Disaster Preparedness … and the Lesson I Wish I Learned Sooner
I think we can all agree that the past couple of years have been disastrous. A pandemic. Multiple hurricanes. Floods. Wildfires. And though the impact of those disasters varies drastically, they do have one thing in common: They force the affected out of their regular routines.
We remember the rapid move home last March; it disrupted nearly every business around the country (and really, the world) to either close down or significantly change their practices. Take, for example, the team at Right Networks; employees went into work on Thursday, got the news that they would need to work from home mid-afternoon starting Friday, and have been 100% remote since. They were able to respond quickly without losing access to their programs or the level of cybersecurity they had in-office because of the cloud.
My clients were able to do the same thing last March. Because when it comes to unexpected changes to daily workflows, there’s no better way to ensure business continuity than by using cloud services. I learned that lesson the hard way.
Why Basements Make Terrible Data Centers
A couple of years ago, my basement flooded. I felt like screaming when I realized I didn’t have any backup plans and that my company’s data was lost. The disaster motivated me to move to the cloud. Goodbye desktop versions stored on on-premises servers, hello cloud computing.
But first, let’s go back to the incident by reviewing some relevant details. They’re important, okay?
What I had:
- A sump pump
- My company’s server in the basement of my home
What I did not have:
- A working sump pump
- Any backup protection for the aforementioned company server
I think you’re starting to see where this is going.
When I walked down my basement steps that fateful, rainy day and saw the waterline gracing the edges of my IT equipment, I knew right away that my data was gone forever. I’d need to tell my employees that work would need to be redone or started from scratch. I’d need to warn clients that things may take a little longer than usual. There was no going back.
How could I make sure that this would never happen to me again? Or to my clients?
Well, servers can’t get water damage if they don’t exist. So first, I ditched the server and started looking into hosted services. That’s when I found Right Networks. I migrated my QuickBooks Desktop and other accounting applications to the cloud. Within a year, my business was significantly changed by their complete cloud service.
Migrating to the Cloud Benefit #1: Mobility
Instead of being restricted to an in-house accounting system, we were freed to travel, work from home, work from client offices—even work in the air—and connect to our data wherever we wanted. More importantly, we could now do this on any device—iPads, tablets, smartphones, and laptops—while still maintaining the desktop version experience we were used to.
What was impacted?
- Invoices were done even when we were at client sites.
- Expenses were able to be submitted while on the fly.
- Critical information, like order histories and open accounts receivable, could be immediately accessed.
- Notes for our customers, scheduled services, tasks and documents could be pulled up and reviewed anytime and from anywhere.
- And most importantly: Chargeable hours went up … along with our profits.
Migrating to the Cloud Benefit #2: Data Security
I’m sure you can imagine that if my server could be victimized by a basement flood, our data inside the server was no better protected.
Up until the incident, I (like many of my clients) was careless about updating our security software and operating systems. I assumed we were backing everything up, but who really knows, right?
Of course, I could’ve been paying my IT guy to do all this, but he was expensive and, frankly, I found that for every one thing he fixed, three things broke. So I let things go, which was pretty irresponsible.
But after migrating to the cloud … a huge difference. Our data is secured and backed up by professionals. The monthly cost is less than I would’ve paid for two hours of traditional IT service, and who knows how much this would’ve cost me if there was an actual breach or malware attack? So better security, higher profits.
Migrating to the Cloud Benefit #3: Zero Disruption
Some people think that “moving” to the cloud means throwing out your existing systems and migrating to new systems. With that comes many headaches. Data never migrates the way it should. Things always go wrong. New software needs to be learned. Your old routine now needs to be done differently.
For many, it’s a great move. For my business, it would have been extremely disruptive. Luckily, Right Networks doesn’t force its users to learn a bunch of new systems. Moving data to their cloud doesn’t take away, it adds.
I was having no problem with my accounting software. I was just having a problem with an old sump pump. So by moving my existing applications to a cloud service that managed it all, I avoided the cost of changing systems altogether. And fewer costs lead to higher profits, right?
So here I am. I am now working happily in the cloud with my existing accounting-based desktop and legacy applications and enjoying all the benefits. In an indirect way, I profited from a flood.
I just wish I could have saved my rugs in the process.