Author Archives: MMIT Business Solutions Group

  1. Backup and Disaster Recovery Plans: The Unsung Heroes of Business

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    Businesses should be making backup and disaster recovery a priority from the start because it is one of the most efficient ways to ensure your business does not suffer major data loss, unexpected and costly downtime or lower your chances at surviving a major disaster. While backup and disaster are a great team, they are separate processes.

    Backup is the process of making copies of files and important data and having those back ups in a secure location i.e the cloud. Disaster recovery is a goal-oriented plan that outlines the processes and strategies on how to respond and resolve unplanned disasters. Three standard measures of disaster recovery typically include:

    • Prevention Measures – preventing a potential incident from occurring
    • Detective Measures – used to detect or discover any disruption
    • Correction Measures – steps needed to correct and restore data and any affected software or systems

    There are a variety of natural and man-made disasters that could potentially happen to businesses. These disasters can include cyber attacks, sabotage, power outages, equipment failure, epidemics/pandemics, terrorist attacks/threats, industrial accidents, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, fires, construction, transportation issues, on-site danger, and accidents at or surrounding the workplace.

    More than 70% of businesses are reported to not have disaster plans in place, meaning these businesses are at risk of substantial data loss, prolonged business interruption, potential customer loss, costly spending to reestablish access and in the worst case scenario, businesses must close their doors. Check out these statistics gathered by webinarcare to put in perspective how damaging it can be to skip disaster recovery planning:

    • 93% of companies without DR who have suffered a major data disaster are out of business within one year
    • More than 50% of businesses currently do not have the budget to recover from the attack
    • 40-60% of small companies do not survive a major disaster
    • Human error is the number one cause of security and data breaches, responsible for 52% of incidents
    • 70% of businesses admitted that a single loss in data could have a significant and costly impact on the business
    • 22% of downtime from events are caused by human error while on 5% is caused by natural disasters
    • More than 50% of companies experienced a downtime event in the past five years that longer than a full workday

    Now that we have emphasized the importance, let us talk about what goes into a proper disaster recovery plan. When creating a suitable DRP for your business, there are five key aspects to consider to help your business bounce back and survive a disaster regardless of severity. These five aspects include:

    1. Recovery Time Objective (RTO) which is the amount of time it takes to recover to normal, daily business operations after an outage. When setting your RTO, you need to consider how much time you are willing to lose and how this loss of time will potentially impact your bottom line.
    2. Recovery Point Objection (RPO) which refers to the amount of data you can afford to lose in a disaster but having a backup of the data in the cloud or somewhere else off-premises, it will not result in any data loss.
    3. Failover which refers to the recovery process of automatically offloading tasks to backup systems. Typically, businesses want this transition as smooth as possible to help limit downtime and cost.
    4. Failback which refers to the recovery process of switching back to the original systems once the outage has passed.
    5. Restore, which is commonly considered to be more part of backup than recovery, refers to the process of transferring backup data into your primary system.
    Illustration of filing cabinet in a secure cloud computing environment

    Backup and disaster recovery plans and processes will always be based off the business’s needs and available resources but the the very least a disaster recovery plan needs to include analyzing all potential threats, identifying vulnerabilities through risk assessments, determining immediate action plans depending on scenario, establishing plans for actions based on established scenarios, developing long-term action plans, regularly testing/updating the software and systems and revisiting and updating the actual disaster recovery plan in case your business is experience new growth, relocation, introducing new systems or employees.

    No matter how your backup and disaster recovery plans are created and implemented, it is important that the basis of them is focused on getting your business back on track with minimal data loss, downtime, and cost. Sometimes disasters are unpreventable, even man-made ones. Having a plan to address and move forward from them is the key difference between a thriving business and closed one.

  2. The Art of Network Design

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    Networks are a pillar for everyday business functions and a network with a well-planned design to meet your business’s needs will perform these functions better. This is where network design comes in, this is when IT professionals take the time to evaluate, plan and map out the infrastructure of the IT network where they identify any design requirements and create a plan to meet these requirements creating a network that is suitable for a business’ needs. This visual representation of the network integrates information including:

    • Logical map of the network to be designed
    • Cabling Structure
    • Quantity, type, and location of network devices and endpoints
      • Routers, switches, servers, etc.
    • IP addressing structure
    • Network security structure
    • Overall network security processes

    Networks can be simple but businesses with bigger operations can find themselves needing more complex network design plans. While your specific design will depend on what your business needs there are a few basic steps that go into planning any type of network design regardless of size, operations, or industry.

