Data Backup and Disaster Recovery – What’s the Difference?

When a computer glitch strikes and you get the “Blue Screen of Death,” your heart leaps into your throat. Then you remember your automated backup program. Whew, everything is safe.

But is it?

Backups can give us a sense of security, yet there’s a significant difference between backing up your data and recovering it after a disaster. Despite their distinctions, both are critical for a healthy information technology system.

Data backup is a standard and sometimes simple process—saving a copy (or multiple copies) of information in case the original or working copy has a problem. Backup may occur as a process automated by software, a physical action required of a human being, or as part of Managed IT or cloud services. Backed-up data might be stored in an external hard drive on your desktop, on CD- or DVD-ROM, on an offsite server, or even with a cloud-based service. Regular data backup is an essential part of business, often done on a daily basis to keep copies of records.

But data backup alone isn’t enough. Backed-up data is like a parachute: good to have, but not very helpful if you can’t use it! A recovery plan is the parachute pack and deployment system. A tested, staged, and properly deployable pack is mandatory if you hope to survive disaster.

Disaster recovery includes the processes and people that make backed-up data usable. Since disasters happen at any time, it’s essential that your recovery system be ready and available whenever needed, and your staff must know how to activate that system. Disaster recovery is about the outcome.

There are numerous failure points (human or software), and faith in untested systems can provide a false sense of security. Moreover, everything must be accessible when you need it. Do you know who to call? How to get your data back into use?

Using a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can be a critical part of a robust backup and disaster recovery system. Through service-level agreements, your provider becomes an extension of your company, but one with industry-specific expertise and tested recovery systems. A relationship with a Managed Service Provider also functions across your organization, rather than through isolated departments or individual sets of files.

To make sure you’re prepared to bounce back if the worst ever happens, contact Infomax about backup and disaster recovery solutions.

Perfect Color: Designing Documents for Print

Color is everywhere in printed media. It gets your attention, sets the tone, and shares information. Printing in color can help your business project a polished and professional image, but it’s critical to balance the value of color printing with the cost of color toner.

To make the most of color, consider the following few tips for how to use color in your print documents and publications.

Draw attention. The primary reason we use color is for its impact, and choosing a few select applications of color will make your message pop and give you the biggest bang for your buck. Consider the type of publication and what element you want to draw attention to, and focus your color there. You may highlight a deadline or expiration date, bring some life to your headings, or even use compelling images. Think about where you want to draw your reader’s eye and use color to guide them there.

Convey emotion. The human mind is wired in such a way that we draw inherent meaning from color. Choosing your colors with an understanding of their psychological impact will help you get the most out of each use. Orange is an action color, while purple invokes imagination. Red is the color of passion and anger; blue brings a sense of calm, trust, and dependability; and green is a color of peace, nature, and health. Choosing the right color will help boost your message by playing on the mind’s built-in shortcuts.

Stick to your resolutions. When it comes to color images and art, print resolution can make or break your publication. Use images with a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) or better for the size you want to print. This quality of image will provide your printer the information it needs to create documents that show all the details. A lower dpi can result in blurry or pixelated images, so skimping on image quality is just a waste of toner.

Figure out fonts. Combining selective use of color with different font types will up the impact of your outputs. Avoid messiness and confusion for your readers by sticking to two or three fonts: one for the body of your text, one for headings, and maybe one for call-outs or quotes. Body (or paragraph) text, works best in black, but headings and call-outs thrive in color. A trick for making your text easy on the eye is to use a serif font, like Times New Roman or Garamond. The additional visual detail in these fonts makes text easier to interpret. Headings work well in sans serif fonts like Helvetica.

Proof it. Printing a proof, or test version, is a best practice for any publication, and it’s especially vital when printing in color. Print one copy and review it closely for readability, detail, and color accuracy. This is the “measure twice, cut once” of the printing world: take the time to be sure your publication will print as you expect and you’ll save yourself the headache (and toner!) down the line.

Color printing can be a powerful tool for catching the eye and directing your audience’s attention. From conveying emotion to showing detail, use color wisely for the perfect printed publication.

Surprising Benefits of Managed IT

Many businesses are now familiar with some of the primary benefits of Managed IT. They include cost control, troubleshooting and problem-solving, and freeing up resources for activities more central and unique to your business. But, in addition to those common valuable features, Managed IT can provide some surprising benefits to you and your business.

With Managed IT, you can:

Stay up-to-date. Complete management of your IT network includes the critical element of patching and upgrading. Easily left by the wayside when you’re focused on troubleshooting, your Managed IT provider includes regular software patches as part of their services. By keeping you on track with the latest updates for your software and operating system, they’ll help you avoid security risks, eliminate glitches, and solve usability issues. Managed IT keeps all of your systems running smoothly.

Get custom insight. Usage reports and service statistics are par for the course, but your Managed IT provider can also design dashboards and reports tailored specifically for your business. Department managers can see at-a-glance which systems are running smoothly and where action needs to be taken. Custom dashboards provide the insight you need to stay on top of your operations.

Be ready for disaster—and recovery. A Managed IT partnership means having redundant and fail-safe systems. Normally this is a significant investment. But, when you work with a Managed IT provider, the cost of network and data center infrastructure is distributed among various clients, so it’s more affordable to incorporate a comprehensive backup and recovery solution.

Take your information technology to the next level. While in-house IT staff must normally be generalists who can solve any number of problems, Managed IT providers employ specialists whose expertise can be leveraged for your business’ strategy. They provide intimate knowledge of device life cycles, software risks and options, and OS upgrades. Periodic reviews by these experts can make sure you’re operating with the most efficient and effective systems.

Working with a partner for Managed IT is so much more than outsourcing your Help Desk tickets. With dedicated resources, specialized expertise, and a strong relationship with your provider, a move to Managed IT means teaming up with a partner that is invested in your company’s success. Contact Infomax Office Systems to learn more about Managed IT and how it can benefit your business.