2015.03.25 Tech Corner: The Right Way Versus The Wrong Way

The Right Way Versus The Wrong Way

Article By: Rich Silva – Founder – Pain Point IT Solutions, Inc.

"Wrong is wrong, even if everyone else is doing it"

"Right is right, even if only YOU are doing it"

These are words to live by in your day to day life, your family life, and your business life.

I sincerely HOPE that most are doing RIGHT with their day to day, personal and family lives.

I sincerely KNOW that many are WRONG when it comes to taking the steps necessary to ensure their business is ready for the inevitable data disaster that is lurking.

Ahhh! More fear monger talk from Silva.

Let it be known that I really hope that everyone's servers and computer systems never suffer the fate of a total failure or severe data loss. However, I've been at this game for over 20 years and I've seen first hand the effects that an unforeseen data loss or computer loss event could have on the bottom line, productivity,and morale of a company and of their IT department or person who puts out the fire.

Too many out there address this the wrong way though.

They look at it in one of the following ways:

In order to save money. "Hey!, as long as we back up our data off-site, we're covered."

Yes, that works for your home computer so you can recover those irreplaceable photos if your computer croaks. However, it does little for a server in a company that potentially everyone in the office NEEDS to authenticate, share files, and in some cases even get an IP address, or get information on how to browse the web. Servers are the CORE of your business and everyday whether you make another big sale, or close a deal, your staff does produce one thing and that is DATA. So as the data "snowball" grows and gets larger and larger, sending the files off-site just makes more data to recover. Many don't realize how long it takes to restore off-site files back on-site over an internet connection. Without getting into details, let's just say it takes 10+ hours for an average server that's been serving an office for 2+ years.

In order to save money. "We'll just buy an external hard drive (BIG_BOX_STORE) from and (NAME_THE_WATCHDOG) will watch it."

Okay. Here's the straight dirt on this. This works for a few weeks. Then (WATCHDOG) goes on vacation or gets distracted and put on a big project. Or, if (WATCHDOG) is very into this new responsibility thrown into their lap, when they go away on vacation, they pass the task off to someone else who really sees it as a favor and as such doesn't take the responsibility serious. Never mind, if (WATCHDOG) quits or gets fired, then no one gets handed the responsibility and months go by while the server keeps filling up log files that the backup has been failing. This may sound funny, but it's a REALITY for some companies; some rather large ones that stick to this belief that they have this covered.

"We don't need to worry about this, we're moving to the cloud."

Huh ? What does that mean ? Yes, software developers are re-writing their applications at a quick pace so you can run their software as a service on-line instead of on your computer or server. However, unless you have your own developer writing code to move all of the "other" software you have been running for years onto a cloud platform, the reality is you are never fully moving to the cloud. This statement is short sighted because while it's very possible that someday you will move all of your companies files to the cloud for storage; you still need someone to link the applications to the files. Then you have internal processes that need to get in sync with your "cloud plan". So while the intention is good, the time frame to server independence is many years and a lot of money down the road. Remember, the "paperless office" idea from the late 90's? You still have paper don't you ? (thanks to KRD for that one)

"We have a part time or full time IT person who we trust will get us up and running if our server dies."

If your IT person has put a system in place that they WATCH every day off-site to make sure is working, and the system they design for you allows them to recover your business in a few HOURS rather than days, then yep; you've got it covered. However the reality is that if you corner your IT person or outsourced IT company and ask them straight up to tell you what their plan is if your server died right now; you may not be happy with the long drawn out answer they scramble to give you.

"We talked with (NAME_YOUR_IT_FRIEND) and they said disaster recovery solutions are a dime a dozen and you can find a cheap one."

If you're shopping for a sound IT data backup and more important RECOVERY solution and you're looking at it solely from the perspective of PRICE, then you are lost. A sound backup and recovery solution should be designed by an experienced network or systems engineer who can clearly explain what their solution does for you proactively BEFORE a disaster occurs and DURING a disaster to ensure the quickest recovery humanly possible. A cheap solution will only back up your files and leave you hanging on the rest.

"We just don't have the money to spend on something that hasn't happened to us yet."

I'll bring up my price statement again. Think about how much you're paying employees to stand around while the server is down. Think about how much money you've paid for a monthly subscription for off-site data backup that you have no clue is even working. Think about the sigh of relief you will exhale when the correct solution is in place and an engineer who actually knows what they are doing gets your business server back on line in a virtual environment within an hour of showing up and then focuses on fixing what went wrong with the server in the first place. See if you can calculate that number and then you'll see why having a GOOD backup and GOOD recovery plan designed by a GOOD IT Engineer (like me) is a sound insurance policy for your data.

My Final Thought

I don't mean to come across as a fear monger, but quite frankly, I have met WAY TOO MANY company representatives that either tell me they have no money for this, or it's too expensive, or they have a company doing this for them. My counter question to these responses is always "Do you know what your companies plan is to recover the data and how long it should take ?" Responses range from a deer in headlights, to not having the time right now to think about it, to thank you; good-bye. At the end, I always want what is best for them and don't take these rejections personally. If I at least raise a flag of awareness, then I've advanced the cause and when the dust settles, I am confident they will reach out to me when the realization hits that they could be the hero when disaster strikes by having reached out to me for a solution.

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