    Gather The Requirements

    Network design is not one size fits all and every business will have different requirements depending on size and operations. To prepare a proper network design there are three steps that you can start with:

    1. Evaluate your existing network and identify your current infrastructure and collect data including:
      1. Types of network devices
      2. WAN technologies and circuit speeds
      3. Cabling layout/office floor layout
      4. Routing protocols
      5. Network management
      6. Security controls
    2. Clearly define your goals for the new network and how to reach those goals by:
      1. Improving network performance metrics
      2. Upgrading to the latest technologies
      3. Improving networking security
      4. Simplifying network management
      5. Improving network availability
    3. Do not shy away from constraints such as budget or other limitations with factors such as cabling, Wi-Fi use, and compliance requirements.

    Integrate Security Early On

    Network security is more important than ever and should be considered a priority when planning a network design. Install firewalls, anti-virus, or anytime type of network security tool your business needs and implement best security practices such as:

    • Performing network audits
    • Using private IP addresses
    • Establishing network security maintenance systems
    • Encrypting critical data
    • Employing multi-factor authentication
    • Backing up data and having recovery plans
    • Revisiting and communicating security policies
    • Encouraging employees to create strong, unique passwords and use better password practices
      • Inform them to not use passwords more than once, change them regularly, and never use personal information in passwords
    • Practicing mobile device management
    • Keeping software up to date
    Illustration for concept of network security with padlock in center of swirling data points with binary code in the background

    Size Your Network and Office Floor Plan

    It is impossible to develop a network that works for your business without knowing the size of your network. This includes how many devices are going to connect and how intensely they are used. These devices are not even limited to computers, they include VoIP phones, servers, printers, and IoT devices. Really anything that adds to the demand for bandwidth needs to be accounted for. To ensure all these devices are accounted for, study your office floor plan. During this study, make an inventory of where the exact locations of endpoints are, how many there are, the locations of desks, meeting rooms, and common work areas, and of any Wi-Fi-connected devices.

    Create Network Design

    Creating your network design is creating the heart of your network. Your design should help meet the specifications you identified when gathering requirements and should be able to support security and performance goals. When planning your network design, you will decide on:

    • Network Topology – the structural arrangement of the network
    • Network Type – the physical extent of your network
    • Physical Network – the physical network consisting of cables, patch panels, and other basic infrastructure work
    • Network Equipment – the physical equipment consisting of routers, servers, switches, and hubs

    Plan For Growth

    A critical part of creating and implementing a stable network is selecting systems that will allow growth when needed. If you adopt new technologies, increase products, services, and employees, or expand locations that are going to require more bandwidth and potentially cause network congestion if your network is not designed to handle it. Having the ability to see your current infrastructure gives your business the insight to outline any hardware, software, or bandwidth you could potentially need.

  3. Embracing Cloud Computing

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    “[The] Cloud is about how you do computing, not where you do computing.”

    –Paul Maritz, VMware CEO

    Cloud computing has been around for quite some time and has had a steady effect on the way we do business. In layman’s terms, cloud computing is the delivery of different computing services (including servers, storage, databases, networking, and software) through the internet aka “the cloud”.

    While it may have taken some time for businesses to embrace the cloud, we see how much it has recently flourished, especially in a more digital working world. Check out these stats gathered by that support this:

    • The cloud applications market is currently worth over $150 billion
    • It is predicted that there will be 200 ZB of stored data in the cloud by 2025
    • It is forecasted that in 2023, $200 Billion will be spent on SaaS, $150 billion on IaaS, and $136 billion on PaaS
    • 54% of global tech leaders want a cloud service provider who identifies technology strategies that are meant to increase revenue and reduce cost
    • Post-COVID, 41.4% of cloud leaders say they are increasing their uses of cloud-based services, 33.4% are planning to migrate to cloud-based tools and 32.8% are migrating on-premises workloads to the cloud

    Cloud computing can bring a lot to businesses and proves popular for the ones that are ready to embrace growth, performance, and stability. Some of the immediate benefits businesses can experience from making the switch are:

    Cost Savings

    The initial switch to cloud services can be off-putting but its ROI makes it worth it. Hosting the cloud lets you offload costs on purchasing, installing, configuring, and managing on-premises infrastructures. Also, most cloud-computing services offer pay-as-you-go options ensuring you only pay for what you need, and the overall easy access saves time and money.


