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How to Save Money on Color Printing & Copying

August 31, 2016 Leave a comment

3 Tier Color

Color copying and printing can be a very large expenditure for many companies worldwide today.

The Gartner Group reports that companies spend between 1-3% of total annual revenues on printing.

So if your company’s revenue is $20 million per year your spending between $200,000.00 and $600,000.00 on print output. That’s a lot of money.

Working in the industry myself I suspect that that many companies are over the 3% mark.

Whichever way you slice it, it’s a big expense.

Furthermore, the cost of printing a color page is typically around 10 times the cost of a black page.

For example you may spend a penny to print a black page but 10 cents to print color. The ratio can vary slightly but suffice it to say that color printing can be a real drag on your organizations bottom line.

Over the years I’ve had many customer tell me that they wish there was a better way to do color printing. A way that they could lower the cost of color printing without having to block employees from using color.

In my experience telling employees to print less color just doesn’t work. For many organizations it’s just not an option because color printing is necessary.

Proposals, presentations, brochures, drawings and graphic artwork are things that companies just have to print.

Over the last few decades there has been few technological advances that would allow companies to save on the expense of color printing.

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Until now.

Kyocera has developed technology for their multi-function copiers and desktop printers that finally allows companies to pay for the amount of color that is printed on the page as opposed to paying a flat rate for all color prints no matter how much color is put on a page.

It’s called 3 Tier Color Pricing and it’s only available on Kyocera copiers and printers.

As the name implies there are 3 tiers of color pricing depending on how much color is used.

Tier 1- Simple Color (Low Color Coverage)–  An example of tier 1 would be a document that is all black except for a color company logo or letterhead.

Tier 2- Business Color (Medium Color Coverage)– A report that is mainly black text but has a few color charts or graphs.

Tier 3- Creative Color (High Color Coverage)– Pages that are printed with a lot of color like a brochure or product collateral.

This is a very big deal. By replacing existing color copiers and printers to Kyocera equipment your company can potentially send thousands of dollars to your companies bottom line.

To take the mystery out of how much you can save by switching you can send samples of color documents that you print regularly to your local Kyocera Direct sales representative (for example, me) and they can run them through a Kyocera copier or printer in order to tell you which tier your documents fall in and how much that print would cost you.

No matter how much color your organization prints you can save money. Sometimes significant money.

If you’d like to find out more or test your documents just call me directly or fill out the simple form below. Contact me, Ed Worthington, directly at 443-570-0414.

My company provides Kyocera copier and printer sales and service in Maryland, Washington DC, Delware and Northern Virginia. If you’re not located in one of those areas contact me anyway and I’ll point you to a Kyocera contact in your area anywhere in the United States.

Why not take a minute to do it now? The savings could be considerable.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

A Little Know Secret to Saving Big Money on Your Next Copier Purchase or Lease

business man holding money

With today’s business climate being so uncertain many business owners and executives have become highly price sensitive when it comes to making purchases for their company.

I’ve been in sales and marketing for over 20 years in the Baltimore, Maryland and Washington DC Meto area during that time I’ve observed the level of price awareness rise each year.

I think I can safely assume that the same is true all over the United States and even overseas.

I can remember a time in the early 2000’s when a purchase of a few thousand dollars could be made relatively quickly, in 1 meeting, by a single decision maker who sometimes didn’t even get more than one quote from prospective vendors.

Now, that same purchase of a few thousand dollars requires multiple decision makers, several meetings and multiple price quotes from different competing vendors.

Obviously, things have changed.

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Business owners and executives are looking at business expenditures, especially larger ones, much more closely due to the economic pressure we all feel.

One of the larger single expenditures for most companies is the purchase or leasing of copying and printing equipment.

Although many companies have initiatives to reduce paper, businesses in America still spend considerable amounts of money for the ability to copy and print documents.

If there was a way to reduce that cost you’d probably want to know about it right? Well there is!

If your organization never or rarely prints or copies 11″ x 17″ (ledger)  paper I have good news for you.

In the copier/multi-function printer world there is a way of classifying these machines.

The distinction is made by how large of  a sheet of paper the machine can print or copy on.

There are 2 classes and they go by the names A3 and A4. I won’t get into why they are named this way in this post but just know that there are 2 major classes.

To keep it simple an A3 machine can print and copy on to 11″ x 17″ (ledger) paper. In some cases they can even print up to 12″ x 48″ banners.

An A4 copier/multi-function printer is limited to printing letter (8 1/2″ x 11″) sized paper and legal (8 1/2 ” x 14″ ) sized documents.

As you may have guessed an A4 machine costs less because it doesn’t contain the components that are needed to print larger pieces of paper.

Years ago an A4 machines were typically only printers, usually desktop style, and A3 machines were copiers.

Over the last 5 or so years there has been a trend among copier and printer manufacturers where they have begun adding copying, scanning and faxing capabilities to their A4 model printers.

