TechQuility BDR: When to Boot Into the Cloud

Flooded Office

Image Credit: Pam_Broviak

When there’s an unforeseen disaster at the office, whether it’s a simple power outage or a larger catastrophe like flood damage, how do you know when to sit back and wait and when to take more proactive measures to keep the office up and running?

Depending on their plan, many of our clients utilize our Backup Disaster Recovery Device (BRD) to help them avoid catastrophes and downtime caused by unforeseen problems such as the ones listed above. In times like these, the BRD allows their office to be loaded into the Cloud, so that the office can be accessed remotely, allowing work to continue.

However, when something unexpected happens, how do you know when it’s appropriate to request the office be loaded into the Cloud?

Is there damage?

When assessing an emergency situation, the first thing to determine is if there is any damage to either the building or equipment that would prevent the office from being inhabited. Damage from flood, fire, or storms, or even a simple power outage, can all render the office unusable. Other outages, such as an internet outage, may not cause a problem.

Whether or not the office needs to be booted into the Cloud so that employees can still work largely depends on the habitability of the office. If the office is in good shape, there is probably no need to switch over. However, if there is damage, or if employees cannot work on site for any reason, it may be a good time to consider switching over to the Cloud.

What’s the ETA?

Once you are switched over to the Cloud, your current data lives off-site. When you are ready to migrate the office back, the most current data must also be moved back. While none of this is a big deal, particularly if you are dealing with a much larger emergency, it’s something important to keep in mind for minor emergencies.

When dealing with something small, such as a utility outage, it’s important to contact the vendor involved and determine the size of the outage as well as the ETA for repair. If the issue is going to be fixed in less than a day, there is probably no need to load the office into the Cloud. However, for larger outages and longer time frames, booting into the Cloud is a perfect use of the BDR, as long as employees won’t be impacted by the outage at home so that they can work remotely.

Is there a sense of urgency?

While knowing the ETA of an outage is helpful, one of the most important factors in determining whether to boot into the Cloud, aside from the extent of the damage, is the urgency at which you need to access your data and information.

Sometimes when outages happen, especially minor ones, employees can find other things to do in the office until the item is restored. However, if there is an important deadline or timeline you are working against, or something else more urgent that requires use of your data during the outage, it might be in your best interest to request being loaded into the cloud. Please note this option should be exercised with caution, particularly for shorter outages, because of the process required to migrate back.

Regardless of why the office is down, outages, both minor and major, do happen from time to time. By implementing a BDR at your office, you can help mitigate the cost of these emergencies, and maintain office flexibility to keep working, despite the challenges that an emergency brings.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you understand your technology options. Website:

What is the Cloud and Cloud Computing?

Cloud Enviroments

Image Credit: NetIQ’s Flickr

It has been a favorite buzzword of 2012 and all the rage lately, but do you really know what the Cloud is and how it works?

While it may seem like this mystical, far off place, the Cloud is basically the Internet. But it’s also more than the Internet – it’s Internet 2.0.

Traditionally, the Internet was a place to go to get information. Need to learn about something new? No problem, just get on the Internet and research it. After all, why do you think Google became so popular in the first place?

However, as time went on the Internet changed and evolved. No longer just a place to go for information, the Internet became social, and we started sharing information with one another on websites like Myspace and Facebook, instead of on our own personal webpages.

While all this was happening, other things were changing with the Internet too. Websites like Dropbox, Skydrive, and other websites emerged, giving us places to store our files, and later access them from anywhere, as long as we had an Internet connection.

Along the way, something new emerged – the Cloud, something that is still growing, and taking shape even today.

Currently, the Cloud is a hybrid of traditional computing and online storage. While you still load software and files on your computer, the Cloud gives you the ability to store your files online, so that you can access them from wherever you are as long as you have Internet access.

Today, many companies store their files in the Cloud, both as a way to access files from anywhere, and as a way to ensure files are protected off site and redundantly backed up.

In the future, we may never need to store anything on our computers ever again, including software. Think about tablet computers and smart phones, when you need something, you just go to the app store and download it. Computers will soon be like that. Instead of downloading software, we’ll just go online and access it.

In fact, in many ways, the benefits of the Cloud can be seen from current smart phones. What happens when you get a new smart phone? You enter your account information, and magically all of your contacts and other information are transferred to your new phone. Within minutes, you can begin using your new device, without spending time moving items, transferring data, and setting up your phone.

For computers, the Cloud may soon make this a reality. Instead of loading software on your computer, all you need is a basic operating system, and an Internet connection. Just boot up, hop online, and access your software, files, or more.

While the Cloud leaves us more dependent on the Internet and external servers, it allows us to be more independent with our hardware. We don’t have to be tethered to a particular machine, just one with Internet access. We don’t have to worry about equipment breaking, and not backing up items, because it’s already safe, in the Cloud.

While we all access and use the Cloud now, it’s important to remember that it’s still in its infancy, and may change as it grows and develops. However, as it’s shaping up now, the Cloud is poised to set us free from our computers, and allow for greater mobility with our technology.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you better understand your technology. Website:

Exploring Windows 8: The Differences Between the Standard, Pro, and RT Versions


Windows 8

Image Credit: Microsoft Sweeden

A new version of Windows was released on October 26 known as Windows 8, and it has a completely different look than previous versions. The operating system is packed full of features poised to take advantage of the newest technology, including touch-screen features, social media integration, and more.

However, before you just rush right out and purchase Windows 8, you may want to know a few things about the different versions available so that you buy the one that is right for you.

Windows 8 comes in three basic “flavors”: Windows 8 (basic), Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT. So what’s the difference between the three?

Windows 8

This is the basic version of the operating system that will most likely be rolled out with home and consumer level machines. The features within the OS are geared for home users, and the features are a little stripped down compared to Pro.

Please note, however, that at the time of this article, the pricing and availability for Windows 8 has yet to be announced.

Windows 8 Pro

A bit more robust than the basic version, Windows 8 Pro includes all the features of the basic version, combined with power-user features, such as BitLocker, domain join, encrypting file system, support for group policy, remote desktop hosting and more. Because of the advanced features of Pro, this version would be best for power-users, as well as office users needing extra support.

Currently, this is the only full version of Windows 8 available.

Windows RT

Loaded on tablets, Windows RT is a scaled down version of Windows 8. While it may look, feel, and share some of the same code as Windows 8, RT is scaled down, and made for mobile devices.

The biggest difference with Windows RT is that it will not allow you to load or use any actual computer software on your mobile device. Instead, you can choose to install software in the form of apps from the Windows Store. However, it does come with a scaled down version of Office.

RT primarily comes installed on the new Windows Surface tablet, but may become available on other mobile devices given time.

In a nutshell, those are the main differences between the Windows 8 versions. Hopefully this review will help you make an informed decision by the time you are ready to upgrade to the newest version of Windows.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you learn more about your technology options. Website: