(661) 281-4000

Are you protecting the right data?

You’re ready to purchase a BDR. You’ve done all of the research, found a company you’re confident in and are excited to finally have peace of mind. But now you start thinking about exactly what you need to back up. Is all of your data necessary or should you salvage a little server room? All businesses want to back up everything, you never know when you’ll need it. It’s not always necessary to back up everything daily, but there are some you will want to consider.  

 

Depending on what kind of BDR you purchased you will first need to delegate what data is stored, is not stored, and how often. Notice that there are three different kinds of backup in today’s tech world. Those are; straight to cloud services, software-based products, and a hybrid approach that combines on-site hardware and software. By segmenting the market, you can quickly assess which approach will work best. Ideally, you will want to spend money on a company that specialized in a backup. However, keep in mind that the faster the solution is and the more automated, the more expensive it will be.

 

Don’t feel bad if you went a little cheap in order to save money. You can still backup without automation or any third party, you will just need to remain diligent about it. If you are making sure to do a daily backup there are several business items you want to account for each day. First is credit card transactions or receipts. Your accounting software should keep an eye on this and automatically back this data up, but you can never be too sure. This also includes things like invoicing, receivables, payroll and just about anything that is financially related. All financials are incredibly important, even one lost invoice could really hurt your business.  

 

Next, you will want to backup any client files. Anything with hackable data or items that could be compromised need to be backed up daily as well. Not only is it invaluable to keep this information safe, but it would certainly affect your client confidence if anything was lost or stolen. Finally, we must backup any project management software. Anything that your business uses to keep track of daily activities and work being done needs backup. Just like financial software, usually, project management software will also back up and recover items if lost. But once again, that’s a chance you don’t really want to take. Then, of course, it affects communications, so you don’t want to want to maintain a log of communication or “paper trail” as people day. 

 

You want to keep all of these things intact. Not only your precious memories but also the really important stuff that your clients and customers trust from you. Keep these items in mind and you should never have to deal with business killing disaster. 

Backup Disaster Recovery is one of those things that all businesses need to have. A BDR backs up any data during the course of a disaster. Whether it’s a natural disaster such as a tornado, a hardware failure, or even an attack from a hacker. Anyone of these could permanently disable your business if you aren’t prepared or have a proper backup plan. For those of you still backing up data manually on tapes or *cringe* not at all, here are some reasons you need a BDR solution and should stop tuning out potential disasters.

 

First of all, a data disaster is more common than you might think and currently, 58% of SMB’s are not prepared for data loss. Even worse, 60% of SMB’s that lose their data will shut down within six months. Something that could have been prevented could potentially wreck your business. Scary to think about when 29% of hard drive failures are caused by accident. It would be silly to have a human error or a simple mishap put your company out of business.

 

You may have security protocols in place and your employees are well versed on avoiding things like malware. Well done. However, you’re still not protected. Human error is a large culprit in data loss. It could be unintentionally deleting items or accidentally overwriting data, but these “oops” can hit hard. Human error can result in other kinds of hardware damage like spills or even accidental reformatting. All of these things are possible and have happened to many SMB’s before you. Sometimes recovery is possible from the software platform you were using, maybe your computer has your back and caught these things. It’s still a time consuming and money wasting error to fix, even if you are so lucky to recover some of what you lost.

 

Viruses and malware can be a significant cause to software or hardware damage depending on what kind of bug found its way in. Usually, this can be avoided with proper employee training as well as an awesome firewall that will help filter malicious attacks. Yet another prey in the night is social engineering. This is the art of sort of conning people. Hackers have been known to get into server rooms and other data-centric areas of the business. Employees may not even notice their mistake until it’s too late. I guess the “HVAC guy” turned out being a hacker in disguise.

 

Sometimes software corruption can come from unknown viruses lurking around your computer. However, most of the time it is due to improper usage. Things like not shutting down the computer properly or leaving unsaved documents open. Sometimes even a power outage can trigger corruption. Once the software processes are interrupted and damaged, it’s virtually impossible to recover data stored in the software.

