4 Common Reasons Why Business Continuity Plans Fail

by Jack Gesualdi, July 29th, 2014 in Disaster Recovery

As a business owner, keeping your network and data protected is crucial. Creating and maintaining a business continuity plan helps ensure that your business has the resources and information needed during an emergency situation. It helps maximize the chance of your business recovering, whether your hardware fails or a natural disaster strikes.

While you may already have a business continuity plan, is your program as effective as it should be? There are many factors that can contribute to a failing business continuity plan. As a company dedicated to delivering effective data center solutions for businesses, we understand that you want and deserve a business continuity plan that is effective. To help, we’ve examined four common reasons why business continuity plans fail and how to avoid them.

  1. Not Setting Realistic Expectations

Plans often fail because businesses don’t take into account all the “what ifs” that can occur during a disaster. What if the power is out, how will the business operate? Will you need to relocate to an alternative site until the power is restored?  What if there is damage at home? Do you have back-ups to handle the tasks? In order to create an effective continuity plan, be prepared for the worst case scenarios and have a plan of action for each.

  1. Not Testing Your Plan

You’ve developed a continuity plan but how do you know it’s reliable and works? All too often plans are created with little or no testing. Simply walking through the plan using scenarios can be extremely effective in recognizing gaps or holes in your plan and help you to create a more effective plan. Also, test your systems to see how effective they are or how they will last during such instances.

     3.   Not Informing Everyone in the Company of the Plan

Does everyone in the company know of the plan and what it entails? A continuity plan is of no use if it’s only shared with certain people in the company. Everyone in the company needs to be aware of the protocol and the appropriate steps to take when certain events take place. The plan should be shared with the company and they should have written documents of the plan for their own keeps. You can use electronic tools like smart phones, tablets and laptops to quickly share and save your plan.

  1. Not Updating Your Response Plan

Time changes, technology changes, staff changes, and businesses change. Updating your plan is critical to responding successfully during an emergency situation. You should review your response plan periodically to ensure that it is updated and can hold up during such instances.

 

 

 

When Is It Time to Hire an IT Services Company?

by Jack Gesualdi, June 23rd, 2014 in Support

Maintaining an IT department can cost a lot of money. From the software and computer equipment to the personnel that are hired, there’s no way around the fact that good help costs money. That said, there are ways to keep costs manageable, and outsourcing to an IT services company is one of them.

The decision to outsource or to keep in-house IT staff will be reliant on a couple of factors, and a company’s preferences, needs, and costs of operation will all play a role in determining the route chosen: if outsourcing is significantly cheaper (which it often is), it might make sense to outsource; if a company prefers to have support on-site, keeping an in-house staff may be the best decision. Many smart companies use a combination of the two resources to great effect.

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For startup companies or those who are considering a change to their IT department, the question is “what are the advantages of outsourcing?”

An IT services company can provide robust IT management and support, often for less than it would cost to build that same support in-house. But how can that be? Most people think of external contractors as ideal primarily for short-term projects or temporary positions, whereas a company’s IT needs are long-term and only likely to scale up. So how can paying an IT services company possibly cost less than simply investing in your own IT Department?

There are several reasons. For starters, the cost of in-house IT resources can be high. Not only are you looking at hiring professionals whose skills are in high demand and then paying them benefits, you’re also eyeing servers, network equipment, and security measures that can get expensive to purchase and maintain in-house.

But that’s not all. IT needs aren’t static and, in fact, the IT landscape—including both the equipment and the knowledge that a given business needs—is among the most rapidly changing of any industry. That doesn’t just mean that the equipment you buy today may be obsolete in 18 months; it means that in 18 months you may have completely different needs in terms of employee skillsets, as well.

IT services companies take a lot of this off your plate. When you contract with these companies, they take on the responsibility of keeping their equipment current and their staff training up-to-date. What you get is a functioning IT department with the latest technology, plus more options for technological growth and versatility at your fingertips – and at a lower cost.

When setting up your new department, you could opt to have one of these companies handle every aspect of your IT. Alternatively, by keeping a limited IT staff and then using outsourced services, you could achieve the best of both worlds – having the normal, everyday troubleshooting and routine maintenance handled by the outsourced experts with the best technology on the market at their fingertips, while those on-hand can focus on strategic business priorities. Both of these are reliable and viable options, so asses your needs and see which would work best for your company.

