Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) companies have seen huge leaps in technology in recent years. Data management and business continuity require a shift in mindset, think of it as going from firefighting to fire prevention. Zero disruptions is a bold strategic imperative that provides a competitive advantage by enhancing field productivity, increasing office efficiency, reducing downtime and preventing data losses. Effective data backup and post-disaster recovery protocols are the essential steps to minimize business disruptions.
A recent study revealed 45 percent of small to medium sized businesses had suffered a data loss. Fifty-four percent of the data losses were attributed to hardware failure. Another recent study found that 73% of companies are unprepared for disaster recovery.
What are AEC industry leaders doing?
We have seen AEC leaders shift from document management to data management. With this reliance comes an increased vulnerability to business disruption. Data management today requires an enterprise view of integrating their network. Data must be incorporated from its various physical and virtual locations, including mobile devices.
Why is there a need for a comprehensive business continuity plan?
The severity of natural disasters and the escalating number of man-made emergencies and technological disruptions compounds organizations dependence on their IT infrastructure. Many of these disruptions result in temporary IT infrastructure downtime, while others pose a threat to the viability of the business.
A business continuity plan is the first step. Companies have many choices when selecting the best way to back up their vital information and mission-critical data. Example, part of our Managed IT Services plan includes onsite and offsite backup at regular intervals. This is the best prevention for data loss. Another data recovery option is imaging the server and running the restored replica image from a new server in a remote location.
Causes of data loss within organizations include:
- Failure to initiate or maintain regular data backups
- Unforeseen hardware failure
- Human error resulting in accidental deletion, overwriting of data
- Failure to test the backup and data recovery restoration process
- Software or application corruption
- Power surges, brownouts and outages
- Computer viruses, malware or hacking
- Theft of corporate IT equipment
- Hardware damage or destruction from vandalism, fire and water (rain, flood or sprinkler system discharge)
What are Best Practices for Data Management?
AEC businesses must keep in mind that Data management and IT management is a strategic function for all organizations. All organizations need to determine recovery time objectives and plan and budget accordingly.
In the plan, you must identify which functions and systems must remain operational at the time of a disruption or disaster. This requires advance planning and budgeting for necessary systems and technical support services.
Develop a business continuity plan that outlines specific responsibilities for protecting vital information and mission-critical data. The business continuity plan should include protocols for backup and synchronization of all office systems and virtual/mobile devices. It also should address the frequency and format for testing data management integrity and security, as well as how gaps will be identified and addressed.
Inventory vital information and mission-critical data and verify it is being backed up. Initiate backups and ensure the backup data is stored offsite. You may also consider the benefits of imaging the servers to achieve a complete restoration. Use policies regarding the use of the Internet, policies for user authentication, password verification, and unacceptable personal devices and reporting of lost equipment. It is essential to communicate these policies and security protocols to all users and to train new employees when they are hired.
Establish proactive managed IT of the company’s data and IT network. Ensure you are using an IT consulting partner that is using state-of-the-art tools, including remote access, help desk diagnostics, and anti-spam and malware protection. Ensure that your IT support team is doing periodic updates on all software licensing audits and verification that all security patch updates have been installed on a timely basis.
AEC businesses must learn that modern data recovery requires a shift in mindset from firefighting to fire prevention.
Welcome to Worry-Free iT!