Monthly Archives: December 2015

New Year’s Resolutions for Your IT Systems

shutterstock_326576246Are your IT Systems on the naughty or nice list? Do you proactively monitor your networks for compliance, cyberthreat and performance? Are your data back ups up to date? Have you begun your migration to the Cloud? Are you getting the most from your broadband network? Have you trained your employees on the risks of cybersecurity attacks and do they change their passwords regularly? Here is a list of things to add to your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2016.

Proactive Network Monitoring

Your networks should be periodically monitored to ensure application and operating system (O/S) patches are up to date. In addition, you should maintain your anit-virus definitions and keep your malware threat detection up to date. By doing so, you could prevent an unwanted cybersecurity breach and data loss. Worse, loss of reputation resulting from data leaks or loss.

Beyond Backup

There are a variety of remote back up and data protection solutions to ensure you can recover your systems to keep your business running. It is a good idea to test those backups periodically to ensure you can restore your data quickly. Many older tape backup solutions can be slow and unreliable. What’s more, there are many new file sync and sharing solutions allowing your employees to securely access information anywhere. We put more and more reliance on our applications to run our daily operations, so make sure your data is protected in 2016.

Lift Your Business to the Cloud

Cloud Solutions offer many advantages over premise based systems. Using subscription based services help ensure you are always on the latest version. What’s more, you can shift some of your IT costs from a capital expense (Capex)  to an operating expense (Opex). Starting with migrating email, which is an easy first step, to clean up inboxes, secure and encrypt your communications and take many hassles out of IT. Considering following on with files, applications, single sign on and other IT infrastructure to gain the full benefit of Cloud Computing.

Broadband Network Review

Business class Internet services are as affordable as they have ever been. Consider a telecom expense audit to see if you are getting the most bandwidth for the buck. You may not only save money, you may increase your bandwidth and network performance. With mobile computing, cloud computing and eCommerce on the rise, it is important to get the most from your Broadband network.

Cyber Security Training for Employees

Ensure your employees can identify malware threats, man in the middle attacks, phishing schemes and other Cyber Security hacks. Your employees should have a good understanding of what to do in the event of a data loss (for example lost mobile device) and change their passwords periodically. Your employees are your first line of defense against Cyber Attack, so take the time to remind them of their role in protecting your IT Systems.

This is the time of year to spend with family and friends and reflect on the past, while looking forward to the future. Resolve to be the best you can be in 2016 and ensure your IT Systems are ready for prosperity in the new year.

Business Continuity Planning: How Much Downtime Can You Afford?

DecidingOptionsHaving a Business Continuity Plan is an important way to ensure your company can operate during and after a disaster. By assessing your business risk, you are able to protect your company and minimize downtime that may occur from unplanned business interruptions. Natural disasters including fire, earthquake, flooding and snowstorms can slow or halt operations. In addition, other threats including cyber attacks and data leaks can cause unplanned disruptions to your business. The impact of prolonged unplanned downtime can be reduced and or eliminated, but at what cost? Here are three things to consider when developing your Business Continuity Plan.

What is Your Cost of Downtime?

To develop a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan it is imperative to evaluate your risk of loss from downtime and business interruption. There are many factors to consider when calculating the risk of loss due to downtime. How much revenue would you lose per hour, day or week if your business was off line and you were unable to process orders? Could your inventory lose value if your factory, warehouse or retail operation were shut down? If you suffered a privacy breach what would be the impact to your company’s reputation? The risks and costs are different for each company based on industry, size and other factors. Start by assessing the risk to determine how quickly you need to react during and after a disruption.

How Fast do You Need to Recover (RTO vs RPO)?

The cost of downtime to your business is expensive. It is important to evaluate which applications and data are critical to your operations. During or after a disaster do you need these systems available within minutes, hours or days? Primary Factors that can influence your ability to recover are the Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), which is the time between backups and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which is how long it takes to get your data back. If you backup weekly to offline media including tape backup, your business is at risk of losing one week of data and it may take days or weeks to get your systems operational. There are various ways to ensure failover and rapid restore if you suffer a system wide outage. Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery, Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) including application hosting and other remote data protection methods can ensure your systems are available within your RPO/RTO goals.

Human Element of a Business Continuity Plan

Don’t forget the human element in your business continuity plan. Ensure your employees are trained and understanding policy during and after a disaster. Have a plan for safe evacuation during a disaster will protect your employees and minimize business risk. Giving your employees the ability to access core communications and collaborations applications like email, file sharing, wide area networks, software as a service (SaaS) and other remote applications improve overall communications and could get your employees productive if they are unable to work on premise due to business interruption.

There are many other factors to consider when assessing risk and building a business continuity and disaster recovery plan. Take a holistic view of your business, systems and network security needs. If you feel your business may be at risk and your business continuity plan is out of date, contact your IT Service Professional for a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Risk Assessment.