State of the Hosting Industry – 2014

by Scott Kantner, June 19th, 2014 in CTO

Our CTO’s impression of the current state of the industry post HostingCon.

The Biggest Benefits of Outsourced IT Support

by Jack Gesualdi, June 16th, 2014 in Support

Are you considering outsourced IT support for your business? Many companies have been opting for outsourced support recently, but is it the right option for you? It might be the smartest choice you ever make, but if you are still on the fence, here are some of the key benefits of outsourcing your IT:

  • Better technology – Businesses with outsourced IT support often have better, more recent technology than those who invested in all their own in-house equipment. That’s because IT equipment and practices are in continuous flux and constantly evolving. No matter how great the network infrastructure you bought in 2009, by today, you’ll be hearing groans from tech staff and finding yourself vulnerable to new security threats. With outsourced IT support, you can have equipment supplied by a firm whose job is to be on the cutting edge—and that means you stay current.
  • The best tech experts – Even for talented technical experts, it’s not easy to get a job at a dedicated IT firm. The bar is higher and the firm’s leadership knows the tech just as well as their staff do, which means there’s a greater level of accountability. And IT service firms make it a point to keep their staff trained and informed on the newest technologies and the latest developments in security and best practices. That means you have a higher level of skilled professionals at your disposal.
  • More options for growth – One of the biggest problems with investing in in-house IT support is that you commit yourself to a single track for many years to come. There are sunk costs involved and it’s hard to change tracks or priorities. That doesn’t fit well with the world of rapidly changing technology, or with potential changes in your own business. With outsourced IT support, as your business changes in size, the aim or scope of your technology can change too. You can add networks or pare down your tech without painful wasted investments. It allows for much greater flexibility.
  • Robust security – With the cyber era comes cyber threats. It can be difficult for a non-tech firm to keep current on the latest security practices or for a business leader to even know which threats are credible and which aren’t. Outsourced IT support includes tremendous information security support, and that can be priceless.
  • Peace of mind – Your company has its own industry to worry about. Information Technology is, in many ways, the engine room of a contemporary business and a CEO shouldn’t have to worry about what’s going on in the engine room. With outsourced IT support, they don’t have to.

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What makes you want to make the switch?

The High Cost of Business Data Loss

by Jack Gesualdi, June 5th, 2014 in Data Center, Disaster Recovery

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Preparing for Spring with Disaster Recovery

by Jack Gesualdi, May 19th, 2014 in Backup/Restore, Disaster Recovery

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In trying to summarize the spontaneity of springtime weather, Mark Twain once said, “In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.” Spring is the in-between time between the extreme cold and extreme heat of winter and summer, but there are some heavy extremes during the spring months as well. Some of the more common occurrences include severe thunderstorms, flooding and wildflowers.

With this in mind, spring is not the time for businesses to take time off from disaster planning. In the event of a severe weather situation, the Small Business Administration reports that anywhere from 40% to 60% of small businesses will never recover.  While larger scale businesses have the infrastructure in place to survive a major storm or natural disaster, many smaller businesses simply can’t afford it in operating budget. This is especially the case when it comes to IT disaster recovery testing and planning.

However, rather than avoid disaster recovery completely, small and medium-sized businesses that can’t afford their own disaster recovery and business continuity infrastructure should instead look to outsource it. Here are several features you can expect when you do so:

  • Critical Files Are Replicated: A key reason why businesses never recover after an outage is because they lose important data, including purchase orders, customers’ personal information, and more. Data can be lost due to server malfunction, wrongful account deletion, hackers and more. Luckily, these issues can quickly be solved by incorporating data replication, which is why DSS always replicates key files in its disaster recovery solutions.
  • Critical Support for Physical and Virtual Environments: DSS uses the best in hardware and software to create dependable physical and virtual environments to stand up to security threats, natural disasters, human error and more. In addition, our staff is constantly trained and monitoring systems 24/7 to provide critical support when needed.
  • Regular Testing: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right? While this is certainly true, the only way you will know if something is wrong is if you do constant testing. DSS constantly conducts disaster recovery testing to ensure the solution in place will be dependable if and when it’s ever needed.
  • Flexible Backups: If we need to schedule downtime to make updates and conduct backups, we will do so on your schedule, so your business isn’t impacted.

For more information on all of our disaster recovery services, please contact us today!