Real Stories of Data Disaster: The Importance of an IT Managed Service Provider in New Jersey
There’s no shortage of stories about the types of data disasters various businesses have experienced in the past few decades. Since operational activities are becoming digitized at an increasing pace, it’s expected that these incidents will keep occurring. Not a week goes by without a news broadcast putting the spotlight on another company having issues with their data being lost or breached.
If you’re doing business in New Jersey, you have IT provider TNTMAX on your side. Depending on the size and needs of your organization, IT support can vary from a one-man show to a small army of IT staff.
Regardless of the setup, many IT professionals will quickly attest to the unpredictable nature of their jobs and the challenges managing user expectations and the information infrastructure.
We’re here today to share just a handful of horror stories encountered in the line of duty by our team and those of our colleagues over the years. Hopefully, the mistakes of others serve as references and help bolster the wisdom in following industry-accepted standards.
TNTMAX provides IT managed services for NJ businesses in need of in-depth disaster and recovery plans for their data. Not sure exactly what that means, or how a disaster could strike your business? Here are some stories of actual businesses and what they went through in losing and recovering their data. We thought sharing these examples will help Garden State business owners understand how easy operations can shut down due to a series of tech missteps. You’ll observe a few common themes:
- Human error or willful sabotage
- Hardware or software failures
- Acts of nature
When a backup strategy is based on the file-level only
Company A had a simple strategy to backup all their critical files. Unfortunately, they neglected to apply the same dutifulness to their operating system configuration and installations for customized applications. Even more troubling was that essential applications for the business such as email, customer records, accounting data, and product designs, shared the same server with no redundancy.
A day came that the disk system failed, and the company could not recover its application drives. It took two weeks to rebuild a new array, recover the critical backed up data, and patch all applications. The VARs bill exceeded $20,000.
Lessons: Include image-level backups for a more comprehensive data backup strategy. Validate recovery plans to be sure you can retrieve your data when you need it.
When IT staff skimps on their duties
An academic institution with a team of IT staff, owned an extensive tape library. Their backup strategy included manually swapping out 24 tapes with new ones every Monday and storing the used tapes in a fireproof safe in a different building. One person was tasked with this responsibility, and he filled a logbook to validate each tape swap.
In addition, at the end of every month and quarter, he and another employee had to test and validate that the backups could be restored. The email servers failed one day, and additional IT staff came in as reinforcements. They were going to restore new servers and the log book pointed them to the latest backup tapes. It was only during this process they discovered the most recent emails on record were 10 months old and didn’t include those of recent hires at the institution. The two people responsible for validating the backups failed to do so and filled the logbook dishonestly, or they would have picked up that the backup server had also stopped working 10 months ago. Fortunately, it was possible to recover data from the failed email servers and copy it manually to the new ones.
Lessons: Don’t procrastinate, validate. Backup data is only as useful as its recoverability. Plus, it’s a good habit to check that people are indeed doing what they say.
In-house IT staff can become overwhelmed with the day to day running of your company’s networks and responding to tickets, that mundane activities like backup validation take a back seat. Outsourcing some part or all of your IT services to an independent and professional company is an excellent way to ensure your business runs smoothly. TNTMAX is an IT managed service provider in New Jersey, and we devise detailed disaster blueprints for clients that allows you to relax—even during temporary system failures.
When natural disasters strike
An internet marketing agency based in Texas faced the wrath like many others of Hurricane Harvey. Their second-floor office was entirely flooded with water from Lake Houston, and for three months, no one could access the building. When the water finally receded, the building was infested with mold at levels too dangerous to health.
Fortunately, the team had the majority of their working documents stored in the cloud, and they could continue work remotely. The arrangement went down a treat that the business remained remote permanently.
Closer to home was the devastation in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy which also shut down the remote backup data centers of many businesses. Sandy’s effects were felt from distances of more than 800 miles away. More specifically, a company providing internet and related services depended on a single data center in Sandy’s path. It ran out of fuel to keep its generators going and shut down, cutting off its services to customers near and far. As one would imagine, due to the nature of services the company provides, its reputation for excellence took a severe hit.
Animals like squirrels, rats, and snakes cause damage to IT systems too. A raccoon chewing through a major power line was responsible for an entire block of buildings losing its power for 2 days.
Lessons: Businesses providing critical internet services should include server virtualization as part of their operational strategy. Multiple servers should be located in different cities all over the world as a defense against widespread natural disasters.
For other brick-and-mortar businesses located close to disaster-prone regions, having cloud backups is a necessity, although internet services in the aftermath of an event might not be reliable.
Organizations are reconsidering the location of their data centers in NYC and NJ because of the severe weather patterns these regions sometimes experience (flooding and winter storms). Let TNTMAX help you decide on the best strategy to keep your IT assets protected. We provide managed IT services for New Jersey businesses and those in the extended regions of neighboring New York counties.
When an employee goes rogue
At Company B, a new IT personnel joined a design and manufacturing company to work as an assistant under a star IT employee. The assistant observed that whenever he needed an older CNC program, he couldn’t find it in the archive folder. However, his supervisor would produce it from nowhere without explaining where he got it from. Although it happened on more than one occasion, the new assistant thought nothing of it until he needed a program that should have been on file while his supervisor was away on vacation.
On further investigation, he and another senior IT staff member discovered that the supervisor had deleted important files from the archives folder but kept a personal copy of them in an external hard drive – which was against company policy. The external hard drive revealed even more company data. The company’s owner who was very fond of the supervisor was stumped for reasons why his trusted employee kept important files all to himself. Perhaps he wanted to use the data as leverage against losing his job?
Thankfully, the CNC programs were also kept in backup tapes should the staff member have carried out his plans to hold the company to ransom. Still, it was a good thing he was caught. He was fired in exemplary fashion, and his assistant took over his position.
Lessons: Treat your in-house IT staff with care, because they are a specialized company resource. They know the ins and outs of your network and have passwords they can decide to keep to themselves. As much as you might not want to think about it, a serious organization will put security measures in place to keep track of active directory accounts, search for hidden scripts in the network, and more. Careful steps should be followed when they leave your company for greener pastures or are fired.
How you can benefit from a professional, IT managed service provider in New Jersey
TNTMAX’s goal is to ensure your operation continues to run at its optimal level. Our IT consultants provide clients with effective tactical strategies that best meet their business goals. Using architectural, operational, planning, and implementation strategies, we identify potential IT pitfalls in your setup and determine the best course of action that will set them up for business success.
TNTMAX will walk you through specific scenarios your business could encounter and the potential aftermath of each. We will then identify valuable assets and ways to safeguard them. We may also run tests such as penetration testing to ensure your assets are secure from potential harm. Ultimately, the goal of a disaster recovery plan is to make sure that your company is prepared for any situation that occurs, whether outside cyber breach or human error. Your detailed recovery plan will provide a step-by-step guide for reducing downtime, restoring backup systems, and resuming work as usual as quickly as possible. Ultimately, if disaster strikes your Garden State business, TNTMAX IT Services & Computer Repair in Bergen County, NJ can get you up and running again.