When You Crash – Who Do You Trust?

Case Study:

Something as simple and as common in the mountains as a power outage can cause a computer to fail to come back to life.  You can’t predict when that might happen, but there is a good chance it might.  Who you call or what you do at that moment is a very important decision for your business.  We recently experienced first-hand a story from a small, successful business that due to an area wide electrical outage, their primary computer crashed.

The business prior to the crash felt they were doing all the right things and they essentially were.  They used a commercially available on line backup tool for their data and files (good!), and installed a well-known antivirus software to prevent attacks (good!).  A local individual with computer experience was keeping an eye on things as needed.  They were soaring along.

At the point of the computer crash after the power failure, they called their support tech.  They were grounded for about 5 days for the recovery work needed to get the business back in the air, using the on line backups to recover.  Things returned to a new normal – or so it seemed.  Some documents were never recovered and files had been moved around but business was flying along once again.

Imagine their surprise eight months later when they learned that their technical support person had not properly configured their online backup service and antivirus!  The service continued to back up old folders no longer in use, so the current backup was worthless.  And the computer was at risk of a serious infection or breach.   Unfortunately, technology is intimidating for many people.  It is hard to feel comfortable about how critical computer functions work, what questions to ask, or where to look to verify things are actually ok.  Unlike an airplane, there are no gauges, dials, and warning signals to let you know trouble may be looming on the horizon.  Computers, like airplanes, are not that easy to monitor without instruction!

Fortunately, our OneWhoServes team, performing a standard new client checklist, discovered these oversights and corrected them on the spot.  Can you imagine what a horror it would have been to have a second incident like the first?  Much worse this time to discover that the safety net is missing and there is nothing to recover.  It might not take an electrical outage to cause a second situation, a virus could just as easily have taken the computer down.

Regardless of who provides your support and how uncomfortable you might feel, take these steps:

  1. Learn how to verify that your backups are working and check them at least weekly.
  2. If your anti-virus software doesn’t provide a status when you log in, learn how to check it too. Make sure that your protection is up to date and active and that the computer was recently scanned.

The work to be done on the plane in this picture requires more than just straightening the wing to fly. Just like you wouldn’t rely on your savvy friend, cousin, or the neighbor’s mechanically inclined child to fix it for you, you are wise not to take that approach with your business either.  There is a lot at stake!

Be sure that you are taking the right preventative measures, keep a checklist and use it, and determine that your “mechanic” knows your computers and system well enough to look out for the full scope of your business.  Require them to teach you what you need to know to go safely and confidently on your way.