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Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Prepare Your Business For Data Issues

Companies and individuals are more dependent on technology than ever before, and that dependence grows daily. As such, computer viruses, data leaks, system hacks and other technology-related issues can pose real emergencies. While the thought of something bad happening is difficult to consider, it is vital to take steps to protect yourself, your team, your clients and your overall business.

Here are a few items to consider now to support your preparedness when any potential data issues arise:

1. Make sure your business uses a hosted exchange server. Moving your exchange server offsite ensures your company email, calendar sharing and contacts directory will work, even when your physical office space is unavailable. Plus, moving it offsite removes the cost and complexity of managing the hardware yourself.

2. Utilize hosted VoIP for your business' telephone needs. Moving the brains of your phone system to an offsite solution ensures you can still send and receive calls amidst whatever disaster impacts your area, even when your physical office space is unavailable; plus, this ensures you can transfer calls to anywhere at any time, and each team member will receive voice mail messages as emails to whichever email address he or she prefers.

3. Download apps from the web. Applications installed to your computer by a CD or by the manufacturer of your laptop / desktop require manually upgrading to the latest version. Alternatively, using cloud-based software applications will ensure all team members are always working on the latest software from anywhere on any technological device. Plus, this option provides tools that are more reliable and more easily accessible, enabling your business to function from nearly anywhere.

4. Save important information to a cloud storage solution. Both paper and electronic documents can be damaged by natural disasters when saved locally. An onsite server is subject to local emergencies, especially fire and flood. Having vital data saved in one place leaves you susceptible to viruses and "disappearing" content. However, when you choose a cloud storage solution, such as Backblaze, Carbonite, Crash Plan or Mozy, your information is encrypted and saved in several places, making it much safer and more secure. Convert paper documents to an electronic format and, then, store them remotely, making all your information easily accessible AND safe from harm. Here are some items to include:
- insurance policies and contact phone numbers
- business licenses, permits, articles of organization and EIN
- bank account numbers and representatives' contact information
- deeds to properties
- service contracts for all your products / tools and the contact numbers for those overseeing their maintenance
- inventories, both of items in office space as well as items to sell

5. Create and implement a cybersecurity strategy. For my clients, I recommend a consultation with Bianca Montes Jones of justotech; however, no matter with whom you consult, it's important to make sure your company has appropriate virus protection, is not susceptible to hacks and maintains appropriate restrictions for team members' use of the Internet.

A little bit of risk management up front can lead to saving a good deal of money, headaches and heartache over time. Click here for a video overview of steps you can take to prepare your business for potential data issues, and please share successes in the comments.

What steps will you take now to boost your preparedness?

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