You wouldn't have known, but we had our own fire disaster last week!
Early last Tuesday, we received a call that a fire was blazing in our building. Naturally we rushed down there but like all the occupants, we were not allowed access to our office at all. Later, that day we found out a tenant on the floor below us had an electrical failure in their computer room which was the start of the whole disaster.
Thankfully, there were no personal injuries, and only damage to a few units (not ours). However, many businesses did suffer. The fire department rightly blocked off access due to the poisonous fumes, not to mention that the power was cut off for most of the day. Outside, hundreds of people milled around wondering what do next. Comments overhead were:
"All my files are there - I need to get to them !"
"I need to finish something urgently for a client - now what ?"
"This is costing me a fortune - my staff can't do anything productive. I can't even get remote access.."
Privately,we smiled - We never ceased normal business operations at all !
We Had No Downtime
Our Business Continuity Plan kicked in and we didn't miss a beat! In fact, I don't think most of our clients even knew this had occurred.
We lost no sales, we missed no service calls, we continued to deliver the same service, we lost no data and there was minimal impact on the organisational productivity. We dod not lose a single cent.
How is this possible?
Over the previous months, you’ve probably heard about new technology trends like virtual assistants, smartphones, and automation technologies. Some of these IT solutions may even be placed on top of your business priority list. However, with fires and power outages just around the corner, disaster recovery and business continuity plans should always have a place on your annual budget.
Business Continuity isn’t a huge investment
A common misconception about disaster recovery is that it’s a large, bank-breaking investment and that only large enterprises can afford it. Expensive secondary data centres, networks, and server maintenance usually come into mind when a business owner is confronted with the idea of Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery. And while that may have been true in the past, establishing a strong disaster recovery plan today is as simple -- and as cheap -- as going to a cloud-based disaster recovery provider and paying for the data and services that your business needs. Subscription pricing models are actually incredibly low, meaning you can have minimal downtime while still having enough to invest in new tech.
Onsite backups just won’t cut it
Although you might feel secure with a manual backup server down the hall, it is still susceptible to local disasters and, ultimately, does very little in minimising company downtime - especially if you can't get access to your office. When disaster recovery solutions are hosted in the right cloud you don't have to restore critical data or applications - they are already available.
Business disasters can be man-made, too
Even if your workplace is nowhere near frequent disaster zones, cyber attacks and negligent employees can leave the same impact on your business as any natural disaster can. Setting a weak password, clicking on a suspicious link, or connecting to unsecured channels is enough to shut down a 5-, 10-, or even 50-year-old business in mere minutes.
Sure, installing adequate network security is a critical strategy against malicious actors, but last year’s barrage of data breaches suggests that having a Plan B is a must. A suitable business continuity and disaster recovery plan ensures that your data’s integrity is intact and your business can keep going, no matter the malware, worm, or denial-of-service attack.
Downtime will cost you
A business without a Business Continuity plan might come out unscathed after a brief power outage or small fire, but why risk the potential damages? Either way, downtime will cost your business. First, there’s the general loss of productivity. Every time your employees aren’t connected to the network, money goes down the drain. Then there’s the cost of corrupted company data, damaged hardware, and the inevitable customer backlash. Add all those variables together, and you end up with a business-crippling fee.
You might even have insurance, but that doesn't help if your clients go to your competition because you couldn't deliver service when they wanted.
Smaller businesses usually have "less fat" to weather such instances - it is even more important that they protect themselves,
So, if you want 2017 to be the best year for your business, make the smart choice and proactively take part in creating your company’s business continuity plan. Your business will be in a better position financially with it rather than without it..
Keep your business safe, recover from any disaster, and contact us today if you need assistance. Also, get a hold our free guide :
When starting a business, servers and networking equipment can be a significant expense. To reduce this burden, many businesses are turning to cloud computing. Cloud computing provides a number of benefits including improved scalability, cheaper support, and automated backups. As a result, you have more time and energy to spend on other business needs. Here is an overview of what cloud computing has to offer.
What Is Cloud Computing?
In cloud computing, a program or application runs on a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet. Unlike applications on personal computers, these programs and applications can run from anywhere in the world. Cloud computing relies on dynamically scaled resources which makes it both efficient and affordable for smaller businesses.
The Advantages Of Cloud Computing
One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is the flexibility it offers in terms of scaling server resources. A major concern when purchasing computing equipment is whether or not the purchase will scale as your business grows. If you buy equipment that only covers current needs, you'll likely need to buy additional equipment in the future. Most network engineers tell you to buy extra equipment up front so you can be sure to avoid any scaling issues. However this extra equipment can cost thousands, so most business owners are averse to making such investments if they can avoid it.
