For some businesses, Christmas means a slowing down of operations; fewer staff, reduced orders, and more time to catch up on the filing. For other organizations Christmas is the busiest time of the year. Either way, there are definitely some precautions you can take to ensure a Grinch-like machine failure doesn’t steal your holiday cheer!

  1. Back up everything
    Sounds obvious but if your business has any period of shutdown over Christmas, pay particularly attention to your backups on the last working day. If you are still reliant on manual backup tapes, perhaps now is the time to consider backing up your machines virtually or to the cloud? You might want to consider cloning your important machines into the cloud so you have an identical machine ready and waiting to go.
  2. Review your disaster recovery plan
    If a natural or man-made disaster does happen over Christmas which affects your machines, the last thing you want to be doing is piecing together a disaster recover strategy from scratch whilst your loved ones wait for you to come back and serve the turkey. Include detailed plans of what needs to happen should your vital servers fail. And make sure you have a contact list of any staff or third parties that need to be informed.
  3. Test your backups
    There are easy ways of testing that your backups will work If you can test your recovery plan ahead of a real failure then you can rest easy over Christmas with complete recovery assurance. Do you know what you would do if your backup failed?
  4. Secure your devices – online and offline
    If you will only have a skeleton staff in during the holiday period, consider locking away any easily removable devices (even those that usually remain on desks). And make sure any server rooms are locked and secured.
  5. Don’t make it easy for the hackers
    Make sure remote access to servers and emails will be secure over Christmas, as an increased number of staff may work from home, or be unable to get to the office due to bad weather. This is often a point of weakness in DR plans and one that’s easy for hackers to exploit.
  6. Carry this advice home with you
    With all the new devices people often receive for Christmas, don’t let a mechanical or human error ruin the memories you have captured on new smartphones, tablets or cameras. Consider investing in an external hard drive and/or backing up to the cloud.
  7. Exploit the peace and quiet if you’re more bah humbug than ho ho ho!
    If you aren’t too concerned about missing out on the festivities, this time of year offers an opportunity to perform significant testing with minimal impact. With natural change freezes and lack of migrations and production upgrades, Christmas is actually the perfect time to test, test and test again.

Ensuring that your backup environment is ready to cope with the holidays is an integral part of being able to relax and enjoy the festivities. If you compromise your ability to restore your critical files and machines, you risk compromising customer relationships and family ones!