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IT & Managed Services vs. Healthcare

IT & Managed Services vs. Healthcare

Managed Services vs. Healthcare: Similar Strategies, Similar Outcomes

I would like to start with a little self-reflection. If we are all honest with ourselves, we’d admit that no one enjoys purchasing or paying for health insurance. The process is cumbersome. There are a ton of options when it comes to purchasing health insurance, so how do I know which is the best option for myself or my family? Finally, health insurance is not exactly cheap. Most if not all of us have run into these hurdles looking at health insurance, and many of us have weighed the risk of not having insurance vs. the cost. Health insurance is investing in financial security for the unknown, and it’s shocking how closely this relates to IT and MSP services.

Business owners can view IT services in the same light as healthcare investments, and similar questions arise:

Managed IT Services vs. Healthcare Services
  • What are the associated costs? Is this cost prohibitive?
  • With so many options, how do I choose?
  • What is the risk if I do nothing?

The truth is that IT services very closely mimic health care.

Having a good MSP (Managed Service Provider) provide these critical services very much aligns with preventive health care. Going to the doctor for a routine annual checkup can head off a lot of health issues just like having an MSP can prevent a lot of IT issues. This includes hardware failure, data loss, and security issues that if left unattended would lead to larger problems down the road.

 

Critical IT services quickly justify the cost today by reducing the risk tomorrow.

Finally, IT and MSP services are critical to minimizing and reducing risk. IT services might not always be cheap, but the alternatives can be even more costly to business owners. Let’s consider this in the managed services vs. healthcare paradigm: you might not care to pay for the health insurance that covers lab panels or medications that you can currently live without, but if you ever need the tests and the treatments, enrolling in the healthcare plan today will lower your future costs and risks.

 

  • 93% of companies without Disaster Recovery that suffer a major data disaster are out of business within one year.
  • Downtime can be extremely expensive and range anywhere from $926 to $17,244 per minute.
  • On average, businesses lose over $100,000 per ransomware incident, including downtime and recovery costs.

A Managed Services vs. Healthcare Comparison Reveals Your Need for IT Expertise

Business owners who take IT seriously understand that the benefits outweigh the costs by leaps and bounds. 96% of business that have IT and MSP services in place, including BDR plans, are able to survive ransomware and fully recover operations. IT solutions and application hosting solutions can be expensive and require specialized knowledge. This is similar to choosing a specialized physician for a specific service. If you need a heart surgery, you see a cardiologist. Similarly, if you need cybersecurity, you visit an IT security specialist.

 

An IT Health Check First Appointment

Here at EstesGroup, we strive to make IT solutions simple for customers. Not only do we monitor the health of your business technology and provide the solution when something does go wrong, we also keep solutions affordable because we understand that not every business can afford or needs the same amount of coverage.

 

Imagine being able to visit a doctor and have an annual physical and have all the diagnostics to see your overall health — but at completely no cost. EstesGroup provides such a service, but instead of for your body, it is completed for your business, which is just as important. If you are interested in a free business technical assessment so you can get a handle on the health of your network, see your security risks, and get healthful recommendations, please email me at [email protected].

 

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Cyber Verify “A” Risk Assurance Rating

Cyber Verify “A” Risk Assurance Rating

Cyber Verify A Risk Assurance Rating

The MSPAlliance Cyber Verify rating gives customers of cloud & managed services the assurance their provider is using the most current cyber security practices.

 

EstesGroup Receives Cyber Verify “A” Risk Assurance Rating

Loveland, Colorado – EstesGroup has received the MSPAlliance® Cyber Verify™ Risk Assurance Rating for Managed Services and Cloud Providers. Cyber Verify is designed to provide consumers greater transparency and assurance when it comes to the cyber security practices of those providers.

 

Cyber Verify is based on the Unified Certification StandardTM (UCS) for Cloud and Managed Service Providers and governed by the International Association of Cloud and Managed Service Providers.

 

“Today, more than ever, the consumer needs assurance when it comes to matters of cyber security and IT risk. We are honored to award EstesGroup with the “A” Cyber Verify seal and congratulate them on their exemplary display of dedication towards providing one of the highest levels of assurance possible to the consumer. Today, very few companies in the global MSP community have achieved an “A” Cyber Verify rating, placing EstesGroup in an elite group of managed service and cloud providers world-wide.” 

