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July 29, 2014

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Understanding the High Cost of Downtime



Most businesses today depend upon the availability of their computer systems — and that dependence creates tremendous risk. Downtime can and will occur, whether caused by weather-related disaster, power interruption, fire, water damage or human error. The cost and disruption to operations can be devastating.


According to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute, unplanned outages in U.S. data centers cost large organizations just over $7,900 per minute on average in 2013, up 41 percent from 2010. The average incident lasted 86 minutes, resulting in an average cost per incident of roughly $690,000. Those numbers were calculated from an analysis of 67 U.S. data centers with a minimum size of 2,500 square feet.


Understandably, those figures are a little hard for small business owners to fathom. If you have just a handful of servers and a couple dozen PCs, unplanned downtime isn’t going to be anywhere near that expensive. But the costs used to derive those figures apply to businesses of any size, and put into perspective what downtime can mean to your business.

July 16, 2014

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Business Continuity, Part 2: What Your Plan Should Include



In Part 1 of this post, we discussed the risks of poor business continuity planning and the distinction between business continuity and disaster recovery. Although most people associate disaster recovery with hurricanes and floods, natural disasters are far from the leading cause of data loss. Hardware failure, software corruption, human error and security breaches top the list.


With the complexity of today’s IT environments and the sheer volume of users, devices and data that networks must support, organizations should operate under the assumption that something will eventually go wrong. The key is to have an effective business continuity plan in place so you can minimize risk and continue normal business operations with little or no downtime when something does go wrong.

July 10, 2014

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Business Continuity, Part 1: The Risk of Poor Planning



Barely a month into hurricane season, we’ve already had one storm leave its mark as Hurricane Arthur left hundreds of thousands of people without power in the U.S. and Canada. If your data center experienced an outage, how much time would it take to recover and access the data and applications required to operate? How much would it cost your organization?


While hurricanes and tropical storms aren’t the only causes of disaster, they serve as a stark reminder of the importance of business continuity and disaster recovery planning. The statistics show most organizations are unprepared even though unplanned downtime is virtually inevitable. Research from the Ponemon Institute found that 95 percent of companies experienced a data outage within the past 12 months. Another study from Gartner revealed that approximately one in four organizations have experienced a full data disaster.

July 2, 2014

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Questions to Ask before Jumping onto the Social Media Bandwagon



Many organizations have been quick to jump on the social media bandwagon – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Vimeo and other platforms. After all, it’s a free way to interact with customers and prospects, right?


Not exactly.


First, any social media platform requires regular maintenance and updates. This takes time, and time is money. Second, many of these platforms are making it more difficult for organizations to reach their audience unless they pay for it. In other words, they’re becoming paid advertising platforms.


Social media can offer incredible value if used properly. However, without careful planning and research, it can quickly drain resources, turn off customers and get organizations into legal hot water. There are a number of factors to consider before diving headfirst into the deep end of the social media pool.