How Often Do Businesses Really Need to Backup Data?

Discover why regularly scheduled data backups give you the ability to recover faster from a cyberattack or natural disaster with less disruption and downtime.

Business Data Backup

How Frequently Should Your Business Data Be Backed Up?

It’s a complicated question and the answer is usually a nuanced one. It depends greatly on the type of data being collected and used, where it’s being stored and your company’s risk tolerance.

No matter the answer, it’s prudent to partner with a managed IT services provider to make the right decision for your business regarding backup frequency, based on your company’s needs and priorities.

How Can I Convince Company Leaders that Backups Are Truly Necessary?

There are some sobering statistics that can help convince business leaders about the importance of data backups. The Ponemon Institute’s 2018 Cost of Data Breach Study noted that the average cost of a data breach rose by 6.4 percent in one year, costing affected companies an average of $3.86 million per incident.

During the next two years, according to the study, businesses face a 27.9 percent likelihood of experiencing a data breach. And those breaches usually take businesses a long time to discover – 197 days on average – and contain – 69 days on average. That’s a lot of time that a hacker can spend inside your systems, copying, extracting, damaging or selling sensitive information.

Data breaches are also not necessarily the result of active system intrusions. According to worldbackupday.com, every minute 113 phones are lost or stolen. Every month, one in 10 computers becomes infected with a virus. In addition, 140,000 hard drives fail in the United States weekly.

What Makes Data Backups So Important?

During a crisis, a data backup strategy adds stability and structure to an otherwise chaotic situation. Crises can take many forms, including natural disasters such as an earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane or tornado, power outages, or manmade events such as data theft or ransomware attack. Whatever the situation, data backups can get your business back to operational status with little or no data loss, minimal disruption and brief periods of downtime.

Here’s a look at some of the most essential benefits of creating a data backup strategy:

Affordability – If you choose a cloud solution as part or all of your data backup plan, you can rely on affordable and predictable pricing. If you find your business needs more data, cloud storage is highly scalable. You can add more storage and backup capacity without the hassle of buying a new server, installing and configuring it, and maintaining and managing it.

Cost and Savings – Consider what happens if you do not have a backup plan in place and a disaster strikes. Your business will incur significant and immediate costs by paying a third-party data recovery service. These services can take days or weeks to complete their work and you are not guaranteed to recover all of the compromised data. In the meantime, your customers will be asking for information and services you may not be able to provide.

Security – Your data needs to be protected and encrypted while it’s in transit and at rest. A backup strategy needs to incorporate robust physical and digital protections to ensure only the proper, authorized people have access to data and storage devices. The data should also be monitored to ensure that any dubious activity is identified, contained, assessed and dealt with before any serious harm occurs.

Speed and Simplicity. With a carefully developed data backup plan, you can quickly get access to your last data backup, helping to speed up recovery efforts for your business and get data into the systems and websites where it’s most effective.

Compliance – Your business may be subject to state, federal, industrial or industrial requirements to retain certification or access to potential business. Compliance often means having to show that your company has a data management strategy.

Risk Mitigation – What happens to the data that’s stored on a lost or stolen laptop, tablet, smartphone or thumb drive? If it’s only stored locally on those devices (not a good idea), those losses can be a disaster. Not only have you lost the data, but you may see it for sale or held hostage. You want to be sure that your data backup plan includes mobile devices in use by your employees to ensure that all data is safe and recoverable.

Peace of Mind – When your business has an automated, reliable data backup strategy in place, you can be assured that you are protecting your information and ensuring you’ll have access when it’s needed.

What’s the Recommended Frequency of Backing Up Our Data?

Backups are never really a concern until the data is lost.

Frequency really depends on scale. If it’s an individual PC and you’re storing all of your files in OneDrive or a corporate drive, there’s not that much data changing on the workstation itself.

At ICS, in such cases, we prefer to take a snapshot of the computer once a month, which allows the computer to be restored with all working programs as it was before the event. With all the files are on a shared drive or in the cloud, a user will still have access.

If we’re talking about the shared drive itself, or if the files are stored locally on the machine, we recommend backups every 4 hours with incremental backups daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly.

We prefer to use devices like portable drives that allow a local backup and then send the backup to the cloud after hours.

Who Can Help Our Company With Data Backups?

Since 1981, ICS has helped support businesses with managed IT services, data backups, security, and IT consulting. With offices in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley, ICS serves business customers throughout South Texas. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our free IT security audit and how ICS can help with your data backups and other IT needs.

Ready to Take All the Mystery Out of The Cloud?