The result is a multi-function printer that does everything print,, copy, scan & fax) an A3 device does but for significantly less cost.

So if you are in the market for a new multi-function printer and don’t need to prints 11″ x 17″ documents ask your copier vendor and a few others to quote you on an A4 device as well so you can compare the two.

If your organization does occasionally need to print ledger sized documents keep in mind that you can always outsource that printing to a local printer who will happily take care of it for you.

So now I’m going to board up the doors and windows of my house because I’m sure I just ticked off a lot of copier sales guys by telling you this information.

Basically they’re going to make less money because of me.

Hopefully upon further reflection they’ll realize that although they are going to make less money they have most likely created a long term customer who is grateful  (and therefore more loyal) that the rep told them the truth even though it cost him or her commission dollars.

One last point.

Some people in my industry may make the point that an A4 machine cannot handle large copy and print volumes like an A3 can.

I don’t believe there is much validity to this point unless you are truly copying and printing large volumes of paper per month.

Even in that case, these machines are very reliable.

My best advice is to check the manufactures specifications for the device your considering use that as your guide.

I hope this helps.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to email me or simply give me a call.

If you’re in the market for a new copier, printer, document management software or IT services and you’re located in Baltimore, Maryland, Washington DC or Northern Virginia please allow me to provide you with a quote.

If you’re not in one of those areas and need quote please contact me anyway. I have a network of qualified, screened copier dealership in all 50 states, Australia, Canada and South Africa.

Thanks and have a fun day!!

443-570-0414 (cell)  edworthington@outlook.com

 

Have a fun day!!


Ed

 

 

 

 

5 Questions to Ask When Leasing a Copier

January 7, 2016 Leave a comment

When it comes time to lease a new copier for your business things can get a little complicated.

You need tread very carefully when doing your research and getting your proposals together.

Depending on the size of copier you need this could be a significant acquisition for your business.

If you’ve leased a copier before you know that there can be a lot of questions to ask to make sure you don’t get burned.

Believe me when I say that organizations of ALL sizes get burned on a regular basis when leasing a new copier.

I know because they call and email me all the time after reading my cautionary blog posts. Like the one you’re reading right now.

I’ve been contacted by organizations locally here in the in Baltimore, MD & Washington DC area as well as all over the world. Literally.

I’ve helped people in the US, Australia, the UK, South Africa, Kenya and several other countries in Africa.

What I’ve found very interesting is that no matter where they’re from the issues these organizations have with copier companies seem to be the same.

In other words, the tricks and gimmicks used by unethical copier companies seem to be about the same no matter where they’re located.

In order to get treated fairly there are many questions you could ask prospective vendors about their copier lease but I’ll give you 5 really important ones here.

1) What kind of copier lease are you quoting me? Fair Market Value or Dollar Buy Out?

90% of the time when leasing a copier you’ll be offered either a Fair Market Value Lease or a Dollar Buy Out Lease.

The first type of lease is the Fair Market Value Lease. This is the most common of all copier leases. About 99% of the copier leases I write are fair market value leases. The way that this lease works is that at the end of the lease term the leasing company will tell you what the fair market value of that machine is and then you can buy it from them for that amount of money.

Kind of like a Kelly Blue Book valuation for copiers.

If you don’t want to buy the copier for the fair market value than you will be required to send the copier back to the leasing company at your expense. Typically if you lease a new copier from the same copier company they will come pick the machine up from your office and pay the shipping charges to send it back to the leasing company.

Copier companies do this as a thank you for leasing another copier through them. This is a helpful service that copier companies offer because if you had to send the copier back yourself in my experience you’d be looking at any where from $200.00 for a small copier up to $500.00 plus for a larger machine.

We provide this service here at my company and I like the fact that my customers can focus on the core tasks in their business and let me take care of the copiers. We remove the old copier and install and network the new one within an hour or so. My customers literally have to do nothing and I feel that’s how it should be.

The second most common type of lease is the $1 Buyout Lease. Although it’s the second most common it’s only about 1% or less of the leases I see in my day to day work.

The $1 buyout lease means that at at the end of the lease term you can “buyout” the copier from the leasing company for one dollar. Now you may be wondering why you would choose any other type of lease over this one. The answer is that this lease will cost you more than the others in interest and fees during the life of the lease but in the end you will pay less than a fair market value lease.

So should you choose a fair market value or a $1 buyout lease?

It may be helpful to think of the decision in the context of how you buy vehicles.

If you’re the type of person who finances a vehicle, keeps the vehicle over the term of the loan, pays it off and keeps the car as long as they can until it falls apart then you may want to consider a dollar buy out lease.

If you’re the kind of person keeps a vehicle for 2 or 3 years, trades it in because you like to have the newest, most efficient technology and don’t want the hassles that come with an aging vehicle than you may want to consider a fair market value lease.

