From The Expert Feature Article
January 17, 2013

Small and Medium Businesses Look to MSPs for Business Continuity Planning

Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are an absolute must for businesses operating in the state of Florida. Hurricanes, tropical storms and other unforeseen weather or other events can severely impact how a business operates, bringing it to a halt in some unfortunate circumstances. Managed service providers (MSPs) play a key role in helping small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) prepare for weather and other unforeseen disasters so they don't lose their precious data or their ability to operate under adverse conditions.

This was recently the case for Bynum Transport, a major Florida trucking firm that underwent electrical surge crashes earlier this month. The company experienced a file server failure on a Saturday morning after a brownout/power surge that was followed by a two-second electrical outage. This small incident was all that was needed to knock their server offline and potentially cause a major disruption to their business operations and their customers.

Bynum was well prepared for such an incident, however, since the company works with MSP Alltek Services on disaster recovery and business continuity. The trucking company has been working with Alltek since 2010, when they made the decision to outsource their IT, computer and network support and services. As part of the MSP's service offerings, Alltek ensured that Bynum had a business continuity plan ready to protect all the company's data in the event of a technology or natural disaster.

“Alltek Services was able to have all services and complete system functionality restored within two hours with zero data loss,” said Pete Prebor, controller, Bynum Transport.

Alltek's services include a full backup of all data including server configurations to a secure offsite location. If there is an onsite failure, all servers may be immediately switched over to the MSP's backup facility, enabling customers to continue operations. According to Alltek, most server failures result directly from power spikes, surges and unexpected power failures. And even for companies with uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) in place, it is common for Florida companies to have issues with power.

For companies like Bynum, having a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place is critical to business operations as well as customer relationships. And for many small to medium-sized companies, putting such a plan in place in-house is expensive, time consuming and next to impossible with limited resources and backup facilities available.

Working with an MSP on business continuity services is a cost-effective and efficient solution for many companies of this size. Bynum is a medium-sized transportation company that offers services in 48 states along with Canada and Mexico. The company relies heavily on the stability of its technology, since employees regularly use e-mail, Internet and application services. The file server failure brought the company to a grinding halt, also impacting the onboard communications of around 200 trucks in the field. Thankfully for Bynum, they were prepared for just such an event and their server was back up and running quickly.

Edited by Brooke Neuman