The cloud is a term that you hear often and many are still not sure exactly what is meant by the term. To break it down, the cloud is just a word used to explain that you are utilizing someone else’s servers and infrastructure.

Cloud Computing

The cloud is a term that you hear often and many are still not sure exactly what is meant by the term. To break it down, the cloud is just a word used to explain that you are utilizing someone else’s servers and infrastructure. It is most often used though, to talk about storing Big Data or even our everyday emails.

Cloud-based Emails

Email hosting has always been done in the cloud. If you’ve used Gmail to store documents, images and files, then you’ve used the cloud. All social media sites “live” in the public cloud including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn. Most of us use the cloud every day to store things like images, videos and documents. For instance, if you use Dropbox or YouTube you’re storing your stuff in the cloud.

The Cloud: A Simple Explanation

Forget about the technical lingo and just imagine a world where everyone has to build their own water treatment plant in order to get clean water for their home. Now, someone comes along and says, “Why don’t we build one big treatment plant and everyone will share the expenses?”

Now the whole community gets clean drinking water and each resident pays a small portion of the cost to run the facility. That makes a lot more sense, right? No one could afford to build their own power plant just to get electricity, but when the cost is distributed over a city, then it becomes affordable for everyone. We can all get reliable water and electricity for reasonable costs.

And that’s how the cloud works. Everyone shares the expense so that it’s cost-efficient. A small business can take advantage of the storage possibilities at a cost that fits the budget. That makes it easier for small business owners to compete with large enterprise organizations. The cloud levels the playing field. It’s more convenient and it’s even safer than storing documents on your local servers or hard drives.

The cloud offers unique business solutions to businesses large and small. It gives everyone a chance at the same technology resources that only big corporations could afford in the past. It’s very flexible as well. You can easily increase the amount of storage capacity and add users when necessary. Scaling up or down isn’t a big deal.

That’s what makes the cloud work so well. Everyone can take advantage of its power and usefulness and no one has to pay more than their fair share. The cloud greatly simplifies the back end of small business IT infrastructure.

Your company can store information at a remote data center rather than on premises. It gives small businesses the ability to do large scale business at lower costs.

What Are The Drawbacks To Using The Cloud?

There are pros and cons to just about everything but with the Cloud, there really aren’t that many drawbacks. One of the most essential is that you lose some control over your data. Another is that if you’re uploading and downloading large amounts of data, your internet speeds may be slower. It’s pretty easy to fix this one. Simply plan your large-scale projects in the evenings when your staff is home with their families.

What Are The Benefits To Using The Cloud?

Data redundancy and replication: Most cloud vendors maintain multiple copies of your files, apps and documents at data centers in different geographic locations. That means that if a data center in Milwaukee is wiped out, you’ll still have copies of your records in other locations. There’s very little likelihood that all data centers in every geographic location would be destroyed simultaneously.

Reduced costs: As mentioned above, you’ll get significant savings using the cloud’s mass scale computing capabilities.

Regulatory compliance: If you’re in an industry that has regulations like FINRA, PCI and HIPAA, the cloud can help with compliance. It has powerful tools built right in that ensure your data is protected whether at rest, in transit or archived.

Better collaboration: The cloud is available on-demand to computers and other devices from any location at any point in time. This means your workforce can collaborate no matter where they are. Documents can be shared or edited in real-time.

Improved security: In general, data stored in the cloud is safer than when stored on local servers. Although many firms cite security as a reason for their reluctance to move to the cloud, there are actually very few data breaches involving cloud providers. The majority of data breaches are due to lost, stolen, or discarded devices and paper records, rogue employees, or human error.

What’s the Bottom Line?

With today’s hybrid and private clouds, your business can have a system that’s protected and accessible from anywhere 24 x 7–one that’s totally encrypted and secure. And this is completely affordable for today’s business owners. Most professionals agree that the benefits of using the cloud far outweigh the drawbacks. It’s no mystery why thousands of businesses each year jump on the cloud.

Making A Case For Specialized Legal IT Support

Get in touch with ICS’s legal IT professionals at ICS to learn more about the solutions we offer, or the schedule a complimentary consultation to find out how we can help your firm get more out of your technology.

Having reliable technology means having technology that can grow with your firm.

Legal IT Support

There is very little you and your team do that doesn’t rely on technology in some way. This makes IT the foundation of your firm, and an aspect of your operations that calls for smart and savvy investments. Yet many law firms aren’t getting what they need out of their technology or their technology budget.

