Cloud Computing

How Cloud Technology is Helping us Get Through COVID-19

What does the Future Hold for Businesses

So much has changed during the COVID-19 outbreak where working remotely has ended up, you can say, the only option to learn, work and relax for both individuals and organisations. Organisations who had already invested in cloud technologies had an early lead advantage to getting their employees to become a remote workforce and to work on their teleworking adoption mentality. Also, those organisations that had not previously invested quickly found a budget to immediately migrate to the cloud.

What does this mean? Cloud technology abruptly positioned itself as the ‘go-to’ business continuity solution for all types of organisations, big or small. The question now is, will the affected industries and sectors remain with this concept of remote working or will they go back to old habits.

Cloud Technology pushing us through COVID-19

Manage and Diversifying Risk

The concept of cloud technology, for those who adopt and implement it, is to eliminates the dependency of physical data centres which host servers, switches, firewalls, etc… in order to all the proper management and upkeep of infrastructure, data, and applications in real-time, wherever you are located. This in turn has the direct benefit of not requiring IT administrators to be on-site to check, maintain and monitor networks and servers. This helps comply with governments requests to keep people safe and adhere to social distancing whilst allows for businesses to operate to continue to operate without the need of having their staff within the office.

Enabling Remote Work

If there was one good thing to come out of this pandemic is that the adoption of remote working was exponentially accelerated which allowed organisation who had been contemplating about moving the cloud but where unsure, to actually do it. They may now evaluate and compare their business efficiency and operations, before and after COVID, to take the decision on how to move forward with the remote workforce initiative from here on.

What does the Future Hold?

Tried and Tested

Cloud-enabled companies now have the practical experience of how a global disaster can affect their business and are now better prepared and equipped to weather any future interruptions and recover from them. With that said, apart from recover point, cloud-enabled organisation are now even better positioned to recover faster giving them a competitive advantage.

Digital Transformation…Now

The global widespread adoption of cloud technologies due to COVID-19 for remote work has opened a world of opportunity for them to properly investigate and invest in digital transformation technologies. This means that each and every business now has the opportunity to position themselves as the other world-leading organisations who use cloud technology to gain a business edge.

The new Norm of Remote Working

Organisations are now intending to shift some or most of their on-site employees to become remote workers passed COVID-19. The amount of money which may be saved by enterprises on rent of office space for both their staff and data centres, as well as time spent for their employees to commute is not something to be ignored.

Proof that you need to put in place new types of Business Continuity Plans

Now, more than ever, companies who either didn’t have a business continuity plan (BCP) or had gaps in there BCP have had a cold slap of reality and have taken the initiative of creating and updating their BCP.

The traditional thinking that a BCP is only in place to perform backups is something that has been recently realised. Backups are used to perform a one-time fix to a disaster, however, COVID19 proved that disasters may sometime take longer than a couple of days but will last months, if not years. Therefore, backups alone will not cut is and thus why organisations are looking into cloud technologies to implement a proper and robust BCP.  

Business continuity plans of the future will include a cloud-based remote access infrastructure that can be scaled up on the fly to support an entire workforce when needed. They should have relationships managed services partners that can help businesses handle increased IT operational workload so they can stay focused on their immediate business needs.

We are Here to Help

If you need help getting your business into the cloud quickly, enabling remote work, mitigating the risks of offshore outsourcing or reinforcing your business continuity plan with the agility of Azure and Office 365 technologies — our team is here to help. Get in touch to schedule a call today.

Exchange 2010 – End of Support (EOS)

On October 13, 2020, Exchange Server 2010 will reach end of support. If you haven’t already begun your migration from Exchange 2010 to Office 365 or Exchange 2016, now’s the time to start your planning.

Exchange Server, like almost all Microsoft products, has a support lifecycle during which we provide new features, bug fixes, security fixes, and so on. This lifecycle typically lasts for 10 years from the date of the product’s initial release, and the end of this lifecycle is known as the product’s end of support. When Exchange 2010 reaches its end of support on October 13, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide:

  • Technical support for problems that may occur;
  • Bug fixes for issues that are discovered and that may impact the stability and usability of the server;
  • Security fixes for vulnerabilities that are discovered and that may make the server vulnerable to security breaches;
  • Time zone updates.

Your installation of Exchange 2010 will continue to run after this date. However, because of the changes listed above, we strongly recommend that you migrate from Exchange 2010 as soon as possible.

Windows 7 – End of Support (EOS)

Did you know that Windows 7 End-of-Life support will end on the 14th January 2020?

What does this mean?

Microsoft will stop releasing updates and patches for the operating system and will also not offer help and support if you encounter any issues. Hackers will knowingly be ready to exploit this time window and will take advantage of this vulnerability.

