Step 1: Look Under The Hood!

While a full feature set, a sexy look and an easy to use interface makes enterprises take a second look at any solution.  What differentiates quality engagements are vendors that understand what is UNDER THE HOOD.

Partner With Vendors That Understand:

1. Security & Risk – What is the risk associated and how much are you willing to accept?  Understanding this risk will help define a quality roadmap without overlap and overspending.

2. Integration Points – Where are we connecting/integrating and how?  Understanding the impact of the 5W’s is important here.

3. Extensibility – How will elasticity impact my current IT model?  Do I require results based on peak times?  Picking solutions that provide flexibility while enabling growth are key here.  Vendors need to transform and work at the speed of your business.  Not the other way around.

4. Reliability – How the employees in the weeds engaging daily and how they are impacted when enablement is disrupted?  Enabling “always on” technology gives your employees the tools required to win in the field and in the office.

5. Migration – Understanding the status quo, previous successful and failed deployments is key to a successful migration strategy.  A project management team that understands the impact of new technology is key here.  Engage those processes/steps with an understanding of the overall goal.

Learn more about HTG at www.htg360.com or by replying to this email.

Standardization = Innovation

Standardization also brings innovation, first because it provides structured methods and reliable data that save time in the innovation process and, second, because it makes it easier to disseminate groundbreaking ideas and knowledge about leading-edge techniques.

Basic Principle of Standardization

1. Standards meet or exceed market needs. (Respond to requests from your clients)

2. Standards should be voluntary. (Commitment to compliance and security)

3. Standards are based on a consensus among experts in the field. (ISO, NIST, WTO)

 

Do you need to have a conversation around standardizing your current state? HTG can help.

Business Benefits of Security Solutions for Next-Generation Datacenters

Security solutions for next-generation data centers must enable organizations to generate maximum business value from their investments in these data centers. This requires that such security solutions drive value by being integrated, policy-based, robust, agile, and scalable. Well-designed and well-implemented security solutions with these characteristics create value by saving time and effort for management and provisioning of security solutions, by reducing the operational and business impact of security threats, and by ensuring that security does not inhibit the data center’s ability to support and drive the business. Thus, such security solutions enable next-generation datacenters by being:

Integrated for efficiencies and reduced risk. Security products that integrate both with solutions supporting organizations’ traditional data center environments and with other security products being used in the next-generation data center environment generate time savings and reduce risk. This occurs as integration minimizes the time security teams must spend redoing policies, breaks down costly and inefficient IT security silos, and reduces the time during which applications and services are exposed to potential security threats.

Simplified to ease the burden of management. Security products in next-generation data centers are employed in environments that rely on automation and orchestration. To fit within such an environment, security products should also be policy based to enable their provisioning as a service. This not only supports the overall architecture of next-generation datacenters but also increases the productivity of IT security staffs when they spend less time on hands-on administration and management of security settings, configuration, and deployments.

Robust capabilities to minimize the impact of security threats. Security products in next-generation data centers must provide a full spectrum of security capabilities with coverage for all traffic entering, leaving, and be moving within the datacenter. This helps organizations minimize the user and business impact of security threats, giving productive time back to users and keeping business disruptions to a minimum.

Agility and scalability to support the business through applications. Next-generation data centers are configured to enable business operations by speeding up application development cycles and easing the burden of managing applications. To support this objective, security products need to be deployable on an as-needed basis and in the minimum time possible to support efforts to speed the time to market for applications and services.

Assessing the Business Value of SDN Datacenter Security Solutions

Overview

CTOs, CIOs, and application architects need access to datacenter facilities capable of handling the broad range of content serving, Big Data/analytics, and archiving functions associated with the systems of engagement and insight that they depend upon to better serve customers and enhance business outcomes. They need to enhance their existing data centers, they need to accelerate the building of new data centers in new geographies, and they need to take greater advantage of advanced, sophisticated datacenters designed, built, and operated by service providers. IDC terms this business and data center transformation the shift to the 3rd Platform.

Today, virtually all business innovations are based on the 3rd Platform, with hundreds of thousands to millions of high-value, industry-transforming solutions and services that will alter the end-customer experience. This change affects all elements of the IT organization, including procurement, design, operations, development, and long-term data and asset management. This new datacenter world is more dynamic, more data intensive, and more fraught with business risks that must be addressed and overcome. As a result, the next-generation network architecture is a critical consideration.

This new architectural model must address the technological and operational limitations of traditional network architectures and meet the data center requirements of 3rd Platform workloads. For example, software-defined networking (SDN), which features a decoupling of the network control plane from its data-forwarding plane, was conceived as a means of giving the network the agility and flexibility required by organizations building cloud computing environments.

Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) seeks to address the data center operator’s need for automated provisioning, programmatic management, and comprehensive orchestration. Rather than decoupling the control plane from the data plane, ACI applies a policy model designed to capture application requirements and automate deployment across the network, regardless of whether the applications are virtualized or running on bare metal. This approach is what Cisco calls a declarative management model, which involves the voluntary cooperation of individuals or agents that publish their intentions via commitments to each other. The intentions are abstract; thus, for example, an application policy would state its requirements, and the underlying infrastructure (e.g., data center switches) would interpret how best to satisfy those requirements based on their inherent capabilities.

Another networking option for cloud computing is provided by OpenStack, which provides a default framework — called Neutron — for customers to consume networking services, as well as a set of northbound and southbound APIs. The OpenStack networking model features a modular architecture,

giving each customer the flexibility to select a backend that is suited to its requirements. Some customers start with the default reference implementation but then adopt vendor-provided extensions as warranted by their use cases and networking needs.

Key Forces Shaping Datacenter Change

Many external factors have a direct or an indirect impact on data center operations and investments. They come from business, social/cultural/political, and technological realms:

Business:

Everything as a service: Shifting models for financing physical and digital assets drive the restructuring of internal budgeting, cost, and investment practices.

Industry digitization: The transition from a physical business model to a digital business model dramatically changes data growth rates, performance needs, and functional IT requirements.

Business entanglement: Extended business ecosystems drive standardization of interconnection and data sharing across organizations and industries.

Social/cultural/political:

Data use norms: Individual beliefs and government policies about collection, retention, and use of personal data and intellectual property become volatile and fragmented.

Data exploitation: Nations, corporations, and organized crime entities institutionalize cyber warfare.

Customer interaction/engagement: Social media creates a venue for direct customer-to- business and direct customer-to-customer engagement, which creates a constant requirement for fresh and updated information.

