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Is Inertia Clouding Your Judgment?

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Like many people, my wife and I subscribe to a few streaming services: Netflix, Hulu, and a couple of others.
It wasn’t part of some grand plan, nor do we regularly review our subscriptions to see whether we are receiving adequate value in return. We signed up at some point, watched what we watched, and more or less forgot about the monthly credit card charges.

Having cut back quite a bit on television over the past several months, I recently realized that we almost never watch PBS anymore. So we canceled the service, something we probably should have done a long time ago.
Inertia is a powerful thing. A decision is made and, absent a good reason to revisit it, there’s a tendency to just keep going. It’s one of the reasons so many businesses — software, health clubs, financial planning, and countless others — depend on this approach.
Inertia can also play a role in business decisions. Often, companies continue to rely on tactics and approaches that, while perfectly reasonable initially, no longer are.

In our work, we often see this play out in relation to company-owned servers and the disaster recovery plans with which they are associated.

Do You Still Have an Onsite Server?

Before the “cloud” became commonplace, most companies had dedicated servers of their own installed in their place of business. Many still do. These physical boxes are where company emails, files, and other data — critical and noncritical — live.

Under these circumstances, disaster recovery necessarily focuses on ensuring these devices are protected, backed up, and mirrored.

Some companies use an on-premise box (Datto is the most popular) that synchs with the server in real time. Others pay to have a dedicated server — again, exclusively for their own use — set up in a data center somewhere far away. Not only does this protect against a local disaster like a fire or flood, it minimizes the likelihood of a regional event (e.g., a hurricane) causing problems.

Here’s where the inertia part comes in: For most companies, owning and operating your own server no longer makes sense. The cloud — outsourcing to Microsoft or Google or some other third-party — is both more cost-effective and more efficient.

It’s more cost-effective because having an IT company manage your onsite server requires someone to oversee your particular device and even periodically set foot in your office. Even if that server lives in a remote data center, you are still paying for rack space, power, bandwidth, and maintenance. The cost of the cloud — a shared, non-exclusive environment — is considerably less.

It’s more efficient because the Microsofts and Googles of the world can provide better coverage, faster response, and a broader range of expertise than can most local options.

Why Hasn’t Everyone Moved to the Cloud?

Some companies have good, sensible reasons for continuing to maintain a server of their own. Quickbooks Enterprise, for example, needs to run locally. If you have an accounting system that works just fine on this platform, you may not want to endure the significant effort of transitioning to a cloud-based system.

But those tend to be the exceptions. Instead, what we mostly see are companies that are simply following an old routine. Maybe they haven’t gotten around to switching. Or maybe their IT provider is hesitant to walk away from the monthly revenue associated with managing a client’s onsite server.

Data, Not Devices

As a practical matter, the entire concept of “disaster” — and the remedies therefore required — has changed in the last decade or so. Remote work is the norm, and the devices themselves (laptops, tablets, phones) are off-premises and distributed in the hands of your employees.

All of which means that the physical machines (again with some industry-specific and case-by-case exceptions) are no longer where most of the risk lives. Rather, it’s the data whose safeguarding takes priority, which is why we encourage our clients to pay close attention to how their critical data is protected and made available for retrieval by their cloud services.

For example, for most of our clients, we provide a third-party back-up service for their Microsoft or Google environments. That’s because until very recently (Microsoft is in the process of rolling out a new option), if someone deleted an email message from their mailbox, 45 days later it was gone — forever. Without that supplemental archiving service taking a periodic snapshot of email, files, Microsoft Teams, etc., that data was lost.
All this to say that while there is nothing inherently bad about owning a server, given the cost and attention required to do it well and the better options now available, companies should reevaluate their needs and update their decisions as necessary.

Andrew Cohen

Andrew Cohen

Having a reliable strategic partner in the realm of IT services and solutions is essential for achieving sustained growth through effective technological strategies. Our CEO, Andrew Cohen, is dedicated to helping clients optimize their technology to gain a competitive edge in their industries. At SMR, Andrew leads a team of highly dedicated professionals who are fully committed to providing exceptional IT services and solutions. With his extensive expertise and practical experience, Andrew ensures that clients receive unparalleled support and guidance for their IT projects. You can trust SMR to elevate your business systems and stay ahead in today's fiercely competitive business environment.