How to Achieve a Peaceful, Relaxing Relationship with your Business – Part Two

Peaceful_Relaxing_BusinessThis article is part two of a three part series where we outline steps to take to help you achieve cohesion with your business technology. By following the steps outlined, you should see a dramatic increase in the stability and flexibility of your computers and equipment, freeing you up to focus on more important matters. Click here to read part one and part three of the series.

Part one of this series examined the critical areas of your business which should be in place to help you achieve peace and relaxation with your business. If you have not read part one, please do so now before continuing.

Aside from stabilizing your systems, and having backups and redundancies in place, there are a few more areas of your technology that can help you achieve a more cohesive relationship with your business.

3. Automate and Streamline Where Possible

Another way to achieve peace and relaxation with your business is to let your computers and equipment handle most of the work when possible. Often, this means automating and streamlining processes. There are many ways to do this, and depend on your individual company’s needs and setups.

Let’s imagine that one of your processes involves needed to approve a paid invoice. With the current process, the invoice is scanned and added to the client’s file, the invoice is paid, printed, and stamped approved by the financial person. Then, the item must be authorized by upper management, and rescanned back into the client’s file, with all the proper signatures on it. The old original scan is deleted, and the process is complete.

With this process, extra time is wasted with scanning, printing, rescanning, and chasing down people for authorization signatures. Instead, the process could be streamlined by scanning it into the system, and setting up signature stamps, so that it can be signed electronically. Then, instead of scanning, printing, and rescanning, the document is scanned once. It is paid, and stamped by the financial person as complete. Then it can be forwarded via email, or a notification sent through your system, to tell upper management to approve the expense.

By streamlining processes, you eliminate the back and forth, the waiting, and the time wasted recombining files, or cleaning up copies that no longer need to live in the clients files. Additionally, this saves time, allowing staff to process a larger volume of work in the same amount of time.

Again, this is only one example of how processes can be streamlined. It is even better if they can be automated, and completely handled by the computer. However, the extent to which this can happen largely depends on your equipment and current setup.

4. Remote Access

One of the biggest ways to achieve peace and relaxation with your business is by allowing remote access into the office. Remote access involves using either a terminal server, or Remote Windows Workplace, or some other remote software, to access the computers in the office securely, from a remote location.

By allowing remote access to the office, it is easier to access files and important information when you need them. Instead of getting to meetings only to discover you’re missing an important file, you can simply log in and access what you need, without having to reschedule.

While there are many benefits of remote access, some benefits include reducing overhead by having remote employees, giving employees flexibility by allowing them to work from home, being able to take your business anywhere, and more. In this day and age, if your office doesn’t allow remote access, you are missing out on a valuable piece of technology.

While these aren’t the only ways to achieve peace and relaxation with your business, these suggestions go a long way to helping you enjoy your technology more, through automation and remote access. Start assessing your current setup in these areas. Then, stay tuned for the final part of our series, to see what else you can do with your technology to achieve peace and relaxation with your business.

How to Achieve a Peaceful, Relaxing Relationship with your Business – Part One

Peaceful_Relaxing_BusinessThis article is part one of a three part series where we outline steps to take to help you achieve cohesion with your business technology. By following the steps outlined, you should see a dramatic increase in the stability and flexibility of your computers and equipment, freeing you up to focus on more important matters.

With regards to business, there is often a wide held belief that it cannot be easy. And, there’s some truth to this. With all the rules, government regulations, employee guidelines, HR regulations, industry specific information, and more that business owners must stay on top of, it is sometimes hard to remember if you’re coming or going.

Now add in additional business components, like making informed decisions about your office technology needs (and what all of that crazy industry lingo means), and it can end up being downright overwhelming.

But fret not. There’s an easy way to achieve peace and relaxation with your business, and it all starts with your technology. Having a strong, stable infrastructure in place does many great things for your business. It helps reduce staff frustration and downtime, while increasing productivity. It can also provide mobility, giving your business the flexibility to go anywhere.

Below is a list of the top 5 components we recommend for a stable business framework. Use this list while reviewing your current setup to see where your business is strong, and to assess what areas of your network need some extra attention.

5 Components of a Stable Business Infrastructure

1. Stable Systems

One of the quickest ways to have a stressful relationship with your business is to have technology that is unreliable or non-functioning. Resolve to reduce business frustrations by stabilizing your systems.

In order for a system to be stable, it should be up and running properly at least 98% of the time, or more. Additionally, when an outage occurs, it shouldn’t take down the entire office*, even if the outage involves your server.

Think about your current setup. How often is your system problematic or completely down? When an outage occurs, how does it impact the office? If your server went down, could your office be back up and running the same day, even when new equipment is required to fix the problem?

With technology as robust as it is today, there is little reason for your office to be down for a long period of time*, even if the outage involves your main server.

*In this context, we are talking about computer / hardware outages, not unforeseen issues such as natural disasters or acts of God.*

2. Backups and Redundancies

In order for your system to be stable and reliable, it is important to have backups and redundancies in place. Simply having one or the other in place, but not both, is not enough.

Backups are a necessary part of network stability, and are needed to ensure your data is safe should a disaster occur. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all backups are the same. In order for your business to be properly protected, your backups should occur at regular intervals (think hourly), and should be backed up off site.

Think about your current backup situation. Do backups happen on-site, or off? Where are your backups saved? Are they image backups or file backups? If your files are currently being backed up to an external hard drive that is in your IT room, you may want to consider putting a better backup system in place.

Aside from backups, it’s good to have some redundancies in place especially when it comes to your server, so that if hardware fails, you can easily switch over to the working hardware, and keep running. This often means having multiple hard drives. We also recommend a device like our Backup and Disaster Recovery (BRD) device, which not only backs up your data, but can serve as a spare server, should yours completely go down.

While these aren’t the only ways to achieve peace and relaxation, these are the top two areas of concern. Without having a handle on these areas, your business could be at risk for data loss, and more. Start assessing your current setup in these areas. Then, stay tuned for the second part of our series to see what else you can do with your technology to achieve peace and relaxation with your business.

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. Email:julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.