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Posts from November, 2014

Close Enough to Know You, Small Enough to Serve You

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

human-475668_1280If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you know why we believe managed IT services are the smart choice over “going it alone” — particularly for a small business. Over the past few years alone, we’ve seen several major tech companies — some of the really big names — branch out into the outsourced IT space.

Of course, they have plenty of their own marketing muscle behind them, but before you become enamored with a “national brand,” ask yourself a few questions:

  • How many years of experience do they have with managed IT for small businesses?

  • Do they have specific experience with the unique needs of my industry (i.e., regulatory compliance) and the know-how to custom-design and implement the best IT solution for me?

  • Would they provide a knowledgeable, local IT specialist who’d meet with me in person whenever necessary?

  • If something suddenly goes wrong, can I immediately connect with The Person Who Can Fix The Problem, or will I get what every customer of a large tech company dreads — a lengthy phone queue (along with that annoying music) followed by a dispassionate support rep who reads from a script?

31 years ago, we envisioned MPA Networks as a Bay Area IT services company dedicated to serving Bay Area customers. We knew how daunting new technology could be for financial services, law firms, healthcare providers and other local small companies — and how personal, one-to-one service was the best answer. From desktop systems to email networks, from smart phones to high-capacity servers and cutting-edge applications in the cloud, we’ve specialized in crafting optimal IT solutions that give our customers the productivity they need to compete in this tough business market.

From our centralized Belmont location, we can easily serve customers from San Francisco to San Jose. Because we’re nearby (not in a different time zone — or continent), you can expect we’ll be at our best when you need us most: normal business hours.

Another difference between MPA and the “big guys” is our individualized MIS Manager Services. We can pair you up with an experienced MIS professional who’ll be your one-stop, face-to-face contact, responsible for fulfilling all your onsite IT needs — whether improving your existing IT infrastructure or building a new network from the ground up, from system design to project management to day-to-day operations. We offer MIS Manager Services in conjunction with our Reliable Networks Managed Services Program, our all-inclusive, flat-fee IT management package designed for small businesses. If you’d prefer to eliminate the pitfalls of IT to focus on your overall success, it’s definitely worth a look.

Disaster Recovery: Is Your Data Protected From the Next Catastrophe?

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Protect data during a natural disaster and recover data after a catastrophyLast month, the Bay Area commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. Those of us who lived through that experience remember the sudden, unexpected jolt — and how the event disrupted our lives for several weeks afterward.

Of course, we were a lot less reliant on technology back in 1989 (remember life without a smartphone?), but we know today how data networks (email and more) are absolutely mission-critical for businesses of all sizes. What happens when your server suddenly becomes inoperative? Your entire organization grinds to a screeching halt.

Planning for Disasters — and Recovery

With so much productivity at stake, small businesses now see the need for IT disaster recovery planning (commonly referred to as DR). By “disaster,” we mean anything from Northern California’s next major earthquake — which experts insist is coming — to a localized fire, flood, or even simple human error. It’s worth preparing for any contingency that could knock out your data center for hours, days or weeks at a time. The longer your IT network is down, the longer you’re out of business — with money flying out the door.

Have you ever considered that a “simple” virus attack like Cryptolocker, or an employee’s supposedly innocuous mistake, could totally take your company down? That’s also a disaster. Disasters are no longer just low-frequency events.

A disaster can happen to your firm at any time — even in the next five minutes.

DR isn’t the same thing as simply backing up applications and data. It means minimizing that costly downtime by having the ability to fully restore your network as soon as possible. Many smaller businesses used to rely on a system of backing up files on their own external drives or tapes, which seemed to offer an adequate solution… until the day they needed to manually restore their entire network. Between the time commitment involved and the trial-and-error results, small business owners realized that disaster recovery without specialized support can quickly turn into a second nightmare.

Cloud-based Solutions

Today, small businesses are increasingly turning to a Managed Services Provider (MSP) to design and implement a cloud-based DR solution. While most people think of the cloud simply as offsite data storage or a “virtual” operating environment, added benefits include quick, hassle-free recovery from any catastrophic IT failure — allowing small businesses a level of data protection equivalent to that of larger enterprises, at a reasonable monthly cost.

Among the many advantages of partnering with an MSP is developing a customized DR plan, whether that’s a wholly cloud-based platform (hosted completely at a cloud data center) or a hybrid solution (cloud-hosting in tandem with the customer’s onsite equipment). A premium MSP is staffed 24/7 by knowledgeable IT professionals who will regularly test the entire DR system to ensure it’s ready when needed.

When it comes to day-to-day IT operations, preparing for a worst-case scenario is usually the last thing most small business administrators think about — until it’s too late. Safeguard your company’s livelihood with the help of an experienced Bay Area MSP with over 31 years of trusted reliability. Give disaster recovery planning a closer look here.