More often than not, these challenges arise from a single source – IT support. Whether you’ve got one or two in-house IT staff looking after your network and infrastructure and handling day-to-day issues or requests, or contract your IT services out to a local IT provider, problems still happen. When all your IT guys are doing is putting out fires and fielding minor requests from your team, it can feel like your technology is constantly failing you.

It’s frustrating. And it’s a main reason why firms are choosing to work with IT providers that specialize in legal IT.

Building From The Ground Up With Your Firm In Mind

Ideally, you’d like to have professionals working with you that not only understand what you need out of your technology, but know the software and applications you use better than you do. More than that, you’d like to work with people who know the ins and outs of your network and infrastructure, saving you the time and aggravation of trying to walk a technician through both your problem and your technology. When you deal with the same people each time you need to make a service call – people who also setup most or all of your technology – your problems get resolved faster.

If this sounds too good to be true, you’re likely not getting the support your firm needs to be successful. For today’s firms, success means being able to adapt to and adopt new technology in order to better serve your clients, and meet the compliance standards and regulations your profession is held to. Data security is a big part of that. By partnering with a legal IT provider like ICS, you can feel comfortable knowing that they understand what you need to do to stay compliant, and protect both your firm and your clients from cyber threats.

Do Legal IT Services Really Make That Much Of A Difference?

Partnering with a legal IT provider offers benefits that generic outsourced IT support can’t. This includes:

  • In-depth knowledge of popular legal software and applications
  • Familiarity with compliance regulations
  • An understanding of how your firm operates and what you need your technology to be able to provide
  • Experience setting up and maintaining secure networks that extend to remote users
  • Experience implementing cloud technology that offers easy and convenient access to data and applications without compromising security
  • 24/7/265 help desk support provided by technicians who are familiar with your unique firm to improve troubleshooting and repair time

Get in touch with ICS’s legal IT professionals at ICS to learn more about the solutions we offer, or the schedule a complimentary consultation to find out how we can help your firm get more out of your technology.

Outsourcing Isn’t A Dirty Word

Businesses today have so many mundane tasks that must be completed by their in-house IT staff. They stay busy trying to keep your technology running smoothly.

Why Not Let Managed Services Prevent Your Staff From Feeling Overwhelmed?

IT Outsourcing In San Antonio

Businesses today have so many mundane tasks that must be completed by their in-house IT staff. They stay busy trying to keep your technology running smoothly. If a special project comes up, they can easily get overwhelmed. Why not free up your in-house IT support so they can focus on bigger issues? It’s possible with managed services.

According to the research group Gartner, over 65% of IT budgets go towards tasks that do nothing more than keep the lights on. You’re investing money that isn’t improving operations and efficiency or enhancing security.

Regular system maintenance tasks can be performed by the MSP, while in-house IT can focus on processes that will drive down costs or increase revenue. Your IT department will benefit from many other managed services like:

  • Disaster recovery/business continuity solutions
  • Security audits/updates
  • Remote monitoring
  • End user help desk
  • Proactive management
  • 24/7 network operations center

With these services, your in-house staff can get to work on more meaningful jobs that will create value for your company. You can remove the burden of those daily routine chores that never seem to end. Plus, you’ll have access to a professional MSP ticketing and monitoring system, so when system issues come up, you can count on getting the help you need in a timely manner.

Your business will greatly benefit from having a 24/7 Network Operations Center that identifies and addresses system issues before they become business disrupting problems. When you have those daily problems like malfunctioning computers, this can be handled by the MSP’s help desk.

Focus On Your Priorities

When you work with a managed services company, your in-house team can count on getting help with projects that seem overwhelming. Your MSP partner can perform a network assessment or evaluate the overall performance of your current IT infrastructure. It’s so helpful to get an unbiased professional opinion on the health of your IT network.

Your managed service provider might recommend products and services that could greatly benefit your business operations. Evaluations like this help your internal IT people determine what system oversight and future planning they should be doing.

Fewer IT problems can greatly enhance your overall production. Your staff can get more done each day without the frustrations that come with irritating system failures at inopportune moments.

Reducing Human Error

A high percentage of expensive security breaches are the result of human error. This is often because IT employees are stretched too thin and overlook vital security measures, such as applying tested security patches or updating anti-virus software programs.

Working with a MSP will eliminate much of the work overload that often leads to system or security vulnerabilities. Systems can be backed up in the cloud for an immediate system restore if needed. Many of the issues that become costly business interruptions, such as downtime-inducing hardware, software, and application failures are completely preventable if they are detected early and addressed promptly.

