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Recently, a few of our Office 365 Exchange Online clients have been receiving correspondence from Microsoft concerning the version of Outlook they are using. The message is Outlook 2007 and 2010 are out of mainstream support and their users might start experiencing reduced functionality. In this post, I’ll answer the two biggest questions we have been receiving from our clients, “What does this mean for me? and What do you recommend I do?”

What does the end of mainstream support for Outlook 2010 mean for my organization?

In general, there are two levels of end of support Microsoft products move into: End of Mainstream Support and End of Extended Support. When a product enters into the end of mainstream support it means Microsoft will no longer be releasing any non-security updates or new software design changes. The program will still function and is not a security risk to your network since Microsoft keeps releasing security fixes until the End of Extended Support date but because new features will not be added the software may not be as compatible with newer programs like Office 365 Exchange Online which is constantly being updated and improved to provide the highest level of service to subscription customers. This is why Microsoft is urging clients using their hosted email platform to upgrade their Outlook clients. Even though you will still be able to use Office 365 and connect to the platform for email, your experience will diminish over time and Microsoft won’t provide code fixes to resolve non-security related problems.

What does Databranch recommend our clients to do?

We recommend that organizations start upgrading their Outlook to a client that is still in Mainstream Support like Outlook 2013 or 2016 or start budgeting for Office upgrades. Like Windows 7, Outlook 2010 will be in Extended Support until 2020 and all users will want to be upgraded prior to the end of support date in October of that year.

Is your organization looking to migrate your email platform to Office 365? Databranch is a Microsoft Certified Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions Provider and is ready to assist with your migration. A Databranch Cloud Solutions specialist can be reached at 716-373-4467 ext. 15, info@databranch.com, or click here to get started.

During this time of year the threat of fire, flood, severe storms, water damage from office sprinklers, and even theft is very real.

One of the most valuable assets for any company is its data. Hardware and software can easily be replaced, but a company’s data cannot! 

As a reminder to all of our clients and friends, here are some simple things you should do to make sure your company is ready for any natural disaster.

  1. Back Up Your Data Remotely! Everyone knows that data should be backed up on a daily basis, but many people still use in-house backup systems that will get damaged in a natural disaster or fire, and can easily be stolen. We recommend backing up all data to an off-site location, and we offer this as a service to our clients.
  2. Use a Quality Surge Protector With Uninterruptible Power Supply Battery. A high quality surge protector combined with an uninterruptible power supply battery backup will go a long way in protecting sensitive electronic equipment from surges and other electronic irregularities that can destroy your computer’s circuitry.
  3. Make Sure Your Servers Are Off The Floor Or In The Cloud. If your office gets flooded, having your equipment off the floor will prevent it from being completely destroyed. Server racks can be purchased and installed very inexpensively.  Or consider moving your critical server equipment to the cloud and be protected no matter the weather!
  4. Have A Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan. Every business should have some type of plan in place for continued operation after a disaster. Would people know where to go? Who to call? How to log in and access data remotely? Hopefully you’ll never need it, but having a simple plan will make you sleep a lot easier at night knowing you have a way to continue to operate when disaster strikes.

FREE Report: The 10 Disaster Planning Essentials For Any Small Business

Don’t lose everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve in an instant! This report will reveal important planning strategies you should have in place now to protect yourself from common data-erasing disasters including natural hazards, human error, cyber criminals, hardware failure, software corruption and other IT failures.

Download this FREE REPORT today at www.databranch.com/10essentials

When it comes to avoiding downtime, Databranch, Inc. is among the best of the best. The IT consulting/outsourcing provider and Datto partner has been operating out of western New York for over 30 years, delivering managed services, networking and security.

David Prince, President of Databranch, is a big fan of the Datto business continuity solution. “We’ve been doing this for a long time, so we have a good idea of what does and doesn’t work. Tape backup has proven to be unreliable and can add days to the recovery process. For years, I was on a quest to find something better, and Datto has been that and more ever since we’ve partnered with them,” according to Prince.

