Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Data backup/recovery best practices #6, #7, #8, and #9

Continuing with my views of backup/recovery best practices, I offer up # 6 through #9:

#6 Back up your data locally as well as remotely.

Data restores usually are faster from a local backup source than a remote one, especially for data that you recover frequently.

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Data backup/recovery best practices #3, #4, and #5

Last time, I described the first two backup/recovery best practices. Here are the next three:

#3 Make sure your backup/recovery strategy adheres to all governance and compliance rules that apply to your organization.

Rules abound about data privacy, security, retention — and vary by industry and region. Look for a reputable advisor who has the experience needed to understand your compliance environment and who successfully completes SAS-70 Type II audits.

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Backup/recovery best practices #1 and #2

As I see it, there are 10 best practices that can make the difference between backups that really do keep you in business and backups that seem to work okay — until you actually try to use them. Here are the first two:

#1 Understand your data so you can decide what needs to be backed up and how often.

Base your decisions on the cost of loss, which you can get a sense of by noting the types of data your business relies on — emails, spreadsheets, databases, line-of-business apps, etc. — and determining the impact of losing that information for good and having to recreate it (if you can). Add in the cost of unhappy customers and potential regulatory/compliance violations — and do the math.

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Trick or treat — or paradigm shift? What do you want to accomplish on your way to the cloud?

Anybody seeking to overcome the limits of traditional IT environments and streamline their business has to consider one of the most significant paradigm shifts of our time — cloud computing.

But take note: Cloud computing takes planning, because each move to the cloud is unique.

To figure out whether cloud computing will deliver what you need, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish?”

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Essential SLA Elements #5: Protecting your data from the goblins

A service-level agreement works best when it’s the result of a collaborative effort between you and a service provider you can trust. This kind of trusted collaboration will uncover the most cost-effective ways your provider’s IT capabilities can be put to work for your business.

Part of that trust involves the fifth and last Essential SLA Element on my list: Procedures for the safe and prompt return of your data upon service termination.

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Essential SLA Elements #3 and #4: Monitoring, enforcement, and change mechanisms

A good service-level agreement looks simple — but that’s because it’s been conscientiously negotiated to meet the buyer’s needs. Of the five essential SLA elements that every managed and cloud services customer should focus on, I’ve described two — specifying service functionality and describing the infrastructure and standards to be maintained by the provider.

Essential SLA Elements #3 concerns SLA changes. Your SLA should include a mechanism by which you can regularly tune it in response to changing business conditions or new technologies. You’ll benefit from building in a formal review of your SLA (at least annually) in order to use experience and new information to revise it.

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Essential SLA Element #2: The devil’s in the details

I’ve already blogged about the importance of negotiating a service-level agreement that specifies the functionality of the managed and cloud services you engage.

Now I’m going to focus on Essential SLA Element #2: Including details about the system, network, and security infrastructure and standards to be maintained for your services by the provider.

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Essential SLA Element #1: Why specifying each service to be provided is critical

I see five essential elements that you absolutely need to pay attention to in your managed and cloud services SLAs. I’ll review each of them in my blog, starting with: Specifying each service to be provided.

This may seem obvious, and, in fact, it is. Yet too many service-level agreements are surprising vague about what exactly you’re buying.

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Your SLA: Forgotten secret to getting the most from your cloud provider

To get the most out of your managed or cloud service, you need to invest the time in negotiating a good service-level agreement.

The SLA is a key part of the contract between you and your provider, since it describes the levels of service being provided and the metrics used to ensure your provider delivers full value. And the right SLA with the right service provider can mitigate cloud risks and help your business flourish.

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Maximizing cloud computing for small business — securely

This Wednesday — October 12 — I’ll be participating in the Small Business Technology Tour that’s coming to Salt Lake City, UT, where I’ll be talking about how cloud computing can boost small business productivity and help keep your operations secure.

I’ll be joined by a couple of other experts, and together we’ll talk about the benefits of cloud computing for small businesses: why and how cloud computing can reduce your capital expenditures, help you spend less on IT operations, provide you access to the deep resources and skills of a reliable cloud services provider, and improve your IT security, privacy, and availability.

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