PCS Blog

When It Is Too Late…

Most business owners and leaders are aware of the potential catastrophic loss of everything from a physical stand point. However, over the 24 years I have worked in IT, the non-tangible loss is rarely considered, until it is too late.  

Recently, we have started working with several new clients, after it has been too late. It genuinely pains me to see a business lose everything they have worked so hard to build, knowing it could have been easily prevented. It is not always a building fire, hardware failure, theft, or something physically catastrophic that leads to loss. With the ever-changing landscape in technology, viruses and hackers have been bringing businesses to their knees.  

The good news is that there is hope for all businesses. Almost everyone has heard of backups, but that is a very broad term. For every client, we design solutions that protect what is critical and deliver an acceptable recovery time from all types of disasters. With the following scenario, you will be able to see a realistic painting of what this looks like when one of these catastrophes occurs.

Setting the stage:  Thomas owns an accounting firm with 15 CPAs. The accounting firm pays out approximately $600/hr for labor, not including the support staff. Every hour that is lost during the first four months of the year puts the team behind, leads to upset clients, and additional payroll. Disaster seems to always occur at the most inopportune time, so for this scenario it takes place on March 21st. An employee opens and email with a .zip file attachment that contains legitimate tax documents from a client, but in additionally it contains a crypto virus. This virus goes unnoticed by the basic (free) antivirus that was setup by Thomas’ friend that does a little IT on the side

Now choose your own adventure:

Scenario One:

Thomas uses a cloud/local file level backup. Backups are not only stored locally, but they are also stored in the cloud. Five days go by and it’s the 26th of March. The virus is discovered and a restore needs to be done. However, only files can be restored, and the files contain the virus going back to the 21st Because there are historical backups of data in the cloud, files can be restored from the 20th.  The server that contains the virus needs to be reinstalled and the data needs to be restored from the cloud. The loss of work is 9 days. A potential cost of $43,200.  (Not including IT labor/fees.)  The schedule is way off, and customers are getting very frustrated. Thomas and his team are back to work on the 30th.

Scenario Two:
Thomas uses a local machine level backup. This backs up not only the data files but also the server operating system. Five days go by and it’s the 26th of March. The virus is discovered and a restore needs to be done. Because the backups contained the virus, the restore needs to be from the 20th of March. A clean restore cannot be done from the local backups because only 4 days are retained locally. A restore is done from the 21st, the day of the infection. (This backup contains the least amount of infection damage.) The restore takes 1 business day, and then an additional 2 business days are required to scrub and clean the server. Note: A potential fear that the virus is still lurking in the background exists. The total loss of work is 7 days. A potential cost of $33,600.  (Not including IT labor/fees.)  The schedule is way off, and customers are getting very frustrated. Thomas and his team are back to work on the 29th.

Scenario Three:
Thomas uses a cloud/local machine level backup. This is an additional step up because it also backs up the server operating system into the cloud. Not a bad solution; in fact, this solution is common in most enterprise environments. Five days go by and it’s the 26th of March. The virus is discovered and a restore needs to be done. Because the backups contained the virus, the restore needs to be from the 20th of March. This cannot be restored from the local backups because it now resides in the cloud. Only 4 days are retained locally. The restore takes 1 business day, and the total loss of work is 6 days. A potential cost of $28,800. (Not including IT labor/fees.) The schedule is way off, and customers are getting very frustrated. Thomas and his team are back to work on the 28th.

Scenario Four: 
Thomas uses a cloud/local machine level, with Disaster Recovery (DR) solution. Thomas chose wisely in this scenario, for he cannot afford downtime or loss of data. In addition, Thomas hired a team of engineers to watch over his backups, so that he doesn’t have to worry about IT, and he can focus on his business. This team noticed that the backup that ran 30 minutes after the file was downloaded was infected with the virus, even though his free antivirus software did not detect the virus. Thomas then received a call from one of the Engineers telling him that his server is infected. The Engineer asked Thomas if he could recover the server from before the infection occurred, to avoid additional infection. This would give the Engineering team time investigate the source of the virus, without interrupting business. Thomas lost 30 minutes of work with a potential cost of $300.00. (Not including IT labor/fees.) Everything stays on schedule, and the clients are happy.

Now it is time to decide, before it’s too late…

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