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A Disaster Close to Home

Wednesday, September 09, 2015
A few weeks ago in Coopersville, a construction worker in a backhoe hit a low power line which wrapped around another line above it causing a power outage to several grids in the surrounding area. Thankfully, there were no injuries from this accident but it did cause major backfeeding throughout most of Randall Street, including IT Resource.

The backfeed eventually led to the overheating of two transformers next to our building. One transformer was so hot we couldn’t even get near it and the other began smoking. Quickly after this realization, we called the Coopersville Fire Department and then Consumers Energy. Once everyone arrived, the power was cut to IT Resource and the surrounding buildings. The transformers were able to cool down, and were eventually replaced.

Many surrounding businesses including gas stations, restaurants, shops, and medical offices had no choice but to shut down during this time. Fortunately for IT Resource, our systems and data center remained unaffected. Because of our built in power redundancy, the office and data center continued to operate flawlessly with uninterrupted internet connections in and out of the data center.

This proves that disaster can strike anyone at any time. If the right tools and business continuity solutions are implemented, downtime can be reduced or eliminated. It was a hectic day at the office but at least we had piece of mind knowing that our systems and data center will continue to operate.

Now Offering 24/7 Emergency Tech Support

Monday, June 15, 2015
We understand that IT problems don’t always happen during normal business hours and that's why we offer the option of around-the-clock support to our customers. Our 24/7 emergency support service gives businesses peace of mind, knowing that no matter what day or time it is, they can receive support with guaranteed response times and reduced after-hours rates.

Many of our customers already know that after-hours support is something we have always made great efforts to do, but this service gives us and the customer clearly defined guidelines to follow, should an emergency occur. It holds us accountable and the customer knows exactly what to expect.

The 24/7 emergency support agreement is available for $300 per month and entitles the customer to a 2 hour Service-Level-Agreement (SLA), at $185 per hour with a minimum 1 hour commitment. The support line is staffed entirely by IT Resource employees living in Michigan, the same folks that you’re already familiar working with. The only prerequisite to signing up for this service is that you must have a Remote Monitoring and Reporting (RMR) Agreement. This is required so that we can troubleshoot in a timely manner and avoid any delays.

The emergency support service agreement does not apply to, nor is it required, for scheduled after hours time & materials and project service work.

Please let us know if you have any questions and check out our 24/7 emergency support data sheet here. We are excited to offer this additional level of support and guaranteed service. If you are interested in this service contact us or call 616.837.6930.

A Discussion About Security Compliance and Risk With West Michigan Cisco Users Group

Monday, April 13, 2015
You’re invited to be our guest at The West Michigan Cisco Users Group (WMCUG) event on security compliance and risk. The panel discussion, which takes place on Wednesday, April 29 at 5:30 will feature Gary Lutz, Senior Partner at IT Resource, along with other local IT leaders. Panel discussions always draw large crowds so make sure you RSVP - you won’t want to miss this one!

We’re also sponsoring this event and we would love to see familiar faces attend for a great discussion and dinner following. The event is held at Davenport University in the Sneden Hall Meeting Room, registration is at 5:30p and the panel discussion starts at 6:00p. Please remember to register in advance to ensure a seat and to give the organizers accurate food counts. Parking is free but you will need to print out a pass here. We look forward to seeing you!

Advanced Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity News

Friday, April 10, 2015
Are you sure your data is being backed up securely and correctly at all times? With advancements in technology taking place all the time its important to keep up with trends and be on top of the latest security products. We’re excited to announce that a member of our technical team, Greg Lundeberg, has successfully completed the Datto Advanced Certification Training. During his two day training seminar in Chicago, he expanded his knowledge base with hands-on and state-of-the-art training for functions associated with Linux, ZFS, troubleshooting customer devices and local virtualization troubleshooting. With Datto’s robust and ever-evolving products, we make it a point to keep our staff trained on the latest solutions and technologies. With another certified and knowledgeable technician in-house, our clients will continue to have peace of mind knowing that their data is being backed up securely and correctly at all times.

Earlier this week Datto announced the expansion of its award-winning SIRIS 2 Enterprise line that’s now available in 40TB, 50TB, and 60TB units, designed to meet the demands of growing data. This device delivers the most aggressive recovery time objective (RTO) of any backup on the market. If you’re interested in a Datto Business Continuity solution give us a call today and we can discuss your options.

Don’t forget to download our Datto case study to learn about how one of our customers’ disaster recovery plan got put to the test shortly after we implemented it!

24/7 Emergency Technology Support Now Available

Monday, December 08, 2014
Disasters don't always work the 9-5 shift and you can't see them coming. If you receive a call that your building has encountered a disaster after hours, if you're up late preparing for a big presentation the next morning only to find that you're printer won't work, or you discover a network failure over the weekend, we're here to help.

