Do You Have a Reliable and Tested Backup System in Place?
Imagine that you are working on some critical financial data at the office or perhaps sorting through family photographs on your computer at home. What would you do if the computer containing all of your business and/or personal information crashed and your entire “digital life” suddenly vanished? What would you do if your computer was lost in a fire, destroyed in a flood or stolen at the airport? Do these scenarios put you into an automatic panic thinking about your data? At least the information can be recovered because you have a reliable and tested backup solution in place. Right?
Backing up is something we all know we are supposed to do. Yet, sometimes we feel that we are simply too busy to spend the time researching various secure backup solutions or we feel that money should be budgeted in other areas. Many of us are still relying on old tapes, stacks of disks and USB flash drives as our backup plan. Even if you have an external hard drive backing up your computer, this system isn’t entirely foolproof. External hard drives can also crash or be stolen and all of your information will be gone. Once disaster strikes and all of your business or personal information have been wiped away, it’s too late to think about what you should have done. Trying to recover this information is impossible in most situations and extremely costly.
We strongly encourage you to be proactive and establish a backup plan immediately. Even if you already have a backup plan in place, you should reevaluate the solution as technology is evolving rapidly!
Backup Solutions Move Online
As ominous as the disaster scenarios above may sound, the good news is that backup options have become significantly more reliable and widely used. Technology and increased internet speeds have switched backup processes to on-line data storage. Here are a few informative pointers on how on-line backup systems work:
- The on-line backup provider will download their software to your computer.
- The application simply runs in the background backing up your data to the provider’s secure storage servers. It’s a simple automated system that backs up everything on your computer. Not just select files – everything.
- Most on-line backup providers encrypt stored data in a class known as “Bank Grade Security.” With this high-level of data encryption, there is no need to worry that your business or personal information can be seen by others.
- A user friendly interface enables you to set-up a backup schedule and to download and restore files once the files are backed up.
- Think of on-line backup as insurance for your data. If you lose any files, you retrieve the information via the on-line backup system. You pay a monthly fee to keep your data insured.
- On-line backup keeps your file structure intact. You can search for backup information just as you would find the information filed on your computer. It’s efficient and user friendly.
- On-line backups provide easy recovery if disaster happens to strike.
Why On-Line Backup is Your Best Solution
On-line backup is the best solution for ensuring the security of your business data and also personal information. On-line backup provides protection for your data in the event of a computer crash, theft or natural disaster while also delivering an elevated level of security. Within the realm of on-line backup solutions, there are a number of vendors and solutions to consider.
Contact your local Computer Troubleshooters to help you determine the best backup scenario for your business or home use. Be sure that your data is safe, secure and backed up.
The term “IT outsourcing” is generally defined as the use of a third-party service provider to deliver IT- enabled business processes. Outsourced IT support services typically involve sub-contracting responsibility for some of the following processes: application and software development; data storage via cloud services; web development and hosting; application support and management; database development and management; security; telecommunications; social media management; technical support and help desk services. Outsourced IT support enables both large corporations and small businesses to benefit from experienced IT guidance; remain up to date on technology; and have access to knowledgeable best practices. It’s simply not possible for a business owner to be an expert at everything. It’s a smart strategy to know when to hire an expert for certain functions that will enable you to keep your focus on moving your business forward.
Did You Know Utilizing Outsourced IT Support Can Benefit Your Business?
A business owner can contract for outsourced IT support services with a provider in the neighborhood, across town or on the other side of the country. Some IT service providers even come to the client’s site. Computer Troubleshooters already offers this type of skilled IT service to many of our clients. Whatever the particulars of the chosen outsourced IT arrangement might be, the practice is increasingly popular because there are many advantages to this service. Here’s a list of the top four benefits you can take advantage of by outsourcing your IT support services:
Benefit 1: Control costs by eliminating full time staff to manage IT functions. By outsourcing IT support responsibilities, you pay only for the specific tasks you need accomplished. You can also control your initial capital outlay for IT infrastructure
Benefit 2: Expertise and efficiency is immediately available by outsourcing your IT functions. IT service providers have a wide range of technical expertise and are focused on delivering efficient strategies and outcomes to their clients. As a business owner, you won’t need to worry about a full-time employee being trained, skilled and experienced for each new IT project. Simply call your IT service provider and a skilled professional is available to help.