He cites the ability to extend support to clients remotely as one of the biggest features that help his business thrive. According to Prince, Datto has helped grow his business, and differentiate Databranch from other MSPs.

“Datto has been a lifesaver for us ever since we adopted the solution. It’s given me peace of mind knowing we can recover in any situation. Since we cover such a large geographical region, being able to get a client back up and running remotely has saved valuable time and money for our clients; especially when dealing with inclement weather or urgent issues,” said Prince. 

Working in such a large and diverse region, Databranch serves a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing. One of those clients is Clarion Sintered Metals, a powdered-metal manufacturer located in Pennsylvania. Clarion runs a 24/7/365 operation, so downtime is never an option.

When Clarion’s servers crashed, Databranch was there to save the day and keep operations running as normal. Thanks to a proactive MSP and their Datto solution, Clarion didn’t suffer any downtime.

To learn how Databranch and Datto protected Clarion, download the full success story here.

To receive more information about how Databranch and Datto can help your organization fill out the form below to be contacted by a Databranch business continuity expert!

 




 

 

Unless you’ve been living in a tomb, you know you should be backing up your computers and server. But here’s something you probably DON’T know that will come back and “bite” you: simply having a backup of your data is NOT ENOUGH to guarantee you could be back up and running fast in the event of a disaster.

Having a data backup merely means that you have a copy of your company’s data stored somewhere; it does NOT mean you have a way to instantly restore your network back to normal – a shocking dose of truth most business owners discover after they’ve experienced a major network crash or data-erasing disaster.

For example, if your network dies because of a hardware failure, your entire company is down, period. No e-mail, no printing, no accessing your database, customer records, and more. Until whatever caused the problem can be fixed (which might involve ordering replacement parts), your business is deader than a doornail.

 

So You Reach For Your Backup Only To Discover…

Your information is there, but without a server, you have nowhere to load that information, and no way to access it. On top of that, a backup only holds your data, not your operating system, settings, or software applications. So even if you can load the data, you can’t actually use it without re-loading all the software applications—no small feat. Even IF you have all the software disks and key codes (most people don’t), it could still take days — possibly weeks— to rebuild, and the costs can run into the thousands.

 

That’s Not The Half Of It

The three most common causes of server downtime are hardware failure, software corruption and human error. But nearly 20% of businesses suffer damaging downtime from fire, flood, theft, or other natural disasters, and 44% of them never recover—and that’s mostly because they didn’t have a disaster recovery plan in place.

A disaster recovery plan covers more than just backup. It maps out how to get your business restored and running again in every possible scenario.

For example, if another company in your office building has a fire, the police may quarantine your building preventing you from even entering your office. Or if a major storm knocks out power, Internet or the phone lines, you need a plan “B” for servicing customers, taking orders and keeping things rolling.

 

3 Crucial Components To A Disaster Recovery Plan

  1. Have One! As the old adage goes, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” When it comes to disaster recovery, nothing could be more accurate. If something happens to your office, will your employees be able to work from home? Do you have an alternate plan for your phones? Where would you temporarily set up shop? How quickly could you get technology equipment you need to function like computers, scanners, or printers? How will you access the Internet? Make a point to document the answers to these questions.
  2. Onsite Server “Virtualization.” In a downtime situation, virtualization is basically a business owner’s lifeline to his business. Once only available to big businesses with deep pockets, this now affordable technology can literally get you back up and running just as you were before the disaster… in as little as 24 hours. If the disaster doesn’t take out your whole office, virtualization can have you back in business the same day.  Here’s how it works. A second server makes exact copies of everything on your server—operating system, software applications and data—every 15-60 minutes. This server replica, also known as an “image,” can take over if your main server fails or gets corrupted. No need to re-load software, reconfigure your network, or re-load your data. In as little as 30 minutes, everyone in your company can get back to work, just as they were before the downtime. Compare this to the days or WEEKS it could take without virtualization; the productivity and money savings is staggering. Side Note: If you are still using old tape backups, you NEED to throw them away and virtualize your server with an offsite backup!
  3. Offsite Image of Your Server. Fire, flood, theft, natural disasters, or even faulty office sprinkler systems can physically damage your office equipment, including your server and your backup system.

