A Disaster Recovery Plan Begins With a Risk Assessment

a man hanging from the side of a cliff

A disaster recovery plan is the ultimate shield against the unforeseen.

The impact on your business can be severe, from hardware malfunctions to devastating fires and flooding. The linchpin to a swift and efficient response lies in the foundation of a well-crafted Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).

Let’s delve into the crux of initiating a robust DRP with a thorough Risk Assessment. By scrutinizing your company’s vulnerable assets and assigning clear-cut roles to your team members, you can streamline recovery and fortify your business against potential calamities.

The Crucial Role of Disaster Recovery Plans

To comprehend the gravity of disaster recovery plans, one must grasp the potential disruptions that could shatter the smooth flow of business operations. A meticulously executed DRP bestows a multitude of advantages upon your organization.

It curtails the downtime induced by glitches such as hardware failures, structural fires, or inundation. Often, the significance of a documented plan is underestimated by smaller enterprises, yet even the slightest disturbance can significantly impede recovery without one in place.

Implementing a disaster recovery plan amplifies responsiveness, quells confusion, and ensures unambiguous decision-making in times of crisis. The participation of C-level stakeholders is imperative, as they hold the key to addressing vulnerabilities and orchestrating countermeasures. Their unwavering backing is paramount to the successful execution of the plan.

Moreover, embarking on a risk assessment journey, such as a business impact analysis, is a pivotal stride toward identifying vulnerable assets and delineating the responsibilities of team members.

The Indispensable Role of C-Level Stakeholders

The active involvement of C-level stakeholders is pivotal in effectively addressing weaknesses and orchestrating responses within a disaster recovery plan. IT professionals recognize that securing the wholehearted endorsement of C-level executives is indispensable for successful implementation. These leaders contribute their expertise and wield decision-making authority, ensuring the comprehensiveness of the plan aligns with the organization’s objectives.

Their participation also secures executive support, which is instrumental in procuring the necessary resources and budget for the plan. Efficient communication strategies serve as another crucial aspect in engaging C-level stakeholders. They pave the way for lucid and effective communication between the IT department and the executive team, guaranteeing a unified front during a crisis.

Conducting a Comprehensive Business Impact Analysis

An exhaustive risk assessment is pivotal for a holistic Business Impact Analysis within a disaster recovery plan.

The process of risk assessment entails assessing potential hazards and vulnerabilities that could impede the organization’s operations during a crisis. By identifying these weak spots, organizations can strategize effective risk mitigation methods to minimize the impact of potential disruptions.

Moreover, a business impact analysis aids in determining the recovery time objectives defining the permissible downtime for critical processes and systems. It involves a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis to gauge the financial implications of deploying diverse recovery strategies.

Incident response planning is a crucial component of the business impact analysis, outlining the step-by-step procedures to follow during a crisis.

In essence, a comprehensive Risk Assessment serves as the bedrock of a resilient Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP). By enlisting C-level stakeholders’ participation and meticulously scrutinizing vulnerable assets, businesses can ensure a swift and effective response to unforeseen events.

This systematic and detail-oriented approach paves the way for identifying specific roles and responsibilities, streamlining the recovery process, and shielding the business from potential disasters.

Never underestimate the power of a well-crafted DRP – it might just be the linchpin to curtailing delays and safeguarding your business.

Benefits of a Disaster Recovery Plan for Fort Lauderdale Businesses

a person sitting in a chair looking at a wall with drawings on it

Every business that operates in Fort Lauderdale has become all too familiar with the various disasters that befall the region. For example, hurricanes are a very common and potent problem in this area. The loss of valuable information compounded with physical destruction results in between 40 and 60% of small businesses never reopening after a hurricane. Hurricanes combined with hardware system failures, cyberattacks, and human error are all reasons to examine the benefits of a disaster recovery plan for Fort Lauderdale businesses.

What is a Disaster Recovery Plan?

In terms of business, a disaster recovery plan is a documented, systematic means of restoring a company’s operating capabilities and/or data after a disaster has damaged the physical or digital aspects of the business.

Disaster Recovery Plans Instill Confidence in Customers

Any company will (rightfully) lose customers if they are unable to protect their data. When securing clients for your business in Fort Lauderdale, a disaster recovery plan can be framed as a measure to reduce their risk by choosing to work with you. The ability to securely back up and maintain customer data off-site or use secure Cloud systems will bolster a client’s confidence in your business. They’ll understand that storms, fires, or cyberattacks will not prevent you from keeping their information safe

Off-Site Backup Facilities Restore Processes Almost Immediately

Hardware losses are a gut punch for many businesses. Depending on a company’s needs, a disaster recovery plan could simply back up data from hard drives. This allows the business to get their data back as a minimum standard of safety. However, more critical, driven businesses can consider hot and cold sites for their needs. A hot site is a secure, off-site location that has all the hardware and software that a business needs to step into the area and get back to work immediately. Cold site facilities are secure and can be stocked with hardware. However, requires further setup before the business can resume.

