DR-as-a-Service Is Easy and Inexpensive

shutterstock_124230463Disaster Recovery (DR) has always been a critical part of businesses or trades in which IT plays a critical role. After all, if a company’s IT system goes down, they no longer have access to any files or records – and the client often no longer has access to that company. Even in a few short minutes, IT disasters can cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue. So it stands to reason that a company should choose the most efficient DR solution on the market.

                                                                DR-as-a-Service (DRaaS) is that solution.

Benefits of “as-a-Service”

There is a host of other as-a-Service (aaS) IT models (Backup-, Storage-, and Software-, to name a few), and they all share one crucial trait: efficiency. Where most IT solutions rely on purchased hardware, aaS models offer cloud services that perform the same functions as well as or better than the hardware alternatives at a lower cost.

The various aaS models:

• Convert a one-time pricey expense into a much smaller operational expense – a service rather than a product, as the name explains.
• Provide as much scalability as a growing company needs.
• Operate more securely than a purchased on-site product.
• Eliminate the need for an administrator or advanced IT technician.

Typical Disaster Recovery Processes

Without DRaaS, DR processes tend to be convoluted by necessity. Internal or private DR processes aremore expensive and include the price of a secondary storage location. In addition to the hundreds of dollars of required hardware, trained professionals are needed to set up the solution. A number of DR apps also have to be installed before the process can function.

Typical DR requires updating each time an application is modified or a new one is added, and a team member needs to manually ensure that the data on applications is synced to the secondary location. The quicker a company needs the data to sync, the more expensive the required software is.

Why DRaaS?

Disaster Recovery is the most fitting implementation of the aaS model for a number of reasons.

Cost. Before DRaaS, the sheer quantity of equipment and software alone put even a basic DR process out of reach for most businesses. In contrast, DRaaS charges much smaller monthly service payments for a high-end process. DR is affordable for even small business owners.
Less hassle. There’s no installation required, nor does a business owner need to worry that their DR process may be lacking or out of date. In addition, there’s no need to ensure that the data syncs to a secondary source, as the secondary source is already connected by the cloud.
Very quick. Those baseline DR processes, which many business owners can barely afford, often take hours to fully recover the IT services and data required to continue doing business. DRaaS does that in just minutes.
Little to no latency. Latency is often a concern with cloud-based services, but due to how infrequently DR processes are used, it is essentially a non-issue.

DRaaS is not simply another solution to consider. Between its affordability and the high-quality service it offers, it’s quickly becoming the only solution.

[Infographic] Unified Communications: A History of Connecting People, Modes & Devices

If you aren’t familiar with Unified Communications (UC), you might have been missing out something essential for your business. It’s about time for you to discover its origin and the benefits you can get from it.

 

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BYOD, COPE or CYOD – The Way Forward

When it comes to establishing successful enterprise mobility strategies, the link between hardware, software, and employee choice is of paramount importance.

The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategy, one of the earlier forms of enterprise mobility, provided benefits such as increased employee productivity and job satisfaction. Technology was brought into the forefront of organizations as IT departments improved their mobility and management models. However, BYOD was open to security issues, which is where COPE (Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled) offered solutions. CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) is the latest strategy which promises to provide even better performance.

Deciding which of these multiple strategies is best for business can be a minefield. The analyst firm, Gartner, provides an opinion that BYOD has reached its end, declaring, “There is no way for IT to assume full responsibility of securing and managing devices without ownership.” This is where COPE comes in.

This mobility strategy lets employees use devices that are actually owned by their employers, thus giving companies more control over their use. IT managers are thus able to monitor and protect devices better, eliminating BYOD security concerns.

However, there is still room for improvement. An updated version of COPE is CYOD. In this mobility strategy, employees have device choices. The difference between COPE and CYOD is that here the employee pays an upfront fee for the hardware and the business owns the SIM. This provides more control and protection, while also lowering costs.

Protecting Corporate Data

In order to protect company data, the COPE model is very effective as it permits IT managers to make regular backups, wipe devices remotely, and decide what data employees can access. As the company owns the device they can also resolve technical issues in-house instead of risking their data being put into the wrong hands with unauthorized repair shops.

Privacy Issues

The biggest issue that COPE faces is privacy. Data protection policies can have a detrimental effect on the work and private life balance. These days, mobile devices are used by employees in and outside of work. It would thus be a struggle for companies to police or enforce that a device is only used for work purposes. This poses a privacy issue in deciding how much control the IT department can have over the device, because it is very likely that the employee has private data saved on it.

Monitoring Traffic

Wireless networks have today become the primary method of conducting business. This brings some challenges if using BYOD, because along with increased network density, bandwidth consumption and security risks have also escalated. COPE enables the IT manager to recognize devices connected to the network, while also controlling wireless availability and performance. CYOD goes even further, allowing IT to support a number of platforms and devices at once.

Controlling Applications

It can be argued that in discussions of enterprise mobility, there should be more focus on mobile application management (MAM) rather than mobile device management. Organizations need to look at managing data and security levels through application control and whether CYOD should allow non-business-related applications. MAM aids IT in protecting enterprise apps and their corporate data from security and malware flaws. It seems that more organizations are taking this approach.

