Benefits from Business Continuity Planning You Might Not Expect

It’s hard to dispute the value of a good business continuity plan. Given the high rate of business failure after a major disaster, and the reasonable cost for modern technologies, a good business continuity plan is something every company should consider.

Having a business continuity in place has benefits that go beyond quick recovery from major disasters. It’s worth considering in your risk vs cost calculations when deciding to implement one.

More Virtualization

One of the ways your company can prepare to recover from downtime, (crashed servers) is to have a virtualized environment and image backups. But there are benefits to a virtualized environment that go beyond recovery. It’s easy to create new virtual machines, so deploying a new server to try out new technology is much easier. Virtualized environments take less space, cooling and power then paying for “server farms.” Preparing for disaster in this way will save you time and money – even before a disaster happens!

Better documentation

To be more effective, document your continuity plans to restore functionality in your business systems. Don’t forget to be concise when documenting your systems. This plan must document who’s responsible for specific information and responsibilities. Having this type of documentation, enables rapid planning for environment upgrades, refreshes, and maintenance. Once again, your business continuity plan is saving you money even when there is no disaster at hand.

Quicker recovery from “little” disasters

We know the goal for business continuity is to recover business operations after a catastrophic failure. But why should it take a disaster to test your solutions? Battle test your plan, with any interruptions that occur. It’s these tests that will shape your continuity plan further. For example, if your Network Attached Storage (NAS) device was under maintenance, take the time to test your secondary backup solutions. Using these chances to again refocus and hone your process to save local files and image backups. Little “disasters” are usually low in impact, but they happen more often. This is another benefit to a company having a good business continuity plan in place.

The bottom line is, you’ve worked hard to build up your business and you’ll want to protect it. Modern technology enables these plans for implementation at lower costs than ever before. The disaster-resistant business will gain some cost savings and efficiency along the way! Clare Computer Solutions helps businesses like yours to see the value in such a process – contact us today to get started.

Sorting Through Common Cloud Options: SaaS, IaaS or PaaS?

Have you ever asked yourself, what cloud option would be best for my business? Cloud-based computing has become a large part of today’s modern office. As a result, it looks like the adoption of cloud-based technologies will continue to grow. Yet, cloud services aren’t a end-all solution.

Like any technology, cloud computing has its own nomenclature, most of which is represented in it’s service. Some of the most popular names are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Let’s demystify the cloud, and pick the best cloud options for your business.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

This form of cloud computing was around even before the term “cloud computing” was used. If you’ve ever used Hotmail, Expedia, or Google, you’re using their software-as-a-service. The examples above are you didn’t download as software, you access it through a browser.

SaaS offerings have grown more sophisticated and important to businesses than ever before. Email services delivered through this platform are becoming industry standard. Microsoft’s Office 365 is an example of this product and how it provides email services in Outlook, and other Office products.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

This option is often considered when a specific hosted platform reaches its end-of-life. “Should the company invest in a physical server to run its application(s) or, should the applications run on a virtual server in the cloud?” Under certain circumstances, virtual servers can be an attractive option for an agility, and cash flow standpoint. But there is a certain amount of due diligence required to ensure the required application can be delivered via the cloud. While still maintaining an optimal user experience.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

This service represents a deeper dive into the cloud, a good part of which IT infrastructure becomes virtual. This specific service has its advantages, including: agility, mobility, disaster recovery or business continuity. To achieve these benefits, migration to a virtual environment must be well planned to ensure everything works as expected.

Cloud computing is here to stay. Which part of this technology will benefit your business, and when should you make the switch? With proper planning, your business can enjoy the benefits of managed cloud. Providing optimal experience for your network users.

It all starts with a conversation – contact us to get started.

Be Proactive: Avoid Potential Network Failures

For small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs), a network failure could become devastating, due to the loss of active resources. Preparation against such disasters is the only course of action to avoid failure or receive minimal damage. Companies must become proactive in their IT approach, realizing that disasters could come from a wide range of causes, including cyber-attacks or human error.

Be Prepared:

Being proactive is an essential step for preparation against a disaster. There are two essential steps to prepare for potential failures of your infrastructure. First, identify the weaknesses throughout your systems. Second, determine how you plan to repair those weaknesses and protect your network.

Identify the Weaknesses:

Determine how and why your system could fail, examining your hardware and software. Assess internal and external factors that could contribute to the failure of your networks.

Here are some questions you need to know the answers to:

– Does employee productivity often stall because of downed systems? In these situations, how fast is your IT support able to respond?

– Can you say with certainty that your business will be back online and able to access lost data with minimal disruption in case of failure?

– Your critical data should always be backed up.

– Are all backups stored in a off-site location accessible in the event of corruption, fire or flood?

– Are you using any custom made software? Can it be reinstalled and updated when needed?

– Is your system protected from hackers and viruses? Do you change passwords when employees leave the company?

– How often do you test your backup processes?

Here are four notes that you can take to protect your networks:

1. There are a large number of businesses that never back up data. Only 23% of SMBs are backing up their data daily, and only 50% are doing it weekly. Many issues can result in loss of data. You should back up data every day.

2. Don’t find out by mistake that your backup system isn’t working properly – by then it’s too late! It may seem like your data is being backed up normally, but check frequently to ensure it is backing up the way it should be.

3. Make sure virus and firewall protection is always enabled. Many companies either don’t have virus protection installed or it’s disabled. This could render their networks vulnerable to virus attacks from emails, spam, and data downloads.

4. Monitor your environment. Full drives and built-in logs, can cause many problems, ranging from application crashes to sluggish email. Diligent monitoring and maintenance can mitigate this risk.

We now know IT system failures have very serious consequences for SMBs. We also know that they can avoid such failures by being proactive. As a result of so much uncertainty, many SMBs are turning to cloud and virtualization backup solutions to mitigate downtime.

Virtualization and cloud computing have recently enabled cost-efficient business continuity options.  This is done by allowing entire servers to be grouped in one software bundle or virtual server – including data, operating systems, applications, and patches. This simplifies the backup process and allows for quick data restoration when needed.