The pitfalls of business continuity planning

Your service provider, tasked with looking after your company’s IT, has kept your business up and running for the past 10 years. Unfortunately, that kind of longevity in developing continuity plans can result in some providers overlooking or underestimating certain issues. Here are some of them.

Over-optimistic testing

The initial testing attempt is usually the most important. It’s when IT service providers can pinpoint possible weak points in the recovery plan. However, what usually happens is that they test the system in full, instead of via a step-by-step process. This results in them missing out specific points, with too many factors overwhelming them all at the same time.

Insufficient remote user licenses

A remote user license is given by service providers to businesses so that when a disaster strikes, employees can log in to a remote desktop software. However, a provider may only have a limited number of licenses. In some cases, more employees will need to have access to the remote desktop software than a provider’s license can allow.

Lost digital IDs

When a disaster strikes, employees will usually need their digital IDs so they can log in to the provider’s remote system while their own system at the office is being restored. However, digital IDs are tied to an employee’s desktop, and when a desktop is being backed up, they are not automatically saved. So when an employee goes back to using their ‘ready and restored’ desktop, they are unable to access the system with their previous digital ID.

Absence of a communications strategy

IT service providers will use email to notify and communicate with business owners and their employees when a disaster happens. However, this form of communication may not always be reliable in certain cases, such as when the Internet is cut off, or there are spam intrusions. Third-party notification systems are available, but they are quite expensive, and some providers sell them as a pricey add-on service.

Backups that require labored validation

After a system has been restored, IT technicians and business owners need to check whether the restoration is thorough and complete. This validation becomes a waste of time and effort when the log reports are not easy to compare. This usually happens when IT service providers utilize backup applications that do not come with their own log modules, and have to be acquired separately.

These are just some reasons why business continuity plans fail. It is important for business owners to be involved with any process that pertains to their IT infrastructure. Just because you believe something works doesn’t necessarily mean that it works correctly or effectively. If you have questions regarding your business continuity plan, get in touch with our experts today.

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How business continuity plans can fail

Just because your IT provider has a plethora of awards and certifications under its belt doesn’t mean that you can blindly hand over your business’s future to them. Often times, there are some aspects in your business continuity plan that tend to be overlooked by your provider. We have rounded up some of these issues on your business continuity plans.

Over-optimistic testing

The initial testing attempt is usually the most important. It’s when IT service providers can pinpoint possible weak points in the recovery plan. However, what usually happens is that they test the system in full, instead of via a step-by-step process. This results in them missing out specific points, with too many factors overwhelming them all at the same time.

Insufficient remote user licenses

A remote user license is given by service providers to businesses so that when a disaster strikes, employees can log in to a remote desktop software. However, a provider may only have a limited number of licenses. In some cases, more employees will need to have access to the remote desktop software than a provider’s license can allow.

Lost digital IDs

When a disaster strikes, employees will usually need their digital IDs so they can log in to the provider’s remote system while their own system at the office is being restored. However, digital IDs are tied to an employee’s desktop, and when a desktop is being backed up, they are not automatically saved. So when an employee goes back to using their ‘ready and restored’ desktop, they are unable to access the system with their previous digital ID.

Absence of a communications strategy

IT service providers will use email to notify and communicate with business owners and their employees when a disaster happens. However, this form of communication may not always be reliable in certain cases, such as when the Internet is cut off, or there are spam intrusions. Third-party notification systems are available, but they are quite expensive, and some providers sell them as a pricey add-on service.

Backups that require labored validation

After a system has been restored, IT technicians and business owners need to check whether the restoration is thorough and complete. This validation becomes a waste of time and effort when the log reports are not easy to compare. This usually happens when IT service providers utilize backup applications that do not come with their own log modules, and have to be acquired separately.

These are just some reasons why business continuity plans fail. It is important for business owners to be involved with any process that pertains to their IT infrastructure. Just because you believe something works doesn’t necessarily mean that it works correctly or effectively. If you have questions regarding your business continuity plan, get in touch with our experts today.

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Is your continuity plan doomed to fail?

Like all things, business continuity plans are not perfect. They have pitfalls that can result in your business’s failure if not taken into account immediately. Don’t blame it all on the IT guy; often, the way a system is designed can also have loopholes. Here are a few of the reasons why business continuity plans fail.

Over-optimistic testing

The initial testing attempt is usually the most important. It’s when IT service providers can pinpoint possible weak points in the recovery plan. However, what usually happens is that they test the system in full, instead of via a step-by-step process. This results in them missing out specific points, with too many factors overwhelming them all at the same time.

