Backing Up Your Data
Posted by Sheila Dixon, April 3, 2017
Data is everywhere. From emails and client records to analyses and operations files, it is a critical part of any business operation. It is also increasingly being regarded as a significant company asset.
The Causes of Data Loss
According to recent surveys, one in five small and mid-size businesses have lost data in the last year. Worse yet, one in ten will never recover that lost data.
When you picture data loss, you may imagine a natural disaster, a terrible accident, or a cyber-attack. But the truth is that many data losses are caused by far less nefarious - and unfortunately more common - causes.
The most prevalent causes of data loss are:
· hardware malfunctions
· human error
· software corruption
· computer viruses
· natural disasters
Dealing with Data Loss
Imagine losing access to email records, accounting documents, and customer financial information. You may not only lose productivity, but you might also lose your credibility within the marketplace.
To avoid a loss, companies must protect any data that is important to them. If your business maintains records for clients, it is even more vital that you have a good backup strategy in place.
While large corporations may have an internal IT department that ensures regular, comprehensive backups are performed, small and mid-size businesses often do not. It is critical to have a backup and recovery plan in place, but with so many choices out there, it can be difficult to know where to start.
What Kind of Backup Solution is Right for Me?
When considering what sort of backup plan your company needs, you should ask yourself the basics: Why, What, When, and How.
Why should I back up?
The answer to this question should be obvious. If you want to stay in business and operate efficiently, you need to back up your data on a regular basis. Recovering data quickly and completely can be the difference between keeping your business open and shutting down.
What should I back up?
Any data that is essential to keeping your business up and running should be backed up on a regular basis. When considering what sort of data you should back up, think about:
· Line of Business (LOB) Data
· Client Records
· Financial and Accounting Data
· Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Data
· Electronic Medical Records
· Files and Folders
When should I back up?
Any time your data changes, you should be backing it up. Depending on your business, it may be daily, hourly, or even more often. Because of this, a plan that backs up continuously or nearly-continuously is the safest bet if you have the budget.
How should I back up?
The response to that question depends on how much data you have, your equipment, and your budget. Thought should also be given to what types of data loss you need to guard against, and how quickly you need to recover your data.
On-site Versus Off-site Data Backups
There are many ways to back up your data, and they include both on-site (i.e., local) and off-site options.
On-site plans involve backing data up to local storage devices, such as hard drives, tapes, or optical media. An advantage of the on-site method is that you can maintain local control of data backups and immediately access your data without having internet access. However, depending on the type of backup you choose, on-site plans require administrative support and equipment investment.
Off-site backup involves backing up data to a remote server or to the cloud. It has its advantages over on-site backup, the biggest of which is that if your data is compromised in any way, a copy can remain safe and secureoff-premises. Another bonus is that off-site cloud backup is accessible from anywhere, meaning geographically-dispersed employees can access it from remote locations.
Of course, a hybrid solution that combines both on-site and off-site backup and recovery is the most comprehensive option.
Are You Ready to Prevent Data Loss?
Reveille Systems can work with you to design a robust backup plan that fits your needs and budget. If you want to know more about Reveille Systems’ Data Backup and Recovery offerings - or what we can do for your business - give us a call at 540-373-9595 today!...
Is Your Business in The Cloud?
Posted by Sheila Dixon, February 6, 2017
Is Your Business in the 'Cloud'?
“Cloud computing”— have you noticed everyone is talking about it these days? More than just a catchy buzzword, cloud computing is a way that your business can meet the increasing IT demands of mobile technology and a remote workforce while simultaneously reducing business operating costs.
What is Cloud Computing?
For many companies, maintaining a dedicated proprietary private network can be impractical. With cloud computing, computing services are hosted elsewhere, accessed over the Internet in data centers located throughout the world.
Those data centers maintain the infrastructure and services that your business needs to operate, including servers, storage devices, development platforms, data, programs, or software. With cloud computing, these are stored, managed, and processed in a virtual environment, rather than on a local server or computer hard drive. Individuals access these services over the Internet, at any time and from anywhere.
Authentication procedures ensure that the devices and the people using them are safe and permitted to connect to the cloud. In addition, data can be encrypted as it enters, leaves, and exists in the cloud to keep it secure.
How Can You Benefit from Operating in the Cloud?
Cloud computing can save your business time and money by increasing productivity and collaboration, promoting the exchange of ideas among employees, and reducing IT infrastructure investments.
