Category Archives: Data Backup

Is Your Backup Disaster Recover Plan Ready for the Worst?

Woman in a server room on phone preparing a backup disaster recovery plan

Today’s security breaches enforce the need for secure reliable backup strategies

In the modern world of cybercrime and digital business, the state of your company’s computers and servers is of vital importance. Should anything happen to your important files or critical servers, you would need to have them recovered and back online as quickly as possible. This is the purpose of a backup disaster recovery (BDR) plan. When something goes wrong, you need a backup to recover from the disaster.

However, not all BDR plans are made equally. Some are prepared only to recover specifically important files, some only backup the website and not the company files. Some are prepared to restore the systems of one department but not another. Each company and it’s IT team are responsible for ensuring that a recovery plan is in place for every possible eventuality. Because what you don’t plan for is always the most likely to be what trips you up.

Most businesses need not just one BDR plan, but may. In order to have a recovery method no matter what type of technical troubles or security breach cause a data disaster. So along these lines,  ask yourself:

Is Your Disaster Recovery Plan Prepared For….

Restoring Key Files and Databases Individually?

All too often, company data disasters don’t involve reinstalling the entire system, but rather restoring one or two pieces of critical data. A software update may corrupt only the files that software interacted with, or only those that were open during the update. A human error might delete or save over a critical customer file, or a database might be lost when a server malfunctions.

Is your disaster recovery plan prepared to restore just one or two pieces of data from the entire backup? With the ability to do this, you can spot-recover key files and databases without losing time to restoring an entire data system or server.

Restoring an Entire Workstation to Work-Readiness?

Malware and failed updates often only affect the computer where the problem occurred. Malware on a workstation is often best solved with a factory reset and reinstallation of the operating system and some unfortunate software updates may lead to similar solutions. And restoring a single workstation is one of the coolest things backup recovery is capable of doing, if set up correctly.

Consider every workstation configuration in your company. Each workstation is made up of an operating system, security settings, and installed software to make it work-ready for an employee. Is your disaster recovery plan ready to restore a new or reset computer fully to work-readiness for workstations in each department? It can be.

Restoring Your Entire Network from a Factory Reset?

Some malware, however, specializes in attacking the entire company network accessed from the first infected workstation. Ransomware is notorious for this tactic though it is not alone in using it. When this type of attack happens, often the best defense for a company is to completely reset the network so that no malware can lurk upon it, then rebuilt it from the ground up using a backup recovery method.

Is your BDR plan prepared to restore the entire network infrastructure with all the finicky little settings and security measures your admins have spent months or years perfecting? Working with recovery experts, even this is possible and can allow you to thumb your nose at even the most vicious hacking attacks by restoring quickly without much impact on the company’s workflow.

Backup disaster recovery is not just a way to ‘make saves’ and then restore them when something goes wrong. They are delicate, detailed plans that involve careful setup, curation, and implementation. But if done correctly, you gain an incredibly flexible and robust defense against even those hacks that can fully take out a computer or your entire business network. Contact us today to find out more about how your BDR plan could be improved to cover more bases and provide a greater flexibility of recovery options.

A Practical Approach to Disaster Recovery

DRP Disaster Recovery Plan written in a notebook

Disaster Recovery is a serious matter and will save your business when an event occurs.

Many computer users tend to resolve issues and glitches as they come. That works fine for some people and circumstances but for the more productivity-oriented environments such as businesses, there needs to be a plan to resolve issues as soon as they come. Otherwise, monetary loss looms. Businesses that heavily rely on computers should outsource the repair and maintenance of them to professionals — especially data preservation and restoration in the events of breakdowns. Disaster recovery typically involves restoring backed up data, but it also encompasses quick restoration of devices with the correct configuration so that business continuity is good with as little interruption as possible. Generally, the more time a computer or computer network is out of order, the more money that will be lost — as the old adage goes, “Time is money!” Some business managers and owners have a tendency to attempt to save money by outsourcing as little as possible to professionals. This can be an extremely stressful situation — businesses alone have caveats that can cause excessive stress, but to attempt to manage the repair, maintenance, and data backup on top of that can completely usurp the joy out of owning or operating a business, as well as risk unintentional damage to computer systems — unintentional damage can be caused by attempting repairs without sufficient knowledge — and that of consequences of the outcome. Disaster recovery in highly productive environments should be left to professionals and below there are a few points to keep in mind when starting or running a business that relies heavily on one or more computers.

Starting Up

Whether the business has been booming for a while or things are just getting started, keeping the office computer-repertoire as simple as possible is a cornerstone. Seeking purchasing decisions from well-informed IT professionals is recommended and will generally turn out based on the needs of the business. Purchasing appropriate hardware will make it easier to mitigate times of disaster such as when computers are stolen, fires break out, vandalism occurs, or computers breakdown. If a business has been going for a while, downgrading certain types of products could help disaster mitigation as well as save money, but these types of decisions should also be backed by educated personnel.

