LAN Systems 
November/December 2014 eNewsletter
LAN Systems was voted Best of Gwinnett for IT Services for 2014. That's 6 years in a row!  Thank you so much for your vote.
Now is a good time to plan for 2015. Every business should have a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan. BC/DR doesn't have to be complicated. We offer some tips to get you started.  
Here is a link to the 2014 Section 179 options for end of year spending.
We have an Office 365 training class on Wednesday, December 17th.  An Invite is included at the end of this email. Space is limited so please RSVP if you would like to attend.
Wishing you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons!
Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery Plans don't have to be complicated


The hardest part of a Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery plan is getting started. The task can seem overwhelming because there are so many details in so many places. But don't let the complexity stop you. Even if you can't put together the entire plan at one sitting, tackle the largest risks. 


Start with manageable questions:

  1. Who should I contact in case of a disaster?
    • Have number for key vendors, insurance contacts and key clients.
  2. Do my employees know how to contact me and each other?
    • Keep a list of employees with mobile numbers.
  3. Do I have a contingency plan for working remotely?
    • Cloud solutions are easily implemented for remote work, communication and presence management.
  4. Can I access my important company data?
    • Data can be made available in the cloud with different levels of security.
  5. Can I rebuild my system if the worst happens?
    • A good backup is your best defense.

During the two snow storms of 2014, the staff at LAN Systems found it rather easy to work remotely. Just before the storms, in December of 2013, we moved to Office 365. For many years, we had an in-house Exchange Server and some thought that moving to the Cloud was too risky.


We took the risk and found it very worthwhile. We used Lync to know who was available and keep in touch. Office 365 email was available through local Outlook or from the web portal. Since we use a Cloud VOIP solution, we were able to forward our office phones to mobile phones easily.


Our move to Office 365 proved to be a great solution for what could have been a temporary disaster. And those that thought it too risky, they are now technology advocates for Cloud solutions done right.


Of course, a snow storm is (at least in our case) a passing inconvenience. A fire, flood or any disaster that permanently damages or destroys your business is a greater concern. But the elements of disaster preparedness are same. Here is a good primer from Microsoft on disaster readiness or if you would like something more structured this template from TechTarget is quite complete.



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3-2-1 Backup Strategy
LAN Systems

Solutions and Services to help you grow your business

System and Network
Design & Installation

Microsoft, Linux and Unix
Servers and desktops
vCIO Strategy
Architecture review
System installation
Network security
Storage solutions
Service and Support
Support  agreements
Onsite services
HelpDesk support
System maintenance
Emergency services
Data recovery
Managed Services
24/7 system monitoring
Real-time notification
Automatic updates
Quickly fix problems
Alarming for critical events
System health reports
Follow up action plan
Data Backup Plans
Online combined with local or offsite storage
Easy to manage
Restore individual files or entire system
Safe and affordable

Your best defense for an IT disaster - Data Backup - Easy as 3-2-1

A good and complete backup of your computer systems is your first line of defense against data loss. Backups provide a defense from disasters of all types because you have a way to restore your data. Whether you administer your backups internally or hire a managed services company to manage for you, it is important to understand your options.

A backup strategy has to be robust enough to recover from disaster, but simple enough to give a reliable restoration from a known point-in-time. Protecting critical data is part of your business continuity plan. Simply put, your business continuity plan is how you would operate your business in the short and long term in the event of a disruption or disaster.

Here is our 3-2-1 strategy.  For the full article, please go to the LAN Systems Blog.

3: Keep three copies of critical data. Be sure to have three unique copies of any data that you want to protect stored in three different places, including bare metal images, databases or files of any type. Having your data stored in multiple locations is important because it lessens the risk that a disaster would destroy more than one copy of your data. For instance, the local storage on an internal hard drive, external disk, NAS, tape, DVD, flash drive and Cloud can all count toward your three copies. Preferably, store external disks or tapes offsite in a fire-proof location. Cloud backup has built in redundancy by the provider but should only be counted as one of your three copies. It is important that the data is under your control and easily accessible.

2: Have your data on two types of media. Today, this primarily means on media in two different locations. Because disks are so reliable and economical, they are the most common type of media used for small business backup. Even though tape backups are no longer used as widely in small business, it still has popularity in large environments. If you are backing up to the Cloud, it is likely to be saved to disk with tape archiving.

1: One copy must be offsite and offline. This is the critical copy that can be used to restore your system in case of a disaster where your IT resources are seriously compromised or destroyed. A tape or disk backup that's offsite at a remote location will meet this criteria. But remote, cloud-based backup will not, unless it is also an offline copy.

Missing from the steps is one specifically for verification. Testing your backup might be implied in the rule but I like to add a zero so there is no question that the backup will be tested.

Contact me for a free roadmap that you can use to evaluate or create a backup strategy for your company.