Benefit 3: Stay competitive even if you don’t have a big budget for IT expenses. Large companies may have in-house tech professionals and cutting-edge technology, but smaller businesses generally don’t have the financial resources to support these services. Through economies of scale, outsourced IT support services provide access to the technology and professional expertise that you need for your business to stay competitive. By outsourcing your IT support services, a small business can function like a big business. This competitive edge will impress your clients.
Stay Ahead of the Competition with Outsourced IT Services
In today’s economy, the business world has become increasingly competitive. Business owners need to carefully manage every aspect of their business to stay a step ahead of their competitors. If trying to manage IT issues is distracting you from the core issues of your business, it’s probably time to consider an alternative. Outsourced IT support services are an affordable and efficient alternative to wasting your time on IT headaches.
Computer Troubleshooters can provide professional IT services to your business as needed, with no need to hire full time employees. Let the experts at Computer Troubleshooters work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customized plan for your business. Computer Troubleshooters can manage your IT services and you can manage your business. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you
If your technology stopped working, would your business stop functioning too? Is your business totally reliant on the information stored on your computer systems or could you continue to deliver 95% of your products and services and catch up on the computer work later? No matter which end of this scale your business is at, you will fare much better during a major technology outage if you plan in advance, before it happens. This month we take some of the mystery out of Business Continuity Planning.
Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is the process of working out how your business will continue to function during a disaster. These threats to your business could include:
- Burst water pipes
- Flooding (severe rainfall)
- Influenza outbreak
- Hardware failure
- Software Failure
- Internet outage
- Severed phone cabling
- Security breach
- Damage by disgruntled employee
- Employee error
- … And many more!
BCP begins with identifying the possible risks and the impact they would have on your business. What functions would be affected if your main administration PC crashed? How long could you be without internet access? It’s important to evaluate the probability of these incidents occurring and the severity of their impact. This will help you to determine which incidents are the highest priorities to be addressed.
Next, you look at how these risks can be prevented, or the impact of them lessened. This could include copying data to a different site or having a laptop that has the same business-critical software applications as your administration PC.
Finally, you plan the actions that would be needed to help you respond when this incident occurs. Do you need to go to another site to get a copy of your data or bring the laptop in from home? Do you need to temporarily relocate to another site that does have internet access? Can you run a paper-based system until you can access your computers again? Think about who will be responsible for doing what and what resources they will need. This also needs to include any third-party suppliers of your business, like your local Computer Troubleshooter.
Your Business Continuity Plan should be examined, tested and maintained on a regular basis. This is to ensure it still reflects the changing needs of your business and also to make sure that the key parties within your business understand their roles in the process.
Whilst it may seem a little daunting, some forethought and planning will save you a lot of time, stress and money when things do go wrong. Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters about the best way to keep your business running smoothly if you’re suddenly without your technology.
With the rise of Smartphone & Tablets increasingly small business needs to think about it mobile presence and the mobile customer experience. With mobile search now accounting for nearly 40% of all internet search and a recent study revealing that 49% of tablet and smartphone owners are using mobile apps to find local information, the pressure is on to satisfy this growing market.
Mobile websites pages & mobile apps are quickly becoming a necessity for small businesses to stay competitive. The key functions of a mobile website or app are to directly generate income, to increase brand awareness and serve as a customer service channel that promotes your business. By adding portability and location targeting to busy consumers, mobile can support purchase transactions, deliver turn-by-turn driving directions, offer coupon deals and promote social media interactions. With one tap of the screen, a customer can call you directly resulting in actual customer engagement and commerce opportunities for your business. If you don’t have a mobile friendly website or app in place, you might be missing out on 49% of a potential client base.
Step one for any business owner is to check the mobile experience for themselves.
The next step is to think like your mobile customers:
How to make you business more mobile friendly
- Customer Interaction should be interactive, easy and engaging. Enable the customer to arrive at the service they want in the fewest number of taps. This can make a positive impression on new customers who will become repeat customers. Check with your web developer that the mobile plug- in has been activated for your website.