 

Did you know that 140,000 hard drives crash every week? With that kind of number, it’s just a matter of time until it happens to you. That is not a comfortable position to be in if you know you don’t have backup. Unfortunately, hard drive corruption is usually due to mechanical issues. Things like age and dust build up can (and will) cause technology to fail. We’ve all used the old laptop we still have, that’s been on its deathbed for months, freezing frequently, taking for-ev-er to load a webpage, and of course, acts as a heater for your lap or desk. All of these things are signs leading to a crash. You may not care if it’s an old hand-me-down laptop from the ’90s. But you will care when it’s your pricey equipment with all of your product data and client information being stored on it.

 

Finally, good old-fashioned acts of God. You can’t necessarily prepare for a natural disaster. Even if you hear the tornado siren, backing up your servers to tape will take longer than it does for the tornado to hit your business. Then what? That tape is left amongst the rubble, destroyed. This may seem like an exaggeration, but it has really happened to businesses. And even if only hypothetical, it makes for a great metaphor for any other crash within your business. This is also proof that on-site BDR’s may not always be the final protective cover to your business. You may want to consider off-site or cloud data storage to ensure protection, so your data is safe even if your equipment is destroyed.

 

Protect your business and keep it running smoothly and successfully. Backup Disaster Recovery options are available for all kinds of SMB’s and their needs. Don’t wait to be taught a lesson by the “big one” (as most California residents say). Protect your important data and enjoy the peace of mind that comes along with it. You’ve worked too hard to get your business where it is, protect your hard work.

Social media platforms are a scary new front for most businesses. There are so many differing opinions about social media in the workplace. However, besides the main players like Facebook and Instagram, there are many social-related platforms that can evolve your business and increase communication and productivity amongst employees and clients. 

Social platforms and related software are part of the natural progression and evolution of business. Its currently being used in most businesses for collaboration, feedback, and research to name a few. It’s understandable to be hesitant, but could this improve your current processes? The answer is yes.  

Currently, social media platforms offer business utilization. This alone can cut out a lot of the daily customer service calls your office manager may be receiving each day. It won’t take the place of techs if work is needed, but many simple questions or inquiries can be answered. By doing that, you can also boost the number of leads your sales team are receiving too. Now your office manager can get off the phone and answer questions through the platform while they are working on other items. This can also help marketing ventures by visually showing you a slew of analytics that can assist in knowing what people want from you, or like to see.   

Communication between employees can also be enhanced and done more efficiently with social platforms. Microsoft Office offers a platform called Teams. Instead of walking all the way to someone’s office or trying to multitask while needing answers without a phone call, you can type in a name and send a message to anyone in the company. It cuts time in half, you get quick on the spot response or support. Techs don’t even have to leave their desk. Contact them via teams and they can begin to fix an issue remotely. This isn’t your only option, simply an example. There are several platforms that service so many areas of SMBs. 

Employee to employee communication isn’t the only thing that benefits from social tools. Client communication does as well. Many of these platforms offer things like instant messages, video conferencing, screen shares and team sites. Think about the amount of time that is saved for both the employee and the client. Your tech can be in the office working remote instead of spending an entire day at a client’s office. You can share documents, walk a client through a simple fix with a quick screen share. This is a huge win for employee productivity and efficiency, not only that but client expectations will be exceeded in a timely manner.  

Finally, social media, social tools, and social platforms are all shown to increase morale within a business. They are allowing employees to streamline their jobs without the stress and hassle of attempting to collaborate with different people via email or an office visit. It also shows them that you trust them to use these things on work time and not abuse the privilege. Taking a small break to check Facebook or network with a client makes a surprising difference in the workplace. Do some research and find out what would work best for your business. It never hurts to give it a try. For all you know, the results may surprise you. 

Everywhere you turn today you will find social media. People taking selfies at the grocery store, responding to Instagram while walking down the street, and of course checking Facebook status while clocked in at work. What do you do when social media use gets out of hand in the workplace? It can seem like a never-ending battle with employees, but it doesn’t have to be that way.   

Before you go any further, draft up a social media use policy. This will save you headaches and possible litigation. Employees can agree to it and follow it or they can find work elsewhere. Sounds harsh, I know, but your business’s reputation is not worth Mary’s selfie. Don’t get me wrong, the policy doesn’t have to be rigid and forceful. Your employees are adults and can handle responsibility. Similar to a job description, policies allow for clarification and accountability. Great for both employer and employee.   

