Monthly Archives: October 2016

Creating a Backup Disaster Recovery Plan


Creating a clear disaster recovery plan for your business can help prevent permanent loss of your most vital information and data

Believe it or not, disasters are a lot more common in the workplace than you’d expect. Not to mention that they can also happen at the most unexpected times. Even for the companies which are always prepared for the worst, some incidents are beyond their control. For example, due to the location of the workplace, what if the business was impacted by a natural disaster, such as tsunami or hurricane? As another example, what if there was a fire in the office which forced everyone to evacuate? However, that’s not to say your business can’t recover from these disasters. In fact, this is where a backup disaster recovery plan comes into play. Whether the disaster was a careless mistake or a weather related incident, you need to have a plan for recovering. Overall, what’s the best step forward in creating your plan, and what should you include? Here are a few things to consider.

#1. Do You Have Multiple Backup Options?

As a part of your disaster recovery plan, it’s essential you have multiple backup options at your disposal. After all, what if your only recovery options fails, and you don’t have a way to access the stored data? For example, let’s say you had purchased a USB flash drive for securing your info. First of all, there’s no doubt that it’s a great device for keeping your data safe. Not to mention the amount of gigabytes the more expensive ones can carry is great. However, these devices aren’t always reliable, either. It’s easy to misplace them due to their size, and they can get stolen easily as well. Some flash drives also have a very short life span, and may end up malfunctioning at the worst time. As another backup contingency plan, is your data stored via cloud computing? One of the best things about storing your information this way, is that it’s accessible from any device that has internet. That’s not to say you shouldn’t purchase a flash drive, but cloud computing is exactly why you need multiple backup options. In the case of a power outage or even a ransomware attack, for example, none of your data’s affected. Instead of being stored via your computer’s hard drive, it’s stored on the internet.

#2. Are You Prepared For Any Disaster?

Having multiple backup options is one thing, but you need to know how to handle each incident in the workplace as well. Most disasters that occur are unpredictable, and each one should be dealt with differently. As an example, the way you would recover from a natural disaster, is different than how you’d recover from a power outage. For the former, you might want to have multiple organizations set up, as a way to easily transfer your data. When dealing with a temporary power outage, however, there’s no need to “recover” if you already have your data stored away, since you haven’t lost anything. Cloud computing practically renders your data untouchable in the event of a power failure.

#3. How Thorough is Your Plan?

Multiple backup options aside, is your disaster recovery plan foolproof? Have you tested it out recently? Will you need to make any changes down the road? These are some questions to ask yourself. With the latter question, especially, it’s important to remember that nothing is ever set in stone. Even if you have an excellent disaster recovery plan, keeping it updated is essential. After all, what if you don’t have to use your plan until years down the road, but it’s no longer as effective as it would have been? Test it out on a regular basis, and make the necessary changes.

For more information about creating a successful backup disaster recovery plan, feel free to contact us today at SystemsNet. We look forward to hearing from you.

Back up Safely with Datto


Datto is one of the most inventive and reliable backup technologies available today and a very valuable resource for businesses

Offsite backup is a necessity in today’s Internet. Backing up to a local disk is good, but it’s not enough by itself. Ransomware and physical disasters can hit a disk drive which is attached to a computer, making both of them useless at the same time.

Datto offers some of the most inventive and reliable backup technology in the business. Its geographically diverse data centers have over 200 petabytes of cloud backup storage. If we look at the factors that make up a strong, trustworthy backup service, Datto ranks well in all of them.

Range of services

Datto has backup services tailored for businesses of all sizes, using a hybrid cloud approach. It backs up both locally and to the Datto cloud.  Its ALTO 2, aimed at small businesses, uses a compact dedicated device to provide local backup and connect to the cloud service. It has a 1 terabyte capacity. Its larger relative, ALTO XL, can handle as much as 24 terabytes.

The SIRIS family offers backup of up to 60 terabytes with extremely high security. All encryption happens on the local device, combining the security of local backup with the safety of cloud backup.

Datto NAS is a Network Attached Storage system capable of holding up to 60 terabytes, with integrated local and cloud backup. It retains snapshots of documents in case it’s necessary to roll back to an older version.

