Everything You Need To Know About Enterprise Archiving

Written by Bruce McKnight on . Posted in S2D Blog

Enterprise archiving is an offsite archiving service for data contained in enterprise applications. An enterprise archive has two main jobs: preserving data for years, even in the case of disasters, and making it easy to retrieve specific data on demand.

Enterprise Archiving

Why is Enterprise Archiving Needed?

Companies amass huge amounts of legacy data, often including data that has no remaining profitable use. Due to legal restrictions, companies often cannot delete some documents among this data, such as medical and financial records. This causes enterprise applications to become swamped with useless legacy data, filling up data centers and cluttering up directories. It is usually much cheaper and more efficient to dump this data into an archive.

Enterprise applications are often used by vastly different departments with vastly different styles of organizing and presenting data. As a result, the applications amass huge amounts of data in various structured and unstructured forms, indexed in a variety of ways, and stored in a variety of formats. Storing and indexing this data requires the particular data storage solutions provided by enterprise archiving.

Key Enterprise Archiving Features

An enterprise archiving solution has the following solutions:

  • Scalability. Enterprise applications generate immense amount of data, at often unreliable speeds. Scalable archiving solutions allow for constant efficient increases to storage capacity, no matter how quickly or slowly your legacy data is growing.
  • Mandate Compliance. An enterprise application needs to meet mandated standards for auditability and immutability. This backup must be above all legal challenge and doubt.
  • Application Compatibility. The archive should be tailored to allow for easy transfer to and from the application.
  • Long-Term Dependability. Using redundancies and advanced archiving techniques, an enterprise archiving service should be able to ensure decades of perfect data fidelity.
  • Lower Cost than Application Storage. Even with all of the above features, it is difficult for any company to commit to a storage solution that costs more than storing data on their own servers.

How Enterprise Archiving Works

Enterprise archiving avoids issues with different formats and structures by converting all data to a universal markup format, typically xml. This allows all data to be retrieved and viewed through the same search function. If organized correctly, an enterprise archive should allow any piece of data should be accessible in less than two seconds of searching.

Who to Choose for Enterprise Archiving

The best vendors for enterprise archiving offer turnkey solutions that are ready to use with no additional training, IT integration, or additional work on your end. For more information, contact our Stage2Data team today.

5 Things You Should Include In Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Written by Bruce McKnight on . Posted in S2D Blog

Disasters strike IT infrastructure hard and can cause massive amounts of downtime and data loss.

Must Haves Disaster Recovery Plan

Most disaster recovery strategies focus on general attempts to rebuild the network of vendors and distributors, but leave out specific plans to restore the company technology. Don’t make this mistake. When designing your plan, do not overlook the following elements:

  1. Knowing Who Is In Charge
  2. The first step of the disaster recovery plan, before even declaring a disaster, is to establish the team responsible for implementing the plan. Do not rely on any specific managerial positions, as they could be left vacant in disaster conditions. Instead, develop a protocol for selecting disaster leadership.

  3. Plan to Rebuild Technology Without the IT Team
  4. Everyone loves their IT people, and everyone trusts them to rebuild the infrastructure in case of a disaster. This trust helps things run smoothly when not in a disaster situation, but it also leads to blind spots in disaster recovery plans.

    Consider the following questions: if any one member of the IT staff needs to leave in a disaster situation, can you bring the system back up? What if all the IT staff need to leave? How fast could new staff learn about your system entirely through the documentation?

    Most managers don’t know the answers to these questions. But when designing a recovery plan, you should. There should be a step-by-step process to establishing an IT chain of command, finding the documentation, training new staff, and re-establishing uptime.

  5. Full Testing of the Plan
  6. Everyone tests their financial data backups to make sure they work, but they might not be immediately useful if your software backups, tech restoration protocols, and emergency training fail. Test the entire plan from start to finish to find out how long until your infrastructure comes back up.

  7. Multi-Pronged Communication Plans
  8. Companies tend to neglect communications, and disaster planning is no exception. If your system is down then email, company phones, internal chat, and other means of communication are often compromised as well. Set up alternative means, like mass texts to mobile phones, emergency 1-800 lines, and more. Make it possible for all employees to find out what’s going on and how to get in contact with the disaster leaders. Inform employees before disasters how disaster recovery communications will work.

  9. Establish Cost-Effective Redundancies
  10. There are a few redundancies that will massively help you, like redundant site servers and data centers, but except for extremely large companies, these can be prohibitive. However, they can also be shared. Since it is unlikely that your company and another in a separate city will be in disaster recovery at the same time, you and a separate company can share redundant servers without worrying about overloading the bandwidth. Consider saving money where you can- it frees up resources for additional disaster recovery measures.

For more, check out the resources available through Stage2Data today.

Best Practices to Create a Backup Strategy for Your Business

Written by Bruce McKnight on . Posted in S2D Blog

It’s vitally important that your organization keeps all critical data backed up. The smallest, most insignificant human error or unforeseen event could potentially lead to a catastrophic loss of data. Incidents such as:

  • Virus infection due to poor protection;
  • Loss of physical storage devices;
  • Destruction of property;
  • Data corruption;
  • Deterioration of storage media,

Could all have serious financial ramifications for your company. These are the things you need to think about whilst working on your backup strategy:

Are your staff all on the same page?

Before implementing any type of strategy, hold a staff meeting. In big companies, it’s easy for even the most essential data to have slipped through the cracks, with only a handful of people knowing how to access it. Make sure everyone knows how sensitive data is handled within the company, and double-check that no staff members are using generic passwords.

