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Info Advantage has been serving the Upstate New York area since 1993 , providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Image 'Snapshot' Data Backup Might Be the Best Method

Image 'Snapshot' Data Backup Might Be the Best Method

Is your business still using tape as its primary method of data backup? If so, you could be missing out on a more reliable, less time-consuming alternative. Image-based, or “snapshot” backup solutions continue to be the optimal way to guarantee the continuity of your organization’s data infrastructure, and we’ll explain why.

But first, let’s talk about why tape backup isn’t good enough in today’s business environment. Storing data backups on magnetic tape reels has long been a standard procedure, but compared to more modern data backup practices, tape has fallen short of today’s expectations. Tape backups are resource-intensive, and as such, they need to be performed at the end of the workday to avoid slowing down the network. Furthermore, due to how resource-intensive tape backups are, they can only be taken once--meaning that you could potentially lose up to a day’s worth of productivity and accumulated data.

The Difference
Image-based backup is vastly more efficient and more manageable than traditional tape backup. Image-based backup lets your business take a “snapshot” of your organization’s data, which is then sent to several locations either on or off-site for safe, secure storage. These snapshots record data that’s been changed recently rather than take a whole backup like how tape would work; these smaller backup sessions are less resource-intensive and can be performed more frequently during the day--even as often as every 15 minutes.

Perhaps the greatest boon of using an image-based backup system is the fact that it’s automatic and relies less on users to be effective. Your team doesn’t need to set and run the backup at the end of each workday; you can set them to run automatically. Of course, you still have to check the backups and make sure that they work properly, but the fact remains that you have backups taken and ready to go.

When it comes to backup and disaster recovery, your business can’t cut any corners, and doing so could become a problem down the road. Even the slightest disaster like a power outage could lead to major data loss. That’s not to mention other common disasters that could cost your business capital in more ways than just data loss. Hardware failure, floods, and fires could lead to not just data loss, but expensive hardware replacements and damage to your IT budget. The damage caused by the resulting downtime is also a major problem, and one which absolutely cannot be ignored.

Info Advantage can equip your business with a backup and disaster recovery solution that’s specifically designed to work for your organization. Depending on your needs, you can back up your data to several off-site locations, including a secure data center and in the cloud for rapid data recovery. Furthermore, in the event of a disaster, you can restore your backups directly to the BDR device, and it can act as a temporary server while you work out the finer details of replacing your hardware. All in all, it’s the ideal solution for a small business that relies on data to keep operations going.

To learn more, reach out to us at (585) 254-8710.

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4 Most Common Ways Businesses Lose Data

4 Most Common Ways Businesses Lose Data

Disasters are an unfortunate part of doing business in a technology-heavy workplace environment. You need to expect the worst, but it’s often difficult to predict what types of disasters your organization will have to endure. There are a few universal disasters that you’ll encounter, regardless of where in the world your business operates.

Here are four of the most common ways that your business could lose data, and how disaster recovery thwarts them at every turn.

Natural Disasters
All you have to do is watch the local weather channel to get a glimpse of just how unpredictable and apocalyptic natural disasters can be. One minute the sun could be shining, and the next your business could be assaulted by roaring torrents and flash flood warnings. Or, the earth would quake under your feet and you’d never know until it’s too late to do something about it. An even more common occurrence would be an electrical storm or a power outage, which could threaten to bring down your technology or fry its circuitry. The point is that it’s next to impossible to predict what effect a natural disaster could have on your business, but the fact remains that it’s most certainly nothing good.

Hardware Failures
Another common problem for businesses that rely on technology is the hardware failure. If you have resource-intensive servers that are responsible for the brunt of your network operations, you might already be intimately familiar with the devastating effects of a hardware failure. No technology can last forever, so when an untimely hardware failure claims the lives of your server units or workstations, you’ll need to be prepared.

User Error
In much the same way as hardware failure, user error needs to be expected and planned for. You can’t realistically expect your users to never make mistakes. It’s part of human nature. People might accidentally misplace files or hand over credentials to threatening entities. Regardless of how they do so, user error is one of the primary reasons for data losses and data breaches, so it’s crucial that you prepare for this by educating your team on best practices, and implementing data backup.

Hacking Attacks
You might not expect to become the victim of a hacking attack, but no matter how large your business is, you need to consider yourself a target. As long as you deal with sensitive credentials like credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other financial or personally identifiable information, you have something of value to hackers. When a hacker attacks, they can either steal or delete your data, so it’s best to have a backup stored in the event of something like this.

Regardless of how your data is lost, you’ll need a way to recover it. The best way for a SMB is to reach out to Info Advantage. We can equip your business with the dynamic BDR solution you need to keep your organization afloat, even when you think that your business will sink. Our BDR solution features only the best and brightest features for your data infrastructure, including fast and efficient recovery times, multiple backups taken per day, and off-site, cloud-based storage.

With BDR, you’ll know that your data is safely stored, just in case you need it. To learn more, reach out to us at (585) 254-8710.

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How Backup and Recovery Can Save Your Company

How Backup and Recovery Can Save Your Company

It’s every business owner’s worst nightmare: one mistake, and all of their data is wiped out. This very situation happened recently to a hosting provider, and his story serves as a cautionary tale in regard to data storage best practices.