Again, the Fair Market Value Lease is definitely the most common chosen option for businesses. As I stated earlier about 99% of copier leases these days are Fair Market Value.

2) What happens to the hard drive after the lease ends?

This is a very, very important question.

Virtually every copier that you can buy today will have a hard drive installed.

At the end of the lease when the copier leaves your office you have to make sure that it doesn’t end up in someone else’s hands with your company data on it.

There are a few ways of accomplishing this. You can have the hard drive removed and given to you, removed and destroyed or wiped clean of all data.

This is usually a service that your copier vendor provides but if they don’t you need to find a company that does.

This is not something you want to take lightly. If you do, bad things can happen.

Affinity Health Plan of New York was fined $1.2 Million because they sent copiers back to the leasing company without removing or wiping the hard drives.

2 years ago I wrote a short post on this blog about the incident and others like it.

The short post also included a very interesting CBS undercover video.

Click this link to watch the CBS undercover video.

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Remember, in the end the Feds will come after you, not the copier company, if your customer’s data gets out.

Take the necessary steps!

3) Is property tax included in the copier lease payment or am I going to get a separate bill from the county?

This issue is one that has ticked off many business owners and executives.

When you lease a new copier your local county government will asses a property tax.

If the property tax is not paid by the copier leasing company than the organization that leased the copier (that’s you) is responsible.

So that none of my customers get a surprise bill for property tax , ALL of the copier leases that I write in my day to day work include the property tax.

Be sure to ask the copier sales representative if property tax is included in the lease. If they say yes, ask to see it in writing.

It may be uncomfortable to push the issue with the salesperson but remember, you have the right to see everything in writing.

If that’s a problem for them,  I’d consider looking at other copier companies. More ethical ones.

4) Is the Copier Maintenance/ Service Agreement Rolled into the Lease?

When you lease a new copier you’ll want to put a service or maintenance agreement on the copier.

Typically copier maintenance plans are either billed as part the lease in which case you’ll only get one bill, or billed separately from your local copier company in which case you’ll get 2 bills.

One from the copier company for the service agreement and one from the leasing company for the lease.

5)If the answer to number 4 is yes than you should have a few follow up questions.

A) Can I adjust the minimum number of pages in the service agreement up or down? 

All copier service agreements contain a minimum number of printed pages (copies or prints) as part of the agreement. Usually that number is based on your recent usage history. You have to be careful here because if you pick a number too high you could end up paying for a lot of copies/prints that you didn’t use and if you go too low you may end up with a large overage bill at the end of the quarter or year.

Copier Service Agreement Overage Example: You sign a service agreement with a monthly minimum of 5,000 black pages.

If you only use 4,000 pages that month you will still pay for the 5,000 because that was the minimum that you agreed to and signed off on.

If you were to use 5,500 black pages one month there are a few things that can happen. I’m not sure about other parts of the country but most copier companies in Baltimore, Maryland, which is where I’m located, will accrue those overage pages and bill you for them on a separate bill quarterly. The other option I’ve heard of is to bill the overages annually.

In this example we’ll use quarterly overage billing.

So if you printed/copied 5,500 black pages per month for the first quarter of the year than you would have accrued 1,500 overage pages for that quarter. 500 extra pages (over your 5,000 minimum) times 3 months = 1,500 overage pages. Sometimes copier companies will charge you an increased price per page for overage pages. This is something I’ve never understood because in what business do you penalize customers for buying MORE of our product than initially anticipated? But nonetheless some copier companies do it, so be sure to ask.

In the above example you would get a separate bill at the end of the quarter for 1,500 overage pages.

Here at my company we allow the customer to move their monthly minimums up or down whenever they want during the lease with no questions asked. Obviously this is the best case scenario and you should try and find a company that will allow you that freedom. If they say that they will do that you need to get it in writing.

B) Am I paying interest and/or any type of fees on the copier service/maintenance plan because it’s part of the lease?

Obviously when you lease a copier you will pay interest on the base amount of the copier. This is how the leasing company gets compensated for loaning you the money. If the copier maintenance agreement is included with the equipment in the lease than you may be paying interest and fees on the service agreement as well as the equipment. You want to avoid this if you can.

One way is to have the bill for the service agreement sent to you by your copier company. In other words, you pay the local copier company for the service agreement and the leasing company for the lease. You will get 2 bills but I think that’s better than paying interest on the maintenance agreement when you don’t have to. The interest on the plan can really add up over time.

The second and best way to handle this is when the copier company has a special arrangement with the leasing company to do what is called a pass-through. The way a pass-through works is that the leasing company will collect the money for the service agreement as part of the lease payment and pass it through to the copier company.

As part of this agreement the leasing company agrees to not to charge interest or fees of any kind to you the customer or the copier company your working with. They do this as a convenience for the copier company who is usually sending them a lot of new customers like you. In the case of a pass-through you the customer only gets one bill from the leasing company for once amount per month.

