Technology Consulting Tips for Creating an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Few businesses would survive without access to information technology. For this reason, every IT consultant and CIO recommends creating a strong IT disaster recovery plan.

To create an IT disaster recovery plan for your business, begin with a list of requisite IT tools that are needed to operate in a skeletal way. You may require access to company databases, on-site computers, email accounts and so forth – an IT consultant can help you determine which resources are essential to your operations. How long are you able to pause business to repair those tools?

Next, set up a phone tree for disaster communication. You’ll probably settle on a disaster leader as you create a communication web. Your marketing department can help you decide how to communicate with customers in the case of a disaster.

Generally, IT disaster recovery plans incorporate the following components:

Consistent backups of employee desktops and laptops. Most employees find it handy to save items on their computers’ desktops. However, if a disaster strikes, those documents could be permanently lost. Consistently backing up company computer is also wise for other reasons – in case a machine is stolen, hacked or lost, for instance. Basically, backing up your data ensures smooth operations regardless of circumstance.

Good technology defense. An IT consulting firm will often check the health of IT systems by testing for potential failures. By conducting such testing, companies proactively defend themselves against attack. In addition, it’s a good idea to install virus protection and firewalls on each computer. Finally, make sure employees immediately say “yes” to system update messages. (Conduct regular trainings on the importance of installing updates, which are patches for known weaknesses in software.)

Offsite storage for backup data. Don’t ignore the possibility that your entire office could be destroyed. In case of a total disaster, offsite data storage could save your company. Computers may be replaced; crucial data can’t. If your entire office is ruined, access to key data makes continued operation possible. You can take the classic technology consulting approach and store data on tapes. Mobile cloud backup products and disc-to-disc solutions are more cutting-edge data storage methods. However you store your backups, check their functionality before they leave your office.

Once your disaster recovery plan is official, don’t forget about it. Think about your disaster plan as a living document that will require regular updating. At the very least, your plan should have a formal review at least once a year. In this time, it’s likely that you’ll have changed out some major equipment and will need to revise insurance numbers and recovery techniques.

IT Consultants & Disaster Recovery

An IT consultant can be a valuable asset in creating your disaster recovery plan. Here are some of the things a technology consulting firm can help with:

Virtualization. One popular gig for an IT consultant is setting up server virtualization. By allowing a large amount of data to be stored on a single server, virtualization creates large amounts of data storage space at a small cost. Many technology consulting firms also recommend virtualization because it can cut down on hardware costs.

Disaster recovery testing. Recovery testing makes any company more likely to survive a disaster. Technology consulting firms conduct disaster recovery testing to make sure all systems will work as planned in an emergency.

Recovery plan design. IT consulting firm representatives are knowledgeable about the latest developments in IT disaster recovery. They can recommend the best backup methods for your organization.

An Information Technology Consulting Company That Is Perfect for a Biotech Firm – 7 Signs

Small and midsize Biotech companies do not have the financial resources that their larger pharmaceutical counterparts have. This means that they must be even smarter in how they spend. Larger firms have deeper pockets for their projects while Biotech startups and medium sized firms must find investors if they do not have enough in the R&D budget. Thus, due to budget limitations, the small to midsize Biotech companies must find creative methods to use their limited resources while growing their business. The most effective way for them to do this is to make sure that the company they are hiring is a great long term match. When looking for an Information Technology firm to hire, Biotech companies should look for seven major signs.

An Information Technology consulting company that truly understands and embraces their Biotech clients’ needs should be experienced and knowledgeable in serving the Biotech industry. We believe there are seven traits that a successful IT partner should have:

1. They should have an understanding of the biotechnology industry and specific needs that may come up such as regulatory requirements, clinical trial needs, GMP standards, HIPAA (in some cases), FDA compliance, ISO certifications, trade secret protections, vendor relations with proprietary lab equipment manufacturers etc.

2. They should have a leadership background and many years of experience in the industry (over 10 is a good number). They should be able to work with C-level executives as well as line workers so they know the needs at the front line as well as the needs of a growth business at a high level.

3. They must be responsive and agile. In the biotechnology industry, innovation is key and getting to the market faster means reaching profitability sooner and thus, having less need to get additional rounds of funding. In other words, an agile response is equal to time and money saved.

