The importance of data backup

The devastation and extreme power and transportation problems caused by hurricanes, major storms and blizzards in recent years has illuminated the need for businesses to develop a workplace recovery plan following natural disasters. Unfortunately – many small businesses are not planning ahead for the inevitable rainy day. In fact, according to the Red Cross, about 40 percent of small businesses never re-open following a major disaster.

Disasters aren’t limited to weather events. Fires and water damage are devastating to small-to-medium sized businesses. Desks and plants and coffee makers can be easily replaced. But even a top-shelf insurance plan won’t save your data if a flood washes through your server room. And when it comes to data loss – the numbers are even more sobering. A 2011 study conducted by the University of Texas found that only six percent of companies survive after suffering a catastrophic loss of data!

The only way to ensure that your business avoids this type of catastrophic loss is by backing up your data

Data is generated by businesses every single day. New emails. New documents. New contracts. The list goes on and on. Given the velocity at which new data is created, it becomes imperative for data to be backed up at least once per week and stored at a secure off-site location (such as a safety deposit box at a bank or an offsite backup facility).

At PointGreen, we know that tape backup solutions may be appealing to many small businesses, however, these solutions commonly run into issues with reliability, performance and ease of restore. Based on our experience we typically recommend cloud-based backup solutions, which address many of the common issues related to tape backups. That said, it’s important to note that not all cloud-based systems are created equally, which is why we only recommend those solutions that have been properly vetted and will meet eachof our client’s unique archiving requirements.

Developing an on-going data backup program is key to an effective proactive IT strategy. By taking steps to preserve your entire collection of data, your business will be prepared to handle any disaster thrown your way.  

Three tips to extend the life of your IT investments

Wouldn’t it be great if computers, servers and software lasted forever?

Over the years, we’ve found that many of our customers wish that they could buy, install and then forget about IT infrastructure so they can get back to managing their day-to-day business. Unfortunately – it doesn’t work that way. If it was – you’d see a lot more businesses using Windows 95 and dot matrix printers.  The reality is, technology evolves and improves by the day, and in order for businesses to maintain their competitive edge, it’s critical that businesses of all sizes inventory, manage and ultimately replace outdated technology.

Owners of small-to-medium sized business are in the driver’s seat, and they need to remember that position when managing all points of their business – including IT. Making interventions on your own terms, rather than being at the mercy of poorly timed unexpected IT failures can be the difference between a business that succeeds and a business that flounders. Make intervention on your terms not at the mercy of poorly timed unexpected failures.

Over the course of even a few years, computers and servers deteriorate and will need to be upgraded, but in the meantime, a proactive approach to IT can improve performance, save thousands of dollars and prevent major business disruptions.  Here are three tips to extend the life of your IT investments:

Address Problems Early

While it can be easy to justify holding off on addressing issues - such as software updates or a malfunctioning piece of equipment – delaying repairs can lead to issues becoming labor intensive and costly to repair. Error messages are somewhat like warning lights in your car – just as you wouldn’t ignore a check engine light turning on, ignoring error messages on a desktop can be a costly mistake. By addressing issues early, business owners can save themselves from service disruptions and reduce the number of hours required to fix their problem.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Performing regular maintenance extends the life of computers and servers and will save most business owners from experiencing major headaches in the future. Think of your IT system like your household – there are some tasks that only need to be completed a few times per year – like changing furnace filters or replacing batteries in smoke detectors. But there are other chores – like washing the dishes and taking out the trash that need to be completed daily to avoid a mess. The same is true for IT. Some tasks, like removing unused programs can be done once or twice per year. Other tasks, like backing up data and scanning for viruses must be done on an ongoing basis to avoid major problems.

Manage Updates

The pop-ups calling for updates to software appear for a reason. Often, these updates include patches to software that ensure not only ongoing productivity, but also ensure the continued security of your data.  By regularly updating software, users can fix vulnerabilities in their systems that may allow hackers to use an exploit to access your network and your proprietary data. 

By addressing problems early, performing regular maintenance and managing updates, business owners will avoid many costly IT surprises. PointGreen understands that performing these day-to-day IT tasks can be take time away from managing your core business, which is why we offer flexible IT consulting packages. From one hour per week on-site consultations to large-scale projects – PointGreen brings the experience, technical knowledge and manpower to proactively manage your business’ IT needs.