Is Cloud Migration right for you?

Is Cloud Migration right for you?

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in Cloud Hosting

Beginner’s Guide To Cloud Storage

Since reliable cloud services for small and medium businesses has been viable, SOS has worked with many clients to get the most from cloud based offerings with minimal impact and improved infrastructure. When businesses make the decision to move from physical on-premise hardware to the cloud, we’ve found the best practices to ensure success start very early in the planning stages. To that effect, if you’re considering taking advantage of the benefits of cloud services, here’s some tips to ensure a successful migration.

 

A Clear Vision for the Present.. and the Future

 

Forecasting growth isn’t a perfect science, but the overlap of IT and your business practices is incredibly important. Communicating that vision to employees and managers is crucial to keep your organization on track during migration and in the future as your business grows and scales.

 

Cloud Governance

 

Governance includes security and access. Which employees will have access to which services and virtual machines? You will still need to have a security mindset when it comes to secured network access and encryption of sensitive data, especially when working with PCI and HIPAA compliance.

 

Know Your Assets and Plan Ahead

 

Identifying your entire infrastructure is very important to successful cloud migrations, especially when adopting a hybrid model where some physical hardware remains. During this phase, best practices dictate that backups of your entire system are critical during this analysis. This will minimize the risks of any potential downtime and make the entire migration process much smoother, while also ensuring that no data is lost. Once this is complete, determine the order of migration, which departments of your organization will be affected and when at each step, and inform end-users of any changes to policy or operations that would require additional training.

 

Start Small and Simple

Beginning with non-critical systems is the best way to put some points in the win column and let your organization experience the benefits of cloud computing and gain experience with it. By encouraging transparency and consistency, everyone can familiarize themselves with the experience quickly and easily.

 

Migration

Once your plan is in place, it’s time to execute. Start with backups of existing data and hardware. Next, prepare and test the new cloud environment for connectivity with end users, and with other components in the cloud. After that, the moving of operational data can begin during your business’s downtime. Be prepared for adjustments to infrastructure, and get ready to test again under working conditions.

 

Monitor All the Things

Develop a comprehensive and complete monitoring process in place with your managed services provider and internal staff, to include as many details as possible, no matter how mundane they may appear. This will give you hard data points as to how your IT environment is actually working for your business, and you can approach performance and cost tradeoffs much more easily as you complete your cloud migration.

 

This outline can be challenge for anyone, and it’s important to have a winning team on your side when making the transition to the cloud. Get in touch with SOS today for an expert consultation and find out if cloud services is a good fit for your business.

Understanding Cyber Security

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in Security

A few years ago, cybersecurity was once the responsibility of large corporations and governments. Companies specializing in cybersecurity could make very specialized efforts and expenditures to maintain parity with IT related crime. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. Every day, digital attacks make the news, and every aspect of every infrastructure, company, and application is at risk.

 

As the number of Internet-connected devices across the world increases, humanity is hyper-connected. In times previous, the responsibility of cybersecurity fell squarely on the IT department, the burden is now shared across entire organizations. Cybersecurity has become a huge concern for every company and it is being prioritized accordingly. Not all organizations have successfully managed to translate the digital threats into credible business concerns, however, and as a result, there are plenty of businesses that have no idea how to proceed.

 

Businesses spend billions of dollars every year on advanced technology. This new equipment is meant to preserve the safety of important information and data, and deter malicious hackers and insiders from their attempts to bypass security measures and swipe data without a second thought. In spite of this, most breaches occur as a result of human actions or errors. Also, people seem to be completely unaware of what has happened until after the damage is done. You will always be targeted by hackers into spilling valuable secrets unknowingly. Through a method known as social engineering, they target the weakest link in the cybersecurity spectrum – humans and exploit them to find loopholes and other entry points. To combat this, humans and technology must work more efficiently together with the same goals in mind.