Technology:

Modularized IT: Cloud, converged, software-defined, and hyper-scale packaging models change the purchase and management of the basic units of IT.

Data gravity: Data used to engage with customers and gain business insight is increasingly generated, collected, and archived in service provider data centers.

Variable IT: Demands IT to support short-lived mobile campaigns and analytics efforts force businesses to purchase/deploy/redeploy capacity on short notice and for short time frames.

The realignment and rebalancing of data centers and IT assets that these forces are spurring also have major implications for organizations’ existing wide area networks. Organizations will need to change existing connection paths to link internal data centers with third-party facilities. They must also deal with significant changes in traffic volume and traffic variability as businesses seek to move large volumes of information between many locations in less predictable patterns.

The Role of Security in the Modern Datacenter

A key factor underlying these drivers and fast-evolving datacenter workloads is the need for greater agility and flexibility related to data center security. In each use case, security means something different — integrity, fidelity, visibility, content control, and data control. IT organizations need a common platform that they can use to quickly and reliably set, reset, and extend a broad spectrum of security functions within data centers and across the entire organization.

At the network level, inline security functionality consists of monitoring capability (intrusion detection), policy-oriented segmentation (firewalls), and communications encryption (virtual private network). However, enterprises often treat data center resources as a unit, making no distinction between usage or risk levels. This approach allows enterprises to put all resources into a single large “zone” and focus their protection on the perimeter ingress/egress points (sometimes called the “north” and “south” access points to the datacenter).

As data centers grow and evolve into multifaceted collections of resources providing many different functions for separate lines of business, multiple user constituents, and varied platforms, security must evolve to be able to protect these more dynamic, richer resources against more focused threats. Enterprises must consider how to address the way resources are shared and how the communications are monitored and encrypted at a more granular level.

The modern data center must evaluate how to deploy its intrusion detection and prevention systems as well as its firewall segmentation to determine where existing controls should be redeployed and whether new capabilities should be added to cover the “east” and “west” communications that occur among servers and other resources. A part of this exercise involves identifying smaller collections of resources, typically at the application level but having other possible delineations as well, and inserting more monitoring and policy controls to manage the traffic between applications.

As more controls are deployed throughout the data center, centralized management capabilities become a key requirement. As the resources being protected become increasingly dynamic in their location and use, security functions must adapt to the new architectures.

This IDC Solution Brief leverages IDC research among users of security products in the changing data center landscape and quantifies the business benefits they can achieve, including 33.5% more productive IT security staff operations, 80.7% less unplanned downtime because of security breaches and threats, and 63.8% faster deployment of security for new applications and services. On an annual basis for an organization with 1,000 users, this leads to improved reliability worth $48,700, IT staff efficiency gains worth $71,700, and productive time from improved operations worth $92,600.

Business Benefits of Security Solutions for Next-Generation Datacenters

Security solutions for next-generation data centers must enable organizations to generate maximum business value from their investments in these data centers. This requires that such security solutions drive value by being integrated, policy-based, robust, agile, and scalable. Well-designed and well-implemented security solutions with these characteristics create value by saving time and effort for management and provisioning of security solutions, by reducing the operational and business impact of security threats, and by ensuring that security does not inhibit the data center’s ability to support and drive the business. As a result, such security solutions enable next-generation datacenters by being:

Integrated for efficiencies and reduced risk. Security products that integrate both with solutions supporting organizations’ traditional data center environments and with other security products being used in the next-generation data center environment generate time savings and reduce risk. This occurs as integration minimizes the time security teams must spend redoing policies, breaks down costly and inefficient IT security silos, and reduces the time during which applications and services are exposed to potential security threats.

Simplified to ease the burden of management. Security products in next-generation data centers are employed in environments that rely on automation and orchestration. To fit within such an environment, security products should also be policy based to enable their provisioning as a service. This not only supports the overall architecture of next-generation datacenters but also increases the productivity of IT security staffs when they spend less time on hands-on administration and management of security settings, configuration, and deployments.

Robust capabilities to minimize the impact of security threats. Security products in next-generation data centers must provide a full spectrum of security capabilities with coverage for all traffic entering, leaving, and moving within the datacenter. This helps organizations minimize the user and business impact of security threats, giving productive time back to users and keeping business disruptions to a minimum.

Agility and scalability to support the business through applications. Next-generation data centers are configured to enable business operations by speeding up application development cycles and easing the burden of managing applications. To support this objective, security products need to be deployable on an as-needed basis and in the minimum time possible to support efforts to speed the time to market for applications and services.

Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure

Software-defined networks separate control plane functions from data plane functions and are often defined in narrow technical terms. Software-defined security leverages the philosophy and fundamental architecture of SDN but broadens the opportunity by integrating into more environments. The SDN “hub and spokes” approach ties together a controller where security policies are defined and evaluated by enforcement nodes that implement the policies, all done dynamically and in real time. Leveraging a policy language that is abstracted to the application layer enables applicable policies to be applied at the appropriate enforcement nodes to maintain flexibility and alignment with the components of the application in use. The result is a security architecture that is easier to manage efficiently and an opportunity for maximum effectiveness.

Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure is designed to address the data and security needs of the modern datacenter. It is managed by a central controller, the APIC. The APIC maintains control over all data center security devices, both physical and virtual, so they can be managed closely and aligned with the resources they are intended to protect. This controller can provision and manage Cisco network and security devices support an ecosystem of third-party security vendors and are building more capabilities for additional third-party support.

With its ability to leverage an organization’s existing security architecture, Cisco ACI provides a way for enterprises to maintain their existing investment in physical security controls while adding more functional controls in hardware or virtual machines to protect increasingly important east-west communications. To address the dynamic resources of a modern enterprise, policies can be created and matched to an application profile and then distributed throughout an environment. In this way, when resources are moved, the correct policy moves with them.

For organizations that already have a significant investment in Cisco security solutions and an established set of existing security policies, ACI provides a way to securely evolve a data center architecture rather than completely overhaul it. At the same time, it can address the newer needs of virtualized and distributed architectures to ensure that an appropriate level of security can be provided to the enterprise.

Quantified Business Benefits of Security Solutions for Next-Generation Datacenters

Table 1 presents metrics for business value that organizations can achieve by using security solutions in next-generation data centers, based on ongoing IDC research.

Figure 1 presents the annual value of IT staff and user productivity improvements related to the use of security solutions in next-generation data centers for a 1,000-user organization.

