Issue No. 18January 2014

2014

Are your files Backed-up?

Why Back-ups are important:

The explosive growth of technology has resulted in a critical dependence upon access and storage of digital data.  The result is that data loss and system failure is a major concern for any modern business or organization. You cannot decide when and how you will experience a loss of data or critical business system failure, but you can decide how you protect against it. Have no doubt, without proper precautions you are at risk for a digital catastrophe that could result in a massive loss of productivity and company resources in both time and money.  

When evaluating backup and disaster recovery solutions, there are key questions that a company should ask when reviewing the options that are available. One of the most crucial questions is “How long can my company afford to be down following critical system failure?”  Some companies may be able to continue work in a limited fashion for a matter of days, while others risk the failure of their entire operation if they are down for more than a few minutes of unexpected downtime. The “Total Time to Restore” (TTR) of a backup solution is an estimate of the amount of time required to restore the company and its failed systems to operation following a disaster.  Some backup solutions have a TTR of only minutes, while other solutions have a TTR that can span multiple days.

 

Best Fit Back-up Solutions:

The backup and disaster recovery solutions landscape has changed rapidly in the past few years.  Cloud technologies provide new choices to store your data in a reliable and secure manner.  With so many options to select from, the question becomes “what backup solution is the best fit for my company”.  The decision can be simplified by first determining the method of backup that will be used, those being File based or Image based.

File based backups create a copy of selected files and folders on your target media of choice, be it a local tape drive or cloud-based storage. The granular nature of File based backup results in a reduced requirement for storage space. A major drawback is that File based backups contain no information about the underlying computer upon which the data is stored. If that computer were to suffer a catastrophic failure, you would be required to repair or replace it in full before you could restore you data from backup, greatly increasing the TTR. A file based backup system is less expensive than more modern Image based alternatives, but only when evaluated in the short term without regard to possible worst case scenarios.   

Image based backups improve on File based methods by capturing not only your data, but a complete replica of the computer upon which the data was stored.  There are many benefits to this approach.  It becomes simple to backup entire applications, databases or other complex configurations. Image backups are faster and can be captured more frequently, with backup snapshots occurring every few minutes if so desired.  When combined with Virtualization technology, the TTR of a failed system can be reduced to a matter of minutes. Backup systems that include the capability to restore a temporary, virtualized copy of a failed server can buy you time and keep your business running while a permanent solution can be implemented. Because Image based backups require more in terms of storage space and supporting infrastructure, they are often the more expensive choice. The features, minimal time to recover and peace of mind provided by an Image based backup solution more than make up for the extra cost.  

For more information about back-up options for your company, Contact Us.

  

Microsoft’s Time for Change

Microsoft has announced as of April 8, 2014, Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange Server 2003 will no longer be actively supported by Microsoft.

What this means to you:

These older versions of Windows and Exchange were developed in a time before the Internet played such a critical role in the life of your average business.  The result is that these systems cannot be trusted to handle the wide variety of threats to your data and computers that are ever present in our Internet-connected world.  Without the continued availability of critical security and software updates,  the Microsoft software that you rely on to help run your business will be under ever increasing threat, exposing you to malicious software and may result in a failure to comply to updated industry compliance standards.

Getting current with the latest versions of Windows and Microsoft Office helps you modernize your business and dramatically simplify everyday tasks:  

  • Bring together critical aspects of your business and gain a consistent experience across a wide array of devices that you use at home, in the office, or on the go with Windows 8.1.
  • Gain efficiency with Windows 8.1 devices:
    • faster and lighter
    • longer battery life
    • touch for an easier user experience
  • Increase productivity and access applications and files from virtually anywhere with Office 365.
  • Access business email, calendar, and contacts on your PC, phone, and web browser with Exchange Online.

If you are ready to upgrade your Microsoft Software, or have any questions/concerns regarding the end of support by Microsoft for these versions of software please Contact Us.