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:

The Difference Between Break-Fix and Flat-Rate IT Services

Broken Computer

Image Credit: miss_rogue

For many years, IT companies everywhere used the Break-Fix model to provide services because it only made sense to fix computers and other technology items once they were actually broken. However, as technology has grown, changed, and implemented great reporting tools along the way, a new model is emerging – Flat-Rate IT – and it’s sure to change how the IT industry does business.


The Break-Fix model of IT support is exactly what it sounds like – your IT Company is only called to fix an item when it is actually broken. While this is currently the industry norm, this model can create lots of problems for the businesses receiving services.

Under the Break-Fix model, businesses are at the mercy of their tech problems. If something breaks, that section of the business is down for an unknown amount of time until the IT Company can send someone out to fix the problem.

What’s more, under this model the IT Company only wins when your business is down. There is no incentive for them to keep you up and running properly, because they don’t make money when your business is stable. Instead, the IT Company is only profitable when you need services.

And that’s the flaw of the Break-Fix model, the IT Company isn’t a true partner of the business they provide services to because they don’t have their best interests in mind. They are only profitable when your business is down and have no incentive to ensure that your equipment is well maintained.


However, there is a new model that is being adopted by IT companies everywhere, known as Flat-Rate IT. Under this model, businesses pay a reoccurring monthly fee for monitoring, maintenance, and support. This model allows the entire network, including all office computers, to be monitored on a regular basis.

If something small needs fixing, like applying software updates or running scans, the technician can do so remotely, often after hours, so they don’t impact your staff’s busy day.

However, the beauty of the Flat-Rate model is when big problems

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occur. With Flat-Rate IT, it is easy to predict big problems before they get worse because of all the monitoring and reporting that is happening on the network. Often, this means that parts can be ordered and service can be scheduled prior to the problem getting so big that it takes down the entire office.

And that’s the beauty of the Flat-Rate model – your IT Company only makes money when you are up and running seamlessly, not the other way around. This model allows your IT Company to become a trusted business advisor that truly has your businesses best interests at heart and gives them incentive to keep your computers maintained and running well.

At TechQuility, while we can provide services under the traditional Break-Fix model, we prefer the Flat-Rate model so that we can partner with the businesses we serve and give them the best technology foundation possible. If you’re ready to break free from tradition and discover all the benefits of Flat-Rate IT, contact us today.

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