Celia Weaver

President, MSPAlliance

Cyber Verify Rating System

The Cyber Verify evaluates many different aspects of a company’s service delivery, paying particular attention to security. Cyber Verify evaluates internal service delivery security practices, business continuity of the provider, cyber insurance usage, and many other characteristics which are important in the evaluation process of customers seeking out professional and secure providers.

 

Cyber Verify applies the following rating system:
⭐︎ AAA – evaluates the provider’s cyber security practices on a 3-12 month period of review
⭐︎ AA – evaluates the provider’s cyber security practices on a particular day
⭐︎ A – evaluates the provider’s cyber security practices based on a thorough and in-depth self-attestation examination
 
 
 
Cyber Verify must be renewed annually. The Cyber Verify is a first in the industry and specifically designed for outsourced service providers and the customers they service.
 
 

“EstesGroup is proud of our EstesCloud division’s exciting new award – the Cyber Verify “A” Risk Assurance Rating – as part of our ongoing commitment to further strengthen our posture towards cyber criminal activity. Our clients can be assured that we employ the highest standards, and we are constantly seeking new ways to tighten our safeguards.”

Bruce Grant

President & CEO, EstesGroup

ABOUT MSPALLIANCE

MSPAlliance® is a global industry association and accrediting body for the Cyber Security, Cloud Computing and Managed Services Provider (MSP) industry. MSPAlliance was established in 2000 with the objective of helping MSPs become better MSPs. Today, MSPAlliance has a robust and global reach of cloud computing and managed service provider members across the globe and works in a collaborative effort to assist its members, along with foreign and domestic governments, on creating standards, setting policies and establishing best practices. For more information, visit http://www.mspalliance.com/

ABOUT ESTESGROUP

For 17 years, EstesGroup has served as a leading technology and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions provider. By integrating business application consulting with managed IT services, EstesGroup helps thousands of companies reduce both costs and risks. As a trusted managed service provider (MSP), EstesGroup employs technology experts to care for comprehensive IT responsibilities across industries. This means companies can focus on the work that only they can do, while EstesCloud technology specialists service the IT requirements of the business. With ERP experts in multiple disciplines, EstesGroup also employs certified, highly skilled ERP consultants to meet the needs of companies of all sizes with application management, managed hosting, professional services, and complete ERP support. EstesGroup is headquartered in Loveland, Colorado, and employs leading IT and ERP experts throughout the United States.

ABOUT ESTESCLOUD

EstesCloud provides managed technology services that meet the unique needs of each business served. Companies across the nation depend on EstesCloud for backup and disaster recovery, compliance, business continuity planning, cybersecurity, on-premise and remote technology infrastructure, managed application hosting, and complete IT department outsourcing. EstesCloud powers on-site work and remote technology enablement, including complete virtual office infrastructure. By offering secure and cutting-edge technology through public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud solutions, EstesGroup brings the newest technology to startups, small businesses, midsize companies, governmental and nonprofit organizations, and large manufacturing and distribution companies that depend on robust IT solutions.

 

To learn more about EstesGroup’s service as a leading technology firm, please fill out the form below to get a copy of our “Why Managed Services?” fact sheet.

To see EstesGroup’s deep ERP expertise in action, please fill out the form to get a copy of an Epicor consulting case study that analyzes engineer-to-order and make-to-order Epicor implementation challenges.

 

Malvertising Rising and Malware Mayhem

Malvertising Rising and Malware Mayhem

What is Malvertising?

Malvertising is a pet name for malware that’s delivered through online advertising techniques. The ads look authentic. Often, legitimate third-party marketing companies distribute them to reputable websites. Cybercriminals circulate this malware by posing as advertising careerists. The trick’s in the click. A banner ad tempts the viewer into clicking the offer. A successful malvertising campaign has an attractive (and secretly infected) ad laced to a convincing call to action. Malvertising malware attacks via reputable advertising networks, so it’s a more challenging threat than typical adware.

Malvertising Malware Alert

Red Teaming and the Big Bad Ad

Malvertising is only one of many types of malware, and understanding this cyberthreat’s origins can help you prevent a security breach. So, before you click on a cute kitten in a banner ad or click a link that claims you won a free skiing trip to Colorado, consider if the offer is legit. Moreover, is it even possible?

