Business continuity is a set of strategies planned and prepared in advance to ensure that a business will be able to continue its critical operations in times of emergency. Emergencies may include natural phenomena, man-made disasters, pandemics, business crises, workplace accidents and other occurrences that may disrupt business functions. No matter how well-oiled your operations are, any of these emergencies can stop you on your tracks, which could cost you a fortune.
When it comes to business continuity, IT support plays a crucial role in helping businesses survive during devastating times. If you’re wondering how, here’s a complete guide that’ll show you how IT support services can ensure business continuity.
It Ensures You Have The Right Technology
Technology plays an important role in helping businesses execute their plans and strategies. It helps them connect with their customers, implement marketing strategies, conduct sales programs and, most importantly, protect their system from malicious attacks and threats.
In addition, technology is a crucial element of business continuity. In fact, it heavily relies on technology. Therefore, if your technology solution fails, so does your business. But you can’t afford to fail the customers who count on you.
As you know, not all forms of technology can easily suit a single business, no matter how expensive and superb they are. Chances are, you’ll only waste your money if the technology you choose isn’t well-thought-out. This is where your IT support Melbourne comes in.
Your IT support services will ensure that your business has the right technology solution and configure it to ensure business continuity during a crisis. In this way, you can save money from unnecessary expenses and keep your business functional at the same time.
It Supports Remote Employees
These days, the number of remote employees increases and businesses favor it because it saves them resources and reduces their expenses. There are still many doubts about when they’ll be able to return to their offices. Therefore, business continuity will continue to depend on a remote working system to survive and execute its critical operations.
The main function of IT support services is to ensure that there’ll be business continuity in a remote working environment. They’ll ensure that connections are always safe from intrusions and that communication and collaboration between various departments will still move forward.
So, how will IT support be able to execute all these goals?
- It improves your company’s cybersecurity protocols to prevent cybercriminals from launching their threats and attacks.
- It works with other tools to promote communication and collaboration within your business. Such tools may include customer relationship management or CRMs, automated software solutions, and more.
- It’s available 24 hours to answer questions and provide real-time support for your employees.
- It ensures that all devices and software applications for remote working are always updated.
- It provides essential training and education for all employees to improve their skillsets and develop themselves.
- It immediately attends to possible glitches and errors your employees encounter while working and addresses them immediately to ensure business continuity.
It Promotes Cybersecurity Across Your Business
Cybersecurity is one of the most critical factors of business continuity. Without it, your business will be vulnerable to attacks and threats that can either disrupt your operations or put your company down permanently.
Keep in mind that a single attack or threat can damage your company severely. Because of this, a huge part or the entirety of your critical functions will cease to operate until the issue has been resolved. Not to mention the amount of damage it can cause.
The world loses an estimated USD$2.9 million every minute to cyberattacks. Unfortunately, the main targets of cyberattacks are small businesses because they’re the most vulnerable compared with large conglomerates.
The cost of cybercrimes is set to increase to USD$10 trillion by 2025, and it’s forecasted to increase every year. This is why more companies are invested in having strong cybersecurity protocols to protect themselves from malicious attacks.
Here are the most common cyber attacks you should be wary of:
- Ransomware: Cybercriminals use this to encrypt all your data in a password-protected folder. You can’t open it unless you give them the ‘ransom’ they demand. Hence, the name ransomware.
- Phishing: Cybercriminals pose themselves as a reliable company and send an email to their targets to obtain sensitive data, such as bank accounts and passwords.
- Cross-Site Scripting: The end goal of cross-site scripting is similar to phishing, but it uses scripts from reliable sources and sends them via email. That’s why it’s almost impossible to distinguish a cyberattack from a reliable source.
With the help of IT support services, your business will have a tight cybersecurity system, including strong monitoring, preventative measures and response. They may not be able to prevent all cyberattacks from coming, but they’ll do their best to reduce any opportunity for any attack that affects business continuity.
It Configures A Business Continuity Plan
Executing day-to-day business operations should ensure business continuity. However, there’s a time when something unexpected occurs or when work pressures are maximum. That’s why it’s important to have a comprehensive plan you can follow in times of emergency.
A business continuity plan is crucial for your IT support system. It contains all the practices you need to execute to prevent and recover from potential threats. Also, it ensures all data and employees are safe and protected and will be able to operate and function immediately during a disaster.
First and foremost, your IT support will help you establish systems to monitor potential issues, which will hasten the response rate. But for better response, it’d be best to have a compelling, dependable, and realistic disaster plan. For example, your plan should include alternative internet connection providers in case your main connectivity experiences a sudden glitch or cut in its system.
Or if your business is highly dependent on a specific mode of communication, your IT support team will provide an alternative communication channel. This will help ensure stable and continuous communication even if the primary channel gets disrupted.
