Small Business Tag http://www.vbs-no.com/blog/latest Wed, 21 Aug 2019 17:45:03 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Disaster Recovery and Why it Matters to Louisiana Businesses http://www.vbs-no.com/blog/entry/disaster-recovery-and-why-it-matters-to-areaserved-businesses http://www.vbs-no.com/blog/entry/disaster-recovery-and-why-it-matters-to-areaserved-businesses When you mention the term 'disaster recovery,' most people think about the big ground-shattering events like earthquakes, fires, floods, tropical storms, etc. While these natural events are certainly disasters and devastating in their own right, smaller things can constitute as a disaster for your business, and they aren't seasonal.

Let's look at the definition of disaster.

dis·as·ter

A calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure.

To Virtual Business Solutions, a disaster is anything that involves a major loss of data or major downtime. When one of our clients experience a server malfunction that leaves most employees sitting idle unable to work, that is a disaster.

The Cost of a Disaster

Downtime is a very terrible expense to not try to avoid. Try this simple formula for yourself:

Number of Employees Affected by an IT Outage X Average Employee Hourly Cost (NOT WAGES)
+ Average Company Hourly Income X Percentage of Income Lost Due to the IT Outage

This simple formula will tell you about how expensive every hour of downtime is for your company. The hardest value in the formula is understanding the percentage of income lost. Not all companies might have a figure, but you will want to consider it as you do the math. This doesn't include the cost of repair, consultation, parts, or any of the remediation required to get things back up and running.

Disaster's Harbinger

Disaster can strike from any direction. Hard drives can go, data can be corrupted, hardware can fail, and networks can go down, and systems can become infected with viruses and malware. User error can cause disaster, as well as theft and other malevolent activity. While companies should take precautions to safeguard themselves against threats both external and internal, and managed maintenance can prevent a lot of foreboding issues, having a solid disaster recovery plan can mean faster turnaround when there is devastating downtime.

Employing a disaster recovery plan starts with the data - your most important IT asset. Computers can be replaced, hardware can be repurchased and software can be reinstalled. Your data is the culmination of countless hours of work by all of your employees ever. It's no wonder why most businesses that suffer a major data loss go out of business within the first year. You can lose your credibility, and things go into disarray. Data needs to be backed up.

Your backed up data should be archived regularly offsite. Most importantly, your backup solution needs to be easy to test, and tested regularly. You don't want to find out your backups are corrupted when it is too late.

The time to put together your company's disaster recovery solution is now. Contact Virtual Business Solutions at 504-840-9800 ext 105 to talk about solutions for safeguarding your data and your business in the event of a disaster, large or small.

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toliver@vbs-no.com (Tom Oliver) IT Blog Wed, 03 Apr 2013 15:42:00 +0000
5 Tips for Saving Money on your IT http://www.vbs-no.com/blog/entry/5-tips-for-saving-money-on-your-it http://www.vbs-no.com/blog/entry/5-tips-for-saving-money-on-your-it Saving a little on your technology can go a long ways, but cutting too many corners can lead to additional problems and expensive downtime. Here are a few ways you can cut costs without creating long term issues.

Don't be Afraid to Replace

Got an older PC that's causing you a lot of issues? Older technology is typically more expensive to run, and after a while, it's cheaper to simply buy a new desktop than it is to continue pouring money into something that always seems broken. It's a great time to buy workstations, and if things are tight you can even buy refurbished desktops to keep costs low.

Enforce Energy Efficiency

If you reduce the amount of energy your technology uses each day, your utility bill from the electric company will decrease as well. Switching to LCD monitors (if you are still using old CRT dinosaurs), and enforcing company-wide policies to turn off monitors or put workstations to sleep at night can make a big difference.

Stop Dealing with Vendors

You hired your employees to work, not sit on the phone with a PC manufacturer because your hard drive crashed. Businesses waste money by paying employees to go around in circles with vendor tech support all the time. IT firms like Virtual Business Solutions build relationships with vendors and are able to get things done faster. This means issues get resolved quickly and your employees don't need to deal with less-than-helpful support.

Stop Paying your Phone Bill

Yes, you heard us right. Cease paying your phone company by switching over to a VoIP solution instead. Small businesses save up to 80% on their telephone communication expenses, so the investment pays for itself quickly. Many VoIP systems allow your users to take their phone and use it anywhere, giving you increased flexibility and functionality.

