Disaster Recovery Helps With the Little Stuff, Too

Disaster Recovery Helps With the Little Stuff, Too

When you hear the words “disaster recovery,” you probably think big.

Big natural disasters, like Hurricane Sandy or the recent fires in California. Or big man-made disasters, like the WannaCry ransomware attack. Or any number of doomsday events, from solar flares to the zombie apocalypse.

What’s almost certain is you don’t think about little things, which is unfortunate. Anything that causes downtime interferes with business. It all affects your bottom line.

When small disasters strike, the only thing standing between you and the very real potential of profit loss is a disaster recovery plan.

What causes downtime?

We don’t have to tell you how devastating a blizzard or hurricane can be. You already know that all too well. What you may not know is how often other factors impact your IT network uptime.

For example, the leading cause of network down is power loss, accounting for 25% of all IT outages. Cybercrime comes in second, at 22%—sadly, no surprise there. But in third place? Human error, neck and neck with cybercrime at 22%.

In fact, cybercrime and weather (like hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and earthquakes) only account for 32% of all network failures. That’s less than a third. The remaining 68% of outages are caused by the “little things” like hardware failure, human error, power loss and exposure to heat or water.

Learn more about protecting your business from cybersecurity threats.

Little things hurt.

The majority of network failures aren’t spectacular. Instead, they’re caused by little things. But little things can do big damage.

Are you familiar with gremlins? Not the furry ones from the 1984 feature film. The mythological ones.

In mythology, gremlins were small creatures that snuck into people’s homes in the middle of the night to meddle with mechanical things. Said another way, they broke stuff. Not big stuff. Little stuff, like household appliances. In the morning, your walls would still be standing, but your toaster wouldn’t work.

That, in and of itself, isn’t earth-shattering—until the cumulative effect of all the appliances you rely on day in, day out starts to interfere with your ability to do the things that matter. You can’t work, or sleep well, or enjoy time with family. That’s when a gremlin’s minor stunts start to cause major breakdowns in your life.

Just like the small events that lead to network downtime.

Disaster recovery tips.

Just one hour of downtime can cost a small business as much as $8,600. As the amount of downtime goes up, so does the cost. It’s in your best interest to leverage a disaster recovery plan to minimize downtime.

Here’s how you do that.

1. Have a plan for staying productive.

If your network goes down, it doesn’t have to bring work to a grinding halt. The secret to remaining productive is knowing how you’ll shift gears when (not if) you need to go into disaster recovery mode.

Identify critical tasks you can continue to work on that don’t require network connectivity. If there are elements of your business that will be hit hard by an outage, prepare for how you’ll adjust to minimize the negative impact.

Downtime might still cut into your profitability. The goal is to limit how much it does.

2. Have a plan for working remotely.

One powerful way to maintain productivity, especially if your technology is critical to business operations, is to work remotely. Take the time to determine who will need remote access, and what technology tools those folks will need to be able to access.

The more your business relies on cloud solutions for everyday operations, the easier it is to work from another location on the fly.

The Complete Backup & Disaster Recovery Checklist

3. Have a plan for maintaining communication.

If the power and phone lines go out, even for just a few hours, how will you communicate with your customers and employees? Make sure you have contact numbers for everyone and put together some kind of organized strategy for getting information out to the whole company in the event of an outage.

Customer-facing communication can be a bit more challenging. If there are key clients or vendors you would need to reach out to, record their numbers somewhere non-digital, as well.

4. Have a plan for getting back online.

And here is where disaster recovery really pays off. If you have a plan for staying the course and keeping your business going even during a full-blown, act-of-God kind of emergency, that same plan can get you back online after something small.

If you’re not sure how to develop a disaster recovery plan, you have two options. First, feel free to check out our free guide. It’ll walk you through the core components. Or you might decide it’s time to talk to an IT consulting expert.

We won’t argue with you there. A lot is riding on your disaster recovery plan. Either way—DIY or working with a partner—put a plan together.

What is the Business Value of Managed IT Services?

It must have been a terrifying sight. Green, piercing eyes. Muscles that rippled beneath striped flesh. Teeth sharp as knives. When the tiger bore them, it must have taken all the fox’s energy to hide his fear. With no other choice, he steadied himself and spoke.

“Do you think you’re the only king of beasts?” he said. “Your courage doesn’t overshadow mine.”

The tiger smiled. Or maybe it was a snarl. Either way, the fox continued, his life depending now on his cunning mind.

“Let’s make a deal. Walk now behind me, and if everyone who comes along does not flee in fear, you can devour me.”

You can imagine the tiger must have licked his lips. After all, who would flee a fox?

So he agreed, and off they went down the highway. And to the tiger’s surprise, every traveler they encountered fled at first sight of the fox.

“See,” the fox remarked, “I went first, and they fled in terror at the sight of me.”

The tiger decided he had judged the fox wrong, tucked his tail and left. It never occurred to him that the fox had harnessed the benefit of his own ferocity to succeed in the wager.

The fox, for his part, knew the truth. Being cunning is its own strength.

You’re probably wondering what all this has to do with your IT department. The answer is simple. Smart businesses know where they are strong, and are cunning enough to know when to lean on the strength of others for maximum success.

Three Invaluable Benefits of Managed IT Services

Just as a fox can match the courage and cunning of a tiger, many SMBs are capable of managing their own IT.

But that doesn’t mean they all should.

In fact, there are a host of advantages in harnessing the power and expertise of managed IT services. Here are three quick ways managed IT Services can help your business thrive.

Focus on What You Do Best

Most SMBs are working on a limited budget that doesn’t allow for a focused internal IT department. By taking advantage of managed IT services, they get tiger-sized services in fox-sized portions, all custom-designed to meet their unique needs.

