Microsoft end of Support

How Are You Preparing for 2020’s Microsoft End-of-Support List?

If you’re like most businesses, you’ve been seeing notifications start to surface about a daunting change to your business. Coming January 14, 2020, Microsoft® will no longer be providing support for a long list of Microsoft products and solutions. These notifications can be easily closed, and users can even check the “do not notify me again” option.

Have you been ignoring them? Let’s look at why you shouldn’t, and how you can be fully prepared when End of Support becomes a reality this January.

What Does End-of-Support Mean?

This 2020 deadline marks the point at which any solutions on the list will no longer be supported by Microsoft, which means anyone still using these solutions will no longer be able to receive direct support from Microsoft. It also means your users might start running into less-than-ideal experiences. But neither of these issues are your biggest concern. The major risk of not updating your solutions is that you’ll be opening up your systems and users to significant risks. Without ongoing updates and patches from Microsoft support, your outdated solutions will leave the door wide open for security failures and serious compliance risks.

How Can You Prepare?

You have a few options if you’re a business customer. You can pay for extended support or buy Windows Virtual Desktop, but both of those options are an extra cost and even that extended support will have an expiration date.

Your final option is to choose to upgrade your Microsoft solutions, but that means:

Creating and communicating an exit strategy for your existing solutions
Upgrading all of your existing solutions
Managing any training needed for users on upgraded solutions
It’s a lot to manage, and doing it right could mean a full-time resource dedicated to managing the exit, the upgrades and the proactive forward management of your solutions care. If you’re working with a small team or a small budget, it might be particularly tough to dedicate a single resource to your Microsoft solutions updates.

How We Can Help

If that sounds like a lot of work, it is. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. We’re your partner in making this transition simple and seamless. Let us take on the entire process and any other IT support you’re looking for – while you focus on everything else your business needs for growth. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help.

Disaster Recovery Plans

How Business Continuity Plans Differ from Disaster Recovery Plans

Nobody likes to think about worst-case scenarios when it comes to their business. Unfortunately, your company is susceptible to a wide variety of natural disasters, building structure fires and cybersecurity attacks.

To be prepared for the worst, some companies create a disaster recovery plan to help get them back up and running. But what about a business continuity plan?

One misconception is that if your company has a disaster recovery plan, then you don’t need a business continuity plan. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Here is why you need a business continuity plan and how it can help your company.

What’s the Different Between These Plans?

A disaster recovery plan is the process to get your company’s IT operational following a cyberattack, human error, hardware failure, building fire or natural disaster.

Disaster recovery plans only focus on IT while a business continuity plan has a much broader scope. Business continuity plans are detailed outlines, including the procedures and instructions businesses need to follow to get back up and running following a crisis. Business continuity plans have contingencies for each aspect of your business, such as operational processes, assets, human resources, etc.

How Business Continuity Plans Help Your Company?

When disaster strikes, the longer your company is offline or nonoperational hurts your bottom line. According to Gartner, every minute your company IT is down cost $5,600 per minute. With those stakes, you don’t have time for a confused staff asking you, “What do we do?”

With a business continuity plan in place, your company will know what to do if a crisis strikes. Key stakeholders will be able to direct others on what’s needed based on the severity of the crisis.

What’s in a Business Continuity Plan?

Several steps go into creating a well-rounded plan.

The first step is to conduct a business impact analysis. This is the time to take inventory of your resources, figure out which business functions will need to be addressed first to get the business running again and what resources will be required to do it. Click here to download FEMA’s free Business Impact Analysis worksheet.
The next step is developing recovery strategies. These are plans that detail the steps needed to be taken to get the company back up to the minimum operating levels. Also, this is the step to address any potential gaps in your plan regarding resources, personnel or processes.
The third step is developing a plan framework on how the continuity plan will be executed during a crisis. To help the plan run more efficiently for larger companies, organize a team comprised of people from each department to map out their department-specific continuity plans.
If you don’t have one already, this would also be a great time to draft an IT disaster recovery plan. Also, document any manual workarounds so your team can access key programs remotely in the event of the network going down.
The final step is to test your plan. Conduct training and exercises so everyone knows what to do if a crisis occurs. If you find a gap or problem during training, update your plan accordingly and then test again.

How We Can Help

For small and medium-sized businesses, it can be a daunting task creating a business continuity plan from scratch. To help streamline this process, our team of experts walks you through every step, from completing a business impact analysis to testing and revising your plan.

Don’t stress about the future of your business. Contact us to find out how we can help.