How a Business Continuity Plan Saved the Day for These Companies

For some companies, downtime or natural disasters spell the end of their operations. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Below, we take a look at some business continuity successes, and what other companies can learn from their stories.

What is business continuity planning?

Also referred to as contingency planning, business continuity planning is all about a company’s ability to bounce back after an incident causes downtime. In other words, it’s how well a business adapts to changing circumstances beyond its control. 

Business continuity planning is important because recovering from downtime is a costly endeavor. In fact, up to 60 percent of small businesses fail to reopen after downtime, whether as a result of natural disasters, employee error, or cyber crime, because the costs are simply too high to recover from. 

How, then, do successful businesses rise above these challenges and stay operational? Let’s take a look at some examples.

Business continuity planning saved these companies

In no particular order, here are three companies that credit business continuity planning with saving their operations. 

1. Cupcake Kitchen

Houston-based bakery Cupcake Kitchen lost access to its premises for around three weeks after a hurricane caused severe water damage. The company lost multiple appliances and perishable goods to a total loss of around $30,000.00. 

The owner actively kept her customers notified on social media about what was happening and the steps she was taking to get the bakery up and running again. A few months later, revenue returned to 80 percent of pre-hurricane levels. 

The key point here is that, as a local business, the owner found a way to connect to her clients and ensure they understood that the kitchen would open again. She turned an obstacle–picking a new location for her bakery–into an opportunity, which is a hallmark of a great contingency planning strategy. 

2. Georgia Power

Georgia Power, a major electricity supplier, lost a transformer to fire damage back in 2017. In response, Georgia Power aligned with a tech company to upgrade its transformer testing capabilities. 

The transformers now have sensors that record dissolved levels and instantly alert engineers if the levels exceed a safe amount. What’s more, the transformers generate gas readings at far more frequent intervals than before. 

What does this tell us? Well, Georgia Power instantly reacted to the crisis and took steps to prevent a similar incident from arising in the future. They learned from the failure and moved the company forward as a result. 

3. Gaille Media 

In 2017, Gaille Media, a small online marketing agency, lost its entire office space to hurricane damage. No one could enter the building for three months, and it wasn’t possible to salvage any hardware from inside. 

What happened? Surprisingly, it was business as usual at Gaille Media. The agency continued operating because it kept its business data, and all its backups, in the cloud. Employees worked remotely and provided their usual service to clients. The office didn’t reopen and the employees all now work remotely. 

The key takeaway is that Gaille Media had an effective contingency plan in place before disaster struck. They understood their core business processes and ensured that, whatever happened to their physical office space, they could access the data they needed to run their day-to-day operations. This is a great example of a truly proactive business continuity plan.

Conclusion

The good news is that it’s possible to keep your company afloat and active even when disaster strikes. As you can see from these company success stories, all it takes is some careful business continuity planning. For more information on business continuity planning and how the right strategy can save your company, contact us today.

6 Goals You Should Have in Mind When Creating Your BCP

Are you prepared for the unexpected? Can you recover from an incident and be back online with minimal downtime? Without a complete business continuity plan, it will be hard to achieve this. 

Business continuity is really about what happens after the disaster or incident—it relates to the key steps you’ll take to deal with the impact of such an event. It has many aspects, including communication, getting critical business processes back online, and providing customers with a means to contact you.

There are many reasons why you need a business continuity plan. Downtime is costly. Disruption to business can have a lingering effect that may take considerable time to recover from.

“Good business continuity planning should look at the business as a whole — with a goal to support business resilience.” – Small Business Trends

But when you begin the process of creating a business continuity plan, what should your goals be? And how can you improve your strategy?

Goal one: document it

First, your business continuity plan should be documented. It seems easy enough, but many companies miss this step. So, consider this your first goal, which you don’t have to craft on your own. Partner with your managed IT services provider for guidance.

By documenting the process, everyone understands their role and responsibilities. There is a procedure to follow that takes into account all the mission-critical systems and how to best resume business as usual.

Goal two: identify roles

Determining who will be responsible for recovery internally, or how you’ll work with your third-party IT provider, is another vital objective. Document everyone’s individual role and, most importantly, how they can be reached in the event of an emergency.

Goal three: risk and impact assessment

A key part of a business continuity plan is a risk assessment or network audit to understand what threats are most likely to disrupt business. 

