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How to Troubleshoot A Failed Backup

b2ap3_thumbnail_broken_backup_400.jpgYour business relies on its IT to get things done, but if disaster were to strike, would you be able to recover efficient operations without having to deal with the numerous headaches that are associated with downtime? Even if you have instituted a reliable backup solution, your business could still be hurting if your backup failed. Here’s how you troubleshoot this scenario.

It could be a nightmare if your last backup didn’t process correctly. According to Rachel A. Dines, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, it could, and is most certainly something to take into consideration. Sometimes backups don’t finish before issues arise, or your organization’s backup strategy simply didn’t have a backup scheduled in the time between the last operations ceased and the disaster struck. Regardless of your situation, working with an incomplete or corrupted backup could mean significant downtime for your business.

To start troubleshooting this problem, it is important to ascertain what the problem is. Is it a one-time event, or is it a system-wide problem that is going to take some investigation and time to properly fix? If it’s a single backup failure, that is, if it was a one-time problem, the issue comes isolated, giving you the best chance to fix the problem without hindering operations. If it is affecting multiple servers and is keeping your files from being backed up, more investigation will be needed.

It could be something simple such as a discrepancy with the power supply or the network connection; in which case, resolving the issue should alleviate your backup problems. Most times, the running backup solution is simply overwhelmed by the amount of information that it’s backing up. A remedy for this issue is to put together a business continuity plan to isolate the mission-critical information you need to protect, and focus your backup efforts toward making sure that data is redundant.

The best case scenario, especially if you have information that would devastate your business if it were lost, is to call Total Networks at (602)412-5025. We can present you with options, including our complete Backup and Disaster Recovery solution. Our BDR performs regular backups throughout the day, then pushes your backups to a secure, off-site location, where your backups are constantly monitored and tested to ensure your data is available when you need it.

To protect your business from disaster and keep your operations up and running smoothly, put your trust in Total Networks, the Phoenix area’s top solutions provider.

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Posted in: Best Practices

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Why You Should Think Twice about Throwing Away Working Technology

b2ap3_thumbnail_ewaste_becoming_a_major_issue_400.jpgWhen it comes to getting new technology, it’s typical to spend a significant amount of time agonizing over which product is the best. All the while, little regard is given to the disposal of one’s old tech, which often gets tossed in the trash. You may not have realized it, but haphazardly disposing of our old technology is wreaking havoc on the environment.

The Side Effect of Our Throwaway Society…
The problem with e-waste starts with how our consumeristic culture approaches technology. In our quest to have the latest gadgets (often for the shallow sake of status), we end up disposing of perfectly-good working tech. In fact, the average laptop is used for only two months. Cell phones fair comparatively worse, getting only 18 months of use before they’re traded in for a newer model. This, despite the fact that these devices are built to last much longer than a few years.

It doesn’t seem very likely that our country’s throwaway approach to technology is going to change anytime soon. After all, the sales angle of convincing consumers that “their current device isn’t cool anymore and that they need to buy the latest to be hip” is the foundation of every tech manufacturer’s business model. Although, at the same time, there is some merit to upgrading your technology in terms of gaining better security and increasing productivity. But is gaining these benefits worth the toll that e-waste takes on the environment?

…Is Destroying Other Societies
When you toss out your old laptop, you may think nothing about where it ends up. You might just assume that it’s in a landfill buried underneath a metric ton of soiled diapers. However, the truth is a little more grim: 70-to-80 percent of all e-waste from first-world nations is shipped to landfills in other, less privileged nations.

Why is this? Contrary to what you’re thinking, it’s not to give needy people secondhand technology so they can ease their burdens by playing Minesweeper. Instead, e-waste gets dumped onto these poorer countries because they don’t have much in the way of environmental laws, allowing them to straight up open-air burn the e-waste in order to extract valuable metals. However, as is the case with all environmental laws, it’s important to remember that, just because your country has its act together and has gone green, doesn’t mean that the rest of the world has, too. This transcrepany translates to the worst of the waste getting outsourced, which is counterproductive. At the end of the day, air quality, rain clouds, and the ozone are no respecter of borders.

