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

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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

Cheap Software & Hardware: Get You Some!

Is your company/organization a registered 501(c)3 not-for-profit? If so, continue reading for a great way to get discounted software from Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, Sage, and many more.

This amazing opportunity for your non-profit, school or government agency can be found at www.techsoup.org.  TechSoup is an organization established to negotiate terms for software and hardware on your behalf.  Simply visit their website and register to see if you apply.  Be a superhero for your organization and start saving today!

technology

Before You Contact Your Support Desk

Too many times we are confronted with the dreaded computer problem. It runs too slow or the Internet connection has failed or even worse, the blue screen of death. Whatever the issue may be we are automatically inclined to throw our hands up in frustration while screaming threats of tossing the whole kit and caboodle out the window. Before you strain yourself, consider this. Sometimes a simple reboot can solve your problem. Of course it is ignorant to think that this will always resolve the issue but contact any support desk and they will assuredly tell you to do the same.

The last thing anyone wants to do is contact support, hold for a half hour only to be connected with someone in a foreign country. To limit the troubleshooting aggravation, try this. Before contacting support conduct a quick Google search to see if others out there have experienced the same issue. A lot of times your search could yield a good blog explaining how to fix the problem. Also, don’t be afraid to right-click. On your desktop, in programs, on icons, right-clicking can lead to an entirely different menu of options which might conclude resolution.

Most times the answers for a computer issue are quite logical. In our anger and upset we lose sight of the easiest solutions.