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Data Backup & Disaster Recovery-Businesses are misinformed

Data Backup Disaster Recovery

Data Backup Disaster Recovery

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery misinformation is the topic of our second post from our Business Advisory Guide entitled “12 Little-Known Facts Every Business Owner Must Know About Data Backup, Security And Disaster Recovery.” Written in plain English, this easy to read 15 page guide explains what you must know about Data Backup Disaster Recovery, should you experience a data erasing disaster at your business.

In our first post we stated:

Most business owners are grossly misinformed about Data Backup and (more importantly) Disaster Recovery.

After working with over 2,500 small and mid-size businesses in the Portland Oregon Metro area, we found that 75% of business owners we talk to initially do NOT have a reliable backup of their data and do NOT know how or what they would do in the event of a data-erasing disaster. They simply “hope” their backup is/was working and that it will save their bacon when disaster strikes. This “hope” approach is incredible when you consider how dependent businesses are on information – be it client databases, QuickBooks or other accounting records, e-mails, pictures, inventory, blueprints, and other work products – almost ALL processes in a business rely on the availability of digital information.

The cost of losing that information (or being without it for an extended period of time) is hard to accurately quantify since it affects so many aspects of a business. But we do know this: 93% of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster, and 50% filed for bankruptcy immediately (Source: National Archives & Records Administration in Washington).

Here are some other statistics about losing data:

Did You Know That . . .

  • Tape drives fail at an average rate of 100%. That means ALL tape drives fail at some point and do NOT offer complete protection for your data if a natural disaster, water damage or fire destroys your office and everything in it.
  • 20% of small to medium businesses will suffer a major disaster causing loss of critical data every 5 years. (Source: Richmond House Group)
  • 40% of small to medium businesses that manage their own network and use the Internet for more than e-mail will have their network accessed by a hacker, and more than half won’t even know they were attacked. (Source: Gartner Group)
  • About 70% of business people have experienced (or will experience) data loss due to accidental deletion, disk or system failure, viruses, fire or some other disaster. (Source: Carbonite)
  • The first reaction of employees who lose data is to try to recover it themselves by using recovery software or restarting or unplugging their computer — steps that can make later data recovery impossible. (Source: Survey by Minneapolis-based Ontrack Data Recovery)

In our next post we’ll talk about: Business owners who say, “But I already backup my data.”

If you want to skip this blog and read the entire 15 page guide, you can download your Free Business Advisory Guide Here.

Don’t worry about some sales guy calling you from our office because you downloaded information off of our website. No one from our office will call you; I promise. We don’t like sales calls any more than you do! We understand if you’re not ready to do that, and if that’s the case, then just read these posts when they come out. We post on a regular schedule.

This guide will explain in plain every day English what you need to know about data backup, security and disaster recovery.

Dedicated to your success
Wally Moore
dts|infotech . . . computer networks that work

 

MS Internet Explorer – “zero day” security flaw

MS Internet Explorer

MS Internet Explorer

By now you have probably heard or read news of a massive MS Internet Explorer (IE) “flaw” that was discovered two days back.  Several of our clients have written us to inquire about whether or not it is safe to use MS Internet Explorer at this time.

This exploit with MS Internet Explorer is dangerous

For the next few days that this bug is out there, we recommend just exercising the same level of due caution that is advisable at any other time: be cautious of web links sent in e-mails, and don’t just go around hitting random web sites.  Using an alternate browser like Chrome is also a good idea, but remember that all browsers can have flaws.  While today’s “big news” affects MS Internet Explorer, tomorrow it could be Chrome or Firefox.

Illustrated guide to a MS Internet Explorer workaround

Microsoft has offered a temporary user fix for Internet Explorer versions 10 and 11 but this is not automatic. Users have to go into the tools menu implement it themselves. And, like many security Documents, the Microsoft advisory can be a bit confusing to those without a lot of technical experience. For those of you who would like a guide to a Microsoft workaround click here: http://onforb.es/1o3NKtc

At this time, we consider it safe to use MS Internet Explorer for existing sites that you’re used to using, i.e. your online banking, e-mail, Facebook, etc.  This flaw is exploited when MS Internet Explorer is used to connect to unknown web sites which have been set up specifically with malicious intent.  Examples of where you’d find such links are in a random (or spam) e-mail, an advertisement on a web site, or a link in a web forum or on social media sites (i.e. your Facebook feed) that jumps you to a different web site.

