I hear that comment so much! Yet every day we run our businesses using PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones, expecting everything to go like clockwork as we try to juggle all the customers, quotes, orders, money, marketing, sales, accounts and everything else that goes with running a business…..all the time relying on the equipment we apparently loathe so much.
So, what happens when technology let’s you down? It can be totally paralysing for your business when a device stops working. This in turn can cost you dearly. As I am writing this, I am unexpectedly locked out from my main PC with the crushing realisation that I could loose a day’s work on a project I planned to complete this week. Technology reality check!
Luckily, I have Plan B. Do you?
Here is where Business Continuity Planning comes into play, no matter how small or large your business is. When running a business, you cannot rely on just one device. You must be able to access what you need, whenever you need to. You must be able to do this safely and securely. The show must go on. As the old adage goes…fail to plan, plan to fail.
So what do we need to plan for? It is very easy to get bogged down in every scenario that could possibly happen. However, there are five simple, yet essential, steps that will go a long way to ensuring your business continues to flow smoothly independent of any specific computer or device. Let’s take a closer look:
- Backup, Backup, Backup
Backing up your files and systems on a regular basis is an essential part of administering your business. It is the safeguard against so many problems: from a simple accidental deletion, to a lost or damaged computer to the latest online threat of ransomware. Do you have a backup strategy in place? It does not need to be complicated. At a basic level, all you need is a copy of your files in a second location, for example a portable hard drive, that you can access when needed. I can hear the experts scream at this statement and yes there is a lot more to it, but this is your starting point. The bells and whistles are for another day.
- File Management
Where do you store your files? Can you access them from any location? Do you use Cloud services? Don’t trust them? Then maybe consider your own internal solution. It can be provided by a simple NAS device that costs <€300. Either way, it is essential you can access your files whenever and wherever you need them.
The importance of securing your files and computers cannot be overstated. Many people I meet complain to me that their anti-virus software slows down their PC. If this is the case on your device, then in my experience there is usually an underlying problem on the device. Solve that and you will not have any issues with anti-virus software.Without a current anti-virus program in place, your computer is a sitting duck. There are so many online threats, so many ways malicious intent can invade your files. For me this one is a no brainer – install a proper reputable anti-virus program on your computers. …oh and don’t forget to always always use strong passwords!
- Have a Plan B
So, your PC goes belly up? What do you do? Who do you need to call? Do you need to switch to another PC? A simple document that sets out what PC to switch to, what account to switch to, where to restore a file from, where to save files to, who to call and so on will ensure a technology blip is just that, a blip, and not all out panic that knocks your business offline for days needlessly. Write out a short, bullet-point Business Continuity Plan tailored to your business needs.
- Technical Support
Buying a computer is not much different to buying a carton of milk these days – you can often do both in your local supermarket! However, it also means your computer comes without the cushion of a local support person to turn to when you need something done. A good technical support person will understand your business, how you operate and how all your Information Technology works together from your website, to your office documents to your accounts and payroll package and the hardware required to run them all effectively. No idea where to find one? Look no further. We’re here to help! 😊