These different levels of preparedness provide companies with several options for maintaining their business and getting started after a disaster. At a minimum, this protection will restore lost data. However, full coverage allows workers to get back to business as soon as possible.

Next-Generation Cyber Security Ends Threats Before They Start

Unless a business is specifically positioned to provide unique and valuable information, the chances are good that it won’t be directly targeted by cybercriminals. The best thing to do is make the company the least viable target for hackers and corporate espionage. Thus, it will be passed over to more opportune targets. Furthermore, implementing physical security measures and industry-specific cybersecurity suites can cut down on the potential for loss in your business. Additionally, maintain backups of valuable data in storage not connected to the original source.

Preparing your business for a loss requires thinking about the unthinkable. Unfortunately, Fort Lauderdale has a seemingly omnipresent threat of damaging hurricanes along with the typical threats to business. Fortunately, working with local businesses like Bluwater Technologies, a Wheelhouse IT company, to put a disaster recovery plan in place can prevent the worst from happening after a catastrophe. Using this local company that understands the difficulties of operating in this market, any small or medium-sized business can prepare for the worst. Then, customize their plan to suit their specific needs.

Call us at (954) 474-2204 or click here to request a quote.

5 Ways to Reduce IT Costs That You Can Act On Now

a hand writing on a chalkboard with a white marker

If information technology costs are eating up a large portion of your company’s budget, then you are not alone. In fact, it is estimated that small businesses spend upwards of 7% of their revenue on IT costs. Yet, with IT playing such a critical role in ensuring a business’s productivity and security, it can be extremely difficult to find ways to control, or even lower, IT costs. However, you may be surprised to learn that there are simple, actionable steps that you can take to lower your company’s mounting IT costs.

Here is a look at 5 things that you can do now to reduce your business’s IT costs:


One method that can help you to see considerable IT cost savings is virtualization. Essentially, virtualization means replacing physical hardware with virtual alternatives. With virtualization, companies no longer need to depend entirely on physical servers, as they can combine many functions into a single server by switching functions to virtual environments. This can save money by reducing energy and hardware expenses.  

Optimize Infrastructure for IT Costs

It may surprise you to learn that structured cabling, wireless network layouts, and other infrastructure can cost you money if they are not configured properly. However, when infrastructure is improperly configured, this can result in decreased productivity and increased electrical costs, which can add up greatly over time. Making sure that these systems are configured with efficiency in mind is critical in order to keep costs down.  

Backup Data Regularly

Backing up data may not be something that would save you money in the short term. However, it can mean exponential savings in the long run. Proper data backup is a critical IT cost reduction strategy. It can help to protect you from substantial losses in the event of a cyber attack or natural disaster. Without proper system backups, productivity would come to a grinding halt. Then, you would have to spend money trying to retrieve lost data. However, when you properly backup data regularly, both to physical and cloud-based backups, you can rest easy knowing that your business will be able to get back up on its feet quickly after a disaster.  

Vendor Management

Hardware and software purchases can quickly eat up a huge chunk of your company’s budget. Whether it’s buying brand new computers for your office, or a company license to upgrade your company’s computers to Windows 10, IT hardware and software often isn’t a cheap investment. This is why it is recommended that you work with a company that offers IT vendor management services. These companies can help you to find the hardware and software that you need. They also do so at exclusive prices that you would not be able to find on your own. Thus, helping to save you money. 

Streamline IT Costs with Managed IT Services

Of course, one of the best ways to reduce IT costs would be to outsource your IT needs to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). For small to medium-sized businesses, it often isn’t feasible to maintain an in-house IT staff. In these instances, companies often find it in their best interest to partner with an MSP. They can provide contracted IT services on an as-needed basis. This can drastically reduce IT costs as you will only be paying for the services that you need. Versus paying full-time staff. Not only can outsourcing save you money, but you will also gain access to superior IT services. This is because MSPs have greater resources to research and implement the latest IT technology.

While mounting IT costs can seem like an unfixable problem for many businesses, there are steps that you can take to greatly reduce IT expenses.

Contact us to learn more about the steps that you can take to save money on IT costs at your company.

The RobbinHood Attack Could Cost Baltimore $18 Million

a skull and crossbones on a red background

In May 2019, the city of Baltimore found itself in major IT trouble.