Insufficient remote user licenses

A remote user license is given by service providers to businesses so that when a disaster strikes, employees can log in to a remote desktop software. However, a provider may only have a limited number of licenses. In some cases, more employees will need to have access to the remote desktop software than a provider’s license can allow.

Lost digital IDs

When a disaster strikes, employees will usually need their digital IDs so they can log in to the provider’s remote system while their own system at the office is being restored. However, digital IDs are tied to an employee’s desktop, and when a desktop is being backed up, they are not automatically saved. So when an employee goes back to using their ‘ready and restored’ desktop, they are unable to access the system with their previous digital ID.

Absence of a communications strategy

IT service providers will use email to notify and communicate with business owners and their employees when a disaster happens. However, this form of communication may not always be reliable in certain cases, such as when the Internet is cut off, or there are spam intrusions. Third-party notification systems are available, but they are quite expensive, and some providers sell them as a pricey add-on service.

Backups that require labored validation

After a system has been restored, IT technicians and business owners need to check whether the restoration is thorough and complete. This validation becomes a waste of time and effort when the log reports are not easy to compare. This usually happens when IT service providers utilize backup applications that do not come with their own log modules, and have to be acquired separately.

These are just some reasons why business continuity plans fail. It is important for business owners to be involved with any process that pertains to their IT infrastructure. Just because you believe something works doesn’t necessarily mean that it works correctly or effectively. If you have questions regarding your business continuity plan, get in touch with our experts today.

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Your awesome guide to Android repurposing

It’s a fact of life that electronic devices don’t stay on top of the market for very long. That nice new Android tablet with all the latest apps and games will soon be replaced with a newer version, and you have the decision to upgrade or be left with a useless piece of metal and plastic. Fortunately, there are five ways to repurpose that old Android tablet into something useful.

With new technological devices released almost on a daily basis, your new Android tablet can become obsolete before you’ve even gotten any productive use out of it. But instead of tossing it into the drawer with your other gadgets, you should recycle it into something you can use long into the future.

It doesn’t take long for your stylish new electronic device to become just another outdated model in the waste pile. Your once-fresh Android tablet might have done its due a long time ago, but there’s no need to discard it. There are many things you can do to repurpose your old Android tablet and make it fresh again. Read on to find five popular new uses for your old Android tablet!

Security camera

As long as your Android has a workable battery and screen, you can turn it into a webcam security system. Simply download a security app like Salient Eye (easily found on Google Play) or AtHome Video Streamer, set it up, and place it strategically. It can even be rigged to turn on as it senses movement.

Digital camera photo frame

Don’t spend $30 on a digital picture frame when you can use an old Android tablet. Again you will have to visit Google Play, search for a program similar to Photo Slides, plug the Android into a wall socket, and you have pictures you can scroll through and display on your mantel.

Portable reference library

You have probably used your Android for book storage already, so why not turn it into a functional library? Visit Amazon Kindle or Google Play Books and download your choice of reference books and eBooks. Kwix, the offline version of Wikipedia, can provide you with encyclopedia-like entries without having to go online.

Radio or wireless-only device

You can download Pandora or iHeartRadio, and use your Android to play your favorite music without interfering with other open computer programs and without using valuable memory.

Universal remote

It is so easy to lose the remote in the folds of the couch or slots in a magazine rack. By contrast, it’s not so easy to lose an Android tablet. By installing a universal remote app like Peel Smart Remote, AnyMote, or Irdroid, you can use your old Android as a universal remote for televisions and other electronic systems in the office.

There is no reason to throw your old Android tablet into a drawer when you upgrade because there are many apps that can help you repurpose it. For more information on how to recycle your old tech devices, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help you save money and find a new use for your old tablet.

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Find cool uses for your old Android tablet

It’s a fact of life that electronic devices don’t stay on top of the market for very long. That nice new Android tablet with all the latest apps and games will soon be replaced with a newer version, and you have the decision to upgrade or be left with a useless piece of metal and plastic. Fortunately, there are five ways to repurpose that old Android tablet into something useful.

With new technological devices released almost on a daily basis, your new Android tablet can become obsolete before you’ve even gotten any productive use out of it. But instead of tossing it into the drawer with your other gadgets, you should recycle it into something you can use long into the future.

