Why Are SMEs So Excited about the Cloud?

by Jack Gesualdi, August 22nd, 2014 in Cloud Computing, Data Center, Hosting

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Small and mid-size organizations are increasingly using cloud services to become more efficient and better able to sustain growth. In a survey conducted by the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services sponsored by Verizon, many pointed to the cloud as a viable way to remain competitive and agile. 527 Harvard Business Review readers participated in the survey, and they were asked a variety of questions about their organization’s use of the cloud as well as their perception of it. Here were some of their findings:

  • 70% have adopted cloud computing
  • 71% expect cloud to reduce complexity in their business
  • 74% say cloud has provided competitive advantage
  • 71% think cloud will reduce business complexity

69% of the respondents also said that they were either enthusiastic or moderately excited by the cloud, and only 8% of the respondents indicated they didn’t get a single competitive advantage from using the cloud. These numbers coincide with a forecast by Intuit that came out recently where they said that roughly 4 out of 5 small businesses (78%) would be fully adapted to the cloud by 2020. This number currently stands at 37%, so plenty of growth is expected in cloud computing in the next 5 years. With that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to list why SMEs should really consider making the move to the cloud. Here are several reasons we’ve seen from our customers: It will help you save money: When it comes to IT, those responsible for their own servers tend to focus more on maintenance rather than investing in new hardware. Cloud computing negates the need to purchase new hardware or software, so you can focus your capital elsewhere. It will allow your IT to focus on more important initiatives: To that same end, just as cloud computing can help a company save money on maintenance, a company’s IT staff can be free from the shackles of daily troubleshooting and monitoring. It can instead focus on higher-order priorities to facilitate company growth. Data Back-Up and Disaster Recovery Services: In the era of Big Data, a SME cannot afford to be lax on their data backup or disaster recovery services; however, these are often the first things that are sacrificed. Cloud service providers enable safe and secure backup of all data as well as disaster recovery planning to ensure that a business’s operations and data are safe if an outage were to occur. Many SMEs that experience a significant outage never reopen, which shows the significance of investing in these services. If you want to be more efficient and agile, save money and stay secure, DSS cloud computing and managed hosting services can serve as a viable solution. Contact us today to learn more.

The Necessity of Disaster Recovery Services

by Jack Gesualdi, August 20th, 2014 in Disaster Recovery

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Driving a car without insurance is dangerous. The driver only comes to this realization after getting in an accident. Once tabulating the cost of repairing their car and the inconvenience of the entire interlude, the driver realizes that car insurance is a necessity. What some businesses do not seem to understand is that walking around without disaster recovery services is the same as driving without car insurance. It is unsafe and tempts fate. In order to properly protect a business and avoid costly accidents, disaster recovery services are a necessity.

Businesses survive because they plan for the worst possible scenario. Natural and manmade disasters happen. Smart businesses with disaster recovery capabilities survive with limited service disruptions compared to unprotected businesses. For example, if an outage occurs, the amount of revenue and customers lost is heavily dependent on the level of disruption.  With disaster recovery services, businesses are able to get back on track quickly and lose limited revenue. Businesses without any such plan, suffer longer disruption and higher revenue losses.

Utilizing disaster recovery services provides benefits that directly affect a business’ revenue. In order to properly function, businesses need access to their data. Disaster recovery ensures this by replicating critical files in case systems are down. Then, they detect the failure and reconfigure the settings in order to repair the malfunction. Disaster recovery protects both virtual and physical environments.

Disaster recovery is a business must-have. It reduces risk and creates peace of mind for customers and employees. By having a process in place, there is less risk of losing revenue, customers and employee productivity. Make the responsible decision and protect the lifeblood of your business. Businesses without the proper securities in place, like an insurance policy on data for instance, are at risk to a number of damaging disruptions. Like car insurance is a necessity for responsible drivers, disaster recovery services are a requirement for responsible businesses.

Outsourcing Your IT Services

by Jack Gesualdi, August 13th, 2014 in Data Center, Hosting, Support

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Common Signs It’s Time for Managed Hosting

by Jack Gesualdi, August 5th, 2014 in Data Center

Every day businesses face data center challenges. Whether it’s limited capacity or power issues, these challenges are time-consuming and sometimes costly. With so much focus on the daily management tasks and troubleshooting, you may find that you’re losing time that should be spent on supporting your core business initiatives.

In an effort to save time and keep business operating, many have turned to managed hosting solutions.  Simply put, managed hosting means that the provider takes care of all of your server related issues. Utilizing a managed hosting company has many benefits but how do you know it’s time for managed hosting? As your data center solution experts, we understand that you may not be quite yet convinced that managed hosting is necessary. Below are common signs that it’s time to switch to managed hosting.

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You don’t have time to monitor your server
Server monitoring is crucial for your business as it helps identify any irregularities or potential failures. This helps you spot possible threats before they occur and become a major problem. However, because server monitoring is something that needs to be done on a regular basis, you may not find that you have time to do it. With managed hosting, system administrators constantly monitor the server ensuring that it is working properly.