 

Head this off by having an exact copy (an image) of your server’s operating system, settings, programs, and data sent daily to an offsite location. Also, make sure this image can be quickly loaded on to a server and shipped to you. With this in your plan, a tornado could rip open your office and destroy everything, yet you could be back up and running within a few days.

 

     Want To Make SURE Your Business Can “Stay Open” 
After A Disaster? FREE Disaster Recovery Assessment Shows You How

 Because it’s Halloween, we’re giving away a FREE disaster recovery assessment to any of our clients who want to upgrade to our new DataGuard Intelligent Business Continuity Solution. This service will make sure:

  • Your files are automatically backed up multiple times per day right over the Internet. No more rotating and storing tapes or running the risk of tape failures!
  • Your data is safe from fire, floods, storms, viruses, hackers, hardware malfunctions, and human error!
  • You can back up ALL of your data and not be limited to the size of your tape drive.
  • Should a disaster occur, you can be back up and running the very next day…we GUARANTEE it.

We normally charge $500 for a Disaster Recovery Assessment but it’s yours FREE if you schedule an appointment before Halloween, October 31st! To get started, call us at 716-373-4467 or send us an e-mail to alasky@databranch.com

Happy Halloween!

When was the last time you seriously thought about your business’s disaster recovery plan? If you’re like most small businesses you’ve thought about it briefly and then put it aside as something that is not pressing and can be dealt with another day, when your to-do list is shorter or you have more time. According to a Forrester Research Study 24% of companies polled had experienced a full data disaster and with less than 40% of all small to medium-sized businesses properly and regularly backing up their data, many are unable to recover. Now is the time to put in place a backup and disaster recovery planbefore your company experiences an unexpected disaster and becomes one of the 70% of businessesthat goes out of business within two years of suffering a serious data loss.

One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is believing that a disaster will never happen to them. For many people the word disaster is associated with big weather events like hurricanes or earthquakes and the ensuing damage from flooding and fires but disasters are day-to-day occurrences. When it comes to technology many of us have done something that could endanger our data to the point of no return, whether it’s accidently downloading a virus from an untrusted email attachment or deleting something by mistake, and it’s important to plan for the human error we all are susceptible to. Your data is the backbone of your company and keeping it safe from all potential negative forces is key.

At Databranch, we promote implementing an intelligent business continuity solution and our preferred solution is Datto. Having an intelligent business continuity solution not only ensures the backup of your data but provides a speedy recovery leaving your business with very little downtime. You may be thinking, “It’s OK, we’re a small business, not a multi-million dollar company, we can afford to be down for a few days” but according to the National Archives and Records Administration, 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more file for bankruptcy within the year. It’s time to consider the actual cost of downtime for your company including how much it would cost to pay employees that aren’t able to work and what it would cost to lose a customer because you couldn’t provide service to them in a timely manner. (If you would like to see your recovery time and downtime costs try this calculator (http://www.databranch.com/managed-services/data-disaster-recovery/rto-calculator).

We know it can be hard to change from something that has been working for you and that you are familiar with, but the reality is traditional backup solutions like tape and disk are no longer sufficient. With traditional solutions it can take weeks to recover your data, there is high risk for human error in creating the backup, it’s difficult to test if your backup is working properly, and when recovering data, tape failure rates exceed 50%. This does not mean we are suggesting you eliminate local storage and put all of your data in the cloud. Instead, we recommend a hybrid cloud solution to all of our customers through Datto.

