DRaaS: A step above Offsite Backups

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The concept of Offsite Backups seems to be understood by most – PCnet backs up your data to our “Cloud” (offsite), where it can be retrieved when needed most.  However, “Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)” is still foreign to many business owners.

“Disaster Recovery” does suggest a more robust approach to an unforeseen data emergency.  But is DRaaS necessary for your business?  Let’s find out…

Offsite Backups can be restored back to a physical server or device.  Recovery time depends on several factors, including:

  • The amount of data to be restored
  • Support staff available to copy data back to its working location
  • Availability of working on-site hardware

A few files might take minutes, but restoring an entire server image could take hours, days, or sometime even weeks.

Disaster Recovery as a Service, by contrast, is a more recent service that has evolved from a combination of technology advancements and an increase in the speed at which business is expected to move.

DRaaS is similar to the offsite backup process, in that data is backed up and stored both locally and to our Cloud.  The difference lies in its ability to move business activity from a failing server (or servers) over to an alternative appliance within a matter of minutes.

Disaster Recovery as a Service works best in a virtualized server environment with adequate infrastructure, application expertise, reasonable connectivity, a detailed recovery process with roles and responsibilities, and competent support to help manage and execute tasks quickly.

While a step up to DRaaS is more expensive, and more complex to manage, this added layer of backup and recovery will certainly inspire peace of mind by reducing or eliminating downtime and loss of business.

In summary, your choice of data protection should be based on your company’s Recovery Time Objective (RTO) – the length of system downtime your business can tolerate in a crisis.

PCnet can customize a DRaaS solution for any client, based on your RTO needs.  Reach out to us today for more information!

Why Your Second “In-House” IT Hire Should Be “Outsourced IT”

Outsourced IT is cheaper than hiring more IT personnel.

Your first step into the world of IT came with an in-house hire, and your business responded by growing…a lot. So much so, in fact, that your in-house tech cannot keep up. Now projects are piling up, IT security is falling behind, and the auditor’s reports aren’t looking good.

Sound familiar? It might be time to expand your IT department. And when you make that decision, it may be much more advantageous to consider an outsourced IT solution. More and more, outsourced IT is becoming the definitive solution for companies either just entering the world of IT, or those learning one lone employee isn’t enough.

Most likely, business growth, specifically employee growth, was the primary reason you decided to hire extra IT help. Perhaps there was a merger or acquisition, or you’ve decided to franchise—whatever the cause, more employees mean more IT needs, consulting, 24/7 support, training, equipment and software licenses, and so the list goes.

Outsourced IT is a great solution, falling just behind the best solution: having your in-house IT crew and the outsourced IT working together. We call that Meshed IT.

COST

Studies have shown that outsourced IT can reduce your overhead costs anywhere from 40%-75% when compared to hiring an in-house IT technician. According to payscale.com, the annual national average for an entry-level IT professional starts around $43k; experienced IT Professionals earn an annual average of $130k. There are also other hidden costs that arise throughout your in-house technician’s employment, including training, certifications, sick days, vacations, insurance costs and many other factors. An outsourced IT department has none of those costs. Rather, the cost is transparent, static, and in some cases, a la carte. Also, many companies receive software benefits when they hire outsourced IT, like RMM software, anti-virus, automation, backups, patching, and alerting.

24/7 Support

If your sales or service department is working around the clock to make deadlines, or if you plan on starting a 2nd or 3rd shift, outsourcing IT is the answer. Rather than combat long hours, overtime, and potential unavailability, rely on an outsourced IT solution. PCnet offers 24/7 on-call technical support. If your computer/server has issues in the middle of the night, our on-call team is waiting to assist.

Consulting Needed

Many MSPs (Managed Service Providers) offer experience in just about every aspect of IT these days. PCnet provides trained and certified IT pros that specialize in Microsoft, Cisco, Barracuda, Veeam, and many others. Like PCnet, many MSPs can also provide experienced consulting when desired. When discussing different equipment and software implementations, outsourced IT companies have “seen it and done it”.

You need a team, not a tech

When contracting an MSP, you’re hiring a certified team of technicians that are willing to work around the clock rather than a single technician. More often than not, MSPs provide outmatched efficiency and expertise, even when compared to an extremely proficient in-house IT technician. There are many components of IT, all of which require their own level of expertise. Rather than have one person handling everything, MSPs provide you with knowledgeable, dedicated individuals to address these components. For instance, when you hire an MSP, you’ll have a database tech, a disaster recovery tech, a switching and router professional, Cisco and Microsoft engineers, and…well, the list goes on.

Provide your over-stressed IT employee with the support they need. Their time, like your time, is invaluable, but while they are busy with end user support, other things might be slipping through. If your team is over-burdened to the point of being reactive rather than proactive and if they lack the time to focus on planning and IT security, the time has come to contract and outsource your IT. Your in-house specialist needs relief, and will likely be of much better service to you and your company as a CIO rather than a one-person helpdesk.

Your cost-saving IT team is waiting to provide 24/7 support and free-expert consulting.

Like, Share, and then call me for more details on how you can receive our expert service.

  • – Brandon McClure | IT Consultant

Has Cloud Computing Replaced the “Black Box”?

Will cloud computing make computer brands obsolete?