 

Most often, it is people who are targeted by hackers, and these are the same people who are often responsible for lapses in cybersecurity. The problem lies in human nature. We have an innate desire to be helpful and to trust other humans.  Hackers take advantage of this trust and use our willingness to cooperate and curiosity to get us to “click on the link” in personal or business emails.  But the moment you clicked on a bad link, you might have unknowingly downloaded a virus or malware into your system. And if you’re one of the unlucky few, you might be the victim of a ransomware attack, where all your data is locked up, and unless you pay a certain amount, you will never be able to access the data again.

 

So, even if these actions are accidental, the outcome can considerably harm your company, your community, your family, or yourself. Until you learn to be suspicious of too-good-to-be-true emails or shady links online, malicious insiders will continue to take you for a ride.

 

SOS Technology Group prides itself on familiarizing their clients with all the common cybersecurity errors and work with them to strengthen their systems so that no data is lost or stolen by hackers. The more informed the client is, the better they will be able to protect their personal information.

 

Disaster Recovery: Is your Business Prepared?

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in IT News, Technology

technology

Disasters take many forms. It’s not just catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes, also cyber-attacks & equipment failures that can be classified as disasters.

Companies and organizations can the impact of disasters with plans that detail actions to take and processes to follow to resume operations quickly with minimal loss.

 

In the IT space, disaster recovery focuses on the IT systems that help support business operations. The term “business continuity” is often associated with disaster recovery, but the two terms aren’t completely the same. Disaster recovery is a piece of business continuity, which focuses more on keeping all aspects of a business running in spite of a disaster. Because technology is so critical to the success of modern businesses, disaster recovery is critical for business continuity.

 

Economic and operational losses can overwhelm unprepared businesses. One hour of downtime can cost small companies as much as $8,000, midsize companies up to $74,000, and large enterprises up to $700,000, according to a 2015 report from the IT Disaster Recovery Preparedness (DRP) Council.

 

Even if your business has a disaster recovery plan of some sort, a thorough review of that plan is needed. If your company doesn’t have one, and if you’ve been handed the task of coming up with one, the first step is a risk assessment. It’s important to identify key vulnerabilities to your infrastructure and where things could go wrong, and when they do go wrong, how your operations are impacted.

 

This phase is where a managed service provider can help. We can assess your network & infrastructure, and provide a custom disaster recovery plan tailored to your specific operations, and you can rest assured your business is protected in a disaster situation. Talk with us today.

Common IT Pitfalls for SMBs

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in IT News

Small business owners face a lot of pressure to keep overhead low and profits as high as possible to keep their businesses thriving. When it comes to IT, it’s hard to see where little mistakes can cost you more than you budget for, in both the long and short terms. Here’s just a few of the oversights we can help to correct.

 

Price Shopping for the Least Expensive Option

As a managed services provider, we work with many SMBs, and see the following situation very often. A small business owner needs to purchase new computers, multi-function devices, printers, etc. They also have a need for remote access, and want to streamline their IT solution to be as efficient as possible, and to give their employees as many resources as they need to get the job done. . So, the Small Business Owner does his due diligence and obtains multiple proposals. Company A promises to fix all his problems and charge him a nominal monthly fee for their ongoing support services. Company B suggests upgrading outdated hardware and installing new software to optimize his current investments. Company B’s initial overall investment is more expensive as is their monthly service plan. When only looking at short term budget requirements, Company A looks like a slam dunk.

However, when price is the only determining factor it’s really the small business owner who pays the ultimate price. Invest your IT budget in a reliable managed services provider, one who has the credentials to present all your options, and advise you on the best way moving forward.

 

Investing in Technology Only When it breaks

Waiting until hardware is completely broken is the worst time to replace it. An unknown quantity of down time and lost productivity means lost revenue and profits. While no one can predict the exact time hardware will fail, we can tell you that the more critical the device, the harder its loss will impact your business. We advise our clients not to wait to invest in equipment and software, and don’t wait for it to fail to consider your replacement options. Put a transition plan in place when reaching hardware end-of-life.