Consider how different types of events can hinder your business, and if different steps need to be made depending on the nature of the disruption. For example, dealing with a data breach due to malware and a power outage from a storm both need a recovery plan, but each plan will be different.

Goal four: determine the tools you need to recover quickly

Many of the tools you need for business continuity relate to off-site backups or other means to ensure that your data is secure. Redundancy features are also necessary, as are things like generators. But what about using technology in a different way, such as artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is becoming an important aspect of business continuity. There are several ways AI can impact business continuity. Those include predictive analytics and automation functionality.

Goal five: identify your critical data and assets

A business continuity plan should clearly identify where your critical data and assets reside. By documenting this, it’s much easier for recovery teams to act. This part of your plan should allow anyone to move forward with recovery efforts, should you or another team leader be unavailable.

Goal six: outline preventative measures

Determine what preventative measures your company is taking to prevent downtime. Much of the time, this includes advanced monitoring of your network for threats. It may also involve things like policies and protocols that you take every day to maintain security, both virtually and physically.

Focusing on these six goals can substantially strengthen your business continuity plan. If you have questions about augmenting your current plan or building a new one, we’re happy to help. 

Connect with us today to learn more.

Your Guide to a Successful ERP System Implementation

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is changing the game for organizations looking to improve and organize their day-to-day business processes. The trouble is, while there are many benefits to ERP, a badly executed strategy can make or break your commercial success. 

When an ERP project fails, it’s often down to poor implementation – here’s what you should know to prepare your business for ERP and ensure its successful integration into your organization. 

What is ERP? 

ERP, or enterprise resource planning, is a “catch-all” term for business management software that automates some or much of an organization’s day-to-day activities. These activities can include: 

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Product planning and development
  • Manufacturing 

Since around 64% of businesses use ERP to improve their business performance, it follows that the ERP solution you implement must be efficient and tailored to your organization’s individual needs. So, how do you ensure your ERP works for you? 

ERP system installation: a step-by-step guide

To get you started on your ERP journey, here are our top tips for a successful ERP implementation. 

1: Define your goals

Every business is different, which means there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building an ERP solution. Decide what you need from your system – whether it’s inventory management, or lead capturing, etc. – and prioritize your ERP search based around these needs. If you need help narrowing down your priorities, an MSP can help with this. 

2: Do your research

Once you know what you need from the ERP, have a look at the companies and the software available in your budget range. Don’t rush into any decisions and ask as many questions as you need to make your decision. The right consultant will be more than happy to help you choose the perfect ERP for your needs.  

3: Backup your data

If you have data stored across different products and platforms, back it all up so that you don’t lose it if it’s corrupted upon migration to the new system. Make a list of where all your data is and where it’s coming from so that you can keep track of it all. This is also a good time to review your cybersecurity and ensure your key business data is properly protected.

4: Set up a timeline

Decide when you want your ERP system to go live and plan your implementation process accordingly. Always leave time for setbacks and set aside a budget for “unexpected” costs so that your budget doesn’t hold up your implementation schedule. Review your progress regularly and take action if you’re falling behind.  

5: Test the system

Test every aspect of your ERP solution before it goes live. This is the only way to spot any real-time problems and solve them before they affect your business operations. Create testing procedures or scripts for as many scenarios as you can think of, and you’re well on the way to error-free ERP implementation when it goes live. 

6: Train your employees

Even the best laid ERP system is hopeless if your employees don’t know how to use it effectively. Make sure you train your staff on the new system and ensure they know who they can ask for advice. It’s a good idea to appoint a dedicated point of contact for any problems, particularly for the first few months. 

Conclusion

The right ERP solution can help you reduce your manpower needs and improve your bottom line, all while increasing your overall business efficiency. For more information on ERP software and how to choose the right solution for your organization, contact us today.

Cyber threats you don’t know about (but you absolutely should)

The reality is that cyber crime is everywhere. It’s one of the top concerns your organization faces – information theft is now overwhelmingly the most common crime committed against a business. Even more worryingly, hackers are attacking computers at the rate of one attack every 39 seconds, which means your IT infrastructure faces countless hacking attempts each day.

While ransomware and malware are still among the most common tools used by hackers to target organizations, there are other threats emerging that every business should know about.

5 less commonly known cyber threats

Although new cyber threats are emerging all the time, there are some which you’re less likely to have heard of. But, they can be just as dangerous. Here are our top 5 obscure cyber threats that you should know about.

