IAAS, CLOUD, AND MANAGED SERVICES BLOG
After nearly 20 years providing Managed Infrastructure Services, Cartika has continually evolved our services and now integrating Big Data into our offerings to keep up with the ever-changing reality of Data Services and Cloud Computing. With the NSA toolkits being made public last year, security and breaches both increased in severity and frequency. Sadly, as we slowly discovered, the NSA toolkits did not just impact a few out of maintenance Windows Operating Systems as was originally reported. Every Operating System was impacted to various degrees, and the "toolkits" themselves was more than just a pre-fab set of existing hacks, they were literally a set of "toolkits" that became weaponized in the hands of skilled hackers across the globe. Organizations were simply not prepared to handle breaches of this scale and magnitude, leaving software and Operating System vendors scrambling to patch software, and IT departments scrambling to ensure their data, and their customer's data was safe. Resultant outcry regarding data security and privacy has resulted in new compliance standards (ie GDPR) being created, as well as restructuring existing compliance requirements (PIPEDA, HIPAA, SOX/FISMA) to modernize their scope and penalties in cases where compliance is not met.
At Cartika, we’re always looking at how we can make cloud infrastructure more effective. To this end, we’ve been adding a number of new partners who extend our – and your – capabilities. Andrew, our boss, has always said that he wants to work with people that are specialized, and smarter in their field than he is. We hope that means us! This same philosophy has permeated Cartika’s strategic partnering. When we look at potential partners, we’re not only looking for experts in their field, but we’re also looking for how we can each be better – and provide more seamless service to you. If, for example, we can optimize infrastructure to accelerate results with their platform, that’s a great reason to partner.
IaaS meets Scalability and Agility challenges. Wouldn’t it be lovely if the flow of business was entirely predictable? Of course it isn’t, so the hallmark of a well-run business is that it has plans on how to augment and adapt to market shifts. Seasonal businesses have long faced the issue of troughs and peaks, but most early phase businesses only plan for continual growth. When that stutters, bi-directional scalability becomes a major issue. Harvard Business Review identified confusion between growth and scaling – vastly preferring the latter, and listing “building capacity to scale” as a key business success factor. A subset of scalability is agility – the ability to quickly adapt. This frequently means being able to take advantage of emerging technology and trends. Adaptation requires resources – both to plan and implement the change. This is an area where mega-lithic corporations have traditionally fallen on their faces. They see the iceberg, but can’t turn quickly enough to avoid it. Forbes called agility “the new currency of growth”, equating it with innovation in importance.
Is fear of losing control holding you back from realizing the many benefits of an external Managed Services Provider (MSP)? Some IT managers oppose outside help fearing it will somehow weaken their position. But in practice, augmenting internal IT teams with missing skills and resources has the opposite effect, providing better results and increasing the value of the IT function to the organization. Particularly when it comes to infrastructure and supporting non-standard applications.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have played a silent, but critical role in the success of cloud computing. Vendors have been using APIs for years as a cornerstone in building today's complex IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS applications. As a result, APIs continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes connecting systems around the world, making our lives that much easier.
It’s very common in the IT space to resell the services of others. We won’t go into all the reasons why, but in general, reselling helps broaden and complement existing services, provides a revenue opportunity, and has a strategic benefit. Although we are focusing on the process of selecting a managed services partner in this article, many of the concepts apply to working with any partner.
Junk email, or SPAM, is a source of irritation for anyone with a clogged inbox. Even worse, user-level email management kills employee productivity, and poorly tended mailboxes are a popular vector for security threats. If you crunch the numbers, businesses can squander tens of thousands of dollars annually to lost productivity, while malware lurks in unfiltered junk mail.
Keeping up with the complexities and costs of information technology is no easy task and especially true for SMBs. To solve this challenge, many now leverage the cloud for their infrastructure needs. But, as valuable as the cloud can be, IT environments must still be deployed, optimized, monitored, managed, and secured. This is why outsourcing IT managed services in addition to infrastructure has become increasingly attractive.
When dealing with critical aspects of your business, you can’t afford to take risks! Yet many companies don’t do enough due diligence when buying add-on IaaS managed services. Some buy standard off-the-shelf packages and assume everything they need is in place and will work as advertised.
If you are considering hosting any data covered by the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act either in the US or Canada, know what you are getting into. Outsourced SOX hosting has specific implications for your Managed Services Provider (MSP) and if they are not compliant, you're both at risk.
HIPAA is a big deal in the US for most businesses involved in health and medical related sectors. And if these companies are compliant - and want to outsource HIPAA hosting or store data north of the border - they need to work with a Canadian provider that offers HIPAA compliant managed services.
Over the past 10 years, public cloud, widely known as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) has created a profound and fundamental shift in IT thinking and consumption. Today, IaaS is changing still as prices and differentiation both continue to decline.
Small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are afforded a great deal more opportunity today than in years past. Cloud-based infrastructure and software offerings have provided smaller organizations the ability to leverage technology in ways previously limited to big enterprises. CDNs or Content Delivery Networks for SMBs highlight one such example.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) helps companies significantly reduce costs by outsourcing underlying IT infrastructure to a cloud provider. However, treading a sensible path through the many available options can be difficult. A poor choice or inadequate planning may actually end up costing more over time. When buying IaaS, don't be swayed by a flashy user interface or exaggerated technological specifications.
In today's IT world, technology lets people "set it and forget it" in many areas that once required constant attention. Cloud backups for public cloud and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) are perfect examples. During a cloud deployment, it's easy to pick a backup option without much thought, and this can cause problems later when it really counts. Users need to understand their cloud backups, ensure they have the right solution, and know what to do if disaster strikes. Before we move on, let's take a step back and review the current types of backups typically used. The backup method provided by the vendor - or managed by your company with another solution - can affect network and storage costs. It can also impact your Recovery Point Objective (RPO).
At this point in the evolution, most companies understand the many benefits of Cloud computing. When it comes to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) - better known as Public Cloud - the flexibility, performance, and cost-effectiveness are unbeatable for many applications. However, small-to-mid size businesses (SMBs) seldom have the luxury of having people with infrastructure or hosting expertise on staff. This means that at times they must lean on the Cloud vendor for support and that's when things can get frustrating.