You’ve experienced server security issues
Server security should be a huge priority. Security covers all aspects including spam filtering, virus scanning, and software firewall configuration to name a few. But you may not know what tools to use to keep your system free of security threats. With managed hosting, hosting providers have the necessary tools and experience to deal with security threats and ensure your system remains free of any.

You don’t have time to regularly back up your data
The last thing anyone wants is to lose data especially since it can be so costly for a company. By regularly backing up your data, it keeps it secure. With managed services, you will have the peace of mind that your data is secure and backed up as the hosting providers have procedures and processes in place to work in such situations.

You’re spending more time and money than you want to
As a small business owner, you already have enough expenses to manage. It’s more financially feasible to hire a hosting company that is equipped with the right tools and procedures to handle server related issues than to try to fix things on your own time. The time you spend on managing the server is time that could be better spent concentrating on your business initiatives.

 

 

4 Common Reasons Why Business Continuity Plans Fail

by Jack Gesualdi, July 29th, 2014 in Disaster Recovery

As a business owner, keeping your network and data protected is crucial. Creating and maintaining a business continuity plan helps ensure that your business has the resources and information needed during an emergency situation. It helps maximize the chance of your business recovering, whether your hardware fails or a natural disaster strikes.

While you may already have a business continuity plan, is your program as effective as it should be? There are many factors that can contribute to a failing business continuity plan. As a company dedicated to delivering effective data center solutions for businesses, we understand that you want and deserve a business continuity plan that is effective. To help, we’ve examined four common reasons why business continuity plans fail and how to avoid them.

  1. Not Setting Realistic Expectations

Plans often fail because businesses don’t take into account all the “what ifs” that can occur during a disaster. What if the power is out, how will the business operate? Will you need to relocate to an alternative site until the power is restored?  What if there is damage at home? Do you have back-ups to handle the tasks? In order to create an effective continuity plan, be prepared for the worst case scenarios and have a plan of action for each.

  1. Not Testing Your Plan

You’ve developed a continuity plan but how do you know it’s reliable and works? All too often plans are created with little or no testing. Simply walking through the plan using scenarios can be extremely effective in recognizing gaps or holes in your plan and help you to create a more effective plan. Also, test your systems to see how effective they are or how they will last during such instances.

     3.   Not Informing Everyone in the Company of the Plan

Does everyone in the company know of the plan and what it entails? A continuity plan is of no use if it’s only shared with certain people in the company. Everyone in the company needs to be aware of the protocol and the appropriate steps to take when certain events take place. The plan should be shared with the company and they should have written documents of the plan for their own keeps. You can use electronic tools like smart phones, tablets and laptops to quickly share and save your plan.

  1. Not Updating Your Response Plan

Time changes, technology changes, staff changes, and businesses change. Updating your plan is critical to responding successfully during an emergency situation. You should review your response plan periodically to ensure that it is updated and can hold up during such instances.

 

 

 

When Is It Time to Hire an IT Services Company?

by Jack Gesualdi, June 23rd, 2014 in Support

Maintaining an IT department can cost a lot of money. From the software and computer equipment to the personnel that are hired, there’s no way around the fact that good help costs money. That said, there are ways to keep costs manageable, and outsourcing to an IT services company is one of them.

The decision to outsource or to keep in-house IT staff will be reliant on a couple of factors, and a company’s preferences, needs, and costs of operation will all play a role in determining the route chosen: if outsourcing is significantly cheaper (which it often is), it might make sense to outsource; if a company prefers to have support on-site, keeping an in-house staff may be the best decision. Many smart companies use a combination of the two resources to great effect.

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For startup companies or those who are considering a change to their IT department, the question is “what are the advantages of outsourcing?”

An IT services company can provide robust IT management and support, often for less than it would cost to build that same support in-house. But how can that be? Most people think of external contractors as ideal primarily for short-term projects or temporary positions, whereas a company’s IT needs are long-term and only likely to scale up. So how can paying an IT services company possibly cost less than simply investing in your own IT Department?

There are several reasons. For starters, the cost of in-house IT resources can be high. Not only are you looking at hiring professionals whose skills are in high demand and then paying them benefits, you’re also eyeing servers, network equipment, and security measures that can get expensive to purchase and maintain in-house.

But that’s not all. IT needs aren’t static and, in fact, the IT landscape—including both the equipment and the knowledge that a given business needs—is among the most rapidly changing of any industry. That doesn’t just mean that the equipment you buy today may be obsolete in 18 months; it means that in 18 months you may have completely different needs in terms of employee skillsets, as well.

IT services companies take a lot of this off your plate. When you contract with these companies, they take on the responsibility of keeping their equipment current and their staff training up-to-date. What you get is a functioning IT department with the latest technology, plus more options for technological growth and versatility at your fingertips – and at a lower cost.

When setting up your new department, you could opt to have one of these companies handle every aspect of your IT. Alternatively, by keeping a limited IT staff and then using outsourced services, you could achieve the best of both worlds – having the normal, everyday troubleshooting and routine maintenance handled by the outsourced experts with the best technology on the market at their fingertips, while those on-hand can focus on strategic business priorities. Both of these are reliable and viable options, so asses your needs and see which would work best for your company.