Having a hybrid cloud solution gives your business the best of both worlds. You can perform easy local restores from your on-site Datto device but also have the reassurance that if something happens to your local device your data is safely located off-site in the cloud, in two separate bi-coastal data centers. This means that once set-up you will have three distinct copies of each file automatically backed up, eliminating the possibility for human error. At Databranch, we can monitor your backups, verify a successful completion, and take action if a backup doesn’t complete successfully. You no longer have to worry if your data is being backed up correctly and can have the peace of mind that if a disaster strikes, you won’t find out that an important file has been corrupted or backups haven’t taken place for months; both problems that often occur with traditional backup. By implementing a Datto business continuity solution your downtime is drastically reduced and with the virtualization capabilities of the SIRIS device, you can turn your device into a virtual server, keeping your business running while potential problems like server failure are being addressed.

In today’s day and age it’s essentially impossible to be without access to your business data. Technology is critical to everyday business practices and having a backup and recovery system you can count on is imperative. The time to develop an intelligent backup continuity system is now, not next week, not when your schedule calms down, but today. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Databranch can help provide a solution for your company’s business continuity and disaster recovery needs. If you would like to learn more, please call us today to speak with an Account Manager, or visitwww.databranch.com/Data-Disaster-Recovery

 
 
 

Cloud computing can not only help reduce upfront computing costs, it can also help your business become more efficient.

Small-business owners often have big dreams. Whether that dream is to keep your business small or to grow it into a big business, you want your business to run as smoothly as possible—every step of the way. You might start your business as a sole proprietor with just a laptop and a few software programs. As your business grows and adds employees, you have to start thinking about security, backups, remote access, and coordination of effort.

One of the reasons small businesses switch to cloud-based software is to reap the benefits of big-business infrastructure, without having to implement and manage it directly. Until recently, your software and servers almost always resided in your office, where they would be administered by you or your IT staff. This type of deployment is referred to as “on premises.” In the last several years, “cloud based” software has become more popular.

Cloud-based software (also called cloud computing) enables companies to access software and servers located in a secure data center, maintained by the software provider. These services are delivered in real time over the Internet.

Your Microsoft Hotmail account is an example of cloud-based email. Business users might be familiar with Microsoft Office 365, which offers a subscription-based suite of Microsoft-hosted, online applications that includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online. Office 365 also includes the familiar Office applications: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher.

Small businesses are finding the many attributes of cloud computing very attractive. Here are seven reasons why:

  1. Cloud computing can improve employee productivity. Using tools like Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, employees can easily access documents and emails while away from the office. Many small businesses have employees working remotely, who need both mobility and flexibility. Cloud computing is a straightforward and affordable way of addressing those needs, especially when you are using intuitive, familiar software that your employees already know.
  2. Cloud computing helps reduce upfront costs. Choosing a cloud-based solution for such things as email, document sharing, and web conferencing reduces the upfront cost associated with starting a business. There are no servers to buy. The cloud–based subscription model allows small businesses to easily increase or decrease their use of cloud services according to their needs.
  3. Cloud computing boosts collaboration. Employees everywhere can access and work with the same files in real time—no more emails back and forth with attachments to open. Better collaboration improves productivity and creativity.
  4. Cloud computing provides business resiliency. Numerous studies have shown that more than 50 percent of small businesses will go out of business within a year after a major data loss. In a cloud environment, if you lose your laptop—or worse, your whole office—you can get back to business in no time. All your business information and files are securely in place.
  5. Cloud computing is easy. The transfer of business information into the cloud is very straightforward—no need to install new hardware or software, no IT administration. It is often seamless to the user. Saving a document to a Microsoft OneDrive Pro follows the same process as saving it to a hard drive. No training is required.
  6. Cloud computing is accessible. Offering easy access and file sharing from any Internet connection, cloud computing allows employee access via smartphone or computer.
  7. Cloud computing can be more secure than a traditional IT infrastructure. Cloud- computing providers like Microsoft build multiple levels of security and redundancy into their data centers.

The great thing about cloud computing is that it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Even if you already have servers and an IT staff, you can pick just one application that you think would be better served in the cloud. Considering cloud computing? Click here to reach out to Databranch or call our office at 716-373-4467!

Courtesy of Microsoft Community Connections

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