1. Denial of service

Denial of service is when hackers use a number of computers and devices to direct huge volumes of traffic to a single database or service. The traffic volume overwhelms the target and it goes offline.

Denial of service attacks cause serious damage to businesses because they can’t provide their service while they’re under attack, which in turn affects their bottom line.

2. Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is all about bitcoin. With cryptojacking, hackers use someone else’s device to generate bitcoin for them. The process is known as mining. They do this by planting a malware-type program on the computer and running it in the background where the other person won’t notice it. 

3. Zero-day exploits

Zero-day exploits are an ever-growing problem. Put simply, zero-days are software vulnerabilities that haven’t been fixed yet. When a developer releases a patch to fix the problem, users soon download and install the fix. Hackers then have a limited window of opportunity for exploiting the vulnerability, hence the name “zero-day”.

4. Attack on IoT devices

IoT devices are everywhere, which makes them a prime target for hackers. They can be manipulated and taken over by hackers who might use them as part of a larger orchestrated cyber attack, or cyber criminals can harvest information from their owners. IoT devices are particularly vulnerable because they’re often running outdated software and security.

5. Man in the middle

Man in the middle, or MitM, is an alarming new threat that’s often very hard to spot. Here, a hacker positions themselves between the sender and the recipient of an electronic message. They don’t just receive the messages – they can change them, too.

While the sender and recipient think they’re corresponding directly with each other, they’re connecting through this hacker who intercepts every correspondence.

MitM is a technique often used by military and political hackers, but it can be used by hackers to target anyone, whatever sector you’re operating in.

How to protect your business from the latest in cyber crime

The good news is, there are a few steps you can take to limit your exposure to cyber criminals.

  • Partner with a managed services provider for up-to-date security information and custom cybersecurity packages tailored to your business.
  • Stay suspicious of emails and unsolicited correspondence encouraging you to click on links or provide information.
  • Back up your key business data.
  • Train your staff on how to spot common threats such as phishing and spearing attacks.

Conclusion

As hackers become increasingly sophisticated, it’s highly unlikely that rates of cyber crime will fall any time soon. For more information on protecting yourself against cyber threats and bolstering your cybersecurity, contact us now.

Exploring Common Cybersecurity Threats and Their Consequences

The online world offers lots of opportunities, especially when you’re a growing business. At the same time, all the Internet’s advantages come at a cost: cybersecurity threats. Each day, businesses like yours are combating threats, whether they’re aware of them or not. By understanding more about the commonest ones, you’ll make it easier to avoid them in the future.

Ransomware viruses

Although computer viruses have been present for quite a while, large-scale ransomware is a relatively new phenomenon. Like computer viruses, ransomware takes hold of your network and restricts you from accessing the information you need. Those who develop the viruses go a step further by demanding that you pay a ransom or face losing your information forever.

According to some statistics, the cost of ransomware is set to hit $11.5 billion during 2019. Not all those costs come from companies having to pay to retrieve their information. For every second you spend trying to recover your data, you’re losing money in the form of business. Additionally, you could face fines for a data breach if you haven’t taken the right steps to protect customer and client information. Because of all these consequences, it’s wise to do what you can to prevent these cybersecurity threats.

Phishing scams

Phishing scams have come a long way since their early days. It’s no longer the case that they’re all obvious requests for bank details. Today, potential thieves are adept at making their emails appear as though they’ve come directly from a verifiable source.

One of the biggest cybersecurity threats you face from a phishing scam is someone obtaining login data that they’ll then use to access your systems. As a result, you could face viruses, security breaches, and data losses. 

If you’re going to reduce the risk of a phishing scam, it’s essential to educate all employees on how to identify them. Additionally, ensure employees know where to go if they believe they’ve accidentally fallen for a scam. By promoting an atmosphere of openness and honesty, you’re more likely to reduce the harmful effects of a scam rather than allowing one to take hold.

DOS and DDOS attacks

Denial of Service (DOS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are attempts to bring a website to its knees. Both attacks aim to flood a website with traffic so that its servers can no longer withstand the incoming information. When the servers reach their bandwidth limit, your website enters a period of downtime. 

Usually, DOS and DDOS attacks make it hard for legitimate users to access a website and its content. As a result, you may lose out on potential customers and clients. Depending on how many of your services are web-based, you could also alienate existing customers and clients.