If you invest wisely now and optimize your systems correctly with a trusted partner, you’ll run into fewer problems later which ultimately means spending less in the long term.

 

Not Having a Comprehensive and Tested Backup and Recovery Solution

How will your business handle a lengthy power outage, due to a storm? How will it handle a ransomware attack? Or an organized breach and theft of data? Or even just accidental deletion? With the robust business continuity and backup solutions in the market today, there’s no excuse not to be covered. A small investment in these systems now can keep you not only protect, but actually operational, in the event of the worst-case scenario. No one beats the odds forever.

 

Cut-off from Your Business When You Are Out of the Office

Constant access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for business of all sizes. Your employees, and clients need access to you and your data instantly regardless of location. Clients and prospective clients will no longer wait for you to get back into the office to address their questions or concerns; if you can’t supply what they need when they need it, they’ll move onto the next organization who can. In the current business climate, we’ve all come to expect instant attention to our own questions, and in turn we need to be able to give that expectation right back to our employees and customers.

 

Not Having a Second String QB

We find that SMBs try to manage their networks with limited staff. Pulled in too many directions already, it’s usually the business owner who bears the brunt and winds up managing IT along with everything else. Working with a trusted managed services provider, one who has the training,  experience, and manpower will free up your time to focus on more important issues, like running your business.

Unlock the Potential of your Business with Managed Service Provider

Written by Scott Hall on . Posted in IT News, Technology

Unlock the potential of your business with a Managed Services Provider

 

Why should you look to a managed service partner for your IT needs? The answer lies in your business’s bottom line.

 

Technology is the foundation of every modern business; without it, you could not service your customers, communicate internally & externally, or coordinate internal plans and strategies. Yet most small- to medium-sized businesses lack the time, payroll and expertise for in-house IT management, leaving their necessary networks vulnerable and limiting their future growth. Don’t let your company make the mistake of trying to take on too much too early! Outsourced IT management services provide a convenient, affordable business solution for SMBs that ensure your technology doesn’t fail as you expand and grow to new opportunities.

 

This also includes the project management that goes along with managed IT services. Without the proper foundation and guidance, your IT infrastructure starts to take on a cobbled-together, Frankenstein’s monster that becomes harder to maintain, manage and scale. If that’s your solution, you’re headed for disaster.

 

The problem is that piecing together solutions without vision is equal to throwing a bunch of ingredients together without looking at a recipe. You know what you want the end result to be, but because there is no precision and consistency, you can’t be certain that you’ll achieve what you set out to do. That’s where a managed IT services provider, along with quality project management, can mean all the difference.

 

In the business environment today, controlling costs and resources is critical for sustainability and growth. A managed IT services provider can create systems that function to your specific operations, inside your security concerns, within your budget and without compromising quality. As a result, you can focus your people and doing what you do best with less IT distractions.

 

Adopting new technologies can introduce new risks to your organization, as well. A knowledgeable, experienced and professional partner can help you stop unforeseen issues in new arenas before they start. And, unless you happen to be a tech whiz yourself, a managed services provider can manage your data and IT infrastructure with greater skill. Should you choose to keep some of your tech work in-house, outside technology management pros can provide off-hours backup and peak workload support beyond your internal team’s capabilities. You also eliminate the need to pay for training to keep your own team’s skills up to date, giving you greater control over training and personnel development budgets.

Thanks to leveraging diverse IT experience and numerous resources, managed services providers tend to be more proactive that internal ones. That shifts your company’s focus from problem solving to problem avoidance. More than 90 percent of technology problems can be spotted before they lead to costly downtime, data loss and security breaches. Managed services providers can also advise your company to employ more cutting-edge practices, from newly released software and hardware, improved data security and disaster recovery, to advanced use of cloud resources.

 

Talk with SOS today to learn more about how you can use a managed IT services partner to take your organization to the next level.

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