A major flood hit our community in 2013. Substantial rainfall on top of a melting snowpack in the neighboring mountains caused volumes of water unseen in a hundred years to rush through our city. The downtown area was inaccessible for days. Historical records showed similar levels of flooding had occurred just three times in the 23 years ending in 1902, so you can understand why few were prepared. Some of our clients were prepared and others weren’t. Those who had prepared were up and running the next day. Others lost at least a week of time.
Possible risks to your accounting system are plentiful and often never anticipated. For example, an incident of hardware failure could cripple your rental business. One of our accounting software clients completed their software backups every day and dutifully checked the logs. After an expensive server with many redundancies failed, they went back to the tape backup to find the tape drive had been writing garbage since it had been fixed 18 months prior. They had to restart from a very old CD backup created to test a reporting tool. Insurance saved their business.
Disaster-proofing your accounting system will take some time and effort, but it could save your business
If you purchase a Microsoft cloud accounting system, you will have every tool listed in the tips below to safeguard your rental business. Even if you have a legacy on-premise system, you can get virtually all of these benefits by moving it to a hosted Azure session from Microsoft. Yes, you could host your system anywhere, but think about Microsoft. They are the architects of the operating systems, the database, and hopefully your accounting system. I know this comment sounds like blatant advertising, but it comes from someone with 30 years of experience with mid-market accounting ERP systems. DOS, Windows, Xenix, Btrieve, SQL Server – I’ve seen just about everything.
1. Live backups with automatic failover to backup copies and data centers
A Microsoft cloud accounting system such as Business Central comes with three live copies of your database in your primary data center. If one copy goes down, the system spawns another one. A fourth copy is kept in a geo-redundant data center, so if you lose access to the first data center Microsoft will automatically flip you over to the second one.
2. 21 day rollback
Backup processes often included a complex schedule to be ready in case you needed to rollback to any day in the past 30 days (or perhaps a month-end) before that. It usually required adding incremental backups on top of a full backup. Microsoft’s Business Central comes with instantly accessible rollback to any date in the past 21 days.
3. Web backups
Some customers are choosing not to do backups. You have four copies of your database running across two Microsoft data centers with 21 day rollback. Do you really need a backup? For those who do, for a nominal fee, a snapshot of your database can be scheduled at whatever interval you require and stored in the cloud for instant retrieval. No more hauling tapes around or trying to synchronize your on-premise database via the internet to a storage facility. One thing people don’t always think of is how long it would take to obtain a compatible server and tape drive to restore your backups if you are using tapes. That could take weeks. Even if you have the extra hardware, the cost and effort to maintain it is substantial.
4. Bullet-proof security and firewalls
I have to chuckle when I hear people talk about the need to maintain possession over their database, as if it will be more secure by having it in-house. Who do you trust more to make sure you have the most up-to-date firewalls, patched servers, and security system? Microsoft, or your one or two IT guys who do not work 24/7? Microsoft continually monitors your system for possible failures before they happen, and doesn’t just react when they happen.
5. No more system hardware or database analyst
As long as you have an internet connection, you’re golden. Those clients with the flooded offices were up and running the next day because they had set their staff up with laptops ahead of time to enable remote access from home. Besides the advantages in a disaster situation, you would never have to ask for a major IT capital budget again – just a few laptops, printers, and internet switches.
Ensure your rental business would survive in the worst circumstances
Don’t risk throwing away your rental business. The accounting ERP space has changed and you should too. Free upgrades, data security, and more sleep at night are just some of the benefits from these new systems.
To learn about additional practical ways to safeguard your rental business in a disaster, contact us. Or visit our online store to discover the latest software tools to benefit your accounting system.
Did you miss our blog about how Business Intelligence can give you real-time visual access to all your key analytical information? Learn more about two excellent Business Intelligence solutions available for your rental business now.