The Pillars of PCaaS: Part 1 “Self-Healing”

5-pillars-65431331-ss-1920As organizations pivot towards an end-to-end workplace transformation–specifically enabling a predictable, precise, and repeatable PC lifecycle –they are finding that a PC as a service model is supported by 2 mission-critical pillars–Zero Touch and Self-Healing.

The one ingredient that forms the connective tissue throughout both pillars– and therefore the key to successful transformation–is automation.

In terms of self-healing we are addressing automations that support the continuous integrity of the PC as it travels through the lifecycle.– incident management and support , optimization, and authorized and controlled evolution of the compute environment.

And from a strategic vision perspective-automations enabled by our pillars have a direct and positive affect on the Total Economic impact– a measurable ROI combined with a reduced TCO. We’ll show you this through a blend of best practice automation processes, better maintained infrastructure and more focused IT resources and work force.

Now, of the many business and technological benefits Utopic’s Persystent Suite offers, none seem as impactful as the ability to self-heal an affected PC and return it to a productive state in about 45 seconds–the time it takes to reboot the machine.

Our live demos prove that this can be done–especially when we infect a healthy machine with ransomware and self-heal it as if the issue never occurred. But how? Is this solution different than a reimaging or a rollback to a Day Zero state? And how is this tied in to a larger automation initiative of the PC lifecycle.

Let’s start with why a PC needs to self-heal. Even though our demo illustrates the most catastrophic issues, the need to self-heal is not always a four-alarm emergency… sometimes it’s simply an issue of poor performance or mis-configuration. The PC is inexplicably running slow or an application or the OS didn’t update or load in the expected way. There are dozens of seemingly routine issues that would typically require the time to diagnose, replicate and repair. Persystent Suite simply flips this concept around: get the user back up and running immediately; resolve the support ticket in minutes and then, when time allows, review the change logs and identify root causes in order to prevent future occurrences.

And it’s all about automation. From an enterprise perspective there’s  lot to unpack here, so let’s start with the basics. Self-healing starts with the ideal state. As covered in Part 1, zero touch automation helps define and configure the policies and compliances that make up this approved template of the operating landscape. This is the image each PC must maintain and that IT can easily replicate and control across the enterprise

Simply, Self-healing automatically reverts a PC back to its last known ideal state. This is not a rollback. With rollbacks you lose all the prior updates and often times the applications and data. Self-healing, conversely, returns you to the last updated and approved state…with all the latest sanctioned changes, updates and patches still in place. This means no re-imaging. This means no starting from scratch.

We can validate the speed of the self-healing automations since it is only the changed files that are affected. In the case of corrective action, files that don’t exactly match the approved state are repaired and restored. The same concept is true when applying authorized updates…except in reverse. It is only the targeted approved changes supplant the previous iteration to the snapshot.

So what happens is when self-healing is necessary, IT can remotely reboot the device on demand. The PC will shut down as it typically does, and during the pre-boot process, right after BIOS loads and before the OS executes, Persystent Suite applies the last known approved state. This takes roughly 45 seconds or the time it takes the device to reboot.  In this scenario the user returns to productivity in near real time without losing their data, their applications or their profiles. To the user, it’s if the issue never occurred.

And that objective underscores a key strategy for practically every company: Keep users working towards company goals without having to lose time or data.  No waiting hours to get a PC diagnosed and repaired; no sending the device off to IT and waiting to get a replacement; no ambiguity on whether the issue has been satisfactorily resolved. And this works no matter how corrupted or damaged the hard drive is.

This prompts several questions.

How does the image stay updated? One of the proprietary automations within Persystent is the capability to schedule routine updates to the state with a new snapshot that is maintained on the device itself.

Periodically IT needs to make changes to the image. Whether we are talking “Patch Tuesday” or semi-regular application updates or any other authorized change blessed by IT , you need an easy way to ensure each PC gets the update…therefore when a PC is self-healed, the last image is the most up to date approved version.  The problem with a non-automated approach is oftentimes the patches and updates fail, applied inconsistently and/or take way too long to apply.

Because of Persystent’s proprietary file-based automations, the administrator only need to update the golden image.  Our process works in that the image is refreshed back to the ideal state, then the new changes are applied and tested before distribution. As the new ideal image proliferates across the enterprise, it only applies the changes to the a new highly compressed snapshot that exists on each device. That’s why it is fast, efficient and highly successful on the first attempt. And the changes can be applied on or off the network. Utilizing this process, IT can schedule regular updates so that the images are current and authorized. And applying this same self-healing automation process, the user gets the updates the next time they boot up their device. Now the next time a user calls with a break/fix issue, it is the latest version that gets reapplied without the symptoms that caused their concern to begin with.