Virtual SIRIS and Virtual ALTO are like the services already mentioned, but implemented in software without a separate physical device.

For cloud-to-cloud backup, Datto has Backupify. It backs up Office 365, Google Apps, Salesforce, and social media. The aim is to protect files against accidental or malicious deletion, not to guard against the unlikely meltdown of those services. Backupify was originally an independent business, which Datto acquired in 2014. This is a different flavor of backup from Datto’s main product line, and we won’t be discussing it further here.

Rapid recovery

If a system fails catastrophically, restoring it can be a tedious process. Datto’s ALTO and SIRIS enable fast recovery by backing up not just files but entire system images. In case of a disaster, they can create a virtual machine from the snapshot and have it running. ALTO and SIRIS offer hybrid virtualization; SIRIS also offers pure cloud virtualization. The result is almost no downtime, even in case of a disaster that knocks out the primary computer.


A backup isn’t much good if it doesn’t work. ALTO, Virtual SIRIS, and SIRIS 2 use “Screenshot Backup Verification” of system image backups. This consists of booting the system image as a virtual machine and taking a screenshot of the login screen. It notifies the administrator if the VM fails to boot.

Geographic distribution

A cloud backup service needs wide geographic distribution for maximum safety. Datto has data centers in Pennsylvania, Utah, Canada, the UK, and Australia. Customers have the option of selecting the physical location of their backup; sometimes this is necessary for legal reasons. It keeps its facilities guarded at all times, monitoring physical access with biometric scanning and logging of activity. Datto’s security practices follow the ISO 27000 and 27001 standards.

Data security

In addition to physical security, Datto follows high data security standards. It allows detailed access rules, so that customers can control access by IP address, geographic location, time, and other factors. All files are stored in strongly encrypted form.

Disaster recovery

Datto’s services are heavily oriented toward disaster recovery, which has stronger requirements than simple backup and restoration. Those who want a simple offsite file backup will find more straightforward approaches elsewhere. For those who need strong backup protection and can’t afford extended downtime in case of a disaster, Datto has a range of solutions for all business sizes.

SystemsNet provides managed services to keep your network running and safe. For more information, please contact us.

15 reasons to upgrade to ACT! v18.2


ACT! version 18 offers many useful and valuable upgrades to business’s CRM systems.


Version 18 of Act! CRM software brings a new level of versatility to this trusted CRM application. It’s now possible to make a huge range of integrations with other Web services, and administrators have more control over their teams. The biggest differences are in the Web (Premium) version, which makes major advances in cloud readiness. Let’s look at a few of the reasons to upgrade.



  • A new API for Act! Premium Web allows integration with other Web applications. This allows changes in other Web services to automatically update information in Act! or vice versa. For example, a custom web form can submit information directly to the Act! database, or adding a new contact can generate an email notification. The API is based on REST, a simple but powerful way for Web applications to communicate. Programmers or advanced users can write simple scripts to integrate applications. This is new with version 18.1.
  • Act! Connect Link lets anyone use the API without writing scripts. With Connect Link, Windows users can connect Act! with online applications, such as Slack, Google Contacts, and PayPal. An Act! Premium subscription and a free Zapier account are necessary to use this feature, as well as an account with the site you’re linking to. Zapier does all the work to use Act!’s Web API to connect it to your account. (Some features of Zapier require a paid account.) This feature requires version 18.2.
  • Act! Connect View has been redesigned for the new API integrations.

Administrative features

  • Administrators have more detailed control of Team accounts. They can designate which users have permission to send email campaigns, sign up for marketing accounts, and set up Connect Link integrations.
  • More user preferences are kept in the Act! database, allowing administrators to set them for all users at once. This also lets users access their settings in Act! Premium.

Better contact management

  • The “Favorite contacts” list lets a business track its most important contacts and retrieve them quickly.
  • Segmented call lists allow easier management of different calling groups within a campaign.
  • Activities now have a creation date stamp to make it easy to see when an activity started.