Follow the 3-2-1 rule

The 3-2-1 rule is: always make three copies of your data, store them on two different types of media, and keep one copy offsite at all times. You should be storing on two types of media because if one device becomes prone to viruses, deterioration, or other common factors, it’s likely the other one will be too.

You should be storing one offsite in case a robbery or fire puts every other device out of action. This is where cloud services become essential parts of every business.

Look into cloud storage

Cloud storage can be a lot cheaper and easier than making physical backups. And you don’t have to fear hackers getting into your data, either – many cloud storage providers have extraordinarily high grade encryption installed to prevent any loss of privacy.

Don’t rely on physical, offline media

DVDs, USB backups, and other forms of physical media can seem convenient, but they have some of the highest levels of human error possibilities in any form of storage. Water damage, physical trauma and even simply misplacing them are all dangers that can leave you at risk of losing your valuable content. While you may want to keep non-confidential documents on USBs for ease, this shouldn’t be considered a backup tactic.

Test your strategy as often as possible

Don’t wait for a disaster to actually take place before you realise there are flaws in the system. A hard drive could have failed, or simple human error could have put paid to all your hard work. Get all your staff together and rehearse possible data-loss scenarios to ensure everything is running smoothly.

If you’re looking to integrate a strong strategy within your company, contact our team today to see how we can help.

Benefits of Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery Services

Written by Bruce McKnight on . Posted in S2D Blog

Lost data can potentially spell disaster for a company. That’s why it’s important to look into our cloud-based disaster recovery solution – the benefits far outweigh any cost involved, and it could save your company a lot of money in the long run.

What are the risks of traditional backup devices?

Storage devices such as flash drives can easily be lost or damaged. No matter how much money your company shells out for high-quality backup devices, anything from a power outage to an earthquake could result in a mass loss of data – and possible financial disaster. Even simple human error could result in important files being lost, but the use of cloud backup can reduce that risk considerably.

Vitally, cloud backup solutions such as Stage2Data also offer greater encryption measures to reduce the risk of a security breach.

How safe is my data in the Cloud?

High-profile cases in the media have lead people to fear that their data backed up on the Cloud is not safe. In truth, it is usually weak passwords implemented by the user that lead to hackers finding personal data. A good company should brief all staff about the importance of choosing a strong password, and if possible change them all every week or even every day.

However, a good Cloud solution provider will make your data completely hacker-proof. All Stage2Data backups have military grade encryption installed to ensure no-one gets in, so even your most sensitive documents can be safely stored and shared with those necessary without worry.

What happens in the case of a disaster?

Stage2Data Remote Disaster Recovery takes care of everything. We use your company’s existing infrastructure to recreate your server in the cloud. If a disaster takes place, simply call Stage2Data to arrange a recreation of the system. Your data will remain intact whilst our DR experts work with you to resolve the problem.

This service is very easy to install, and very user-friendly.

Can my company afford Cloud services?

When you’re going with a reputable company, the investment is always worth the cost.

Cloud storage can actually reduce your company’s outgoings considerably. The maintenance costs associated with data storage will go down, as will your bandwidth costs. Stage2Data completes all backups overnight, so during business hours your bandwidth won’t be affected, and you pay only for the data that you need protected.

Cloud storage can also help your company reduce its carbon footprint – using the cloud for data storage is much more environmentally friendly than using computers and physical storage devices. Ultimately, it could save your company money on energy bills too.

If you’re looking to add safety to your document storage, talk to our team today!

Benefits Of Having a Paperless Office

Written by Bruce McKnight on . Posted in S2D Blog

While it might be difficult at first to transition your office to paperless from paper-based, the benefits will make the switch worthwhile.

Paperless Office Benefits

Yes, going paperless will help you to cut down on the waste of natural resources, but the environment isn’t where the benefits end. In fact, you’ll find that a paperless office can be good for your entire business in general!

Storage made easy

One of the chief benefits of a paperless office is that it makes storage easier. With a paper-based office, you’ll eventually find yourself with shelves or boxes filled with paper documents. You’ll not only have to sort through multiple documents to find what you want, but also have to find a place to store your growing collection of files.

However, a paperless office with a digital document management solution installed will help you to easily store your documents. All you’ll need to do is scan and electronically file them for easy retrieval. Furthermore, because these documents are scanned, you can easily send them electronically to the people who require them.

Keep the auditor happy

Depending on where you run your business, you may face stringent policies on records storage. If you have a paperless office equipped with a digital document management solution, you won’t have any problems with storing records. The solution, meanwhile, will seamlessly create the sort of audit trail that will ensure that you do not run afoul of the law governing record keeping.

Restrict access

With a paper-based office, it can be difficult or wasteful to securely store confidential documents. On the one hand, it can be difficult because of the effort required to keep paper records away from those who should not have access to them. On the other hand, it can be wasteful because you may have to dedicate an entire room, and secure it appropriately, to store documents.

However, a digital document management solution will house confidential files on secure servers. You can, furthermore, select who should have access to which files, which will make it easier to ensure that your confidential documents remain safe.

Pay now to save later

While there will be costs involved in implementing a paperless office, you might be surprised at how quickly you achieve a strong return on investment.

For instance, going paperless will allow you to save time and money since you won’t need to have someone file away, keep track of, and retrieve paper files. Automating these functions will also allow your company to be more efficient the workers on the payroll, and photocopier/printing costs can be eliminated by adopting a digital document management solution.

Indeed, there are loads of benefits associated with moving your office into the paperless era. Doing so will be good for the environment and good for business.