And, If IT wishes to regress back to an earlier image, Persystent maintains up to 20 previous images. There’s simply never a need to reimage a box.

Getting a user back up and running quickly is great, but I still  need to know what happened?

After the self-healing cycle completes, Persystent automatically provides a change report that details all the changes made to the desired state so IT can analyze and pinpoint the root causes that created the situation. You can easily compare the ideal state against the corrupted state and see down to the file level what changed or what was affected. With major breaches such as viruses or malware up to up to 2-3000 individual files including registry having been changed, this approach is comprehensive enough to not only help identify root causes, but to provide the necessary documentation to facilitate compliance.  We don’t say that Persystent is a security solution, as it does not prevent issues from happening, but it does remove the causes or unsanctioned changes that allow them to proliferate and create headaches. By applying an ideal state,  you demonstrate a control over the change management landscape as dictated by multiple compliance agencies.

Does self-healing only occur during an IT-initiated reboot? No. Persystent promotes either on demand or automatic self-healing based on the individual companies need and policies. It offers multiple levels of repair that can be applied based on the situation. For example, organizations that deploy multi-user PCs such as in colleges, labs, libraries or kiosks, having the PC self-heal  every time the PC reboots is the applied best practice… simply because you can’t predict what any individual user has done and IT must maintain a fresh baseline.  Yet, for most companies we suggest that IT retain the ability to self-heal only when needed–a break/fix support call, patching optimizations –this remote, on-demand application allows for the necessary support tickets be created, but also document when corrective action for compliance reporting.

I use SCCM or WSUS. The good news is that Persystent integrates with these solutions. And because this is an important consideration, we will dedicate a video to this subject that shows that Persystent is  complimentary with SCCM and WSUS…and it can be integrated into any ITSM/ITIL solution such as LanDesk (Ivanti) Tivoli, Dell Kase, etc…

Overall, Utopic recognizes the desire is to keep the technology current, but reduce infrastructure complexity and meet the unique needs of the enterprise. However, many IT organizations are struggling to find the right balance between maintaining mission-critical systems and implementing new innovation for the business.  To keep pace with evolving workspace transformation goals, companies face challenges to adjust strategic processes and manage infrastructure changes which directly impact the ability to increase profitability and gain a competitive advantage by reducing time to market, minimizing the complexity of change management and limiting support costs.

And that’s where the automations provided by Persystent Suite make a huge difference. In the end self-healing not only simplifies repair and recovery but creates a undeniable combination of ROI and TCO into a net effect or Total Economic Impact. In terms of TCO, your cost per device goes down;  your year over year cost to manage the fleet is reduced. This is demonstrable in that automations and self-healing remove hurdles to compute availability, remove inefficiencies and irregularities, reduce the time and resources necessary to maintain and optimize,  and expand the operational lifespan of devices. In the ROI chart we’re showing, you can see from a labor perspective the reduction in incidents, lack of repeat occurrences and the resolution speed significantly reduces IT resources.

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Integrating with SCCM: Not “either/or,” but “AND”

sccmLet’s start with the plain fact that Utopic’s Persystent Suite and SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) are complimentary solutions and not an either/or proposition.

When we introduce Persystent to IT professionals, at times the solution is compared to Microsoft SCCM. Whereas there is a small functionality overlap with imaging configuration management capabilities, the larger vision is that SCCM only manages configuration. The focus of Persystent Suite is self-healing and continuous compute availability. This, of course, takes into account that the configuration for any PC image is up to date and properly deployed.

To that end, Persystent Suite works as a compliment to SCCM. SCCM is a powerful tool that manages the deployment, and security of devices and applications across an enterprise through policy enforcement, and patching.  Persystent has that ability too, however that’s where the similarity ends. For SCCM, once the base image is built or updated, that’s it. It doesn’t maintain a continuous and updated repair point should any issue affect an individual PC. It does not do any type of repair.

