3 Strategies to Help Minimize the Effect of Server and Network Downtime

3 Strategies to Help Minimize the Effect of Server and Network Downtime

managed service provider

Server and network downtime can cost businesses thousands of dollars. Each time a server or network goes down, your company data is at risk. There are a lot of reasons for downtime, like power issues for example. Although issues such as hardware failures, human error, and power outages are out of your control, you can control how downtime affects your business. Below are three strategies to help minimize the effects of server and network downtime.

Have a Business Continuity Plan

A continuity plan is a plan that helps your business continue to operate should a disaster occur. You can design your plan to deal with both short-term and long-term disasters. It is essential to test your plan regularly to see how reliable it is in a crisis. Update your plan accordingly when it needs improvements.

Create a Disaster Recovery Plan

When a disaster occurs that affects your data, it is important to have a disaster recovery plan in place. This plan consists of a data backup solution which can reside on local storage or cloud storage. Cloud storage is a more convenient and flexible solution. Unlike local storage, cloud storage doesn’t require a secondary backup location. Perform backups of your data on a regular basis. Nightly and weekly backups are often the best strategy.

Test Your Plans

Testing your data backup and recovery plan is essential to help minimize downtime. Regular testing will reveal areas that need improvement, whether it is hardware, software, or human error. You want to ensure your data recovery time is short.

These three strategies are a great way to help protect your company data during a disaster. In order to create well thought out plans and choose the best solutions for your business, it is best to consult with a managed service provider experienced in data disaster recovery.

 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We provide services and solutions that can prevent or help you recover from the next disaster.

Top 5 Benefits of SaaS for Small Businesses

Top 5 Benefits of SaaS for Small Businesses

benefits of saas
Small businesses often struggle with the demands of improving their marketplace position while maintaining a solid infrastructure. A weakened economy adds to the issue, forcing small businesses to re-think their budgetary requirements and cut costs across the board.

If you find your business in this position, it may be time to consider the benefits of Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions.

What can SaaS options do for you? Here are some of the many benefits you can reap:

  1. The most appealing initial benefit may be the cost savings for your business. Enterprises using a Cloud-based service considerably lower the cost of investing in hardware and purchase of software licenses. Rather than paying hefty fees up-front, SaaS is offered for a low monthly subscription fee, helping you budget appropriately. And as there is limited hardware to maintain, you also save the cost of upkeep and maintenance of equipment. Additionally, this reduces energy consumption and expense for your business in the long-term, making SaaS attractive to any business looking for ways of cutting costs.
  2. Another immediate benefit of SaaS solutions is the ability to use the service quickly. Unlike purchase of software which sometimes requires lengthy download times, SaaS solutions require very little start-up time, allowing you to get to work right away with the software you need.
  3. Speaking of the software you need, another benefit of SaaS is its configurability. Highly scalable to the specific needs of your business, it allows you to access just what you will actually use and eliminate unnecessary software clutter. This is a time- and money-saving feature. And when you need more, SaaS is easily expandable. It grows with your business, all while helping you keep an eye on the bottom line.
  4. SaaS also reduces your need for IT support in-house, as your Cloud-based software is maintained by your provider. This lets your IT staff work on other issues, making your business run more efficiently.
  5. Saas also provides a comprehensive security strategy. Automatic software updates and patch management take the hassle out of maintaining cyber safety of your business. SaaS often provides a more comprehensive backup system than small businesses can manage on their own. Knowing that your data is secure in the Cloud allows you to concentrate on the all-important goal of making your business a success.

If you would like more information about SaaS solutions, please contact us. We can customize a plan that fits seamlessly with your business processes and maximizes your efficiency today.

Outsourced IT Support is a Leg Up to the Playing Field

Outsourced IT Support is a Leg Up to the Playing Field

The thing about your internal enterprise IT support is that the latter is always a cost center and somewhat like a 25-pound weight around your otherwise lean midsection.

Who hasn’t cringed under the gimlet eye of the IT manager, who, in response to a suggestion or request for more data access has replied, “No, we can’t do that now.

