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Tech Challenges For Nonprofits: Business Continuity And Data Backup

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In most industries, information technology has become absolutely essential to the ordinary flow of business. What plans do you have in place to keep your organisation running if your tech gets disrupted? This is what business continuity planning is all about: Ensuring that your organisation has a well-thought-out plan for dealing with all sorts of adversity, from human error to natural disasters. The two key parts of preparing continuity plans are to identify the technology functions that are truly essential for your business and to make redundant or alternative arrangements to preserve your access to business IT support in Surrey.

2012 offered a perfect example in the Northeast in the form of Hurricane Sandy. The very same floods, transportation interruptions, and power outages that inconvenienced and endangered millions in New York and New Jersey also crippled many nonprofit organisations that could and should have been able to help. Organisations that relied entirely on local, in-house IT infrastructure were helpless to make use of it when it was needed most. This crisis could have been prevented by arranging for remote access and cloud backup systems ahead of time. Some of the most unfortunate nonprofits caught in this trap temporarily (or even permanently) lost access to vital data on donors, constituencies, and operations.

In order to ensure smooth business continuity during exceptional circumstances, you need backup protocols for both the operations you perform and the data you access on a daily basis. We’ve provided some helpful advice below to get you started.

Online File Backup: What Is It?

When you have online file backup systems in place, everything on your computer’s hard drive is remotely backed up via an online connection. You dictate exactly which files (e.g. documents, media files) are backed up this way. If you lose access to the local files for whatever reason – theft, damage, equipment failure, or even accidental erasure – you can restore the information that’s lost quickly and easily using the online backup service.

Are Online File Backups Secure?

In a word, yes. Proper online backup services are protected by the same data security protocols used by financial institutions to keep sensitive data secure. You can rest easy knowing that your online backup service is keeping your organisation’s vital data just as secure as your personal bank accounts and credit cards.

How Do Online Backup Services Operate?

Functionally, most online backup services work by asking you to download a small software package on the laptops and desktops you need to be backed up. This program will start by asking you to identify the files that need to be protected via backup and to schedule a convenient time to schedule automated backups. At Sinu, this is the full extent of your involvement in the backup process; we handle all of the most complex logistics for you.

How Does File Restoration From An Online Backup Service Work?

Different service providers offer different restoration procedures, but regaining access to lost information is usually as simple as logging into an online account and downloading the files you need. The amount of time required will depend on how much data you’re currently protecting with you online backup service. Modest amounts of data can be completely recovered in just hours, while larger files and large collections can take days to get back.

I’m Worried About Cloud-Based Backups Being Hacked. Aren’t In-House Backups Safer?

While major corporations might be able to provide superior security in-house, this simply isn’t an option for small businesses and nonprofit organisations. Security is one of the top spending priorities for cloud service providers, and they spend millions to stay on the cutting edge of the industry. Security breaches could spell the end of an online backup service and even damage the reputation of the industry as a whole, so preventing them is treated with the greatest concern. Backup service providers have all of the best reasons to prioritise the security of their clients’ data; they do this by investing huge sums in security hardware, software, expertise, and training.

Backup Laptops As Well As Desktops

In many nonprofits, a decent backup system is in place to protect the organisation’s data as long as it’s stored on servers. Data stored on individual employees’ computers needs to be protected as well, especially on laptops. Because laptops are easy to steal, lose, or damage, they present a special security challenge. We encourage our clients to meet that challenge with an online backup solution for all of their organisation’s laptops.

Thanks to the rise of cloud computing, disaster recovery and business continuity are now simply extensions of basic data management, and making plans in these areas is well within the reach of even the smallest organisations.

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