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...

Should I Run my Business in the Cloud?

If you are still foggy about Cloud Technology, don’t feel too badly. According to a recent survey of one thousand adults by Wakefield Research over 50% of respondents believe that weather patterns have an impact on Cloud Computing! The reality is most of us are using the cloud whether we know it our not. Cloud Computing is a cost effect way for companies to have access to enterprise class infrastructure they may not be able to otherwise afford. The Cloud can lower capital expense for your business while helping you upgrade your IT Infrastructure. So What is Cloud Computing and How Can Cloud Computing Help my Business? Here are a Few Ways you May Benefit. Software as a Service Software as a Service (SaaS) is a popular cloud based model for getting access to enterprise applications. Instead of having dedicated software running on your company premise you can opt for a cloud based version of your software running across the Internet. In most cases the Cloud option has the same features and performance as the “on premise” counterpart. There are many applications available in the Cloud including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales Force Automation (SFA), Email and even Office Productivity Applications (e.g. Word, Excel, Powerpoint). Cloud Backup Cloud Backup or Remote Backup is another option for your business. Many companies rely on tape backup for their business. Cloud Backup provides an additional option for offsite backup and storage. Your application data, files and other important IT assets are stored across the internet using Cloud Backup. In many cases Cloud Backup Technology can back up as quickly as your local...

Happy Data Privacy Day!

Data Privacy Day may not be a holiday for your IT Support Professional, however, it is an international holiday dedicated to education about Data Privacy. On this day many private, government and academic Data Privacy and IT Security Professionals get together and discuss key issues about Data Privacy. What is Privacy Data and What Does This Mean to Your Business? Privacy Data can include a combination of Name, Address, Birthday and Taxpayer information. It can also include other information you may have related to employee health records, personnel records, customer data, supplier data and more. Keeping this data protected and secure from data leaks and hackers is important. You may face fines, suffer damages, loss of reputation and even loss of revenue if Privacy Data is leaked from your company. What Can You Do on Data Privacy Day to Protect Your Business? It is important to educate your employees about Privacy Data and the Risk of Loss. In today’s world where social networking is acceptable in many workplaces, employees may not realize the risks of sharing Privacy Information. The more your employees are aware of Privacy Data and the Risk of Loss the better. How Can I Protect Privacy Data on My Company Network on Data Privacy Day? It is important to keep you systems in compliance with O/S Patches, as well as, up to date with the latest Anti-virus and Anti-malware definitions. It is also a good idea to monitor your network for unauthorized access. You should also maintain a current backup of all of your privacy data. If you have a data leak you may be required...

Getting More From Your IT in 2013

Getting More From Your IT in 2013 There are plenty of ways to get more from your IT budget in 2013. Mobility, remote support and cloud backup are a few technologies that will make your budget go farther. Let’s explore a few ways you can leverage these emerging trends to get more from your IT infrastructure. Mobility Mobility is a rapidly growing trend. Most analysts agree there will be as many shipments for mobile devices (e.g. smart phones and tablets) as there are for PC desktops, laptops and servers shipped in 2013. With more emphasis on mobility, companies need to address the security issues around lost or stolen devices. Mobile devices may have access to critical business applications or have corporate data resided on the smartphone or tablet. Companies may be subject to data leaks if these mobile assets are lost or stolen. If you have unintended disclosure of privacy information related to employees, customers or suppliers, you may be subject to fines due to breach of industry (e.g. PCI Compliance) or regulatory requirements (e.g. HIPPA). You may also lose goodwill with customers if you suffer a data loss. A data loss could also impact sales. By protecting these mobile devices with a proper mobility strategy, you can avoid the costs associated with a data leak. As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Remote Support Many companies have turned to remote support models to monitor and manage their network environment. By remotely monitoring and managing your network and related IT assets, your IT Service Provider may be able to fix your IT costs...
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