All computer users should take the following simple steps to protect their machine and data.

You should take these steps on any business or personal computer regardless of the operating system you run. Additionally, these steps are not reactive measures to take only when a new threat emerges. These are general guidelines that you should follow at all times.  Software vendors, especially web browser providers, are always working to protect their users against known and unpublished threats.

1. Users need to use good judgment when they are accessing emails and websites. Avoid websites or items they do not believe look appropriate. Treat emails with suspicion if you do not know the sender and do not open suspicious attachments or links. Typically, businesses restrict employee use of the internet and email to work-related activities only to help protect their business and IT Infrastructure.

2. Installing antivirus and antispyware software on your machine is not enough. You need to ensure the software is kept up-to-date or your machine will not be protected.

3. Windows comes with a firewall, so make sure the firewall on your local machine is turned on and not disabled.

4. Ensure that your computer is regularly updated with software patches from vendors. In general, vendors follow different methods to provide updates including: require users to update to the latest software, provide software updates monthly for download, or release updates as required. The majority of vendors will now prompt the user to install the updates; however several users will bypass the message to use the software.

For instance, in the last month Oracle provided Java updates for 37 security vulnerabilities, Microsoft provided updates for 11 security vulnerabilities, and Adobe addressed critical security vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash and Adobe Air. Windows users are not alone: even Apple patched 13 vulnerabilities in their MacOS operating system and Safari browser.

Finally, it is important to continue to point out Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP. The security updates for the product discontinued on April 8th and security experts recommend users to upgrade if they have not done so already.

Dedicated to your success
Wally Moore
dts|infotech . . . computer networks that work

 

Networks: IT consultants manage your network and make you successful

My introduction to computers and networks began when the owner of the company I was working for told me I was the new network guy. He said he had over looked how important computers would become as our company grew. My response was, “I’ve never even turned a computer on, let alone manage a network. Are you sure about this?” He said, “Yep, you’re a good manager. I know you’ll do a good job!” Reluctantly, I assumed the responsibility of a network with 1 Novell server, 12 workstations, 1 fax machine, 3 printers and the telephone system. I had no idea how any of it worked!

If your experience with computers and networks matches or resembles mine, we have much in common. I feel your pain and I can help you. I know exactly what it’s like when a large client calls to say, “I sent you that info yesterday. You didn’t get it?” And sheepishly you say, “No, we crashed yesterday and we don’t have a back up, can you resend it?” Or when accounting comes to you because they can’t print out invoices and one of my personal favorites, you have to do payroll . . . but you can’t find the data on when hourly employees punched in and out. I’ve experienced all of that and more.

Does this sound familiar? You don’t have to live like this . . . really!

They best decision I made was to hire an IT consulting company that specialized in managing networks. Working together as a team, i.e. myself, who knew nothing about computers and the IT consulting company, they knew everything about networks, but nothing about our company. Together we transformed an outdated and unreliable network into one that was reliable, quiet and very cost effective.

How did we do that? That’s simple. We took the time to sit down and listen to the department heads, and we asked them a simple question. “What is it that you need us (the IT Department) to do so that you can be successful?” They all knew the answer. Then we researched the solution to their problems and met with them a second time. After that we knew exactly what to do, how to do it, what hardware and software we needed, how much it would cost and how long it would it take. Then the head of each of the departments went to the owner and got approval for their projects. Sounds pretty simple huh?

Managing a network is simple. I just listened to my coworkers (the department heads) about the problems and challenges they had. Then I listened to my IT consultant on how to fix the problems. Then we just applied sound management practices. We reduced it down to a simple strategy: make a plan and work the plan. We we’re always successful and we can do the same for you.

Is your network unreliable, or outdated? What do you need it to do so that you’re successful? Are you feeling overwhelmed like I did because you’re not a computer technician? If that’s similar to your experience, give me a call. We’ll schedule a time to come over to your office, sit down and listen to you. Then we’ll look at your network so we can advise you on a plan to make it work. Together we’ll make a plan. Then we’ll work the plan to make you successful. It’s pretty simple.

There is no charge for us to review your network and give you a written proposal. We’re not salesman, so there is zero pressure. And if you decide not to work with us, at the least you’ll learn a lot about your network and you’ll be glad you met us. We promise, because we’re the good guys!

 

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