For such an important thing, disaster recovery is sometimes treated as an after-thought. Businesses might think “of course everything will be ok and we don’t have to ever worry about losing data or I.T. downtime”… or do they? A survey conducted by CA Technologies found that IT downtime is costing companies $26.5 billion annually across Europe and North America. Perhaps this shows that a lot of companies aren’t prepared for losing data and downtime.
Some of the most common disasters that every businesses should be aware of and planning for are:
- Vandalism or theft of property.
- Power outages, hardware failures and network crashes.
- Network attacks, malware infections and data breaches.
- User errors – lost files, accidental deletions, improper shutdowns and data corruption.
- Civil disruptions – disgruntled employees, strikes and legal issues.
How can you help your clients manage these risks and recover from a difficult situation? First, they need to build a disaster recovery plan and include these 3 points to safeguard their businesses and livelihoods:
- Be prepared – ask your client to think about the potential disasters and risks to their businesses. This could range from user error to viruses downloaded by employees. Clients should assign roles to employees for different parts of the disaster recovery plan, to ensure that everything is covered if the worst happens. For example, who will contact the customers about a loss of data?
Don’t forget that MSPs can really show their expertise (and earn their money!) by advising companies on which applications and services should be restored first, second etc. Advise your clients on which functions are the most valuable to their business and will get them back online quickly.
- Mitigation – Internet security software that protects against malware, hackers and network-based attacks will help to protect client networks from a range of threats. MSPs can also deliver solutions that give clients extra piece of mind by making sure the data is backed up locally and at an off-site location.
- Action – Remember the roles we talked about assigning above? This is when clients will need to ensure that anyone assigned to a role acts quickly to troubleshoot any issues if a disaster happens. Also, make your clients aware that they should move data to webmail or DNS servers located offsite, until the original servers are restored.
Giving your clients this advice and support will help to build their disaster recovery plans and show the value you add to their business as an MSP.
Want to know more about disaster recovery and data backup? Visit our website for more information about StorageCraft, a suite of backup and disaster recovery solutions.
Microsoft has started to warn users about the upcoming end of support for a number of its popular products, including Windows 7.
What does end of support really mean? When Microsoft say this, they mean there will be no more fixes or patches (paid or free, security or non-security) for specific products. So the end, really does mean the end.
Which products will be affected?
Mainstream support will end for Windows 7 (Enterprise, Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate and Starter editions) on 13 January 2015. Extended support for Windows 7 will last until 14 January 2020, so users will continue to receive free security updates but not feature updates. Some industry experts are saying that Microsoft might continue with Windows 7 support, in the same way that it did with Windows XP. On that point we’ll have to wait and see…
Mainstream support will also end for the following:
- Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 and editions of Windows Storage Server 2008 – ends 13 January 2015
- Dynamics C5 2010, Nav 2009, NAV 2009 R2 – ends 13 January 2015
- Windows Server 2003 - ends 14 July 2015
- Office 2010 –Service Pack 1 – ends 14 October 2014
- SharePoint 2010 with SP1 – ends 14 October 2014
What’s the Microsoft advice for customers?
Microsoft are advising “Customers should migrate to the next available Service Pack to continue receiving security updates and be eligible for other support options”.
Need more information? Visit the Microsoft support page for all of the end of support dates.
Following on from the introduction of its European Headquarters in Cork, StorageCraft announced the launch of their new European Partner Program.
The Program is designed to help MSPs and resellers grow their businesses by providing the tools and support to help them generate new opportunities and increase profitability. There are 3 levels available – Platinum, Gold and Silver and the benefits of the program are:
• A dedicated account manager
• Sales training tools
• Marketing materials
• StorageCraft technical resources
• Lead sharing
• Pre-sales support
• Marketing and sales collateral
• Marketing development funds (MDF)
• NFR software
• Competitive upgrade pricing
Interested in joining the program?
All you have to do is login to http://partners.storagecraft.eu
If you have any queries, please contact our product specialists on 0118 9898 222.