TABLE 1

Improvements Related to Use of Security Products in Next-Generation Datacenters

(%)
IT staff productivity benefits
Reduced time for security management33.5
Increase in security threats proactively identified50.9
Reduced time to respond to security threats82.1
Risk mitigation — user productivity benefits
Unplanned downtime reduction80.7
Business productivity benefits
Reduction in time to deploy security63.8

Appendix: Methodology

IDC compiled the data used in this document from interviews it conducts every year with organizations using security solutions for their data centers. Business value results were normalized by expressing them in terms of dollar benefits for an average organization with 1,000 IT end users.  To quantify benefits related to IT staff operations, IDC multiplied time savings and efficiencies by an average annual loaded salary of $100,000 while using an average annual loaded salary of $70,000 to quantify time savings and productivity benefits for other non-IT staff employees.

Interested in more information about Datacenter Industry Trends?  Contact HTG (www.htg360.com) or 866-278-5578

The Cyber Threat Landscape

Multiple reports have been published recently covering the cyber threat landscape for businesses, including the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report and McAfee Labs 2016 Threats Predictions. These reports have unveiled some of the major cyber threats businesses face today, as well as why human error is such a big issue. For example, 63% of confirmed data breaches involve using weak, default, or stolen passwords, and 26% of miscellaneous human errors involve people mistakenly sending sensitive information to the wrong person! As technology advances, the cyber attack surface will only expand and these statistics will become increasingly unacceptable. It’s more important than ever to, at the very least, implement basic defenses and avoid human-based vulnerabilities as much as possible. Let’s look at some of the common threats today:

Phishing

Phishing continues to be an effective tool for attackers, as it can very quickly compromise a business network, and attackers can target specific people or organizations. Phishing is a primary method of infecting victims with malware, working by spreading as a trojan whose payload is disguised as a seemingly legitimate file, often coming to the user from a spoofed email address that looks like a legitimate sender. The email tends to carry a malicious attachment or instruct users to click a link that allows a virus to enter their machine. A huge issue here is the human error because many business users are unable to identify phishing emails. In the past year, 30% of phishing messages were opened by users, and 13% of those went on to click to open a malicious attachment or link!

Ransomware

Ransomware is a growing threat, with attackers wanting fast cash. This effective type of malware restricts access to a user’s PC, applications, or files and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove this restriction – it also works on a business-wide level, impacting an entire network. Crypto ransomware encrypts files on the hard drive and requires payment of the ransom for decryption, while locker ransomware locks the system and displays messages to scare the user into paying. Criminals often attack Microsoft Office, Adobe PDF, and graphics files, which are typically found in business environments. These targets will expand in coming years.

Extortion Hacks

With extortion hacks, attackers threaten to release sensitive company or customer information if the victim doesn’t pay. Even with backed up data, this presents a threat to a company whose reputation and customers are suddenly at risk. Common examples of extortion hacks include the Sony, Ashley Madison, and InvestBank hacks. This method works because it creates fear. Organizations fear the exposure of private information, which could lead to angry customers and lawsuits, and even executives losing jobs.

What can you do?

These reports have made it clear that no system is impenetrable, and difficult-to-detect attacks are growing more common. However, even the most basic defenses deter cybercriminals, who will often look for an easier target. But you don’t have to stick to the basic defenses – in fact, we suggest you move beyond those. There are many tools businesses can use to better prevent, detect and respond to attacks. Reports like these have allowed us to find patterns and better understand how cybercriminals operate. The Verizon report offered some useful tips for protecting a business against these growing cyber threats:

  • Research and familiarize yourself with the common attack patterns in your industry
  • Use two-factor authentication for your business systems and applications
  • Monitor all inputs
  • Patch promptly
  • Encrypt business data in flight and at rest
  • Train staff on the threats and steps they can take
  • Know what data you have, and protect it accordingly
  • Limit who has access to what – not everyone needs access to everything

How HTG Can Help

Backup

Many security experts have designated crypto ransomware as the greatest security threat to organizations today. HTG’s Cloud Backup solution can protect against this and is a reliable way to recover files following an attack. The solution provides organizations with a seamless and secure backup of their data to HTG’s cloud. HTG takes care of all the management, monitoring and dependability of the customer’s backed up the environment. Cloud Backup is secure, encrypted, scalable and efficient.

Recovery

Any business continuity plan should have the file-level backup, but another key component is disaster recovery. Cloud Recovery is designed for large-scale failures and true disasters, rather than single-item restore – depending on the extent of the situation, this solution may be necessary. Together, Cloud Recovery and Cloud Backup can create a well-rounded business continuity plan for a cyber attack.

Cloud Security

HTG delivers nothing but the highest quality protection for customer data and information. We have equipped ourselves with government-grade facilities to hold sensitive information for safe, encrypted storage in SAS70, SSAE 16 Tier 3, Class 1 data centers. Every one of these data centers features on-premises security guards, keycard protocols, biometric scanning protocols and round-the-clock interior and exterior surveillance monitor access. The facilities are engineered to the highest of standards in order to ensure customers’ businesses are running 24x7x365.

 

Previously posted on HTG Blog:

 

Chris Ichelson

HTG – HTG 360

Direct: +1-866-278-5578

Cloud Computing: The Change, The Impact

Cloud computing is changing the way we live and do business. It is quickly being seen as a key to business success. It has impacted the way businesses are run and supplied. Benefits from cost efficiency to security are prevalent with cloud computing, but what about the impact and change it has on day-to-day life?

Social

Social media has impacted how people interact in today’s world. Without knowing it, people use cloud-based communication methods on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour base. Via the Internet, people can easily communicate, check their emails, tell the world about their day, stream videos/movies, and more. The social impact of cloud computing opens up long-distance relationships by enabling simple communication between friends, family, coworkers, partners and others who may live on the opposite side of the world. Reaching people is just easier and faster. Global platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more have helped news travel faster, and businesses can take advantage of these by acting in real time with their audience.

Online Storage

Cloud computing has influenced the way people store their valuable data, photos, music, and much more. Common online software resources like ShareFile, Flickr, and many more make that possible. Instead of relying on a personal flash drive that can go missing at any moment, cloud storage is accessible at any time as long as you have the Internet.

Education

Registering for classes online? Emailing a professor? Taking digital notes? Accessing homework or a syllabus through a Web portal? Anyone doing these activities is an active cloud user. Cloud computing has enabled educational institutions to prosper through the adoption of trends like BYOD. It has impacted the way students take their notes, enroll in classes, and participate in group activities by accessing data anywhere, anytime. Teachers use cloud computing in their role as well, with the ability to upload resources to be accessible to students, track grades and activities online, and access email and data from anywhere.