It doesn’t take long for your stylish new electronic device to become just another outdated model in the waste pile. Your once-fresh Android tablet might have done its due a long time ago, but there’s no need to discard it. There are many things you can do to repurpose your old Android tablet and make it fresh again. Read on to find five popular new uses for your old Android tablet!

Security camera

As long as your Android has a workable battery and screen, you can turn it into a webcam security system. Simply download a security app like Salient Eye (easily found on Google Play) or AtHome Video Streamer, set it up, and place it strategically. It can even be rigged to turn on as it senses movement.

Digital camera photo frame

Don’t spend $30 on a digital picture frame when you can use an old Android tablet. Again you will have to visit Google Play, search for a program similar to Photo Slides, plug the Android into a wall socket, and you have pictures you can scroll through and display on your mantel.

Portable reference library

You have probably used your Android for book storage already, so why not turn it into a functional library? Visit Amazon Kindle or Google Play Books and download your choice of reference books and eBooks. Kwix, the offline version of Wikipedia, can provide you with encyclopedia-like entries without having to go online.

Radio or wireless-only device

You can download Pandora or iHeartRadio, and use your Android to play your favorite music without interfering with other open computer programs and without using valuable memory.

Universal remote

It is so easy to lose the remote in the folds of the couch or slots in a magazine rack. By contrast, it’s not so easy to lose an Android tablet. By installing a universal remote app like Peel Smart Remote, AnyMote, or Irdroid, you can use your old Android as a universal remote for televisions and other electronic systems in the office.

There is no reason to throw your old Android tablet into a drawer when you upgrade because there are many apps that can help you repurpose it. For more information on how to recycle your old tech devices, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help you save money and find a new use for your old tablet.

Posted in Android, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Android repurposing: 5 awesome ideas

It’s a fact of life that electronic devices don’t stay on top of the market for very long. That nice new Android tablet with all the latest apps and games will soon be replaced with a newer version, and you have the decision to upgrade or be left with a useless piece of metal and plastic. Fortunately, there are five ways to repurpose that old Android tablet into something useful.

With new technological devices released almost on a daily basis, your new Android tablet can become obsolete before you’ve even gotten any productive use out of it. But instead of tossing it into the drawer with your other gadgets, you should recycle it into something you can use long into the future.

It doesn’t take long for your stylish new electronic device to become just another outdated model in the waste pile. Your once-fresh Android tablet might have done its due a long time ago, but there’s no need to discard it. There are many things you can do to repurpose your old Android tablet and make it fresh again. Read on to find five popular new uses for your old Android tablet!

Security camera

As long as your Android has a workable battery and screen, you can turn it into a webcam security system. Simply download a security app like Salient Eye (easily found on Google Play) or AtHome Video Streamer, set it up, and place it strategically. It can even be rigged to turn on as it senses movement.

Digital camera photo frame

Don’t spend $30 on a digital picture frame when you can use an old Android tablet. Again you will have to visit Google Play, search for a program similar to Photo Slides, plug the Android into a wall socket, and you have pictures you can scroll through and display on your mantel.

Portable reference library

You have probably used your Android for book storage already, so why not turn it into a functional library? Visit Amazon Kindle or Google Play Books and download your choice of reference books and eBooks. Kwix, the offline version of Wikipedia, can provide you with encyclopedia-like entries without having to go online.

Radio or wireless-only device

You can download Pandora or iHeartRadio, and use your Android to play your favorite music without interfering with other open computer programs and without using valuable memory.

Universal remote

It is so easy to lose the remote in the folds of the couch or slots in a magazine rack. By contrast, it’s not so easy to lose an Android tablet. By installing a universal remote app like Peel Smart Remote, AnyMote, or Irdroid, you can use your old Android as a universal remote for televisions and other electronic systems in the office.

There is no reason to throw your old Android tablet into a drawer when you upgrade because there are many apps that can help you repurpose it. For more information on how to recycle your old tech devices, give us a call. We’ll be glad to help you save money and find a new use for your old tablet.

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Virtualization security risks & management

While virtualization security is often viewed as an afterthought, it is nevertheless important. Like all technology, securing your virtualized infrastructure is vital to your business’s success. Let’s take a look at some of the security risks posed by virtualization and how you can manage them.