Here are our company we have a pass-through agreement with our leasing company. It’s a great feature.

6) Bonus Question Do I pay the shipping charges to get supplies (toner & other consumables) sent to me?

Even though many copier companies say that their copier service agreements include “everything but paper and staples” what they may not tell you is that you will be responsible for the shipping charges when supplies such as toner are sent to your office. This could be something you want to ask about and negotiate if possible.

Otherwise you may get a surprise invoice for shipping when you need a new toner cartridge.

I hope this list of questions was helpful to you.

As always if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me using the easy form below or call me directly at 443-570-0414.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell anyone you know looking for a copier to check out this site in order to save money and avoid rip-offs.

If you’re in the Baltimore/DC Metropolitan area and are considering purchasing a new copier, printer, scanner. shredder, postage or mailing equipment please let me know. I’ll provide you with a fair, no BS proposal from our line of quality products from Xerox, Konica-Minolta, Lexmark and HP.

We also offer a full suite of document management and mobile capture software.

You can reach me at 443-570-0414 or edworthington@outlook.com.

 

 

How to Prevent Copier Jams: Part 1

Cancel Copier Lease

Summertime is here and you know what that means!!!

Warm days, an awesome new tan, hanging out at the beach or pool with friends and best of all….copier jams.

OK maybe copier jams aren’t fun and for some of you copier jams may be a huge cause of frustration during your work day. Have you ever noticed that you have more copier jams (also know as copier misfeeds) in the summer months than in at other times during the year?

The main reason for this may be the way that you store your copier paper. In the summer time humidity, especially here in Baltimore, Maryland where I’m located, can be very high.

If your copier paper is stored in a place that is susceptible to humidity like a closet or warehouse space than this may very well be the reason you’re having jams.

The fibers of the copier paper absorb the humidity (water) from the air and the paper becomes a bit more slippery. The way that copiers feed paper through the machine is with small rollers. If the paper becomes moist and slippery the rollers can slip thus causing a jam.

The other problem with moist paper is that it can start to curl at the edges. This will also cause jams. So when storing your copier paper keep it stored in a dry place and keep it off the ground if at all possible.

Place it on a shelf or even on top of some type of pallet. If you’re having trouble finding a dry spot in your office consider buying a small dehumidifier and placing it in the same room where you’ll be storing the paper. I’ll have more tips on how to prevent copier jams coming so subscribe to the blog and come back often.

If you have a copier related question please submit it in the easy form below and I’ll answer your question and maybe write a post on the topic.

If you’re in the Baltimore/DC Metropolitan area and are considering purchasing a new copier, printer, scanner. shredder, postage or mailing equipment please let me know. I’ll provide you with a fair, no BS proposal from our line of quality products from Xerox, Konica-Minolta, Lexmark and HP.

You can reach me at 443-570-0414 or edworthington@outlook.com

Have a great and FUN summer!!

Should You Include Copier Maintenance Plan Costs into Your Copier Lease? Updated

copier : young worker using a copy machine

Back in March of 2014 I wrote a post titled, Should You Include Copier Maintenance Plan Costs in Your Copier Lease?.

At the time I was very against including copier maintenance plan costs (also referred to as a copier service plan) into the lease of the copier.

I noted that in many cases the reason the copier buyer does this is for the convenience of having to write only one check while some copier companies may be motivated by the fact that they can get interest and fees on the maintenance plan costs whereas if the maintenance plan is billed separately they don’t.

Please note that I said “some” copier companies may be motivated by interest and fees on the service plan. I don’t want to paint the whole industry with a broad brush. That really wouldn’t be fair.

While I still feel that it’s generally a bad idea to add the service cost to the lease I have discovered a new way to go about this.

A way that you can combine the lease and the service agreement together without paying ANY interest or fees of any kind on the service. The best of both worlds.

It’s called a pass-through. The reason it’s called a pass-through is that the leasing company will accept their monthly payment from the business who leased the copier and then  pass the copier service/copier maintenance agreement portion of the payment back to the local copier company who sold the machine and performs the service/maintenance on the machine.

This is done without you the customer paying any fees whatsoever to the leasing company for passing the payment to the local copier company.

This can be a little confusing so I’ll sum up the whole process for you.

When you lease your new copier you purchase a service agreement on the copier.

A copier service agreement covers toner, repairs (including parts and labor) and preventative maintenance. All you have to do is buy paper. Everything else is covered.

When is comes to billing some copier companies will add the service/maintenance costs to the lease. The problem with this is that you are paying interest and fees on the service plan.

It doesn’t have to happen this way because the copier company who sold you the copier and will service the copier can bill you separately for the copier service agreement.

In other words you pay the leasing company their payment for the copier and write a separate check to the local copier company for the service plan on the copier because they will be performing the service on your copier.

