It’s not a question of whether a disaster will strike – but of when! And will you have the disaster recovery services and support that you need?
In 2011, Symantec conducted a disaster preparedness survey of 1,288 small to midsized businesses. They found that only half had recovery plans, and the majority of those surveyed did not make disaster preparedness a priority until after they had experienced a disaster.
What’s the cost? For the small to midsized enterprise, Symantec calculated the median cost at $12,500 per day, and that didn’t include the cost of lost customers and data. In Canada’s far north, power outages are a common problem, severe weather frequent, and internet connections unpredictable. A good disaster recovery plan is critical.
In more than twenty years of serving customers in this great region, we’ve found that very few organizations have in place the backup and restore procedures needed to protect information systems and ensure that business operations continue when disaster strikes. In one case, the nightly data backup was the responsibility of one person in the organization. When that person took a two-week vacation no one performed the task. As a result, if a restore had been needed up to two weeks of valuable corporate information and emails would have been lost. Imagine the impact to your own organization!
Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to have a third party ensure that all your data is securely stored so that when disaster hits, your systems will be up and running in the shortest possible time.
To get you started on a disaster recovery process that’s best for you, follow these simple guidelines:
- Have a plan – don’t wait until after disaster strikes. Do some contingency planning now.
- Develop and implement a reliable backup process.
- Look to the services of a remote IT support partner to run your backups – and possibly store valuable information off site.
- Use a trusted partner. Look for an experienced local partner who understands the unique conditions of the Canadian North.
- Test your plan. The Symantec survey discovered that most plans aren’t tested… until disaster strikes. Test your plan every time there’s a major change in your processes, and at least annually.
If you’d like to learn more about disaster recovery services, remote IT support, and how they work together, download our new, free white paper, Remote IT Services in Northern Canada, Click here
to receive your copy. Or call us at: 867-873-8611. We’ll have one of our Disaster Recovery experts help you put together a plan that’s best for you and your organization.
A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the person who manages information technology and computer systems, developing strategic plans and ensuring that business processes achieve the organization’s goals.
The CIO isn’t the IT fix-it guy. Instead, he (or she) takes a strategic approach. A CIO:
- Assesses – Reviews the efficiency of your current systems, security, and disaster recovery plans.
- Plans – Develops disaster recovery plans and budgets for future purchases.
- Designs – Systems and networks to maximize efficiencies.
For most companies in the Canadian North, it’s not feasible to employ a dedicated CIO. In many cases these responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the CEO, or the community leader – and that distracts leaders from focusing on the key interests of the organization.
There is, however, an alternative: the virtual or remote CIO. Provided by a knowledgeable partner, a virtual CIO can help you plan and manage the deployment, support and design of your IT systems and even assist with purchasing and vendor management.
Virtual CIO services have delivered the following benefits to organizations in Northern Canada:
- Cost reduction. A virtual CIO can ensure your business isn’t overspending on hardware, that your computer systems work efficiently together, and that your team has the right tools for the job.
- Disaster preparedness. A virtual CIO can assess your systems’ weaknesses and help develop and test a disaster preparedness plan to get you back up and running quickly.
- Expertise. With a virtual CIO, no matter where you are or how big your firm, you have access to a team of experts with the knowledge and talent you need to keep your systems running smoothly.
- Accountability. A virtual CIO brings best practices and procedures to the job, ensuring that your systems support the goals of the organization.
- Fundamentally, a virtual CIO will free you up to focus on those tasks that are most important to you and your organization. Who could argue with that?
We’d be happy to talk to you about our virtual CIO services in more detail. Call us at 867-873-8611 for more information. Also, we’d like to offer you our complimentary white paper, Remote IT Services in Northern Canada, Click here to get your copy today!
This post is the second in a series on remote IT services in the Canadian North where we focus on some of the unique challenges we face in this part of the world.
Living in Northern Canada has generated a rugged independence in its people. It’s a shame this is not true of the IT systems in this great region. Often, located far from areas where a technician can simply turn up at the doorstep, the IT infrastructure is at the mercy of power outages and extreme weather conditions.
While virtualization can do little to alleviate the weather conditions, the benefits of virtualization could both save you money and provide more reliable systems.
Often, businesses are saddled with multiple servers – one for each business application – with these servers linked together. You may have an email server, a server that’s used by your accounting team, and perhaps another server used to manage customer information. It’s likely that each of these servers is running at just a fraction of its capacity for most of the time. Each individual server and each connection between the servers is a potential point of failure. The more you have – the greater the risk!
Virtualization is the process of running multiple applications on one machine, reducing all that unused CPU capacity. What makes virtualization particularly valuable to companies in the north are the following benefits:
- Energy savings. By migrating applications from multiple servers onto one, you’ll save energy and costs.
- Simplified disaster recovery. You’re now dealing with one machine instead of many. Data backups, restores and recoveries are now much simpler and performed in a fraction of the time it takes with multiple servers.
- Increased uptime. Today, most server virtualization platforms offer capabilities such as storage migration, live migration, high availability, fault tolerance, and distributed resource scheduling – features that enable virtualized servers to quickly recover from unplanned outages.
- Do more with less. Server virtualization makes your systems more efficient and agile – and frees up space (and that mess of wires) in your data center area.
- Reduce costly redundancy. Now you don’t need to pay for all that unused computer capacity. Virtualization enables you to perfectly size your virtual equipment.
If you’d like to learn more about virtualization, remote IT support, and how they work together in the Canadian North, click here to download our new, free white paper, Remote IT Services in Northern Canada.
IT can be the bane of small and midsized organizations. This is particularly true for small to midsized organizations in Northern Canada, which operate in remote, harsh conditions, and often with a shortage of qualified IT professionals. Extreme weather conditions can affect communications, cutting off communities and organizations. Businesses are often isolated from their suppliers, from their customers, and from other branches of the company. Under these circumstances, a system failure can have a negative impact on the ability to keep the organization running.
Even if you can find the right people, maintaining an in-house IT staff is often expensive and inefficient – some months you may need lots of tech support, other months… not so much. But calling in an outside IT specialist when things go wrong comes with its own set of hassles – will they be available when you need them? How much will it cost?
Managed services may provide a solution. It provides the critical core of IT services you need to keep your business running, all for a fixed monthly fee, and it can be delivered remotely.
Managed services provides:
- Reduced downtime and risks. With 24/7 remote monitoring, a tech team is alerted as soon as there’s a hint of a problem.
- Increased efficiency. Rather than “putting out fires,” managed services providers can often fix problems before they arise, saving your team time and increasing system efficiency.
- Up to date updates. The managed services team will make sure patches and updates are installed ASAP, and often during off-hours so the installation doesn’t slow your systems.
- Improved performance. With managed services, your systems are constantly being monitored, and you’ll receive reports on system performance and capacity. This information can be used to analyze trends and make decisions about needed improvements and any future needs.
- Cost control. With managed services, you can better budget your IT costs, because services are provided at a fixed monthly fee.
In my next blog posts, I’ll explore some of these services in more depth. If you’d like more information on managed services and how they work in the Canadian north, where Internet connections can be a challenge, download our new, free white paper, Remote IT Services in Northern Canada, here.