Despite more businesses making an effort to keep such attacks at bay, they’re on the rise. In 2019 Q1, there was a 200% increase in these attacks compared to the same quarter in 2018. Having a solid cybersecurity threat plan in place can reduce your chances of encountering such attacks and protect your reputation.

As time goes on, the number of cybersecurity threats against businesses increase and evolve. One of the most reliable ways to prevent them affecting you is to alter your business’s threat prevention techniques. By reviewing your cybersecurity prevention plan periodically, you reduce your chances of falling victim to the various threats.

The 6 biggest benefits you’ll get from an ERP system

At some point, you’re going to want to look into ways to make your business more effective and streamline your business process. You’re going to want it to be cost-effective, and able to withstand any future changes to your business. You also want it to meet the specific needs of your business, to focus on your strengths, and identify and remedy any weaknesses.

That’s where an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system comes into play. ERP management can integrate all of the different aspects of your business including purchasing, planning, inventory, sales, marketing, budgets, and human resources. 

Before installing such a system, you’ll want to ask yourself how the benefits of ERP can best serve your business needs.

1. A better view of your business process

Many companies suffer from not being able to look at all of the different aspects of their business, how they’re operating together, and then determining if what is happening is working in the company’s best interest. Decisions become more difficult. Efficiency drops, as do profits.

By centralizing business data–sales, inventory, resource allocation, and others–you can improve the “big picture” of your business to determine where bottlenecks or other problems may lie. You can uncover what conditions might be leading to customer dissatisfaction.

Armed with this information, you can determine which departments might be able to enhance their performance, reduce repetition, or improve their supply chain. Streamlining your business process will lead to a more efficient and productive business.

For mobility advantages with a centralized system for accessing information and business applications, your employees have an easier time conducting business in the field. Orders are placed more efficiently, inventory information is more quickly available, service calls are streamlined, and more.

2. Improved cooperation

While a certain amount of autonomy among the various departments within your business makes good sense, sometimes it can block communication. By centralizing how data is collected and shared between departments, you can reduce wasteful, repetitive procedures and ensure that everybody is working with the same up-to-date information.

When you add cloud computing with shared resources, you can also step up your company’s collaboration game. Projects get completed more quickly and employees have immediate access to information, no matter where they are physically located, as long as they have a secure Internet connection.

3. Enhanced inventory control

ERP systems are particularly useful when it comes to keeping track of inventory, orders, supply chains, and services. Every item and resource can be followed from start to finish. This controls situations in which orders get lost or shipped incorrectly, or when manufacturing gets held up from lack of supply or people-power.

Nothing gets lost in the shuffle. This saves you time, money, and aggravation.

4. Greater customer service

With an effective enterprise resource planning program in place, customers should be able to place orders more easily and even track the order’s progress themselves. They will know who to contact and how, should issues arise or they wish to amend their order.

ERP can be used to oversee customer interaction, information, and history. This means sales teams are better equipped to interact with customers–even preparing solutions for customers before the customer is even aware they’re needed.

5. Stronger security and regulatory compliance

Some businesses turn issues such as security and regulatory compliance into a “fix it when it becomes a problem” sort of scenario. This can end up being expensive and can lead to unwanted downtime. It would be better, perhaps, to have these issues addressed and handled at the very start. That’s something an ERP system can do.

Network security protocols, firewalls, encryption, and other IT issues related to keeping your data safe and your communications protected can be set up when creating your ERP system. If regulatory compliance is prioritized at the beginning, you save yourself headaches later.

6. Scalability benefits

ERP software systems are not a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. Rather, it can be customized to fit the unique needs of your business and, better yet, adapted to meet the changing needs of your business over time. There is no risk of starting over again in a few years after your business grows or changes focus.

Users of your ERP system can be added or removed as your staff changes. Inventory and services can be adjusted to fit the evolving nature of your business. In short, the scalability and flexibility of an ERP system can serve your needs for the long term, while delivering savings by reducing installation costs of a new system every few years.

Implementing an ERP system

There are many reasons to implement an ERP system. Most come down to improving the efficiency of your business process, the productivity of your employees, the effectiveness of your customer service, data and communication security, and adhering to a managed budget.

