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February 14, 2013

Disaster Recovery Planning

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Welcome to our third edition of Predictably Better.  Modern business is inherently unpredictable. Our goal each month will be to provide technology information and advice that will help you anticipate risks and seize opportunities.  We hope you find it worth your time.

One of the five areas of Managed I.T. Services delivery provides our customers technology consulting.  To our customers, our technology consultants are known as virtual chief information officers (vCIO) who provide strategic value-add analysis to help customers maximize the return on I.T. management and investments.

A few core role responsibilities vCIO’s provide are design desk resources, budget planning, productivity consulting, health assessment planning, and business impact of technology decisions.  Our health assessments outline eight main categories with hundreds of sub-categories. The main categories list a score of aligned, highly vulnerable, questionable, and not applicable while the sub-categories list our concerns, desired results, and perhaps some comments. Our network administrators are responsible for gathering all the information during ongoing technology assessments and transfer knowledge up to the vCIO’s for further analysis.  The end result to this particular process is that our customers gain a transparent window into their environment enabling them to make sound decisions that will prevent additional emergency spending.

One of our main categories in our health assessment outlines disaster recovery planning.  To start, we figure out what a disaster means to our customer. To some businesses this means they cannot print or access the Internet.  While to others, it can be a little more serious such as the inability to access the server. To most, we equate a disaster to something that prevents a business from operating or accessing the building such as fire, theft, flood, earthquake, etc. Whatever the emergency may be, we have the ability to plan and get things turned around more efficiently.

Disaster recovery planning is a great exercise enabling us (the MSP & customer) to know what we can recover today with the existing setup and what we can recover in the future with all the available solutions we have to offer. Our goal is to establish clear best practices and processes based on the customer’s expectations to get their business fully operational again. Part of this journey is to establish what the current age of the data is from their last backup we can restore from in addition to the overall duration of time that is acceptable to have everything back up-and-running again.  Typically when we perform our first review, our customer is highly vulnerable in each category.  We express our concern and desired result with a tangible game plan.  We have the ability to meet our customers’ expectations in terms of recovery, it just depends on what type of business they have, how much they want to spend, and the level of commitment to make it all happen.

For relatively low cost, we have the ability to virtualize our customer’s environment in our cloud to enable the business to continue functioning operationally in terms of accessing the resources on their servers and desktops.  We also recommend ways to save time and money when smaller in-office disasters such as computer crashes, printing, and Internet issues occur. If you do not have a disaster recovery plan in terms of your I.T. we recommend thinking about creating one as it’s an in-depth process and cannot be implemented overnight.  We also highly suggest obtaining the proper insurance to cover damages. These are some of the things we cover when we perform our planning.

At the end of the day we hope a disaster never happens to any of our customers as we care deeply about their peace of mind and maintaining a higher level of productivity for them.  We just like to weigh on the side of caution and make sure the right measures are put in place so we can help make a successful transition.

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