Many copier buyers love the convenience of making only one payment but don’t want to pay interest and fees on the service plan if they don’t have to.

This is where the pass-through comes in.

The leasing company sends the customer one monthly bill which includes the copier and the service agreement and then passes the service plan portion of the payment back to the local copier company.

The copier buyer is happy because they only had to cut one check.

It’s a great service that provides the best of both worlds for the copier buyer.

I now offer this single payment service to my customers here at my copier company in Baltimore so if you are in Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia or Delaware and would like a competitive quote from a copier salesperson who will tell you the truth (even when it hurts), please fill out the quick easy form below and I would be glad to help.

If you are anywhere else in the United States and would like my recommendation for honest copier companies in your local area fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you with the names of some trusted companies.

As always feel free to ask me any copier buying question and I’ll do my best to give you a solid answer.

Thanks for stopping by. Have fun.

Ed Worthington

 

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid Unexpected Copier Service Plan Fees

January 23, 2015 Leave a comment

With business expenses going up every day it’s hard to create and keep a consistent budget in today’s world.

Most businesses are  paying for a copier lease and maintenance costs and the last thing you need is to have unexpected charges from your copier vendor.

But for many companies that’s exactly what’s happening.

I recently received an email from a blog reader located here in Baltimore, Maryland asking for my advice.

She leased a new copier several months ago and recently an alert message popped up on the copier screen letting her know that one of her toner cartridges needed to be replaced.

Imagine her surprise when she called her copier company and was told that she had to pay for the toner cartridge which was a few hundred dollars.

This shocked and angered her because she was already paying for a service plan on the copier which supposedly included the toner. So why was she being asked to pay for this toner?

When she asked why she was told that she was using too much toner. This seemed very confusing. If she has a service plan which includes 5,000 prints/copies per month how can she be using too much toner when you make those 5,000 prints/copies.

Here’s how it works.

When a copier manufacturer makes a toner cartridge they fill it with an amount of toner that is enough to cover a specific amount of prints or copies.

That number of pages, sometimes called a yield, is based on a specific percentage of page coverage.

For example you may see toner sold online saying “32,000 yield at 5%”.

What their saying is that this cartridge will produce (or yield) 32,000 pages when each page is 5% covered with toner from that cartridge.

When a user makes copies/prints that average more than a 5% coverage on the page they will get less than 32,000 pages from that cartridge.

When they run out of toner they call their copier company and are told they have to pay for more toner because they are using more than 5% toner coverage per page.

Although the contract states you will get x amount of copies/prints included with the service plan, that x amount of copies is based on a 5% page coverage.

If your average page coverage happens to be more than 5% you’re  going to be asked to pay for more toner.

This is a tricky situation because in order for the copier/toner manufacturer to say a toner gets X amount of pages they must base that on a certain % of page coverage.

Otherwise they have no way to state how many pages you’ll get from a toner cartridge.

If they were to base the yield on 100% page coverage you would only get 1,600 pages on what is otherwise called a 32,000 page yield cartridge at 5%.

32,000 pages at 5% coverage or 1,600 pages at 100% coverage. Same cartridge with the same amount of toner. The only difference is what the page coverage percentage is.

If you want to avoid this happening you can adjust the toner density on the copier. There should be a setting on your copier called “quality/density” or something similar.

It basically just tells the copier or printer to lay down less color toner when printing or copying a color image.

At my company we don’t make the customers buy extra toner unless they are really going crazy with color usage.

If this does happen to you ask to speak to a manager at the copier company and ask them if they can make an exception just this one time since you weren’t aware how this worked.

This scenario should never happen to an average business. It usually only happens when a business is printing a lot of pages with heavy color and graphics like brochures and marketing material.

If you don’t print with a lot of color usage and your still being asked by the copier company to pay for more toner you should be suspicious.

If you happen to be in a type of business where you do a lot of heavy color printing the bottom line is that your options probably come down to laying less color down on your pages or paying for the extra toner.

I hope this is helpful. Thanks for stopping by today and remember to have fun.

If you are thinking about purchasing a new copier, printer, scanner, fax machine, postage meter, stuffing/folding machine or binding equipment feel free to give me a call for a competitive quote.

I also offer many different software packages, including custom developed solutions, to assist you with your document management needs.

My company is located in Baltimore, Maryland however I offer sales and service to the entire USA.

You’ll get no sales games or tricks with me. Just an honest opinion on your needs and a very competitive quote.

Feel free to call me or fill out the simple form below. My number is 443-570-0414. Thanks!

Don’t Become a Data Loss Horror Story. Warning: This Story is Scary!

October 26, 2014 Leave a comment

data loss horror story

data loss imageImagine This:

You wake up in the morning and get ready for work just like any other day. You get yourself together, grab a cup of coffee and head out to work.

