Get in Touch

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?

  1. We already had a Written Continuity Plan (we could continue keep normal business operations whilst the disaster was occurring, and as it was already written down - we knew what we had to do without missing important steps in the early panic).
  2. Most of our systems are cloud-based (doesn't matter where you work from).
  3. Our cloud-based software systems are the "right type" of cloud (works on any device, secure, runs all of our apps and is optimised for slow internet connections if staff work from home).
  4. Our communications systems were cloud-based so we could still receive client calls (not perfect, but we know what to refine for next time).

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 :

14 Little-Known Facts Every Business Owner Must Know About Data Backup, Security And Recovery"

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.

1 resized
Sensible Cloud - Our own private and secure cloud based service that lets you run all your business apps, anywhere, on any device.

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.

The cloud has already entered the mainstream, but that doesn't mean that there is just one type of cloud. In fact, there are 3 of them: public, private, and hybrid.

The public cloud lets different companies share access to applications and storage space. These assets are stored in a service provider's data centre, and are accessible via the Internet.

Typically, the service provider will use virtualisation, technology that creates multiple instances of applications or operating systems on a single physical device, to store multiple clients' data on the same server. This allows the service provider to over-sell resources as most customer's don't use all the resources they are allocated.

An example is Office365 where each user is allocated 1TB of OneDrive Storage space as Microsoft believes not everyone will use it.

The private cloud, as the name suggests, isolates a company's assets to a single computing environment, so that it doesn't have to share its resources with anyone else.

Lastly, there is the hybrid cloud, which takes aspects from both the public and private cloud computing models.

Public clouds are fairly popular because they offer a greater degree of scalability when compared to in-house solutions. They are also more affordable, since you don't have to invest in on-premise setups that require costly hardware. Instead of maintaining in-house infrastructure, you outsource this work to a service provider.

It's easy to know if you are in the public cloud as it is easy to setup yourself in minutes with just a credit card as all the resources are waiting to be over-allocated.

However, public clouds can sometimes suffer from a noisy neighbour issue in which one customer monopolises the shared computing assets. Other customers' systems will perform poorly because of the reduced resources. This is the reason why a company's website or system is fast one minute and slow the next. A particular customer application may require extra cpu power, high disk activity or internet bandwidth without your knowledge.

How to Avoid the Noisy Neighbour Issue

You can sidestep this problem by using a provider that offers defined quality-of-service controls. These details, documented in a clear-cut service level agreement, serve as the provider's guarantee that you'll never be left without the computing resources you need.

Another solution involves using a cloud-based service that doesn't use virtualisation. Since multiple instances of an application are not running on the same server, these services avoid the noisy neighbour issue altogether- although are more expensive.

As a final option, consider using a hybrid cloud like our SensibleCloud.

This would give you the ability to select to run critical aspects of your business on a private or dedicated server environment and less important ones on a public server. Since the ones on the public server are not particularly vital, your business would not suffer from the occasionally slower speeds. For more advice about selecting a cloud computing model for your business, speak with an experienced IT professional.

As you begin to move your company away from a physical infrastructure and into the cloud, it's important to make sure that proper security policies are in place. While you may have a general information security policy, don't think that absolves your organisation from the need for a specific cloud security policy. The dangers that come along with using cloud software or infrastructure are markedly different than those of the typical security concerns encountered by most organisations.

1. The biggest risk for most cloud applications is a breach of the cloud provider's security. Your sensitive data could be leaked.

Take the recent Ashley Madison dating website hack - it is believed that 252,000 people in Sydney alone have had their private details leaked.

There is no real way to create a policy averting this risk, so the ideal solution is to look at things from the perspective of risk management—all cloud providers need to be evaluated for risk, based on their history, the architecture they use, stated security measures in place, and the value or risk of data being stored on that cloud platform. Do they encrypt their data? Do they offer dual factor authentication?

2. The second biggest risk for organisations is employee negligence and inappropriate cloud usage. Curbing this risk requires several steps. First is identifying a point person in your organisation, usually the IT manager, who will evaluate cloud services and approve or deny requests to use certain cloud providers. Next, employees need to be informed that they are not to use cloud services unless they have been vetted and approved by the point person. Third, employees need to be trained on how to identify security risks themselves. Finally, organisational data needs to be stratified by level of security it requires, so that cloud services can be evaluated for certain levels of security. For example, while one service may be perfectly fine to temporarily store or transport low–security information, it might not be secure enough for high–security information. Employees must be made aware that using cloud services is a major risk, and not to be done without authorisation.

All cloud policies should integrate a worst–case–scenario plan. This can include plenty of redundant backups in case the cloud service storing your data goes down. It should also include a communication plan to inform your clients and customers in the event of a security breach at your cloud service provider.

Cloud services can offer your business a lot of flexibility and significant savings, but unless they are approached in a methodical and cautious manner, they can result in significant risk. A good cloud service policy is the biggest step towards minimising this risk.

Contact your IT Manager to ensure they have implemented the right risk reduction techniques that put you back in control and let you implement and enforce the policies you want.

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. Most 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.

Finally, cloud computing offers 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.

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 before signing any long-term contract.

If you are interested in moving to the cloud it is a good idea to investigate to see if it fits your business or not.

Sensible Business Solutions offers a free Cloud Readiness Questionnaire to help you plan any move to the Cloud.

Sales
Support
Email
SHOPCUSTOMER SUPPORT CENTREEMAIL SUPPORT
Sensible Business Solutions © 2021 All Right Reserved
Privacy Policy
magnifiercrossmenuchevron-down