Security risks of virtualization

Complex infrastructure – Much like virtualization itself, the infrastructure of a virtualization solution can oftentimes be confusing to small businesses. In fact, the complex configuration alone can be a big headache for it’s more difficult to spot anomalies and unusual events happening in your virtual machines and network.
Dynamic design – Virtualized environments are dynamic by nature and constantly changing. Unlike adding physical equipment, the addition of virtual machines can go almost completely unnoticed as they’re created in a matter of minutes and aren’t visible in your workspace. The danger here is the age old adage, “out of sight out of mind.” And if you add too many, they can easily become difficult to manage and protect, creating security holes in the process.
Quick moving workloads – As your virtualized infrastructure grows, there will come a time when you need to move data from one machine to another. While this may sound harmless, the real issue is that your virtual machines will likely require different levels of security. And when you’re juggling multiple workloads over multiple virtual machines, you may accidentally move mission critical data to a machine that has minimal protection.

How to mitigate risks

While these three risks may sound alarming, they can all be mitigated. The key behind effectively securing your virtual machines all comes down to process. Put some thought into your security processes and then implement them. Here are a few areas to cover:

  • Organization – Decide how and where to separate your test, development, and production virtual machines.
  • Audit – Develop a system to regularly audit your virtual machine security. Whenever possible, use tools to automate your security checks, balances, and processes.
  • Patches – Perform regular security maintenance to ensure the patches are up-to-date for all virtual machines.
  • Overflow management – Create a system to monitor all your virtual machines, identify what each of them is used for, and manage them accordingly.
  • Responsibility – Designate an IT technician to watch over your virtual machines to ensure zero security gaps.If you prioritize proper management of your virtual machines, security doesn’t have to be an issue. Get in touch with us if you’re interested in getting additional assistance for your virtualized infrastructure or if you’re planning to implement a new virtualization solution. Call us today!
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Controlling security risks of virtualization

Virtualization security often ends up on the back burner, and you probably didn’t even realize how important it is. However, like the rest of your technology, a virtualized infrastructure must be secured. To help keep yours protected, here are some of the security risks involved with virtualization and ways to control them.

Security risks of virtualization

Complex infrastructure – Much like virtualization itself, the infrastructure of a virtualization solution can oftentimes be confusing to small businesses. In fact, the complex configuration alone can be a big headache for it’s more difficult to spot anomalies and unusual events happening in your virtual machines and network.
Dynamic design – Virtualized environments are dynamic by nature and constantly changing. Unlike adding physical equipment, the addition of virtual machines can go almost completely unnoticed as they’re created in a matter of minutes and aren’t visible in your workspace. The danger here is the age old adage, “out of sight out of mind.” And if you add too many, they can easily become difficult to manage and protect, creating security holes in the process.
Quick moving workloads – As your virtualized infrastructure grows, there will come a time when you need to move data from one machine to another. While this may sound harmless, the real issue is that your virtual machines will likely require different levels of security. And when you’re juggling multiple workloads over multiple virtual machines, you may accidentally move mission critical data to a machine that has minimal protection.

How to mitigate risks

While these three risks may sound alarming, they can all be mitigated. The key behind effectively securing your virtual machines all comes down to process. Put some thought into your security processes and then implement them. Here are a few areas to cover:

  • Organization – Decide how and where to separate your test, development, and production virtual machines.
  • Audit – Develop a system to regularly audit your virtual machine security. Whenever possible, use tools to automate your security checks, balances, and processes.
  • Patches – Perform regular security maintenance to ensure the patches are up-to-date for all virtual machines.
  • Overflow management – Create a system to monitor all your virtual machines, identify what each of them is used for, and manage them accordingly.
  • Responsibility – Designate an IT technician to watch over your virtual machines to ensure zero security gaps.If you prioritize proper management of your virtual machines, security doesn’t have to be an issue. Get in touch with us if you’re interested in getting additional assistance for your virtualized infrastructure or if you’re planning to implement a new virtualization solution. Call us today!
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Ways to handle virtualization security risks

Online blogs and forums mostly cover networks and the cloud when it comes to cybersecurity, leaving other types of technology — particularly virtualization — overlooked and unsecured. If you don’t have the right defense plans in place, your business will be vulnerable to all types of cyberthreats. Here are some of the major risks of insufficient virtualization security and some methods to prevent them.

