How to Make an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

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How to Make an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Today it is nearly impossible to do business without modern technology. It has become ingrained in every industry, from how work orders are created, to how projects are managed. With this reliance on technology though comes the danger of jeopardizing your business in the event of an IT disaster. How do you combat this danger? By creating an IT disaster recovery plan.

Create a List of Possible Threats

Before you can begin to plan how to get through an IT disaster, sit down and write out a list of possible threats. Start with very realistic threats and work your way out to less common scenarios. For your IT disaster recovery plan, focus on those scenarios that are a threat to your IT infrastructure. These sort of threats are everything from cyber attacks, to system failures, to even floods. You will likely see some overlap in the types of threats you imagine, but create a long list regardless. It pays to be thorough.

Plan Reactions to These Threats

Now that you’ve got your list of threats to your IT infrastructure, go through each scenario and plan how you and your business would react. What steps would you need to take to stop the threat if possible? How would you recover any lost data? What role would certain employees need to play? How would you continue business as usual with customers, if possible?

As you plan these reactions you can begin to narrow threats down into similar categories with similar solutions. If a fire and a flood both have the same steps to recovery, combine the plans.

Take Necessary Steps to Prepare for These Threats

When running through your plan to react to these IT threats, you have probably noticed a few gaps in your own IT infrastructure. For example, if you have no data backup system in place, you’ve probably realized how out of luck you would be if you lost of your data due to a system failure. Make a plan to take the necessary steps now to make your IT disaster recovery as painless as possible. The more time you put into preparing for disaster, the less it will cost you when the time comes.

Brief Employees

Preparing your IT recovery strategy will involve the cooperation of many moving parts – employees included. You should not only work with key employees in developing your plan, but you also need to brief everyone on what steps to take in each given scenario. The sales team should know how to continue business, customer service should know how to work with affected customers, and of course, IT personnel should know what role they play in the recovery plan.

Run Drills

How will you know your recovery plan works? Run a few drills to look for missing pieces of the plan and to ensure every employee knows their part. Practicing getting through these “disasters” will be both team building and educational.

IT Disaster Recovery Plan

You don’t have to go this road alone! An IT partner can be a lifesaver in the event of a disaster. Work with an IT provider to create back-ups of your business data, set up an off-site server, and put a plan in place for data recovery. Not only are IT providers a great help with day to day functions, but they can set you up to survive anything on your list of possible disasters.

Why Your Backups Should be Stored Off-Site

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Why Your Backups Should be Stored Off-Site

Modern businesses live and function in the virtual world, so losing data can be like losing the core of your company. Most owners know they should have backups of their files. What many don’t realize though, is that to be truly secure, your backup should not be kept in the same location that your business operates. Most of the scenarios that cause data loss could easily wipe out both your primary storage and backup if they are both in the same location. To truly know your business data is safe, off-site storage is essential.

Natural Disasters

You may have flood, fire, and tornado insurance, but what would happen to all of your irreplaceable business data in the event of a natural disaster? Your server in the next room, unfortunately, would not be immune should a force of nature destroy your company’s computers. Having an off-site data back-up, ideally at least 20 miles away, would allow you to pick up and continue operations much more quickly than starting from scratch. With natural extremes like hurricanes and floods increasing each year, keeping data back-ups in another location is a no-brainer.

Man-Made Problems

Modern businesses must be prepared for disasters caused by other humans, including terrorist attacks. If an attack happens, the one and only priority should be getting personnel to a safe place. Remove the worry of losing valuable digital information by already having an off-site backup in place.

Another man-made problem that many business owners don’t like to think about is the possibility of sabotage. It might be difficult to imagine one of your valued employees becoming disgruntled, but unfortunately, intentional data destruction does happen. Having an off-site backup would keep a vindictive employee from permanently causing damage to your business.

How to Set Up Off-Site Backups

With cloud technology, off-site data back-ups are fairly easy to set up. The majority of cloud providers offer automatic back-ups that they keep on their servers, away from your office. Automatic back-ups are highly recommended, as it takes human error and simply forgetting to update out of the equation.

At the bare minimum, your back-ups should be stored in a different building. Ideally, keep them far enough away that something like a terrorist attack or tornado wouldn’t affect both you and the back-up location. Don’t neglect the security of something as invaluable as your business’s digital files.

What Does Managed IT Services Mean?

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What Does Managed IT Services Mean

A managed service provider, often called an “MSP,” is a third-party contractor that manages services from an offsite location. IT service providers essentially take on everything that an in-house IT department would normally be responsible for. They provide server space for companies to use, run system updates, and even manage data and cyber security. For business owners, it is usually an “out of sight, out of mind” type of all-inclusive IT partner.

How Does Managed IT Services Work?

