In 2013 a major flood hit the city where our head office is located. We have the privilege to live close to the Rocky Mountains, but this time our location was a drawback. Major rainfall hit the melting snowpack in the mountains and the steep, rocky terrain was unable to absorb the run-off. Thirty-two communities in the city were affected and the downtown was inaccessible for days. Historical records show flooding of a similar size has occurred only three times in 23 years ending in 1902, so you can understand why people were not prepared. Some of our clients were ready. Others weren’t. Those who prepared were up and running the next day. Others lost at least a week of time.
More risks that could spell catastrophe for your accounting ERP system include fire, theft, sabotage, and long-term power loss. These disastrous possibilities are usually difficult to foresee. 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. Preparing for situations like these will take some time and effort, but will save you money and possibly your business.
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
Traditional backup processes often include a complex schedule to be ready in case you need to rollback to any day in the past 30 days (or perhaps a month-end) before that. It usually requires adding incremental backups on top of a full backup. Rarely do companies invest in parallel software to actually use those backups. A Microsoft Business Central cloud accounting system can be rolled back to any date from 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. 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 compared to reacting when something does 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 here and there. And chances are you won’t require a database analyst anymore as Microsoft optimizes the database automatically.
Preparation is everything
With a Microsoft cloud accounting ERP system, you will have all the tools listed above. 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 that statement 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.
Ensure your business would survive in the worst circumstances
With the advent of affordable modern cloud accounting ERP systems and Azure SQL, the accounting ERP space has changed. Free upgrades, data security, and more sleep at night are just some of the benefits from these new systems.
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 ERP business now.