4. They must work closely and strategically with the company. They should not just be on-call technicians who come and fix things without seeing the big picture. There are two distinct needs within every biotechnology company: administrative and research. Therefore, technicians must be able to keep computers working for admin purposes but must also be technologically strategic enough to leverage their knowledge of technology into profits; thus allowing their clients to increase productivity, decrease costs, and get to the market quicker.

5. An Information Technology firm that has their clients’ best interests in mind will consistently be thinking about cost savings. Based on their years of experience, a veteran IT firm will have several methods as to how to cut or even eliminate extra costs dealing with equipment, labor or time, for their client. Thus, by choosing an IT money saving expert, the client will be able to save on expenditures.

6. An efficient IT firm knows how to find creative solutions to a current network issue a client may have and may even be able to foresee related issues in the future and prevent them from happening.

7. An Information Technology firm that is familiar with the nuance associated with proprietary lab equipment is able to understand that they are manufactured differently and that they are unique in their operation. For example, some are standalone units, some work in an active directory domain environment, some operate in a quasi-domain environment, and some come with very lax security protection that should be corrected. The IT firm will also understand that they all require careful security reviews and possibly security changes in order to integrate it to the company network.

As the owner of an Information Technology consulting company in San Diego, I have had the opportunity to work with a number of San Diego based biotechnology companies. Often times, the pains and needs that they share with me are very similar. After all, they are all racing to bring their products to market sooner, they want it done right the first time, and done cost effectively. Some say, with this economy we have to do more with less. I say, you should do more with less – always!

Being well-versed with the biotechnology sector does not give the IT consulting company license to overcharge their Biotech clients. A good Information Technology partner will have a good handle of human resources on their team to appropriately assign the needed resource when that expertise is required on a project.

An IT firm that is dedicated to their client establishes a relationship with them that is more of a partnership. Instead of labeling the client as just another account, an Information Technology consulting company that truly cares for their client’s best interests goes the extra mile for them. Here in San Diego, we once got a call from a client that had a problem with his laptop computer. He could not get it to work and had an important presentation at an executive meeting to do. We took his laptop, fixed it for him and delivered it to his meeting just in time. Our client was very pleased and so were we.

The perfect Information Technology partner for a technology, research and development oriented company is one that can leverage IT and help their client move agilely with the market, get their products to market sooner and, most importantly, do more with less.

What Is a Business Consulting Firm For?

A business consulting firm has many potential roles, and these roles are defined by each client. Whether a company wants to reorganize itself or expand, business consulting solutions exist to help them succeed. Often times it is difficult for a business owner to look at his own company with an unbiased eye. A business consulting firm can provide that set of eyes needed to truly analyze the processes of a business and identify areas of inefficiency that can be streamlined.

Clients go looking for a business consulting firm. They look for a team of professionals who understand the client’s industry rather than approaching a firm as though it fits into a generic corporate template.

Consultants should not approach a technological company as though it were a part of the retail industry because their needs are very different. The hurdles they face will also differ. Even for two companies within the same industry, there is very rarely a cookie cutter solution that can be “plugged in.”

For instance, if a market is struggling and there is no one within the company who can suggest a positive direction to take, then executives will turn to a business consulting firm to give sales and marketing guidance. This might be the time to restructure or consider new directions in the evolving market place. It could be an opportunity to reorganize existing practices within the company or improve communication between departments.

A business technology consultant will show a client how to use software, the internet and other high tech measures to become more successful. Just about every firm is using the web and other computerized systems to their advantage these days, but they do not always realize how to utilize it to their advantage fully. This might mean installing programs to streamline human resources or payroll systems, saving money and freeing up employees’ time to perform other fruitful tasks. It might mean helping them to build an eye-catching website.

A business technology consultant has experience in both the high-tech side and an understanding of the profession itself, even it if is already a corporation manufacturing technological products. Creating the goods and managing a corporation are different skills, and outside help can be invaluable. Another possible use for a business consulting firm is to provide outside project management.

Your business needs are unique. Finding a business consulting firm that understands this and is willing to get to know you before rushing to implement a solution is key to having a positive experience.