Smart Hiring Decisions

A search for quality professionals can be started on the internet. Criteria to measure the quality of a service provider might include the number of years in business, whether professionals are certified, reviews, and affordability. Quality criteria are not limited to what’s listed here, but they’re a good place to start. Disaster recovery is a critical type of service that should not be downplayed whereby cheap and easy service is retained by the business in need of it. Professional services that are cheap and relatively easy to retain might be better suited for quick-fixes, but not for disaster recovery — it’s a branch of IT that needs to be properly planned and not applied only when something bad happens — without a sound recovery plan, a business will eventually be “dead in the water.”

Testing It Out

Once a disaster recovery plan has been implemented, it should be monitored closely to see what should go and what should stay. Working closely with a disaster recovery service is key while carrying out day-to-day operations — anything unusual or not functioning as intended should be reported as soon as possible unless it’s monitored remotely by the disaster recovery service. With knowledgeable IT professionals working behind the scene, the prognosis of disaster is good.

SystemsNet is a multifaceted IT service provider with years of experience and expertise on staff qualified to carry out disaster recovery. Please contact us.

4 Situations Where You Want a Robust Backup Recovery Plan

Backup Recovery Plan on a laptop screen in office

Disaster recovery plans cover you for disaster situations and also simple file recovery

Businesses often underestimate just how important a backup recovery plan really is. Backup recovery plans are put together as an afterthought, a ‘just in case’ like wearing your helmet to bicycle up and down your home street. But believe it or not, there are actually tons of different situations where a great backup plan is important, useful, or even necessary to keep your business on it’s feet. In fact, you’ll probably wind up using our backups more frequently than your top-of-the-line virus detection software.

Because like that bicycle helmet, a good recovery plan can be the difference between business life and death when a disaster finally does come along. And you’ll be glad you were prepared. Let’s take a quick look at four different business circumstances where a backup recovery plan is vital. Circumstances that are surprisingly common in the wide business world.

1) A Software Update Fails and Corrupts All Your Data

Most of our software today updates automatically. We have it set up (or it sets itself up) to periodically check for updates, download them, and sell-install them in the dead of night when no one is using your computer work resources. This happens all the time and is something we’ve come to rely on. But not all updates work correctly. A single piece of misaligned data that was damaged in the download can wreck the entire update.

And worse, updating currently active business software means that one corrupted auto-update can put your entire business worth of stored internal data at risk. An automatic update can fail and corrupt some or every scrap of data stored inside the original un-updated version. With a comprehensive backup recovery plan, however, you can easily restore all your data and software from the version before the update, then manually handle the update a second time to make sure nothing goes wrong.

2) An Employee Mistake Accidentally Deletes an Entire Database

Employee mistakes happen. And sometimes, they are enormous business-ruining mistakes no matter how genuinely sorry the employee is or how understandable the mistake might be. It is possible in some businesses for a mis-click or accidental keypress can delete reams of priceless business or customer data. Usually by clearing a database table or column without realizing that they have done so.

In this situation, you don’t want to have to lay the entire disaster at one employee’s feet. Instead, with a backup and recovery plan, it should be simple to rescue your company by restoring the lost data. From there, you can manage employee discipline with a calm and even approach that is appropriate to the mistake, not the potential averted consequences.

3) Your Entire Company Network is Ransomware’d

Then, of course, there’s the ransomware and other network-wide malware attacks that freeze you out of your own system. Because you can’t trust hackers to respond honorably to a pay-off, it’s important to assume that any computer compromised by ransomware or similar is probably ‘dead’. In other words, it needs to be wiped to factory settings to eradicate the malware and then restored to a functional business state through backup recovery.

If you have backups of your workstation setup and/or your entire network, this is the time to bust them out. Wipe everything that could be infected and rebuild our on-site computer system back from the ground up. The better your backups and implementation are, the more completely and quickly you can recover from a widespread malware attack.

4) A Flash-Flood Drowns Your Office, Including Local Archives

Natural disasters are another unexpected way that your data could be threatened. Even with all the cloud services, most businesses have at least a few locally stored physical archives on local servers, disks, or drives. Some businesses have their computer systems still almost entirely on-site. But this puts ‘all your eggs in one basket’ in terms of physical risk to your office building.

As the last few years have proven, you can’t do much to predict when extreme weather is about to ravage your part of the country. And if your office is hit with flash floods, earthquakes or something as simple as a neighborhood fire, all your local files and computers could be destroyed. But with a robust set of cloud-stored backups, you can not only recover those local archives. You may be able to rebuild from scratch using your backups of the previous network and work stations.

Having a well-built and comprehensive backup structure and recovery plan is vital to business continuity and disaster recovery.  For more information about building the best backup recovery plan for your business, contact us today!