A crippling ransomware attack took down systems in almost every government department. The files became encrypted and couldn’t be recovered. The perpetrators demanded 13 Bitcoin — about $76,000 — to restore the files.

To its credit, the city refused to pay the criminals. To its discredit, the city’s IT management was in such bad shape that fixing the damage cost the city millions. Baltimore was not prepared at all for any large-scale data disaster. Other IT operations should learn from Baltimore’s example and avoid its mistakes.

The Attack on Baltimore

The ransomware that hit Baltimore goes by the name of RobbinHood. It’s an aggressive piece of malware that attacks Windows computers. It starts by stopping services that could interfere with encryption, including security software. It disables Windows automatic repair. Only then does it encrypt the documents on the computer and display a message demanding payment.

Currently, there’s no known way to recover the files without paying.

The attack on Baltimore’s systems disabled email and other services. They lost a large number of important records. The city’s emergency services, including the police and fire departments, withstood the attack apart from losing email access. A few other systems did as well.

Email and payment processing systems remained down for weeks. People were unable to pay taxes and fines. The lack of access to data held up real estate transactions.

According to current estimates, recovery has cost the city $18.2 million, including lost revenue. It could be even more. They diverted money from services to pay the costs, and taxpayers will certainly experience the consequences. The good news is that it will pay for major improvements in IT security.

Baltimore Mistakes

No network on the Internet is 100% immune to ransomware. They should be prepared for the worst, but Baltimore’s IT setup was not prepared at all. Some of the problems were so plain that city councillors called them “mind-boggling.” Critical data was stored on desktop machines, with no systematic backup.

The city had no IT disaster recovery plan. It had no insurance against data disasters. Ransomware insurance is a growing business, but the city of Baltimore hadn’t taken advantage of it.

They didn’t regularly patch computers to remove Windows vulnerabilities, and the systems contained weaknesses that were waiting to be exploited.

The city’s CIO received the blame and became suspended from his job. He faced criticism for poor communication after the attack. He took measures to improve security after the 2018 ransomware incident, but they proved to be insufficient.

How to Avoid a Ransomware Disaster

Every IT department should assume a ransomware attack can happen. Preparing requires two things. The first is to make the systems as resistant to harm as possible. The second is to be able to recover quickly and without permanent data loss.

Businesses need to keep all important data on well-protected servers and regularly back it up. The Internet highly exposes desktop machines and allows them to run all kinds of software. Most of their users lack skills in data management. Entrusting important data to those machines is an invitation to disaster.

Cloud storage is the best choice in many cases. Companies store it off the premises and professionally manage it to provide the best protection against all kinds of failures

The network should have a disaster recovery plan in place. It protects not only against ransomware but against natural disasters and physical theft. Disaster recovery requires offsite backup and a way to get systems running again quickly. You should periodically test the plan to ensure that it works.

Is Your Security Up to Par?

You need to create and update security plans that have multiple layers. You can’t just throw something together and hope it’s good enough. Bluwater understands ransomware, hardware failure, human error, and other threats to data. We provide assistance ranging from consultation to full security management.

Contact us to learn how we can help you avoid scenarios like the one Baltimore faced.

Data Replication vs. Data Backup – Understanding the Difference

a red object is surrounded by rows of white ones

Recently, the most cost-efficient data restoration mechanism available for SMBs was simply to ensure they maintained regular data backups. This was not necessarily ideal since any restored data came from a previous point in time, and the restoration process to recover data was potentially quite lengthy. This meant a business could be down perhaps even for several days, and any data that was recovered was even older. In this post, we will point out the differences between data backups and data replication and how data replication can now outperform traditional data backups in key areas.

Data Backups 

A traditional data backup is essentially a complete snapshot of a company’s data at one given point in time. While there certainly is value in maintaining a regular complete copy of all corporate data, traditional data backups have some less-than-ideal aspects. More and more businesses rely on their data to efficiently run their business. Thus, even losing a few hours’ worth of data can be quite catastrophic. Therefore, making the less-than-ideal aspects of traditional backups even more glaring.

In the past, the best a small or medium-sized company could hope for in the event of data loss was to restore their last backup. After the restoration process, they relied on manual entrance of their business data. This would bring them to the point just prior to the system failure. This entire process was time-consuming and prone to error.

Data Replication

Up until fairly recently, maintaining a near-mirror replication of company data in a remote location was affordable only for enterprise-level organizations. Now, with cloud-based replication, the costs associated with maintaining a cloud-based, real-time copy of all corporate data is becoming realistically affordable for even smaller businesses. With cloud-based replication, in the event of a system failure, even small companies can have a fresh, up-to-date copy of corporate data available to them within minutes.

If you would like to know more about real-time data replication, please contact us.