Hosting provider Marco Marsala was brought under fire after he posted on a server forum seeking advice for dealing with a catastrophic error he made while trying to erase a few files. Stating that he had utilized the “rm -rf” command with undefined variables, he had inadvertently destroyed all data on the computer. What’s worse, his backups were mounted to the computers and were wiped as well.

This is actually a similar blunder that Pixar experienced, almost deleting Toy Story 2 prior to its release.

As a result, everything Marsala had for his company was destroyed (including the websites he had created and hosted for his 1,535 customers) with no backups surviving to restore from.

Needless to say, the responses from other users on the forum were decidedly negative - a few dismissed the possibility of his company surviving the error, and others questioned his abilities as a programmer. One poster recommended Marsala seek legal counsel rather than technical advice, as he predicted that Marsala was “going out of business.”

There was a consensus on the feed that the best chance for any data recovery was to recruit the help of a data recovery firm. Fortunately for Marsala, such a data recovery company was able to recover his files and his biggest hit was financial--both from the recovery company’s fees and from the reduced income due to the loss of business he suffered.

By neglecting to follow best practices in regard to backups, Marsala essentially invited this disaster to strike. Following basic best practices would have mitigated much, if not all, of Marsala’s problem. What happened to his data is exactly the reason that all data backups should be kept offline, isolated from the original file on a separate system.

Without such measures in place your data is subject to not only human error, as was the case here, but also other dangers. Fire, electrical surges, accidental equipment damage, theft, all of these events have the potential to jeopardize data that’s critical to your business.

Are your data backups as secure as they should be? Do you even have a backup and disaster recovery solution put into place? Be certain by calling Info Advantage at (585) 254-8710. Our experts can advise you on what your business needs to survive the worst disasters, and assure that you and your clients’ information are prepared for anything.

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Business Continuity and the Cloud

Business Continuity and the Cloud

In the face of disaster, a solid business continuity plan can be the difference between seamless back up and hours of downtime. Traditional back up plans often required in-house equipment to keep their systems running, which were often costly to maintain and unreliable. Fortunately, new technologies have paved the way for the future of business: the cloud. By hosting their back up data in the cloud, companies can spend less time worrying about their back-up plan and more time doing what they do best; business.

Increased Uptime

In the case of in-house backup, the entire fate of a business can rely on physical hard drives that store their critical data. If those hard drives are lost, broken, or stolen it could mean serious downtime. Having your business in the cloud makes this an issue of the past. With cloud backup, your critical data is accessible from virtually anywhere, making it easy to access during a disaster and eliminating downtime and loss.

Higher Frequency of Back Up

Disasters can happen any time, and they won’t wait for your data back up to kick in. For many businesses, real-time backup is needed in order to prevent the loss of major data, as most companies are working on files and updating information throughout the day. By hosting your data in the cloud, you will be able to ensure that the important work that is being done during business hours isn’t lost. Many providers offer hourly, daily, and monthly backup plans, and some will even allow you to set your own backup schedule.

Faster Response

It can be difficult for a business to keep constant check on the status of the backup data, and often neglect to take care of any issues that can leave their data vulnerable. With cloud backup, the monitoring can be left to the providers. This means a faster response time when something goes wrong, creating a seamless backup environment for your business. In addition, cloud providers have access to all the latest technologies, allowing them to constantly provide their clients with newer, more efficient services.

Want to learn more about how your business fits into the cloud? Contact Info Advantage today at (585) 254-8710 to speak to an IT professional about how the cloud can work for you.

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Do Your Employees Know What to Do During a Disaster?

Do Your Employees Know What to Do During a Disaster?

Disasters can strike at any moment to anyone, with very little warning. While many businesses are prepared with their Business Continuity Plan (BCP,) many organizations may not take the time to fully explain their BCP to their employees, leaving them scrambling when a disaster does strike. Here are a few steps every business should take to ensure that their employees know exactly what to do in the event of a disaster.

Plan Ahead

For any plan to work, there needs to be proper preparation to ensure that everything runs smoothly. You want to give your employees a clear direction to follow in the case of a disaster, so they know exactly what to do the moment it happens. The best way to work through the execution of a BCP is to hold a meeting with all your employees to talk about what needs to be done, and who will do it. You want clearly defined roles and open lines of communication, so employees will know exactly what to do and who to contact in an emergency.

Have the Proper Tools

A plan can only work if you have the right tools to execute it. In the event that your business goes down, it can mean the inability to work and loss of important data. One way to avoid these issues is by hosting some or all of your business activities through a cloud service. These services will allow you and your employees to access important work documents from just about anywhere. This means that even if the office is down, employees will be able to set up their workstation from another location almost instantly. Investing in a cloud-based VoIP will allow any calls sent to a down phone line to be redirected to another location, such as the employee’s personal cellphone.

Practice Your Plan

When it comes to executing a BCP, practice makes perfect. Let your employees get a feel for the tools you have provided them so that they will know exactly what they are dealing with in the case of a disaster. This includes providing them training for any hardware or software they need to use, creating a sense of familiarity that will directly relate to a seamlessly executed BCP.  Take the time to review with each employee, and make sure they completely understand what needs to be done by them.

Don’t wait until a disaster hits to worry about your business continuity plan. Contact Info Advantage today at (585) 254-8710 to speak to a professional about how you can ensure your business will run smoothly even when faced with a disaster.

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