Right!

The cardinal rule for safeguarding IT is to store your data off-site.(And no, in your car or at your house down the street does not count as off-site). Many businesses don’t make regular backups of critical information like customer and vendor records, financials, emails, tax info, etc. Those that do often store their system and data backups in the same location as the source information, so guess what happens to the duplicate records when the original files are damaged or lost…

The foundation of any emergency-preparedness plan is running regular backups (daily, if possible), and then storing the redundant files offsite.

Decisions, Decisions

Once you’ve got the backups figured out, turn your attention to improving the business’ IT infrastructure. Administrating your properties via a cloud-based property management resource like Rent Manager Onlinewhich is accessible from any computer with a working Internet connection, is a straightforward disaster-prep solution.

Another route is to run your critical software via a virtual desktop, rather than your onsite hardware. These arrangements will also help protect you if the mishap you experience is theft, rather than damage.

The installation of UPS battery backups and standby generators,and the setup of redundant Internet connections require the purchase of equipment/additional service plans. But during an outage, these resources deliver essential up time and flexibility. They also give you direct control over key infrastructure during cataclysmic events, which is priceless.

Alternatively, hosting your IT systems through an offsite vendor immediately boosts your company’s security and resiliency for considerably less than the investment, upkeep, and expertise required to maintain your own data center. By piggybacking on the assets of an outside data-storage host, you have access to cutting-edge technology and know-how, keeping your resident/owner/vendor/accounting information safe and your business disaster-ready.

It’s More than Just Surviving a Disaster

The major impacts of not preparing your IT infrastructure and data for an emergency are significant downtime and the loss of customers, said Tony Little, Chief Technology Officer at LCS. Long periods of service interruption are a big issue that can quickly result in loss of revenue.

Little continued, For example, we have a customer who lost everything in an office fire. They were able to resume operations after a few days because their data was backed-up outside of the office, but they had to replace all of their IT equipment. If they hadn’t been saving their data offsite, the fire could have claimed the business.

Up to 40 percent of companies affected by a natural or man made disaster never reopen. Don’t allow your multifamily operation to become a statistic, start taking the necessary steps to safeguard your business today. Protect your IT, protect your livelihood.