It Helps You Avoid Continuity Pitfalls
Every plan or strategy has pitfalls you need to avoid, including business continuity plans. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can continue your operations successfully, even during crises.
Here are the common pitfalls you need to avoid:
- Over-Optimistic Testing: Your IT support team usually conducts initial testing to determine potential setbacks in the plan. However, it often conducts full testing instead of portions, causing it to overlook potential problems.
- Insufficient Remote User Licenses: Your IT support team may provide your personnel with remote user licenses to access remote desktops when necessary, such as during a disaster. However, only a limited number of licenses may be provided. There are instances when most employees would need to access the remote desktop software.
- Lost Digital IDs: Digital IDs are used when there’s a disaster to access the remote system while the primary unit is being restored to normal. But the problem with digital IDs is that they can’t be saved on a backup system. So, when your employees log in using their IDs, they won’t be able to access the system.
- Absence Of Communication: Your IT support often uses emails to inform and notify owners about the impending disaster. However, this communication channel may not be useful in some cases, particularly when there are spam intrusions on emails.
Now, here are some ways your IT support team can help you avoid falling into these pitfalls:
- Conduct phase-by-phase testing instead of full testing to ensure that all pain points will be addressed effectively.
- Update your business continuity plan from time to time.
- Provide as many remote user licenses as possible, especially to those executing critical tasks. The key is to identify in your business continuity plan which personnel to provide to.
- Make sure all employees have digital IDs so that they can access the remote system and continue their job while the primary unit is being restored.
- Use other communication software aside from emails to ensure proper flow of communication when disasters strike.
By addressing and avoiding these pitfalls with your IT support team, you can execute your business continuity plans smoothly and seamlessly.
It Helps You Establish System Backups
Backup data is one of the most critical elements of business continuity. Without it, your business may never be able to bounce back when a disaster strikes. Its main purpose is to provide a copy of all the information stored in your system prior to a cyberattack. In this way, you can protect your data from corruption or loss.
Your IT support will help you regularly back up your entire system to ensure business continuity during a crisis. This will provide you and your employees with the data you need to execute critical business operations continuously.
Here are some backup strategies your IT support team may perform:
- Choosing The Right Solution: It’s important to choose the right backup solution to save money while protecting your data effectively. You may choose from internal hard drives, external hard drives, removable hard drives (USBs, CDs, etc.), cloud-based solutions, or network-attached storage.
- Splitting Backup Locations: Backup locations can be onsite or offsite. Onsite backup locations can be found within your office property. Its main purpose is to keep the backups inside your business property to protect them. Offsite backup locations are cloud-based solutions located in other places outside your business property.
- Establishing Proper Naming: Your IT support will help you organize your documents for easy retrieval during a disaster by creating and naming folders and subfolders appropriately.
- Preserving The Most Important Ones First: When it comes to executing data backups, your IT support team will focus on preserving critical documents before non-work-related documents.
- Regular Data Backups: Your IT support team will back up your data as regularly as possible to ensure that all important data is saved during a disaster.
Backups are extremely helpful when a disaster strikes, especially when it comes to ransomware attacks. You won’t have to pay the ransom demanded by cybercriminals. Therefore, always back up your files every 24 hours or as often as possible.
It Promotes Effective Data Management
Businesses manage and process critical data, such as financial statements, employees’ personal information, HR details, and others. For this reason, it’s crucial for your business to implement an effective data management and storage strategy. For this to happen, you’ll need help from your IT support team.
Your IT support team will carry out the following processes to ensure proper data management and storage to ensure business continuity:
- Prioritizing Data Security: Your IT support teams always ensure that your data are stored in a multi-layer protection system that would prevent cybercriminals from accessing it easily. Multi-layer security protection includes a firewall, a two-factor authentication system, an anti-virus application and, most importantly, cybersecurity-trained personnel.
- Having All Data Backed Up: This creates copies of primary data to prevent data loss and corruption.
- Establishing A Disaster Recovery Plan: This is what you need in times of emergency. It consists of practices you need to do when a disaster strikes to ensure business continuity.
- Standardize Data Policies: Your IT support team will create a standard data management process to ensure that every employee knows how to handle data properly. This will reduce the risk of misusing company information.
- Executing Regular Maintenance: Your IT support team conducts regular maintenance checkups to ensure that your data isn’t damaged or breached in any other way. Maintenance includes cleaning unnecessary data that only consume storage.
After that long discussion, you now understand how crucial it is for a company to have an IT support team on standby to execute essential functions to ensure business continuity. It’ll help you prevent and reduce the risk of disasters that may damage your business operations severely. It’ll help you protect your data from those who might try to steal it from you. Therefore, if you still don’t have an IT support team beside you, consider this a sign to build your own team of highly-trained professionals or hire a third-party IT support provider.