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business disaster

Most Businesses Won’t Survive a Disaster. Could Yours?

With the crazy weather we’re seeing, natural disasters and cyber terrorism echoing for years, it’s not a case of ‘if’ a disaster will strike your business, but ‘when’. Surprisingly, it’s not the scope and scale of the event that influences how deeply your business is impacted, it’s your business continuity plan.

Put simply, this is the all-important set of precautions and pre-planned responses to an event, laid out in bullet-proof detail and implemented with one driving focus: keeping your business running with little or no downtime. Think about what would happen if your business was hit by a natural disaster tomorrow. Would it survive? How much downtime would it take to push you into dangerous territory?

According to an IBM study of all the companies that had a major loss of data, 43% never reopen, 51% close within two years and just 6% will survive long-term. For a fraction of those survivors, business even continued as usual thanks to their ‘failsafe’ business continuity plan. It’s more than disaster recovery, it’s full preparedness that bypasses the need for 2+ weeks of downtime, financial ruin, wasted salaries and reputation loss – but it does require a higher level of planning…in advance.

Recommendations to Put You in the Surviving 6%

Prioritize: You’ll need to plan exactly what you’ll recover first and know who’s in charge of making it happen. It goes beyond jotting down a checklist of things to do, it’s taking an analytical, process-based approach to recovery for each unique business perspective. But it’s also realistic: there’s no point dedicating precious time to reviving the email system if your customer data is leaking onto the internet, even if email did rank as your top communication priority!

Backup: Of course, the most critical part of your business continuity is having full backups in three places. Why three? One copy locally which you use each day, a backup on another (disconnected) device in the same location, and one in the cloud. That local backup is your life-saver for system crashes, cyber-attacks and the like; the cloud backup comes into play when your business has taken a major physical hit, perhaps from fire or flood. Some businesses can run entirely location-independent when using cloud systems like Office365, which can be enough to put them in that 6% of disaster survivors.

Test: Make sure all employees know what the plan is if something goes wrong, and their specific roles in these scenarios. You can test, prepare and rehearse your continuity plan under simulated disaster conditions, which will uncover new obstacles, priorities and additional threats.

As your IT environment becomes more complex, carrying more responsibility and risk, so does the importance of a robust business continuity plan. The best BC plans look beyond disaster recovery, taking into account scalability of your system and scope of your individual business, to create strong battle lines that will keep your business operational, both now and for the long term.

Give us a call at 570-779-4018 to create a custom business continuity plan for your business.

Ransomware and You – Protect Your Business

In case you did not know, there were multiple large scale ransomware attacks Friday afternoon (5/12/17). One of the main reasons the ransomware spread was due to unpatched operating systems. Microsoft had released a critical patch in March that addressed the known vulnerability. The moral of the story is, there are things that you can do to protect yourself.

What you probably didn’t read about was the small business that spent all of Mother’s day weekend trying to recover or maybe they paid the ransom that couldn’t afford to pay. These are the business that are hurt the most. These large companies generally have the resources to recover.

Protect Your Business

  1. Backup! – You need to have an offsite and onsite backup system in place. If you use cloud services, you need to backup that data as well. File syncing services are not immune to ransomware. If you files are data are mission critical to your business, you may want to consider investing in DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) which can get you back up and running in a short time.
  2. Patch! – Make sure all your systems and devices are up to date. Most malware and ransomware take advantage of known vulnerabilities. If you are using old or outdated software, consider upgrading to a maintained version. For example, Windows XP systems no longer receive updates.
  3. Be 110% sure before you open attachments – Many of the malicious programs spread via email attachments. If you don’t know who it is, don’t open it. Do not follow unsolicited links. If you have any doubt at all, contact the sender to make sure they really sent you a file.
  4. Use a multi-tier defense system – Make sure all your systems are updated and active endpoint protection. PCs, phones, tablets, file servers, etc. Everything that has access to your network should be monitored. Use a mail scanning product to remove spam and malicious email even if you use an online service. These systems offer a second line of defense and cause little to no performance loss. Do not use a consumer class router in your business class network. The same goes for wireless systems. There are many products available at affordable prices that add additional protection and performance to your network.

 

We offer multi-tier defense, anti-malware, backup services, and system monitoring services. Stop trying to do it all yourself! If you need help maintaining your systems please call us to set up an appointment. (570) 779-4018

Spring Cleaning For Your Computers!

Spring is in the air here in NEPA! April is right around the corner. It is starting to warm up. You can feel the power of the spring sun. I can’t wait until it is in full swing so we can open the windows and breath the fresh air. However, before that happens, you should take care of all your computer issues so that you aren’t stuck inside recovering from computer system problems!

