IT professionals face a number of challenges every day. The best IT professionals know just which issues to plan for and how to plan for them. One of the most critical issues is hardware failure.
From implementing new servers to something as simple as swapping out a failed hard drive in a desktop computer, starting over with fresh hardware can be extremely challenging. There’s almost no guarantee that the software and settings will ever be quite the way they were on the old equipment, and the process can take a long time, that is, unless you have the right tools and the right person to use them.
Rick Martin is the co-founder and VP of sales and marketing at Cat-Tec and has over twenty years of IT experience. Since its founding in 1998, Rick has helped Cat-Tec grow beyond a standard break/fix consulting firm into a successful MSP with a breadth of services. Rick works with a handful of small to medium-sized business clients spread across a variety of verticals, which gives Cat-Tec extensive experience working with clients of varying needs.
One Cat-Tec client is a not-for-profit organization with around fifty users. Cat-Tec takes care of all their IT needs, including remote backup and monitoring—even going so far as to guarantee that in the event of any equipment failure, Cat-Tec can get them back up and running quickly.
On a Wednesday like any other, Rick and Cat-Tec took care of the client’s regular maintenance without a hitch.
Or so they thought.
As they concluded their maintenance for the day, their remote monitoring console alerted them of some hardware trouble in one of the client’s desktops. After running some diagnostics, they determined that the user’s desktop hard drive had failed.
The failure of a single hard drive may not seem like a big problem for an organization with fifty users until you consider not only the loss of data but the loss of time and productivity as well. Getting a hard drive back to normal without a proper backup image means hours of re-installing legacy applications and fiddling with settings, not to mention the loss of every single thing that person was working on or had ever worked on using that machine. In Rick’s words,
When you get a blank hard drive, it takes two minutes to pop it in the computer but four to six hours to get the machine back up and running—you’ve got to go through the whole set of disks: reload Windows, set up the recovery area with all the utilities from the vendor, and when you get back to your operating system you’ve still got to rejoin domains, set up Office, email, and printers—a client can lose the better part of the day.
This would mean that not only does Cat-Tec spend upwards of eight hours installing OS, email, printers, and so forth to get the unit back online, that particular worker could have to re-do work that could be months, even years old.
That shouldn’t happen.
Luckily, Rick knows that as long as ShadowProtect is quietly taking regular backup images he can provide clients a guarantee that if any equipment fails, Cat-Tec will get it back up and running. Plus, using ShadowProtect images, they can get the client back to business over the course of a lunch break, not over an entire day,
If the failure was the fault of the manufacturer and the system is down and the client is down and out, we’re going to get them back up and running and not charge for that.
Eager to make good on the guarantee, Cat-Tec cracked opened the client’s desktop unit and quickly removed the failed hard drive. Fortunately, the hard drive was still under warranty and they were able to receive a free replacement; eliminating the cost of new hardware. Once they’d received the replacement, Cat-Tec was ready to swap the hardware. While the user was out to lunch, they popped in the new hard drive, reimaged it with the latest ShadowProtect image, and had the unit put together and running just as it had been before the failure and only minutes after the user returned from lunch,
The client came back from lunch and only needed to wait a few minutes before the machine was back up and running; it was as if nothing had ever happened, there was really no impact on them, they were really blown away, they expected a full day of lost productivity—really there was none.
ShadowProtect: Supporting an IT Guardian’s Guarantee.
ShadowProtect allows businesses to get back up and running in a matter of minutes following failures large or small. This knowledge allows Rick to give his customers a guarantee that they will not be down for long,
One of the keys is that we have ShadowProtect in place; we’re doing images. If ShadowProtect isn’t taking images, we can’t put a guarantee in place.
Rick receives emails via his control console that allow him to ensure that every backup taken by ShadowProtect is a fully verified and useable image—with bomb-proof ShadowProtect images, Cat-Tec can restore to dissimilar hardware, handle server migrations, or just make sure that a business doesn’t stumble and fall in the event that an unexpected failure occurs,
If [a client] is using a traditional file-based backup, then we still have to reload the OS and everything, then go to whatever tape or disk to restore files. We know from experience it could be forty hours for a small business server to get back up and running.
No business can afford hours of downtime, whether it causess data loss or productivity or both. There’s no need to lose any data or to pay an employee to repeat the same job twice. A competent IT guardian like Rick Martin will make sure you’ve got all of your data backed up and ready to get you back online in any failure situation and with ShadowProtect, you will be able to guarantee that your software and settings will be exactly as they were before a disaster.
Cat-Tec is a Toronto based computer support and consulting company serving mid-sized businesses in Oshawa, the Durham region, and throughout the greater Toronto area. Cat-Tec is an “IT guardian” helping businesses benefit from:
– Risk Mitigation
– Enhanced Employee Productivity
– Cost Certainty
– Minimized Technology Waste
– Confidence to Expand
– Peace of Mind
Cat-Tec is a proud IBM Business Partner, Microsoft Certified Professional, and Microsoft Small Business Specialist.