Microsoft: A powerhouse in security innovation and EDR

A commitment to delivering even more advanced security tools

In 2021, Microsoft has committed to investing $20 billion over 5 years to accelerating efforts to integrate cyber security by design and deliver advanced security solutions. What does this mean? It’s no surprise that this investment and commitment places Microsoft as a leader in this space. However, beyond the dollar signs, Microsoft has a vision to protect all endpoints through a combination of prevention, detection, and auto remediation.

Forrester evaluated 15 most significant vendors in the Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) space and tested their solution against 20 criteria, researching, analysing, and scoring them. Forrester has basically done the heavy lifting for security professionals in helping them find the right fit for their needs.

The real benefit in a security EDR offering comes from a variety of helpful features used for investigation: such as autogenerated human-readable detection names and a replay of the attack story to see exactly what happened in the attack and in what order, ideal for root cause analysis. It provides a native sandbox feature, response recommendations, remote shell capabilities, and custom scripting. Security engineers can search telemetry by type or search raw telemetry and schedule queries. Microsoft is best suited for those with a large Windows deployment or those moving to an E5 license.

What should a Company look out for?

With many security vendors promising the best features available in their solution, the below are 3 fundamental pointers to look out for when considering an EDR solution.

  1. Analysis. The most time-consuming process security engineers face is the analysis of incident response. The solution needs to provide relevant, streamlined context for investigation and threat hunting with the ability to correlate events together, presenting all the threat intelligence needed on the fly with dynamic risk scoring.
  2. Customisation and automation. With remote and hybrid work becoming the norm, this has made quick, complete, and remote response across multiple endpoints a requirement for a top EDR offering. Clients should select an EDR provider that not only allows for orchestration and automation for response, but also builds it seamlessly into the analyst workflow and provides effective tools to customize these capabilities.
  3. A vendor with vision. Reference customers in the Forrester evaluation highlighted Microsoft’s investment as a key factor in choosing to work with their security EDR technology. Having a clear product vision is vital, especially given the hype in the market as vendors look to progress towards an eXtended Detection and Response (XDR). When choosing an EDR provider, clients should shortlist vendors that have a defined, scoped vision that showcases a distinctive, data-driven point of view on the market.

The right partner for your business

Microsoft has now also improved its pricing structure to add flexibility, offering standalone pricing per endpoint or license-based pricing. Its roadmap includes continued progress on Linux and Mac feature capabilities, IT and security collaboration, and XDR capabilities. Furthermore, Microsoft has on par coverage of Windows versions, Mac, and Linux distributions compared to other vendors.

Reach out to Veracloud today to learn more about Microsoft’s leading EDR solution with different flavours of Microsoft Defender to fit all security requirements, whatever you’re protecting and wherever this infrastructure is.

Why your SQL Server data belongs on Azure

Real-world results that show why Azure is the best choice

There is no denying that the last couple of years disrupted every single industry, requiring companies to rethink the way they operate. This led companies to accelerate their digital transformation and cloud strategy to take advantage of increased flexibility, scale, and cost savings that the cloud provides. With this increased dependency on the cloud, more companies are choosing Azure SQL for their database workloads.

Why?

Firstly, Microsoft has announced end of support for SQL Server 2012. This is a critical consideration if your databases are on this version. End of Support means the end of security updates, leaving your business and data exposed to security risks and compliance concerns. Azure is the only Cloud to offer three additional years of Extended Security Updates at no cost for SQL Server 2012. If you do not have the time to worry about your outdated, on-premises SQL Server, shift this workload to Azure to give you the time to plan for a proper SQL upgrade.

Secondly, Azure SQL provides deployment options to meet any requirements, from edge to cloud, taking your on-premises skills to deliver a consistent and unified experience. Azure SQL is also very cost-effective, further increased when you use Azure Hybrid Benefit to make use and maximise any existing on-premises licensing investments. Whether a simple VM migration to offload infrastructure costs or opting for a fully managed database service that does more on your behalf, every choice on Azure is a great one.