We're excited to share that beginning January 1, 2015 we will offer and staff 24/7 Emergency Support Services. Based on a recent customer survey, responses indicated that this was a service you would like to see made available, so we are happy to oblige. 

Taking care of our customers after hours is something we have always made great efforts to do, but this new service gives both you, and our engineers guidelines as to what you can expect, should an emergency arrive. For a monthly investment of $300, the ITR 24/7 Emergency Support Service will have a 2 hour Service-Level-Agreement (SLA), at $185 per hour with a minimum 1 hour commitment. Should customers choose not to invest in a monthly ITR 24/7 Emergency Support Service Agreement, we will still provide Emergency Support. However, customers can expect Best Effort Response with no SLA, at $280 per hour with a minimum 2 hour commitment.

As our customers’ businesses have grown, the demand for Information Technology up-time and availability is becoming even more critical. We are now proactively staffing with the same engineers you are comfortable working with on a day-to-day basis and guaranteeing response times in the event you have a need for Emergency Support. The ITR 24/7 Emergency Support Service Agreement does not apply to, nor is it required, for scheduled After Hours Time & Materials and Project service work.

Please let us know if you have any questions. We are excited to offer this additional level of support and guaranteed service. If you are interested in this investment, contact us today via email or at 616.837.6930.

Backup and Disaster Recovery Lunch and Learn

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

 What would happen if you lost all your data?

It’s not a question of IF, but WHEN. Downtime, human error, server failure, disasters and security breaches leave small to midsize businesses at a greater risk, and more susceptible to IT failure. With fewer resources available to prevent a data loss and combat the outage, the odds of a profitable comeback after a failure are not on your side.

Join us for a lunch and learn
We'll be discussing the benefits of Intelligent Business Continuity – a more reliable backup service that is less expensive - versus Traditional Backup methods.

Wednesday, October 15 from 11:30-1 at Bistro Bella Vita, where lunch will be provided. PLUS, registrants can bring their business cards for a chance to win a free Fitbit!

Bistro Bella Vita is located at 44 Grandville, downtown Grand Rapids. If you have any questions, contact Kim at 616.837.6930 or via email.

Traditional Backup vs. Intelligent Business Continuity

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It wasn’t too long ago the safe and traditional backup strategy was to save all your information on a tape backup. At the end of the day, someone would have to remember to pop the tape out of the drive, label it, place it in a secure carrying case and remember to take it home or to another offsite location. In the unfortunate instance that something happens during the night, all your data is safe and sound on the back up tape. Or is it? If you're still operating this way it is time to look at moving to a more cost effective and efficient solution. 

Traditional backup methods such as tape, disk, and strict Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices are no longer sufficient. In fact, more business owners are finding them unacceptable to meet their business continuity requirements. Technological innovations have set a new solution standard: Intelligent Business Continuity, going beyond data protection; delivering automated assurance, continuous protection, secured storage, and instant recovery.

The differences between traditional backup and intelligent business continuity are many, and it's worth looking into if you're still using traditional backup methods.

Can take weeks to recover data after a disaster Downtime after a disaster is reduced to hours, minutes, or seconds
Risk for human error: 60% of on-site disasters are due to human error Full automation backup —very little manual management required
Difficult to test if a backup is working properly Automated screenshots are taken and reported to ensure each backup was successful and can be booted anytime
Time consuming and expensive to make copies of backups or to store backups in multiple locations Each backup is saved in multiple locations: local appliance and bi-coastal data centers
Backup speeds are slower Quick and efficient transferring of files to off-site data centers
Physical to virtual conversions can be time consuming and have a high failure rate Incremental backups can be instantly virtualized, rather than the entire backup chain
No redundant backups in multiple locations, leaving high risk for original backup systems to be destroyed Eliminates downtime in the event of a disaster by allowing your business to run off the secure cloud
Limited options for encrypting data, may not pass industry regulations (i.e., HIPAA, SOX) AES 256 and SSL key-based encryption ensures data is safe and meets industry regulations (ie. HIPAA, SOX)
 When recovering data, tape failure rates exceed 50% Minimal risk of corrupted backups or data loss
 Potential for theft of loss of media Off-site backups stored in SSAE 16 data centers

IT Resource partners with Datto, an industry leader in backup, recovery, and business continuity. The facts are startling when it comes to data recovery. In fact, 70% of businesses that suffer a serious data loss are out of business in two years. Odds like that are not in your favor. Don't let another day go by with an inferior data backup and business continuity plan. We can assess your current situation to make sure all your bases are covered. Contact us at 616.837.6930 or via email.

Save Big On Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Thursday, January 16, 2014

If you're in the market for a new business continuity and disaster recovery device, now is the time to act! Datto is offering significant savings on SIRIS products purchased now through January 31, 2014.