This alignment happens when an IT organization creates and maintains an image using SCCM. They can add all the appropriate applications, security patches and updates and deploy to the entire enterprise. Once the image is “out in the wild” users might experience any number of performance issues that are self-inflicted, influenced from external activity, breached, or simply mis-aligned. One way or another, SCCM is not capable of any sort of automated repair/recovery and the user’s productivity is disadvantaged. Persystent Suite, and its proprietary technology, adds the ability to automatically schedule and take snapshots of the incremental changes of the approved image. Consequently, when a user calls support with an issue,  they now can simply perform and on-demand reboot of the affected PC and return it to compliant productivity in less than a minute. This includes all the applications, profiles, updates and user data. It effectively removes the need to re-image and reapply all the patches , application and updates. It is not only a tremendous time saver, but also ensures the reliability and integrity of the desired PC image.

Several Utopic  clients concurrently leverage SCCM and Persystent for various automation tasks such as high speed imaging, deploying scheduled and successful updates/patches, managing baseline configurations, and enforcing PC compliance.

Without getting too technical: Persystent can perform imaging just as well as SCCM. In most cases it can process an image faster because of certain process automations and the ability to incorporate drive encryption in parallel to the base image’s creation. Persystent imaging is hardware independent where you can deploy a standard base image to any make or model of the computer in an environment. You simply have to download the driver CAB files on the server and Persystent does the rest. It  coexists with SCCM in that one can continue to use SCCM for imaging if that process is working well. SCCM would apply authorized windows updates or install application and Persystent would then automatically capture that state so that you can immediately repair and restore the system back to the desired repair point in the event of an issue. Also, by offering multiple levels of repair provides even more control for IT teams.

Additionally, Persystent’s other key functionality is that it can perform secure device wipe. This is outside of SCCM’s functional purview. Upon retirement, reassignment or recycling , hard disks still contain a great deal of sensitive and proprietary information sensitive information. Persystent can quickly and seamlessly erase data hiding in any proverbial dark corner and render the hard drive completely unreadable. This function (which can also wipe a drive remotely) complies with DoD, NIST 800-88 industry standards.

For many organizations having the imaging combined with automated self-healing is not a either/or proposition, but an “and” that delivers continuous ROI. A combined force provides the necessary value to not simply extend the lifecycle of an asset, but rather provide the necessary ingredients to control the image and ensure the end user is optimized to reliably carry out functions that support the business goals.

10 “wins” for your school: from the classroom to the server room

Persystent Suite is uniquely positioned to help Schools, Colleges, and other Educational Institutions

Educational institutions face unique IT challenges that derive from servicing the diverse IT needs of faculty, staff and students. These include under-supervised multi-user PCs in places like kiosks and libraries, the need to regulate and restore classroom computer labs, the oversight of loaner PCs to students, and support a variety of faculty and administration business needs.

Persystent Suite offers schools an effective solution that provides distinct “wins” across
the organization in support mission critical goals such as:
Ensuring PC availability and productivity
Preserving a compliant & secure environment
Solving a multitude of break/fix issues
Expanding ROI /doing “more with less”

Persystent Suite simplifies the restoration and recovery process by applying an automated self-healing capability that repairs and recovers any PC without manual intervention. However, it is much more than that. Primarily considered a repair or imaging tool, Persystent’s wide array of integrated capabilities and proprietary technological differences make a qualitative and measurable impact for schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions of various sizes and scopes. Here are 10 “wins” that will help schools achieve many of their IT management goals:

 1. Reducing support incidents with Self-healing or on demand repair automatically fixes a corrupted OS back to the last known desired state in a single reboot…about 45 seconds. This not only addresses the multitude of break/fix help desk calls from students and faculty, but is also the same process that allows computer lab PCs to be reset to desired settings before the beginning of every class.  Essentially this key capability allows you to fix first, troubleshoot later and  resolve issues in seconds.

2. Easily migrate to new and updated platforms like Windows 10/ In-Place PC Refresh:  As many schools are looking to migrate the majority of their PCs to the latest operating system o, Persystent applies its proprietary automated imaging capability to configure the necessary changes and distribute the updated and approved base image to every machine. This process also addresses patching systems, updating applications, user profiles and setting, and other required maintenance. With the hundreds of PCs owned by the school, not only is this an efficient way to centrally control  Whether you are updating 1 or 100s of PCs, the imaging capabilities of Persystent are faster and more accurate than anything else on the market.

3. Maintain the integrity of multi-user PCs like self-serve kiosks and libraries. Because most of these independent  PCs are under-supervised,  they’re often open to a variety of abuses including the introduction of unauthorized downloads and files, malware, and other activities that are outside of school usage policies. These abuses often lead to catastrophic hard drive failure, potentially spread virus infections  and require intensive repairs.  However, IT can schedule that these devices are rebooted daily (applying Persystent’s self-healing capability) and automatically returned to their complaint, desired state.

