technology

BETTER BDR PLANNING IN FIVE STEPS

Multiple Wired to BackupIT systems have become increasingly critical to the business and protecting the data produced is more important than ever before. BDR (Backup Disaster Recovery) is the coordination and execution of company policy and technology architected to reduce downtime and expedite the recovery in the event of a disaster or hardware failure.

Ensuring critical data, systems and networks can be recovered in the event of acts of nature, like a flood, fire, or tornado can be a daunting task. What about if the power goes out for an extended period of time? Am I prepared for human error that leads to accidental deletion and data loss? Having a well thought out business continuity plan in place can ensure business objectives can still be achieved if an event happens.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Incorporate a solid plan. Better BDR planning takes into consideration the structural framework necessary to execute. This includes a thought out company policy that merges data retention requirements with the regulatory and compliance needs of the business. Conducting a risk assessment and/or a business impact analysis will lead to improved backup procedures and process.
  2. Fuse responsibility and accessibility. It’s imperative to identify critical IT resources and delegate ownership. In the event of an emergency, understanding the roles people play and the importance of systems and data used will be the first step in execution of BDR strategy.
  3. Audit, test and validate. Conducting regular reviews of each end point schedule, alert configuration and backup job could mean the difference between being proactive vs. reactive.
  4. Provide documentation. Keep all documents centralized. Items like backup process and schedule, off-site storage instructions, vendor contracts, training plans, etc. You will appreciate having all the pieces in one place when it comes time to assembling the puzzle. Following-up with a report that speaks to the frequency and maintenance of endpoint BDR can also be extremely impactful to management when justifying ROI.
  5. Get buy-in from management. This should go without saying but BDR planning requires money. No budget equals no plan. Failure to properly plan and obtain support from senior management will ultimately result in failed adoption. Of course trying to get funding from some management teams may be like trying to pull blood from a stone. But if all the elements are in place and your plan has taken into consideration the dollar amounts associated with the risks and threats of NOT adopting a BDR plan, this may prove more negotiable in the eyes of those responsible for keeping the lights on.

http://www.erinalbertson.com

Advertisements
technology

Turn Your Pictures Into Windows Desktop Themes: It’s Super Easy!

One of the features in Windows 7 that I absolutely love is desktop themes.  This is where you can set several different images as your desktop background.  You can even designate how much time elapses before flipping to the next picture.  It certainly offers up a livelier alternative to those static desktop backgrounds available in XP.

Before you create your own theme, there are a few considerations.  First, will you be sharing your theme with other people?  If so, you are going to want to map out your images by size.  This includes image resolution as well as image size.  You don’t want to use high resolution images as this will only make the size of the final file too large to share via email.  For example, I have 10 images I’d like to include and each image is 5MB each.  After the math I’m looking at a theme file size of 50+MB.  Most email servers will not accept file attachments over 10-20MB.  It can become problematic, so it requires thought.  You can choose to decrease by resolution, I recommend 72dpi.  Or by pixel size or a combination of both will help decrease file size.  Pixel limits vary upon devices being used.  I’ve found a good average to go by is 1024px.

Landscape: height =1024        Portrait: width=1024

To get started, create a new folder in your Pictures folder.  To do so, right-click in the Pictures window and select New, then Folder.  Name your Folder.  Next copy pictures you want to include in your desktop theme into that new folder.  I recommend a copy here as you would not want to lose or perhaps, misplace the original picture file.  Once the pictures have been copied into your folder, then I suggest making the image size adjustments. *if you want to decrease the file size for sharing*  This way everything is contained in that folder.  When that step has been completed, you are ready to add the folder as a desktop theme.

On your desktop, right-click and select Personalize.  At the bottom of the Personalization window look for Desktop Background and select it.  From there select the Browse button and navigate to the folder you created with your pictures. Select OK to choose.  From there you can configure your theme settings.

When you are finished, select Save Changes.  Upon saving your changes your desktop background will be set and the Personalization window still shows.  You should notice under My Themes you will have Unsaved Theme, to save the unsaved theme, simply right-click.  It’s that easy!  Share with your friends… here is mine.  Enjoy!

technology

Smartphone Battle for Battery Life

What’s better, the iPhone or the Android?  Ask many and I bet you’ll find yourself in a dilemma.  I’m behind a computer the majority of the day so honestly I do not own or use a smartphone.  However I find myself delving into articles concerning them.  I admit I’m a little fascinated.  Even if I didn’t want to be, I have to.  I’m surrounded by the technology.  I can’t count how many times someone who knows I’m in tech has asked me to help them with their smartphone.  Most times I oblige but find myself fumbling because I am not used to using one.  Lately I’ve been in the market to make the leap.  I know.  I know.  It’s about time, Erin.  I get it.  I digress; back to the point of the article

The biggest problem I hear and read is expected battery life versus the actual battery life.  This misconception leads to a number of disgruntled purchasers.  You can see this when you read product reviews.  Of course this commentary is understandable especially when one does not grasp the concept of use in terms of battery life.  The amount of battery life suggested on websites trying to sell you the latest and greatest is the best possible number.  You can be assured of that little fact.  What the websites tend to leave out are the guidelines to which they have tested the battery to conclude such a number.  Therefore it might be difficult to judge how much life you will get from your use of the phone.  Think about it like a laptop.  The more programs (apps) installed & running, the slower the laptop (phone) runs because it has to use more resources and consequently the faster battery life dies.  Recently I read some articles that discuss turning off random services on your smartphone to preserve battery life.  Brilliant!  Kill those tasks.  Just like in a computer or laptop, hence the assimilation between the two.