To create a social media use policy, start by splitting the policy between company official accounts and personal accounts. Then take a look at rules and regulations. With this part, you want to clearly overview your brand as well as how you want it perceived. It is important that employees are on the same page for this. That way the message is consistent across all platforms, no matter who posts or comments, talk about confidentiality and what company info can or cannot be shared. It can be similar to the non-disclosure you had your employees sign when they got hired. Then, of course, outline the potential consequences to not following these guidelines. Ensure these are clear and concise because a loophole can be quickly manipulated. Then you can go onto the same steps but for personal use.  

Once you have that jotted down, you can move to the next part, roles and responsibilities. It is in this section that you have to figure out who will have access to the company’s social media or to any in general. Think about it, it might not be best to block it altogether. You can harness the power of social media for your benefit though if you play it smart. Your marketing team will need it, well, to market. Sales can keep in touch with prospects or members easily and it gives all parties conformation that you care. Beyond that, you may want to give your receptionist or office manager access in order to help with customer service on different platforms.   

While working on this, keep a few things in mind. Don’t discourage use, and ensure the language of the document sounds positive. Employees will get upset with a big change to what they’re used to. A list of don’ts is only frustrating and discouraging. Also, be transparent on why you have a policy. Let them know that productivity has been affected. Not only that, be clear with them about the potential security risks you are trying to avoid. Train the employees using company social media how to see security risks and what to look for. Then finally, explain how a policy keeps everyone honest and accountable. As long as you are transparent about the new policy, implementing it shouldn’t be a huge issue. If you have employees assist you in drafting this document, that’s even better. They are part of the change and not being steamrolled by it.

Watch out Gen x’s this blog is going to sting a little. Today’s workforce is being appropriated by millennials. Is not news that there are many misconceptions surrounding this generation. Every aspect of life in the 21st century has been rocked by these dang millennials. Everything from education, government and economy have been affected by this generational shift. The workforce is naturally one of them to change as well… and yes millennials do work.  

The good ol’ days of back-breaking hard labor is still valid, however, it is being done in a different form using something millennials grew up with, technology. When Grandpa said “work smarter not harder” they took that to heart and have run with it. With that being said, most businesses restrict social media use or ban it altogether while on the clock. But is that necessary, and is it really helping productivity? That answer is interesting. It just might be hurting your business’s productivity. Granted, driving a forklift and seeing what’s on Facebook is not an ideal situation at all. However, there is more to social media use at work that meets the eye.  

  1. All employees need a mental break periodically. Sometimes that 15 min break just doesn’t do it. In order to continue to create quality work, it is usually a good thing to take a break. Even on a break an employee often stare at the same four walls they’ll spend 8 hours in, so breaking up the content is necessary for quality. 
  2. Another benefit of utilizing social media in the workplace is the ability to network and make professional connections. Sometimes you may deal with vendors, buyers or other professional third parties to your business. Knowing these people and being able to socialize a bit can help in making deals or simple preparation in your job.  
  3. It may actually save you time! Social media can assist employees in getting answers to their questions. Your employees won’t be knocking on the door or calling you with incessant questions. Others online can help them. Whether they’re networking with collogues through a peer group or watching YouTube in order to troubleshoot, social media can increase DIY work. It will also assist greatly in promoting your business.  
  4. Social media will also assist in building a rapport with co-workers and other teams within the company. It encourages communication and cohesiveness. Both of these things are usually a pain point for most businesses, so if it can be increased and utilized through something fun like social media. It’s a win-win.  
  5. Social media can improve employee recognition and retention. Co-workers and employers can see positive things being posted on personal accounts and groups. It adds to corporate culture by allowing recognition to occur. In the busyness of business, recognition can be overlooked which is a shame since it’s such a motivator.  It also can boost morale in general, simply being trusted with social media.  

It can be difficult to adopt this form of culture to your work especially when you’re stuck in running a business in an outdated fashion. Try to be open-minded when working with your millennial workforce. It may be frustrating trying to adapt to a new technology or even attempt to understand it. However, you never know, perhaps you just might learn something. The labor may look different, but it is just as effective if not more. Test your productivity and give your people a chance. Internet culture and corporate culture can go hand in hand.