Insurance, Medical Aid and Backups

Grudge purchases are things that we know we have to have but don’t particularly want. No one wants to buy insurance but we recognize that it’s a good thing to have (although we’re actually buying peace of mind, not insurance).

One of the dangers associated with grudge purchases is that we don’t do our homework properly before making them. It’s a hassle finding the best insurance quote and sometimes very difficult to compare apples with apples. The result is often that we are either over- or under-insured. If we’re over-insured, it basically means we’re paying for something we don’t need. On the other hand, being under-insured could mean that, should something go wrong and you need to claim, you’re unexpectedly faced with the reality that you’re unable to replace what you’ve lost.

The challenge lies in the fact that if you don’t do your homework properly upfront, and regularly review your requirements, you’ll only become aware of the real situation when something goes wrong, and by then it might be too late.

When I buy a new car, I typically keep it for 10 to 15 years. If you don’t challenge them, insurance companies are quite happy to increase your premium every year. What they don’t take into account is that the value of you car decreases monthly (King Price excluded ). My wife had a recent claim and discovered that although her car was valued at R 36k, it was insured for R 86k – in spite of her reviewing and challenging her premiums annually! In my case, when the car’s value gets very low, I change the policy from comprehensive to third party, fire and theft. If I’m involved in an accident and my car is written off, I’ll have to pay for a new one out of my own pocket, but the other party’s damages will be covered. The point is that I’m fully aware of the worst case scenario and am comfortable with taking the risk associated with it.

Implementing a backup system for your data is a grudge purchase – we know we have to do it, but don’t particularly want to spend any time or money to implement a backup solution that will properly mitigate our risks.

Running a business always has an inherent risk. There are many factors, often outside your control, that could sink your company. Implementing a secure and reliable backup solution is however totally within your control.

To determine if your backup system meets your requirements ask yourself: “What is the worst that can happen?”
Once you know the scenario the next question is: “If I restore my latest backup after this scenario, would I have lost any data?” If your answer to this question is “Yes”, the next questions should be:

  • Can I get the data back?
  • How long will it take and how much will it cost?
  • What will the overall impact on my business be?

I ran a small successful software development company many years ago. Every afternoon, before going home, I ran a tape backup of our server and took it home with me. I had 5 tapes (one for every weekday) and would leave the day’s tape at home while taking with the next day’s tape.

One night we had a break-in and all our computers were stolen. Within 4 hours I was fully operational again with no data loss.

If all your computers disappeared overnight, would your company survive?

Unfortunately, this type of story does not always have a happy ending.

The following statistics were gathered from various sources:

  • 6% of all PCs will suffer an episode of data loss in any given year. Given the number of PCs used in US businesses in 1998, that translates to approximately 4.6 million data loss episodes. At a conservative estimate, data loss cost US businesses $11.8 billion in 1998. (The Cost Of Lost Data, David M. Smith)
  • 30% of all businesses that have a major fire go out of business within a year. 70% fail within five years. (Home Office Computing Magazine)
  • 31% of PC users have lost all of their files due to events beyond their control.
  • 34% of companies fail to test their tape backups, and of those that do, 77% have found tape back-up failures.
  • 60% of companies that lose their data will shut down within 6 months of the disaster.
  • 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately. (National Archives & Records Administration in Washington)
  • American business lost more than $7.6 billion as a result of viruses during first six months of 1999. (Research by Computer Economics)
  • Companies that aren’t able to resume operations within ten days (of a disaster hit) are not likely to survive. (Strategic Research Institute)
  • Every week 140,000 hard drives crash in the United States. (Mozy Online Backup)
  • Simple drive recovery can cost upwards of $7,500 and success is not guaranteed.

Although these statistics are for American companies and refer to the 1990s, the situation in South Africa today is likely to be the same, if not worse.

Eliminate the risk of data loss today!

If you use virtual servers and would like to discuss options for protecting your data, give us a call.