Health

Healthcare organizations use cloud-based methods as well. Cloud offers the ability to keep patients’ documents in a secure, organized, virtual space, rather than in piles of paperwork that get cluttered and easily lost. Cloud computing has impacted the way patients create appointments by eliminating excessive time and paperwork. Scheduling appointments, making referrals, or completing patient history are all made easier through the cloud. Doctors use cloud computing solutions to manage their patients’ data and securely share it with patients or other medical professionals to check status and follow-ups.

The cloud is extremely prevalent, even for those that haven’t realized it. Cloud computing is part of how we live our daily lives and is key to our daily routines. If it’s that ingrained already, imagine the impact it can have if strategically implemented in your organization. Learn more about our Cloud Services page!

 

HTG Cloud Information can be found by Clicking Here!

 

Moving Healthcare Into The Cloud

Many industries today are becoming more aware of the benefits that the cloud computing world provides. Cloud computing has become an important source of both reliability and a competitive advantage. It is an especially great option for an industry like healthcare.

83% of IT executives in healthcare organizations report they are using cloud services today.Healthcare organizations are known for storing massive amounts of data, and storing such critical data can be a lot easier with a cloud solution in place. It can provide a simpler way to collect and coordinate the medical data and workflow that is necessary, and facilitate safe storage and transfer of information between medical professionals and their patients.

A report conducted by Markets and Markets has predicted that the healthcare cloud computing market will produce $9.48 billion by 2020.

Moving Healthcare into the Cloud

According to a report conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 61% say cloud computing will be a decisive factor five years from now. More than half of organizations will be making the transition to the cloud, thus making it crucial for healthcare providers to have a strong understanding of what it can provide.

There is a new era evolving within the healthcare industry that involves the adoption of electronic healthcare records (EHR), which replace all the clutter that comes with using traditional methods of storage and documentation. Supporting EHR, the cloud helps unburden hospital IT departments. The ability to analyze and track information in the cloud helps improve treatments, boost performance, reduce costs, discover trends and more. The cloud serves as a new solution for the healthcare industry to help manage data and streamline processes.

Another positive impact of the cloud is the ability to create more efficient healthcare services and improve the doctor-patient relationship. Information that is geared towards a patient’s diagnosis and treatments can be made securely available from the touch of a button on any device, like a phone, tablet, computer, etc. 53% of healthcare employees use three or more devices for work already. Doctors can stay connected and collaborate accordingly with their colleagues and patients easily, freeing up their time to focus more on providing quality health care than on filling out paperwork or transferring files. Daily tasks like setting appointments, making referrals, or completing patient history can be completed anywhere at any time in the cloud.

Moving forward, cloud solutions offer the healthcare industry the tranquility of easily managing all critical data in real time. Cloud computing offers infrastructures that allow the healthcare industry to expand computing resources at a low cost while bringing down the barriers to innovation and modernization.

Privacy and Security

In the healthcare industry, security is of the utmost importance and at times can cause healthcare providers to take a huge step back when considering the cloud. However, with the right cloud provider, security shouldn’t be a cloud barrier. Solutions like ours include:

  1.  Client-side encryption of data
  2. Multi-factor authentication
  3. Data loss prevention tools
  4. Full credential limited access to data centers
  5. Biometric scanning systems
  6. Exterior security systems
  7. Around-the-clock interior and exterior surveillance monitor access
  8. Redundant HVAC systems

Legislation 

Guidelines are a given when dealing with protected health information. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a U.S. law that healthcare organizations must abide by. It protects patient privacy by mandating and enforcing strict privacy and security rules on how medical information is being collected, used, and disclosed. Cloud solutions can help make it easier to meet HIPAA requirements, especially when you work off of HIPAA-compliant infrastructure like ours.

Cloud computing offers numerous significant benefits to the healthcare industry, providing a great opportunity to improve and grow services for patients and employees while adding great operational efficiency. Head to our Industries page to learn more about how the cloud can impact healthcare and other major industries!

Interested in a Cloud Computing Review?  Click Here.

How Can Cloud Increase Business Value?

Cloud computing is a resource that meets the needs of companies with growing employee bases and departments. It can be used as an exceptional technological tool to measure company value if the company takes advantage of the value provided. With the ups and downs of the world’s economy, affordable and reliable technology is more and more necessary. Cloud computing fills that void.

If used strategically, cloud computing can provide true business value. Let’s review how:

Fuel Top-line Growth

Value can be seen through the increase of business agility, reach, and scalability. Agility can be difficult to quantify, but it is a real win when it comes to cloud computing. It can facilitate exactly what your business wants/needs – how much CPU, what type of application configuration is required, and how you want to distribute these. Cloud computing also drives business growth and value by helping businesses develop rapidly, transition into a new market, integrate applications, and much more. Agility provides great value to those that are competing in an environment of uncertain high-growth markets. Increased innovation creates great value for businesses alongside improved communication and collaboration. According to IBM, leading companies are 73% more likely to rapidly innovate products and services via the cloud. Having agility can improve business services at an increasing speed, reducing delivery time from months to just weeks.

  1. Enable innovation of new services
  2. Differentiate with new technologies
  3. Enhance business resiliency by improving data center/application uptime

Improve Bottom-Line Economics

With cloud computing you pay only for what you consume, when you need to consume it – that’s the pay-as-you-go model. By reducing total cost with cloud solutions, resources can be utilized more efficiently. Cloud solutions replace on-premises applications, which increases your reach and scalability and increases value. By eliminating expensive maintenance issues, which would normally cost the IT department time and money, the cloud offers great efficiency and true value to a company.

  1. Improve resource lifecycle management
  2. Eliminate constant, expensive upgrades
  3. Pay as you go
  4. Experience TCO reductions greater than 50%

Bring Forth Collaboration

Cloud computing also provides the ability to reach your customers at any time. A reliable solution transfers all data securely into the cloud and can be accessed by any authorized client, partner, or employee. Barriers between once-separate departments are broken down, which allows for sharing of expertise and business information. This level of collaboration effectively leads to a dynamic workforce.

With a strategic, focused approach to cloud computing, it can power transformation within the digital and business worlds, and increase business value.  

Discuss driving revenue with use of cloud technologies with HTG by clicking here.  