Leading the way with SQL Managed Instances

A managed SQL instance combines leading security features with complete SQL Server compatibility and a favourable business model for existing SQL Server customers. Apart from the ability to lift and shift on-premises applications to the cloud with minimal application and database changes, an SQL Managed Instance preserves all PaaS capabilities that considerably reduces management overheads and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Don’t just take our word for it. A study carried out by Enterprise Strategy Group, shows that customers who migrated their SQL Server data to Azure VMs reduced their costs by up to 47%. Customers that took it even further with a managed database service realised an additional 17% cost savings. When it comes to modernising SQL server data at scale, Azure has got your back and is undoubtedly the best choice.

An SQL Managed Instance also leads the way from a price-performance perspective. An independent research firm, Principled Technologies, published a study in May 2022 where they benchmarked SQL Managed Instance and SQL Server on AWS RDS across three different workloads. With up to five times faster performance and cost savings of up to 93%, SQL Managed Instance emerged as the leader.

How can we help?

At Veracloud, we help bridging the gap between the development team that wants to ship things as fast as possible and the operations team that doesn’t want anything to blow up in production. We can assist when it comes to consolidate, converge, automate, and orchestrate the workloads required, being them on-premises, in the cloud or as a hybrid setup. Don’t wait any longer before realising the benefits of digital transformation and leverage the power Azure has to offer for your business. Reach out today to learn how you may future-proof your infrastructure today.

A Malta Enterprise scheme to accelerate your Digital Journey!

Benefit from an investment scheme to take your business to the next level

With the EU committing to becoming the first climate-neutral bloc in the world by 2050, Malta Enterprise has launched a Smart & Sustainable Investment Grant that provides business funding to support any investments that lead to more sustainable and digitalised processes towards enhancing the competitiveness of the enterprise through the optimisation of the use of resources within their operations and business activities.

This presents the perfect opportunity for local companies of any size to invest in a digitalisation strategy. Whether you have one or not, let technology be the driver that takes your business to the next level. Leveraging industry-leading technology will enhance a business, secure its systems and data, and streamline its processes to become more efficient and autonomous.

An eligible investment towards Sustainable Digitalisation would require (taken directly from the Malta Enterprise Scheme)

Projects could include:

  • Increase process efficiency through IoT (smart HVAC, system monitoring, etc…)
  • Solution to establish enhance (optimise) logistics, including partnering with other firms, resulting in reduction of carbon emissions
  • The installation of building management systems to optimise heat, light and power usage
  • Industry 4.0 solutions leading to higher automation and rapid customer focused customisations

Technology giants such as Microsoft and Cisco Meraki, with an extensive ecosystem of cloud-centric offerings, are the ideal partners for digitalising your business. Microsoft and Cisco Meraki partners Veracloud will make this technology available for your business, tailored to exactly what your business and its employees require to prosper and thrive.

Reach out today to learn how Veracloud can help. Your employees and business will thank you tomorrow!

More is More with a Modern Workplace!

Driving productivity, collaboration, flexibility, and mobility has never been easier

The demand for having a flexible and mobile workforce is something that has flooded every business and troubled many IT departments long before Covid ever hit. There’s nothing novel about that. Before the pandemic hit, Gartner released a study predicting that by 2030, the demand for remote work will increase by 30%. Fast forward a few years…this number has probably been already met, if not exceeded!

As our lives return to some forms of “normality”, 82% of company leaders will be including remote working some of the time with more than half shifting totally to remote. This shift has inevitably stressed-out IT, both people and systems. How is a business going to deliver its data, systems, and applications to its workforce? How is it going to control and manage the devices used to access these resources? What about securing all of this? How can a business achieve all this? Sounds overwhelming! This is the perfect fit for a Modern Workplace.

The Modern Digital Workplace

There’s no denying it. The nature of work has changed, radically and rapidly. A business needs to keep up. Employees expect to work securely from anywhere, from any device, a place and space to collaborate, be more efficient and productive. A modern workplace is the answer to deliver this and much more.

