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Weighing the Pros and Cons of Local and Cloud-Based Backups

Utilizing the power of technology is essential for any business trying to gain the lion’s share of their market. While using technology can be beneficial, there are a variety of dangers lurking around in cyber-space.

Nearly 50 percent of all cyber-attacks target small businesses. Rather than losing all of your data due to a network crash or ransomware attack, you need to think about how to back up your data.

Working with IT support professionals is one of the best ways to find out more about your backup options. For the most part, most businesses use a mix of local and cloud-based backups to keep their data safe and accessible.

The following are some of the things you need to know about cloud-based and local backups.

The Lowdown on a Local Storage Backup

While most business owners have heard the term local backup thrown around, many of them really don’t know what this type of backup entails. In essence, a local backup requires you to manually hook an external hard drive or other external devices to your computers to backup the data. Before cloud-based backups were invented, local backups were widely used by businesses all over the country.

Most businesses choose to lock up the external hard drives and USB flash drives used for this purpose in a safe. Not only does this keep them safe from prying eyes, but it can also reduce the chance of internal employee theft as well.

The Advantages of Local Storage

The biggest advantage of local storage is the control it provides a business owner. Instead of worrying about whether or not a third-party is adequately backing up and protecting your data, you can do this job on your own.

Some business owners prefer local storage due to the increased security it provides. Once a flash drive or external hard drive is removed from your network, cyber-criminals won’t be able to access it.

The Disadvantages of Local Storage

While there are a number of benefits that come with local backups, there are a number of problems as well. One of the biggest problems businesses face with this type of backup is finding the space needed to house all of the information they need to store.

Most business owners fail to realize just how expensive external storage can be. If your business has to house large volumes of data, you will have to spend a lot of money to facilitate this storage.

The Cloud Storage Revolution

One of the most recent developments in the data storage industry is cloud-based backups. The cloud allows you to store all of your data without having to break the bank. Being able to store all of your data off-site comes with a number of advantages. However, you will have to spend some time finding the right cloud storage provider to work with.

The Pros of Using a Cloud Backup

If you are like most business owners, you have a pretty full schedule. Trying to add the responsibility of manually backing up data to your plate can lead to mistakes being made. This is why using a cloud-based backup is so beneficial. With this type of backup in place, the data on your network will automatically be backed up.

Another benefit that comes with a cloud-based backup is the fact that it makes information accessible. Any device connected to your network can access the data on the cloud with the click of a button.

The Cons of Cloud Backups

The only real disadvantage that comes with using a cloud backup is data security. If the cloud backup supplier you have chosen does not have proper security measures in place, it can lead to big problems. This is why you have to take your time to research each of the providers on the market before making a decision.

Conclusion

In order to gain the benefits of local storage and cloud backups while minimizing the downside, more and more companies are using a combination of both. This gives you the security you need with the accessibility you want. If you need help determining what data backup solution is right for you, contact us now.

7 Things You Should do Before You Contact IT Support

Something’s wrong with your computer, laptop, tablet or phone. It’s not an uncommon situation, with one study finding that the average employee loses a lot of time to IT-related issues. Whether it’s a mysterious error message, an intermittent blue screen, or routine freezing and hanging, the first instinct is to pick up the phone and call your IT support desk.

That is, of course, the right thing to do. Your IT help desk has the knowledge and skills to help resolve almost any IT-related issue… but before you make that call, there are some things you may wish to try that could help instantly resolve your problem, and which will, in any event, make the process of getting help for your problem faster and smoother.

Try basic troubleshooting

For many tech-related problems, there are a few steps you can take yourself that will resolve the vast majority of problems. Let’s start with one you’ve probably already heard of: turn your computer off and turn it back on again. It may sound basic, but it really does resolve a lot of problems – by some estimates more than half of reported IT-related issues can be resolved in this way.

If, on the other hand, a piece of hardware doesn’t seem to be working as it should (or if your computer appears completely unresponsive) it’s worth making sure it’s plugged in correctly. Ensure that it hasn’t been unplugged since last you used it and that all cables are firmly in place.

2

Run a Google search

For minor issues, a quick Google search can often work wonders. Some problems arise because you may accidentally have changed a setting or moved a vital file. A Google search for a description of your problem or any error message you’ve received can help resolve the problem instantly.

While this is a great solution to some problems, unless you’re able to find a simple and well-explained fix that you can fully understand, it’s still worth contacting IT support – it’s their job to monitor issues and maintain the health and efficiency of devices in your workplace. A Google search is only an appropriate way to tackle relatively minor errors.