If your smartphone is not getting the expected battery life that it used to get, you might want to look into these articles which provide tips and tricks to extending the life of your battery.  A simple Google search on this subject will also yield a plethora of additional articles.

iPhone: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/smartphones/tips-to-make-your-iphone-4s-experience-more-efficient/4712?tag=nl.e004

Android: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/five-apps/five-tips-for-saving-battery-life-on-an-android-phone/181?tag=content;siu-container

technology

Women in Technology

White Town's Women in Technology CD - Listen: Your WomanLately, I have come across quite a few articles discussing gender differences within the technology industry. Most recently was the discussion of IBM’s CEO, Virginia Rometty, and her inabilities to achieve the ‘big boy-golf club status’. (Article) Now I enjoy a good riff, especially when it comes to gender inequality, but this takes the cake. I suspect the author of this article achieved exactly what she set out to do: get people talking.

With articles of this nature, i.e.: gender inequality, I find the pulp resides in the comments. I have to admit, I love this stuff. People become so passionate and emblazoned with their opinions it almost always turns emotional erupting into a hair-raising, gun-slinging, and chaw-spitting discussion. People get caught up in their moments of stating points and lose their sense of reality. We live in a patriarchal society, people! End of discussion. So what if the tech industry is filled with a bunch of guys who want to be in an exclusive club? I commend all the women out there that have broken barriers and achieved success in this male-dominated industry. Good for you! Good for you, Virginia Rometty, for not getting caught up in the hype and good for you, Eileen Burbidge, for providing the platform for such an intense commentary.

technology

Social Media Marketing: Do We Do IT?

For smaller companies, social media marketing may raise eyebrows especially when short-handed with employees to manage and maintain.  Media correspondence normally functions as a marketing initiative but with the latest technology trends on the social media front, these objectives have now been placed onto IT desks.  So as IT you may find yourself delving for more information.

Before taking the plunge into the social media realm, ask yourself some marketing questions:  What are the goals of the company’s social media plan?  Is there a company slogan or campaign?  I like to call them campaigns rather than plans because they hold many facets similar. If you think about it, a social media campaign is much like lobbying your business to procure customers.  It’s all for show.  And to be a successful show, your campaign must be the big act in bright lights, ever-present on the social media stage performing the quality of service your targeted audience deserves and applauds!

There are many ways to get started but remember your campaign should include, at the minimum, the following:

  • Goals;
  • Objectives;
  • Dedicated employee(s);
  • Allocated time spent daily/weekly and;
  • Ability to track and record results.

Cheers or jeers, you might also find it helpful to designate a workflow of how to handle feedback from different social media outlets used.  This can prove very useful should you find yourself in hot water over the misuse of a hashtag.  *cough… cough… #McStories*  A good example of this is currently used by the U.S. Air Force.

technology

SaaS & Cloud Computing, A Hot Topic

SaaS and Cloud Computing, two terms associated with one of the hot topics when talking tech these days. It makes me think of how vital a relationship with the company CFO becomes. When we discuss SaaS, I immediately think of my company’s bottom line.

Many questions arise when software or services need to be integrated into current business practices in order to stay competitive. The ideas of increased efficiency, faster turn-around, less paper, etc. become crucial in today’s ever-changing market. So how do we keep up without breaking the bank? This is where SaaS or cloud computing will help. Or at least that’s the notion they are attempting to sell us.

The work is up to you, IT. My best advice is to do the research and learn to talk numbers. Talking numbers becomes an extremely effective communication tool when discussing budgets with the CFO.

technology

Windows or Mac?

So many times I’m confronted with the question of what’s better, Windows or Mac? My response: neither. Some may disagree with that answer but in my personal opinion, both are of equal quality. Consider that you might be asking the wrong question. The better Windows/Mac question is: What do you want to do with your new computer? If all you want to do is surf the web and email, then buy what feels comfortable for you. If you want to use software programs like Word, Excel, Power Point, etc. then buy Windows. If you’re a student going into web design, buy a Mac. If you are an accountant, buy Windows. Can you see the pattern here? Design = Mac. Business = Windows. Remember this next time your friend is looking at purchasing a new computer. You will come off as an expert and maybe you can get a free lunch for your awesome advice!