With cloud computing, you pay only for the resources you use, and as you grow you can scale up the available resources as you need them. Cloud computing lets you scale resources up or down, so costs can scale with your business revenue. Many businesses have seasonal spikes, so you pay more only when necessary and reduce costs during slow months.
A good cloud computing hosting service also offers full support, regardless of the time of day. This support is paid for out of your monthly bill. Hiring personnel to handle problems with in-house equipment would be much more expensive. For instance, if you have an e-commerce store, you'll be out thousands of dollars if your hardware fails in the middle of the night. With cloud computing, the hosting service automatically monitors and restarts your servers at all hours, for no additional fee.
Another benefit of cloud computing is that you get immediate access to all the premium services and features that used to be affordable only by larger enterprises. You can now compete on an even playing field - the internet has no idea how big or small you really are.
Cloud computing can offer automated backups. Backups are a saving grace in the event of a server crash or catastrophic incident, but managing them is difficult. You not only need to remember to make backups regularly, but you must store them in a safe place. Most cloud computing hosting services avoid these types of issues entirely. First, almost all cloud computing platforms offer some type of built in backup automation solution. Second, the host has plenty of space where you can store your backups. Finally, cloud computing hosts make it easy to rely on these backups when disaster strikes. The better ones even offer automatic failover and business continuity options if you want.
Finally, the better cloud computing hosting services also offer the ability to run all of your business applications, on any device from any location. They can also offer full integration with all of your web apps and even subscription services like Google Docs, Office 365 and Amazon Web Services.
Many small businesses have a volatile first few years, especially on the technology front. Fortunately, cloud computing can reduce costs and keep your startup running smoothly around-the-clock. There are several cloud computing hosts to choose from, so do your homework.
Even a single second of downtime at your business can cause a ripple effect that sees operations become unhinged. While most Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) take into account longer power outages, short ones can be just as dangerous to your company. An Oakley Greenwood report showed that 58.9% of outages in NSW were for less than 2 hours. It is important that you and your employees be prepared should a power outage strike. We’ve prepared some information to help you do just that.
Power outages are one of the only disasters that can strike just about anywhere in Australia. If you are in Blacktown, chances are tropical cyclones are not going to be an issue and i
A US Department of Energy report noted that power outages cost businesses nearly $150 billion in 2014 and added that increasing demand for energy coupled with an aging infrastructure could see the number of blackouts increase. When a power failure disrupts IT systems, 1/3 of companies lose AU$18,500-$465,000 per incident. While weather-related events are the most common cause of power outages in Australia, it is far from the only thing that can disrupt energy service.
Since this is a problem that will continue to plague businesses, especially those ones that are unprepared, it’s important to be ready should a blackout strike. Here are a few things you should consider when it comes to power outages.
The most notable issue a business faces when a power outage occurs is an inability to work. Employees often will sit around unable to do anything until the power is turned back on. Once the power does return, additional time is needed to safely turn everything back on and to check if all your files are still there.
There are also numerous indirect consequences that your business may face either during or after a power outage. These include a loss of revenue from potential sales, a decrease in customer satisfaction and a drop in your company’s reputation. The more your company is prepared for a power outage, the better continuity you will see and the less damage will be done. While it may be impossible to completely avoid issues caused by blackouts, you can minimize their impact.
One of the biggest sources of frustration for employees during a blackout is losing files they had been working on. Autosave features do help prevent this but sometimes you’ll still lose that one important note or sentence you didn’t have the chance to save. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) are one way to buy your employees a little extra time should the power go out. You're able to plug your computer into these devices and they will operate as a battery when the power goes out. The life of these power stations is anywhere from ten minutes to an hour for some models which should give you enough time to save your work and properly shutdown your computer.
If you want to stay in business during a power outage, a standby commercial generator can help. These normally run on petrol or natural gas and immediately switch on as soon as your main power supply goes out.
If you aren’t concerned about the lights but want to keep your employees productive, equipping them with 4G enabled laptops and tablets with the right cloud vendor will let them continue to work on files and even your database systems that have been saved and stored or running virtually in the cloud. The better cloud systems will even enable you to send employees home or some other location (where power is available) and work one everything exactly as if they were in the office.
Regardless of what your company's plans are during a power outage, you will need to test them on a regular basis to ensure everything runs smoothly when the real thing does happen. If you utilise a UPS or standby generator, you will want to test these out every six months at the very least to make sure they function properly. If your business has special plans for what employees need to do during a power outage, you should run a practice drill on a yearly basis to ensure everyone is up to speed on their duties. You should also document what steps everyone should take - so nothing is forgotten in the panic of responding to the outage.
They key to business continuity is preparation. Let our team of experts help prepare your business for anything thrown its way in 2016 and beyond.