It’s no secret that when a business enhances the quality and effectiveness of their employee’s work experience, they’re happier, feel valued, satisfied, more engaged, and well, more likely to stay on! Mckinsey states that improving communication and collaboration technologies could increase productivity of interaction workers by 20 – 25 percent! A business needs to provide its workforce with this feeling of empowerment, and must do so securely, all the while protecting its vital IT assets.

Veracloud has developed four fundamental pillars in deploying the ultimate Modern Workplace. An onboarding process ensures that all business information is collected and the appropriate features aligned to business strategy. Our Modern Workplace is a journey towards an enhanced experience, not only for the business, but for its employees. Providing the best the Microsoft ecosystem has to offer, topped up with industry-leading integration, improved communications with teams, endpoint and device management, information protection and security, user protection, personalised and fully-customisable intranets, and a tonne of other features. As a fully managed solution, we will gradually roll-out features and be there to support employees to ensure a seamless transition towards adapting to new ways of working. Reach out today. Your employees and business will thank you tomorrow!

Cloudflare Suppresses Largest DDoS Attack Ever Reported

With an ever-increasing reliance on and demand for online services, every business must be online in today’s digital age to survive. Whether for internal corporate use or for providing customers with a service, the risks of an attack are great, great enough to bring your entire business to its knees, causing irreparable damage to your reputation and customer base. Cloudflare to the rescue.

Cloudflare has recently pulled off nothing short of a security wonder – automatically detecting and mitigating possibly the largest ever Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. What is a DDoS attack? Simply put, it is a malicious attempt by hackers to disrupt the typical traffic received by a server, service, or network. An overwhelming amount of traffic is sent to this target to flood it with internet traffic.

Through their autonomous edge DDoS protection, Cloudflare managed to suppress an unprecedented DDoS attack, with 330 million total requests, peaking at 17.2 million requests-per-second (rps).

Source Cloudflare

In terms of internet traffic, with a typical 800-1000 requests per second…that’s huge! However, thanks to the reliability of their global scale network, Cloudflare not only managed to mitigate this attack, but did so without requiring any manual intervention by their security engineers and without degrading performance.

That’s big! But does size really matter?

Although DDoS attacks are increasing in power, a business does not need to experience a large-scale attack as the one above. According to Cisco’s Internet Report the average DDoS attack size is a 1 Gbps attack that is more than enough to take most organisations completely offline. If you believe that your business is too small to suffer an attack, think again! Small businesses are typically the preferred targets due to the lack of defences in place. Numbers show that cyber criminals target up to 43% of their attacks on small business, with only 14% of businesses prepared to take precautions. With an average cost of an attack on a business of over €150,000, 60% of businesses that have been a victim, close shop within 6 months.

Following Veracloud’s partnership with Cloudflare, we assist companies in creating a trustworthy digital environment to bring the level of security required by all businesses, small or large. Protect your online assets today before it’s too late. Reach out now and learn how Veracloud can assist your company with securing your online business presence!

Windows 365

Windows 365: Cloud PC for your Hybrid Workplace

Microsoft has recently announced that it will be releasing Windows 365, an incredibly simple way to securely stream Windows from the Microsoft Cloud, the most comprehensive and trusted cloud on the market. As also referred to as Cloud PC, a new user experience is on the horizon, with the traditional PC operating system moving completely to the cloud without impacting on users’ expectations. Whether it is a personal computer or a corporate device, the full experience of providing the apps, data availability and settings will be maintained in this Cloud PC. 

What is Windows 365 

Windows 365 is a virtual desktop service that is a part of Microsoft 365.  It offers organizations a fixed-price monthly subscription, to a cloud PC that is dedicated to a user and can be managed using the exact same tools as a traditional Windows PC. Making a cloud PC available to a user (once the initial environment is set up) is a matter of assigning a Microsoft 365 license.  Three key properties of Windows 365 are worth repeating and emphasizing.   

