Monthly Archives: February 2016

What to Include in Your Backup Disaster Recovery Plan


Having a backup disaster recovery plan in place can ensure that you and your team know how to act if a major data loss occurs.

So you understand the importance of having a backup disaster recovery plan, and you’ve probably put a lot of thought and work into figuring out what you would do in any number of worst-case scenarios, but you may have missed one very important step. Until you’ve written it down, your plan isn’t finished. A plan that has been written down and shared will gain much more respect and understanding than one that hasn’t. Both of those things are necessary for the plan to actually work. It really should be more than just a few notes scribbled on a couple of pages though. Write it more like a policy. Compare it to your privacy policy, or something similar, for professionalism. Once you have it all written out, make sure you’ve actually included absolutely everything. Here are a few details to make sure you’ve included in your plan.

A chain of command

When everything is falling apart, especially if the situation doesn’t perfectly fit a situation described in the plan, everyone will be scrambling to figure out who is in charge. It’s very important that this is decided before a disaster occurs. Knowing who will be in charge of who, and who will be allowed to make which decisions will prevent mistakes later. It will also save a lot of valuable time in the case of an emergency.


A timeline

Make your plan much more specific by noting the amount of time that each step should take. First, this will keep everything aligned. One department won’t be confused by another department being two steps behind. Second, it will keep the entire office working quickly. It’s easy to slow down when you’re tired, and by halfway through a disaster situation, your employees will be exhausted. However, hours and minutes are crucial in this process. Make sure you can keep your employees moving as quickly as possible to get everything back on track.


You can clear up a lot of confusion ahead of time by specifying who is supposed to do what. It’s really easy to just note that something should be done, but if no name is next to the task, it’s likely to never happen. At least mention which department is supposed to accomplish a task, and if possible, give the responsibility to a specific position. It’s even better if you can put an employee’s actual name next to a task. This will cause that employee to feel ownership over the task, and there’s no better way to encourage an employee to do a great job.

Plans for education

No matter how perfect your plan is, it is guaranteed to fall apart if no one knows what is supposed to happen. Make sure that your entire staff knows exactly what to do in the case of a disaster. Some companies might do this through a series of classes. Others might simply cover a different aspect of the plan for an hour in a weekly meeting. You know how your employees think, and you know how they learn best. Use these methods to make sure that they know the backup disaster recovery plan as well as you do. And then put that in the plan as well. This will help to encourage it to continue to happen just as it should. Remember, educating your employees is by far the most important part of your disaster recovery plan.

Still interested in learning more about writing a backup disaster recovery plan? We’re experts in the industry, and we can help you with that, or anything else that you need. Contact us. We’re here to help.

Why Should I Back Up My Data? What Could Go Wrong?


Be prepared for a data disaster by having all of your data backed up.

Data backup is a huge concept in the world of business. It seems like everyone is doing it, and you may be following suit, but have you ever asked yourself why? What could go wrong if you didn’t maintain current backups of all of your files? In reality, it’s very unlikely that anything major will ever happen, causing you to lose most or all of your files, but if it were to happen. it would be a huge disaster for your company, leaving you closed for several days, at the very least. In some cases, it could even lead to you closing your doors forever. Here are a few things that could cause something so terrible.

Natural disaster

One of the worst possibilities is a natural disaster. A fire or a tornado could destroy your office building. A hurricane or earthquake could destroy some or all of the buildings in the area, including any data storage centers you may have near you. This is one of the main reasons that it’s so important to keep at least one backup copy off-site. A great way to do this is through the cloud, because your data will be stored at different places around the country, and hopefully immune to any single natural disaster.

Employee error

Unfortunately, people aren’t perfect. You’re employees don’t know everything there is to know about computers, and eventually, one of them will make a mistake. It will probably just be accidentally deleting the file they were working on, or turning off a computer while it’s updating, but in the off-chance that an employee were to accidentally delete a whole set of files, such as all of the accounting records from the last five years, chaos would follow, unless you have a good backup waiting to repopulate the system.

Hacker attack

There are some pretty bad people in the world. Some of them want access to your data, and some just want to hurt your company, for whatever reason. Although preventing these attacks is a conversation for another time, it’s important to remember that a hacker attack, whether or not it’s intentional, can destroy files, often important ones. Preventing these attacks is very important, but because you can never be absolutely sure that it will never happen, it’s also important to prepare for the possibility.


Although a hacker could intentionally use a virus to get into your system, there are also numerous very harmful viruses circulating that are no longer attached to any person. All it takes is for an employee to open an e-mail that shouldn’t be opened, or the download of a software that isn’t what it says it is. Some of the worst viruses have the potential of wiping out an entire system. It would be very unfortunate to lose your entire file system all because someone opened an e-mail, but it is always a possibility. Make sure you are prepared.

Fault in hardware or software

Although computer equipment and software is general very well designed, it can never be perfect. Servers will eventually get old and break. Depending on which part goes bad, you may immediately lose access to the files stored there forever. Software isn’t perfect either. After all, it was designed by a human. Although software bugs usually cause small annoyances, such as a slow computer, or having to redo something, there is always the possibility of a major bug going unnoticed.

As you can see, there is a number of things that could go wrong, potentially erasing part, or all of your file system. Make sure you’re prepared by creating backups of your entire system. For help with this, or anything else, contact us. We’re here to help.

