What is more Important than your Data?

Independent Advisor Data SecuirtyAs an independent broker dealer, sometimes it is our responsibility to remind our independent financial advisors about even the most basic information technology concepts. I am not sure if there is anything more important than an independent financial advisor’s data. Backup of that data is what allows you to sleep at night and not worry that your business can lose years of accumulated data.  Local backup is reliable; however, you should realize it will not protect you if the following occur:

1. Your tape drive malfunctions rendering it useless and making it impossible to restore your data. IMPORTANT: It is very common for a tape drive to malfunction without giving any warning signs.

2. Your office (and everything in it) gets destroyed by a fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster.

3. The physical tapes you are using to backup your data become corrupted due to heat or mishandling.

4. Someone in your office accidentally formats the tape, erasing everything on it.

5. Theft – a disgruntled employee intentionally erases everything, or a thief breaks in and steals ALL of your equipment.

6. A faulty sprinkler system ―waters all of your electronic equipment.

Bottom line: You do NOT want to find out your backup was not working when you need it most.

Some interesting facts about backup include:

  • Tape drives fail on average at 100%; that means ALL tape drives fail at some point and do NOT offer complete protection for your data if a disaster strikes your office and everything in it. Business owners who were hit by hurricanes like Katrina learned a hard lesson about keeping remote backups of their data.
  • 93% of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster, and 50% filed for bankruptcy immediately. (Source: National Archives & Records Administration in Washington.)
  • 20% of small to medium businesses will suffer a major disaster causing loss of critical data every 5 years. (Source: Richmond House Group)
  • This year, 40% of small to medium businesses that manage their own network and use the Internet for more than e-mail will have their network accessed by a hacker, and more than 50% won’t even know they were attacked. (Source: Gartner Group)
  • About 70% of business people have experienced (or will experience) data loss due to accidental deletion, disk or system failure, viruses, fire or some other disaster (Source: Carbonite, an online backup service)

Remote Backups – What They Are and Why EVERY Business Should Have Them in Place

The ONLY way to completely protect your data and guarantee that you could restore it all after a major disaster is by maintaining an up-to-date copy of your data offsite in a high-security facility.

There are specific requirements you should look at when reviewing vendors for remote backup:

1. Military-level security, data transfer, and data storage.

2. Multiple data centers that are geographically dispersed.

3. Demand the ability to receive overnight copies of your data on DVD or some other data storage device.

4. By that same token, ask your service provider if you have the option of having your initial backup performed through hard copy.

5. Make sure your data can be restored to a different computer than the one it was backed up from.

6. Demand daily status reports of your backup.

7. Demand help from a qualified technician.

You do not want to wait until your data has been wiped out to test your backup; yet that is exactly what most people do – and they pay for it dearly.

No matter if you are one individual user or an entire office these guidelines apply. If you do not address backup now you will be following the old proverb of closing the barn door after the horse got loose.

For more information on Summit Brokerage Services, visit www.joinsummit.com or contact us at (800) 354-5528.

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