 

Unfortunately, the online ads of a hacker often appear to be from a reputable source. For full protection, ad blockers can prevent a malicious ad from ever appearing in your web browser. But if you do click on an ad and get suspicious results, you can take some steps to save your system:

  • Report the incident to an IT specialist for investigation.
  • Scan your operating system immediately, looking for malicious software and fileless malware.
  • After all vulnerabilities are addressed, use advanced cybersecurity testing methods to ensure advanced attacks can’t penetrate your system.

 

Types of Malware

To demonstrate the importance of cybersecurity, let’s look at some of the most common types of malware infecting businesses this year. At the same time, let’s consider managed IT services that can solve the problem of cyberthreats. First, let’s ask a few questions to see if your devices are prepared for the disaster of a cyberattack:

  • Do you have an incident response policy?
  • Do you have a business continuity plan?
  • When disaster strikes, will your team know how to respond?
  • Can your team recognize different types of malware and respond intelligently to threats?

 

Viruses

Once a virus gets into a computer, it propagates by copying itself. Hence, it infects another program and then another, and this continues through a viral spread similar to a cold or flu outbreak. If you’ve installed a free version of an antivirus software, consider upgrading to a more comprehensive cyber security solution. You can’t remove all malware with a simple click of a button, so if you think you’ve been hit with a computer virus, consult with an IT expert. Meanwhile, alert colleagues that a virus has entered the building.

 

There are many types of malware that fall into the realm of “virus” and are therefore covered by antivirus programs. For example, you can pick up worms and trojans while browsing online or while opening emails. Fortunately, a click, a download or a similar user behavior is required to activate this type of malware. This means that we can proactively stop viruses by training users while protecting them with antivirus software. Cybersecurity awareness and training can help users interact with devices in ways that prevent the spread of computer viruses. Most importantly, you can keep your software, including anti-malware software, up to date and patched.

 

Spyware

If you imagine malware is a person, then spyware is the undercover intelligence of the hacking world. Primarily, it enters personal and business networks through legitimate downloads. It slips into the system undetected and then spies on your personal information, sharing your sensitive data with the people behind the cyberattack. Hackers frequently access accounts simply by guessing the username and password. Multi-factor authentication or an installation of a password manager can help prevent a spyware attack.

 

Similar to malvertising, spyware poses an internet security risk that is difficult for users to detect. Cybersecurity security specialists can help because they’re trained IT professionals who can see the trickery that is often invisible to you and other users. Once spyware is in your computer, it collects your information through a keystroke logger or a screen capture software. At the same time as it’s capturing your data, it can send it to a hacker via a portal like a malicious website. This data can then be used to launch a more advanced attack like ransomware.

 

Do you have spyware on any of your devices? A security audit and a workstation assessment can detect network threats and vulnerabilities. A dark web scan can determine if you’re at increased risk due to past data breaches.

 

Ransomware

The popularity of cryptocurrency encouraged the propagation of ransomware. In fact, ransomware now stands as the biggest cyberthreat for small businesses. Rather than destroying data, ransomware usually holds it hostage until the ransomed business owner pays a fee to free the system from the attacker. If the ransom isn’t paid, then the hacker will destroy or keep the data. This private information can end up on the dark web market, resulting in unknown and untraceable crimes. How does ransomware gain access to your network? This type of malware often begins with a malvertising click.

 

If attacked, should you pay the ransom? One of the great benefits of partnering with a managed IT services firm like EstesGroup is that you will have IT specialists helping you when and if you’re ever the target of a ransomware attack. Proactive IT strategy can prevent revenue lost to ransomware fees. When you deploy backup and disaster recovery solutions, you don’t have to budget to pay off the cybercriminal behind your ransomware. You can ignore the attack completely if your data is replicated through a cloud-based DRaaS solution. Rather that pay the hacker, you can contact your IT specialist to handle the problem for you. Additionally, you can prevent the problem with cybersecurity solutions. For example, we can completely block risky internet traffic that harbors ransomware.