Contact HTG

866-278-5578

info@htg360.com

A Sustainable World With Cloud Computing

Sustainability and cloud computing are coherently trending together!

Cloud computing is advancing our economy forward in many ways, including its inherent sustainability. The cloud’s “green” quality comes from moving hardware and software into a virtual environment. So instead of relying on local servers, the work is transferred through the Internet to store, manage, and process the data. Research conducted by Google shared that businesses can save more than 65% on energy costs by moving to the cloud!

Sustainability continues to be an added benefit of cloud computing for companies and their IT departments. Businesses of all sizes are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and are putting in place long-term strategies to reduce it. With more sustainable services, like cloud-based solutions, they can. Research conducted by Global E-sustainability Initiative states that if 80% of world enterprise adopted cloud computing and powered down local servers, we would see around a 4.5 megaton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy and resource efficiencies come more naturally from cloud infrastructures. With the cloud, businesses can save energy by reducing the number of physical resources they rely on, which can ultimately save energy, money, time, and waste.

Having the ability to reduce hardware helps companies also reduce costs and remove any sort of maintenance and management they were previously dealing with. Carbon Disclosure Project found that cloud computing can help companies realize $12.3 billion in energy savings. Placing critical data in a secure, remote location rather than in-house offers the ability to reduce computing management time and expenses with greater flexibility and effective energy savings. According to Pike Research, due to the continued adoption of cloud computing, data center energy consumption will decrease by 31% from 2010 to 2020.

Another benefit that comes from adopting this sustainable solution is the additional benefits that cloud can offer, like the ability to interact and collaborate easily through mobile devices, allowing a tremendous increase in productivity. Studies by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Northwestern University have found that if 86 million U.S. workers were moved to the cloud, they could save enough electricity annually to power a great city like Los Angles for a year! Allowing employees to work productively in the cloud, with tools like file sharing, word processing, and CRM software, can cut down IT energy consumption significantly.

Although sustainability might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cloud computing, it’s a valuable side effect. Taking a closer look at the technology will expose many of its eco-friendly benefits, like reducing your carbon footprint, energy usage, spending, time, and waste. This is all a result of moving to a virtual platform, shared resources, efficient equipment, digital operations and a pay-as-you-go model. If you want to boost your sustainability initiative, cloud computing is the perfect step.

HTG 360 (HTG) – Click here for more info!

The Role of IT in the Cloud

Cloud computing continues to grow. The power it holds is creating new opportunities for businesses of all sizes to innovate and transform. Cloud computing not only redefines a company, but it is also redefining what IT can bring to the table. In this day and age companies are seeking out a more strategic and influential IT professional who operates with speed and efficiency in a proactive matter. According to Cisco, the cloud will represent nearly 30% of all IT spending by 2020.

IT leaders are looking to cloud computing in order to pivot the way business processes and outcomes are delivered. It’s no longer in your best interests to simply look to IT to manage and troubleshoot technology. Instead, increase productivity by shifting IT’s focus to advancing revenue and innovation through technology like the cloud. Transforming IT from reactive to proactive has greater value not only for the IT department but for a business overall.

The cost efficiency that comes with cloud computing is changing the IT department into a profit center, rather than a cost center. The need to purchase new hardware and software, and deal with installation and maintenance is no longer a requirement, nor is waiting around for trouble tickets to be resolved. IT personnel can grow into leaders and strategists instead of repairmen. They have the opportunity to achieve this by strategically analyzing business requirements, recommending new services and investments, managing overall policies, and more.

IT departments can focus on establishing flexible infrastructures as well as endorsing the partners and services, that are needed to guide a business to success. IT professionals become the leading advisers on how to effectively integrate new technology that leads to innovative and positive change.

Cloud computing is changing the IT role, but it’s not threatening it. Cloud computing demonstrates the value and demand for IT to be shifted to a more strategic role. It helps redefine the effectiveness of IT and better connect the department with its business counterparts. Through cloud computing, IT can achieve:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Increased revenue
  • The transition from reactive to proactive
  • Productivity
  • A strategic role
  • Improved customer experience

Modern IT professionals are guiding business transformation that is now a requirement for an organization to remain competitive. The role isn’t phasing out. Rather, it’s gaining great importance.

Would you like to learn more about HTG Cloud and IT Services? Click Here…

Enterprise For The Cloud

The power of the cloud is undeniable for business and technology leaders in the enterprise world. According to Forbes, 69% of enterprises are relying on cloud computing to launch business models. Enterprises can utilize the cloud for a competitive advantage with the opportunity to save money, innovate, experience speed and agility, and boost collaboration with business partners.

The cloud helps modernize and provides platforms that allow enterprises to better manage their critical data. The cloud continues to change the face of IT and a copious amount of enterprises are predicted to make a heavy cloud investment in coming years, as they are already taking the first steps.

The days of IT being so expensive are quickly fading out with the emergence of cloud computing. As the cloud matures, enterprises continue to see the opportunities to achieve cost savings. The traditional approach to infrastructure and software can get extremely expensive with all the updates, maintenance, hardware and more. Constantly having to toss out or repair hardware and software can be problematic and creates a setting of overly-complex enterprise-level infrastructures. This can be costly and difficult to manage from an engineering and financial standpoint.

Cloud computing can solve these complex problems in many ways – it leverages the “as a service” model for things like infrastructure and software, and has the ability to scale to the capacity that is needed at any given time.

Cloud computing’s costs are stable and predictable, giving great value to enterprise-level businesses. Rethinking the value to the end users of your business is also a great benefit achieved with cloud computing solutions. These solutions give enterprises the ability to be on their toes and view every angle of the business.

Enterprises are demanded to innovate as the market grows, but failure to move at the same pace as the cloud market can be catastrophic – will your enterprise stay in the past or will it innovate?

Would you like to have a cloud review for your enterprise?  If so, CLICK HERE!

Chris Ichelson

Certified Engineer

HTG 360

866-278-5578

 

Business Innovation in the Cloud

Cloud computing is widely recognized as a game changer in the technology world, and executives have changed how they approach technology because of it. The cloud delivers rapid ways to engage with customers and the pace of doing business becomes drastically faster.

Having access to vast amounts of storage and computing power on demand drives innovation for businesses of all sizes. According to a survey conducted by IBM Institute for Business Value, 16% percent of businesses are using the cloud as a tool to innovate.

A virtual platform enables businesses to rapidly develop and distribute, and ultimately experiment and innovate more. It creates a foundation of flexibility that taps into next-generation systems to operate email, social networking or collaboration with employees, partners, and customers. Innovation begins when production is a creative use of critical data that companies collect internally and externally.

