eGuard Tech Blog

eGuard Tech has been serving the Washington area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Cloud Computing: There's Nothing to Be Afraid Of. Meeting the Challenges of A Cloud Migration

4 Reasons CloudIf you are considering moving your data and business applications to the cloud you might be grappling with any number of questions and concerns about the process; how will our business performance be impacted by the migration? Will the project cost more than expected?   According to the 2017 Cloud Migration Report from CloudEndure, the top three concerns (challenges) facing companies that are planning a cloud migration are: minimizing downtime, staying on budget and impact on performance issues.

Let’s take a look at how these concerns can be addressed to make your cloud migration run as smoothly as possible.

Minimizing downtime. In 2014 Gartner found that network downtime translates to an average $5,600 per minute. The high cost of downtime is one reason why firms are often leery to move their most complex workloads to another platform, including the cloud.

As your organization migrates to a cloud-based infrastructure, it’s imperative that all IT systems and applications remain available during the move. But given all the complexities in a cloud migration project, it's not easy to completely prevent, or minimize, downtime throughout the process. Your IT team should be able to account for data inconsistencies, monitor different software releases and examine network connections associated with them in order to be successful.

Utilizing a virtualized data backup system can protect your data and productivity throughout the migration process. You can also reduce your system downtime by breaking your cloud migration process down into manageable steps; start with the smallest, simplest applications to migrate and then work your way to the larger, more complex pieces. Make sure that your Cloud provider is simultaneously running both your on premise and cloud systems in parallel to make sure that no data or continuity is lost, and testing your systems constantly throughout the process.

Staying on Budget. Moving your business to the cloud is like relocating your office to a new space; it’s a process that requires planning, timing, and most importantly, budgeting. Unfortunately, many organizations go into a cloud migration without a plan for challenges that can hit your bottom line.

Whether you are moving assets to a private cloud or simply transferring your email system to Office 365, migrations are complex projects. The key to avoiding cost overruns is to have a plan for issues that can delay your migration and add working hours to the project. You need a detailed blueprint of what you hope to accomplish with the move and how to achieve those goals.

  • First you need to decide what the migration will include. Email inboxes? Do you want to move all apps and processes, or should some things stay in the old environment? You also might weigh the pros and cons of transferring everything all at once or staggering the migration.  Working through the Cloud readiness process may be tedious, but it is imperative if you want to maintain your budget plans.
  • Expect the unexpected. Expect to have some compatibility issues within the infrastructure and understand that these issues may slow down the process and add costs in manpower and applications. Working with a cloud provider who prices the project not in hours but in a full project cost, is a way to protect yourself from escalating costs.
  • Cloud Blog 2 CTAImpact on Performance. Concerns about how your business applications and files will actually function within a cloud environment is to be expected. Will things run as smoothly and efficiently as you expect? The first step in maximizing your system’s performance in the cloud is simple: Make sure you have the fastest Internet speed available. Without fast, reliable bandwidth services you can expect to have ongoing performance issues, so make sure to upgrade your speed to enhance your productivity in the cloud. Another way to ensure that your performance and productivity expectations are met is to make sure that testing of each piece of the migration is done before going live.

A cloud migration project is never going to be stress-free, but making sure that your data is protected, creating a detailed migration plan, and upgrading your Internet speed will go a long way to putting you on the best path possible.

Ready to get more in-depth on exploring your organization’s cloud computing readiness? Contact us today and let’s talk.

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2017: Cloud is the “New Normal”: So how can it work for your business?

Cloud is the New Normal"Cloud is the new normal," the AWS (Amazon Web Services) slogan from several years back, is now a reality, and cloud computing has become the gold standard for SMB and Enterprise level businesses.  Whether or not you're currently working with a cloud service provider, the time is rapidly approaching when a transition into the cloud at some or on every layer, will be a necessity to keep your business operations agile, productive and secure. If you haven't taken advantage of a cloud solution for your business-yet-you will want to review our 3 most important considerations to think about when you get ready to make the leap:

  1. Hybrid cloud adoption is growing rapidly, and might be the best solution for you.  According to Gartner, adoption of cloud computing in 2017 is set to hit $250 billion, and about 50% of cloud users will adopt a hybrid cloud solution for their company.  A hybrid-cloud solution is a mix of on premise (hardware and software that you keep and manage in-house) and off-premise (in-the-cloud software that replaces much of the internal infrastructure you manage and replace over time.)  So why is a hybrid cloud solution attractive?  Although "pure" cloud computing has valid applications, for many businesses, the transition to the cloud is downright scary.  And in some cases, it's NOT the smartest move due to compliance issues, security restrictions or performance issues.  But, a hybrid cloud enables you to put certain pieces of existing infrastructure (say, storage and email) in the cloud, and the remainder of the IT infrastructure stays on premise.  This gives you the ability to enjoy the cost savings and benefits of cloud computing where it makes the most sense without risking your entire environment.Cloud Computing Blog July 2017 1
  2. Cloud computing is becoming more secure every day.  There are myths that cloud computing is inherently less secure than traditional approaches.  This concern is due largely to the fact that the approach itself feels insecure, with your data stored on servers and systems that you don't own or control.  In many cases, cloud computing is a MORE secure way of accessing and storing data.  Just because your service is onsite doesn't make it more secure; in fact, cloud computing allows most small-to-medium sized businesses access to state of the art computing that would cost the average business hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy and store on site.  And most security breaches occur due to human error; one of your employees downloads a file that contains a virus, they don't use secure passwords, or they simply e-mail confidential information out to people who shouldn't see it. Other security breaches occur in on-site networks because the company didn't properly maintain their own in-house network with security updates, patches and up-to-date anti-virus software.  That's a FAR more common way networks get compromised versus a cloud provider getting hacked.  Also, with the cloud comes automatic redundancy and backup that an on premise IT system would need to maintain from within; making cloud a secure and affordable option for a growing business.
  3. You probably need a cloud strategy.  Since cloud computing is expected to become the dominant style of business applications over the next decade or so, so it's likely that your business will be supported by a variety of these SaaS (software-as-a-service) solutions.  Cloud computing and cloud storage apps like Google Apps, Office 365 and Dropbox have crept into businesses large and small, but are they really the best solution for your business needs and objectives?  Your employees demand productivity, and your customers expect their data to remain secure, regardless of modern threats that lurk in the sharing of data.  So, how do you know which cloud strategy is right for your business?  Can you meet your budgetary and security requirements and goals by utilizing cloud computing?

All good questions!  Getting the answers to these questions, and talking it over with an IT professional who understands your environment is the first step.  Assess your company's readiness and start planning your cloud migration by asking yourself a few questions, and then let's talk.

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5 Types of Disasters You Don't See Coming That Can Hinder Your Business Continuity

Business Continuity Disasters
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Only 6% of companies without a disaster recovery plan survive a disaster.   When computer systems fail, or disaster strikes, business comes to a grinding halt. Replacement hardware takes time to order and install, infrastructure needs to be rebuilt, and backups need to be prepared and applied. This can take days or weeks, even with a good backup solution. Unfortunately, when business is down, every second counts. Business continuity is a term that describes your capability to continue to deliver products or services following a disruptive incident. But, business continuity planning can be an afterthought until cyber theft or a natural disaster occurs and all systems come to a halt. Small business (non-IT or non-technical businesses) can prepare for business continuity by planning for the following 5 disasters: Not "Planning to Fail."  Machines and hardware fail.   Machines and hardware fail. While most IT hardware is fairly resistant to failures,...
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Planning For Catastrophe: Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery

80% of businesses suffering a major natural disaster go out of business within three years.  Your business runs 365 days a year; your systems run 24/7 and your data is needed in real-time. To ensure that your business continuity is protected, you must take a proactive approach that ensures that everything is protected. This means all of your systems, data, and files are protected against all types of disastrous events. Business continuity planning should be the number one priority when preparing for a catastrophic disaster.
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Ransomware Protection: Your Secret Weapon in the War Against Cyber Extortion

The FBI estimates that ransomware cost US businesses over $1 Billion in 2016.  According to the FBI, ransomware attacks cost US businesses more than $1 billion in 2016. The prime targets? Well, most ransomware attacks (67%) are directed at small businesses that have valuable data but may not have cutting-edge IT security and monitoring in place. Cybercriminals target one thing: they want your money and will use ransomware to take your business data hostage until you pay.

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