  • Act! Premium Mobile now works with iOS 9.
  • Act! Premium is fully compatible with the latest versions of Chrome and Internet Explorer 11.
  • Act! 18 now supports Windows 10 and Office 2016. Previous versions of Act! have problems with these releases. If you want Act! to run smoothly with them, you need the upgrade.
  • Act! version 16 won’t be supported after November 30. If you want continued support and have version 16 or older, you need to upgrade.
  • Act! version 16 users need to upgrade by September 30 to keep their Loyalty Pricing. If they don’t, the cost to upgrade will go up.
  • Besides, version 17 brought some nice advances to the desktop application, so why are you still on version 16? With versions 17 and 18, administrators can create browse-only users who can view but not change data and hide inactive users in their lists. Template folders make the selection of emarketing templates easier. Lists of email opt-outs and bounces are available for convenient viewing, making it easy to remove or correct addresses as necessary.
  • If you’re on the subscription plan, Act! 18.2 is free! If you aren’t, the Act! Premium Cloud subscription is well worth considering. It includes cloud hosting, Windows and mobile client applications, automatic upgrades, up to 500 email marketing contacts, video training, and technical support. Monthly pricing is per user, and a free trial is available.

With the latest version of Act!, you get the latest Web features, the best compatibility, and ongoing support. It’s the way to go if contact management is important to your business.

SystemsNet offers a variety of options for managing and maintaining your systems. For more information, please contact us.

3 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Managed Service Provider


A managed service provider should be able to provide you the high-quality services you need now and as your business grows and changes.

There are many different options to consider when choosing the systems to run a business and how to manage them. Making the best decisions comes from being informed on all the options, or at least the ones that fit each business’s situation. In this regard, let’s look at 3 factors to consider when choosing a managed service provider (MSP).



      1. Provides the Services Need
      2. Room for Growth/ Services and Products
      3. Customer Service and Values

Provides the Services Need

Not all MSPs are the same, and some may not be suited for your business. Examine their services and the products they partner with; are these services and products what your business needs? Maybe an IT Help Desk service is what’s needed, or existing system management and support?

A business needing hardware repair and/or installation on-site, will want an MSP within their region. For instance, SystemsNet is located in Horsham, PA, and has a service area stretching across the tri-state area. If on-site IT services are needed from a MSP, this is a large factor in deciding which one to choose.

Businesses should consider if the MSP provides fitting solutions when it comes to: cybersecurity, software support, installation, and integration. The main benefits of outsourcing IT services are: robust cybersecurity, data backup recovery, system monitoring, risk and compliance, minimal downtime with quick repairs (remote or on-site), software upgrade and support, and having a 24/7 IT help desk. How does the MSP address the services your business needs?


Room for Growth/ Services and Products

Now look at who they’re partnered with, and what software they support. Does the MSP support and partner with the solutions your business needs now or in the future? Basically, this factor involves thinking ahead and forecasting business needs. For instance, does Microsoft Office 365 and Act! CRM software leave room for growth? Or, is a completely cloud-based system in the future for your business?

Choosing a MSP is an important decision, because changing MSPs later is an unwanted hassle. At a certain point in business growth, outsourcing IT services is a wise choice for most SMBs; the complexity of technology needs expertise and experience to navigate profitably. Avoid unwanted hassles by choosing a MSP that fits your business’s needs and values.

Customer Service and Values

This is the subjective factor to consider, when choosing an MSP for long-term IT services. Finding a MSP that understands your business’s values and goals is important for a meaningful business relationship. What characteristics and values does the MSP have? Do these match your business’s values and objectives?

Outsourcing part, or all, of your IT department to a MSP, requires trust – fostered by a unified understanding through solid communication channels. A trusting and respectful business relationship is the best combination, because a close working relationship is needed to solve IT issues, either emergency or with proactive strategies. Talk to multiple people who make up the MSP, to see if their personalities and values match your business.


Outsourcing IT services should be a profitable move, one that creates efficiency in a business’s systems. If a business chooses the right MSP for their business’s needs, productivity is sure to increase with a decrease in effort and risk. The investment, at a certain point in a business’s growth, becomes worth the cost of outsourcing the IT dept.

These three factors to consider are meant to help businesses choose the correct MSP for their specific needs. Not all MSPs are the same, therefor, choosing the right one is an impactful decision on a business’s profit and sustainability. All the effort involved in choosing and working with a MSP, will be worth it when streamlined processes and upgraded solutions drastically reduce workflow inefficiencies. Please contact us to learn more.