It’s pouring rain as you run to the car. As you pull out of the driveway you think to yourself, “Wow what a storm last night”. It started raining yesterday afternoon and hasn’t let up much since.

You get to the office and you’re the first one there of course. You didn’t get to where you are by being a slacker.

You sit down at your desk and you notice a strange, almost creepy silence in the office. It’s normally not this quiet, even in the early morning.

You turn on your computer and it starts up like it always does.

But then you notice a problem. You can’t get to your email.

You try a few other programs like your accounting, inventory and HR programs……nothing.

You’re starting to get a little worried but you’re not the type who panics at the first sign of trouble.

You decide you’ll grab a cup of coffee in the kitchen and then call your IT Director Brad. It’s probably something minor.

As you make your way down the hallway toward the bathroom you hear a subtle squishing sound under your feet. The carpet is soaked. Now you’re getting a little worried.

You realize that obviously some water from the storm has gotten into the office.

As you walk by the room where your IT equipment is stored you notice that creepy silence again.

Afraid of what you’re about to see you slowly open the door to the server room. The door creeks open and what you see and hear is horrifying. Nothing. The room is dark. No blinking lights, no sounds of fans, no signs of life. Your servers are dead.

You use your iPhone flashlight app and discover that there was obviously a leak in the ceiling which has caused a couple of ceiling tiles to become wet and they collapsed under the weight of the water above.

There are small pieces of wet ceiling tile all over the floor along with way too much water for your comfort.

The servers and networking equipment have taken a direct hit from the water and ceiling tiles and obviously the equipment isn’t functioning. Now you realize why you couldn’t get to the programs on your computer. It’s time to call Brad.

You call Brad immediately. Brad answers the phone and you try to calmly explain the situation to him. But you certainly don’t feel calm.

“I’ll be right there” he says with a tinge of nervousness in his voice.

25 excruciating minutes later Brad arrives in an obvious panic. It seems the drive to the office has given him plenty of time to let his imagination run wild.

When he gets to the server room and looks inside his face turns white and it looks like he’s seen a ghost.

Brad gets to work frantically and tells you that he’ll update you as soon as possible on the extent of the damage.

27 minutes (not that you were counting) later Brad comes into your office and says. “It’s not good. Most of our equipment is ruined. Were going to have to get new servers and networking gear and rebuild”.

You remember that you had a meeting with Brad about just this type of incident a few months ago after reading a blog post about disaster recovery.

You breathe a sigh of relief when you remember Brad saying during that meeting that you were all covered. He backs up all the company’s critical data using a tape system and he had hired a storage company to come pick up the tapes every few weeks and store them in a safe, climate controlled facility.

You try to look at the glass as half full. At least the data is backed up and safe. You want to let Brad know that you trust him and things will be fine.

The conversation goes something like this.

You: “Well Brad, it could have been much worse. I’m just glad you had the insight to put a good backup system in place. We’ve got a really big week planned and I don’t want to get behind. Will you be able to get things back up and running in the next couple of hours?”

Brad: “Next of couple hours? Uh….well I’m going to need more time than that.”

You: “How much more?”

Brad: “It’s probably going to take at least a week?”

You: “Did you say at least a week?” You almost choke on your coffee.

Brad: “Yes, at a minimum.”

You: “How is that possible? We have everything backed up.”

Brad: “Well all of the data is backed up and safe but there is a process to getting everything back up and running. Since most of the equipment is destroyed we have to order new servers and networking equipment which could take anywhere from a few days to a week to get here.

Then we have to figure out where were going to set up the new equipment. We obviously can’t put it in the old IT room because it’s going to need to be totally renovated because of the water damage.

Once we decide where we’re going to put everything I’ll have to set it all up, then network and configure everything. I’ll have to re-load all of our programs and then test everything.

Then once that’s finished I’ll retrieve the tapes from the storage company and load all the critical data onto the new servers. After that I’ll run some further tests and we’ll be back up and running.”

You hear everything Brad is saying but you at the same time your mind is in another world.

Was this really happening? It feels like a bad dream, no, more like a total nightmare. How could this happen? Were you really not going to have access to any critical customer data for a minimum of one week?

Your mind is racing. How are we going to explain this to our customers? What about the auditors that are coming in next week? What about the presentation we have to do for our largest customer next week? What about all the invoices that need to be sent out? How is this going to affect cash flow?

Then the full weight hits you. This is going to cost the company money. A whole lot of money.

You start to feel a little lightheaded and sick to your stomach.

How did you get here? The answer is simple. It’s not easy, but simple.

Then you remembered it. Last year when you read the disaster recovery story on the web and called a meeting to ask Brad if you were prepared for this type of incident he told you all critical data was being backed up but he would feel a lot better if the company had a full blown disaster recovery plan.

Two weeks after that initial meeting Brad brought in a couple of guys from an managed services company and the four of you discussed what it means to have a full blow disaster recovery service versus just backing up your data.

