Staying Afloat in Chicago After a Major Disaster: How’s Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

disaster recovery plan word speech bubbleIn the ever advancing world of technology, information is not only readily available, but it has made operating a business more convenient than it has ever before. Unfortunately, problems can and do jeopardize the security of documents and the information contained within them. As a business owner or operator, you likely spend a good amount of time considering how to protect your data, employees, and business. While your insurance company might alleviate any superficial worries you might have, a proactive approach to protecting your business is the best course of action. Obviously, it is impossible to prevent natural disasters from occurring, but you can develop a disaster recovery plan to assist you with handling the aftermath and lessening the impact any disaster would have on your business.

What are Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans

These plans should be designed and implemented by you to assist you in recovering from any disasters that might occur. Your initial task is, understanding how fires, floods, and even a company-wide virus could affect your business. Consider the building your business is conducted in, your employees, customers, equipment, and any files and folders you keep on site. Customize your plan to maximize protection. A recovery plan expands out to include periodically backing up data, briefing employees on what steps to take directly after a disaster strikes, and contacting customers to let them know of any changes in the way you conduct business and they receive your services.

The Importance of Developing a Plan

Having a disaster recovery plan is about more than just protecting your business. It’s about making sure customers can continue to receive the services you currently provide them and making sure your employees are able to assist them. It is also important that you are securing protection beyond what your insurance covers. The focus should be on how to recover quickly and resume your normal day to day operations. The quicker you recover, the less inconvenienced employees are and the fewer customers you will sacrifice. Insurance can’t cover customer retention, but your plan will. It will ensure that they are retained and served.

What Happens When Businesses Fail to Develop a Plan

As harsh as it is, one of the main consequences of not having a plan in place is a complete shutdown. It’s extremely difficult to recover when a gross amount of time lapses between the end of a disaster and the reopening of a business. Since a recovery plan can prevent closure, even if temporarily, not having one can be the ultimate demise. You may lose customers, the damage done to your building could worsen, and there may be low morale amongst employees. When this occurs, it will be the same as starting over.

You shouldn’t have to worry about what to do next to move forward after your business experiences a disaster. Having a disaster recovery plan in place will allow you to continue to conduct business as usual (with little to no compromising convenience), provide mass care for your employees and customers, and eliminate any downtime or closures. With a plan ready, you are providing comprehensive protection for your entire business, every aspect of it, and not only what an insurance policy can provide. Think of it as having permanent protection no matter how devastating the disaster. Even if you’re not in an area prone to disasters, you should create a plan. If it isn’t a task you feel confident completing, ExpedioTech can assist you in making sure your business’s IT is prepared to recover quickly from a variety of disasters. Contact them to schedule a consultation.

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Find Peace of Mind for Your Chicago Business with Emergency IT Services

emergency IT services 24/7 iconThe days when businesses were not dependent on IT services are long gone. Healthcare, education, finance, etc. all depend on computer systems to organize and present copious amounts of information. IT management becomes more important each day; computer information is the life blood that powers our economy.

Employing a specialized company to handle your company’s IT needs is a sure way to ensure that a solid infrastructure is in place to handle your all-important information. Additionally, these professionals will handle any emergency that may present itself, giving you the peace of mind in various (possibly) devastating situations.

Technological needs are so important to most businesses that they employ a team of dedicated and highly educated individuals to monitor and manage their information systems. This in-house team is responsible for security and information protection. If a need arises any day or night, one of these professionals will be on sight to fix the problem. Many businesses, especially small businesses, can’t afford to employ a crew of their own. Luckily, there are companies that specialize in these services for small businesses. These companies succeed when your business succeeds, and they offer services in a large amount categories.

Services Offered by IT Management Companies

• Network Analysis
• Disaster Recovery
• Cloud Computing
• Hosted E-mail Services
• IT Planning
• Phone Services
• Mobile Computing
• Customer Service

These are just a few of the services offered, suffice it to say, if you have an IT need it will be satisfied by a professional IT management team.

Emergency IT Management

Since these services are so important to virtually every business; when there is a problem, it needs to be dealt with immediately. If your payment system is down or you can’t find an important email, you need to know that there is someone to call no matter what time of day. A quality IT services company offers an on-call specialist every single hour of every day. This professional will do his best to get your business up and running as soon as possible. A service such as this is worth any price.