Security risks of virtualization

Complex infrastructure – Much like virtualization itself, the infrastructure of a virtualization solution can oftentimes be confusing to small businesses. In fact, the complex configuration alone can be a big headache for it’s more difficult to spot anomalies and unusual events happening in your virtual machines and network.
Dynamic design – Virtualized environments are dynamic by nature and constantly changing. Unlike adding physical equipment, the addition of virtual machines can go almost completely unnoticed as they’re created in a matter of minutes and aren’t visible in your workspace. The danger here is the age old adage, “out of sight out of mind.” And if you add too many, they can easily become difficult to manage and protect, creating security holes in the process.
Quick moving workloads – As your virtualized infrastructure grows, there will come a time when you need to move data from one machine to another. While this may sound harmless, the real issue is that your virtual machines will likely require different levels of security. And when you’re juggling multiple workloads over multiple virtual machines, you may accidentally move mission critical data to a machine that has minimal protection.

How to mitigate risks

While these three risks may sound alarming, they can all be mitigated. The key behind effectively securing your virtual machines all comes down to process. Put some thought into your security processes and then implement them. Here are a few areas to cover:

  • Organization – Decide how and where to separate your test, development, and production virtual machines.
  • Audit – Develop a system to regularly audit your virtual machine security. Whenever possible, use tools to automate your security checks, balances, and processes.
  • Patches – Perform regular security maintenance to ensure the patches are up-to-date for all virtual machines.
  • Overflow management – Create a system to monitor all your virtual machines, identify what each of them is used for, and manage them accordingly.
  • Responsibility – Designate an IT technician to watch over your virtual machines to ensure zero security gaps.If you prioritize proper management of your virtual machines, security doesn’t have to be an issue. Get in touch with us if you’re interested in getting additional assistance for your virtualized infrastructure or if you’re planning to implement a new virtualization solution. Call us today!
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7 ways to more retweets

It can be discouraging for any business to post a thoughtful tweet in the morning just to see that it barely has any retweets by the end of the day. To maximize your tweets’ exposure, consider these 7 ways to increase your retweets.

Schedule your tweets

There is absolutely no point in tweeting out any content if your audience isn’t even awake for it. That’s why it’s important for you to tweet at the right time to get the most retweets. Most people are likely to retweet between 2pm and 6pm. However, if your followers live in different time zones and countries, the time you should be tweeting may vary. Twitter tools like Tweriod track down the geographical distribution of your audience and pinpoints the optimal time you should be tweeting to get the most retweets.

Use links

The next time you tweet out something, try embedding a link in your post. Whether it’s news, sports, or celebrity updates, people will put some effort in staying up to date with their interests. Studies have also shown that links to instructional posts get the most amount of retweets as well. The problem is, 140 characters is not enough content for your followers. So by satisfying your audience’s curiosity, you motivate them to pay you back by sharing your tweet out to their friends.

Ask for retweets

This is perhaps the most obvious tactic to get some retweets. Using call to action phrases such as “please retweet” significantly increases your chances of a retweet. Of course, you probably aren’t the only one asking for retweets. Adding something to sweeten deal, like a prize for one lucky person who retweets you, gives people incentive to do so.

Use visuals

Intriguing images can inspire retweets. Images are a great way to convey a lot of information in a short amount of time, and social media users love that. Some have found that using colorful images and infographics in their tweets significantly increased their engagement rates and led to more followers retweeting their content. It’s probably because there’s just more content to engage with compared to a brief 140 character thought.

Use retweetable words

Research has shown that some words are more retweetable than others. Words like you, twitter, please, retweet, post, blog, social, free, media, help are the top 10 most retweetable words. However common-use words in any conversation such as “lol, haha, work, sleep or watching” are less likely to get retweeted. Unless you’re someone incredibly famous, it’s best to avoid using conversation filler words and stick to the buzzwords that encourage people to share your tweets out to everyone they know.

Use quotes

Quotes express a lot in one simple line, making it perfect for any Twitter posts. Depending on your audience, a thoughtful quote can really move their fingers to click that retweet button. The next time you’re running out of ideas for tweets, dig up some good quotes relevant to your topic to get those retweets going. However, don’t continuously plug in quotes into your tweets. The trick is to do it occasionally, so you don’t risk people tuning out of your tweets.

#Hashtag

You’ll notice that the more popular tweets tend to have at least one hashtag. Using hashtags on keywords helps categorize your tweets with similar ones, giving your posts a bit more reach and, hopefully, more retweets. Just make sure you don’t overdo it as #thiscanbequiteannoying.

We get that small business may find it tough getting their name discovered among so many social media accounts. But if you consider some or all of these Twitter tactics, you have a better chance of getting more eyes on your tweets. If you want to learn more about useful Twitter tactics to increase your exposure and engagement, give us a call today.

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