A solid IT infrastructure is an essential component of most successful businesses today. IT systems make it easier for companies to store, organize and use client information. They also improve the speed of a company’s communications as well as its overall efficiency. If working correctly, though, a business’s IT infrastructure should go unnoticed. It should be running smoothly in the background, providing everyone with the information and tools they need to get the job done.
IT systems are not immune to unexpected threats, though, and with so much riding on them, failure in a business’s IT infrastructure can often mean the failure of the business itself! Here are some of the ways that even a good business can fall apart if it doesn’t have a recovery plan in place to deal with unexpected IT disasters.
Breakdown in Communication Means Breakdown in Business
When it comes to running a successful business, communication is everything. But all the contact info and lines of communication that businesses usually take for granted can and do fail.
Whether due to human error, machine error, a breach in network security, or even because of unpredictable natural disasters, communications systems go down every day. And just like in relationships, when communication breaks down in business, things fall apart. If you’re running a company in which the timely delivery of information is crucial, the effects of a failure in your communications system can be especially devastating.
Take the example of Bush Ross, a Tampa, Fla. law firm that recently made the news. When Hurricane Charlie struck Florida a few years back, it took down the firm’s T1 phone lines. The lawyers at Bush Ross were cut off from their clients for 24 hours. Since the clients never gave out their cellphone numbers, the courts had no way of contacting them either. This resulted in massive headaches for everyone involved. Bush Ross had enough of a reputation and enough experience to patch things up with their clients and the courts after the crisis was over, but that lapse in communication had the potential to result in cases falling through and clients being lost.
It Can be Hard to Recover When You’ve Lost All Your Data
A study conducted by the IT company Aveco found that roughly 20 percent of businesses will undergo some kind of hardware or infrastructure disaster during their lifespan. Such disasters can be caused by anything from a flood or a fire to a malware virus. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, out of those companies that undergo a disaster without a proper recovery plan in place, 80 percent fail within a year, and almost half of them don’t even try to re-open. And even worse, out of those businesses that experienced severe data loss, only about 7 percent make it for more than five years.
If the bleakness of those numbers is surprising, it shouldn’t be. Building a business is hard work, and re-building it again from scratch after something like a flood or a fire is even harder. Add to that a complete loss of data and the chances of getting your business back on its feet get even worse.
Clients Don’t Want to Hear About Accidents
Clients don’t often want to hear excuses from the businesses whose services they’ve paid for, even if those excuses are legitimate ones. Loss of data or communication capabilities caused by IT system failures can seriously damage the client’s trust, and it can be very difficult or sometimes impossible to get that trust back.
This is especially the case when you’re talking about enterprises like investment firms and startups; in other words, businesses in which data loss or down time can translate into clients losing thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars or more! When it comes right down to it, most clients won’t care why you failed them but simply that you did. And if a business is unable to retain clients and/or rebuild its client base after an IT disaster, it stands little chance of success.
From Philadelphia to Phoenix, disaster recovery plans are essential for every business. Whether by way of private cloud services, enlisting the help of a trusted data center, or any of the many ways to ensure the security of your data—do it. It might be an extra cost incurred upfront, but in the end, it is miniscule pocket change compared to losing your business entirely.
Guest post by Vin