4. Ensure hard drive sanitization with NIST/DoD recommended wipe When retired or recycled, hard disks still contain sensitive information, Persystent  quickly and seamlessly erases data and sanitizes the drive. It sanitizes a 256GB device sanitized in less than 40 minutes: about 10 seconds per gigabyte. Additionally, if a student reports a school-owned  PC lost or stolen device is lost or stolen, the Sys Admin can even wipe a drive remotely. So the next time the device is turned on, it will no longer be a viable.

5. Get IT support team out of the “re-imaging business.”: Re-imaging is a lengthy and tedious process. In most cases it takes a user’s device out of commission for hours if not days. Typically, the re-imaging process typically rolls back to a Day Zero fresh start. This means data is lost, applications removed; authorized and personal settings gone. Persystent Suite provides multiple levels of repair (so student PCs can be addressed differently than faculty or administration PCs). This not only save data, application and settings, it removes problems and performance issues by restoring a desired state in near real time.

6. Remove shadow IT: You see this daily! Students and faculty love to download and deploy applications –but do it without the blessing of IT. This creates a variety of configuration, malware and security issues. This opens the floodgates to a variety of competing computing agendas and compliance problems. Persystent Suite manages images on the individual level so IT can always know what is supposed to be on a device. All unauthorized applications get removed.

7. Avoiding  zero-day rollback: School IT spends a great deal of time re-imaging performance-deficient PCs. However, often times a zero-day rollback  loses important profiles, settings and applications.–sometimes even critical files like a student’s semester-long research or a professor’s lesson plan are lost.  Persystent’s capability of returning to the last known desired state avoids this. Applied against individual machines, defined user groups or entire environment,  our  multiple levels of repair ensure the necessary flexibility for how invasive the repair/recovery must be. Your school policies determine what OS registries, applications and files will be automatically corrected back to an approved ideal state upon reboot. This way if a repair is required, it doesn’t roll back to factory settings. The user receives their recovered system with their files, settings and profiles intact.

8. Provides 4 functional features as a single solution for much less than cumulative cost of the 4 separate functions: Persystent Suite provides feature-rich, enterprise-powered capabilities as a single centralized source solution (repair/recovery, imaging, change management, drive sanitization)  at a price point typically less than a single function alternative currently on the market.   Not only does Persystent Suite’s budget friendliness  look good on the school’s balance sheet, but simply outperforms market options many school’s current deploy; does it faster, more accurately, with more automations, without over-complexity, and does it in alignment with current IT best practices

9. Promotes continuous reliability and expanded PC Life Cycle: By reducing on-site tech visits, operational downtime, service desk case resolution times, repeat instances and configuration management issues, the devices under the school SysAdmin’s purview maintain a near 100% availability. Not only are the PCs up and running, but they are operating at optimum capacity for longer and they are based on the school’s usage policies and security protocols.

10. It is like having additional headcount without the additional cost: The automations within Persystent Suite removes the burden of constant repair, imaging, troubleshooting, desk side visitations, and update distribution so that the time and effort spent on routine, resource-draining repairs can now be re-assigned to higher-priority tasks that support the school’s mission. Persystent Suite helps achieve this goal in three ways:

  1. Extension of the device lifecycle through automated self-healing not only reduces cost per support incident, but keeps a device (PC and server) healthier for longer.
  2. Reduction of downtime incidents make end faculty/admin/students more productive, happier
  3. Implementation of procedural efficiencies in things like scheduled updates are applied faster and with greater accuracy,

Fighting Application Drift with Self-Healing

The ability to conduct and on-demand or automatic self-healing repair of a corrupted PC  and bring it back to the approved desired state is one of the many advantages Utopic’s Persystent Suite offers. In these cases it is easy to imagine a user clicking on a suspect link and infecting their system, or adding an unauthorized application fraught with spyware and other performance-hindering elements, or perhaps accessing their registry and adjusting a standard setting. Persystent Suite is perfectly scaled to directly remediate these issues on a single reboot of the system to return the affected PC to the desired state.

Although these scenarios happen too often and are extremely problematic, the more likely service desk call will be from a user experiencing slow performance or an application performing out of character. There are dozens of potential root causes, but a likely culprit is application drift. This indicates the affected PC is not using the most updated version of the application, an update did not correctly apply during the last upgrade, or, over time, has become misconfigured from its optimum standard. In some cases, it represents unsanctioned modifications made by the end-user or third party.