 

Botware

Fear not the bots? Botware floods your devices with denial-of-service attacks. It buries its own method in mystery. If your computer’s CPU is in overdrive because of a botware installation running in the shadows, then you’ll notice an overactive fan and a higher electric bill. Botware can be difficult to detect but can create havoc by replicating itself into seemingly legitimate applications. Clear botware from your system with anti-malware services.

 

Malvertising & Malicious Adware

Malvertising attacks are on the rise. Pop-ups, widgets, apps, and toolbars all can infect computers. Clicks and other user interactions trigger malware infections. Fortunately, Google created tools and educational resources for users to easily understand and report a malvertising campaign.

 

Cybercriminals often use display advertisements to deceive users. Auto-redirecting ads work by tempting the viewer into a click that takes the victim to a phishing site. Advanced cybersecurity solutions can detect malicious code in these ads. However, corporate data is safest if ad blockers are installed.

 

A common malvertising trick tempts the viewer into a free security scan. During the scan, the cybercriminal gains access to the computer. Then, the hacker can install any type of malware. If you use a third-party marketing firm for your business, you might host malware through ads that appear legitimate. If this happens, Google will penalize your site. Therefore, take caution when using third-party marketing tools.

 

Marketing Mimicry: How You Become the Malware

Malicious advertising easily tricks you into a click, so keep vigilant, especially when interacting with display ads. Be sure to report any suspicious ads to Google. If the ad’s script contains suspicious code, including encrypted code, then remove the ad immediately and file a report. Display advertisements often distribute malware to businesses through auto-redirecting ads that lead to a phishing page. If you avoid the click bait, then you prevent malicious code from attacking your computer system. Here’s a malvertising play-by-play that gives you an example of how this type of malware attack might unfold:

  • You sign up for a third-party marketing service, and the company distributes banner ads to help you grow your business.
  • A cybercriminal creates an ad that’s infected with malicious code.
  • Someone sees your ad and clicks, and the malvertising ad redirects the victim to a phishing site.
  • The cybercrime victim spots the threat and reports your malicious advertising campaign to Google. As a result, you’re flagged by Google for hosting malware. In turn, this penalty hurts your online presence.

Magnificent Malware: And Then What Happens?

Malicious advertising harms businesses. It hits everything from law firms to real estate agencies. What will you do if you’re a victim of malicious click bait? First, you should report the attack. Then, you should create new cybersecurity policies that include ad verification steps. Be careful of all ads that you see online, especially if they appear in the form of pop-ups. For the safety of your business, consider blocking all ads and deploying robust malware protection across networks and devices.

 

If you see something that you think shouldn’t be in your software, give us a call, and we’ll help you analyze suspicious code. If your business depends on sensitive data, consider managed security solutions, including managed application hosting. Enterprise resource planning systems are complex and frequently targeted by cybercrime. EstesGroup combines IT with business application expertise to keep Epicor, Syspro, QuickBooks, Sage, and other ERP systems working optimally. We host large organizations on our secure server through virtual office technology.

 

Cloud Technology and Managed Application Hosting Protection

EstesCloud protects businesses from all types of malware. Our SECaaS (Security as a Service) solution lets you do the work only you can do, while our IT consultants protect your hard work. Our IT services cover every stage of business development, growth and change. In fact, our IT consultants work closely with our ERP specialists to build custom solutions for your technology infrastructure. For example, our Epicor consulting services complement our managed application hosting and managed security solutions for Department of Defense manufacturers.

 

 

Ransomware will cost businesses more than $20 billion in 2021. Please fill out the form below to get our guide on ransomware prevention.

 

How to Stop Social Engineering Attacks

How to Stop Social Engineering Attacks

Cybersecurity in the Ballot Box, the Bistro and the Bedroom

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a time when organizations across America join together to educate the public about cyberthreats like social engineering (especially phishing attacks). This year, it’s also the last full month to decide your vote for the 2020 election. As citizens consider the future of our country, we see the tech giants coming together to prevent election crime, while tech users struggle to keep up with device security. With online fraud on the rise, how do you know your business is protected from a cyberattack, especially when considering advanced techniques like social engineering?

 

How to stop social engineering attacks with access, login, passwords, security
Digital integrity continues to drive decisions in both the public and private sectors. Your online presence creates data that can be used to influence you. How many times have you seen an ad in your web browser and thought, “How in the world!? I was just thinking about that!” Because everything we do online can be tracked, documented, exchanged, and sold, we need to be aware of the risks. However, there’s no need to fear for your online safety. Our security consultants can quickly scan the dark web to see if your data is in the wrong hands.