Our latest video is a good look at how DataFortress helps MSPs and resellers do any cloud backup and data recovery quickly. Watch the video and if you have any other questions, contact one of our product specialists on 0118 9898 222. You can also find more information on the DataFortress website.
In case you missed our latest news, AppRiver, a leading provider of email messaging and Websecurity solutions, confirmed we are its first UK distributor. We're going to add all AppRiver’s products to our portfolio – including Office365 Plus and Secure Hosted Exchange, all with the additional flexibility afforded from monthly billing - a deviation to yearly contracts imposed by many other vendors. The partnership is already yielding results with two of our customers currently trialling Office365 Plus.
Our Director and co-founder Mark Charleton commented:
“We’re extremely excited by the opportunities this partnership opens up to us, not least a customer waiting to trial one of AppRiver’s services before the ink was even dry on our agreement. With almost 20 years’ experience and seeing a lot of change in a competitive industry, we recognise the value of supporting MSPs and resellers in creating and building profitable I.T. businesses.
Our transition from box shifters to a value add distributor means we focus on working with vendors who are committed to the channel and delivering viable solutions to SMBs. AppRiver is the perfect fit for us and its products will be a key addition to our portfolio, where we’re seeing demand, particularly for email security, encryption and hosted exchange. Add to that the flexibility of offering monthly commitments instead of annual contracts, combined with its ‘phenomenal care’ package, and we’ve two great differentiators that we know will be a winning combination.”
AppRiver offers its partners a management console, designed with the two tiers needed – a portal where Blue Solutions can log in and create its partners, and then a separate portal where resellers log in and create end users. Both can be branded accordingly.
Other AppRiver Partner benefits include:
- Recurring revenue in the rapidly growing market for email hosting and security solutions.
- No set-up fees, up-front investments, certifications or minimum revenue requirements.
- Affordable per-user, pay-as-you-go services that give greater flexibility and more control without hidden charges under the surface.
- AppRiver’s Phenomenal Care™, 24/7 support to help customers navigate smoothly through any issues that arise.
- Access to AppRiver University – its ongoing training and professional development program, offering regular webinars to keep partners up to date on the latest services release and upgrades.
We'll be bringing you more updates on the AppRiver, Office 365 and Hosted Exchange product suites. Our product specialists are available on 0118 9898 222 to help with any questions.
As a managed service provider (MSP), one of your goals is to help your clients get the highest return on their technology investment.
Just like your clients, you should also invest time improving your own technology solutions to increase your own returns. One way to do this is with automation.
Here are three more reasons automation is so important.
1- Expert experience in a script Most MSPs have an in-house expert who is the go-to person for problems no one else can solve. Yet the solutions to these problems often have common troubleshooting steps. Invest time to document the steps taken to resolve common problems and automate potential fixes with a script. This will allow every technician to apply expert knowledge… without having to be an expert!
2- Standardized client installations Following a common computer on-boarding process with a script allows you to deploy tools in a consistent manner and ensure your client environments are set up according to your defined standards every time.
3- Improved customer service Rather than tell you, here’s an example to show you how automation can improve your customer service levels. Take the example of a medical practice using an electronic medical records (EMR) application based on a MS-SQL database to run their practice. The database has been giving the client problems, randomly stopping during the week and bringing the office to a halt. Instead of waiting for the next failure, build automation into your RMM platform to watch for, document and resolve issues for you.
For example, using LabTech you would: Create a monitor on the server that checks the MS-SQL service every 30 seconds If the database service fails, have the monitor run the LabTech Ignite® ‘Monitor Restart Service’ script, which will:
- Open a trouble ticket to document the service failure
- Attempt to restart the service
- If the service is restarted, closes the ticket and saves a record for reporting and future follow-up
- If the service is not restarted, escalates the ticket to a technician to research and resolve the issue
This automation will either resolve the issue with minimal downtime or if it can’t resolve the problem, you’ll get notification so you’re not only aware of the problem, but you’re already working on a resolution before the client can even call to report the issue.
To find out more about LabTech's RMM solution visit our website or contact our product specialists on 0118 9898 222