Monthly Archives: July 2023

Disaster-Proof Your Business with a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan

As recent events like severe storms demonstrate, disasters will occur. But they needn’t sideline your business. Read more to find out about developing a plan to mitigate the effects of disasters on your company’s data and network. 


The Cost of Failing to Plan


The cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute! Multiply that out, and you could be paying hundreds of thousands or even millions for lost revenue, lost wages (or overtime when systems come back online), or fines for regulatory non-compliance. Even if unplanned downtime is just an hour, the cost is steep. The revenue you lose because your customers can’t purchase items on your website, and even missed deadlines for projects, can hurt your bottom line and your reputation with customers. Data breaches from cyberattacks can reduce your customers’ trust as well, and possibly result in fines for regulatory non-compliance. By not having a plan, you may waste valuable time because you don’t know what to do first. 


Developing a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan


A business continuity/disaster recovery plan is vital in protecting your company. The disaster recovery aspect deals with how your business will bounce back from a natural or manmade disaster.  How do you develop your plan? A good first step is assessing the current state of your network as well as the risks your company faces. Do your systems have any holes where malware can enter or places where data might become bottlenecked? Do you have redundancy/failover so that if one part of your network is down, another part can pick up the traffic? What about equipment you have on-premise–is it protected from overheating, a common cause of equipment failure? And what about cyber defense? Is your data backed up and safeguarded in the event of loss or intrusion? Finally, consider whether your employees are adequately trained and able to recognize (and stop) a potential phishing attempt. A robust plan will have provisions for infrastructure, systems, processes and personnel.


Keep Your Plan in Shape


Once you have a plan and implement it, testing will show how well it works. Staging mock events will show how workers act in the event of a cyberattack, and will show what they know (or don’t). Testing your plan will show what areas are strong and which need fixing. How quickly, for example, can data be retrieved from backup? Making detailed note of what goes well will help refine your plan and prepare you in case of an emergency.


Disasters come, but need not harm your business; having a plan is key. For guidance, contact your trusted technology advisor today. 

Business Benefits and Risks of Using Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its applications have the potential to radically improve business processes. Like all technologies, it comes with risks, too. Read on to learn more how small to medium-size businesses can leverage AI while mitigating the potential risks of this growing technology. 


More and More Businesses Use Artificial Intelligence


Use of artificial intelligence is growing, and is only expected to increase. According to a report cited by a CompTIA article, the market for AI is expected to grow by 38.1% each year until 2030–from 2022’s market of $119.7 billion. Tech and financial services are the industry sectors using it most, with telecommunications at 5%. Customer satisfaction for companies using artificial intelligence is expected to grow by 25%. What makes AI such a draw, especially for small to medium-sized businesses?


Benefits of Artificial Intelligence


Artificial intelligence can be used for business processes like automated chat, or to analyze great amounts of data in a way more time- and labor-saving than humans can. For smaller companies, having automated processes can free up a smaller staff from performing mundane tasks.  Businesses can use AI to get customer feedback to change course in product/service offerings if needed. Automation by AI can even help with cybersecurity by detecting patterns and even anomalies in the sea of data generated by businesses–perhaps stopping a cyberattack in its tracks. Artificial intelligence can also be taught to shut down affected systems and isolate the threat. In terms of saving costs, businesses can allow automated chat to handle simple and quick customer service queries, allowing workers to focus on more complex issues. Moreover, your business may be seen as proactive and responsive, giving it a competitive edge.


Possible Risks of Using Artificial Intelligence


The benefits are apparent, but so are the risks. A substantial percentage (62%) of McKinsey 

Respondents named cybersecurity as the biggest risk. Systems using AI can be hacked and data stolen or manipulated, because of the autonomy of these systems. Use of AI to analyze data can expose that data to loss or theft. Other concerns are whether the decisions AI makes are trustworthy as far as accuracy (explainability–how did the machine arrive at the result it did?) and that the results are as free of bias as possible. Compliance is another risk–does the system handle data in the way that complies with industry regulations. Artificial intelligence, even with its abundant promise, still needs to have a strong framework of policies and procedures for maintaining security and privacy.


Artificial intelligence can provide many benefits to small and medium-sized businesses, as well as bring up questions about safety and privacy. For further information, contact your trusted technology advisor today.