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The ABCs of a Business Continuity Plan

Image of replicated computer system to enable business continuity.

The ABCs of a Business Continuity Plan: How To Stay in Business After an Extended Outage

You’ve probably heard this sermon a million times, but we will keep harping on it until small business owners start taking the issue of business continuity and disaster recovery planning more seriously. Especially in this new era of daily reports of ransomware attacks.

Those in the trenches know the familiar drill: you get a call about a failed hard drive, a system that is down, a lost laptop, a folder encrypted by a former employee, or the worst, an inaccessible office. Of course the first statement you make is “no problem, we’ll just restore from backup“. That is until you see the guilty look on the client’s face and the reality hits you: there is no backup or if there is one, it is either not up to date or has never been verified.

Business continuity is about having a plan to deal with difficult situations, so your organization can continue to function with as little disruption as possible. (more…)

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Know Your Computer Network Before Hiring An IT Service Provider

Image of Computer Network Assessment ScanningDo You Know Your Computer Network? The often overlooked and sometimes taken for granted software and hardware that make things happen daily for your business or organization. The computers and laptops, servers and switches, firewalls, the power strip etc. How much of your computer network environment do you actually know?

First of all, it is a fact that the cost of doing business has made it a tough going for many small organizations. Therefore, as CEOs of small businesses and Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations are contemplating how to keep customers, employees and donors happy, a lot of offers are bound to be presented, all promising to save cost and provide I.T. nirvana.

For that reason, before you throw the doors open for service providers to come to your environment and start mucking around, it may be a good time to backup for a minute and take time to ask yourself these few questions:

Do you know what you have, in terms of computer network infrastructure?

  • Do you know your hardware and software?
    If the answer is no, maybe or not sure, start the documentation process now. You should know your network devices, operating systems and software programs.
  • Do you know the difference between a home router and an enterprise router?
    If you are using consumer brands like D-Link, Netgear, or Linksys routers to connect your commuter network devices, the answer is probably “No”.
    While such routers are great to connect home networks to the Internet, they are probably not the best option for most midsize businesses. Almost all of these types of routers do not have capabilities for enterprise grade management. Furthermore, they lack troubleshooting features, and for that reason, they have weak performance capabilities, reliability options, and above all, lack the protocols and modules required for most company networks.

(more…)

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Creating A Business Continuity Plan For Your Non-Profit

Is your Non-profit organization prepared for any type of disaster? Do you have a business continuity plan in place? A business continuity plan can be defined as a "roadmap for continuing operations under adverse conditions such as a storm or a crime". It usually covers any event that could impact operations, and cause interruption, loss of or damage to critical infrastructure like major machinery or computing/network resource. Non-profit organizations may not have as many employees or as much equipment, but they are still as vulnerable to disasters as large corporations…

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The Distribute IT Fiasco: Risk Management Done Wrong

“It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change” – Charles Darwin.

In today’s business world, where organizations face ever-escalating customer demands and expectations and little room for downtime, logic dictates that businesses today are seriously revamping their business continuity and risk management plans, or developing one if they did not have any.

This is even more pertinent given what we have witnessed in recent months in the areas of data breaches, hack attempts and the underground “war” being waged in cyberspace that has put most of the world’s powerful organizations on the defensive. (more…)

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The iCloud and Another Cry of The Death of Windows

Apple has thrown its hat into the cloud “gold rush” ring and all of a sudden, we have started hearing the old but boring cries of the death of Windows. A lot of noise is being made about Steve Jobs’ statement that “We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device – just like an iPad, an iPhone or an iPod Touch. We’re going to move the hub of your digital life to the cloud”

Linux tried it, it did not work, Google has taken its shot, Apple has been at it for decades with no luck. And it actually abandoned that fight. It is 2011 and the world still runs on Microsoft Windows with a dose of UNIX/Linux helpings. The problem here is that people seem too fixated on the result of user access rather than the origin of such access. Yes, we have the cloud, yes, almost everyone has an isomething, but at the end of the day, many of us will still plug our ithingy into our computers to sync or do whatever, and we will still access that “cloud” with a “PC”. And the last time I checked, the “PC” was still overwhelmingly running Windows. (more…)

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Breaching the Bastille: When Security Vendors Get Hacked

The recent rash of exposures about successful attacks against information security vendors may come as no surprise to a lot of people in the information security world who probably see or hear about it frequently, but it will surely come as “shocking” to most “ordinary” folks.

HBGary, RSA, Comodo and Barracuda Networks are the latest of high-profile security vendors to be breached. As a quick refresher, EMC’s RSA group disclosed that someone had broken into its networks and obtained information that could compromise its SecurID products. (more…)

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