Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Planning Your Hybrid Cloud: 6 Key Steps (in 2 parts)

Information Cloud

By some accounts, better than 50% of organizations are now deploying hybrid clouds — and for some very good reasons:

  • Improved security, because sensitive data can remain behind your private cloud firewall while less sensitive data can be permitted onto a public cloud.
  • Ability to specify where and under what terms and conditions your data is stored.
  • Effective workload balancing without breaking the bank, since using a public cloud to, say, handle peak loads can be far cheaper than keeping everything in-house or moving everything to a public cloud.

To get a hybrid cloud up and running, you need to begin with planning — specifically, a six-step planning process that, fortunately, you do not have to undertake alone. In this post, I’ll focus on the first two steps: Continue reading

IT Security in 2014: How You Can Protect Your Business

Virtual locks representing security

Most security experts — including ours at Quest — will tell you that it’s no longer a question of if attempts to compromise your data, apps, and/or technology infrastructure will happen, it’s now only a question of when.

So what can you do to protect your business in this age when it’s so tough to distinguish between trusted and threatening network traffic, when there’s no longer such a thing as a secure perimeter around your data, when the “attack surface” has never been greater? Continue reading

Are you buying a service — or an illusion?

Handshake in gray

Imagine discovering that for the last 12 months none of your company data had been backed up at your designated co-lo.

Worse, you only found this out because your corporate site has suffered a catastrophic failure. All your data has been lost — and you have no way to retrieve it.

You’re outraged, of course, and you want answers. How could your co-lo provider fail to back up your data? What about your provider’s vaunted disaster recovery service? Who is responsible for allowing this to happen?  Continue reading

IT Security in 2014: Challenges and More Challenges

Glass chess pieces

Information technology has become a business essential. We’ve reached the point where our ability to thrive and succeed depends on key software apps and the technology (wherever it may be) that runs them, our access-from-anywhere to the Internet, and our ability to gather and analyze troves of digitized data.

The easiest targets
So important are these capabilities that we often put them into use before we’ve figured out the myriad of ways they’re vulnerable to those with malicious intent. And while smaller enterprises used to be able to escape the worst of these vulnerabilities simply by slipping beneath cybercriminals’ radar, those days are gone.  Continue reading

What to Look For in IT Operations Analytics Capabilities

iPhone sitting on background with map of the world and charts and graphs coming out of the phone.

In my last post, I discussed how IT operations analytics can transform the masses of IT performance data into insight that provides broad, cross-tier network and infrastructure visibility so that …

  1. Issues may be proactively recognized and resolved before they affect your business
  2. Future capacity and provisioning requirements may be anticipated
  3. A performance baseline built from multiple metrics can be established, reducing the time, money, and headaches associated with planning and deploying new projects, such as cloud deployments or virtualization.

But how should you go about choosing an IT operations analytics solutions? This is worth paying attention to, since such solutions are new, called by a number of different names (though likely not for long) and are available both as appliances and cloud-based services. Continue reading

When IT Performance Monitoring Gets a “Big Data” Boost

Businessman standing on Cloud looking at world map covered with image representing Cloud data. And a giant Q from the Quest logo

No doubt you’ve heard about “big data.” It sounds intimidating, invasive, and, well, way too big. But don’t be fooled — “big data” is going to save your IT infrastructure.

The first thing you need to understand about how this is happening (oh yes, it’s already well underway) is that “big data” is something of a misnomer. What we’re really talking about is analytics — automated mathematical tools that work in real time to sift through untold amounts of regular old data, in this case IT performance data, and produce actionable results that go far beyond legacy monitoring capabilities. Continue reading

Why cloud DR pays off in a mission-critical IT world

Shield on a cloud to illustrate Cloud Security

Not so long ago, the best way to assure your organization would survive a major disruption involved building — and continuously paying for — a dedicated recovery site. Like so many early-generation IT solutions, this one was unaffordable for most smaller businesses.

Happily, the very technologies that generate disruption-causing complexity (see my last post) also provide the kinds of cost-effective capabilities, such as real-time replication and managed disaster recovery services, that today’s heavily mission- and business-critical IT environments require. Continue reading

When It Comes to Security, Know Thyself

Data Security & Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

“If you don’t understand the risks, you don’t understand the costs,” security guru Bruce Schneier advised during a TED talk.

He was discussing security in the abstract — but it got me thinking about IT security in particular and the difficulty many executives face trying to determine if their organizations are safe from cyberattack.

The problem is that these conversations nearly always turn technical. Soon, a flurry of technology acronyms — confounding but apparently reassuring — begin flying around the room.

And, reports Schneier, it works. People, he says, will “respond to the feeling of security and not the reality.”

So what can a CEO do to understand the reality of security risk and grasp what the actual cost of security failure might do to the organization?  Continue reading

Look What’s Really Causing IT Disasters

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According to one expert, U.S. enterprises lose $1.2 trillion each year from IT failures. Although this figure gets debated, everyone agrees it’s a whole lot of money.

These losses — and the downtime that triggers them — tend to be caused by the mundane rather than the spectacular, as recent Forrester/Disaster Recovery Journal research shows: Continue reading

98% of Apps are Insecure — Here’s How You Can Protect Yours

Mobile phone with password on screen to illustrate mobile security services

Sadly, one can make the argument that if software vendors did a better job of integrating security testing throughout the development lifecycle, our current struggles with application security might be less challenging.

In fact, however, software vendors are late to the party. Their security testing tends to be tacked on to the end of development lifecycles as an afterthought, which may account for one recent study’s startling conclusions that:

  • 98% of applications carry at least one application security risk (and each risk may signal the presence of multiple vulnerabilities)
  • 80% of applications showed more than five risks
  • The average application registered 22.4 risks

Continue reading