The notion of “loss” is the stuff of nightmares for anyone involved in business.
There’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night from a dream where everything has suddenly gone financially awry
Unpleasant though the experience may be, I’d like to think that such nerve-rattling nocturnal jolts are the subconscious’ way of giving you a mental nudge to stay sharp and sustainable.
Certainly, there’s nothing like the prospect of a bottom line hit to whip diligent business folk into shape.
Unfortunately, it is the ability to anticipate and deal with another type of loss that is still knocking many in the region for six.
There’s plenty of concern about losing money, but data? Not so much. Or at least not as much as there should be.
Business leaders often dismiss data as a tedious and/or abstract administrative footnote, but I’d argue that it is more critical than ever before.
I won’t bore you a lengthy discourse about why data is the mojo that keeps businesses ticking over and the inspirational fuel source to unlock new opportunities but, in short, you’re in trouble if you lose it.
Of course it varies from business to business but, for some, downtime due to data-loss can turn into a disaster, be it operational or reputational. Either way, it will harm your ability to turn a profit.
In fairness, the Middle East, packed as it is with relatively young businesses, is generally pretty good when it comes to disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
As companies are comparatively early on in their lifespans they are more likely to be automated and less encumbered by obsolete processes.
Even so, there are many that obliviously forge ahead and even those that feel they are on top of their game could do with an occasional mental nudge to stay on course.
VARs working in this field should have a big say here. This is not a process a business can tackle alone. A top notch system integration team is essential.
For those currently without disaster recovery or business continuity plans, or indeed systems that have seen better days, the overhaul needs to happen as soon as possible.
The more you let your data build up the more expensive it will become. Establish a reference architecture early on so you can plan and scale in the most efficient manner possible.
The first step is always to understand what you are dealing with, what are you trying to protect against, and how your business will cope in the event of a disaster.
Only then can you start to focus on the IT side, which is all about data integrity and availability.
Having said that, not all data is equally valuable or at risk, so it is important not to approach the process with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality. Highlight risk-levels and assign appropriate values and actions.
It is also worth conducting a cost and risk analysis. You need to understand the financial impact of losing data at every juncture.
Optimal disaster recovery and business continuity plans can only ever come as the result of a deep understanding of business objectives and rigorous consultation that spans the entire solution cycle –from design and implementation to comprehensive post-sales support. Healthy data leads to healthy profits. And, one would hope, a better night’s sleep.