Monthly Archives: July 2012

What is a Backup Disaster Recovery Device (BDR)?

Disaster Recovery

Image Credit: fsse8info

At TechQuility, one of our favorite pieces of equipment is our Backup Disaster Recovery Device (BDR). This handy appliance allows us to back up your data into the cloud, provides a test environment (just in case), and eliminates downtime during an emergency.

So what exactly is a BDR and how does it work?

A BDR is a small appliance that lives in your IT room with your servers and other equipment. It automatically backs up your data and stores it offsite in the cloud. Backups are scheduled and happen at regular intervals throughout the day to ensure the BDR

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always has the most up-to-date data in the event of an emergency.

However, the main reason we think the BDR is so awesome is that it gives us the ability to get an office back up and running in as little as 5 minutes after a major hardware outage, natural disaster, or other emergency.

The BDR is a replica of the server it’s attached to, and can act as a backup server in the event the real server dies. This means you

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don’t have to be down when a hardware component dies on your server. Instead, we can just boot up the server in the cloud, and have your office run from that while the real server is being fixed.

Or, suppose your office is without power. Instead of losing productivity, your office can still function normally, as long as your staff has power at an offsite location, such as their homes. Just like during a hardware failure, we can boot up the server in the cloud, and keep your office producing like normal, even during a power outage.

The BDR also has some really great administrative tools, which allows us to ensure things are always running smoothly and optimally. With all these great features, it’s easy to see why the BDR is one of our favorite devices.

Why don’t you have one in your office yet? Contact us today to see how we can provide some peace of mind with your technology, with our Backup Disaster Recovery device.

How to Create a Strong Password That You’ll Remember

Password Examples

Image Credit: paul.orear

When it comes to picking a password, what system do you use for creating one that will be difficult to guess, but easy for you to remember?

For many people, the trend is to pick a word they’ll remember, like the name of their child or pet, and then add some easy to remember numbers after it, like a birth date. Somewhere along the way, you may have even been taught to substitute common letters for numbers, such as using a 3 in place of an E or a 0 (zero) for O.

While this is good practice in theory, the reality is that adding special characters to your password doesn’t make it any stronger. In fact, passwords like this are still very easy to crack.

The reason for this has to do with entropy, and a complicated math formula used to determine how long it would take for a password like this to be figured out. A seemingly complicated password such as Tr0ub4dor&3 has approximately 28 bits of entropy, which would take approximately 3 days to guess, at 1,000 guesses per second. Click here to read more about the concept of entropy.

It is because of entropy that the way we have been taught to create passwords is all wrong. Using conventional methods we may think that we’re picking a complex password, when in reality we’re just creating something that is easy for computers to figure out, but difficult for humans to remember.

Does this mean we’re doomed to having easy to crack passwords? Not necessarily. There is a better way to create a password that is more difficult for a computer to crack, but easier for you to remember.

The better way to create a password is to string four words together which may seem random, but which have some meaning to you. For example, a password created using the words correct, horse, battery, and staple (which would look like correcthorsebatterystaple) could be easy for you to remember, but would difficult to crack because it contains 44 bits of entropy, which would take 550 years to guess, at 1,000 guesses per second.

So the next time you are creating a password, take a moment and see if there are four seemingly random words you can remember, and use those to create your password. You’ll not only create something you can easily remember later, but you’re creating a password that is much more difficult for computers to crack, making for a more secure password in the long run.

Do you have a good trick to creating a good password? Leave us a comment and let us know how you create passwords.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who wants to help you be smarter than the machines. Email:

Which Backup is Better? File-Based VS Image-Based Backups


Image Credit: Björn Söderqvist

You made sure your data is backed up regularly, which means that your business is covered in case there’s an emergency, right?

Well, maybe, but it depends the type of backup your business is using. One big problem that many businesses fail to realize is that not all backups are created equal, and that being “covered” depends on the definition.

Take a minute to assess your situation. If your computer systems went down right now, how quickly could you have your office back up and running again? If the answer is more than 5 or 10 minutes, you’re probably utilizing the wrong backup solution for your business.

Types of Backups

While there are several types of backups, most tend to fall in one of two categories: file based or image-based.

File-Based Backups

This is the most common type of backup. A file-based backup system is one in where individual files are backed up, allowing you to select some or all of your files for backup. While this typically allows for smaller, quicker backups, it can be far more tedious and labor intensive to set back up after an emergency.

File-based backups take longer to restore, because everything else has to be in place first, before files are loaded back onto the system. If your entire server crashes, the operating system, drivers, and software all have to be loaded before the backed up files can be added on and accessed.

If your business utilizes file-based backups, your office could be down for a long time because of

how long it takes to restore everything.

Image-Based Backups

Instead of backing up individual files, image-based backups take a picture, or image, of your hard drive. This means that all files, programs, settings, etc. are captured on the image, reducing setup time in case of an emergency.

Despite taking longer to backup and using up more file space, image-based backups are much faster to restore because they don’t require the operating system, drivers, and software to be setup first. Instead, when the image is restored it automatically restores all of the old settings, software, and files, just as the computer was before it crashed.

With image-based backups, your business is up and running much faster, in as fast as a few minutes depending on the original problem.

Image-Based Backups & TechQuility’s Backup & Disaster Recovery Device

While TechQuility’s preferred method of backup is image-based backups, we can help your business handle any emergency with our Backup & Disaster Recovery Device (BDR). With our BDR, image backups happen in the cloud, which allows for extra flexibility with your technology.

Should an emergency occur, we can have your office back up and running in as little as 5 minutes. What’s more, utilizing the BDR, we can setup your employees to work remotely, should the emergency be severe enough that staff cannot go back to the office.

Additionally, the BDR can act as a test environment, allowing us to test software or other changes to the system prior to implementation, so that we can ensure that any new changes won’t bring down your network.

Take a

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moment to think about what your business would do today if there were an emergency. Could everyone be up and working again in as little as 5 minutes? If not, contact us today to see how we can help ensure your next computer emergency isn’t a complete catastrophe.