The best practice is to get the user back up and running immediately. By conducting an on-demand reboot of the PC, the user can return to productivity in about a minute. From the end-user’s perspective, it will be as if the issue never happened. The reboot restores the last known desired state. This desired state, maintained and controlled by IT, contains the proper version and the correct configuration for not only the application, but for the PCs entire operating system.  It also removes any unauthorized changes that may have contributed to the PCs performance issue, yet leaves the end-user files and profiles untouched. From a security, asset management and compliance standard, it ensures each user is using the appropriate version of an application to which they are given rights to access.

However in terms of best practice (and compliance satisfaction), it is important to know why the PC was affected. Every time the desired state is reapplied, Persystent Suite creates a file change report. This report lists all the items that differentiated from the desired state settings. It allows IT to see and document (without having to sift through thousands of event logs) the delta between the approved policies, registries, applications, infrastructure configurations etc…  from the time of the issue and the approved state. This way, IT can pinpoint root causes more clearly and adjust policies or procedures to prevent or mitigate such occurrences in the future.

Innovation of the Year!

utopic_pinkIn recognition of the seamless and inventive way PCs can now be automatically self-healed from small break/fix issues and catastrophic failure, Pink Elephant, the global IT Service Management leadership certification and training organization awarded its top prize for IT Excellence to Utopic Software’s Persystent Suite.

Utopic, a leader in imaging, repair and configuration management solutions, was selected among four finalists at Pink Elephant’s 20th Annual International Conference & Exhibition, “Pink16,” in Las Vegas for Innovation of the Year. Persystent is a cloud-based and on-premise platform that facilitates repair and recovery of compromised or mis-configured devices. It achieves this in near real-time and without manual intervention with a single reboot of a device. Visit our main website at www.utopicsoftware.com.

As part of the thorough judging process, Utopic proved that a PC experiencing a catastrophic failure resulting from a malware breach, could be “self-healed” with a healthy, approved image in only 45 seconds. It successfully met the judging panel’s rigorous requirements of a solution that could positively impact the ITSM community and be translated into best practices.

This acknowledgement goes far in confirming the viability ofIT-Excellence-Awards-Innovation-Of-The-Year automated self-healing that can repair and recover any PC in less than a minute regardless of the damage.” said Utopic CEO Bob Whirley, “More specifically, it validates the incredible hard work and vision our team has put in to developing a comprehensive and game-changing solution. It is truly a great honor.”

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According to Utopic, Persystent Suite achieves ITSM’s most important goal: getting users back up and running in the shortest amount of time and thereby promoting greater amore controlled compute availability and productivity. Studies have shown that Persystent reduces break/fix incidents by more than 70 percent. Through automatic corrective action, what called “self-healing,” an ideal state is reapplied during the pre-boot process and the user is back up and running within minutes without loss of data, setting or applications.

 “All the finalists were truly innovative, but what tipped the balance was that the judging panel thought the Persystent solution would have the biggest, broadest and most positive impact on the ITSM community, ” said George Spalding, Executive Vice President, Pink Elephant. “We congratulate the Utopic team and look forward to continued innovation from them in the future.”

According to the organizers, a record number of nominations were submitted this year from organizations of all sizes and from virtually every industry. Pink Elephant’s IT Excellence Awards are considered one of the industry’s preeminent honor. See Pink Elephant’s press release

“We are absolutely thrilled and gratified the judging committee made up of our peers and other subject experts at Pink Elephant recognized the value Utopic brings and that our Persystent solution is a proven path towards that value,” Whirley added.  “As a fast-growing technology company, it’s gratifying to know our team has made significant inroads into changing how change management is perceived, deployed and managed.”

Whirley has been invited to speak at next year’s conference.

The IT Excellence Awards were created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations contributing to the ITSM community.

Pink Elephant is a premier global training, consultingimages and conference service provider, and has an undisputed reputation for leading the way. They are proud of their pioneering and innovative spirit, which has enabled them to introduce and spearhead many revolutionary concepts and programs since their inception forty years ago. Pink Elephant has grown to become recognized globally as The IT Service Management Experts and is very proud of its commitment to IT best practice frameworks. In fact, Pink Elephant has been involved in the “ITIL project” since its inception in 1989.