- Promotional Features should give customers the incentive to use the app by offering special discounts, deals and reward points. Promotions should increase sales and develop customer loyalty in the process. How does this look on a mobile browser?
- Discounts and Location-based Features are the things consumers are always looking for with mobile apps. Consider combining these two features with a location finder and check-in process that presents the customer with a discount at your location. Check your phone number can be selected from your site as input into the smartphone keypad..
- A Social Media Feature should be as “friendly” as possible. Facebook and Twitter integration can encourage real time interaction between app users and their friends and help your business develop a fan base on social media sites.
Will Your Business Be Left Behind?
The trend in mobile usage is growing at an unprecedented pace. Whether it’s on an iPhone, iPad or an Android, everyone is using these devices to connect, gather information, take action and spend money. In the recent past, creating an app was a costly proposition that placed it outside the budget of small businesses. This situation has clearly changed as more small businesses are using mobile apps to attract customers. Currently, there are over one million apps available via Apple’s App Store plus a variety of tools that enable businesses to create their own mobile app. Simply put, think of it as the equivalent of a website twenty years ago. With so many people using it, shouldn’t your business be a part of it?
Developing a mobile friendly website or app can be an overwhelming task for a small business owner. But the fact is that if you want your business to stay competitive, then it’s time to explore the advantages of mobile. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters a call and we will help point your business in the right direction.
The term “managed services” is generally defined as the practice of outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities with the strategic goal of reducing costs while improving operational efficiency. A managed services provider typically refers to an outsourced information technology company that assumes responsibility for one or more aspects of a client’s IT functions. These responsibilities can range from a single specific task, such as managing network security or offering help desk support, to the complex management of running a client’s entire IT infrastructure. Most managed service providers bill a flat or nearly-fixed monthly fee benefiting clients with predictable IT support costs.
How Managed Services Can Immediately Benefit Your Business
Computer systems now form an integral part of most businesses’ ability to function. Can you remember the last time a computer crisis kept you from your “real job” – managing your business? It might be time to consider the immediate benefits of outsourced managed services for your business’ IT needs. Here’s a list of the top five benefits you can take advantage of by working with a managed service provider:
Control IT Costs by working with a managed service provider to create a customized IT service plan that suits your budget and the needs of your business. A service plan can help business owners reduce IT operational costs while actually providing a higher level of IT service for their business. Plans can be customized by the number of support hours required or the level of monitoring and maintenance that is needed each month. Capital expenditures for equipment will be reduced in addition to staffing costs.
Manage Labor Costs if you do not employ IT professionals in your business, you likely have a designated “go-to” person in the office that handles the technology issues for everyone. You can eliminate the time this person is spending on IT issues so they can get more of their actual work done.
Quickly Implement New Technologies with the help of a managed service provider. Skilled IT professionals can save you both time and money with the efficiency of on-demand services. Also, a managed services provider will have a strong understanding of your business and your technology, allowing them to understand your technology needs as well as your budget. This will save you time in trying to understand new technology, and money you may waste on buying products you do not need or that will not work for your specific network.
Increase Efficiency and Stay Competitive through economies of scale. Most managed service providers can provide small to medium sized businesses with access to technology and expertise usually only available to large companies. Your managed services professional can assist you with identifying the products and services that would benefit your business and are available in an option that will fit your needs.
Security can require constant vigilance. Is your firewall up to date; are you protected against malware; do you audit your servers; are you using the latest customer transaction systems for credit, debit, e-checks and wire transfers? Outsourced security monitoring leads to less down-time, enhanced efficiency and greater profits for your business.
Be Proactive and Consider Managed Services Today
Are you ready to forget about those IT headaches? Whether you only have a few PCs, a network or more than one server, you are probably ready for a managed service provider. Computer Troubleshooters’ managed service experts can work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customized plan for your business. As a business owner, don’t you want to stay productive by focusing on the actual management of your business – not spending time fixing problems or worrying about what you will do if your systems stop working.
Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about how managed services can help to proactively manage your IT environment.
