Local, On-site, Off-site, Cloud-based, Business Continuity….These are all terms for various types of data backups. And if you search online for data backups, the list becomes long and arduous. So how do you determine what is best for your business?
Local & On-site Data Backups
This is exactly what it sounds like. Your data is being backed up at your location, possibly on your server as a Windows backup, on a magnetic tape, or on an external drive. This is typically a more affordable method, internet is not required, and will give you immediate access to your data from your location. However, it does have its downfalls. On the chance that disaster occurs at your location, your data could be inaccessible from a remote location or even worse, destroyed.
Off-site, Cloud-based Data Backups
This method of backup does require internet as your data is stored away from your location. This can be seen as both a fault and an advantage. Unlike local backups, if disaster was to occur at your location, you can rest assured that your data will be safe from fires and floods. You also have the ability to gain access to your data from remote locations. For some customers, this ability alone is a deciding factor. The disadvantage of course is cost. Typically off-site backups are more expensive than on-site and are usually subscription based.
So What is Business Continuity?
Business Continuity is the relative “new kid on the block”. The focus here is not on recovering data after a disaster, but continuing to access it during a disaster. This method can be virtualized quickly both on and off-site, allowing your business to keep functioning and saving you costs by eliminating the normal down-time.
Again, the disadvantage might be seen as higher costs, but if you weigh it against the advantages, it may be worth considering for your business.
What Method is Best?
That really depends on your business. Disasters are something we do not like to think about. For us at CMS, it is always on our mind, especially with hurricane season less than a month away and the recent flooding in Texas. It reminds us that things can go wrong, and it’s not always a natural disaster. Ransomware has grown exponentially in the past few years, and with your network files encrypted, a secure backup may be the only thing to protect your business and your investment.
Find someone you trust, give us a call at CMS. We will help you look at your data and determine your needs. From there, we can assist you in finding the method to work best within your budget and still accomplish your goals. If you would like a little more information on Business Continuity, you can visit our website to read more.
**For all our readers along the coast, June 1 begins Hurricane Season. Visit http://www.texasprepares.org/ to get ready.
Today I want to talk about the importance of using a consistent IT services provider. Every business out there relies on some type of technology to make their business run, whether it is your phone system or your computer network.
At CMS, we work with a variety of customers both large and small. Some customers employ their own IT personnel and simply rely on us as a provider of equipment and backup support, while others depend on us fully for managed services, using us as their “offsite IT department“. Regardless of your size and budget, having a local IT company that you consistently work with is important, and here is why.
Knowledge of your Network!
Working each time with the same company, they will learn your network. They will be better educated on the layout and design of your network, the applications that your employees use and the security policies in place. If you’re not using the same business to resolve your issues, each problem will cost you in additional time to pay for a learning curve.
Elimination of Network Problems Before They Occur
Because there is a familiarity with your business and your network, your IT provider can help you eliminate problems before they occur. They are more capable of seeing a device with declining performance if they are always the ones to work with it. And as we know, fixing a problem is much quicker at the beginning than it is in the end, which can reduce your down time.
The Trust Relationship
Finally, it all comes down to trust. Your IT provider should understand the nature of your business and only have your best interest at heart. Your goal is to run your business as efficiently and effectively as possible, and your IT company should be up to the challenge to make that happen.
Sometimes, it may seem like it is salespeople just trying to make a sell, and we understand that getting your network up to standard can be expensive at first. However, we can say that customers who trust us and make the investment are more productive and suffer less downtime.
We encourage you to find a local IT provider in your area that you trust, check out their reputation with other customers, and build a relationship that will strengthen your business. If you are in the Southeast Texas area and are looking for someone, visit with us and ask us questions. We are always happy to meet new faces.
So, What is “Managed IT Services”?
We like to call it…your virtual IT department. Imagine staffing an entire company just to be your IT support, but not having to worry about training, employees calling in sick, or any other issues with an in-house staff. Managed IT services means that you have access to an entire technology company when you need it, staff who is watching and proactively protecting your business data and network.
Here’s How Your Business Can Benefit from Managed Services.
Remote Support – Most managed services providers will offer some type of remote support. Here’s your scenario….
It’s the end of the month and Sally comes to work to get payroll done. She turns on her computer first thing in the morning, opens an email attachment from a “customer”, and sees an alarming pop-up on her screen, warning her that her PC has been infected and to immediately click below to fix her computer.
Instead of clicking, Sally places a quick call to her IT support help desk so that her managed services support can gain remote access to her PC and verify that the popup is indeed part of the virus. Being trained and familiar with this type of malware, they then properly remove any traces of the malware without the PC getting completely infected and Sally is able to go back to work.
If caught quickly before anything else was loaded into the PC, this call may have only taken 15-30 minutes of her time. Now, there are instances where things are worse and it does take longer, but Sally’s issue was resolved without having to schedule an engineer to come out on-site, saving both money and time. After all, productivity in a business is what really matters.
Scheduling Priority – So what if Sally’s PC was already infected beforehand. This may prevent IT staff from gaining remote access to her PC, because unfortunately, that is what malware does. Your IT company may offer their managed services customers a scheduling priority. Basically, your emergencies take priority over other minor IT calls from customers who may not subscribe to managed services.
Proactive Network Management – aka…”Stopping threats before they happen.”
Monitoring software can help manage your network, notifying staff when your server is no longer connected to the internet or your business network. They can also receive status updates on possible hardware failures, keeping your network running and preventing problems before they happen.
Let’s not forget to include email services that not only block SPAM, but blocks malicious programs that may try to enter your network through a email link or fake attachment. What if Sally’s virus-infected fake email was blocked before entering her email client? She would have never seen the threat.
Management of your network security through your firewalls, routers, and even your antivirus software can prevent threats from ever entering the playing field as well.
Other benefits of managed services can include:
- Disaster recovery planning & data backup management
- 3rd Party vendor management & assistance
- Software updates and Microsoft patch management
- and more depending upon your IT company’s profile
How many people would you have to staff to take care of everything mentioned above?
Don’t forget, along with salaries, there’s employee benefits to include. And the larger your company network is, the larger your IT staff would need to be to properly secure it. So just maybe using a Managed IT services provider is what your business needs. And if you’re not sure, find a local IT company like CMS IP Technologies that is willing to do a free evaluation of your network.