Bottom Line

Smaller firms have a few hard-working IT employees who deal with way too many responsibilities. And the majority of their duties are mundane and routine. Why not free up these employees so they can find new ways to increase efficiency, drive business revenues and innovate? Your IT staff deserves a break and they can become a much more valuable resource when they don’t have to put out so many daily fires.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are being used by businesses everywhere to cost-effectively manage, service, and support their IT processes. They’re a great alternative to hiring additional in-house staff.

Today’s smart business owners use this hybrid approach to IT that gives them the best of both worlds. Your in-house IT staff can work hand-in-hand with a managed services company to help your business achieve a greater return on your investment. And, your people won’t feel overwhelmed anymore about their daily responsibilities. They’ll have the support they need to do a better job.

How Can Country Clubs In Texas Boost Memberships

Country clubs across America are closing due to declining memberships. The solution is to reach new and younger members in ways that speak to their generation.

Country Clubs in Texas

The country club has a long and respected tradition as a place where people of a particular social status went to socialize. They had the income available to pay for a membership and were more than willing to do it.

Unfortunately, for country clubs in Texas and across the nation, younger people seem far less interested in pursuing and maintaining membership than their parents and grandparents were. Many struggle to attract members younger than 40 to replace older members who have become too ill to visit the facility or who have died. Country clubs interested in remaining relevant and boosting membership must be willing to evaluate the numerous factors that play into the decline.

Why is Country Club Membership on the Decline?

The most obvious reason, already touched on above, is that younger people are not replacing the aging membership. Members in the Baby Boom generation had no trouble bringing in new members simply by telling their friends and business associates about the many benefits of belonging to such an exclusive club. They were eager to rub elbows with top business executives in the area and agree to new deals over dinner and drinks.

However, that was a different time and many club owners have failed to recognize this. The generations coming after the boomers, including Generation X and Millennials, do not network with their peers in the same word-of-mouth fashion. Too many country clubs in Texas are losing members due to trying to attract them in a way that does not produce the desired result in younger generations.

Outdated Facilities without the Connectiveness Younger Members Need

Some clubs have responded to the declining membership by building new facilities to attract younger generations. The problem is that they took on far too much debt and put up buildings that still did not meet the expectations of a younger crowd. Owners who have held onto existing buildings find that they need many repairs that may not be affordable without the revenue coming in from a robust membership roll. It gets to be a catch-22 situation because they cannot attract newer members with run-down facilities nor can they afford to make the necessary repairs without member revenues.

Younger Members Struggle with Work-Life Balance in a Way Older Members Did Not

While exclusivity was an important aspect of country club membership for those in the Baby Boom generation and older, younger people are typically more attracted to a facility that provides them with convenience. For example, they need a country club equipped with Wi-Fi so they can use their laptop computers and tablets while also conducting business on their phones. They also need to stay in touch with family to work out such details as who is picking up the kids from where and what is for dinner. Country clubs in Texas that remain unconnected are not likely to attract many younger members.

How to Market to a New Generation

Attracting younger members means reaching them in the places where they spend the most time. This includes social media, but that is not going nearly far enough. Country club owners also need to change the focus of the club and then highlight these changes in ads targeted to a younger audience. When creating a marketing campaign, it would be helpful to work with an agency with younger staff and to target the ads only to specific age demographics. The younger staff understand their peers in a way that older country club owners will not be able to do.

Give the Younger Members the Convenience They Seek

Many young adults are stretched in multiple directions and have precious little free time to play golf. If club owners want to attract them, they need to make it worth their time to stop in at the country club. It also needs to be more inclusive of the entire family, including having a daycare facility on site so members do not need to work out who will watch the kids before they head to the club.

Additionally, installing Wi-Fi ensures that members of all ages have the resources they need to stay connected to work and home. It sends a message from the club to the new younger members that management respects the struggle for life-work balance. This, in turn, makes the younger people feel welcome and better understood.

Upgrades to Consider

When equipping a country club with Wi-Fi, it is essential to ensure that the network is secure. Members may be conducting highly confidential business and financial transactions and they need the assurance that they can do so without worrying about anyone hacking into the information. Equally important is the ability to remain connected at any location throughout the club. This bodes well for club ownership as well since it enables members to share their location on social media along with pictures of their golf game or time spent in the clubhouse.

Offer Incentives for Current Members to Bring Their Friends

One way to see membership grow in a positive direction is to offer free or highly discounted golf games to the friends of members. The hope is that they will have such a good time they will want to join as a paying member of the country club. It brings new faces and fresh perspectives into the club, something that might inspire members who have been there for years. It could also be a good idea to reward members who bring in a certain number of friends with discounts on their own game.

