13 is lucky for some! Meet our competition winner

Congratulations to Ian McGregor Brown for winning a brand new coffee machine in our celebration competition.

We’re happy to announce that Ian from Leeds was the lucky entrant to win the main prize draw and is now enjoying a good cuppa coffee (or several) from the virtualDCS team. 

Ian was the 13th entrant to the competition, proving that the number 13 is lucky for some.

In case you didn’t know, the Twitter giveaway was created to celebrate 10 years of collaboration with Veeam. 10 years on, virtualDCS is now one of the most established Veeam Cloud Recovery providers in Europe and one of the very first businesses to offer Veeam Cloud Connect solutions to the masses.

Ian told us:

“I’m so delighted to win. I’ve followed virtualDCS on Twitter for a while now as the team are great and they post some really useful things, around technology and business trends. I saw the competition pop up and I thought I may as well enter, what’s the worst that could happen? My track record on winning competitions is zero, so what a great surprise it was when Nikki called me!”

Although Ian was the lucky winner, we also had a number of fantastic entries that are worth noting!

From dog mugs to fabulous affirmations, here are some of our favourites. 

 

Richard May, Managing Director of virtualDCS said:

“Hitting our 10th year of partnership gives us a chance to look back and reflect on the innovative solutions that the partnership has brought to the market and really celebrate the achievements of our team.  Veeam continues to be a focus for us and we’re excited to see what other unique solutions we can create together to help protect customer data.”

If you’re not a winner, don’t worry, we’ve got more competitions in the pipeline and we’re still offering free Veeam cloud connect trials. If you’d like to find out more or to claim your free trial, simply use the form below or contact the team on 03453 888 327.

Five more things you should cover in your business continuity plan

We’re already three months into 2018 and I’m sure that by now you’ll have come across blogs, videos and infographics telling you that you need to have a business continuity plan in place to protect your organisation.

Many of these advisory pieces only tell you that your business needs to have one in place while skating around the actual content of a plan.

Last year we put together a blog on ‘five things you should cover in your business continuity strategy’ and after some great feedback, we decided to create a follow-on blog. So, here are five more things you should cover in your business continuity plan.

Plan for at least three scenarios

There is an old saying that bad luck comes in threes and you should always be prepared for at least three different scenarios that can affect your business. A threat analysis can help determine these potential disasters and it is best practice to explore these scenarios with different disaster types and locations.

For example, if one office is next to a canal it would be wise to include the possibility of flooding in their continuity plan, in addition to power cuts and computer viruses.

Staff relocation

In the event of an incident, where do your staff go? If the Internet in the building was disconnected, would you expect them to report to another office or to work from home? What would they need to work from home?

Would they all leave at the same time or would someone stay to answer the phones? Can staff access their phones while working elsewhere? All these scenarios need discussing.

Think about your customers

You have an internal plan and all staff are now working from home or from another office, but how does this affect your customers? Do you need to let them know that the office will be closed until further notice and that they will not be able to call the office number? Likewise, if your business hosts other business systems, what will the impact be on them?

Training & exercises

It is important that your team knows more than where the recovery plan is, they have to know how to complete it in a disaster. Do they know whom to turn to if they have any questions? Are there any kinks that need ironing out? Without emergency drills, you will never know.

Gap analysis

Overall, it is vital that you complete a strong gap analysis to determine that no areas are left unaccounted for. Here are a few questions to help you get started in your analysis:

  • Have you accounted for employee absences during an incident?
  • Have you accounted for flexible working hours and worksites?
  • If applicable, do you provide sufficient emergency supplies?
  • Do you need to inform your insurers about your plan?

If you’d like to speak to someone about your disaster recovery plan, just call the team on 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk

 

The cloud can help your business grow in 2018

Since its conception, the cloud has helped businesses of all shapes and sizes access a range of solutions and resources that were previously unavailable to them.

These benefits can directly impact an organisations growth in a number of ways.

Reduced costs and growth management

Overall, the cloud is much more cost-effective than traditional infrastructure solutions, especially for SMEs, as companies only have to pay for the resources they use. The cloud also eliminates the need for businesses to make extensive plans and predictions around their growth in order to ensure that their infrastructure can cope with it.