It’s important to do your research on ERP system providers and insist on one who treats you as a partner, understands your business’s unique needs, and feels invested in your success. At Appsolute, we are keenly interested in how we can help best express your business through technology. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about how we can do that.

The 4 elements of a solid disaster recovery plan

Data loss is something that will affect most businesses at some point. Although it’s wise to have a prevention strategy in place, you also need to embrace the inevitable and create a disaster recovery plan.

The aim of a disaster recovery plan is to mitigate the harms that come with massive data loss. If you’re trying to create one that’s solid, you need to incorporate the following elements:

A detailed inventory

Across the United States, small and medium-sized businesses are set to spend $684 billion on IT in 2021. Most of that expenditure will come from hardware, although that’s set to change in the future.

With that in mind, there’s a chance that your business is doing some serious spending and will continue to do so. As a result, one of the best ways to prepare for a disaster is to have a detailed inventory.

From physical servers and power supply equipment to VoIP and phones, make sure you include it all. Creating a detailed inventory of what you have and how it’s configured gives you a better chance of repairing or replacing it in the event of a disaster.

Identify responses to disasters

Around 98% of organizations say an hour of downtime can cost them $100,000. It’s much easier to waste precious minutes when you haven’t clearly defined your responses to disasters. In contrast, knowing what they are in advance will prevent you from wasting time thinking of solutions.

For example, if you’re aware that IT downtime could bring certain essential processes to a halt, is it worth hosting some of them in the cloud?

In doing so, you could give your employees the chance to work on some processes remotely, which prevents you from losing too much money.

Create a clear outline of roles

According to some statistics, around 57% of employees feel as though they’re not given clear directions. Although that’s easy to rectify during everyday processes, it soon results in a crisis when you’re in the middle of a disaster.

While creating your disaster recovery plan, clearly identify who is going to take on what role. Make sure everyone is familiar with each others’ roles too so there’s no ambiguity about who needs to formulate a response. As a part of this, create a sheet of contact details, roles, and list who may need to communicate with each other.

If you’re going to be really thorough, you’ll also need to assign a person for each crucial role as you don’t want sickness or vacation to impede the success of your disaster recovery plan.

Refresh your disaster recovery plan

Your disaster recovery plan shouldn’t remain inflexible. In addition to personnel changes, technology is a constantly evolving area. You may acquire new equipment and new processes, which means your plan will need updates.

The average employee turnover rate in North America is around 23%. That’s a significant proportion of your workforce, especially when you’re relying on continuity in terms of IT disaster recovery. This doesn’t mean you need to refresh your plan every time someone leaves or joins your business.

Instead, assess the impact of every employee loss or gain on the disaster recovery plan and form an appropriate response. Provide a full refresh only when it’s necessary to do so and focus on educating new team members the rest of the time.

Overall, your disaster recovery plan should exist as a living document. Ensure it evolves as your business does and make sure it contains plenty of detail. Always make sure key stakeholders can pitch in their contributions and you should be able to form a solid plan that minimizes losses.

Need guidance with disaster recovery planning?

If you’d like a second pair of experienced eyes on your disaster recovery plan, you can always count on the AppSolute team. Contact us today and we can help ensure your plan is airtight – and we can even help you create one from scratch.

The 6 basic components of a modern ERP

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can be a significant benefit to your business. Most systems have a large selection of features and functionality. ERP software has the ability to help you manage finances, customers, projects, service, commerce, and more. With an ERP system, you’ll have the ability to adapt and change, improve processes, reduce errors, and track and manage assets.

ERP’s are fast becoming a sought after platform for businesses, with the market expected to hit $47 billion in revenue by 2022. However, there are certain key components your ERP software should have for it to be effective in your organization. Let’s look at the six basic components of a modern ERP.

When selecting and implementing an ERP, there are many considerations. Those considerations will be influenced by the major components that every system should have. When you have functionality that aligns with your business goals, you are more likely to see results. In fact, 95% of businesses that implemented an ERP saw an improvement in their processes. Another study found that the top three benefits of ERP usage were reduced process time, increased collaboration, and centralization of enterprise-wide data.

Top components your ERP needs

Human resources

Managing employees is critical to your success so your ERP system should do this job well, handling the entire spectrum of employee administration. This includes onboarding, offboarding, benefits, and time tracking.