Network Security

Security is a vital aspect of your company’s presence in the electronic world. Your customer’s information must not be compromised by nefarious hackers. IT professionals keep themselves abreast of the latest advancements in security in order to protect your customers and employee information from being compromised. They also know how to make sure your company is HIPPA, GLBA, SOX, and PCI compatible. Hackers are becoming increasingly powerful and will continue to become even more powerful in the future. Do what is best and keep the trust of your customers by allowing a dedicated team to protect their information.

Your company can’t afford to be caught in an IT emergency without a lifeline. Research and discover the worth of outside management. When you do you will discover Expedio Technologies Inc. — the local choice of businesses in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. They have a history of success and their skilled professionals will keep your business safe. They focus on the IT services end of your business so that you can focus on the needs of your customers.

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How Safe Is Your Business in Chicago: How Cloud Computing Can Help!

cloud and security lockCloud Computing can benefit a business in many ways. It allows them to acquire only the information needed at a particular moment, and at the same time, it stores valuable data in a secure place. It is cost effective, reliable and most importantly, it works to keep your information safe and secure. Here are six other ways it can protect you:

1. If your company laptop is lost or stolen, you will no longer have to worry about someone getting onto it and hacking into your private data. Since a network or server is storing your vital information, it won’t be found on any of your computers or on your employee’s computers.
2. If your laptop or company computer is damaged and you need information now, it isn’t a problem. You can log into your phone, netbook or tablet and easily find the data you are searching for.
3. The cloud service provider will typically always have a better protection than you can get when it comes to hackers, firewalls and virus protection. So, you are probably more likely to be breached if you are just using your own, run of the mill protection.
4. If a fire or natural disaster strikes, all of your business’ computers could be damaged or destroyed. With the cloud, all of your data and valuable information would be saved and still be intact. Don’t just assume that things like this won’t happen to you or your business. They happen every day and even if you are insured, it could take a very long time to recover all the information you have lost.
5. With the three types of cloud, you are able to keep some data private and also have the choice to share it if you want to, but still remain safe. Public cloud – allows you to share information with anyone; hybrid cloud – lets you keep certain files hidden and others public; and private cloud – keeps everything in a private mode. This gives you the opportunity to share files with potential clients.
6. The cloud has flexible bandwidth, that allows your usage to grow and shrink as needed. You won’t be overcharged for data you are not using and this can save you money.

Cloud Computing may be the solution you are looking for. There’s no doubt that, nowadays, every company uses computers to make schedules, for payroll, and to keep important work-related data. Why keep your fingers crossed and hope nothing bad happens, when there are so many threats out there?

• Hackers
• Spyware
• Power surges
• Vandalism
• Fires

The cloud is on the cutting edge of technology and it is growing and changing every day. It can save you money and eliminate the need for computer upgrades and technicians. Your employees will spend less time on computers and this makes your company environmentally friendly and greener. No matter where your employees are, they can always share data and communicate — which can be done in a safe manner. There is no need to install equipment or make any changes to existing computers.

If you have more questions about cloud computing, or you think that it can give you the peace of mind that you need, give ExpedioTech a call today (219) 413-0777; friendly rep will be waiting for your call!

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Is the Cloud Desktop Faster than VPN Remote Access? Which Business Technology Are You Using?

speedometerWhen it comes to connecting securely to a site or remotely connecting to a work environment, VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, have been the go-to method of connection since their inception. Although VPNs have come a long way to better protect their user’s data, they have not evolved to be as responsive, and as vast as some other services, such as cloud computing. Both options have their uses, but it is important to know the differences between the two when choosing the right business technology.

Virtual Private Networks are meant to act as a safe access point between a user and a site or server, and allow only select information to pass through the connection. Due to the heavy encryption that VPNs provide, companies rely on them for off-site connecting. Even though they seem simple enough, VPNs are cumbersome, and are reliant on servers and VPN specific hardware that either needs to be maintained by the business itself, or a specialized team of IT professionals.