Prior to the cloud, a business would have needed to purchase the equipment outright in an effort to forecast this growth or continually add new resources to cope with it. Furthermore, in some cases, for an effective disaster recovery solution, they’d also have to create a duplicate infrastructure or rely on tape backups, which brings additional issues itself.

The cloud eradicates all these issues while freeing up cash flow, this means the company can manage their budget more effectively while investing these savings in other areas and avoiding concerns over unexpected growth.

Reduce staff costs

Maintaining a traditional infrastructure also comes with an additional expense, with organisations having to employ a third party or additional staff to maintain the equipment. With a cloud solution, this isn’t an issue as the infrastructure provider monitors and maintains the solution outright. Once again, this means a business can focus its attention and finances on other areas.

Few organisations can match the security and infrastructure investment of a cloud provider.

Productivity

As long as you have an internet connection, the cloud enables you to access your data through on the move. This is perfect for employees that have to work at home or on the move as they can make the most of their time as they travel.

Not only this, but it can also help employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance which can help to improve moral overall.

Quick wins for developers

Similarly to above, if you’re a software developer you can also access new customers across the globe and offer free trials before they purchase. This can dramatically reduce your sales cycle and encourage growth.

To find out more about the solutions we offer and how we can help your business grow, contact the team on 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk

Your disaster recovery plan could be missing a vital element

Your company could have the most comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan in place, with documentation prepared for every possible outcome… but at the end of the day, the success of the recovery relies on your employees.

The best-crafted plans are always going to fail if your team doesn’t understand them or forgets them.

Departmental awareness

The most efficient disaster recovery solutions are deployed and supported in every department.

Disaster Recovery plan

From the managing director to the new apprentice.

Do all employees know what’s expected of them in any number of situations?

How often do you cover expectations and can staff perform the required tasks with little human error? Working directly with the HR department to put basic training in place could be the difference between a smooth recovery or a failure that makes your business unproductive until resolved.

Accessible information

If an employee has a question, then the answer should be easily accessible. If they have to ask someone, then you’re doing it wrong. An internal knowledge base should help alleviate this issue, where they can log on to the company system, view the full disaster recovery plan and a selection of frequently asked questions. It may take some time to set up, but it can be the difference between success or failure.

It’s also important to regularly update and review these processes. Having a central portal in place will make the process much simpler.

Test and schedule

With your training and resources in place, all that’s left is to test! Employees may be able to recite the information on paper, but how would they manage the actual situation? Not only will employees be more aware of the actions that should be taken, it also provides an ample opportunity for you to iron out any crinkles and oversights you may discover within your plan.

If you’d like to speak to someone about your disaster recovery plan and its management, please contact the team on 03453 888 327 or by emailing enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk 

An IT manager needs to be a master of all trades

Working with the cloud experts, I’ve seen from experience that IT managers are not just technology facilitators and the IT department doesn’t just deliver a solution.

In many cases, IT departments now have to act as a business themselves. They have to utilise technology to keep up with competition, continually assess the market and deliver excellent customer service, all while researching, testing and implementing new technologies. The department head also has to maintain happy employees and make sure shareholders are content.

This list is in no way all-encompassing, just ask any stressed out department head around and I’m sure they’ll give you some more examples, but the list alone included elements of marketing, sales, research, development and human resources.

In many organisations, the IT department is actually acting as the centre of the business, impacting every aspect of it and implementing changes. Of course, this doesn’t just apply to service providers.

So with all this responsibility in mind, when given the opportunity, it’s no wonder that managers are migrating towards cloud computing technology and outsourcing services. With this one change, the business then alleviates the requirement to consistently purchase and maintain its equipment in-house, but they also outsource some of the IT manager’s responsibility.

The cloud frees up time for the department to improve its productivity and to focus on its core activities.

Running a successful IT department, especially for service providers, is all about being at the forefront of technology – testing, bending, breaking and shaping the way technology is used. However, the old saying ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ still applies and I’ve seen first-hand how cloud technology gives IT managers the opportunity to outsource some of their responsibility and become a master in their chosen field.

To speak to a member of the virtualDCS team about how the cloud can help change your department and business for the better, just give us a call on 03453 888 327 or email sales@virtualDCS.co.uk

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