The most important feature you need within the HR capabilities is payroll software. You don’t want your HR staff doing this manually as it’s time-consuming and can lead to human error. An HR component can automate payments in addition to tax and benefit deductions. With an integrated time tracking system, hourly employees can be paid automatically, with no need to manually input timesheet information.

Customer relationship management

Another high priority for any business is managing customers and leads. Every company needs a highly functional customer relationship management (CRM) platform as part of its ERP. The insights you’ll gain from a central hub will enable you to sell and market better to your target audiences.

Use a CRM to track buying behaviors, conversation histories, or interactions to determine how to best communicate with customers and leads to generate more revenue.

Business intelligence

When using a cloud ERP, you’ll want to make sure it has business intelligence functionality. This component can collect and analyze data, providing your team with actionable insights. Look for a system that provides reports on valuable business intelligence insights so you can have a clear view as to what actions to take.

Supply chain management

Having an efficient supply chain is imperative, and with the right ERP system, it can be easier to accomplish this. With powerful features, you can optimize your supply chain and collect data in real-time. This allows you to respond immediately when there is a problem.

Inventory management system

Inventory management goes hand-in-hand with the supply chain management piece. It will also help you manage other processes like fulfillment and stocking. You’ll want to find a system that enables this tracking to be automated, reducing manual practices.

Financial management

All the other data from your ERP feeds into financial management, as basically, every business process involves money. You can have a clear view of all your financial data and see spending trends that could help you reduce costs.

Choosing the right ERP system can be tricky. There are lots of options. We can help. We offer an ERP system that has all these components and more. Contact us today to learn more.

How much should you spend on IT?

IT is a fundamental part of your business, and it can be a major part of your budget. However, that doesn’t mean you should overspend. The size of your company will impact how much you spend on IT, as well as other factors like your industry and your reliance on technology.

To determine how much you should spend on IT, first, let’s look at some data. 

Looking at industry figures

In a recent study, Deloitte Insights determined companies spend on average 3.28% of their revenue on IT. Further, they found that the financial industry spends the most at 7.16% and construction the least at 1.51%.

Other studies that were focused on the size of a business determined that SMBs usually spend more on IT as a percentage of their revenue versus a large company. Small businesses spend around 6.9% of their revenue on IT versus 3.2% for larger companies. That lower rate is mostly the result of scaling.

To look at it from a global perspective, it’s estimated that this year, IT spending by companies will increase to $3.8 trillion.

These are just some foundational numbers to consider when developing your budget. But one of the most important things to ponder when thinking about spending is the true cost of downtime.

The true cost of downtime

No small business wants to encounter downtime. If your operations come to a halt, you will quickly start losing money and it could ultimately cost you clients and your reputation. 

The cost of downtime varies across industries, but it will significantly impact any business, costing thousands of dollars per incident.

To keep this from occurring, you have to invest in a healthy IT infrastructure, which may mean partnering with an IT firm for managed services. In this way, you protect your business from downtime while also having a consistent cost every month for IT.

So, what should you spend?

Start off with a predetermined percentage of your revenue to determine your budget, such as the average percentage for your industry or business size. Also, consider these things.

What do you need from IT?

To know what to spend, you need to determine the expectations of your IT systems. Every organization is unique, as are your goals. Decide what the most important things are to you, with the most significant being minimization of downtime. 

You may also have objectives like streamlining operations, securing data, scaling storage, increasing productivity, and helping you run your business more effectively.

Your industry matters

As noted before, some industries spend more on IT than others, depending on things like regulations and business processes. Banks and healthcare have compliance concerns when it comes to data security so they’ll spend more than industries that do not.

You’ll need to figure in your industry-specific requirements as they relate to IT.

Understand recurring IT expenses

Like any budget, some costs are variable while others stay the same. The more predictable costs you have, the easier it is to budget. Here are some typical predictable IT costs:

  • License fees for software usage (this may increase as your headcount does)
  • URL registration and hosting
  • IT service provider fees
  • Wireless systems, such as cloud-based storage solutions
  • Internet fees
  • Compliance fees

These costs shouldn’t fluctuate too much so you can easily understand what you will spend for them now and next year.

Hardware costs are something that can be more variable but also, they’re not something you have to purchase on a regular basis. You should be able to keep most computers, laptops, screens, and smartphone devices for at least four to five years before needing to upgrade. Buy quality hardware so that it lasts longer. It may be more money upfront, but in the long run, you’ll save.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t choose cheap options when it comes to your IT services. This is an investment in your company—one that could lead to greater growth.If you have questions about how to formulate your IT budget, contact us today to chat with one of our experts.