 

Spring Cleaning For Your Computer Systems!

When was the last time your computers were physically cleaned inside? Dirt and dust can accumulate on fans and filters causing poor circulation and increased the average temperature inside the computer and laptop case. Heat is the enemy of computers. It can cause odd issues like the PC acting peculiar, programs closing unexpectedly, slow performance, and shorten the life of your computer hardware. It is one of the main causes of unexpected computer system failure.

How about the system software and Windows or Mac OS (operating system)? When was the last time you had a thorough checkup? You need to keep your PCs and servers up to date so that security holes can not be exploited. Reviewing your current security system to find out if there are any more steps you need to take is a great idea as well.

Does your network or wireless need any firmware patches, system updates? Or maybe it is time to consider an upgrade due to aging equipment.

Our Spring Cleaning Service

  • Internal Cleaning – Remove dirt and dust from filters, fans, and physical surfaces
  • System Update – Patch the windows or mac OS to the latest version
  • Software Update – Patch all software to the latest version
  • Security – Make sure your security system is up to date and working properly and review possible network security holes
  • Network and Wireless – Update to the last software and firmware and review for possible hardware upgrades
  • Battery Backup – Verify they are working properly and replace if needed
  • Software Backup – Verify your backup software is working, up to date, and review your disaster recovery plan
  • Storage Needs – Review the data and programs that you still use and remove the ones you don’t

Each customer is unique so the cost will depend on your system size and configuration. Please call (570) 779-4018 for a free estimate.

Our pricing information can be found on our service pages.

Take 20% OFF Spring Cleaning until April 7th!

Call (570) 779-4018 to schedule an appointment before they are all taken!

Spring Cleaning! Time to freshen up your computers!
Spring is on the way!! Our soon to be Tech deep in thought.

NEPA – Need online backup?

Need an online backup solution for your home or business in the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton area? We have been using IDrive for years and love its ease of use, affordability, and reliability.

Remember, a good backup is the first line of defense against ransomware! And with IDrive, even if some of your recent data becomes corrupted by a disaster or virus, you can go back in time and retrieve a previous version of the data.

For Residential users: IDrive can backup PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, Android and Facebook pictures in one account.

For Business users: IDrive can backup servers, Exchange, SQL, NAS, and Mobile devices as well as PC and Macs.

Have too much data to backup? Worried about bandwidth? You can send your data via external drive to IDrive and they will load it to your account for you. That way, you are only uploading changes.

Extra worried about security and don’t want to back up to a public cloud backup service? Try IDrive Vault Private cloud. It works like a private copy of IDrive that you store in your own Amazon (AWS) account.

IDrive is HIPPA, SOX, GLBA and SEC/NASD complaint. If you need help getting is set up, call us to set up and appointment.

Give it a try here: https://www.idrive.com

IDrive Remote Backup

iDrive windows server backup

Windows Server Backup w/ iDrive

Are you looking for an online backup solution for your Microsoft Windows Server? IDrive can handle regular files, SQL, Exchange, Hyper-V, and SharePoint.

A recent Forrester report suggested that businesses are not protecting their computers and remote offices sufficiently and the traditional tape backup scenario is prone to a lot of catastrophes such as loss of tapes due to theft or just plain data loss. A Gartner study even pointed out that businesses with dozens or hundreds of remote servers frequently delegate remote backup responsibilities to non-IT professionals (a night clerk at a hotel, for example).

What if this is not done right?

Of what use is a backup if it can’t be retrieved in one piece when needed? What good is a local tape backup if it cannot help retrieve data during a crisis, especially in cases where even just a few seconds of downtime can be extremely detrimental for business? These are a few of the aspects that IDrive addresses in its ‘software as a service’ strategy. IDrive alleviates the challenges faced by many small businesses that fail to recognize the importance of data protection.

iDrive windows server backup

 

Physical security of our infrastructure/security of your data

The IDrive application is hosted at our world class data center in the United States, which provides the physical environment necessary to keep the servers up and running 24/7. These world-class facilities are custom designed with raised floors, HVAC temperature control systems with separate cooling zones and seismically braced racks. They offer the widest range of physical security features, including state-of-the-art smoke detection and fire suppression systems, motion sensors, 24/7 secured access, video camera surveillance and security breach alarms. There is a proper DR (disaster recovery) system in place and our objective is to ensure that even in the worst of circumstances, your data is safe with IDrive so you can retrieve it with minimal downtime.

Network security

We have a periodic third party review of our network infrastructure to check for known application and service vulnerabilities.