 

National Cybersecurity Month comes to us from organizations that promote assertiveness, rather than paranoia. We don’t have to be afraid of our connectivity or our devices. On the contrary, we need to embrace them holistically and attentively (and with a little help from the cybersecurity experts).

 

How to stop social engineering attacks at work and at home

Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.

 

Home Connectivity: This week’s cybersecurity awareness theme is “Securing Devices at Home and Work.” When reviewing the year, did you spend time working from home? Did you have children suddenly in Zoom classes, rather than in a traditional classroom? Did you have the resources you need (virus, malware, and ransomware protection) to stay safe online?

 

Business Technology: Your business couldn’t operate without digital interactions with devices outside of your office walls. Furthermore, your business can’t operate without a dedicated plan for protecting employee and customer data. How do hackers get into your system? Common external penetration methods include baiting, phishing, and spear phishing.

 

Baiting: Curiosity killed the network

 

First of all, baiting attacks can begin with hardware or with software. For example, a hacker can leave a corrupted flash drive on your desk, and the attack begins with the physical action of a user plugging it into a laptop and then clicking through files that install malware throughout the system. How to stop this social engineering technique from attacking your business begins with employee cybersecurity awareness training.

 

October is a perfect month for bringing in external cybersecurity resources to help bolster your team. To begin, we can provide system assessments that surface hacker access points. Then, our engineers can test your users. For example, our security technicians can engineer a scareware drill to make users think they’re clicking to patch, when really they’re getting tricked into a click. If your employees understand the various forms of baiting, then you can prevent a data breach.

 

Phishing: The one that got away

 

Did you ever see a prompt to “click here” or “download now” from an email that was obviously fake? In the past, phishing emails were more obvious. A strange font or a missing signature was clue enough. Unfortunately, advanced social engineering technology now lets a cybercriminal twin a real user’s software behaviors.

 

Because phishing is the most common social engineering tactic, NIST recently developed the Phish Scale, a cybersecurity tool that helps businesses surface network vulnerabilities by assessing cues, click rates, and user interactions in regard to phishing email difficulty levels. This new method of testing phishing attempts assists cybersecurity experts by evaluating spoofed emails through advanced data analysis. CIOs, CISOs, and other technology experts can use this tool to optimize phishing awareness and training programs.

 

Spear Phishing: In IT together

 

Often, a phishing email comes to your inbox addressed specifically to you but without personal information as part of its composition. Therefore, signs of imitation are more easily observed. “Click to download” prompts hesitancy if the email comes with a generic invitation. 

 

When an email comes through with more personalized data, like a personal email signature or an attached thread of coworkers, it can trick you into thinking the sender is legit. In this case, a hacker follows the digital footprints of a user and engineers that data to create a personalized phishing attack. Think of this as the Shakespeare of social engineering, and the play is written for you and with you as the inspiration. 

 

When organizations create security strategies in an effort to prevent social engineering attacks, phishing prevention is always a sign of a thorough plan. When considering phishing emails, keep in mind that malware can stay undetected in a system for months before the IT department discovers the penetration. Spear phishing can prompt a sly malware that quickly infects an entire network.

 

Vote to Stop Cybercrime

 

At EstesGroup, we know how to stop social engineering attacks from harming your business. Furthermore, we know how to take the worry out of IT (with managed IT). Protecting everything from saved credentials to individual clicks, our cybersecurity experts defend your business while you do the work you love. Do your coworkers need practice in recognizing the fraudulent behaviors fueling social engineering attacks? October is a perfect month to initiate new security policies and procedures, and to test your cybersecurity plan.

 

EstesGroup is a 2020 National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion. We provide the most secure cloud solutions available to businesses. Read more about National Cybersecurity Month at the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) or at the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

 

Phishing prevention is a challenge even for tech companies. Our information security tips can help you avoid a data breach. Please fill out the form below to get tips from our cybersecurity experts.

Private Cloud Solutions For Businesses Webinar
What is Disaster Recovery as a Service?

What is Disaster Recovery as a Service?