5 Initial Steps to Take When Outsourcing an IT Help Desk


ourcing your IT help desk can save your company a lot of time and money, but you want to be sure you make the right choice.

So you’ve done some initial research and decided that it would be best if your company outsourced your IT department to an experienced third-party company, instead of bringing your own team aboard. That is an excellent decision for many small and medium-sized businesses, and can have lasting ramifications on the health of your company. There are a few steps that every company should take before deciding which company to work with that can help to make the entire process run much more smoothly, and ensure a better result. Take these steps into consideration before choosing which IT help desk you would like to work with.

1. Outline Your Currently Used Technologies

In order to choose a company that has the experience and expertise in the technologies that your company uses, you should have a comprehensive list of the technologies that your business uses available to you when evaluating. This will help you to get an idea of which companies have experience delivering support for the technologies that your company uses on a day-to-day basis. This ensures that you work with a company that can provide support, no matter what the problem is.

2. Find a Company that Specializes in Your Technologies

Determine which technologies your company uses the most and which most often run into issues. Then, try to find a company that specializes in working with those specific technologies. This will help to make sure that they will be aware of issues that the technology commonly experiences, and the solutions required to fix those problems. A company that specializes in the technology that you choose will be able to provide a better service.

3. Outline Your Current Processes

In order for a new IT team to fit seamlessly into your company, it is important that they are able to understand how your company operates. What processes within your company will have the new IT injected into them? What processes must they be familiar with to help your company to the best of their ability? Start by outlining all of your current processes to ensure that they can inform you about what processes will need changes to include them, and better understand how to work well with your teams.

4. Create In-House Backups of All Data

Although any IT company can help you to back up your data, it is never a bad idea to create an in-house backup of all of your data before beginning, so that you have a point that you can return to down the road. Then, speak with the new IT management company about how you can set up the right processes to ensure that all data is backed up on a regular basis moving forward. There is never a bad time to start backing up your data and creating in-house backups will help you to secure your data before changes to your IT processes are made.

5. Take Your Time Making a Decision (If Possible)

If you are not in the middle of an IT emergency, it is always a good idea for you to take your time and really evaluate which companies are going to bet the best fit for you. A great idea is to hire several companies for simple one-off jobs and see how they interact with your team and deliver their service.  This will give you an idea of whether they will be a good fit and allow you to give them feedback so that they can tailor their service for an ongoing engagement.

There are many steps that should be taken before hiring an outsourced IT help desk company. If you are interested in making the jump to an outsourced IT team, but are unsure of where to begin, please contact us today to schedule your 100% risk-free consultation with our trained IT experts.

Where to Backup Your Data: Pros and Cons


There are many different options for data backup and storage, and each has its own unique pros and cons.

If your company stores sensitive or important data, it’s imperative that you backup your data. A loss of data can cause huge problems for a company. At the very least, lost data would have to be rebuilt, which could take days or longer, and in a worst case scenario, a company may just have to close. Although it is by no means an everyday occurrence, this could all come from a single event, such as a fire or other natural disaster. Luckily, backing up all of your files solves this problem easily. As long as your backups are created and stored correctly, it should take no more than a couple of hours to restore all of your files. But what does it mean to back up correctly? There isn’t an answer that works for everybody, but let’s list the pros and cons of some of the most common options. Then, you can decide what will work the best for you.


The cloud is arguably the most common method for backup storage, and there are good reasons for this. There are numerous companies based in the cloud, each of which is trying to outdo the next. They allow you to upload your files to cloud servers, and leave them there for backup storage.


The cloud is a great place to store all of your data. For one thing, most companies will automatically update your backups for you, as often as daily. This is great because you don’t have to worry about forgetting, or doing something wrong during the update process. The cloud is also one of the safest places to leave your data. Any reputable company will store several copies of your files in several places, which makes them almost impossible to lose.


As great as the cloud is, there are a couple of drawbacks. First of all, while the cloud is very safe, it isn’t quite the most secure option. Security issues are rare, but if you store especially sensitive data, you may want to consider storing your backups on your own servers, where you have complete control over the security.


In-house servers

If you already run your own file storage network, you probably have some extra space. You also probably have a pretty good idea as to how to get a good deal on more space. You can build your own network of backup servers, and do all of your own updates.


The main benefit of running your own backup servers is the control. You have the final word on everything, from security, to space, to price.


There are also a few downsides to this option. First of all, you’ll have to complete all of your own backups, or find a software that will do it for you. You’ll also have to put more thought into safety. For example, if you take care of your own backups, you’ll need to make sure you store at least one complete copy somewhere off-site.


Flash drives and DVDs

Flash drives and DVDs should not be considered as actual backup storage mediums, but they can serve a very specific purpose in the world of backups.


These devices, especially flash drives, are very handy. The files on them can be accessed in a matter of seconds. This makes them a handy place to store copies of files that you might need immediately, in the event of a data emergency. The also solve a number of other problems.


Flash drives and DVDs hold a very small amount of data. They are also very easily lost or destroyed. Because of this, they should never be used as primary backup devices.


One of these methods may be perfect for your company. It’s even more likely that your best option is some combination of the three. Need more help figuring out what your company needs? Contact us.