It all sounded great. Until they brought a quote back a few days later.

You remember being shocked by the quote. How much per month?

For something that’ll probably never happen? After thinking on it for a few days you let Brad know you thought it was a really good idea but you’d like to put it on the back burner for now.

You’d see how the fourth quarter went and if the numbers looked good you would reconsider.

Then you basically forgot about the whole thing. It’s easy to do. We’re all very busy with our businesses, our families and everything else life throws at us.

You realize that most likely that the cost of the disaster recovery service would have been a pittance compared to the financial hit you’re about to take.

So what is the difference between just backing up data and having a full blown disaster recovery plan? About 1-3 weeks! That’s 1-3 weeks of being without your company’s critical applications or data.

In a similar situation to the one above, if you had a full blown disaster recovery plan and service you would be back up and running in about 15 minutes. There would no real harm to your business.

But you don’t have that plan and service so for you, things are going to be much, much more complicated. After doing a little research on your iPhone you realize that one week is an extremely optimistic time frame.

Now back to reality. The good news is that this didn’t really happen to you.

It may never happen but the question every responsible executive has to ask them-self is, what if it does happen?

There are thousands of business owners and executives throughout the world that could tell you their own data loss horror stories. It happens, it really does. More often than you think.

You may be wondering why you don’t hear about these stories if their happening all the time?

Think of it this way. If it happened to you, would you announce it to the public or try to keep it quiet?

I’m not talking about customer’s financial information being stolen by hackers. Obviously there are times when a business is required by law to notify its customers and the public of a security breach. That’s the way it should be. In this case I’m just speaking of data loss.

Don’t let this happen to you. Protect your organization and yourself by implementing a reasonable disaster recovery program.

There are many different ways of going about disaster recovery and many good companies out there who do it very well. One positive is that the pricing on disaster recovery services have gone down significantly over the last 5 years.

Do your homework, talk to a couple of reputable companies to get an idea of your options. Then pick the one that’s best for your company. You’ll be glad you did.

Then you’re life won’t become a data loss horror story.

If you’re considering implementing or updating your disaster recovery strategy feel free to contact me or fill out the form below for a short chat. I offer a free, no obligation evaluation of your situation. No sales pressure, no games. Just an honest assessment of whether your organization is adequately protected.

Remember to have some fun today!

Ed Worthington.   edworthington@outlook.com.                          443-570-0414

What If All Of Your Business Applications Were Down For 2 Weeks?

September 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Recently I had a very sobering realization.

Sobering because what I’ve been seeing in the marketplace has led me to believe that many small and mid sized businesses in America are in serious danger.

I’m not kidding or exaggerating one bit. Let me explain.

Here at my company we provide IT infrastructure services and managed services such as cloud, server colocation, connectivity and managed services such as disaster recovery, backup and firewalls.

In other words, we provide services that help keep a businesses critical data and applications protected and up and running 100% of the time.

What I’ve realized is that many small and mid sized businesses in America are totally exposed if they were to have a disaster that wiped out their servers.

Examples of this type of disaster could be a fire, flood or natural disaster or if a server just simply crashes.

Many organizations think they’re covered because they back up their data to tape or disk which is not unusual.

What many organizations may not realize is that if there servers are destroyed or fail it could easily take two weeks or more to get the business back up and running.

Why?

Because even if you have the tape or disc stored offsite (many companies don’t) you still have to restore that data to something that resembles your original environment.

By original environment I mean your original computing and networking equipment like servers & switches. Again, you have to have something to restore that data to.

So in other words you have to order new servers and switches unless you have spare ones on hand. Most organizations don’t.

Then you have to set up and network those servers and switches and then you have to restore all the original data back to the new environment.

In some cases this can take more than 2 weeks. There are A LOT of moving parts here.

If your office had a fire, flood or natural disaster where are you going to set that new environment up? Are you going to quickly lease a new office? How long will that take?

What is your desired equipment is on back order from the manufacturer?

See what I mean. It’s a bit scary.

What if you are a healthcare provider like a nursing home or a large physician practice?

What would happen if you couldn’t get to your EMR systems to access critical patient data for two or more weeks?

For a nursing home how do you know what medications Mrs. Smith gets and when?

You don’t have to be in the healthcare field to experience major business issues.

Think of it this way. What if you couldn’t get to the programs you use everyday in your office like CRM, accounting, operations, inventory, ect. for two weeks or more.

I’m not exaggerating when I say many companies and professional practices would literally go out of business.

So what is the disaster recovery plan for your business?

If you don’t have one your at risk.

If you want help contact me by phone or email for an absolutely no pressure evaluation of your situation. 443-570-0414 ed@edworthington.com.

Categories: Uncategorized

What is Server Colocation?

September 3, 2014 Leave a comment

With so many IT related buzzwords being thrown around on the internet these days it can be hard to get a good understanding of what these terms mean to you and your organization.