· Availability– Access applications and systems from anywhere
When you move your business-critical applications and systems to a cloud environment, you receive increased availability and uptime. Employees get access to data and applications from any location at any time—and they can take advantage of the convenience of mobile computing and BYOT. Information sharing is easy via cloud-based email, web-based phone systems, applications hosting, collaboration software, and data storage.
· Scalability – As your business grows, your technology will scale on-demand
Cloud computing takes place in a virtual environment, so keeping pace with your IT demands as they change or grow is easy. You can increase or decrease your capacity needs as your IT requirements change, meaning money isn’t being wasted on unnecessary resources.
· Reliability – Redundant power and cooling offer a stable environment
The data centers utilized for cloud computing are protected by generators and technologically-advanced cooling equipment. Even if the power goes out, the data centers will keep your data accessible and safe.
Improved Security and Disaster Recovery – Less risk, faster recovery The peace of mind that comes with knowing you can get your business back up and running quickly after a security breach or disaster is priceless. Cloud computing offers the benefits of storing data virtually, updating it as you work, and automating off-site data backup. Information can be replicated across several data centers, making it always available in case of local system failure or disaster. Disaster recovery time is shortened because information is not tied to specific hardware and can be moved amongst data centers.
· Affordability – Reduced infrastructure investments for hardware replacements
Physical IT infrastructure, hardware upgrades, licensing, and training costs are minimized, and IT resources are allocated as needed, reducing overall costs. For small- and mid-sized businesses, this can mean real savings.
Reveille Systems Cloud-based Solutions
Reveille Systems, Inc. offers Cloud Computing Services that make enterprise-class solutions available and affordable, to customers of any size:
Web Hosting – Don't let your business website be unavailable due to a server crash or unreliable Internet connection. Our web developers and engineers can design and optimize a web hosting solution to ensure your web presence is always available and online.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Take advantage of enhanced collaboration features in Microsoft Outlook and other applications. You’ll be able to organize and automate business processes focused on customer relationship management.
Microsoft SharePoint – Enable real-time collaboration across internal and external teams, centralize storage, allow online editing and co-authoring, and create blogs and wikis. SharePoint is an optimal solution for project teams that need access to common files, but also need to maintain version history and authorship.
Microsoft Exchange – Deliver the ultimate collaboration solution for business-class email with a robust suite of features like contacts, tasks, calendars, shared calendars, and public folders.
Data Backup- In place of the traditional technique of storing backups on an external hard drive, an increasingly popular remedy is to use an online backup service that saves the data on servers in the cloud.
Disaster Recovery-Disaster recovery is an area of security planning that aims to protect an organization from the effects of significant negative events. DR allows an organization to maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions following a disaster.
Laying the Foundation for Success
Posted by Sheila Dixon, November 3, 2016
Virginia Cardiovascular Consultants (VCC) is a full-service cardiovascular care provider located in Fredericksburg, VA serving both adults and adolescents. VCC offers noninvasive testing in-office, inpatient care and invasive treatments out of Mary Washington Hospital.
Seven years ago, VCC contracted with Reveille Systems to obtain Reveille’s full breadth of IT managed services and technology consulting services.
· Service Desk Support
· End-user Support
· Systems Administration
· Systems and Network Engineering
· IT Strategy
· Vendor Management
· CIO Services
Managing VCC’s infrastructure is no small task- multiple office locations, on-premise and cloud-based solutions and a wide variety of technologies. Their server infrastructure includes Linux , Sun Solaris Unix, and several Microsoft Windows Server products. They also utilize technologies from Xerox and HP, Dell, Cisco, Symantec and a wide variety of medical technologies from Studycast, CBay, Philips and Medtronic.
Over the past three years, VCC has seen tremendous growth in their practice, more than doubling in size. They now boast nearly 50 staff members serving two locations in the Fredericksburg area. Employees range from board-certified cardiovascular specialists to nurse practitioners and support staff.
Development Presents Obstacles
With massive expansion, comes challenges. VCC needs to be able to easily expand into new office locations and add staff members – all with minimal downtime.
Understanding the growth demands, Reveille has partnered with key stakeholders in the practice to quickly and efficiently identify IT requirements. Based off of those requirements, Reveille has introduced solutions that not only fit VCC’s budget and schedule, but also increase employee productivity.
