Backup & Data Protection: How to Choose an IT Service Provider
As we discussed in The Real Costs of Downtime How to Protect Your Small Business, any firm’s IT infrastructure can experience business-crippling downtime resulting from issues like power failure, hardware failure or even cyber attacks.
That’s why every SME should have a Business Continuity Plan – to safeguard operations and ensure minimal disruption to everyday business.
The big question is: are you prepared?
Frankly, small business owners and managers have enough already on their plate to devote much time to exploring and deciphering the complexities of data backup and recovery and rarely have dedicated IT staff to support them. So, the process of choosing an IT Service provider/vendor is critical.
So, how does a local business go about selecting a good IT solutions provider with the experience and know-how to get your systems back up and running within minutes of downtime? What type of services should your business be looking for?
There are Six Core Elements that you need to consider when thinking about your firm’s Backup and Data Protection:
Let’s face it, SMEs often fail to invest in a workable business continuity plan in order to save on the expense and time, but as we’ve already discussed, failure to do so can be catastrophic for your business. The expression “You get what you pay for” will hit home hard if you merely opt for the cheapest solution when any temporary cost savings will be short-lived and of limited comfort when downtime strikes. Your chosen vendor must have both the capacity and know-how to service your growing business needs and offer a portfolio of highly reviewed services and products, a proven track record in support SMEs, and an established and growing client base of their own.
2. Breadth of solutions
A comprehensive hybrid solution offering both local “on-site” and “off-site” cloud based data storage and recovery is optimal. Local data backup and access is faster over a local network but is at significantly greater risk to downtime. In the event of a fire, or even a cyber attack, having your data protected in the cloud but accessible from anywhere is vital.
3. Recovery Time
“Time is money.” The best solution providers can ensure that your back-up is converted into a running, operational system within minutes, if not seconds. Image based backup is an important feature to consider as it essentially makes a copy of all the software running on a given machine, and all the data associated with it at that point in time, including configuration files. This backup is then saved to a single file that is the referred to as an “image” and is essential for Virtualization (see below).
4. Performance and Reliability
Natural disasters can take even entire data centers and back-up facilities offline for extended periods, so you need to ensure your provider has geographically diverse and redundant data centers. Additionally, the more frequently you back up data, the less likely any will be lost. Frequently and incrementally backing up only those changes that have occurred since the last backup took place, while not disrupting normal business operations, is ideal.
An agile, well-run small business attracts and retains customers and possibly develops into a larger enterprise. This is also where a smart initial investment into back-up and data protection can pay dividends as your chosen vendor must have both the capacity and know-how to service your growing business needs through a portfolio of highly reviewed services and products, a proven track record in support SMEs, and an established and growing client base of their own.
6. Virtualisation support
Virtualisation is a software technology that literally delivers a working replica or simulation of hardware to create a “virtual” computer system. So, for example, a user’s desktop including its applications, or even a firm’s server, can be accessed through an entirely different PC or device. Effectively, an employee’s desktop can be made available to them faster and anywhere, independent of the state of the original device. However, your provider needs extensive experience in managing virtualisation software for your business to realise the full benefit of it.
In summary, it’s really important to prepare for outages and avoid downtime. Give the team at Expert a call and ask them to run a free, no obligation IT audit to prepare a Business Continuity Plan for your local business. You simply cannot afford not to. Call 03 9474 0044 now or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.