@itilexperts

 

Self-healing automations allow CIOs to meet new challenges

According to CIO magazine one of the “Top Actions CIOs should take in 2016″ is to redesign the workforce. They say “to maximize IT talent and meet digital needs of the future, changes to the roles and responsibilities must be considered. IT work is evolving beyond managing programs and developing software…”

This has several ramifications. One of which is the IT specialist must now (more than ever) wear multiple hats. However, this is not as burdensome an issue as once thought. With the application of automation for certain tasks once exclusively reserved for hands-on attention, the IT specialist , can transcend beyond the plugger of cables or writer of code. The article agrees: “CIOs also need to develop a workforce strategy that reflects increased automation. Intelligent machines can augment higher-end skills and automate routine tasks and decisions.”

One area that could obviously benefit from greater (and smarter) automation is IT Support. Help desk tends to be heavily dependent on hands-on techs (whether in house or off-shore). Many companies already implement some sort of self-service automation for Level One issues like forgotten passwords. However, it is the Level Two break/fix issues where significant improvements in time and resource management could allow CIOs to adapt the article’s stated best practice.

Sure, but computers can’t fix themselves.

In this landscape of automationthey can. In fact, a device can be self-healed in about 45 seconds; the time it takes a machine to reboot.  It is part of an automated process that restores a desired image to a corrupted or damaged OS or other break/fix issues  malware/ATP infestation, poor performance, and mis-configuration.  The significant difference with an existing platform is in this automated repair is that the profiles, files and settings remain intact. This isn’t a Day Zero rollback.

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The automation comes with the development of an updating desired image. An IT team can schedule an update anytime. Most companies do so on a weekly or bi-weekly basis in conjunction with a Windows security patch or application update. There are two time-saving automations that ensure the most current image is available. First is that the repair/restore/imaging component takes a snapshot of the approved image and only adds what has changed since the last update. So IT is not reimaging an entire workstation and the process is infinitely faster. Second is, any patches can be tested against a single image rather than every case of the distributed image. This is because of single-instance file storage to ensure that only one copy of any one file is stored across the organization. You have many licenses for Word, but only a single instance is captured for an image. What this means is that the organization always has a recent authorized image that won’t take days to rebuild. It is restored in moments.

So if a workstation can heal itself, is their still a role for IT help desk?  First off, help desk is now involved in the discovery of root causes rather than fixing symptoms. Fixing the symptom simply gets the user back to productivity almost instantaneously. When a user does call with a break/fix issue, the IT specialist can resolve the issue in seconds by initiating the reboot with the correct repair level. However, once the user is back up and running, the IT team can investigate causes so that they can be prevented in the future. Part of the solution is that it has granular reporting so the logs can be reviewed and ideal states compared to show how and where the performance issue occurred.

The end result is a new baseline of automations that reduce the number of support incidents, reduce the time to resolution, increase uptime activity, improve compute landscape integrity, but with relevance to the CIO article, create new bandwidth and greater visibility to allow for the changing roles and responsibilities of IT.

Of course, Utopic Software is happy to perform a demo of these automations in a live presentation to prove self-healing is not only possible, but generates the necessary ROI and bandwidth expansion a CIO needs to achieve their vision.

Can you recover your corrupted business PC’s in under minute?

This is a repost of a blog article from our overseas partner Greatstone:

http://www.greatstone.co.uk/blog/2015/11/20/can-you-recover-your-corrupted-business-pcs-in-under-minute

vidpngPC downtime can be a debilitating event for professionals individually and for businesses collectively.

Many businesses count the cost of downtime but don’t think of the wider implications. Factors such as customer satisfaction and loss of brand integrity are just two of the key losses apart from the more evident costs such as lost productivity and a temporary dip in sales.

When you start to evaluate the direct cost (in terms of salary paid and time lost) of one or more members of staff unable to carry out their assigned tasks, and add to that the cost of support staff intervention to provide a fix, it becomes obvious that this can run in to many thousands of pounds for each instance.

Coupled to this, latest Gartner surveys suggest that unplanned IT downtime can cost businesses up to £4,500 (nearly $7,000) per minute for business-wide outages also impacting on:

  • Customer loss
  • Damage to brand reputation
  • Loss of productivity
  • Overtime, repair and recovery, compensatory costs
  • Lawsuits from unfulfilled contractual obligations
  • Sales and marketing spend wasted

The bottom line is whether it’s a single machine effected by malware, virus, or unauthorised software installs, or a business-wide problem that requires all machines to be reconfigured, the underlying costs can be significant.

So if this is a topic that you or your organisation can relate to, it’s probably time to think about how you can mitigate the threat of possible downtime and whether you’re internal IT team or external MSP recovery plan can act effectively and efficient getting the individual or the wider organisation back in business as quickly as possible.