Turn in an existing BDR device (Symantec, Zenith, etc.) and receive:

  • 15% off any size Datto SIRIS with the purchase of a one year signed service contract
  • 20% off any size Datto SIRIS with the purchase of a two year signed service contract
  • 30% off any size Datto SIRIS with the purchase of a three year signed service contract

To learn more about this promotion, or to place an order, contact the sales team at IT Resource today. Remember, this promotion only runs through January 31, 2014, so you'll want to act now.

Disaster Recovery Warranty Programs

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Networks are the lifelines that connect your customers to goods and services, and the effects of downtime can be significant, decreasing productivity, eroding customer confidence, and losing revenue.

What is a Cisco SMARTnet?
A Cisco SMARTnet is a warranty program that supplements a Cisco purchase. It provides hardware replacements for the duration of a renewable contract. It also gives an organization’s IT staff 24-7 access to specialized assistance, automated troubleshooting, and authorized entry to online resources – including technical documents and support communities. A SMARTnet will increase business efficiency, maximize business continuity, and implement disaster recovery protocols. 
Hardware Coverage
The SMARTnet hardware warranty offers a variety of options based on specific business needs. Hardware replacement can be available by 5p.m. the next business day or even the same day, within 2 hours with the 24x7x2 hour plan. This option is ideal for a business that cannot afford to be inoperable for more than a couple hours. The coverage also offers a Return for Repair option and an On-Site option where a Cisco engineer will travel on-site to troubleshoot and resolve an issue.

Certified and Professional Assistance
A SMARTnet provides free certified IT assistance by directly connecting its users to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) through e-mail, phone, web collaboration, or face to face. TAC can be directly accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days. The professionals at TAC are experienced and make it simple to submit a service request, track the issue, and have it resolved. 

Preemptive Diagnoses and Automatic Software Updates
The SMARTnet program provides alerts and identifies issues in real time on Cisco devices. These issues are detected and dealt with by Cisco engineers before it affects business operations. This will maximize business continuity and help prevent disasters. Operating system software updates will also be available free of charge as they are released.

To learn about all of the SMARTnet features and pricing, please contact Sales at 616.837.6930.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How long would your business survive without access to your network, phones, email, or internet? You may think it will never happen to you, and many businesses play the odds. However, we get calls from customers whose facilities have been struck by lightning more often than you may think. Things happen. Lightning strikes, flooding or a fire takes out your server room, and of course we can't forget human error.

The focus of business continuity is making sure all your critical applications stay up and running in the event of a disaster. The first thing to understand is that business continuity is not disaster recovery, and it is not something that should be implemented at the time of the disaster. Business continuity is the planning and implementation of a system that ensures all critical business functions will be available to customers, suppliers, and of course, employees, whenever the need arises. The proper system can include a number of essential activities such as project management, system backups, communication systems, and your help desk. Business continuity includes activities performed daily to maintain service, consistency, and recoverability.

In order to determine the appropriate protocol for your business, you first have to determine how long your business can function without your critical applications, then we will work to determine a solution. If you are a medical facility, such as a hospital, you wouldn't be able to last long at all. However, if you don't rely as heavily on critical business applications, you may be able to last a day or longer.

Common Barriers to Business Continuity Solutions
When we work with customers to develop their business continuity plan, we often discuss various hurdles with them, as this often helps us determine what level to approach their plan. Some common issues we see in businesses include:

  1. Business owners and management may not realize their systems are at risk, or if they do, to what extent
  2. Technical staff may not have the knowledge to implement and maintain true disaster recovery and business continuity solutions
  3. The cost to implement disaster recovery and business continuity solutions in-house may be very high
  4. There are often misperceptions of what disaster recovery and business continuity really are

What are the Ultimate Goals for Business Continuity?
The obvious goal is to continue with a seamless work flow, despite the disaster. However, going beyond that we want to ensure that: 

  1. There is no single point of failure that causes a major system or technology outage
  2. There is an assurance of system uptimes
  3. There is secure protection of information and data even in the event of loss of systems or entire buildings
  4. The system is predictable and testable
  5. There is little to no loss of business revenue due to system outage

Achieving Business Continuity In The Cloud
Cloud based solutions are quickly becoming the standard for business continuity systems. You'll want to consider moving essential services to the cloud, including email, voice, data backup and off-site replication, web, and critical applications.

The steps to a successful solution include:
  1. Identifying your critical business systems and rank them by importance
  2. Assessing your current backdrop and disaster recovery solutions for each critical system
  3. Implementing virtualization solutions
  4. Investing in high-quality, high-speed and redundant internet connections
  5. Migrating critical business services to cloud-based providers
  6. Scheduling and testing failover and failback procedures

You don't want to wait for a disaster to happen before you begin thinking about a business continuity plan. We've seen unfortunate circumstances where businesses were hit with a disaster and were not able to recover in a timely manner because proper plans were not in place. By engaging an IT partner you can ensure that your systems will be taken care of in the event of a disaster, and that minimal downtime will occur. If this is something you would like to take a closer look at, our staff would be happy to discuss your business continuity plans with you. Don't wait until it's too late.