In contrast, cloud computing systems can be rented out and all of their hardware is kept off site and managed by the technology provider. Cloud systems provide more than just the ability to connect to a secure server; they allow users to organize, manipulate, and remotely store data. With a typical VPN setup, the connection is only established between computer and server, and does not provide any software and computational services that would be available to cloud users. Many cloud computing services have integrated APIs that allow users to access and manipulate data from several different platforms ranging from mobile devices to tablets and personal PCs, bringing convenience to working off site.

The speed of cloud computing, specifically the new cloud desktop, has been a major concern of business professionals who are considering the implementation of cloud computing technology. While these concerns were legitimate with older versions of the cloud, speed and reliability have drastically improved. Does this mean that the latest version of the cloud desktop has the potential to be faster than traditional VPN access? To put it simply, yes, our cloud desktop services are very much capable of swifter response times and being overall less cumbersome than a VPN connection would be, thanks to their incredible technology.

Instead of transferring entire folders and files over a network, only keystrokes are sent through the connection, and files are saved remotely. For example, if your cloud computing solution includes word processing software, you and your users can access that word processor at the click of a button without having it installed; you can also instantly access remote files with ease. In comparison to the lagging keystrokes and mouse dragging that often happen on VPNs, users who experience the blazing speeds of a cloud desktop often say it is on par with working locally on a normal desktop. This is a game-changing technology for businesses, as these same users are finding that they will spend more time working remotely.

Cloud based desktops play an important role to providing a secure and stable environment for your employees to conduct business both in the office and off site. With remote data centers housing all of the powerful equipment and servers needed to keep your data flowing, cloud service providers make your job easier by easing the burden and maintaining the hardware and software that your company uses.

If you are interested in adding cloud desktop and computing technology to your business, please contact a representative at Expedio Technologies Inc. — the local choice of businesses in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland — to discuss pricing, packages, and options. Cloud computing is sure to be the future of businesses, big and small.

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Should Location Trump Cloud Security Concerns? How Managed Services Providers Can Help!

navigation mapLawyers can be very cautious about moving their services into the cloud. Many say the reason is because they have security concerns, even though certain cloud providers offer robust protection of data that is superior to in-house servers. Could the reality be that this hesitation to move into the cloud comes from server location concerns? A review of a cloud provider’s managed services can quickly reduce fears about server issues.

Worrying About Data Location

Data location concerns are based on not being able to touch or see their servers. Some cloud providers have multiple data centers around the country or world, so it’s easy to understand the concerns about data being stored in far-away places. Yet, most of the time, business executives who employ local IT help don’t even see their own servers on a regular basis — unless there is a problem with downtime.

What executives need to remember is that location can’t make IT secure, as only more security can do that! While it’s true that even the most secure data facilities with the most modern security software can still have breaches, your data is safer on a reputable cloud provider’s servers than in your own office if you do not constantly stay up-to-date with security software managed by tech professionals.

Cloud Security Features

One of the biggest benefits of an elaborate cloud provider offering innovative managed services is that they employ their own IT staff, which can help you cut costs and reduce concerns about whether or not your business is protected by the latest security updates. Here are some amazing cloud security features that many small businesses lack in their in-house systems:

• Military grade encryption
• Million dollar firewall
• Intrusion detection
• Guards
• Cameras
• Man trap
• Three tier security checks; from eye scan, fingerprint and passwords

Evaluating Cloud Providers

Remember that not all cloud providers are equal, just as not all in-house servers are safe. The safest cloud services are offered by companies that have been around for years and employ cutting edge technology experts. That’s why you need to research a cloud provider first to make sure it’s not a fly-by-night operation run by kids in a garage. Finding out where the data centers are located is important, but it’s much more essential to know the following points about a cloud provider:

• The type of data center facility, such as SAS70 Type II
• Whether they offer Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
• How well the cloud can cut business costs
• Pricing for computing, bandwidth, and storage
• The level of security protection and whether you need your own firewalls
• Full computing availability to run necessary business applications
• Service level agreement (SLA) details that spell out service outage credits
• Level and quality of technical support

Conclusion

Even if your servers are in close proximity to your business where you can see them, if they don’t have state-of-the-art security in place they won’t be secure enough, putting your data at risk. No matter where your servers are located, sophisticated security features will make your data as safe as possible. The question becomes: where is it cheaper for you to run your servers — in some guy’s garage or in a cloud data center?