The cloud enables business models to transform quickly by introducing opportunities like Bring Your Own Device to the playing field. There’s a vast opportunity to connect anywhere at any time with any device. BYOD allows businesses to save money by giving employees the opportunity to use their own device to complete work regardless of their location. Mobile is a major opportunity for innovation, and it influences the connection between both customers and employees.

Another way that clouds computing encourages business innovation is that it offers a platform of tech experimentation that releases corporate IT budgets from being tied up in maintenance. Instead, they can be turned to more of the production aspects of a business. Businesses can save money and time, all at once.

The cloud tends to be initially adopted for efficiency and cost-saving purposes, but it also lays a foundation for innovative serendipity. It enables connections in order for businesses to collaborate and share knowledge. The cloud has emerged as a powerful source of innovation and can be used for much more.

Learn more about HTG and the HTG Cloud Services by Clicking Here!

What is a Trusted Advisor?

In technology, a Trusted Advisor is someone who customers can count on to really listen and show that we are ready to take a journey with them to solve their toughest business challenges.

What does this mean to you as an IT Leader?

Fact:  “35% of IT spend is occurring outside the department, a figure expected to grow to 44% in three years. Alarmingly, only 11% view IT as a developer of new services, and 14% see IT as a driver of new business initiatives. More encouraging, 40% of those believe IT is “strategically important,” up from 35% in 2011.” (TechRepublic May-June 2013)

The future of IT is about being a trusted advisor. IT will never be able to control all of the IT spend or dictate what people use. In this new app economy, the key role evolves to become a trusted advisor to the business on issues of security, risk, pooling of buying power, and how to use new technologies to deliver competitive differentiation in the market. It is all about our customer. IT leaders must be able to demonstrate how technology, apps, and services can fuel revenue, secure more customers, help to enter new markets, develop new products and services, and create exciting and rich customer experiences.

As your trusted advisor at HTG 360, we help IT leaders research, demonstrate, accelerate and shine.

HTG 360 “HTG” as your Trusted Advisor…

At HTG, we put our clients’ needs first.  Building a relationship rather than focusing on the outcome of the business at hand is the number 1 priority.  We build trust by making clients by empowering our clients to feel like solutions and vital decisions come from them.

At HTG we understand the “Why”…

As your appointed trusted advisor at HTG, we go beyond meeting our clients explicit and obvious needs by developing a deeper understanding of their implicit, and often hidden, needs.  By understanding and asking the right questions, we are able to establish a relationship where we can proactively manage our client’s pain points, inevitably building a stronger relationship based on trust.

Being “Credible” is the only way….

At HTG, we bring the experience, education and the understanding of a subject matter expert by maintaining current certifications, knowledge, and experience that enable our client superior returns on investment. Being our clients trusted advisor means understanding shifting priorities and upcoming changes in the IT landscape.

Don’t make “Promises” that we can’t deliver…

As an industry expert and a trusted advisor comes the ability to be incredibly valuable when it comes to establishing a true connection.  At HTG, we understand trust is fragile, we bring reliability to the credibility.  So what does that mean?  “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” It doesn’t matter if we are a subject matter expert if our client can’t trust us, then we can’t deliver exceptional results.

Having an “Emotional Connection” empowers…

HTG, as your trusted advisor, we recognize, deal with and respond to our client’s emotions.  Providing empathy is key.  Treating our clients first and foremost as people, not as members of a group.  Providing understanding not only to provide support but also affirmation and appreciation.

We are “Committed” to the overall process…

As our client’s trusted advisor, at HTG, we are in it for the long-term relationship, not just for short-term gain.  Connecting with our client’s IT and business teams on all levels.   We help demonstrate results that are pushed down for the holistic success of our client’s business.

 

For more information on partnering with HTG the long haul, CLICK HERE!

 

Published By:

Chris Ichelson

HTG 360

866-278-5578

cichelson@htg360.com

www.htg360.com

 

 

 

Top Cited:

TechRepublic – May-June 2013

 

The Big Solution for Small Business

Businesses of all sizes are realizing the benefits of cloud solutions and how they have the capability to improve efficiency, productivity, and functionality. Small and medium businesses (SMB) in particular play a huge role in the growth of the cloud market. According to Emergent Research, 78% of SMBs will be fully adapted to the cloud by 2020.

Cloud computing gives SMBs the opportunity to concentrate on their business strategy and development, rather than budget and management, offering a flexible and scalable platform.

Let’s review the benefits that cloud computing offers SMBs:

Reduced Costs

An important consideration for SMBs considering new technology solutions is cost. The cloud provides SMBs with significant savings by moving them over to the virtual world. Infrastructure is costly and can keep a business from growing, but the cloud allows SMBs to decrease power usage, IT and hardware requirements, installation, maintenance, labor and upgrade costs, and more. According to Cirrus Business, typically SMB cloud users spent at least 11% less on IT than non-cloud users.

Collaboration

One of the many benefits of the cloud for SMBs is the enhancement of collaboration. The cloud makes it easy to save, share, and access various files so employees can access the same master document, project or data 24×7, no matter where they are located. The ability to access files remotely allows SMB owners to manage and pave individual growth. Customer satisfaction is also increased by keeping customers informed at all times and employees effectively and responsive throughout the day.

Security

The cloud enhances security for SMBs by eliminating the harmful results of hackers, viruses, and natural disasters that could occur. This protection comes from layers of network and physical government-grade security that weren’t previously accessible to small organizations. Losses due to failed technology, disasters or breaches can have massive effects on an SMB, even putting it out of business. Having a secure infrastructure in place in the cloud that allows you to operate 24×7 without a worry keeps an SMB up and running.

Productivity & Flexibility

Cloud solutions provide top-of-the-line servers and resources that offer great flexibility and productivity. Implementing virtual solutions hosted by a cloud provider increases productivity by offering users the ability to work securely on data in real time, from any location, on any computing device. This access to critical business data from any device is one of the most alluring cloud benefits. It makes it easier for SMBs to manage their business wherever and however, they please and ensures that users are no longer tied to one location. Increased mobility equals flexibility, and opting to implement things like BYOD really boosts productivity and can lead to further cost savings.

We deliver the most cost-effective solutions for the SMB market by leading your business down the path of innovation, growth, and success. Learn more about our cloud solutions on the Managed Services page, and see how we approach the SMB segment on our Industries page!