Do not be left susceptible to cyber-attacks because of this. Contact us today so that we may show you how to mitigate these risks.

IBM’s Red Hat acquisition exposes its cloud business weakness

In a move showing just how desperate it is to boost its sagging cloud business, IBM agreed to pay a whopping $34 billion for Red Hat, which provides open source software to the enterprise. IBM isn’t gaining any technology through this acquisition; it already has access to any open source technology Red Hat develops. It isn’t gaining revenue or profit at a level material to IBM, and the free cash flow it gains may barely cover the cost of the debt IBM issues to pay for the transaction.

The only sane rationale for this acquisition is that Red Hat can somehow transform IBM’s culture, evolving the company from dinosaur to modern cloud player. Perhaps it’s copying Microsoft’s playbook, and plans to put Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst in charge as IBM’s version of Satya Nadella. As uniquely talented a leader as Whitehurst is, this is a tall order for any mortal, and one the odds don’t favor. Or perhaps they intend to split the company into a smaller, more nimble cloud business led by Whitehurst, while carving off the cash flow generating legacy businesses.

That would increase the odds of success, but any way you look at it, this is a Hail Mary pass for IBM.

Source: Scott Crenshaw, for Rackspace.com

SQL & Windows Server 2008 End Of Support

SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 end of support is coming and time is running out!

A big deadline is approaching for any company running Windows Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008. In July 2019, these platforms will no longer be supported by Microsoft, and every company that misses the deadline will face serious security and data loss risks.

Veracloud recommends taking a forward-thinking approach to this situation and viewing it as an opportunity to innovate using a multitude of options only made possible by utilizing Microsoft Azure. And by just migrating to Azure, you can get free Extended Security Updates for 3 more years after the end of support.

You probably know by now that  SQL Server and Azure SQL Database is engineered to handle the quickly-evolving needs of modern data developers and administrators. And perhaps you’re ready to modernise your data ecosystem, but the thought of cloud migration gives you pause. It’s a good time to discover the options in Azure SQL Database for easing the way.

This technical white paper takes a deeper look at modernising data to the cloud and the operational role Azure SQL Database plays.

Your data doesn’t need to be vulnerable.  Our customers are factoring this event into their larger data initiatives.  Whether you are looking to quickly mitigate your risk or using SQL end of life as a catalyst for innovation, we are here to help.

AWS RDS SQL Server to Azure SQL Database

Users can now migrate Amazon RDS for SQL Server to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance with minimal downtime by using generally available functionality in the Azure Database Migration Service. To learn more about how to use Azure Database Migration Service to perform online migrations from Amazon RDS for SQL Server to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance with minimal downtime, read the associated tutorial in the Azure Database Migration Service

Office 365 Application Performance With Cisco Intelligent WAN

IT directors and network administrators today have a tough job. They somehow need to balance an ever-expanding collection of mission-critical applications with the rising costs of private WAN solutions. The cloud has only made this more difficult. Many private and hybrid cloud resources as well as Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, such as the Office 365 application, can quickly monopolize the available bandwidth leading to unacceptable latency issues. In response to this dynamic, companies are looking to leverage the internet to route critical traffic as opposed to dumping more money into their private WAN contracts. Cisco offers an Intelligent Wide Area Network (IWAN) solution, and it has the potential to drastically improve performance and cut costs.

What Is An Intelligent WAN?
On one level, an intelligent WAN is just like any other wide area network. It connects the office’s local area network (LAN) to the wide reaches of the web. It is the highway by which office staff can access the internet. Cisco IWAN takes this concept one step further and provides network administrators an additional level of control. Instead of being structured with primary pathways flooded with traffic and secondary pathways waiting in the wings, an IWAN can alleviate congestion in the WAN and improve performance.

Citrix Data Breach

Software maker Citrix has revealed that it’s been the target of a data breach, resulting in international hackers making off with a large amount of data. The company states that it was contacted by the FBI last week and warned that its network was likely compromised by an Iran-linked hacker group, which stole between 6TB and 10TB of business documents.

Citrix is working quickly in response to the incident. “We commenced a forensic investigation; engaged a leading cybersecurity firm to assist; took actions to secure our internal network; and continue to cooperate with the FBI,” the company states. It adds that there’s no sign any of Citrix’s products or services have had their security compromised, but also admits that it’s not clear exactly how many or which documents were accessed.

While Citrix says it’s working to contain the incident and ensures its products and services remain secure, the real problem is that as a government contractor the company has a vast amount of sensitive data, and now it’s anyone’s guess if or how much has been accessed.

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