A DRaaS Solution For Drastic Measures

A look at word origins surrounding business continuity can help answer the question, “What is disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)?” The word “disaster” contains the ancient weight of misfortunate heavens. As history goes, disaster is simply a bad star, and recovery is the return from unfortunate fate. In today’s technological culture, “recovery” (to the core of IT) means a return to digital health following a software or hardware mishap. On this note, let’s take a closer look at the fate of your business to help you clarify both the “what” and the “if” of your disaster recovery as a service strategy.

 

DRaaS Disaster Recovery as a Service

Is Your Data on a Close Cloud or on a Faraway Star?

It would take you more than 1000 human lifetimes to reach the closest star in our galaxy. If your current disaster recovery plan is at that same pace, then you might need to bet your luck on a different disaster recovery plan. This is where DRaaS services benefit companies. With real-time backups and fast restore solutions, the hybrid cloud architecture of DRaaS keeps your business operating on proven luck, rather than on hopeful wishes.

 

First of all, your lucky stars in IT (especially when it comes to disaster recovery) are always at a distance. Your business creates volumes of data, especially if you’re operating in an ERP solution. You need a backup that isn’t directly on-site in case a natural disaster takes out your IT infrastructure. By creating a virtual office environment, for example, you can securely work from home if your office has a fire.

 

If you’re asking “what’s DRaaS?” then it might be a good time to revise your disaster recovery policies. Data recovery services contain, in essence, a distance of time. Therefore, you need to consider how long can you survive before a data restoration returns your business to normal activities. How much downtime is acceptable? Hours? Days? A week or longer? Hopefully, you’re not merely wishing on stars for things like business continuity and business resiliency. 

 

Backup and Data at a Distance

Distance is a protective step for backup and disaster recovery planning. However you choose to copy your data locally, you need to protect your on-premise data with a remote recovery solution. As a feature of top DRaaS solutions, co-located data centers ensure that nothing you want to keep is lost in the shuffle of a disaster recovery. DRaaS allows you to exclusively focus on your business, while data recovery specialists carry the weight of replication stability and everything else, like clean rooms and compliance regulations.

Fundamentally, if you’re a business owner, you need two things when developing your disaster recovery plan:
  1. A protected (often remote) environment that holds your backups
  2. A plan for data recovery in the event that you need to tap into your backups

 

What’s DRaaS According to Fate?

A DRaaS solution is simply a private cloud computing environment on a partner’s server. Your data backups sync to a secure cloud, and an auxiliary server comes to the rescue when disaster strikes. For example, if your system goes down, and you’re using our DRaaS solution, your business seamlessly moves to a cloud-based server reserved for your data during the duration of a disaster data loss. What exactly happens following a disaster? Is your data recovery software ready?
  • First, you experience a hardware or a software failure. This might be ransomware, or this might be a hurricane.
  • Next, you realize your system is in the middle of a disaster, but you don’t worry because you’ve chosen DRaaS as part of your business continuity plan.
  • Then, business goes on as normal because your solution keeps your business running in a third-party computing environment. Your virtual server prevents downtime and data loss by moving you to a comprehensive virtual office. When your physical servers are compromised, your hybrid cloud infrastructure serves to keep your company running smoothly, ensuring productive employees and happy customers in your near future. This often means working remotely because what’s DRaaS good for on-premise if your facility is in shutdown mode?
  • Finally, you’re restored to business as usual, according to your recovery and restoration plan. The disaster is over. Your business continues, and your customers don’t even know you were compromised. 

 

How to Choose Between Basic Recovery Solutions and DRaaS

DRaaS is a robust solution, allowing complex manufacturing facilities to operate without the threat of server failure. But how do you decide if you need the best available disaster recovery services? First, consider your luck. Then, consider your backups. What is the likelihood that your business will experience a disaster?
  • Do you live in an area with hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes?
  • Are you on a rural grid with frequent utility outages?
  • Are you light on cybersecurity, and therefore at risk of a cyberattack?
  • Did you ever spill a coffee on your keyboard and delete important data in the cleanup?
  • Do you have old hardware that might fail from normal wear and tear?

 

More than half of data loss is caused by human mistakes. From cyber attacks to deleted files, human error is as steady as the constellations. Unfortunately, 58% of small and midsize businesses are not prepared for any level of data loss. On the same note, 29% of hard drive failures are due to accidents, and this data loss in such an event is entirely preventable.