The top 7 ways data backup builds a better business

Could you imagine business life without data? From your clients’ information to files on the latest projects, all your data plays a central role in helping your business move forward. It’s often the case that businesses don’t realize how important data is until it’s gone. Because of this, it’s hard to understate just how necessary data backup is. If it hasn’t been one of your primary concerns recently, now’s the time to learn about how it builds a better business.

Your business becomes more reliable    

Although local data storage comes with its perks, it’s also risky in the event of a complete hard drive failure. Losing the contents of your hard drive means that your data is gone forever. The exception to this is if you use an additional form of local storage, although there’s always a chance that could fail too.

If you want to avoid the perils of a hard drive failure, consider using cloud storage as a backup. When your data enters the cloud, you don’t need to worry about what will happen if your hard drive fails. You can continue using local storage but your business becomes more reliable because of your contingency plan.

You reduce the cost of downtime

According to some studies, data downtime can cost as much as $1 million dollars per incident. Let’s say your data becomes inaccessible for some reason. Said reason could be anything from an electrical failure to having to move offices due to an adverse weather event. When this happens, not having a data backup plan results in you having to close your business until the problem is over.

When you consider that some adverse weather events can last for days at a time, closing your business is less than ideal. In extreme cases, the recovery period following severe weather events lasts for weeks. This could mean a significant loss of revenue, which you become responsible for.

Having a managed backup plan means you can access your data, even when the worst happens. Although you won’t always be able to run your business at full capacity, having access to the essentials prevents a complete shutdown and helps you continue with as much normality as you can manage.

Employees enjoying their teamwork.

Your IT team has an easier workload

IT teams dedicate a startling amount of time to frontline tasks such as data recovery. From small lost files through to significant wipeouts, it’s almost as though they’re firefighting in a digital world.

Of course, your IT team’s job isn’t all about managing data losses. They have other tasks to tend to too, but they may not have enough time to tackle them. By using a data backup service, you ensure that your IT team can do more than just tackle file losses. They’ll also have the chance to focus on tasks such as network security and other important elements of IT management.

You’ll find that data backup is easy

Local backup comes with a draining downside: everything is manual. Transferring files to your hard drive is a lengthy process and if you lose power in the middle of it, you need to start all over again.

In contrast, data backup using a remote facility requires little more than a few clicks. Depending on the type of plan you choose, you may also find that it’s automatic. When you and your IT team don’t need to dedicate as much time to backing up data, you can direct your processes to other areas of your business and help it thrive.

You get professional input from a tech team

In most cases, using a data backup service means you’re turning to an external team of tech professionals. They’ll oversee the backup process and they’ll manage any problems that come with it.

Having a team of professionals on your side also means someone’s there to manage any security problems. This means there are fewer drains on your business’s resources and your data backup takes place without you having to give it a second thought.

Your business is globally ready

If you want to do business internationally, you need to ensure your business is globally ready. The use of cloud storage allows you to achieve this in a couple of ways.

First, your data is available no matter where you are. This makes you incredibly flexible as you’ll no longer need to take external hard drives with you.

Second, cloud backup usually comes with super-tough encryption. As different countries have different security policies, the use of a cloud facility increases the likelihood that you’re compliant with the regulations of the country you’re doing business in. As a result, you may not need to make major adjustments to your processes to guarantee that you can press ahead with your plans.

Your data is more secure overall

On the topic of security, using a data backup service means your information is more secure overall. As the per-record cost of a data breach is between $120 and $600, it’s clear that most businesses cannot afford major failures in this area.

Unlike local hard drives, cloud backup benefits from security that’s near-impossible to break through. That doesn’t mean that breaches don’t happen but they’re far less likely to happen when compared with local storage.

In exchange for your increased security, you prevent a potentially significant loss of revenue. Additionally, you avoid a catastrophe that could harm your business’s reputation. Even large businesses struggle to recover from data breaches. Worryingly, data loss can slow your revenue growth by 22%. Arguably, it’s harder to bounce back when you’re running a small or medium-sized organization.

There are many business benefits to data backup. You can reassure your clients that you’re reliable, continue managing your business during a power loss, and reduce the likelihood of a big fine following a data loss.