Avoiding Downtime by Having a Business Continuity Plan

Companies small and large are increasingly reliant on their IT systems and infrastructure. Having a Business Continuity plan is a proactive way of avoiding unnecessary downtime due to a disaster, human error, or security breach. Not only may downtime cause data loss, but also according to Gartner Research, a conservative estimate of the  cost of downtime for a computer network is $42,000 per hour. For a small business without a Business Continuity plan, such downtime could have long-term crippling implications. In case of natural disasters or IT outages, it is important to be able to calculate risks and financial losses caused by downtime in order to best allocate IT resources to get your business back online quickly. Below are suggestions for putting downtime for your computer network in perspective. Downtime of your Computer Network and Your Business Continuity Plan There are many factors that contribute to losses caused by downtime. These factors include employee productivity, financial losses, fines, legal fees, loss of revenue, and loss of goodwill. Whether it is inventory sitting on trucks, invoices that don’t go out, or cash registers that stop ringing, it is important to understand which applications and data are most important to bring back quickly. By identifying the systems that are most important to keeping your doors open, you will quickly realize where the highest risk of downtime is in your business.  Also note that losing sensitive data, such as credit card information, may attract heavy fines and loss of reputation in addition to lost revenue. How to Avoid Downtime With Your Business Continuity Plan To avoid the disastrous effects that downtime can...

Do you Have a Strategy for Online Backup?

Online Backup is one of the more popular deployments of cloud computing. Online backup can be a cost effective part of your data protection strategy. Many businesses have achieved benefits by leveraging cloud computing for secure and affordable remote data storage and cloud file sharing technologies.  In some cases, business owners do not even realize they are using Cloud Based Online Backup services.  For business owners there are a number of important considerations for your Online backup strategy. Industry and Regulatory Compliance Some industries, such as health services, have strict regulations on how data is managed and protected.  Some online backup vendors comply with these strict requirements, while others do not.  It is important to carefully select your online backup supplier and ensure their Service Level Agreements (SLA) meets your business needs and comply with your industry regulations. Online Backup Recovery Time Online backup can be a secure and affordable option for offsite data storage and cloud sharing capability.  If you are considering remote backup for your business continuity and disaster recovery plans, it is important to consider recovery times in the event you need to to restore your data.  Some online backup services provide great value for easy access to data, while other services are optimized for rapid recovery of your most critical information.  You should weigh costs and risks when deploying online backup for your disaster recovery scenarios. How Secure is Your Online Backup There are many online backup vendors providing a secure solution that is equally or more reliable that tape storage or other data vaulting solutions.  In fact, the cloud infrastructure for your data may...

Cloud Computing Trends 2013: CompTIA 4th Annual Research Report

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is expected to release their fourth Annual Cloud Computing Trends research study this week.  This cloud computing research is based on a survey of over 500 IT and Business Professionals collected in June 2013. The Fourth Annual CompTIA Cloud Computing Trends report is expected to reveal cloud computing trends and  buying patterns, benefits and challenges related to cloud computing use by businesses.  In addition, over 400 IT firms were surveyed on how the cloud is changing the IT technology channel.  Here are some anticipated highlights of cloud computing trends: Cloud Computing Trends:  Cloud is an Increasing Component of IT Architecture According to the research, 90% of companies are using cloud computing architecture in their business.  The research indicates “as cloud components are becoming more prevalent in IT architectures, more companies are relying on cloud computing for business processes such as storage (59%), business continuity/disaster recovery (48%), and security (44%).  This strong usage and strong market indicators show that cloud computing is becoming a default part of the IT landscape.” Top Benefits of Cloud Computing As Cloud Computing becomes more mainstream a range of business benefits are reported.  While no single reason stands out, businesses report a broad range of benefits by adopting cloud computing technologies:   Cloud Computing Reaches Maturity The research indicates that more than half of  those delivering, managing, integrating and supporting cloud computing solutions feel their cloud computing businesses are mature and strategic.   Integration Remains the Top Cloud Computing Challenge According to the cloud computing study by CompTIA, integration remains at the top of the list for all companies....

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning

Business continuity and disaster recovery come to mind as hurricane and fire season is upon us.   This week meteorologists are reporting that Tropical Storm Chantal is looming over the East Coast and will potentially flood the southern United States.  Last year we all saw the terrible devastation of Hurricane Sandy.  We are also reminded of the destruction of Hurricane Dennis in 2005.  Earthquakes, which can not be predicted, can also pose a threat to your business continuity.   If you’re not worried about Hurricanes, keep in mind there are wildfires raging throughout the West this fire season.  If you are fortunate enough to live in a part of the world outside this business continuity and disaster recovery window, be thankful.  Either way you should ask yourself if your business continuity and disaster recovery plans are in place. Here are a few considerations for your business continuity and disaster recovery plans: Business Continuity and Application Data Assess what data is mission critical to your business.  Focusing on the most important assets to protect and provide rapid restore capability will aid you in getting your business up and running quickly.  It is not practical or cost effective to have all of your data available immediatly following a disaster recovery scenario, therefore prioritizing is key. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Policies and Procedures Review your policies and procedures to ensure they are up to date with your current needs.  In addition to data backup and recovery policies, review your emergency response policies as well.  In a disaster recovery scenario it is important to know who to call to get your data backup online...

What is Malware and Why Should I Care?

Malicious Software or Malware is a serious concern to IT Security experts and business owners alike.  Malware is a category of Cyber Security threats that includes Viruses, Worms,Trojans and Botnets.  It is no surprise that the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) tenth annual IT Security Information Trends report placed Malware at the top of the list of security threats.  CompTIA cited that eighty-five percent of Business Owners and IT Professionals have a moderate to serious concern about Malware.  Why should you care? Many times Malware intrusions will go undetected. Some malware may cause your computer to run slowly.  Some malware may be programmed to silently harvest privacy data from your hard drive, while other malware is programmed to destroy data on your hardware.  Other malware can turn your PC into a Cyber Hacker by exploiting security holes and using your PC to attack other PCs. Costs associated with data breaches is estimated to be as high as a billion dollars each year.  Moreover, the number of Malware threats are exploding.  Symantec estimates there will be over 250,000 new threats (not attacks) identified on Android devices in 2012 alone.  What can you do to avoid Malware? IT Security Risk Assessment The reality is you can not afford to eradicate one hundred percent of all cyber threats, so you need to have a pragmatic plan for defending yourself.  Start by understanding your security risks by reviewing your core applications and data, policies and procedures, as well as, your network infrastructure.  You are as vulnerable as your weakest link. IT Security Compliance To protect your applications and their data, as well as...
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