Reveille’s support and strategic contributions include:
· Planning, design, and acquisition of all IT solutions required for office expansion
o Internet and phone service
o Firewall and network services
o Wired and wireless networking
o VPN connectivity for remote workers
· Planning, design, and integration of VCC’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) solution
o Vendor coordination
o Configuration changes to current IT hardware and software
o Integration with existing applications
o Selection and acquisition of new EMR platforms (i.e. workstations and tablets)
· Planning, design, and implementation of multiple systems and platform upgrades
o Microsoft Windows Server
o Microsoft Exchange
o Microsoft SQL Servers
A Complete Partnership Yields Results
Reveille is able to meet VCC’s needs, minimize downtime, and reduce both capital expenses and operational costs. They provide mission-critical solutions and identify issues and risks by truly collaborating with VCC. By understanding their client and where their client wants – and needs - to be, Reveille is able to get them there technologically. And as VCC expands to serve more patients throughout Fredericksburg and the surrounding area, everybody wins.
“Reveille Systems is a trusted business partner providing us with valuable technology advice and solutions, and I have the utmost confidence in ...
Why you should switch to VoIP
Posted by Sheila Dixon, November 3, 2016
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has become essential to businesses all around the world. It is flexible, cost-effective, and provides companies with the ability to maintain phone services even if a disaster strikes. Every business should take advantage of VoIP communication, regardless of size.
How does it work?
VoIP is a term used to describe phone services that use your existing local network and Internet services. Instead of using additional standard phone lines for voice communication, businesses can leverage existing cabling infrastructure and Internet services to have high-definition voice communications.
What are the benefits?
· Cost Savings
o Instead of paying for expensive phone lines, VoIP works off your existing Internet connection.
o There is no massive upfront investment. Setting up a VoIP system can be up to 90% cheaper than installing a traditional office phone system.
o As your company grows, the cost to expand services is nominal.
o If you make a lot of international calls, VoIP can reduce your expenses even more.
· Productivity and Flexibility
o VoIP allows you and your employees the freedom to leave your desks while still staying connected. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access your entire phone system.
o You can set up call routing to meet the needs of your business. If you need to leave the office each day at 5:00 but want to be there for your customers until 7:00, you can set your system to route calls to your mobile phone at 5 pm automatically every day. If an employee is telecommuting, you can either re-route their calls to a different extension or forward them to their mobile device or home phone line.
o Many systems offer a wide variety of options when it comes to putting customers on hold or sending them to voice mailboxes. You can set up relaxing music or informative voice prompts while customers are on hold, or you can direct calls to mailboxes at set times every day or after a certain number of rings.
o Some software includes caller ID services and the ability to create and manage contact lists.
o It’s user-friendly. VoIP phones work just like traditional ones, so there’s no steep learning curve for you and your employees to tackle. The software is also easy to navigate so that you can easily take advantage of all the functions your system has to offer.
· Accessibility and Continuity
o Whether you experience a theft, flood, fire, earthquake, or tornado, your phone system will always be accessible. You and your customers will always be connected.
What are the disadvantages?
· Bandwidth Needs
o To use a VoIP system, you will need to have enough bandwidth on your Internet connection for it to work correctly. Depending on the number of calls your business may have at the same time, you will need anywhere from 3 to 10 MBps (both upload and download speed) just for your VoIP.
· Power Outages
o If you lose power, you will most likely lose your Internet connection. This means that unlike a standard land line, your VoIP phone system will not work. You would have to re-route calls to mobile devices in order to answer them during an outage.
o VoIP has made major gains when it comes to reliability. In the past, poor Internet connections would result in periods of silence or choppiness during calls. With advances in Internet services and bandwidth, these issues are few are far between now.
Our managed services can help.
At Reveille Systems, we offer scalable flat-fee Managed IT Services for our clients. These managed services include features like desktop support and asset management, but they also include support for VoIP phone systems. We monitor network performance and bandwidth, and can assist users either onsite or remotely.
If you have been thinking about switching to VoIP but are worried about making the change, contact Reveille today. We can discuss what system can give you the flexibility, functionality, and cost savings that your company deserves. Let Reveille be your trusted business partner for all of your IT needs....
Protecting Your Business Against Ransomware
Posted by Sheila Dixon, May 4, 2016
Earlier this year, the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre issued an extremely rare joint cyber alert to warn individuals and businesses of a massive uptick in ransomware attacks. These attacks can be devastating, locking users out of their computer systems until ransoms are paid. The extortion has affected individual users and large companies alike, with payments ranging from a couple hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is simply malicious computer software that denies access to a system unless a ransom is paid to unlock it. Although it’s been around the past decade in various forms, we have seen new viruses like Cryptowall, Cryptolocker, and TeslaCrypt hit US companies hard in 2015 and 2016 - especially in the healthcare industry.
