Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

An “Intro” you may not want

Cloud with a lock in it sitting on top of circuit board

Late last month, LinkedIn launched a new service called Intro that, in a matter of days, has added plenty of fuel to the convenience vs. security-and-privacy fires.

You see, LinkedIn Intro dangles the carrot of public cloud convenience: By showing LinkedIn profiles in the iPhone/iPad Mail app, Intro instantly delivers up all manner of info about the unfamiliar name appearing in your inbox — what the sender looks like, what he does, where he’s based. And it works both ways — for mail received and sent.

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8 cloud disaster recovery best practices

Checklist leading to cloud illustration

As the virtues of cloud-based data backup and disaster recovery/business continuity become increasingly apparent, it’s important to remember that moving some or all of your backup and DR functionality to cloud services involves more than a quick signup.

Here are eight cloud disaster recovery best practices that can make the difference between success and failure:
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The cloud comes to DR and data backup — and the numbers show why

cloud, laptop and database icon. Used to symbolize how the Cloud is used for backup and Disaster Recovery.

If you’re turning to cloud services to handle your data backup and disaster recovery needs, you’re not alone.

According to one survey conducted a few months ago by TechTarget and Computer Weekly, the adoption of cloud services for DR and business continuity will jump from just under 18% of enterprises to more than 28% in a mere six months.

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When was the last time you reviewed your DR plan?

chart of data availability solutions

Last year, disasters in the United States caused more than $60 billion in damage. And the future promises plenty more of the same, says a recent report from Swiss reinsurer Munich Re — especially in North America, where weather-related loss events have quintupled in the last 30 years.

Now add in concerns about inadequate backup of the data on employees’ smartphones and tablets, wayward virtual machines, cyberattacks and other security incidents …

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Why DaaS delivers simplification — and safety

globe computers and clouds

As the end of Windows XP support looms ever closer, I’m getting more questions about DaaS — desktops as a service.

And for good reason: With cloud-based desktops as a service, you can tick several boxes at once and save money in the process — as much as 20%-to-30% over five years when you move from a physical desktop infrastructure to DaaS.

Of course, since DaaS is a hosted service, you avoid the upfront CapEx of a homegrown virtual desktop infrastructure. But three other major benefits may be even more important to some organizations:

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How Hosted IP PBX Solutions Can Keep Your Communications Competitive

Hosted IP PBX chart

The way you do business is changing fast.

It’s not just that you’re replacing your face-to-face interactions with a range of digital modes like email, instant messaging, and videoconferencing—now you need to insist that those modes be available anytime, anywhere on devices that are familiar, mobile and allow us to access and communicate any and all of your data at will.

Problem: How to keep up — affordably

You need communications capabilities that can stay apace of all this, which the plain old telephone system (POTS) cannot. The alternative has been IP PBXs that replace bundles of physical wires with a session initiation protocol (SIP) service called trunking.

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Application vulnerabilities: Closer than you think

graph showing application vulnerabilities. small version has no labels.

Consider: Last year, according to Verizon, 54% of data breaches began as attacks on web applications, and for years one type of attack — SQL injection — has been the means by which 83% of stolen records were extracted. Meanwhile, says Gartner, 25% of all DDOS attacks this year will be application-based, and an increasing portion of these attacks may actually be diversions in which the bad guys use remotely accessible malware to target user accounts (for personal data or, in the case of financial institutions, for money).
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Virtualization, cloud services make a new network/app management world

laptops surrounding a world globe

In my last post, I pointed out that today’s speedy, low-cost connectivity is impacting network and application management. This time I’ll concentrate on the other significant trend changing network and application management: Virtualization and cloud services.

Today’s datacenter environments are not only quickly becoming hyper-connected, most have also undergone at least some degree of virtualization and use of cloud services. The combination results in new kinds of business applications and, ultimately, a new kind of network infrastructure that exhibits…

  • Greater traffic volume, notably storage traffic
  • A shift in traffic flows from top-down/bottom-up to peer-to-peer, server-to-server, and virtual machine-to-virtual machine (now as much as 80% by some estimates)
  • Increasing amounts of synchronization and replication data across the network
  • A flatter network hierarchy

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Fast, cheap connectivity opens up network/application management options

3 smart phones

As 2013 begins, I notice plenty of commentary about mobile devices but less talk about the implications of mobility and other current events on business network and application monitoring and management requirements.

I see two key trends impacting network and application monitoring and management in the coming year: Fast, cheap connectivity and virtualization/cloud services. In this post, I’ll focus on the first of those — connectivity, which is most apparent in the current push toward (you guessed it) mobility.

Chicken or egg: Mobility ↔ connectivity
These days, your employees’ desktop functions are shifting to increasingly powerful mobile devices. At the same time, cloud services make the connectivity of those devices pretty much ubiquitous. So the value of much of your traditional infrastructure diminishes because it costs too much, is too complex, takes up too much space — and, too often, it doesn’t get the job done anymore.

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Cloud Computing best practice: Always monitor your Cloud services

In order to know whether your Cloud provider is meeting the performance and availability parameters set out in your service-level agreement (SLA), you have to be able to monitor your Cloud services.

While you might not need or care to see detailed reports about the performance of your provider’s various infrastructure elements (VMs, storage, etc.), since this information doesn’t really provide a sufficient view into overall Cloud performance, you can and should seek information from your provider regarding application and/or workload performance.

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