Once your old laptop makes it to an under-regulated country, it’s then processed at the expense of the local population’s health, due in part to the poisoning of their groundwater from lead runoff. Environmental disasters like this cause lead poisoning for local children along with elevated rates of miscarriages. This is the sad case for one of the world’s largest processing hubs of e-waste, Guiyu, China. In Guiyu, 5,500 businesses process 1.5 million pounds of discarded devices every year. See for yourself photos of e-waste in Guiyu from Time:

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E-waste is Basically Toxic Waste
The problem with e-waste is that it contains some pretty serious toxins. Consider the following:

  • Lead: Used in most electronic equipment.
  • Beryllium: A lightweight metal found in many electronics.
  • Mercury: Used in many lighting displays.
  • Polyvinyl chloride: Often used for cabling in circuit boards.
  • Cadmium: Found in computer batteries and monitors.

Some Grim E-Waste Statistics
Unfortunately, the e-waste problem is getting worse. As reported by TechRepublic:

In 2012, the US generated more than 9 million tons of e-waste, which was a huge jump from its 2 million tons in 2005. According to the EPA, 141 million mobile devices were ready for end-of-life management in 2008, but they made up less than 1% of discarded electronics. Of the electronic waste the US generated, only 25% was recycled. The other 75% was sent to landfills in the US or abroad.

Keep in mind that these statistics only apply to the United States. Looking at the global picture, the e-waste problem is growing exponentially; especially since markets that previously lacked access to technology connect to the global grid.

Change Starts with You
The e-waste problem feels like it’s grown too large for any of us to make any real difference towards, but you can make a difference just by changing the way you approach technology. Instead of buying into the throwaway culture that encourages people to toss out perfectly-good-and-working technology, try donating your old tech to someone that could use it, or even better, simply fight the urge to unnecessarily upgrade out of sheer obligation to “keep up with the Joneses.”

Additionally, you can be intentional about disposing of your e-waste properly. You can have an IT company like Total Networks handle your e-waste so that you don’t have to. We deal with e-waste every day and have green procedures in place to dispose of it in a way that has minimal impact on the environment. Before you toss your old tech in the trash, give Total Networks a call at (602)412-5025.

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Posted in: Miscellaneous

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Tip of the Week: 5 Ways to Be Better Than Your Competition

b2ap3_thumbnail_win_against_your_competition_400.jpgEvery business has competition at some level. It’s tempting to ignore your competition (it may even be hard to speak their name), but there’s great value that comes with watching them closely; namely, you can learn from what they do in order to improve upon your own product or service.

By paying close attention to your competition, you can learn from both their successes and their failures. In fact, at the end of the day, what you learn from your competitors might be indirectly responsible for the next big thing from your own company. It’s all about paying attention to what they’re doing so that you can do it better.

Take Note of Their Competitive Advantage
As good as your business is, your competition is likely doing at least one thing better than you. Of course, if you’re better than they are at everything you do, then this whole article is moot and you don’t have to even acknowledge their existence. Realistically, there’s at least something that they’re doing better than you. What is it? How are they going about it? Take notes on what they’re doing that’s better, learn from it, and then up the ante by doing it even better.

How Do They Approach Marketing?
Everybody knows how crucial marketing is to the success of a business. Learning about how your competition markets will give you incredible insight for your own marketing campaigns. Who is your competition targeting? How are they utilizing social media? What features do they have on their website? Do they have a mailing list that you can sign up for? By its nature, marketing is a hit-or-miss venture; therefore, you can improve the probability of hitting a home run with your next marketing initiative by learning from your competition’s marketing successes.