“Black box” refers to a term coined by IBM’s PC. This PC was first introduced August 12, 1981. It used an 8088 processor and could access up to 1 megabyte of RAM. More than 50 new businesses came on the market prior to the release of the IBM PC in 1981. Over the years, as many companies have replicated IBM’s PC, only a handful have survived. Companies like Dell, HP and Lenovo are now market leaders in the server and PC space. This has been directly related to the power of the name brand that these companies have created.

While name brand is still important in some respects, it’s not as meaningful as it once was. Cloud computing is now taking hold and these name brands will be increasingly insignificant as businesses move to the cloud. Cloud computing is expected to more than double during the next six years, from 37 percent to nearly 80 percent (more…)

The Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi can be a security risk to your personal information.

The Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

It’s all too convenient. In many shopping and public spaces, your mobile device tempts you with fast and free internet. You may be thinking that it’s probably safe because it’s being provided by a major retailer or hotel chain. As you consider the risks, you might assume or hope for safe access, but the reality is often quite different. According to security firm, Kaspersky, “The biggest threat to free Wi-Fi security is the ability for the hacker to position himself between you and the connection point. So instead of talking directly to the hotspot, you’re sending your information to the hacker, who then relays it on.” It is impossible to know for certain that you are connecting to a safe and properly identified host. So, what can we do to protect ourselves?

Virtual Private Network (VPN):
With some advance planning, you can encrypt your mobile device data signal so that your information is unreadable by hackers in transit. It’s a little like riding a subway from your house to the police station every time you go to town. (more…)

Top Ten Cybersecurity Tips

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  1. 1. Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code
    Make sure each of your business’s computers are equipped with antivirus software and antispyware and update regularly. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install updates automatically.

2. Secure your networks
Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, (more…)

Why Move to the cloud? 10 Benefits of cloud computing

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Simply put, cloud computing is computing based on the internet. Where in the past, people would run applications or programs from software downloaded on a physical computer or server in their building, cloud computing allows people access to the same kinds of applications through the internet.

When you update your Facebook status, you’re using cloud computing. Checking your bank balance on your phone? You’re in the cloud again. Chances are you rely on cloud computing to solve the challenges faced by small businesses, whether you’re firing off emails on the move or using a bunch of apps to help you manage your workload.

In short, cloud is fast becoming the new normal. By the end of 2015 it’s estimated that 90% of UK businesses will be using at least one cloud service.

Why are so many businesses moving to the cloud? It’s because cloud computing increases efficiency, helps improve cash flow and offers many more benefits…Here’s ten of the best.

1. Flexibility

Cloud-based services are ideal for businesses with growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands. (more…)

The evolution of Ransomware

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Ransomware has been dominating the news for several weeks, and is likely to stay in the news for most of the year.  Ransomware is a distinct type of cyber attack, in that it extorts payment from the victim in exchange for allowing access to something that was encrypted in the attack.  The most prevalent type of malware used in this kind of crime is ‘crypto-ransomware’, which normally encrypts the files on the compromised system, and then demands a ransom in return for the ability to decrypt and recover the files.  The latest iteration of crypto-ransomware is called Locky, and is the most advanced version of ransomware we have seen in the wild.

Ransomware isn’t new; the first piece of ransomware was distributed via 5 1/4 floppy drives through snail mail back in 1989 (pdf).  It wasn’t very successful, but criminals obviously recognized the potential of generating revenue through extortion.  (more…)

Is Your MSP A Trusted Advisor?

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Many times I’ve heard managed service providers claim to be the trusted advisor to their customers. This has been said so often that I wonder if we’ve lost sight of what the phrase really means. Have we diluted its true meaning?

In the context of existing customers, trusted advisor may or may not be reality. This means, existing managed services customers fall into two categories: those who view the MSP as a trusted advisor and those who do not. Why would an existing client not view the MSP as a trusted advisor? A) The client once did hold the MSP in this regard but no longer does, or B), the client never trusted the MSP but went ahead with the relationship anyway.

If You Are Trusted, You Don’t Need To Say It!

The trusted advisor is a status between the MSP and the customer. (more…)

Save Time and Money with Pulse Managed Service

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If there is one thing most small businesses can agree on is that time equals money. Small business owners are in a position where they have to be a jack-of-all-trades, often spending most of their day wearing different hats. This is the nature of the small business and while expected is not always the best way use of time. In order for a small business to be successful and remain competitive in an industry, there must be designated time for the owner to focus on growing and building the business. In many cases small businesses fail as a result of being unable to handle emergencies or other situations that are simply beyond the control and expertise of the owner.

Any business that relies on technology, which covers almost every business operating today, (more…)

Does your business have a Business Continuity Plan?

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Disaster can strike at anytime and in most cases with little or no warning. While we may be able to predict certain weather systems or anticipate general problems such as power outages, for the most part it is almost impossible to know when a disaster will strike. To protect your clients and your business in the event of an emergency you must cover all the basics before disaster strikes. Both managed service providers and the companies they support should have a business continuity plan (BCP) as well as a disaster recovery plan to contain the damage that results from man made or natural disasters. Here we discuss the need for such a plan and what you can do to ensure your business stays up and running following an emergency.

Understand the need

Many companies are so busy in the here and now they fail to think about the “what ifs” that could be right around the corner. When the sun is shining brightly and everything is working in tip top form, it is easy to overlook the need for a business continuity plan. (more…)