10 Benefits to Digitizing Your Business Documents

Digitizing your business documents shown with filing cabinet drawers on a computer screen

Reduce physical storage needs and documents readily available are just a few reasons to go all digital

Running a business is a constant process of optimization. Everyone wants to provide better goods and services, improve efficiency behind the scenes, and ultimately generate greater profits each year by lowering overhead and increasing revenue. However, if you’re still working with paper documents then your business is missing out on a major optimization opportunity. Digital document storage has come a very long way in the last 10 years and with the addition of the cloud to the available network infrastructure, there’s never been a better time to digitize.

Not sure about whether it’s the right choice? A lot of businesses are hesitant to change a major aspect of their internal process like how paperwork is managed for fear of damaging office efficiency. However, let us assure that once you make the switch to a self-organizing digital document management system, your efficiency will not only recover quickly, it will blow the top off your charts as employees gain back hours every week that would normally be spent filing, searching for files, or even just collating and stapling paper documents. Here are ten of the best benefits of going digital.

1) Reclaiming Office Space

How much space do paper documents take up in your office? A storeroom? Two store rooms and a supply closet? Then there’s the possibility of rented storage space for archived folders not to mention all the filing cabinets and in/out boxes taking up space in the employee office space. Once you’ve digitized, you might be surprised how much open space is created both in storage rooms, and on employee desks.

2) Saving on Auditor Fees

When the auditor comes to call, you pay their hefty hourly fees but they also expect you to bring them all the documents to be audited. With a paperwork system, this means paying them for the half hour or more per visit that your staff spends searching and fetching specific paper documents. All this paid-for time is regained with a document management system as your auditor can quickly and easily access everything they need in seconds, not minutes or hours.

3) Instant Document Retrieval

Speaking of fast document retrieval, how much time do your employees spend each week essentially shuffling paper or seeking desperately for misplaced documents? A single mis-file into an adjacent folder can cost hours of lost employee time, especially if you simply must have a specific copy or filled form. With an online document management system (DMS), files can be found instantly. Even if they’re in the wrong digital folder, a simple keyword or category search will quickly locate any specific document that’s needed no matter when it was scanned or how it was filed. Even mistakes can be fixed with a few clicks or taps.

4) Access from Anywhere

Running back to the office for a document is no one’s idea of a good day, especially when a project or deal was almost complete except for one missing sheet of paper. When your documents are stored on the cloud through a handy online management platform, they can be reached from anywhere. Employees and clients alike can log in and access any document they are authorized to view or edit making those last minute trips to the office for paperwork a thing of the past.

5) Cutting Edge Security

How secure are your sensitive business and customer documents? Do you keep them under lock and key in a filing cabinet, or more likely, do they sit on an employee’s desk for days or weeks at a time? While there’s a certain amount of security in physical documents, the best way to protect important data is to lock it away under the highest-tech procedures possible. With cloud document management, that’s exactly what you get.

6) Share, Collaborate, and Sign

When dealing with paper documents, the process of collaboration can be tedious and you can forget about collecting signatures quickly. Waiting on paper documents to be snail-mailed, signed, and returned or even delivered to and from via couriers can add hours, days, and even weeks to a project schedule. With online documents, you can quickly and easily share anything with anyone, invite them to edit the document with you, or shoot over a copy for a digital signature which can return to you in minutes if the recipient is ready for the transaction.

7) Open to Analytics

One of the most powerful tools any business can employ today is high-end computer analytics. AIs and similar programs can scan thousands of data points to produce interesting statistics like the average amount of time customer are active, the demographics of your existing customer base or the most popular account type. Once your documents are digitized, you could much more easily feed any information you have into an analytics program to get back useful business data.

8) Regulation Compliance Maintenance

Every business has to comply with regulations, whether it’s about how you store customer data or how you store leftover food. There are always documents to help you stay compliant and there is always an audit every year or so. Having a live, easy to access and edit documents not only make staying compliant easier, it also makes updating compliance with new rules and providing information to auditors go more smoothly.

9) Disaster Recovery Guaranteed

If something happens to your building or storage facility, so too does this thing happen to all your paper documents. Fire and flood can destroy them completely and even an earthquake can make it very hard to retrieve your paperwork and start again. With cloud-stored documents, you could disaster recover with laptops in a tent if that’s what it took and every document would be perfectly preserved for the purpose.

10) Green Without the Recycle Bin

The final benefit of digitizing those heaps of paper documents is the environmentally friendly aspect. Here is your opportunity to recycle reams, stacks, and mountains of paperwork and then never need to use up that many trees worth of paper again. You can stop buying pallets of printer paper and you can even tone down the big green bin in the office because from here on out, your paperwork will be made of electrons, not actual paper.

Digital transformation is something that every business and department is taking on this decade. Even if you are in an industry that traditionally works with physical paperwork, it’s important to digitize to back up, edit, manage, and secure your documents. For more information about the digital transformation and how your team can streamline digitization, contact us today!