A cloud PC is dedicated to a user, fixed price, and part of the Microsoft 365 cloud rather than Azure. 

This SaaS (Software as a Service) offering that is built on the Azure Virtual Desktop platform, will allow anyone to freely access their desktop wherever they may be in the world and from whichever device. This is a persistent Cloud PC, meaning it is always on and easily accessible 24 x 7. You will also find the exact same desktop, wallpaper, and document you were working on a few minutes, hours (or days) ago readily available to continue where you left off. 

How Veracloud Supports Windows 365 

Microsoft has expanded the available options for virtual desktops.  Organisations now have the flexible Azure-based AVD with single-user, multi-session, and RemoteApp options and the simplified M365-based Windows 365 with Enterprise and Business cloud PC alternatives. 

For the past year, Veracloud has gained momentum in implementing Azure Virtual Desktops for almost every solution need and gained hands-on experience building successful setups on the Microsoft cloud. We do this by helping our customers choose the right Microsoft service for the right use-case, automate the deployment, simplify ongoing management, and optimize to reduce ongoing costs. 

If you are considering either an AVD or a Windows 365 deployment, or maybe a bit of both, our technical engineers will provide the support and guidance required to identify the solution that works best for you and your business’s needs. Contact us now and explore the world of a hybrid workplace and get your business to the next level. 

Partner of the Year

Veracloud is awarded the Microsoft 2021 Partner of the Year for Malta

Veracloud has won the Malta 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award. The company is honoured among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft’s technologies.

“We are honoured and humbled to be recognized as the Microsoft 2021 Partner of the Year for Malta. Veracloud has recently celebrated its 2nd year of operation and this achievement truly symbolises that with hard work and focus you may reach great goals, no matter the size of the company. We could not have achieved this milestone without our valued customers who trust us with their digital transformation journey.” says John Ellul – Sales Director at Veracloud

The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognises Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered outstanding Microsoft-based solutions during the past year. Awards were classified in various categories, with honourees chosen from a set of more than 4,400 submitted nominations from more than 100 countries worldwide. Being recognised for providing outstanding Microsoft solutions and services in Malta, Veracloud’s focus is to empower organisations with the benefits of digital transformation solutions. By leveraging Microsoft technologies, Veracloud has developed in-house solutions to provision, deploy and maintain efficient business operations, with or without COVID-19 restrictions.

“I am honoured to announce the winners and finalists of the 2021 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards,” said Rodney Clark, corporate vice president, Global Partner Solutions, Channel Sales and Channel Chief, Microsoft. “These remarkable partners have displayed a deep commitment to building world-class solutions for customers—from cloud-to-edge—and represent some of the best and brightest our ecosystem has to offer.” 

Veracloud is a Microsoft Gold Partner who provides companies with cloud-centric solutions and is driven to operate as efficiently as possible to allow for a more cost-effective solution, drastically minimising client costs and IT overheads, gaining more value out of the solution.  Our mission is for clients to invest in what matters, the services, the solution, the value add.

For additional information:

[email protected] or call +356 2099 7741

Microsoft rebrands and enhances its VDI offering

While rebranding WVD to AVD, Microsoft also provides a broader service offering

The launch of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) in 2018 was something that proved to be essential for companies. With the pandemic breaking out just over a year later, organisations had to quickly adapt and provide its workforce with remote capabilities, without sacrificing security, management, and employee productivity. WVD came to the rescue, providing the best virtualised Windows and Office experience for a multi-user environment, delivered on Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft has recently rebranded WVD to Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). But it’s not just a name change that Microsoft is announcing. Kam VedBrat, GM of AVD, states that Microsoft is preparing to broaden the AVD product with exciting new capabilities and integrations. These enhancements specifically focus on the security and management aspects around AVD.