Each virus in the ransomware family tends to have the same approach:
1. Deny access.
2. Give the user a fixed amount of time to make payment or all data will be lost.
3. Ask for ransom in the form of an untraceable wire transfer or bitcoin.
4. Allow access once the ransom is paid.
Usually, the time that it takes for a company to locate and destroy the virus costs more in lost operations time than just paying the ransom itself. One reason the hackers have been so successful is because they have kept ransoms low and somewhat manageable. Would you rather pay $10,000 today or lose access to all your data for a week or more?
What happens if you’re hit?
Well, it may sound crazy, but even the Federal Bureau of Investigations says that sometimes it makes sense to just pay the ransom. The viruses have gotten so advanced that most institutions end up just paying the ransom to regain access to their systems. Fighting ransomware once it’s in place is extremely difficult and costly.
So how do you protect yourself?
Reveille Systems offers Network Security Solutions and Centralized Anti-Virus and Malware Management to protect your company. We also proactively conduct IT security audits to identify network vulnerabilities, remediating any issues before your network, or any data, is compromised. And to ensure data safety, we offer on-site and cloud backup, storage, and recovery.
Planning is the key to success with any network security system. A detection program needs to be put in place that includes everything from employee education to utilizing detection and security appliances. And just implementing a detection strategy isn’t enough. A separate prevention strategy needs to also be enforced, making sure that if the technology used to prevent the virus fails, you aren’t depending on that same technology to then detect it.
Ransomware is just one of the many threats that businesses have to deal with in today’s IT environment. We understand that every business is unique and has different needs for network security, data protection, data backup, and storage. Reveille Systems is here to consult, implement solutions, and provide ongoing support for all your IT systems.
Don’t pay a hacker $15,000 just to get your data back. Contact us today to maintain the integrity of your data – and your business....
The Cost of Doing IT Yourself
Posted by Tyler Newton, July 29, 2014
Many businesses we meet for our free consultation will tell us they are not ready to invest in a managed service provider or a monthly service agreement to support their IT needs. The reasons will vary, but the underlying objective is usually centered around a desire to defer the expense of IT support. But what about the cost of trying to do it yourself - lost man hours, inexperienced support, security breaches, reactive response to problems, or unrecoverable systems or data.
Lost Man Hours - You are in business to support your customers, not to support your computer systems. The hours spent tyring to research a problem, applying potential fixes in a trial-by-error fashion, or providing escort for a service provider to come onsite. Each of these scenarios directs your efforts to problem that is outside your area of expertise
Inexperienced Support - Some business owners have either family members or friends that are "IT" smart. In this scenario, you are not the priority, and services are delivered at the convenience of your family member or friend. In addition, someone who is "IT" smart is not necessarily trained, certified, or experienced with supporting the networks, systems, and applications in your business. This scenario potentially places business owers at risk for extended computer network downtimes or delayed responses to reported problems.
Security Breaches - Turning a blind eye to the problem of preventing network threats and reducing network vulnerabilities does not solve the problem. Many security breaches and other network threats do not present themselves for the user to see, and may give business owners a false sense of security. Threats come in many forms and require multiple layers of protection to ensure systems and data remain secure and protected.
Reactive Response to Problems - Many business owners and their IT providers may not know there is a problem until users report it. This model of support results in small problems turning into major catastrophies. By not proactively monitoring and repairing issues real-time, these errors have a propensity to compound themselves into larger problems; which will ultimately cost more to repair and could lead to data loss.
Unrecoverable Systems or Data - Ever wonder what you would do if you lost client information, financial data, medical records, proprietary materials, or other Personally Identifiable Information (PII). How long would it take to rebuild the lost data from scratch? What is the potential legal impact of losing data? Many business owners have a false sense of security - the data has always been there and we have never experienced a problem. In the world of Risk Management, this strategy is classified as avoidance.
So, what is the cost of doing IT yourself in comparison to a managed service provider delivering a monthly IT support? You will face lost man hours trying to fix the problem yourself, increased frequency or severity of system downtime, unresponsive or delayed support, increased risk to security and data, and an added level of stress that comes from simply 'not knowing'.
Contact Reveille Systems today to schedule your free consultation. Rising to serve your technology needs, so you don't have to!