How to Develop a Successful Technology Plan For Your Business
What would happen if you suddenly could not get to your email, your customer database, or your accounting system? What affect would this have on your business?
No matter what industry you are in, you depend on one thing to be successful–timely and accurate information.
Whether it is the names, telephone numbers and product preferences of your clients, vendors pricing, or details about government programs, tracking this information is essential, so you can use it to make critical business decisions.
This is not something you can afford to leave to chance. Preparing an effective technology plan is necessary to ensure that you will have access to the information you need, when you need it.
How do you develop such a plan?
The first step is to realize this is not a one-time project. It is an on-going effort that requires continual attention. Once you have the general framework of the plan in place, you will need to fully implement it to be effective. Certain elements (such as backup and disaster recovery testing) need to occur on a regular basis, so that you can verify your processes are working and your data will be there in an emergency.
Next, you should assess the needs of your business for security and redundancy.
Security refers to who has access to what data, software and hardware. If you are a one-person shop, you may have access to everything–but you should know what that means in terms of what you might inadvertently break. If your business has employees, you need to consider the data each person can view or delete–either maliciously or accidentally.
Redundancy refers to your fallback plan for mission critical systems. Does your business currently rely on a single-point of failure? What would be required to bypass that system if it stopped working? Does the cost of downtime justify investing in a secondary system?
Finally, you should give some thought to remote server monitoring, backups, and disaster recovery. No matter how much you prepare, eventually something will go wrong. You cannot change this–you must work around it.
A remote server monitoring solution can help you sleep at night. This type of early warning system can let you know immediately when a problem occurs, so you can address it, and perhaps prevent data loss.
As mentioned above, you should test your backups on a regular basis, to verify that you really are backing up what you think you are backing up–and that you can restore it successfully.
Disaster recovery planning helps you prepare for a worst-case scenario. Like your backups, a such a plan should be tested periodically–including the restoration of all business-critical software and data on fallback hardware–to ensure that your organization can continue to function in the event of a fire, a flood, theft, or other disruptive event.
Developing and implementing an effective technology plan is a lot of work–but the payoff is peace-of-mind that your business data is secure, and that you can continue to work, even when problems inevitably occur.