What’s Their Budget Look Like?
Both you and your competition have a finite amount of resources to work with. Therefore, how a business budgets their resources tells a lot about how they run their company. In addition to general budget information, you can learn a lot by discovering who your competition’s vendors are and what they charge. By looking at cost factors like these, you may even learn why your competition is able to charge less than you for the same products and services.

How Do They Onboard and Train Their Staff?
The caliber of employees that a business hires greatly determines its success. If your competition is drawing more talented personnel than you are, then you’re going to feel it in several competitive arenas. Where is your competition drawing their staff from? They might be advertising openings in different places than you are. What are they paying their people? It can also be helpful if you can learn about your competition’s training process for new hires. They may be teaching their staff tricks of the trade that you’ve not even considered.

Image is Everything
You’ve worked hard to portray your company in a certain way, but what about your competition? How does your market view your competition? What are they known for? When people think about both their company and your company, what are the differences that stand out? Doing this kind of market research will be very revealing and may even show you areas where your own image is lacking. One way that you can do this is with a compare-and-contrast chart. Additionally, you can interview your competition’s satisfied customers in order to discover what makes them loyal to their brand.

At the end of the day, you can get your best ideas by looking at what your competition is up to. Just keep in mind that they’re probably watching you too.

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Posted in: How To

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3 Benefits That a Managed Help Desk Solution Brings to the SMB

b2ap3_thumbnail_managed_it_services_400.jpgAs a business owner, you know that technology is a necessary, albeit unpredictable, investment. Your organization thrives off of it operating as expected, yet suffers when it doesn’t function properly. This is the primary reason why the idea of help desk support was first introduced. It’s an effective medium through which your employees can receive tech support when it’s needed most.

While some businesses have an internal help desk team, this team usually consists of the same professionals that make up their IT staff. Because of this, basic troubleshooting can be put on the back burner due to more pressing matters taking priority. When an employee’s technology doesn’t operate as expected, it can lead to lost productivity; plus, restricted access to necessary applications and mission-critical data can be a hassle nobody wants to deal with. In fact, it can be maddening.

Nothing is more frustrating than a problem that’s not resolved within a reasonable amount of time. This is why Total Networks offers managed help desk services for businesses that find themselves in these situations. Here are three of the best benefits you’ll attain through our managed help desk service.

Remote Technology Assistance, When You Need It
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Technology can start acting strangely when you least expect it to; like, say, on a business trip. If you’re out and about, you might not have the ability to ask your internal staff for assistance. Therefore, remote options are your only choice. If anything, this is good, since most problems related to IT can be diagnosed and resolved remotely. This means that you aren’t paying for an on-site visit from our techs, and you’re getting immediate assistance. How’s that for efficiency?

No Matter the Circumstance, We’ve Got Your Back
When you need tech support, it can often be after-hours when the hotlines aren’t available. This can complicate things when you absolutely need assistance.

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For those times when you simply can’t wait for help to arrive, Total Networks is available to keep your technology up to speed and competitive. This keeps your IT staff free from basic troubleshooting tasks, and gives them the ability to integrate new solutions and projects into your infrastructure.

Expenses You Can Budget For
Standard tech support through a hotline is pretty predictable. Since they charge by the hour, more intricate problems can quickly rack up a surprise bill that might not be budgeted for. Worse, the problem isn’t guaranteed to be fixed. These tech support hotlines are often of the break-fix variety. This means that they benefit from your technology breaking, and then helping you fix it. In this sense, they have no interest in indefinitely resolving an issue, and everything is all about how much profit they can squeeze out of your business.

Total Networks is nothing like this. Since we charge a fixed fee for our managed help desk solution, it would be wasteful to not resolve the issue as quickly as possible. We operate based off of the mutual benefits both your team and ours receive. You save money and time when the issue is resolved properly the first time. If you’re benefiting from our services, then so are we.

For more information on how to get set up with a managed help desk solution from Total Networks, give us a call at (602)412-5025.

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Posted in: Business

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