This means more time focused on the company’s mission and less time troubleshooting network problems.

Achieve Continuous Protection

Most businesses can find a way to fix technological issues after they happen. The problem is, this takes time and money and resources away from focusing on business growth. Maybe more than they can afford if delivery or communication to customers takes a hit. A good Managed Services Provider (MSP) heads off problems before they start.

Don’t think of that as minimizing downtime. It’s more like maximizing uptime – and minimizing risk.

It’s like our fable above, but with the tiger going down the IT road first, making sure the path is safe, while the cunning fox is behind him taking care of business with no interruptions.

Network security and proactive problem solving keep you working on strengthening your results with the confidence that your data, and thus reputation, are secure at all times.

Create A Competitive Advantage

One of the toughest operational challenges facing SMBs is managing the cost of their technology infrastructure. Many companies invest up to their fur in the latest technology, only to find it outdated a few years later.

Even growth can become a problem, if not handled correctly. Often, SMBs who manage their own IT end up requiring additional staff to meet their expanded needs, in addition to purchasing new equipment – all of it diverting time and resources away from the tasks that bring in revenue and serve customers.

With managed IT services, SMBs gain the dedicated resources and expertise to stay on the cutting edge of technology at a cost-effective, predictable price point. And with the added ability to scale up services and equipment seamlessly as needed, IT solutions grow and change with the company.

All of this coupled with the benefit of professional planning from the MSP throughout the process.

Foxes and Tigers and Services, Oh My!

Like a fox, an SMB’s greatest advantage is their ability to move fast and stay mobile in the marketplace. You rely on your cunning to get the job done.

And while there’s no question that cunning SMBs are capable of managing their own IT, there will always be a point where their brilliance is better spent serving up value to the company’s mission.

With managed IT services, companies free up resources and manpower while saving a bundle in their budget. Taking advantage of professional services gives SMBs the power to send the would-be tigers scurrying away with their tails tucked.

So maybe you’re curious about taking advantage of managed IT services. Give us a call and we’re happy to help– it’s what we do best!

The Single Most Important Thing About Office 365

There’s something fascinating about how the concept of trustworthiness is handled in fables.

For example, consider the boy who cried wolf. You know the story. An overly dramatic shepherd boy alarms his whole village by claiming wolves are attacking the flock just because he thinks their reactions are entertaining. He does this several times, and people learn to tune him out.

Eventually, wolves do attack . . . but no one believes him.

Or what about the scorpion and the turtle? (Or frog or fox—there are a ton of variations.) The scorpion wants to cross a river but cannot swim, so he asks the turtle to usher him across. He promises not to sting the turtle, explaining that it would be foolish to do so as both would then drown. Convinced, the turtle agrees.

Halfway across, the scorpion stings the turtle. As they begin to sink, the turtle wants to know why. The scorpion simply says, “It’s my nature.”

The Thing About Trust

Here’s what we find interesting. Both stories speak to the value of trustworthiness, but neither story ends well. Ultimately, both are about what happens when trust is broken.

Perhaps this is why a Forbes article from a few years ago called trust “the most valuable business commodity.”

Whether we’re talking about vendor agreements, in-house relationships, interactions with customers or the technology you rely on day-in, day-out, trust is critical. If you don’t put your trust in others, you won’t get anything done, but misplaced trust can be devastating.

Which is why trustworthy IT solutions are so valuable.

Office 365: The Proven Solution

The issue of trust is, perhaps, the most compelling selling point of Office 365. This is the gold standard of business productivity suites. Are there other options? Of course. Google’s G Suite, for example, has gained traction in the last few years.

And yet, Office 365 is twice as popular as G Suite. In fact, over 1.2 billion people rely on Office 365, making it the most used collaborative productivity suite available.

There are plenty of reasons for Office 365’s success, and plenty of reasons why Office 365 makes sense for your SMB. But we’re just going to focus on one of those reasons today. Trust.

The Value of Trust

When you’re knee-deep in work, the last thing you need is an unexpected hiccup. Think about the last time you were sorting out a complicated issue with a customer. Does that seem like a good time to discover missing files? An unsaved spreadsheet? A corrupt document?

No. Absolutely not.

In fact, that’s precisely when you want to know your technology is dependable and well-organized, all those digital ducks in a nice little row. That’s what you get with Office 365—the assurance that you’re using a tool you can count on.

Edging Out the Options

But what about the other options? After all, if Google’s G Suite has half as many users as Office 365, that’s still a lot of people. Isn’t that worth considering?

We’ll happily concede that some organizations use other solutions with no issues. Office 365 isn’t the only game in town. But it is our recommended solution, and here’s why.

First, Office 365 is a near-universal standard. While some businesses use other suites, even then files are frequently saved and shared in the file types Microsoft pioneered. Why not stick with the original?

Second, Microsoft continues to be an innovator in the productivity suite market. Office 365 comes with some powerful tools. You can share files, work remotely and collaborate with Office 365 as effortlessly as you can with any other suite—and you can do so with peace of mind.

Office 365 is the standard for good reason.

Make Your Move to Office 365

If you’re not already using Office 365, it’s a big deal to move to a new productivity suite.

We’re talking about everything from documents and spreadsheets to email hosting and in-app instant messaging. You’ll need to facilitate migration as well as employee training if you’re going to take full advantage of everything Office 365 has to offer.

Intelligent IT can help. We’ll get you set up and bring your people up to speed on the features you’ll find the most beneficial so you can focus on what really matters—growing your business. Just give us a call to get started today.