 

At first and at last, consider your losses. If you were to experience a “bad star” data disaster, what are your expectations for your data restore?

  • Can your business survive a few days of downtime?
  • Can your employees and your customers handle a few days or weeks of data erasure?
  • Do you need failover and failback to maximize uptime and secure data by the minute or the hour?

 

 

We “R” in the Cloud

Replication, Retention, Recovery, Restoration, RPO, and RTO

 

Data replication and retention couple for data protection. You create copies of your data so that you can recover any losses in your future. Data replication can create real-time copies in the cloud. Backup services for data replication and retention can also migrate data into cloud storage for backup or even for analytics. Data from physical servers can be replicated, or copied, to support easy availability during a disaster recovery. Because data retention is often a requirement for compliance, companies benefit from data replication services, even if they don’t require a hot site during a disaster.

 

Data recovery and restoration couple for data continuity. To create a disaster recovery plan, you need to consider RPO and RTO. Understanding these helps you define your best options when recovering data.

 

 

What’s DRaaS RPO?

Recovery point objectives are based on your data replication needs in terms of frequency of application backup. At the end of the day, how much data loss can your business withstand?

 

What’s DRaaS RTO?

How much time can your lose? Your recovery time objective refers to your accepted timeline to data recovery and application restoration. Do you want your business to live on the cloud until on-premise resources are restored? Or can you handle a day or two of downtime?

 

 

What is Disaster Recover as a Service for the Future? 

Do you want seamless cloud environments to allow for full business continuity during a disaster? Future-focused, a virtual server provides 100% RTO by moving your work into a failover cloud computing environment, regardless of your disaster scenario. The fate of your business with private cloud hosting keeps you thanking your lucky stars that your disaster recovery plan continuously protects your digital well-being.

 

 

 

EstesGroup can help define and design your recovery process based on your operating systems and your private and public cloud usage. We can even perform data and backup testing so that you can rest easy knowing that your data is safe, secure, and always protected. We’ll count your data stars for you, so you can focus on the work you love.

 

Cloud Business Solutions for the Virtual Office

Cloud Business Solutions for the Virtual Office

Virtual offices become the business solution of the now

The term “cloud” is a term as elusive as it is enormous, and a virtual office these days often appears to be anything you want it to be. The sky, after all, is a big place. And fitting lightning in a bottle is no easier than pinning a hard-and-fast definition on the digital computing donkey known as the cloud. When it comes to software deployments, cloud application deployment can mean different things to different people. Unfortunately, this amorphous ambiguity has tangible, deleterious effects on the user community. At its core, a cloud business solution implies real-time data access, and a virtual office is simply a cloud-based environment that enables secure and complete data interaction from anywhere in the world.

Remote Worker in a Private Cloud

SaaS vs. Managed Application Hosting

Let’s begin with the simple admittance that not all clouds are created equal. In cloud computing, you can make a vast sky-and-earth distinction between web and private hosting environments. Let’s lightly look at both.

 

Web-based solutions:

Purely web-based applications are hosted by a vendor, not the customer. The customer accesses these applications over the internet, often through a simple web browser. Technology consultants often call these deployments “software as a service” (SaaS). This is due to their subscription-based costing model.

 

Private cloud business solutions:

Private cloud deployments replicate on-premise versions of the software. Customers work with a surrogate hosting partner. The hosting of the application isn’t controlled by a software vendor.

 

These are the basic options for cloud deployment in a computing environment. This is important to know because if you choose the best cloud business solution for your company infrastructure, you can expect tremendous impact on your company’s capabilities. Thus, you can achieve your strategic objectives.

 

Does your hybrid cloud lining need a business solution tailor?

In software circles, “tailor-ability” refers to the customization capabilities of an application. Can you safely tailor your application to the needs of your organization? Compare this to core code modifications that were common and often detrimental to ERP implementations of earlier eras. An easy customization process ensures that your cloud solution can adapt to your business like a good ERP lets you easily upgrade.

 

In this new world, software vendors tout themselves based on toolsets. These computing tools allow customers to tailor an application. The IT department, or an IT consultant, can then address idiosyncratic needs. These solutions promise maintainability and upgradability. And all is well in the world.

