Shelter Yourself from The Storm by Celebrating World Backup Day

Hurricane season is right around the corner. And in today’s digital age it’s easy to distract ourselves from the fact that we live in the physical world where real-life disasters are a potent threat to our computing capabilities. This March, taking the time to observe one relatively obscure holiday could be the difference between getting pummeled by the elements or being truly prepared. The little-known, often ignored, World Backup Day was placed on March 31st to warn us all to back up our data or risk ending up looking like April fools. In celebration, we’re taking this idea even further and detailing some essential steps you can take to make sure you’re fully prepped no matter which way the wind blows.

Formulate A Disaster Recovery Plan

If you sit down and back up your data on World Backup Day, you’ll have taken an excellent first step towards protecting your business. However, you won’t be truly ready for real-world threats (like hurricanes or big summer storms) unless you spend the time to create a disaster recovery plan. A good DR plan creates a robust set of protocols to follow that will keep your critical operations up and running while you address the impact of the disaster at hand. It gives your employees the blueprint for what to do when faced with a seemingly impossible situation, and developing one is paramount to being fully prepared.

Evaluate Risks and Impact

The first piece to the puzzle is assessing every aspect of your business that might be at risk and how you’ll manage to adjust, if and when they are affected. Performing a risk assessment and/or business impact analysis can help you identify the technology, personnel, and physical facilities that are crucial to your business’s day-to-day operations. Make sure to take all factors into account including elements like surrounding geography, local infrastructure, available power sources, and possible effects on communication networks when measuring the potential impact of a disastrous turn of events.

Create Objectives

Now that you’ve figured out what critical business activities you need to protect or replace, you’ll want to define a Recovery Time Objective for every function. Since time is of the essence in any emergency RTO’s are helpful to identify the amount of time an application or operation can be offline without drastically impacting your business. With RTO’s in place, you can also define Recovery Point Objectives, a target time within which each function should be fully recovered. When assessing these two timeframes, it’s helpful to remember what you’ve promised your customers, users, and/or stakeholders and develop what would be acceptable response times from their perspective.

Finalize Your Plan

Using the above, you should be able to start the process of taking action and finding workable solutions that can ensure your business stays up and running when it all hits the fan. However, to make sure everyone is on the right page, you’ll want to put this plan down on paper, summarize the key steps, and distribute it to every employee in your operation. Make sure to include key personnel contact info, define the roles of each team member clearly and plainly state everyone’s responsibilities. Don’t skimp on the details because the more specific and well thought out your plan is, the more likely it is to succeed.

If all this seems daunting, it’s because it should be. Dealing with disaster recovery is never an easy process no matter how well you plan. If you need help finding realistic solutions, contact FUSE3 Communications. Our Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) Services can expertly assess risks, develop clear-cut strategies and help you implement full disaster recovery plans, so you can re-focus your efforts on more important things, like figuring out how they name all those hurricanes.

Is It Time To Upgrade The Operating System On Your Office Devices?

Are you using Windows 7, older versions of Outlook for email, or Windows Server version 2011 and below? If so, it’s time to learn about Microsoft’s End of Life Support. You do not want to find yourself in need of tech support for an unsupported product. That’s why being prepared is critical. What products are nearing the end of their support life cycle and what can you do to help your business stay on top of these changes?

First, it is important to know when products are being phased out. Microsoft has specific product life cycles. According to their website, support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020. That gives users less than one year to prepare. Windows 7 launched on October 22, 2009, at which time Microsoft committed to ten years of product support. As this time period expires, it is important to note that this lack of support can leave you vulnerable if you do not upgrade your Operating System. For example, those automatic updates that many users get in the habit of ignoring often include critical security patches that you will no longer receive. If you’re using Windows 7, it is time to upgrade.

Now that you are thinking about upgrading your Operating System, how do you get started? The process can certainly sound overwhelming. You may have questions, or alternatively, you may be unsure as to what questions you should be asking. It’s time to contact a trusted Managed Service Provider like FUSE3 Communications to help you navigate this process.

What else do you need to know to keep your IT updated? Microsoft has been moving toward a subscription-based model, pushing clients and companies to move toward Office 365 subscriptions instead of the old model of buying a disc, loading Microsoft Office onto your device, and having a perpetual license for the product. Users who have a perpetual license, such as those on Office 2016, will need to upgrade by 2020 in order to use their product in conjunction with the suite of Office 365 products, like SharePoint and Exchange. These end dates are important to keep track of in order to keep all of your products working together. When you connect Office 365 products with “legacy” versions of Microsoft tools, you do not benefit from the full range of the current product capabilities and certain aspects may not work properly. Therefore, it is important to have a trusted Managed Service Provider on your side to help you keep everything working together, make timely upgrades, and keep track of product lifecycle end dates.

How else can FUSE3 Communications help? We can guide you as you choose the right IT products and software solutions for your office. For example, we can go over the pros and cons of moving to Office 365 now, staying with a perpetual license model, or waiting until the End of Life deadline to make any changes. With all the other aspects of running a business taking up time, it can be a challenge for business decision-makers to navigate the many options available. We are here to take IT off your plate and help you ensure you are making the best, most informed decisions possible in a timely manner. With a partner like FUSE3 Communications on your side, you will not be caught off guard when a product nears the end of its support life cycle, and you will be able to make proactive, informed business IT decisions.

Contact FUSE3 Communications today and be prepared for any changes technology companies throw your way!