With the new Data Protection Act (GDPR) coming into force on 25th May 2018, it is even more important to keep your businesses data safe and secure. It is also essential that, as a business, you know where all your data is stored and that all staff are educated on the importance of storing data safely, including the risk of keeping data on mobile platforms.

The amount of data being stored is increasing day by day. In recent times, managing business data has changed. We live in a digital age where a large number of resources are shared on mobile phones, laptops and other mobile devices that never touch the organisation’s network.

The safety of your data during a crisis will depend on the steps you have put in place for before and after a disaster strikes. There is no magic answer, other than to have a plan in place to protect your company’s important files and applications.

There are three main steps you may need to consider: securing, protecting and managing your data proactively.

Step one: Secure

Ensuring that your company and customers’ data is secure is your top priority if you are to a) keep your business running after a disaster, and b) retain customer confidence. Use of a robust, offsite back-up system is essential – especially one such as in a dedicated disaster recovery centre, where your data is held in a super-secure environment protected, for example, by state-of-the-art encryption systems, high-definition CCTV and on-site security guards.

Step two: Protect

After identifying the key risks your business faces, you need to put a plan in place that will protect your data. For example, installing antivirus software, regularly and securely backing up data, plus ensuring there are up-to-date maintenance agreements in place, can all help to protect your IT systems. Additionally, you may want to consider paying an external company to regularly back up your data offsite on a secure server held at its data centre.

Step three: Manage

Swift action following a disruption is key to minimising its impact, so a detailed, written business continuity plan is your blueprint for managing your recovery. In it, you can include a checklist of all the steps and actions you need to take to restore your business should the worst happen – and include projected timings for recovery. This is a handy way to make sure every step is considered and put in place – and helps you to keep your customers informed.

Finally, it’s a good idea to make sure that a copy of your business continuity plan is kept offsite in a secure location, such as at the home of a key member of staff. You also need to ensure that your plan is reviewed/tested and updated on a regular basis to give you confidence that you have a method to manage your way through any significant disruption to your business.