    Due to the nature of cloud computing, businesses can access cloud services from anywhere, from any device, at any time. Not only that, but the cloud can also be easily scaled up or down to match what a business needs at that time.


    Businesses can see up to 94% improvement in security when switching to the cloud because one of the main features of cloud-based services is full-time security monitoring. Security monitoring could be extremely limited if it was strictly in-house, but once switched to an off-site, encrypted, and automated security monitoring, your information will never be safer.

    Disaster Recovery

    One incredible benefit of the cloud is disaster recovery. Data and information stored in the cloud are safe from any physical emergencies such as natural disasters or power outages. Cloud-based services also provide quick data recovery allowing for less downtime which leads to less productivity and revenue loss due to disaster scenarios.

    Better Insight & Quality Control

    Poor quality and inconsistent reporting can hurt a business but with cloud-based systems, all documents are stored in one place in one format allowing everyone to access and edit the same information in real-time allowing businesses to maintain consistency and have a clear record of revisions or updates. In addition, many cloud-based services also offer customized reports for a bird’s eye view of your most critical data.


    Cloud computing has a direct effect on the environment by cutting down on paper and waste. With data stored in the cloud and not as physical copies your information not only takes up less space physically but addresses wastefulness at every level of business and results in less of a carbon footprint. 

    Man in business suit using a pen on a virtual screen to create a graphic representing cloud computing

    Cloud computing is great for maintaining a competitive edge as a growing business and is relatively user-friendly, but there are a few basics you need to know before implementing the best infrastructure for your business. To ensure you get the best cloud experience possible, you need to decide between:

    The Four Basic Infrastructure Types

    Public Cloud Infrastructures are maintained off-site. They are available to the public while data is created off-premises. This cloud infrastructure has less security but requires no need to buy or manage software and maintain efficiency. 

    Private Cloud Infrastructures are managed in-house and can only be accessed by a single organization. This method can address and handle security and privacy concerns more effectively.

    Community Cloud Infrastructures can support multiple businesses by sharing resources as a part of a community. This method closely resembles the private model and can support a large number of users who share in the costs.

    Hybrid Cloud Infrastructures are a mix of public, private, and hybrid. Combining the efficiency of public, the support of community, and the security of private, hybrids offer the best of all three methods.

    The Three Delivery Methods

    Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model where the provider delivers applications through a web-based portal and is a pay-as-you-go model. Utilizing this model eliminates the need to buy hardware and software licenses while having your provider manage and store data.

    Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) delivers the full cloud infrastructure along with a software platform that allows clients to develop and manage business applications without the frustrations of building and maintaining the infrastructure.

    Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) has the capability to deliver networking, data storage, servers, and virtualization capabilities while allowing the client to access more data storage and computing power.

    Once you pick the right infrastructure and delivery method, your business can begin to really reap the benefits of cloud computing and help bring your business to a new level. If you are ready to learn more about cloud computing or ready to have it in your business, contact us today at MMIT so that we can get you on the right path to ensure your business gets the full benefits of cloud computing.

  4. Production Printing: Alive and Thriving

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    A common misconception is that print is done and while we might be flooded with technology and digital marketing, print still has its place in everyday business and has a significant impact both financially and influentially. Need proof? Check out these stats gathered by

    1. In 2021, the Global Commercial Printing Market had a value of $433.79 billion. By the end of 2027, it is estimated to value $484.22 billion
    2. 1 out of 5 customers is willing to pay up to 20% extra for personalized products and services
    3. A study shows that print advertising offers a 112% return on investment, making it a cost-effective way to reach consumers.

    Printer options can seem endless, but there is a perfect fit for every business. If printing plays a large part in your business, and you find yourself needing high-volume projects done quickly and reliably then a production printer might be the right choice.