Get Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance

Nearly all day-to-day IT issues can be completely prevented with just a little bit of maintenance. Virtual Business Solutions offers these services to our clients, reducing the amount of downtime they experience. Traditional computer support only fix computer issues when they arise. Virtual Business Solutions provides proactive monitoring and maintenance to ensure fewer issues plague your business.

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toliver@vbs-no.com (Tom Oliver) IT Blog Wed, 03 Apr 2013 15:41:00 +0000
Let's Talk Tablets http://www.vbs-no.com/blog/entry/22-lets-talk-tablets http://www.vbs-no.com/blog/entry/22-lets-talk-tablets Tablets are definitely becoming a staple in the consumer electronics world. For the longest time, the tablet PC was an expensive, clunky device that just didn't wow consumers. Some businesses had adopted tablets back in the day, but they were difficult to use, hard to support, and they simply didn't perform for the price tag. However, like many consumer electronics, Apple reinvigorated the tablet market with the original iPad, and now it would seem tablets are here to stay. The question is, are they right for businesses?

Tablet devices are very similar to modern day smart phones. In fact, in most cases, the apps you run on the phone usually translate to the apps ran on the tablet. You get the basics; email, web surfing, streaming video, calendar, note taking, and more, but the difference is you get all that on a larger device. Ask yourself if you would like that basic functionality that your smart phone gets with a larger playing field, and you'll have a pretty good inclination of you want to jump on the tablet bandwagon. However, the future of tablets is looking even more robust; Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is being built for both desktops and laptops and also tablets. This means you'll get the same OS you would run on a desktop PC on your handheld tablet. Although the hardware in a tablet isn't quite as beefy as what you'd find in a desktop, dual and quad-core CPUs and integrated graphics and generous amounts of memory are found in the cutting-edge devices, so expect tablets in the not-too-distant future to be major contenders to laptops as far as mobility and compatibility.

As for the tablets on the market now, there are plenty to choose from. Let's take a short look at a few of the leading contenders.

iPad 2

The Apple iPad established itself as the gold standard for tablets. The device is sleek, well designed, easy-to-use, and boasts a great set of features and capabilities. With it being the most popular tablet device, it also has the most apps developed for it. Remember, you can't just take software that works on your desktop and put in on a tablet; so you are limited to the apps available. Fortunately the Apple App market place is very extensive, and often enough when a developer makes software for tablets, they start with the iPad. The iPad2 starts at $499.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

The Galaxy Tab is essentially the iPad's closest rival. Instead of using Apple's iOS, the Galaxy Tab is powered by Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS. If you own and like your Android smart phone, you'll feel right at home with this tablet. Android's App marketplace is continually growing, and while it isn't as massive as Apple's, it's getting very close. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10,1 is also $499, although some carriers offer a 4G mobile version for a little bit more.

Amazon Kindle Fire

Amazon's foray into the tablet world is a little smaller than the 10 inch tablets mentioned so far. The 7-inch tablet is also cheaper at $199, and packs quite a bit of functionality using Amazon's multimedia ecosystem. The Kindle Fire lets you surf the web, read books, watch streaming videos, and more. Since the Kindle Fire has just come out, it's a little too early to decide if it has what it takes for business use, but the low price makes it very attractive for multimedia and ebooks.

Nook Tablet

Much like the Kindle Fire, the Nook isn't really built to perform. At $250, the tablet is more geared towards handling ebooks, email and other basic multimedia.

Toshiba Thrive

Not the prettiest tablet of the bunch, the 10 inch Thrive is thick and heavy. However, it supports a full USB port, HDMI and SD card slot, making it easier to connect with other devices. The Thrive runs Android, so email, web surfing, and basic productivity tools are easy to come by. The Thrive runs at about $379.

There are dozens of other great tablets out there; many of which are provided by mobile carriers such as Sprint, AT&T and Verizon. Be careful when shopping around; most of the time carriers want you to commit to the device for two years - a long time in an emerging market. Not sure what tablet would be a good fit for your business? Give us a call at 504-840-9800 ext 105 .

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toliver@vbs-no.com (Tom Oliver) IT Blog Wed, 03 Apr 2013 14:51:00 +0000