Monthly Archives: July 2016

Business Continuity Essentials

Business ContinuityBusiness owners know there are a number of threats to business continuity. Next to employees, your IT systems and their data may be your most valuable assets. Your business may fall prey to Cyber attack or Data breach. Other factors, including adverse weather, fire, or interruption to utility supply, may also cause business disruption. Can your company recover from a catastrophic data loss? Use this Business Continuity Essentials guide to reduce the risk of downtime:

Business Continuity: Understanding Cost of Downtime

How much data do you need to recover to bring your business back from a disaster? Not all data may be essential immediately. However, some systems–including email–support other mission-critical systems and processes within your company. It is also important to know how long it will take to recover your data. Factor in your employees’ wages, plus overhead and potential loss of revenue, to get a sense of the overall risk of not having a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan.

Having a Business Continuity Plan May Avoid Violation of Industry Regulations

Depending on your industry, backup and disaster recovery might be the law. Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) makes business continuity and disaster recovery an imperative. Failure to comply could mean fines and even jail time. Other industries, including health services, must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires backing up data and making sure it is consistently available, even in a disaster. Understand regulatory requirements placed on your business, to avoid unnecessary consequences of a business interruption and data loss.

Data Protection with Belts and Suspenders

Relying on a local backup is not enough. The risk to your business resulting from a data loss is too high to rely on one backup method alone. Complement your local backup with Cloud Backup to ensure rapid recovery. Offsite archives of tape backups may not recover fast enough to avoid business interruption. It is also important to ensure your network supports a timely backup from a local source as well as from a Cloud backup and recovery system.

Test Your Backup to Ensure Rapid Recovery

Backup is all about recovery. Verifying your backup in a timely manner, and ensuring it actually works, is a critical step in your business continuity and disaster recovery plan. You should verify your backup periodically and check to make sure all data needed is included. By testing the recovery, you can identify any corrupted data along with network bottlenecks to restore your business to full operation.

If you have any questions about your business continuity and disaster recovery plan, contact your trusted technology advisor. If you are uncertain about your cost of downtime, compliance with industry regulations, or your company’s ability to recovery from a disaster, do not delay but seek guidance today.

Cloud Computing Defined

Cloud ComputingThe demand for Cloud Services continues to climb. Recent forecasts from International Data Corporation (IDC) predict worldwide spending on public Cloud services will grow at a 19.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) – from nearly $70 billion in 2015 to more than $141 billion in 2019. This report cited Software as a Service (SaaS) as the leading consumption model for Cloud Services. In addition, Telecommunications is expected to be the fastest-growing vertical industry with a worldwide CAGR of 22.2% over the forecast period of 2014-2019.

To avoid the hype associated with fast-growing technologies, it is important to gain a fundamental understanding of what defines Cloud Computing. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides guidance to help understand Cloud Computing. According to NIST, there are five characteristics for an offering to be considered a Cloud service:

Cloud Services are Rapid Elastic

A Cloud Service should automatically scale resources as needed. This provides businesses agility by growing as the need for additional capacity arises. This elasticity avoids the need for a business to build in excess capacity for unpredictable workloads, a capacity that may go unused at off-peak times.

On-Demand Self-Service

In addition to rapid elasticity access, Cloud Services should be simple so any user can quickly provision additional resources when needed. Removing the friction to ordering, provisioning, and configuring Cloud Services when needed empowers the workforce and avoids unnecessary downtime, while improving employee productivity.

Broad Network Access

Business Class Broadband networks provide affordable access to Cloud Services. Access across the Public Internet allows a common interface for multiple devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones. This provides employees the ability to work anywhere, anytime without restriction of geography.

Cloud Services are Measured Services

Many companies benefit from the predictable costs associated with the utility billing model of Cloud Services. A Cloud Service should bill for the amount used. This could be based on number of users, computing resources consumed, storage required and other measurements of usage. By building in usage monitoring, Cloud Service billing is simplified.

Resource Pooling

Resource pooling helps Cloud Service Providers scale. By sharing common system resources including hardware, software, operating system and application database, the cost of delivering Cloud Services is lower. For some companies or applications, a Private Cloud option provides additional security and reliability over resource pooling. With Private Cloud–versus the multi-tenant model–there is an additional price to pay.

Companies adopting Cloud Computing benefit from the scalability, easy access, and predictable costs made available by this utility approach to technology. In addition to savings, Cloud Computing offers the additional benefit of working anywhere at any time. Find out more about how you can benefit from Cloud Computing by contacting your technology advisor today.