    I know what you are thinking, production printers are found mainly in print shops or copy centers that must deal with high-volume requests without sacrificing quality. This is another common misconception and while they regularly are seen in print shops or centers, they have quickly been growing in popularity for marketing departments and are an optimal option for graphic designers to create and distribute flyers, banners, catalogs, mail campaigns, produce marketing materials, employee training manuals, business cards, envelopes and so much more.

    Now, every business has different printing needs and to figure out what is the best option for you, ask questions such as:

    • What are your printing requirements?
    • What do you need your printer to do?
    • Does your printer need to be secure?
    • How much time do you have to produce?
    • What exactly do you need to print?
    • How much are you printing/producing?
    • How large of a role does printing have in your business?
    • What device management, remote intelligence, and support are available to you?
    Illustration of different types of production printing equipment

    Production printers are heavy-duty commercial printers that are ideal for high-volume print projects. These printers can include wide-format and cut-sheet printers, digital presses, commercial printers, and industrial printing. They are reliable and continuously provide higher-quality print resolutions, faster output, and increased capacity. Beyond being versatile and having the ability to handle large-scale products, production printers offer plenty of other benefits including:


    Production Printers are not difficult to set up and extremely user-friendly. They give users more control without over-complicating things. Though they look heavy-duty, they are far from intimidating, and even less tech-savvy people can learn and utilize the advanced features in no time.


    Production printers work faster to help meet the demands of your business. They are designed to be quicker and can handle larger quantity projects more effectively than normal printers which helps eliminate downtime, they have on-demand access to professional projects, and are perfect for printer-intensive businesses with them commonly being able to print thousands of pages in minutes.


    Production printers offer high-quality prints where businesses have total control over the content meaning they are printed right the first time. Using older printers can mean settling for low-quality results and can be a cause of reprints and paper waste. Switching to a printer that delivers high quality is a good way to save precious time, money, and paper.


    Production printers offer better regulatory compliance, enhanced security over the content within your prints, and achieve better quality control. In-house printers also ensure that any confidential employee or customer information stays in-house.


    Since they are reliable and user-friendly, production printers are incredibly flexible, putting you in charge of the entire printing operation. Have control over meeting your deadlines and never panic if something does not look exactly right because changes and a reprint can be easily done within the same day in-house.

    Cost Effective

    Outsourcing printing, especially high-volume jobs that require quality can be expensive. Production printers are a long-term investment that keeps your service in-house and allows you full control over your product. Giving you this control ensures no reprints, returns, or added time from an outsourced printing agency and that your product is what you expect.

    Is It Right For Your Business?

    Not every business will benefit from a production printer, but if you find yourself needing a large number of marketing materials or just find yourself printing large quantities often – a production printer could be the best fit for you. If you have any questions or are ready to bring production print in-house, contact us today!

  5. Mitigate the Risk: The Importance of Risk Assessments

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    There are plenty of factors that go into maintaining and protecting a business to ensure future stability and success. While it is important to focus on the positives and how to achieve this overall growth it is equally important to focus on the possibility of unknown, hidden, or undetected risks. This can be done with risk assessments. With properly done risk assessments, businesses can experience benefits including:

    • Getting a clearer picture of where assets lie
    • Identifying potential threats and understanding the likelihood and impact of them
    • Implementing proactive processes
    • Recognizing and controlling workplace hazards
    • Creating awareness among employees
    • Reducing workplace incidents
    • Saving costs by being proactive

    The Basics

    Simply put, a risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could end up negatively impacting profit, stability, and how an organization conducts business. No matter what industry or size an organization is a risk assessment should always involve at least these five steps:

    1. Identifying the Risks or Hazards
      1. Risks
        1. Financial – this should include looking into compliance, credit, liquidity, and debt risks. This can include making sure your business is up to date on federal returns, that your business is run ethically, that your business has sufficient cash flow, that your business can meet short and long-term goals, and that all your loan agreement payments, if applicable, are paid on time and in full.
        2. Operational – this can be broken down into areas like IT and personnel risks. IT can address general risks and security risks by ensuring customer information is protected and that your organization has a strong security plan. For personnel risks, your organization should address factors such as salaries, benefits, contracts, HR policies, and basic employee needs.
        3. General – this can fall into a lot of categories, but examples include answering questions like is your organization prepared for growth, are finances managed properly and is it profitable.
      2. Workplace Hazards
        1. Safety – spills, heights, electrical, or any unsafe conditions that can lead to illness, injury, or death.
        2. Physical – extreme temperature, prolonged exposure to sunlight, loud noises, or any other physical hazards that are factors within the environment that could cause harm to the body.
        3. Ergonomic – frequent lifting, awkward movements, repeating the same motions, or any type of hazard when the type of work, body positions, or conditions put a strain on the body.
        4. Organizational – workload demands, respect, and any psychosocial hazards that cause stress, anxiety, or strain to employees.
        5. Chemical – vapors, fumes, gasses, or when a worker is exposed to any chemical preparation in the workplace in any form.
        6. Biological – bodily fluids, fungi, or bacteria or when working with animals, people, or infectious plant materials.
    2. Evaluating the Risks – answer the questions like who is at risk, what services/products/departments are at risk, how often are they exposed to these risks, how likely are these risks, how severe are these risks or how will these risks affect you long term?
    3. Deciding on Control Measures – come up with effective strategies and procedures that help protect both employees and the overall business. Implement these control measures and make sure they are communicated throughout the organization.
    4. Recording Findings – keeping a formal record of past risk assessments can help an organization keep track of hazards, risks and how to address them. These findings should include descriptions of the risks, how to assess them, outlines of evaluations, and detailed explanations of how conclusions were made and how they are to be addressed.
    5. Revisiting – take the time to review and update your risk assessments when necessary. New risks can be added if an organization has a significant change in staff or procedures, plans on some type of growth, or if it has been a significant amount of time since risk assessments were reviewed.

    The Best Fit For Your Business

    Now that is just the base of standard risk assessment but they still come in many forms. Finding the best risk assessment for your organization is critical in performing an accurate one which means the organization is identifying and addressing the proper risks in order to protect itself. Here are five common types of risk assessments:

    Qualitative Risk Assessment

    Typically used in high-risk industries, these assessments measure the severity of a risk and usually measure multiple risks at once. Qualitative data is gathered through personal experience, observations, and knowledge often by an expert or member of management. The benefits of this type of assessment are that they are simple in method, easy prioritization, and have clear presentation options but they have limitations such as subjective evaluation, limited scope, and lack of differentiation.

    Quantitative Risk Assessment

    This type of assessment puts a numerical value on a risk, allowing organizations to gauge the impact of risk and its cost to the organization. This could look like using 3, 2, 1 instead of high, medium, and low and utilizing the 3×3 or 5×5 risk matrix. This assessment is also essential to support the understanding of the exposure of risks to employees, company assets, and reputation. An organization can get a clear understanding of:

    • Potential accident scenarios
    • Predicted economic losses
    • Risk to specific main safety functions
    • Input to operation restrictions
    • Identification and assessment of prevention and mitigation measures

    The QRA can be calculated using the following equation:

    Risk = Severity x Likelihood

    Generic Risk Assessment

    This type of assessment typically will cover common types of hazards for tasks or activities in the workplace. These are typically not adapted for anything specific and can be used across different locations and industries. While it can be easy to find generic risk assessment templates online, if you use this route be sure to review, adjust and update them accordingly to be effective at mitigating risks.

    Site-Specific Risk Assessment

    These assessments need to be carried out for either a specific activity or location and are necessary to be effective at eliminating and controlling risks. This is one of the most thorough methods of risk assessments that are meant to protect your workforce, the public, and your business safe from any possible legal liability and reputational damage due to any health or safety breaches.

    Dynamic Risk Assessment

    These risk assessments are based on essential decision-making because they are used to address unforeseen circumstances that are carried out on the spot due to any significant or sudden changes within the workplace. These assessments are crucial for circumstances such as:

    • Introduction of new equipment
    • Change of supervision approach
    • Threats to safety or security
    • Reallocation of work

    Key Takeaways

    Regardless of size or industry – understanding your business, the risks it is susceptible to, and which assessments to utilize are key to being proactive instead of reactive when it comes to addressing risks to an organization. All risk assessments should follow the five basic steps and once implemented, do not forget to revisit them for reassessment especially if there is a significant change within the organization.