Redundancy

In computer jargon redundancy means having the same thing several times. Business owners shy away from doing this because it increases their costs. If you have a server, you will have two redundant servers. If you have Wi-Fi in your office you will have too many access points. If you are receiving internet you will have two, not one, internet providers, set up so that your network will automatically draw from both, or whichever one is still functioning.

The increase in your costs is not double. It might be 10% or 20% higher. Again, business owners object. Part of owning a business is controlling your costs, and the benefit to redundancy is almost invisible.

It’s almost invisible, that is, until your network crashes or you lose internet. Then the benefits of redundancy are enormous. A redundant server can save you two days in which your office operates as normal. Although not every failure is a server crash, they all share the characteristic that there is some loss of output from your business. Losing Wi-Fi access, one of the most minor failures you might encounter, reduces the productivity of your employees by some small increment. They may have to walk over to another part of your office to get working Wi-Fi, and send the files that they need to send over their cell connections. How much did that cost you, the minutes spent by several employees each day for the weeks it will take you to finalize the decision to replace the failed devices and get your IT company to replace them?

Because the output of your business is so much greater than the cost of your IT infrastructure that enables this productivity, the general rule is that past a certain size of office you should always be investing in redundancy. If your IT company hasn’t explained to you why, how this is better for your business, contact us. We’ll walk you through your options, which make sense and which don’t, and implement increased redundancy. The next time there’s a failure in your computer systems, you should be able to continue working with no loss of income.

Good Enough Security Isn’t Good Enough

Many offices put in place a modem and a firewall that connect to the internet, a switch in a network room to connect all of their computers, and then they are done. This setup works for some time, but it is not the best use of their computers.

This set up doesn’t offer the best protection against intrusion. The illusion is that if it is working, it’s about as good as it needs to be. A ransomware attack, a virus, data theft, anyone of these will demonstrate that you cannot measure good enough by what hasn’t happened on any particular day. You have to measure what is good enough by what is prevented from happening, and by this measure your simple firewall is probably not sufficient.

You need your computers updated and running an aggressive antivirus. You need your employees’ computers blocking any program that isn’t one that you have approved and that they’re supposed to be using. You need your employees not surfing virus filled sites. Because when their computer, and possibly the entire network, is infected by some crazy virus, they stop working but you do not stop paying them.

You can save money on an IT company. Maybe this money will make up for your losses when trouble strikes.

Because trouble will strike. Your computers are so central to your office that you can’t afford any down time in your computers. But downtime is what you will get.

Picture your office when your network has gone down and you can no longer work. Your entire office is working from the their cellular data connections, all of your computers have been infected, and the loss of productivity is equal to several years of our IT company bills.

Measure the value of your IT company not by what you spend on them, but by what you are not spending on network failures, viruses, and ransomware attacks. If you want this kind of protection, this kind of peace of mind, and this productivity insurance, call us.

Data Encryption

Should you use encryption? Yes you should – and you already do.

Most web traffic is already encrypted. Many websites, including those that process payments, encrypt their data when it is transmitted. This is good, but the website itself knows the data. Your data, and that of your customers and clients, is available to the website and therefore available to any malicious intruder with access to that website.

You should also use encryption within your network, if you enable it. Your data storage (your server, your cloud storage) as well as your data transmission to your storages can be encrypted. In some cases, such as medical offices subject to HIPAA, this is required by law.

When you are dealing with sensitive customer or client information, which is almost always, you may also choose to put in place encrypted transmission such as encrypted email. This is superior to relying on encryption used in transmission on the web because only you and the recipient can decrypt, that is read, the information.

Will encryption completely stop an intruder or a data thief? No. But in some cases it will, for example when a drive is stolen without the computer it’s resident on, and in other cases it will slow the attacker down – reduce but not eliminate their access to your data.

Ask us how to implement and increase encryption in your data transmissions and within your network. In most cases it is invisible to your operation and will not slow down your employees – encryption is an effective incremental security measure you should be taking.