Embracing the Benefits of BYOD

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is transforming the business world by changing the way we use technology in the workplace. BYOD allows businesses and their employees to utilize and have access to data from anywhere in the world on any device. With Internet access, your office becomes the world. Your choice of personal computing device, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones, allows you to securely access company information and applications at all times.

According to Gartner, 70% of mobile professionals will conduct their work on personal smart devices by 2018. This new phenomenon offers countless benefits. Let’s look at them:

Productivity

BYOD allows for real-time decision-making by offering the ability to keep clients and employees connected anywhere at any time. Technology increases overall productivity already, but recent research shows that employees’ productivity also increases once they have the ability to log on to their corporate email account or workspace whenever or wherever they please. Productivity, efficiency, and performance are all benefits of BYOD. 93% of employees find BYOD to be beneficial to both employees and employers, while 53% of business decision makers acknowledged the fact that it leads to more productive employees.

Security

Security is always of high importance in the business world, so having the right cloud provider is key. Data encryption is one way to ensure that, even as data moves between devices, it will remain protected from outside eyes. HTG Security offers enterprise-grade encryption for client data so your information is constantly safe. Users need to enter login information to access their programs and data and if any devices get misplaced, you have the control to wipe devices remotely. We can help you ease into BYOD to ensure you’re incorporating it in a secure way.

Cost Savings

BYOD has the potential to save businesses money on costly hardware, as they don’t need to provide users with fancy new hardware to get work done. Instead, they can keep basic computers in-house, since all they really need is Internet access, and users can easily work on their own devices from other locations. These personal devices tend to be more up to date and powerful due to consumer preferences. This also saves on power, upgrades, maintenance and more while still leading to quality business operations.

Collaboration

BYOD also refines employee and customer communication. With personal devices, employees can maintain communication, even by holding video conferences, regardless of where they are. The ease of accessing shared documents and other data on personal devices is a great benefit that BYOD brings to a business, allowing users to be more efficient in working with others. You can also boost customer satisfaction with constant communication and updates.

Employee Satisfaction

Happy employees tend to do better work. When your employees are comfortable and working off of devices of their choosing, their satisfaction will definitely increase. They also become experts in using those devices. BYOD gives them the opportunity to work however they want to while still being productive consistently. It empowers business users and better uses their strengths.

Our cloud solutions help businesses introduce BYOD effectively, maintaining security while also boosting productivity and mobility. Our Desktop and Office solutions are leading the way, helping organizations embrace a new way of working. Check out the HTG Cloud & IT pages to learn more!

Top 4 Myths of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing can be prone to some misconstrued perceptions due to confusion and hype that often comes with it. Although cloud computing is growing rapidly, with IDC predicting cloud IT infrastructure spending will reach $53.1 billion by 2019, these cloud myths can dangerously hinder a business from real innovation and outcomes.

Let’s review the top four myths that revolve around the cloud and see if you’re dangerously living under those misconstrued perceptions!

Myth 1: Cloud is Less Secure Than In-House Infrastructures

The biggest apprehension when it comes to the cloud is security. Its ability to store important and sensitive information in a safe and secure environment is the main concern for business leaders, and rightfully so. This misconception about a lack of security comes from the misconception that the cloud is a place that everyone has access to, leading to stolen or changed data. This is inaccurate. Traditional infrastructures hold data in a vulnerable location that can be physically breached, or harmed by natural disasters. Cloud environments, on the other hand, hold data in a virtual space where it cannot be harmed, with multiple safeguards in place to prevent any outside access.

It’s all about security management. That is where an excellent cloud provider comes in. HTG offers the highest quality protection when it comes to client data and information. A customer’s information is secured to multiple layers of both physical and network security. Our cloud solutions are powered out of fully redundant Tier 3 Class 1 data centers that have multiple physical security measures in place. Only authorized data center personnel are granted access to the data center facilities, who must have prior clearance and an escort.

This quote explains it perfectly: “Cloud providers are often more secure because they dedicate themselves to security in ways many firms don’t, since a loss of security credibility would be death for a cloud provider.”

Myth 2: The Cloud Is Costly

When considering any kind of technology installment or environment change, money is a huge component that a business considers. Many think that moving to a virtual environment will mean massive costs. While costs will depend largely on the exact solution a business chooses, cloud, in general, shifts a lot of capital expenditure to operational expenditure, which often reduces costs and makes them more predictable.

On-site, physical infrastructure is actually the culprit that’s eating away at your budget. Not only is it a massive upfront investment, but it needs to be regularly upgraded, refreshed, maintained and fixed. This means spending on hardware, upgrades, replacements, space, energy, and more. It’s a waste of both money and valuable time.

In contrast, cloud computing is scalable, allowing expenses to adjust with resource needs. A business has the ability to consume and pay as their demand for services goes up or down. Our cloud solutions offer a pay-as-you-go plan, leading to a create deal of cost agility. Additionally, you’re no longer the one making the huge technological investments. The provider takes care of that, both paying for and managing the infrastructure and all that comes with it.

If that doesn’t have you convinced, then perhaps this stat will: 88% of cloud users point to cost savings as a cloud benefit.

Myth 3: The Cloud Is Too Confusing

According to a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research, 1 in 5 Americans confessed that they’ve pretended to know what the cloud is and how it works. Most people, not knowing to relate the cloud to IT and business, related it to the weather. Confusion can impede a business from moving forward, so let’s clear this up:

Cloud computing is a technology that uses a network of remote servers to store, manage, and process data, rather than the traditional local servers you might have on-site today. It functions through the Internet. All of the data that businesses store in their own in-house servers transfers instead to a cloud provider’s infrastructure, which is secure and constantly taken care of by that cloud provider’s team – therefore releasing a business from wasting energy, resources, time, money, and personnel on tasks that are unnecessary for it to do itself.

If we do relate this back to the weather to better understand it, than think of the “cloud” as a metaphor for “Internet” – that’s how businesses and users access these resources.

Cloud computing provides businesses with growth opportunities, high performance, quality, affordable prices, easy collaboration, and simple data access.

Myth 4: My IT Team Disappears

Another very false but important myth to underline is the fear that IT is removed. While businesses could use the cloud as an opportunity to shrink staff, that’s not actually necessary with the cloud move. Instead, the cloud takes care of the basic IT tasks that tie up your employees’ time. It frees up their time, so IT personnel can instead innovate and focus on things that are more prudent and strategic for the business.