Learn more about managed services and IT solutions at Expedio Technologies Inc. It will keep you up-to-date on the latest systems for project management, inventory, payroll and much more.

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We Are Making an IT Support Offer That Chicago Can’t Refuse!

Man with flower

If you’re looking for IT support in Chicago, you’ve likely already heard a thing or two about the cloud and cloud computing.

Many attorneys in Chicago are still on the sidelines when it comes to migrating to the cloud. We firmly believe that this is because most law firms don’t know other firms that have taken the first step into cloud computing. Therefore, we are making an offer that we believe most law firms can’t refuse!

What’s the offer?

A free year of cloud service to a qualifying law firm in Chicago. Only one firm will receive this reward, but all qualified law firms in the area will be invited to our “Lunch & Learn” event.

This event will take place at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse (at the Intercontinental Hotel Chicago) on April 6th. From 11:30 AM onward that day, we’ll be hosting a delicious lunch where we’ll discuss all you need to know –as a law firm — about moving to a full cloud solution.

Why make it?

Because the cloud is a fairly powerful tool for any business — even (or especially, depending on your perspective!) for a law firm. If you’re wondering how, let’s take a moment to go over the core benefits of the cloud:

• Cheaper IT budget. Keeping your server and data off-site means you don’t need to pay nearly as much as you normally would to maintain these things. IT support in Chicago can be expensive — this solution should save you some money.
• Location independence. Cloud computing comes with the extra benefit of being browser or app-based. This means that your data can be accessed from more than just your work computer — you can also access it from your smartphone or another computer, anywhere you are.
• Data security. Your data is stored safely and securely in the cloud. No unauthorized people are going to be getting to it, and even in the case of a bad power outage or natural disaster happening at your firm, your precious data will be completely unaffected, since it’s stored safely off-site.

If you’re a tech-savvy lawyer, these benefits likely sound huge for your law firm. These are the base benefits of a cloud service. We can also substitute your old office phone system with a VoIP phone solution. VoIP solutions mean getting rid of complex, expensive hardware that costs a lot to buy and maintain. In addition, due to their nature as a cloud service, they get features and functionalities automatically updated, and can work independently. Office phone from your smartphone becomes possible with an office VoIP phone solution.

Our various cloud services can do a lot for your law firm. IT support in Chicago can be expensive and difficult, but our goal with cloud technology is to remove a lot of that expense and difficulty. To learn more about our services and how the cloud can benefit you and your firm attend our event or check out our blog here. If you want to learn more about our event, you should call David Walter at 210-758-4971 for more information. We are Expediotech and we are here to take care of your business IT needs.

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Eight Ways To Keep Your Small Business Secure

Small Business SecureIf you own and operate a small business, lowering costs is an important part of keeping your company in the black. Cutting costs on your IT budget could inadvertently compromise your company’s security. Even though small businesses may not have all of the resources that large corporations do, they are still just as vulnerable to the same security threats. Here are some ways to help keep your small business secure:

Purchase Anti-virus Software

Every computer is vulnerable to the wide variety of viruses, trojans, and worms that are on the Internet. These malicious software programs can do anything from damage your computer and files to steal your password and other important information stored on your computer. Purchase a good anti-virus software program and make sure that it is always up to date. Also, check to see that your anti-virus software checks for spyware, adware, and any other type of malware that could be hiding on your computer.

Avoid Phishing Emails

It is important to discuss with your employees the importance of not opening spam email, attachments or forwards that could possibly contain viruses. Make sure that your email has a filtering system that helps to filter out spam and other malicious email. Responding to phishing emails can be another costly mistake. Phishing emails are disguised as legitimate emails that then request login and password information. Changing passwords monthly can help to lessen the damage should an employee accidentally respond to a phishing email.

Minimize Damage From Dishonest or Disgruntled Employees

It is often difficult to predict if one of your employees will become disgruntled or dishonest, but you can put some safeguards in place to help minimize the damage should you find that you have one. Thoroughly screen your employees before hiring them, especially if they will have access to any confidential or financial company information. Limiting the number of employees that have access to this confidential information and changing your company passwords often can help to prevent former employees from accessing company computers.

Secure Your Wireless Network

Make sure that your wireless router is encrypted, and that your business is using WPA2 wireless security. A firewall is another important key to protecting the security of your small business. A firewall will allow access only to authorized users while blocking unauthorized access to the computer.