Backups of backups

Your data on IDrive resides on raid-protected industry leading storage devices with multiple levels of redundancy. In addition, data is periodically backed up onto another set of devices for additional security.

Performance/flexibility

  • Instantly sync files across all linked devices – modify files on any device and the updates are immediately available on all linked devices.
  • Versioned data retrievals for up to 10 prior versions – helps you go back to any point in time when a file was backed up to your account and retrieve data as it was stored in that particular version.
  • Search and retrieve your backed up and synced files - locate any crucial business documents backed up to your IDrive account or synced across linked devices and retrieve it – at a lightening fast pace.
  • Simple, fast, reliable data transfers with superior performance - helps you conserve your bandwidth usage with a provision to adjust it.
  • Incremental backups that transfer only the modified portions of your files – extremely fast data transfers during backup and sync.
  • Open file backup - allows you to backup your open email files (such as the .PST files of Microsoft Outlook).
  • Local Backup - encrypts all files using 256-bit AES encryption, while them storing to any portable hard drives, like IDrive Wi-Fi.
  • Manage desktop backups via web-based console - manage data backups, restore files to corresponding computers, modify application settings, etc on your connected computers.

 

Get IDrive now!

Sign up today and get 25% off on your first year or get 50% off on your first year for a 2 year plan.
backups

Make multiple backups to protect yourself from ransomware

Ransomware is running rampant in the news. It isn’t just some scare tactic to get you to buy more papers or watch more clips. In this particular case, I don’t think they are reporting on it enough or making the public aware of how much of an issue it really is. Ransomware is here and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

If you didn’t read it yet, you might want to look at my last post about ransomware.

 

Backups! Backups! Backups!

Maybe we aren’t saying it enough. Backing up your data, pictures, and documents is a very important step in protecting yourself from ransomware. It may not have helped these hospitals in the news but it WILL help your small business. We have helped a number of businesses recover and thankfully they had a backup system in place.

  • Have more than one backup
  • Check your backup reports frequently
  • Make sure you verify the data in the backup to make sure there are not any issues

If you would rather DIY, a general rule of thumb is to have one off-site and one on-site backup. There are a number of online backup services and external backup drives are relatively inexpensive. If you have more than one machine, this process can get compilated and expensive quickly. We can help you figure out the best way and save you some money in the process.

Contact us to setup your backup system and monitoring services so that you know that you are always protected.

backups
A good start for your external nightly backups.

 

Cyber Security Review

Do you need a cyber security review? The simple answer is yes.cyber security

 

Bussiness of all sizes need to worry about cyber security. You have a responsibility to your employees and customers to protect their data. Beyond that, your business can be liable if you haven’t taken reasonable steps to secure your employees and customers data. If you haven’t already taken notice, insurance companies are now offering cyber security insurance to protect your company. Even these programs tend to have base security requirements that you need to meet and buying insurance isn’t all you should do.

 

These are some top cyber security points that you should be concerned about:

  • Keep all your software and systems updated
  • Update and monitor malware protection software on PCs, servers, and firewalls
  • Create an Internet access policy for your employees
  • Use strong passwords
  • Limit administrative access
  • Use VPNs for mobile access
  • Data encryption
  • Secure your static and mobile devices
  • Multi-location full system backups
  • Secure mobile connections
  • Network and wireless security
  • Cyber security insurance

 

Cyber security is a multi-tiered complex issue. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Contact us for help.

Remember to backup your data!

iDrive BackupIt is very important to keep your data backed up. The best plan is to have both and online and offline backups. There are many reasons to do this, but two bigs reasons are hardware loss/failure and malware infection. Sometimes you can recover data from a catastrophic issue but more often than not, data will be lost.  We all hope this never happens to us. This is one of those things you purchase so you never have to use it.

Our favorite online backup application is iDrive. It has some great features including offline backup, image backup, social media backup, and online synchronization.  It also supports PC, Linux and Mac.  The business version can backup full servers including servers that run MS SQL, MS Exchange, Hyper-V, MS SharePoint, and Oracle.  Make sure you sign up via this link if you would like us to help manage you backups:  http://www.idrive.com/p=herstek1

 

 

iDrive – Personal and Profesional Online Backup

Are you looking for an online backup solution?  Have the recent ransomeware and malware scares finally convinced you to backup your data?  Try iDrive!

We really enjoy this product and use it for a number of our customers.  Some of the new features include command line backup and dual backup (hybrid) to the online location and a local device. It also backs up Linux, PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads and Android devices into a single account.  The business version allows for MSSQL, Sharepoint, MS Exchange and Oracle backups.