One of these terms is “server colocation” or sometimes referred to as just “colocation”.

Server colocation is the practice of moving your organizations servers, storage and networking equipment to a commercial data center where you rent space.

The commercial data center (or colocation facility) provides space, power, cooling, connectivity and physical security for the equipment of multiple firms thereby reducing the cost for each firm.

The power and cooling aspects are provided in a safe and redundant manner using equipment like surge protectors, power distributions units, and generators.

Redundant connectivity is achieved by the data center hosting multiple telecommunication service providers.

From a security standpoint data centers are locked down from the public using features like key card access and bio-metric scanning. Once inside the data center each companies servers are housed inside of a locked “rack” which provides additional security.

So why would you use a colocate your equipment to a commercial data center?

The first reason is that in order to provide the same levels of redundant security, power, cooling and connectivity you would have to build a your own data center potentially costing your organization millions of dollars in up-front capital expenditure.

But the most important reason is PEACE OF MIND. When you colocate your equipment to a legitimate commercial data center you can rest assured that your equipment will be safe in an environmentally controlled environment with many safeguards in place.

This will free up your time and mental hard drive to focus on other important tasks.

By utilizing a commercial data center you get the best of both worlds. All the features we discussed above without spending large amounts of money upfront to build a data center.

I hope this helps.

If your considering server colocation or a move to the cloud please contact me or fill out the form below to get any of your questions answered and a NO OBLIGATION quote.

My company, Expedient Data Centers, owns and operates 9 data centers in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Boston and Indianapolis. We offer server colocation, cloud computing, connectivity, managed backups, disaster recovery as well as a host of other managed services.

Thanks!

Ed Worthington  443-570-0414  ed@edworthington.com

Copier Service Response Time: What’s Reasonable and What’s Way Too Long

Last week I received a call  from the office manager of a company here in Baltimore, Maryland looking to lease a new copier.

As I usually do when I receive a call like this I began asking this office manager a few questions about their current copier situation and why they might be looking to leave their current vendor.

She gave me a few of the usual answers like the copier is jamming a lot, the copier is regularly down going altogether and they’re not at all happy with the service from their existing copier company.

From there I scheduled an appointment to meet with the office manager and general manager of the compan.

If you’ve visited this blog before you’ll know that often when I meet with prospective customers and begin asking these types of detailed questions I’m stunned by the answers. I guess I shouldn’t be stunned  any more but it’s kind of hard not to be when you find out how badly people are being taken advantage of by morally challenged (shady) copier companies.

When I arrived at the company and was waiting for the office manager and General Manager to meet with me I observed they had an old Lanier copier right there in the front office. When I say an old Lanier, I mean OLD. At least 12 years old.

After asking my more detailed questions I found out 2 things that really did shock and amaze me.

1) They have been paying a lease payment for their old copier for at least the past 8 YEARS. Yes I said AT LEAST 8 YEARS!

They even suspect that 8 years ago when the copier was first delivered that it was already used. Judging from the make and model of the copier I think they’re probably right.

The issue of paying a lease payment for the same copier for years and years perpetually is one I’ve seen many times before. It’s called “ever-greening”. What it means is that the lease will continue to self-renew until the customer says stop with written notice.

I think it’s called ever-greening because the copier companies bank accounts are becoming greener by ripping off people who are too busy running their businesses to pay attention to whats happening to them.

This practice is very common so I decided to dedicate a whole post to it in the next few months.

Now lets move on to shocking discovery number 2.

2) The existing copier company regularly takes up to 4 business days to service the copier.

No I’m not joking. I wish I was. On more than one occasion this company has been without a copier for 4 days and even at their best this company would take 2 days to get there.

So you have something to compare to my company offers all of our customers a 4 hour service guarantee. From the time you pick up the phone and call us we have 4 hours to get to your location to service the copier. If we don’t get there within 4 hours we will credit our customers $100.00 toward their next service plan invoice.

We rarely have to pay. We’re dedicated to providing top notch service.

While a 4 hour service guarantee may be a bit on the ambitious side I think same day or next day service are totally reasonable expectations. If your copier company is taking longer than that on a regular basis you may want to consider having a polite conversation with them about the issue.

If that doesn’t work it may be time to consider looking into other companies who can service your brand of copier.

I hope this information helps. As always feel free to email or call me with any questions about buying or leasing copiers.

If your business is located in Maryland, Washington DC, or Northern Virginia and you would like a competitive quote from a copier salesperson who will tell you the truth (even when it hurts), please fill out the quick easy form below and I would be glad to help.

If you are anywhere else in the United States and would like my recommendation for copier companies in your local area fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you asap.

As always you can also ask me any copier buying question you like and I’ll do my best to give you a solid answer.

Thanks for stopping by. Have fun.

Ed Worthington