3

Run a virus scan

Your computer should be equipped with anti-virus software. If you’re still able to, it’s a good idea to run a full scan of your system. You should have regular scans scheduled as part of routine maintenance, but running a scan when you encounter a problem can catch anything that has struck in the hours since the last scan.

Some anti-virus software will be able to quarantine and remove threats on its own. If it can’t, IT services will nonetheless find the information and logs it’s able to provide useful in neutralizing the threat.

4

Save error messages

By this point in the list you’ve run through some basic troubleshooting measures and your problem still hasn’t been resolved. It’s time to put in a call to your IT help desk. Before you do, however, there’s some information you can gather to help get your issue resolved quickly, and get back on track as soon as possible.

If you get an error message, for example, make a note of exactly what it says. Although it may sound like nonsense to you, many error messages contain a lot of information which an IT professional can use to help diagnose a problem.

5

Make a note of what happened

While your memory is still fresh, try to map out what lead to the issue. Were you updating something? Were you using a particular piece of software? Did you notice anything strange in the hours leading up to the issue, such as your device running slowly, or making system noises? The more information you’re able to provide, the easier it’ll be for the IT helpdesk to make a clean and clear diagnosis, and the quicker you’ll get to a solution.

6

Can you recreate the issue?

Does the problem occur on a regular basis? And if so, can you pinpoint what it is that makes it happen? Knowing that a problem occurs when you try to run a certain piece of software, or when you try to shut down your computer, for example, can really help narrow down the field of possible issues, and get you to a prompt solution.

7

What are you working with?

Finally, it’s extremely useful to know what machine, what operating system and what software you’re working with. Some devices have this printed on their casing, or on a sticker, while others will provide it under the heading of “About”. If you’re able to, make a note of this information before placing your call. Knowing how up to date the hardware and software can be instrumental in resolving IT issues.

Conclusion

It’s never fun having to deal with IT problems, but by following these steps you can resolve some simple issues for yourself, and ensure that when you do have to call your IT help desk, they can get you to a solution quickly and easily. With luck, you can be back at work within minutes rather than hours.

5 reasons to consider outsourced IT support

Deciding to outsource can be daunting. Perhaps you’re an SMB owner with limited resources. Maybe you’re aware of the benefits and advantages of contracting out to a specialized provider but don’t know where to start. Running an SMB means having to do several jobs at once. When it comes to your IT maintenance, you can maximize the efficiency of your workforce (and wallet) by looking at outsourced IT support.

When you use specialized IT support, you won’t need to worry about data backups, cybersecurity or infrastructure trends. You won’t have to spend time training staff on bug-fixing protocol.

If you’re on the fence and still deciding if outsourced IT support is for you, here are 5 ways it could boost your business:

You can reduce costs

Outsourcing IT to a specialized provider keeps your budget lower than employing an entire IT staff. The costs saving is especially true when you consider the costs of initial and regular training.

It can also get costly when you need to buy the right equipment for maintaining a well-functioning IT department. Not to mention having to all the bits and pieces required for hardware maintenance and repairs.

Paying a fixed cost with an IT company will save you from surprise expenditures and help you manage your annual operating costs.

You’ll enjoy 24/7 support and maintenance

Using the services outsourced IT support means there will always be an expert on the other side of an email or phone call who can help. To prevent loss of revenue and productivity, your IT support will recognize bugs before they’ve had the chance to affect your systems.

Instead of fixing a problem when it’s broken, it’s the IT company’s job to fix problems before you even notice them.

You have access to industry experts

In order to keep data secure, your business needs the newest technology and knowledge of industry experts. You (and your staff) will need stay up to date on relevant industry standards, which you may not have the time or resources for.

The security of your data is crucial. Luckily, it’s the outsourced IT support company’s responsibility to be well versed on cutting-edge technology. This allows you to focus on what’s important – running your business.

You can cut out the recruitment process

Recruiting new staff can be time-consuming, frustrating and challenging. Unless you’re an IT expert, it can also be extra tricky if you don’t know the exact specifications of the skills needed in a potential employee.

You run the risk of hiring people that don’t necessarily possess the right technical skill set and specialized knowledge. You might not have even defined the role according to what is really necessary.

Using the services of outsourced IT support can fix that problem for you.

You can let go of the steering wheel

As an SMB owner, management will always rank top on your list of fundamentals. But that doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself.

With outsourced IT support, you can rest easy knowing your IT efficiency, data and network security are in qualified, professional hands. With that peace of mind, you can be assured of better cost control, quality security practice and expertise while you run your business.