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How Do You Handle the "What If's"?




Brandon Hall
Director of Technology

Many of you sell insurance, so this is an easy concept for you. What if when you came into the office tomorrow, your PC wouldn’t turn on at all? How would you function? What are your client meetings for that day? Where are you going to meet your next appointment? You get the idea. I wanted to cover some concepts to help you have answers to these questions at the ready. We are going to talk about our mail server and an activesync type account, Sharefile, and Carbonite.

To answer the questions about client meetings and accessing your email, the easiest answer is to have another device setup such as a phone and have both your machine and the phone connect to our email server via activesync. This allows you to save your email, calendar, contacts, and tasks on the server and display them on any device you have connected to our server with activesync. That way if one is broken, you still can get to your important information. You can always schedule your appointments with a CRM like SmartOffice, but your email wouldn’t be inside smartoffice or another CRM without additional setup or manual processing. You would have your contacts and calendar though.

Your client files on the other hand, would not be on the mail server. You will want a different method for having duplicates or access to your locally stored client files. If you want to install a server in your environment and then pay to back that server up, this is fine but expensive. Enter Sharefile. The cloud based file storage system called Sharefile allows you to store your client data in “the cloud” (someone else’s server) so you can get to it from multiple locations, devices, and methods. Sharefile is the ONLY approved file storage provider you are allowed to use for client files. The service is setup through FHC and is a cost of $30/full user/month. We can discuss what a full user license entails, but every office needs at least one. There is a client license as well that is no cost but has a few less features. You are allowed to use Smartoffice or Redtail to store files, but they are not anywhere near as efficient to work with and save to as Sharefile.

Backing up your data is also important, and so is having a system like Carbonite that is incredibly efficient for backing up, stores the data in a compliant manner and location. If you were to lose your machine, you can login to a web page to obtain individual files from your carbonite account. Say you had been working on a powerpoint but it was only on your laptop and you needed to present it today. You can log into the web portal of carbonite, browse down into your files, and find the most recent copy of your powerpoint that had been backed up to carbonite. There are a few different customizable settings with regard to the timeliness of when the backup runs, but most of the time the default setting of “backup my files that have changed when I’m not directly using the computer” is perfectly acceptable. If you want to change certain folders to be backed up as soon as a file is saved, I’m pretty sure you can get that level of granularity.

One more thing I would add to this would be Roboform, but that is a whole other article. You need your passwords to be able to log into these systems, and if you have them on a piece of paper, they are toast if your building burns. If they are only on your main computer, when it fails you’re out of commission. Roboform Everywhere allows a secure and backed up copy of your passwords to be on whatever device you like for $30/year or less if they have a special deal. Yes a year.

These tools together will help ensure you can continue to service your clients no matter what happens to your core system. We have some other ideas in the works as well to help with this, but I don’t want to spoil any future announcements. Having multiple avenues to getting your data on multiple systems with multiple copies is a very fault tolerant method of doing business. I for one love to hear when these safety nets save you, so if you’ve been able to reap the rewards of having one or all of these in place when a failure happened to you, drop me a line. As always, for any questions please send me an email or call and I’ll be happy to continue to provide the excellent level of service you’ve come to expect from all of us here at FHC.

BRANDON HALL | DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY   636.695.2820   BHALL@FIRSTHEARTLAND.COM

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