What are IT disasters?

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When you say the phrase "IT disaster," often it's associated with a natural disaster or catastrophic damage to your office building. But IT disasters are more than facility damage. They can be anything—seemingly big or small—that affects your IT setup in a way that halts productivity.

IT disasters create IT downtime, which can result in significant financial loss.

So what kinds of events are considered IT disasters, and what can you do to prepare for them?

For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients develop IT strategies, create effective IT systems, and create IT disaster recovery plans.

By reading this article, you will learn about the five kinds of IT disasters and how to prepare for them, minimizing IT downtime.

5 Kinds of IT disasters

IT disasters are unexpected IT events that halt business productivity. In general, these fall into one of five different categories:

  1. Natural disaster
  2. Cyberattack
  3. Hardware or software failure
  4. Deleting mission-critical data
  5. Malicious acts

1. Natural disaster

A natural disaster is an event beyond your control that damages your facility so that it is inaccessible. It could be a fire, flood, storm, earthquake, or another event that creates an inhospitable environment.

If your network equipment is damaged or inaccessible, it becomes an IT disaster.

2. Cyberattack

Cyberattacks may be one of the better-known IT disasters. They can freeze your IT systems, erase critical data, and damage your reputation. In addition, they are incredibly costly IT disasters.

"Ransomware" is a hot topic in today's news and IT circles. A ransomware attack encrypts your data and shuts down IT systems until the ransom is paid.

Some cyberattacks steal confidential information for extortion. These attacks can be particularly damaging to your company's reputation. Clients may leave if they feel their information was compromised.

Cyberattacks aren't limited to major corporations and big brand names. Instead, cybercriminals cast wide nets and random attacks to inflict significant damage.

3. Hardware or software failure

Essential hardware or software failure is also considered an IT disaster. The technology in question must be mission-critical to be considered a disaster, and these pieces may vary from business to business.

This could be something as significant as a server going down or something as minor as accidentally unplugging essential network equipment. Other examples may include:

  • A prolonged loss of internet connection.
  • A mission-critical application is inaccessible.
  • Damaging a computer with vital company data.
  • Network equipment failing without an available replacement.

What hardware or software does your business need to complete its daily goals? If that technology is suddenly unavailable, what happens? This would be considered an IT disaster.

4. Deleting mission-critical data

Information is crucial to every business. Of course, vital information will vary from business to business, but it may include communications with clients, client records, company recipes or engineering designs, sales contacts, and more. If this data is deleted, productivity slows or halts.

Vital information reaches beyond data files. If a single employee is the resident expert in a program, information, or procedure, their unexpected absence could also be considered an IT disaster. It could affect productivity if no one else knows how to do their job.

Ask yourself, what data does my company need to run? Then, if that data is gone or inaccessible, what happens?

5. Malicious acts

Sadly, sometimes IT disasters aren't accidents. Malicious acts are purposeful actions that hurt your business. These may include:

  • Hardware or data theft.
  • Breaking hardware.
  • Deleting important files.

Sometimes these actions are a minor inconvenience. Other times, they damage your productivity, facility, and reputation.

How to prepare for IT disasters

The best way to prepare for an IT disaster is to create an incident response plan. This plan outlines your mission-critical technology and processes. The plan will also include emergency processes and contacts. Finally, it will address back-ups and continuity to help restore data and get you back online.

Emergencies without a plan can lead to chaos and more extended downtimes, losing additional profits.

However, an incident response plan minimizes downtime caused by an IT disaster.

Talk to your IT provider or internal IT team about your incident response plan. This plan should be reviewed annually and updated as needed.

If you do not have an incident response plan, talk to your IT expert and business leadership to create one. First, you will need to identify all mission-critical systems and, from there, discuss contacts, back-ups, and continuity.

If your IT provider is unwilling to discuss an incident response plan, this should raise a red flag regarding their service quality.

WEBIT Services has been performing risk assessments, creating incident response plans, and enacting IT strategies for satisfied clients for over 25 years.

If you're looking for a new IT provider, book a free 30-minute assessment to see how WEBIT services can help.

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