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Disaster Recovery

Do you have a Disaster Recovery Plan ?


This was a question that I asked some frantic clients after a few large storms had passed through.  The most common response was, "What's a Disaster Recovery Plan?" or "I did a backup".  Contrary to what many people think, Disaster Recovery does not end at doing daily Backups. That is merely the start.


Disasters do not discriminate between small and large businesses.  Whilst many large organisations have the resources to complete a detailed Disaster Recovery Plan, most small businesses do not.   


Therefore we can put together a concise Disaster Recovery Plan aimed specifically at small to medium enterprises, and which is focused mainly on Information Technology.   Our Disaster Recovery Plan covers how to deal with the following:

1. Natural Disasters (Fire, Flood, Storm, etc.)


2. Power


3. System Failure


4. Theft


5. Key Personal Leaving


6. Viruses & Hacker Attack


For more information or advice on how to create your own Disaster Recovery Plan, contact us on 02 6933 5333. 




Client Q&A - Mouse always clicks twice

Q Whenever I receive a Word document as an email attachment, the filename is greyed out and it cannot be opened. I am using Outlook Express 6 and Word 2003. I have tried disabling both my firewall and antivirus software with no success.

A Neither your firewall nor your antivirus software is causing the problem. The culprit is Outlook Express 6 itself. Word documents have traditionally been a means for distributing macro viruses. Microsoft became aware of this and built protection into Outlook Express, so that Word files (and certain other file types (cannot be easily opened). You can disable the automotive protection, although we recommend you do so on a temporary “as needed” basis.  Once you’ve retrieved your file, your should re-enable automatic protection to ensure your computer is protected. To regain access to Word attachments:

1. Open Outlook Express and click Tools -> Options -> Security Tab.

2. Uncheck the tick beside “Do not allow attachments to be saved or opened that could potentially be a virus” and click OK.

3. Open the email message with the attachment and save the attachment.

4. To re-enable protection, follow steps 1 and 2, but this time re-check the “Do not allow…” box.

To ensure your attachment does not contain a macro virus, scan it with your antivirus software before opening.



Client Q&A - Opening blocked attachments

Q I have a problem that drives me insane. When I single-click a shortcut  or file, it opens instead of just being selected, even though I have set the single/double-click options appropriately in Folder Options. The same thing happens when I single-click an icon in the System Tray. It’s very frustrating because when I try to click a drop-down box, the box opens and then closes immediately: this gives me no time to select an option from the list. I have to do this three to fours times before it finally stays open long enough for me to click an option. Also, when I click the Back button in my Web browser, it goes a couple of pages instead of one. Is there a problem with the mouse driver, of this some software causing a conflict?

A Sometimes it’s the simple things that cause us problems; we often don’t see them if they’re too straightforward. My guess is that your mouse woes are a combination of a system reacting a bit too fast and a button finger reacting a bit too slow. An adjustment to your double-click speed might sort things out.

1. Open the Control Panel -> Mouse Applet.

2. On one of the tabs, there’ll be a slider control for the double-click speed (it’s actually on the Buttons tab. Try adjusting this up or down to see if it fixes your problem. If the speed is set too high for you click action, what you think is a single click may actually be registering as a double-click. If that doesn’t resolve your problem, it could be your driver at fault. This would then mean that the driver will need to be uninstalled and then re-installed. Another alternative would be to try swapping it for another.



Client Q&A - How can we "PC" a small business

Q My parents have just opened this new office building, and they need to know how to connect a few desktop PC's onto one broadband connection. In our house now, we have 4 laptops so we could use the broadband wireless. But with desktops we are not sure what to use.

Also, should they go for a professional grade of ADSL?

A Short question, but a lot of things to think about!

Starting in the reverse order with your question about home or professional/business grade ADSL.

ADSL uses a broadband modem in your home or workplace. A pair of copper wires runs from your premises to the exchange. These wires are used for both your normal phone and for the ADSL connection. At the exchange the ADSL on your line is connected to a broadband port on a DSLAM (DSL Access MUX). The DSLAM multiplexes the data streams from multiple ADSL lines (tens, hundreds or thousands of lines) at the exchange onto links back to the ISP.

The modem, phone line, and DSLAM are identical for home and professional/business services. The differences typically are:
bulletThe home service has more customers for a given size of link(s). This works okay because home usage tends to be very peaky, while business/professional use tends to be more constant and have a higher average throughput.
bulletThe business/pro service usually offers a specific quality of service (QOS), often expressed as a level of downtime, that is much better than for home users. (You'll often hear computer people talking about "the nines" as in 99.99 percent up-time or "four nines".)
bulletThe business/pro service will often offer additional features such as VPN (Virtual Private Network) between different offices of the same customer, with the ISP managing VPN setup and ongoing management of the VPN.
bulletBusiness/pro services cost more to cover the extra equipment, higher capacity, and quicker problem resolution.

Having said all the above, most small businesses, such as your parent's one with four computers, choose a home or "budget" business service. Check this out with your ISP - they may not allow a business to use a home service.

After you arrange for an ADSL connection, you'll need to network the four computers, and connect the LAN to the broadband modem.

You'll need:
  1. ADSL modem and an ADSL service on the phone line
  2. Router
  3. Network hub or switch
  4. A network card in each computer
  5. A network cable to the hub.
  6. A cable from the modem to the router and a cable from the router to the network hub.
  7. Optionally, wireless networking for a laptop (or more than one). This will need a wireless network card in the computer, and a wireless access point on the network. Some broadband routers have a built-in access point.

A few thoughts on possible combinations.
  1. Separate ADSL modem, router and switch. Works okay but the three items take more space and cost more than a combination unit.
  2. It's possible to get an ADSL modem with a built-in single port router. This can be combined with an external switch.
  3. It's also possible to get a router with a built in switch but no built-in broadband modem. Cable this to a broadband modem.
  4. Even more convenient is a combination modem/router/switch. This combines all the broadband modem, router and switch features into a single compact box.

To connect everything up.
  1. On each computer, install a network card. Install the drivers for the card using the EXACT procedure in the manual for the card. Run a cable from each computer to the network switch.
  2. Plug in your modem to the ADSL connection. Use the EXACT procedure in the modem manual. You'll probably need to plug a single computer into the LAN port on the modem to configure the modem with the settings for your ISP.
  3. Unplug the computer from the modem.
  4. Connect the router to the modem using the EXACT procedure in the router manual. Again, you'll probably have to plug a computer into one of the network ports on the router to configure the router, including the login user ID and password for your ISP.
  5. After one computer has a good Internet connection, plug the cables from the other computers into the switch.

Finally, think about some of the issues regarding networks in a small business.
  1. Where will you store files. Scattered across each workstation? Or, get one extra computer for use as a server and store all files there. The server normally can be a standard computer. If server traffic will be high or reliability is critical, get a more expensive computer specifically designed for server duty.
  2. Backup. How will you make backups and where will you store them. A server makes this easier as all data files will be in the one place, making it much easier to determine which ones need to be backed up. Make sure you backup to some sort of removable media (recordable DVD, tape, cartridge-type hard disk) so you can take the backups off site to protect against losses due to fire, flood, natural disasters, or theft.
  3. Security. How will you configure the network to control who has access to drives, folders and files.
  4. Email. Will everyone use an individual external mailbox at an ISP, or will you set up a local email server which collects mail from the ISP and is the uplink to send mail to the ISP.



Special points of interest:


When was the last time you backed up your data??


Are you finding your computer slowing down?


How do you know if your printer is due for a service?


Is your data actually being backed up correctly?


Is your back or eyes hurting while in front of your computer for a period of time?









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