Our system is maxed out because of the monthly usage reports we in the IT department need”?

OK, that’s somewhat of an extreme example, but it does conjure up familiar memories of the old-time IT support. It was like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz being warned not to look behind the curtain. You don’t know exactly what’s going on there, but you certainly know that when the system is down, it’s still gnawing at your bottom line.

Then there’s the effect of equipment aging when amortization deteriorates past depreciation and into another looming capital investment liability. All the while, everything you do and all the business records you have accumulated during the past ten years are in the form of digitized zeros and ones. Sure, everything is backed up, but what if your backup goes belly-up because of an act of God or the negligence of man?

You’re aware of your own playing field, because you’ve been competing out there. It’s like a three-legged race, and what you’re tethered to is both your cost of doing business and your lack of agility as equipment ages in the face of stiffer and increasing competition by hungry competitors, who are increasingly relying on and employing outsourced IT.

A great example of how effective the use of outsourced IT is our air traffic control system. Imagine if every airline had to do it’s own traffic control. For a start, we’d need private airports for each, and the redundancy and confusion would be unimaginable. Likewise, our air traffic control system is a classic example of leveling the playing field. All airlines, regardless of size and revenues, benefit from outsourcing a service to which each airline has immediate and equal access.

Analogies and metaphors notwithstanding, it may be time to take your IT support out of the realm of a significant cost center where you pay to be somewhat encumbered. Why not make your IT support a scalable and predictable expense? It is scalable in the sense that you pay for what you use, and it is predictable because you know its monthly costs without having to factor in breakdowns and training curves.

Here at 4 Corner IT we can give you that aforementioned leg up with a customized outsourced IT management program. We’ve been there a long time and are still doing that today.

Contact us and see how outsourced IT services can help you drop the burden of high IT costs.

Top 10 IT outsourcing stories of 2012

Top 10 IT outsourcing stories of 2012

Research into the UK outsourcing sector in 2010 found that 7.4% of the UK’s total production came from outsourcing, and about a third of that – some £38.7bn – was IT outsourcing. It is a sector that adapts to market conditions, reshaping itself to give customers what they want.

The past year has seen the public sector feature heavily in outsourcing news. The government wants to cut costs, so it has been trying outsourcing models. At the same time, it is putting pressure on its suppliers to do more.

In the light of the economic slowdown, private sector companies have been taking advantage of the economies of scale that outsourcing suppliers offer, as well as the ability to receive services from lower-cost regions. But perhaps the decision by outsourcing pioneer General Motors to abandon outsourcing was more noteworthy. 

The 10 articles below are an indication of the evolving nature of the outsourcing sector.

General Motors insourcing: One off or trend?

One of the big stories recently concerning outsourcing IT is one about doing the opposite. GM is in the process of insourcing its currently heavily outsourced IT. The plot gets even thicker when you look at GM's outsourcing CV. It is the company that basically created EDS. GM originally bought EDS as its internal IT department before spinning it out as a separate company. It continued to buy services from EDS. Then EDS was acquired by HP, and now, a few years down the line, GM is bringing almost everything in-house.

750,000 more jobs will be offshored by 2016

Businesses in Europe and the US will transfer about 750,000 jobs, including IT, to lower-cost locations over the next four years, taking the total number of jobs offshored to 2.3 million by 2016. But offshoring could stop in the next decade when there are no more roles to go, according to research from The Hackett Group, which looked at 4,700 businesses with annual revenue of more than $1bn.

UK IT outsourcing jobs and sales drop, but sector outperforms others

The number of UK workers employed in the IT outsourcing sector has dropped, as has its total contribution to the UK economy, according to research by Oxford Economics. Research into the UK outsourcing sector in 2010 found that total outsourcing was worth just under £199bn in total sales – 7.4% of the UK’s total production. IT and data-related services was the biggest sub-sector of outsourcing, contributing £38.7bn of the total for the outsourcing sector.

