We'd really like to gear this conversation towards the other Michigan business owners out there who might not have a solid plan when it comes to IT & Computer Support. At XFER, we deal with a lot of the same business-related issues that our clients do. Marketing, driving the business forward, taxes, internal policies, you name it. Believe it or not, we also have our own IT infrastructure that needs to be kept up and maintained. We see the same kinds of expenses (after all, working on our OWN technology internally is time our techs could be doing their jobs). We've put together a few big mistakes that we've seen businesses make that take much less effort to prevent than they do to fix later on when it is too late.
Failure to coordinate a complete backup strategy is one of the most prominent issues we see. We get a lot of 'off the street' clients who found us because they lost valuable data and their current IT solutions provider told them (in all honestly) that nothing can be done about it. Yes, there are expensive services out there that could cost tens of thousands of dollars or more to take a failed hard drive and restore some of the data, but even then there is no guarantee. You could get lucky, or you could get back just a few complete files.
Businesses need to make sure they are running a reliable backup solution that can be tested easily. Store your data offsite (in the case of a big disaster) and make sure you are backing up all the right data (We've performed IT and Security audits for organizations with heavily managed backup solutions that aren't even backing up their customer data!). This sort of issue can often be unrecoverable and devastating to your business and studies have shown that half the time, organizations end up going bankrupt after suffering from major data loss.
Electricity is a cruel mistress - too much or too little can harm your computer equipment and result in data loss. Fluctuations in electricity can do damage over time to all of your electronic devices. For some reason, somewhere along the way people have been taught that a standard $12 power strip can protect your equipment from several hundred million volts of electricity from a single bolt of lightning (when really power strips offer zero protection against the typical ebb and flow of electricity that happens regularly). You need to equip UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supplies) to your hardware. Mission critical hardware (like servers and NAS devices) should have battery backup so the server has time to shut down properly in the event of an outage.
You'd be surprised how widespread this issue is, but then again, software is expensive, and licensing can be difficult to manage. Software companies are cracking down on non-licensed software and have heavy penalties if they catch you abusing the system. We track our client's software licenses by attaching the license information to the workstation/server it is installed on in our database.
Spam is certainly a very common annoyance for nearly everyone with an email, but for businesses, spam has costs. About 50% of all email is spam, and you and your staff need to sift through it every day to determine the good and the bad (this lowers productivity). Spam can also come packaged with malware, phishing scams, or other attacks.
Avoiding spam isn't difficult, just learn to identify it the best you can and ignore it. We offer very cost effective solutions to block spam before it hits your inbox and clutters up your Network, Servers and PC's.
This is one of those things that can just get progressively worse and worse if you don't take control over it early on. Keeping your files up to date and building a best practice for naming and organizing documents and other files can save you a lot of headache in the long run. When your files are everywhere and unorganized, it makes it more difficult to find them, and makes it more difficult to run a successful backup. Training your staff to save files on the server in specific directories and staying on top of the clutter will help.
If you aren't sure where to begin (especially if you have a disaster right now) feel free to contact us at 734-927-6666 / 800-438-9337 and we will evaluate your needs and help you come up with a systematic approach to saving your data. You don't have to be a XFER client to give us a call. We'd be glad to speak with you.
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