Big data management is the new reality for SMB’s in 2017. So now is the time to start thinking about your disaster recovery plan. Even small and medium businesses are generating Big Data. To be clear, your volume and number of sources may not match the output of a Fortune 100 company. That said, consider how many data sources you do have. Most SMB’s think of their mission-critical data as being of just two types: Financial and ERP (or inventory Control). Yet their business as a whole depends on many other data sources, including:
|Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP)||Technical Support|
|Logistics||Engineering (CAD) data|
|Human Resources||Marketing Content|
|Customer Relationship Management (CRM)||Compliance Data (HIPAA etc.)|
|Marketing Automation||Corporate Governance|
|Customer Service||Contracts and Proposals|
The complete loss or compromise of any of these can have a huge effect on a company’s ability to do business. In most circumstances you can’t just “turn off” the data flow when a system goes down. If you don’t capture the data it is lost, compounding the problem.
The message here is that Disaster Recovery planning has to cover much more that just backing up the accounting database and ERP. Further, disaster recovery planning has to go hand in hand with business continuity planning, that is, how will you continue to do business when a system is hacked and goes offline?
Starting Your 2017 Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan
Your planning might need to involve the service of an outside Data Management Company, but you can start on your own with four questions:
- What data do we keep?
- Where do we keep it?
- Where/how is new data created and input?
- How are the data used and by whom?
Start with a graphic data flow chart. Create a “bin” for each data source that you use. Then create a node for each source of new data, and a node for each data user. Draw arrows to connect the sources with the bins, and the bins with the users. You now have a graphic representation that will help you scope your project and explain the scope to others. Then for each data source, develop your disaster recovery plan for restoring your data as soon as possible, and your business continuity plan for diverting new data, processing it in some way and ensuring that critical functions continue to operate and users have at least partial access to the information they need.
Working with Third Party Saas Vendors Who Are Storing Your Data
Most SMB’s today have at least some of their data online with a SaaS supplier. While the vendor may be responsible contractually for securing your data, YOU are the one who will get hurt if there is a breach and your data are lost or compromised. The day the breach occurs is not the day you should be discovering what THEIR disaster recovery plans are. Work with them to develop your own action plan if they go down. If they offer a utility for you to back up your data, use it. In some extreme circumstances, you may need to seek another provider, and you will need your data.
Putting the Disaster Recovery Plan Together
There are myriad ways to backup and store your data. You also need to identify resources that can be available immediately when you need them. And, you may have to engage some services to put alternate systems in place on an on-demand basis when you need them. This takes time, and will require investment. To find the right combination for you, consider bringing in a data management company to help you find the right combination and ensure that all of the parts are in place. It will be time and money well spent on the day your data is lost.