Managed IT services often work like this: the contractor (or MSP) owns the IT equipment that businesses use and manages all upkeep. This would mean that the provider would own the servers that the company uses, is responsible for running updates, network maintenance, cyber security, and so on. In today’s landscape, this often includes cloud computing services as well, but not always. Services are usually customizable to a company’s needs.

Payment is often in the form of a flat monthly fee and corresponds with what services the business uses and what sort of memory space their data takes up. This system means that the MSP is just as motivated as you are to keep things running smoothly and efficiently; they don’t profit from problems. It is usually more cost effective that hiring IT staff for companies that are smaller or are just not technology savvy.

Why Businesses Use Managed IT Services

Companies of every size use managed IT services. Many small businesses are stuck in an in-between space where they need the security and reliability of IT staff, but are not quite large enough or need enough services to warrant hiring IT staff in-house. Using a managed IT service provider is more cost effective for small businesses and offers professional cyber security and system maintenance, which many small businesses lack. The consistent monthly payment makes IT expenses predictable.

Managed IT services aren’t just for small businesses though. Many medium and even large businesses prefer to use an IT service provider for a few different reasons. One instance where an MSP makes more sense is for businesses that have many locations and/or many remote employees. If your staff is not all in one place, there is not really an advantage to having an on-location IT department. Another example is companies in industries that are just not in the business of technology. A number of companies in older industries, like construction and manufacturing just to name a few, might realize they need to step up their IT game but just aren’t familiar with it or don’t want to learn. Hiring an MSP becomes simply a more convenient option for today’s necessary data security and mobile computing.

Advantages of Managed IT Services vs. Traditional Model

With a managed IT service provider, you are locked into a predictable monthly cost. Your MSP is truly a partner, rather than a service provider that makes more money when you have technical problems or when systems break down. The MSP has the same goal as your company: to keep things running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. That is why the model of managed services is becoming increasingly popular in the IT world.

Managed IT Services

The demand for managed IT services grows as business technology needs continue to change. With each passing year there is a new trend in tech that businesses need to keep up with to stay competitive. Hiring an MSP contractor to manage your equipment, updates, back-ups, and the whole nine yards is an attractive option. It is often more cost effective, too!

2017 Technology Tips for Denver Businesses

Technology Tips for Denver Businesses

The Denver business community has grown tenfold in recent years. Several large businesses have recently relocated to the Denver area and startups and small businesses are cropping up in Denver at a growing rate as well. Many new business owners find themselves overseeing areas of a business they are not familiar with though, such as IT. With such a fast-changing landscape, it’s important to stay up to date on technology tips for Denver businesses. Keep your competitive edge and don’t let next year’s new businesses edge you out!

Have a Cloud Backup Solution

Backing up your network on an in-house server or hard drive has become more expensive and less secure than cloud backup for businesses. Find a cloud provider that can backup your network on an ongoing basis and that will maintain your system updates and cyber security.

Having a professional cloud backup solution will protect you and your business from hacks, system failures, human error, or anything else that could cause data loss. Data loss issues can put businesses days or weeks behind, but with cloud backup, you can restore everything within a matter of minutes.

Password Protect Everything

You have likely heard this many times before, and here it is again: do not use the same password for everything! Yes, I know it’s just easier that way, but with the same password on everything, if one account gets compromised then everything with that same password is essentially compromised as well.

Use a different, long password for each log in you have. The longer the password, the better. One tactic that can get you a long password that is easy to remember is by stacking 2-3 words on top of each other. If you have a huge number of accounts though, use a password saver to eliminate the risk of forgetting them.

Use Cloud Computing Rather than a Traditional Network

Cloud computing has become the gold standard for 2017 businesses. Employees expect the flexibility to be able to access their desktop from anywhere, and clients expect you to be able to send them anything they need digitally.

Cloud computing has a number of benefits for business owners too. Businesses save money on IT staff and equipment because they do not need a physical network of servers. Cloud computing is also more secure against viruses, hacks, and data losses than a traditional network. This means less risk of compromised proprietary or confidential client information.

Mobile Friendly Everything

For retailers and essentially anyone with a website, having everything mobile friendly is a requirement for competing in 2017. Mobile payments are expected by customers and are more secure for vendors too.

For the first time, in 2016 internet use on mobile phones surpassed that on desktops. If your website is not mobile friendly you are turning away more than half of your visitors! Make sure you have a responsive website design that looks and works great on both desktop and mobile devices.

Technology Tips for Denver Businesses

Denver is growing and so is its business community. Keep your company competitive by staying up to date on all of the modern technology trends. Each year, what consumers expect of a business changes. If you don’t change with those expectations, you will find yourself falling behind the next generation of new businesses.