It has been forecasted by the analyst firm Yankee Group that in the near future, organizations will extend their need for enterprise app development on various fronts, such as cloud-based and on-premises applications, app management, and online security. This will result in the enterprise mobility market unifying, allowing everything to be delivered via a single platform. Thus, as the focus shifts to the app, the device an employee chooses becomes less crucial.

The Way Forward

With the focus now moving towards CYOD, it is clear just how quickly enterprise mobility strategies are changing. To choose the best approach for business, one must initially decide upon a solution that provides security, quick governance, and device choice. It is also paramount that considerations must include future needs so that strategies can be adjusted and updated with ease.

Should Companies Adopt SaaS, IaaS, or Both?

Cloud computing has experienced phenomenal growth, and organizations that previously resisted the concept are realizing that it is the future of computing. In one survey by Gartner, for example, 80 percent of CIOs surveyed said that they intend to move most of their transactions into the cloud by 2020.

In another Gartner survey, 53 percent of companies said that they either were using the cloud for enterprise resource planning applications or that they intended to do so; only 30 percent had no plans to adopt cloud solutions.

The question facing companies that want to take advantage of the cloud is this: what is best way forward? Two popular cloud computing services available are Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Which should an organization choose?

SaaS and IaaS

SaaS is the provision of a software service over the Internet that is accessed through an Internet browser. Common examples include email programs such as Google Mail, social media like Facebook, and productivity applications like Microsoft Office 365. More sophisticated examples include enterprise resource planning programs (ERP) and customer relationship management programs (CRM).

The key aspect of SaaS is that the software package is hosted by the service provider, and the client shares its use with other users. Although the service is shared, rigorous security protocols ensure that client data is secure.

In the case of IaaS, the service provider offers a virtual hardware platform that allows clients to run their own software applications. The primary benefit is that clients do not need their own data center; instead, they hire the use of the service provider’s hardware.

Using SaaS

SaaS is easy to set up and use. Clients have an interface that allows a certain degree of configuration, but they cannot customize the software as would often be done with on-premise applications.

However, the initial configuration is much easier than that of setting up an in-house software application and implementation is much faster. The software is always kept up to date by the service provider and access is possible from anywhere there is an Internet connection.

There is no large up-front payment, and the client is charged on a monthly basis for the use of the software and the underlying hardware. This flexible arrangement means that the client can easily scale up or down.

If dissatisfied, companies can cancel the subscription with the software service provider. This solution is generally very cost effective when it is compared to the total cost of purchasing software and hardware and running a data center.

Using IaaS

Organizations using IaaS purchase and maintain their own software, but they are not responsible for the hardware and operating environment that the software runs on.

The client is free to adapt and customize their software as they wish. Apart from this benefit, the client has to purchase and maintain the software, applying patches and upgrades as required. The use of the hardware is paid on a subscription basis and can be scaled according to needs.

Benefits of Combining SaaS and IaaS

Both SaaS and IaaS are cost-effective solutions that relieve the organization of the need to finance and maintain computer systems. When an organization needs to upgrade or expand an existing data center, the IaaS solution provides an easy means of expansion while retaining control over its software.

As a second step, when the time is right to upgrade or replace software, choosing a SaaS solution simplifies the upgrade process and reduces disruption.

The choice between SaaS or IaaS—or employing a combination of both—depends upon the organization’s needs at the time. Both will give businesses flexibility in choosing the best way forward.

The Role of UC in Business Processes

Technology within the business sector is a fast-paced environment, and it is constantly changing. In the past, the same device and method of communication was required for one person to contact another person.

The communication was also dependent on location. This applied to both synchronous telephony contact and asynchronous messaging. These days, such issues are irrelevant with the introduction of wireless and now Unified Communications (UC). This introduction also allows business processes to create personalized notification messages to send to users.

The flexibility of UC is now more important than ever. Today, the recipient’s control over their incoming contact plays a big role in communication, as their time, preferences and location can all be considered. This applies whether it’s a video call, voice call, IM or message. It is no longer reliant on the contact initiator to dictate the method of communication.

Due to these advancements, two application-based communications should be considered. The first being a contextual contact initiation and the second where the business process initiates contact, also known as CEBP (Communications Enabled Business Process). The majority of UC strategies do not yet include the full capabilities of CEBP. Instead, they still focus on person-to-person contact. In such a fast-paced technology environment, voice-over IVRs over the PSTN will soon be replaced with visual self-service applications and contextual communication that is processed over an IP network.

The flexibility requirements of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and mobile communications not only apply to internal employees, but also to customer interactions and business partners. UC is vital in providing personalized notifications to such BYOD contacts and will also add to the self-service mobile apps by allowing click-for-assistance capabilities. This results in CEBP communications playing a massive role in UC flexibility, which works well for contact initiators as well as the contact recipients.

In order to accommodate UC into business processes, planning needs to be on top of the agenda. It will take more work than just transitioning from the telephony systems on desktops. It is vital that UC is incorporated into mobile business process applications. This will enable them to be at the forefront of person-to-person contact, providing flexibility and an ease of service.