Four Reasons to Consider the Cloud for Disaster Recovery

November 12th, 2013

Disaster recovery in the cloud has become a priority for businesses seeking a secure and reliable method for backing up and restoring critical data in the event of a hardware failure, everyday outage or natural disaster.

 

Cloud disaster recovery services provide off-site data storage, replication and mirrored facilities, helping companies recover quickly and maintain business continuity even in the wake of large-scale disasters. Here’s a look at the top four reasons why the cloud has become the best defense against disaster:

 

  • Indestructible: In the event your hardware fails or disaster wreaks havoc in your city, your data will be safe and accessible in the cloud. Using the cloud for disaster recovery means automatic recovery with faster restoration, minimal data loss and decreased downtime, even if your physical site is damaged during a disaster.

 

  • Affordable: Service providers manage all backup equipment and storage systems while also reducing the time and driving down the costs of doing the same work internally. In fact, disaster recovery in the cloud has provided significant cost savings over traditional tape-based systems or privately managed disaster recovery sites. Providers also offer trained experts, use documented best practices and invest in recovery automation tools your business likely wouldn’t purchase otherwise.

 

  • Strategic: The constant use of smart phones, email, apps and the web has created an explosion of data, increasing the disaster recovery workload for companies’ IT staff. In fact, many businesses report they don’t have sufficient staff to update and test their disaster recovery strategies on a regular basis. However, with disaster recovery in the cloud, your provider takes over a hefty share of the workload, freeing up your IT professionals to focus on strategic initiatives for your company.

 

  • Compliant: The cloud offers an extra measure of support for businesses in industries with strict or complex regulations and data retention requirements. Cloud-based back-up means data is secure during transmission, storage and access – particularly important benefits for privacy and record retention regulations.
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Tips for Document Security in the Cloud

October 13th, 2013

Working in the cloud has become a normal part of business for companies large and small. And if you’ve jumped onboard and are using the cloud in your business, you know the benefits significantly outweigh the risks. But how can you protect sensitive company information when it’s stored online, and how do you keep a record of who is accessing what? Read on for five tips for safeguarding your data in the cloud.

 

  • Cloud computing security conceptAudit your users: Keep close tabs on your users’ privileges and access activities. Employees with access to highly sensitive files should receive a high degree of scrutiny. It’s also important to train them on securely handling the data.
  • Secure your network: Work with your IT staff to protect your infrastructure from network and application threats. Provide extra protection and monitoring to highly valuable intellectual property, and build in analytics that show you which users are accessing what content.
  • Limit access according to device: While privileged users may have access to important company files while working in the office, you may want to limit access from home or on mobile devices where networks are much more vulnerable.
  • Separate work and home: It’s also important that users keep corporate data separate from personal info on smart phones, tablets and other devices. You may even consider scanning users’ devices for vulnerabilities to ensure your data is safe no matter what the access point.
  • Scan for threats: Add a security intelligence solution to give you full visibility into network, application and user activity. This extra layer of security will help you detect anomalies, identify vulnerabilities and pinpoint high-priority incidents among billions of data points – before it’s too late.

 

The cloud is never completely failsafe, but these tips will help your business mitigate the risks while maximizing the benefits of the cloud.

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Five Steps for Successful Records Management

September 18th, 2013

Effective records management is an important function for any business, particularly for organizations that are highly regulated and must be able to access data quickly and easily. But managing records can be a complicated process, and how can you be sure your program meets the needs of your company?

 

Shelves of Hospital FilesHere’s a quick look at the five key steps for implementing a successful records management system:

 

  1. Define your strategy: What is your plan for records retention? What about records disposition? Many companies simply save every record, but this approach is costly and inefficient, particularly with paper records that must be stored and aren’t easily accessible. Determine which documents are important to keep – for legal or record-keeping purposes – and which can be deleted or shredded.

 

  1. Gain buy in: It’s critical for executives to understand industry and organization record requirements, policies and procedures. Make sure they’re fully on board with your records management strategy.

 

  1. Create a records system: Once your strategy is in place, determine your system for filing and indexing your records, whether paper or digital, to ensure easy access and retrieval across your organization. This can be a daunting task, and more and more companies are turning to records management professionals to build and implement their systems.

 

  1. Consider records preservation: What is the lifecycle of your records? While many documents are important to preserve, others simply take up drive space or clutter desktops. Develop a document preservation strategy for your company’s critical records, and consider working with a trained specialist to preserve important paper and electronic forms.

 

  1. Train your staff: Ensure your employees understand your records management strategy, policies and procedures, whether through a training program, published FAQ, or company intranet explaining the do’s and don’ts of your business’ records system. You may even consider internal audits of your staff to check for compliance, especially if your company is subject to outside audits.
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