306.244.3551
info@nics.ca
116 - 2750 Faithfull Avenue
Saskatoon, SK S7K 6M6

Backup Recovery Objectives

 Mirrored hard drive backups

Your backup strategy should have at least two objectives:

  • Your Recovery Point Objective, or RPO.
    • This objective defines how much data you are willing to lose in a disaster.  Average small business RPO is 24 hours, meaning you are willing to lose up to 24 hours worth of data.
  • Your Recovery Time Objective, or RTO.
    • This objective defines the longest it can take for your systems to be restored after a disaster.  Average small business RTO is 72 hours, meaning you are willing to wait up to three days to get your computers and systems back up and running after a fire or other disaster.

 

These objectives allow you to define your requirements for your backup system, which any provider should be able to take and give you a quote on a backup system that meets those requirements.

 

In addition to these metrics, you should also have local backups that happen several times a day to provide local recovery from corruption.  Corruption can be a user deleting a file by mistake or a virus encrypting it.  We recommend Microsoft Shadow-Copy and Microsoft Server Backup for your local backups.  In an environment with many servers, we recommend Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) for backups.

 

 

 

 

 

IT Normalization

Normalized Tech Services

How do you get the most value from your relationship with your IT provider?

Managed services answers this question by recognizing that the best service results from aligning you and your provider's interests with normalized IT costs at a monthly rate.

What are your interests?

  • Computers that work when you need them.
  • An IT service provider that returns your calls.
  • Not getting nickel and dimed for every phone call and email.
    • how much you pay for IT service and how pro-active you are is a function of your Cost of Downtime.
  • New software and hardware that adds value to your business.

What are your provider's interests?

  • They want to generate more revenue at lower costs.
    • They generate service revenue by tuning a working computer system to keep it available and running smoothly, or by fixing a system that is broken and down.
      • If the way they generate revenue in your relationship is when something you have breaks, then it's in their interest to let your systems break.
    • If your provider gets paid a flat rate every month regardless of what breaks, then it's in their interests to have your system run as smooth as possible. The less time they spend fixing problems the more of the monthly rate they take as profit.

Your goal as a business owner or budget controller should be to move to a normalized IT rate over time and align interests with your provider.  Start with a break-fix strategy and use your average cost over six or 12 months as the starting point for your monthly rate, and build a fair mechanism in to adjust the rate as needed.

 “The onboard sensor networks of ground-based equipment, provide real-time answers and automated results during seeding and harvest.  Improvements in the computing power and battery life of unmanned aerial vehicles now allow real-time insights on your investments during the growing season, all without boots on the ground.  However, few farmers have asked the tough question, are they legal in my field?”

Technology is required to stay competitive and grow.  As a small business, pivoting and adopting emerging technologies sharpens your competitive edge.  Many computer technologies exist to automate common business tasks and are essential to scaling your business while maintaining a profitable bottom line and stakeholder satisfaction.

Cost of Downtime Index

Cost of Downtime Calculation for Budgeting

How do you decide how much to spend to keep things running?  You do it by creating a metric that functions on your real business data, the cost of your down time.

The Cost of Downtime Index (CoDI) is a valuable tool to help you decide how pro-active you should be with your approach to keeping your Information Technology working as expected.

Your CoDI should include the following costs:

  • Wages, utilities, lease and footprint expenses.
  • Stress that impacts employee retention.
  • Lost productivity.
  • Missed opportunities.
  • Reputation damage. 

  

Below is an example cost of downtime metric calculation for illustration from a real local business:

A local business employing 15 people full time and several part time is using computer software for email, for cash flow, for inventory flow, and for phone communication.  Their costs break down as:

  • 180 hours of production time per month (45 per week), at $25,000 in revenue per week, or $556 per hour over 180 hours of production per month.
  • $20,000 per month for lease and utilities, works out to $112 per hour over 180 production hours per month.  
  • Reputation damage is important to them because they have several large regular customers, so they value the reputation impact at $100 per hour.

Their Cost of Downtime Index is $768 per hour.  This means a three day outage where they have no server or internet access will cost $20,700, a potential cost they use to justify investing an additional $10,000 per year to prevent outages and normalize them when they can't be prevented.  One of the ways you prevent unplanned outages is by monitoring your computers for pending failure conditions, and doing regular maintenance on both the hardware and software to keep your systems running as expected.