Younger Generations Pay More Attention to What They Eat

People under about the age of 40 have grown up caring more about the ingredients in their food and how their food intake impacts their health. They might not be excited about seeing mostly burgers high in fat and cholesterol on the menu. To appeal to this generation, it is important to offer them a wide variety of healthier options and a few considered junk foods for those times they want to splurge. Club owners should consider overhauling the menu completely to add calorie counts and ingredient lists to each entry.

Younger people are just as tech-savvy about their food as they are everything else in life. Club owners can take advantage of this by providing options such as mobile point-of-sale systems and the ability to place an order on an iPad. A bonus for the club is that these ordering options tend to be faster and more efficient than the old way of doing things.

Promoting Activities and Events at the Club

Active members are likely to look on the club’s website for information about upcoming activities and events. The website developer should be sure to create information that is easy for them to share on social media or print to share with a friend. This leads to another important point. No country club in Texas is going to attract new members if its website is outdated and not user-friendly. That means the website needs to load quickly, be easy to navigate, and someone needs to update it consistently.

Some information, such as menus and pricing, should be made available to the public. Other details, such as a separate page for members to pay dues or rent part of the facility for a special event, should only show to members. This reinforces the notion that country clubs are exclusive and a person viewing the website in the public setting needs to join to have access to the same features.

A country club needs a strong social media presence in modern times to extend its reach to potential new members. While it is important to create accounts on as many social media platforms as possible, it is equally important to update them regularly. People will quickly lose interest in following an account that has not posted anything new for a month or is still advertising events that have already passed.

A club can gain greater exposure and public trust when its current members leave positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Google. Posting a sign in the club or sending an occasional email asking current members for a review will help remind them to share what they love about the club with others. Club owners can keep reviews mostly positive by encouraging members to speak to them directly about any potential concerns.

The times have changed rapidly, especially since the start of the new millennium. That does not mean that country clubs need to be a relic of the past when owners take proactive measures to make them relevant to a new generation.

Managed Services in San Antonio: How to Protect Your Firm Against Hackers

 

managed services San AntonioKeeping your corporate data safe should be your number one priority, especially with the numerous reports of businesses whose corporate networks got hacked. The surest way of keeping your network safe and devoid of such attacks is by partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) in San Antonio from one of the leading IT companies in San Antonio. Continue reading “Managed Services in San Antonio: How to Protect Your Firm Against Hackers”

Managed Services in San Antonio: Understanding What the Dark Web Is All About

 

managed services San AntonioBusinesses today rely on the internet and managed services providers (MSPs) in San Antonio to run operations successfully. However, as you use the internet, it is important to understand it. The internet is made up of billions of interconnected devices that share information around the globe. What most people do not know is that the internet comprises of three components: the dark web, surface web, and deep web. Continue reading “Managed Services in San Antonio: Understanding What the Dark Web Is All About”

Managed Services in San Antonio: Reducing Operational Expenses Through SaaS Backup Solutions

 

managed services San AntonioManaged services providers (MSPs) in San Antonio can help you reduce operational costs while expanding your security profile. Many businesses are leery of this because it means a third party will be involved in data preservation. But think about this critically: can you afford to append resources for a department including a dozen or more professionals, necessary equipment, a discretionary spending allowance, and the ability to competitively contend with similarly-situated operations? Continue reading “Managed Services in San Antonio: Reducing Operational Expenses Through SaaS Backup Solutions”

Importance of IT from a Managed Services Provider in San Antonio

 

managed services San AntonioInformation technology plays a critical role in today’s business environment. Your IT helps you connect internally with your staff and externally with your suppliers and customers or clients. It is therefore important for you to set aside adequate resources which will ensure that your IT runs like clockwork. If IT is not your core competency, then perhaps you should consider outsourcing this function to your preferred provider of managed services in San Antonio. Since IT is your MSP’s core competency, you can rest easy knowing that your IT needs are well taken care of. Continue reading “Importance of IT from a Managed Services Provider in San Antonio”

Managed Services in San Antonio: Important IT Fundamentals When Launching a New Business

 

managed services San AntonioNowadays, information drives just about every business. The proper use of IT empowers a business to analyze information in bulk and make truly informed decisions. If you are starting a business, a large part of your focus should be on IT. Here’s a quick look at the IT basics as provided by our managed services team in San Antonio: Continue reading “Managed Services in San Antonio: Important IT Fundamentals When Launching a New Business”