Have An Internet Use Policy

Aside from the obvious lack of productivity that personal Internet use can cause for your business, it can often be too easy to click on websites that contain malicious software that could easily infect your company computer and shut your system down temporarily or even permanently.

Avoid Having Everything on One Computer

Purchasing computer equipment is costly, so many small businesses will try to get away with fewer computers in order to save money. If you have your financial information on the same computer that your employees are accessing their company emails, you could risk losing everything that is vital to running your business should an infected email slip through.

Have a Data Backup System

Be sure to have some type of data storage and backup system in place in the event that your current system goes down. Having all of your files readily available to you in case of an emergency can ensure that your business will retain customers and continue to run smoothly no matter what the disaster.

Minimize Damage From Stolen Equipment

It difficult to prevent break-ins or equipment from being stolen from your home or office building, but you can have some security by ensuring that all of the information on your computer is encrypted and password protected.

Trying to scrimp when it comes to your small business’s computer security can be a costly mistake. Arm yourself with the knowledge of what your business could be up against and take steps towards prevention. The investment will give your company the security necessary to keep your information secure.

Click here to learn how ExpedioTech can help you keep your small business secure with our Network Security Services for your business in Crown Point, IN and surrounding cities.

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Cloud Computing – How Will it Affect You?

happy-woman-working-on-laptopWe are always on the watch for the ‘next best thing’ when it comes to technology and the Internet. Certainly no one can doubt that Cloud Computing and the next generation of the Internet has had a dramatic affect on how people interact and connect with each other – both from an individual standpoint and a business one.

The hottest emerging concept that has the power to change how we perform tasks is taking place before us – and it is Cloud Computing. Simply put, it is the ability to use resources and tools via the Internet without actually owning or being near them. The only requirement is to be able to access them.

The term ‘Cloud’ is used to indicate the whole of computing services accessible via the Internet. It is an all-encompassing description of the complex internet-connected networks that exist in datacenters all over the world that power services and applications behind the scenes.

The concept of utilizing resources in these networks is being adopted by businesses both large and small. These resources are categorized to describe their function, and include:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Web 2.0

In the most general terms, Infrastructure as a Service means that companies may no longer need to own and house their own back-end servers and other network computing infrastructure besides an internet-connected PC or laptop in order to maintain business functionality. This capability can be purchased on a subscription basis from entities that market these services in a ‘virtual’ manner. This allows businesses to keep their costs low by not having to purchase, maintain and recycle their own equipment for this purpose, and also mitigates the possibility of business interruption due to the highly available nature of these solutions. This equates to increased uptime and profitability for Infrastructure as a Service customers.

Platform as a Service is also known as ‘cloudware’, and refers to the availability of development tools in creating web applications and services to the end user. Like IaaS, you never ‘see’ the inner-workings of this environment unless you are a computer programmer or IT resource, but it exists nonetheless and again affords those who use these tools the ability to reduce costs while running their businesses.

Sofware as a Service is defined as software applications that are subscribed to and accessed only through the Internet, and not installed on local PCs or laptops. Applications built by and accessed via Google fall into this category, as well as the many photo sites to which you can upload your pictures and videos, edit and share them with others. These solutions are gaining tremendous popularity, because end users do not need to install, update and maintain software locally – only connect to it and use it when the need arises.

Web 2.0 describes the whole of the social networking movement on the Internet, and includes but is not limited to destinations such as Facebook, MySpace, eHarmony, LinkedIn and Twitter. These sites offer the ability for people all over the world to share common interests, stay connected and learn more about each other – and these sites aren’t just for the young. Statistics show that the over 50 generation is logging onto these sites in greater numbers than ever before. In fact, in one month alone, Facebook adds over 17,000 new members.

The next time you are on the Internet and upload a photograph and use the online tools to modify that picture, you are participating in ‘cloud computing.’ The picture is probably loaded to a site that uses IaaS for their servers, PaaS in order to provide the visual interface in which you modify the photograph, and SaaS applications you’ll use to access your email program and social networking sites in order to send it to or post it for those with whom you would like to share the picture.

Click here to learn how ExpedioTech can help you benefit from Cloud Computing in Crown Point, IN and surrounding cities.

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