 

Fujitsu troubleshooter blasted by Highland Council after project failures

A Fujitsu troubleshooter in Scotland faced a barrage of criticism and questions related to a troubled IT services contract at a meeting of The Highland Council’s resource committee, which has warned Fujitsu to sort out the problems without delay. Brodie Shepherd, Scotland country director at Fujitsu, appeared before the committee to answer questions about delays to parts of the £70m contract, which includes supplying IT services to schools and the council’s corporate operation.

Cabinet Office blacklists Fujitsu from government IT contract tenders

The Cabinet Office has blacklisted Fujitsu and another IT supplier from tendering for government IT contracts because they constitute too high a risk. According to FT.com, Fujitsu will not be considered by the Cabinet Office for new government projects for the time being.

London 2012 Olympic Games IT enters final test

The Atos team in control of the complex IT environment supporting the London 2012 Olympic Games is about to recreate the live environment for a week in the final dress rehearsal before systems go live. This is one of the final hurdles at the end of a journey that began in 2005, when Atos was appointed integrator for the London Olympics 2012. With the start date in the diary, Atos knew delays were not an option. 

Cornwall Council axes leader Alec Robertson in outsourcing controversy

Cornwall Council leader Alec Robertson lost a confidence vote 63 to 49 and stepped down over a controversial proposal to outsource shared council services that split the council. The Conservative party that leads the council is looking for a new leader.

Fujitsu UK CEO positive about the road ahead

Duncan Tait took the helm at Fujitsu at the height of the economic slowdown and all the upheaval it triggered, but revenues and orders are on the rise again. Fujitsu is the world’s third biggest IT service provider, after it overtook CSC in Gartner's rankings following a 10% increase in sales in 2011. Only IBM and HP sell more IT services than Fujitsu globally.

How did EDS lose $8bn in value in four years?

HP has confirmed it is writing off about $8bn after the drop in value of EDS, as the result of internal decisions combined with the global economic climate. Hewlett-Packard (HP) had previously warned that it would write off $8bn after the business it acquired in 2008 for $13.9bn was devalued.

Southwest One losses obscured by 'shambolic' accounting

Regional outsourcing venture Southwest One obscured the true extent of its financial losses with a highly unusual combination of understated costs and post-dated credits in its 2010 accounts, according to an analysis of the firm's accounts by Computer Weekly.

Acronis Urges MSPs to Take Note of IT Cliff

Acronis Urges MSPs to Take Note of IT Cliff

There’s a lot of talk in Washington DC regarding a possible ‘fiscal cliff,’ but what about the IT cliff?

There’s been little to no talk on the potential cliff in our industry, an increasing number of mobile devices being brought into the workplace following consumer gifts and spending on mobile devices during the holiday season.

With record numbers of iPads expected to sell this holiday season, Acronis, provider of data availability, accessibility, and protection solutions, has encouraged managed services providers (MSPs) to view the bring your own device (BYOD) trend positively, balancing the ease-of-use and enterprise-grade security, while still retaining control and security of their network and data. Here are the details.

Recently, Acronis urged MSPs to plan for the potential IT cliff, caused by an increase of mobile devices in the workplace and onto corporate networks.

The company reported that IT-approved devices make up only a fraction of those in the workforce; 81 percent of employees use their own devices at work. With the increase of devices in the workplace, IT must be able to adapt to demands of the end user and ensure data is secure and available, regardless of where and how data is stored and accessed.

Acronis Senior Vice President of Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer Scott Crenshaw presented an explanation for the increase in mobile devices in the workplace.

“Employees are taking IT into their own hands because it’s affordable, and easier than jumping through internal approvals but the anticipated flood of personal devices in January doesn’t need to spell doom for IT. In fact, organizations of all sizes have a unique opportunity to control costs and create a more connected, data-driven workplace.”

Scott Crenshaw

Acronis offered several suggestions to IT managers:

  • Adopt mobile device management (MDM) secure access solutions,
  • Conduct regular security audits,
  • Track device use with a central management tool to ensure compliance,
  • Provide simple solutions for file access, sharing and security,
  • Plan for the worst with a comprehensive business continuity plan.

Will you stay BYOD in the new year or will you move toward other solutions?