More than ever, business owners need to squeeze even more productivity out of limited time, staffing and resources. Many small businesses see cloud computing as a way to access advanced technologies that were previously affordable only for larger companies. A recent survey conducted by CompTIA, a nonprofit IT industry trade association, stated that more than half of micro businesses (one to nine employees) and small businesses (ten to ninety-nine employees) use cloud-based business productivity applications. Analysts and industry leaders agree that global demand for hosted IT services will continue to expand rapidly as cloud-based solutions offer significant resolutions for organizations of all types and sizes. Can cloud computing services help your business succeed in the marketplace?
Give Your Business a Competitive Edge
Finding the right business tools is an important task. Cloud computing can help your business edge out the competition with reduced costs and enhanced productivity in a number of ways:
- The latest innovations in cloud computing are making business applications even more mobile and collaborative in ways similar to Facebook and Twitter. Consumers expect information in real time and more business applications in the cloud are heading in that direction.
- Accessing specialized computer resources as they are needed enables businesses to quickly deliver quality results with greater affordability. Faster turn-around time can propel you ahead of your competition.
- You can bring your product to market faster and generate higher revenues as customers are able to access the service immediately.
- Cloud computing can enable innovative business initiatives that generate new value propositions and revenue streams. Some companies, such as Spotify, are building entirely new business models solely using cloud services.
- Cloud computing services can help you gain “business agility” with efficient projects that allow your employees to spend their time on work that has a greater potential value to your business.
- Utilizing cloud computing services can enable your business to shift from a capital expense model to an operational expense model. By forgoing long term financial IT commitments, an organization can complete projects more quickly without losing any investment.
Cloud computing might sound over-hyped and tech-heavy, but in reality it’s a rising trend among small business owners. If you want to learn more about the advantages of cloud computing for your business, contact your local Computer Troubleshooters office. One of our computer professionals will be happy to meet with you to explore the benefits of cloud computing for you and your business.
Most businesses report that they are not properly prepared to combat the risk or to bounce-back in the event they suffer a catastrophic data loss. There are a number of factors that affect the majority of businesses today and may increase their susceptibility of a data loss:
- Business owners incorrectly assume that quality backup services are too expensive or beyond what they need.
- Businesses are often using out of date technology for their data backup and storage needs and assume that it is working.
- The number of online security threats has increased.
- Many companies are trending towards BYOD- or “bring your own device”- and therefore there is an increasing amount of company and client data stored on employees’ personal laptops, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, that is likely not protected or backed-up even if the company devices are.
What is the Real Cost of Data Loss to a Business Owner?
According to the Gartner Group 43 percent of companies were immediately put out of business by a major loss of computer records, and another 51 percent permanently closed their doors within two years. This leaves a mere six percent “survival” rate.
What about a loss that is not catastrophic? This type of data loss is an expensive problem as well that costs organizations an estimated average of $200 per record affected according to a recent survey by Ponemon Institute, though to some degree the true costs associated with data loss are difficult to measure.
What can be Done to Avoid a Catastrophic Data Loss?
Implementing a data protection program is essential for every organization. While most business owners recognize that their data files are their livelihood, more than half admit to not having a quality data backup protocol in place. Here are some tips on what you can start doing today to protect your business:
- Accept the fact that your data is at risk. The reality is that computer hard drives, whether on a server, a desktop, or a laptop, will fail.
- Invest now to save money, and your business, later. An automated and fully protected backup service starts at about $30 per month (depending on the amount of data being backed up) and provides you with the peace of mind that your data, and your business, are protected. The cost of attempting to recover deleted data, once lost, is significantly more expensive and is estimated that 20 percent of lost data is not recoverable!
- If you do not have a data backup and recovery plan, get one! Call your local Computer Troubleshooter and request an evaluation of your data backup needs. They will then be able to provide you with options that will meet the specific needs of the business and your budget.
- Check the viability of the backed up data regularly. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your backups are being done, whether your company uses a manual or automated backup process. Also, never assume the data is retrievable. Talk with your Computer Troubleshooter technician about your current backup solution to verify that it is still the best option for your needs.
- Make data protection a company-wide initiative. Work with your Computer Troubleshooter technician to develop policies and a plan of action for all employees to follow regarding the proper location and access to company data to ensure that data is being backed up as well.
A proactive approach to protecting your data and establishing a plan for recovery in the event of a loss is smart business. Ask your local Computer Troubleshooter about the best protective mechanisms for your data or for assistance with any of the above recommended tips before it is too late!