 

However, as software vendors move enterprise platforms increasingly to web-based cloud architectures, the highly touted tailoring functionality can vanish faster than a morning mist in the desert. Moving from traditional office to virtual office is obviously the future of application management, but a web-based infrastructure can limit users.

 

Fortunately, a hybrid cloud environment assists companies with needs that revolve around complex business environments. Premiere data centers, secure virtual conference rooms, remote worker empowerment, and even futuristic capabilities like machine learning, all become accessible and customizable computing tools.

 

 

Will SaaS be enough?

As cloud deployments go, hybrid cloud computing can save companies time, money, and headaches. This is especially true if SaaS is not the most applicable cloud management application available. Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, is a management tool that is ideal for companies with standard requirements. Cloud infrastructure for configure-to-order environments, for example, needs highly adaptive and robust capabilities. Virtual office services create a cloud-based business address for remote teams to securely meet.

 

An ideal solution often isn’t the first choice of companies moving to cloud services. Cloud applications are as diverse as the businesses that could benefit from a computing solution that transcends a physical office. What if the sales cycle ends with meeting rooms in the cloud that aren’t specifically helpful to the software buyer? You might regret ever giving out your phone number.

 

 

Are you on-premise and going cloud?

I once heard the CEO of a software vendor describe his own transition to the cloud this way: “On-premise vs. cloud has become a matter of customizability vs. configurability.” That is to say, if you are bound to the web-based or SaaS version of the application, and you’re in search of customizability or tailor-ability, you’re out of luck.

 

Unfortunately, this memo has been slow to reach the prospective user community. Sales engineers demonstrate the software in its on-premise form, on locally-deployed machines, with the full gamut of features and capabilities, only to have the customer ultimately sign the dotted line for the web-based cloud version of the application, a neutered version, bereft of many of the bells and whistles that were so brightly touted during the beauty contest that was the software selection phase. Tricky cloud.

 

What happens when tire meets the cloud terrain of virtual office?

Companies frequently move through a software selection cycle that ends with a cloud-based solution deployment:

  • Closing the sale and finally owning the software license
  • Implementing the purchased software
  • Training employees and customizing the solution based on business needs

In the third phase of cloud-based application deployment, disappoints surface. For example, clients often struggle to implement an enterprise resource system in a large, and complex business environment. One customer came to us amid such disappointment. Company management purchased an ERP application in the cloud in its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) form. In this case, “cloud” meant an underpowered, web-based subscription service version of the application. Vapor-ware.

 

 

What are some alternatives to SaaS?

Alternatives available in private cloud hosting become necessary in complex environments common in the manufacturing and distribution industry. Frustrated with the limitations of the web-based version, our customer first came to us scrambling to understand just what they had been mandated to implement and whether there were any other options for implementing the software that did not so badly hamstring the organization. Had the management team received an impartial explanation of “the cloud” and its variants, they may have averted many of the frustrations of trying to implement an enterprise system in a complex business environment with a tool that was frankly too underpowered to be up for the task.

 

A business cloud solution can surface confusion.

If you’re looking at a web-based cloud version of a software, ensure that the vendor’s demonstrations use that specific version. Similarly, if you’re deliberating between the on-premise application and a version of the cloud, work for answers to the following questions:

  1. Web-based applications operate largely on the server, and operate in a shared environment. This normally limits the amount of server-side tailoring available. Given the thin or zero-client environment, what kinds of tailoring capabilities are available in such an environment?
  2. Reporting solutions frequently operate on the server, creating challenges when trying to develop custom reports. Does the web-based solution have answers to these challenges?
  3. User-defined data is often a key capability in complex manufacturing and distribution environments. How does the system in question handle these requirements when deployed in a web-based manner?
  4. What options are available when it comes to cloud-based versions of the application? How do they differ, in terms of features and capabilities?
  5. What are the core capabilities of the application, in terms of both configuration and customization? Are these capabilities present in all versions?
  6. Are there any specific modules of interest that might be affected by a cloud decision, such as field service or product configuration? Do these modules differ in their capabilities based on their cloud versions?

Addressing these concerns at the time of selection verses the time of reflection is key. Nobody wants to reflect on an overlooked version of a software, especially when making the decision to move to a business solution in the cloud.