Integration with Azure Active Directory (AAD) will provide the ability to join AVD virtual machines directly to AAD and connect to the virtual machines from any device with basic credentials. Microsoft Endpoint Manager provides central management with the ability to automatically enrol virtual machines, manage policies and distribute applications across devices, drastically simplifying administration though the admin centre. Automated deployment will get you going in minutes with the new QuickStart experience. This automation will validate requirements, kick-off an automated deployment, and will also implement according to best practices.

How can Veracloud help?

Ever since being included in the Azure Marketplace, we have gained momentum on the AVD front and can now assist every company with most use cases for this VDI offering. We have already provided our expertise in setting up large-scale AVD deployments both locally and internationally, tailored to the requirements set forth by the company, while adhering to strict security and regulatory compliance procedures.

If you are considering implementing AVD or are not sure whether this is the right solution for you, we will provide the support and guidance required. Contact us today and explore the cost reduction and benefits associates with Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

Veracloud Partners with Cloudflare

Protect your online business with Cloudflare

We’ve all heard the sayings “If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business” or “If your business is not online, it doesn’t exist”. With Internet search engines becoming the digital yellow pages of recent times, a company’s online presence has become paramount. The benefits from having even a basic website are countless – credibility, brand, generating leads, driving traffic to your website, issuing company announcements, customer services, 24x7x365 visibility, to mention a few.

The downside to this is that if you’re online, your website, and ultimately your business, is also exposed. With cyberthreats evolving and becoming increasingly complex, every business needs to provide safeguards across all its digital layers. Cyber criminals have quickly adapted to exploit our fears around the pandemic abusing the demand people have for information and supplies. The latest report on the Threat Landscape places web-based and web application attacks as highly preferred exploit methods for threat actors. Protecting your Internet presence has become fundamental.

Cloudflare to the rescue!

Veracloud has partnered with Cloudflare to assist companies in creating a trustworthy digital environment for businesses, their employees, and customers alike. Achieving this is possible with Cloudflare’s extensive list of products and solutions. Whether you want to protect your infrastructure, your teams, developers or simply want insights and analytics into your online resources, Cloudflare will deliver. In recognition of this, Cloudflare has been named leader for DDoS Mitigation Solutions across 11 significant providers and also the Customers’ Choice in Q1 2021 for Web Application Firewalls.

Partnering with Cloudflare has been a strategic move that complements Veracloud’s cloud-based products and services. This will enhance the company’s security portfolio by providing businesses, their websites and online services the required security. Reach out now and learn how Veracloud can assist your company with securing your online business presence!

The Wonderful World of Meraki

IT Agility has never been easier to achieve!

In the never-ending evolutionary process of IT, agility is a term that has been loosely used, misused, and misunderstood. Starting as an approach in Software Development, agility has now evolved towards being adopted in a wider business context. Key players and leaders in the business agility field teamed up to produce the Business Agility Report. Respondents included in the study believe that the ability for an organisation to focus on business agility initiatives creates a ripple effect of positive outcomes – enhancing customer and employee satisfaction and retention, speed to market, market success, collaboration and communication, accountability, and improved ways of working – to mention a few! The report also reveals that, COVID or no COVID, every organisation needs to adapt to a constantly changing environment.

Embrace change with Cisco Meraki

Do you have an IT strategy built around agility? Do you need help identifying a strategy? Or want to improve on it? Look no further. Cisco Meraki is the answer. It’s not just hardware … it’s an experience! Meraki serves as a fantastic, robust backbone, regardless of business requirements or the industry you operate in. Consolidate all your infrastructure and services. Control everything. Deploy anywhere. Scale reliably. Manage everywhere! The beauty of Meraki is in its simplicity. With a “cloud-first everything” mentality, Meraki is the solution to the agility a business must embrace.

At Veracloud we leverage cloud technologies to seamlessly manage your infrastructure. From the assessment of your needs and design of your network, to the implementation and ongoing maintenance, we take care of everything. Focus on what’s important to you … your business! Speak to us today and let us help you develop and achieve a strategy centred on business agility.

Microsoft 2021 Partner of the Year for Malta!

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