The cloud allows businesses to eliminate the need to continually update its own technology infrastructures and software. This relates back to cutting down cost. Cloud minimizes IT costs. It doesn’t have to eliminate your IT team but instead allows IT to focus on their more business-enhancing tasks instead of worrying about traditional, old ways of updating, managing and fixing your infrastructure.

The benefits of cloud computing are undeniable, and we hope we busted a few common cloud myths for you. Cloud is common in the business world today. It’s no longer brand new, and it’s certainly not a fad. Don’t let the myths get in the way of finding a suitable cloud solution for your organization. Chances are it can address the majority of your business problems. Want to learn more about the benefits of cloud services? Visit our Managed Cloud Services page!

Virtual vs. In-House Servers

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud computing solution that provides virtualized computing resources, such as servers, storage, power and more, via the Internet. Server virtualization has been a popular solution for IT. It provides efficiencies and capabilities that aren’t possible with a physical server setup. Scalability, the elimination of major hardware investments, location independence, and physical security are all benefits of IaaS.

If you’re eager to get into the virtualization game, here are some benefits of virtual vs. in-house servers, as well as an overview of our IaaS solution:

In-House vs. Virtual Servers

With in-house servers, infrastructure is located within a company, and that company is responsible for the management, maintenance, upgrades, refreshes, applications, and more. In-house servers give an organization physical control over their environment, but they add a lot more responsibility, costs, and vulnerabilities.

In-house servers require a sizable capital investment on all equipment and software, as well as the upgrades and refreshes. And after reaching server capacity, you have to purchase more hardware, which makes growth tough. Having in-house servers is also more vulnerable, leading to security breaches or irreversible harm from natural disasters. It would be essential to have an IT professional to continuously watch over in-house servers that are carrying sensitive company data. This takes away valuable time, not allowing IT to focus more of their talents on strategic business projects. Instead, they end up spending their time fixing bugs and updating resources.

When you move to a virtual server environment, your in-house responsibilities are shifted over to the cloud computing provider, like HTG. You’re relieved of the stress of managing the infrastructure. Virtual servers offer a scalable solution that can be modified according to your demands. Your in-house investment becomes negligible, and you’ll find you’re enjoying flexibility and agility due to on-demand capacity. Hardware, human resources, and energy savings are a few of the things to look forward to in the virtual world. With a virtual server solution offered by a reliable provider like HTG, you’ll also experience enterprise-grade security. With 24x7x365 reliable support, your IT team can focus on value-added tasks instead of fixing equipment.
Rather than purchasing servers, software, data center space and network equipment yourself, you have the ability to purchase those resources as a fully outsourced service – for example, with our IaaS solution.

Infrastructure as a Service

With HTG’s IaaS, the benefits are huge. IaaS eliminates capital expenses that are typically dedicated to equipment and maintenance by moving you to an Operating Expense (OpEx) model with virtual, enterprise-level servers. This saves a business a significant amount of money. There’s also no need to worry about managing your own servers, as HTG’s team takes care of that for you by installing, maintaining and ultimately managing all your infrastructure, including your applications and security. HTG has implemented leading firewalls to protect your critical files. With a full-scale, 24x7x365 monitoring team as an option, HTG’s IaaS solution offers a worry-free guarantee, a team that has your back, and market-leading technology to power your business.

Want to learn more about our Infrastructure as a Service offering? Visit our IaaS page, and reach out to us with questions or to get started today!

Case Study: A Tailor-Made Cloud Solution

The following is a recent case study on a medical rehabilitation company with 13 locations and 200 employees across Central Florida.

The client was working with a local MSP to manage and handle its IT services. With no IT staff, the company had an agreement with the MSP to have a dedicated resource during normal business hours. The resource included voice systems, data, infrastructure, connectivity, and all forms of help-desk support. However, it was limited by normal business hours and was not available 24x7x365. Additionally, the company faced complications with scalability. It was in an expansion phase, yet the on-site infrastructure was unable to properly accommodate this growth. Upper-level management suggested a new, hosted solution that would offer scalability, predictable costs throughout the business’ growth, and a way to receive local IT support.

We were brought into the opportunity and tasked to propose a cloud-based solution to resolve the client’s performance limitations and deliver full IT support, cost efficiency and dependability. The cloud provider presented the client with a fully managed cloud services proposal that not only met and exceeded their full IT requirements but also included a full-time employee, managed by our managed services team. Cloud Engineers did a full analysis of the client’s network and infrastructure on-site, allowing them to build a truly tailor-made cloud solution. The unique solution allowed the medical rehabilitation facility to focus on running the business and continuing expansion, leaving the IT operations and management to our engineering team.

The final cloud solution delivered to the client included CloudDesktop, CloudServer, and CloudMail, as well as 24x7x365 monitoring to ensure the highest level of performance. By replacing the MSP dedicated resource, the client is now able to experience managed cloud solutions that offer many benefits: a 100% uptime SLA, around-the-clock support, full management, scalability, a cost-efficient pay-as-you-go model, patches and upgrades to servers, and much more. The company now experiences on-site support for its connectivity, voice, infrastructure, and help desk needs, in addition to the 24x7x365 support center. There are also scheduled weekly project status calls and monthly trouble ticket reviews between us and the client to ensure the solution is performing and meeting the business’ needs.

We were able to understand and meet the client’s exact needs, designing a cloud solution that not only resolves current issues but also has the ability to grow and evolve alongside the company. This level of dedication is delivered to all clients, regardless of size or industry. By moving to our managed cloud solutions, customers can experience a superior level of support and care, while receiving secure cloud solutions that they can rely on.

Would you like to learn more about working with HTG 360 and our cloud partners on your next solution? Contact HTG today at 866-278-5578 or info@htg360.com.

Software Development in the Cloud

Cloud computing provides significant cost savings for software development. However, if this is the sole reason developers are making the move, they’re missing the multiple other strategic benefits of the cloud that make the transition really worthwhile. Software developers can experience greater flexibility in deploying and managing applications in a cloud environment. Cloud computing creates a virtual environment for project management and software builds, complete with automated testing. This modern environment provides improved agility, increased performance, and faster time to market for software development.

Virtual Resources

Within the cloud environment, developers have access to a practically unlimited amount of resources, including testing and staging servers. These virtual servers enhance the speed of software testing and delivery and ultimately increase productivity as development teams can test concepts faster and easier than ever. The unlimited resources are also extremely scalable, allowing the team to spin resources up and down as needed. This is extremely efficient when compared to traditional, physical environments where developers have to wait for provisioning of servers and databases and have limited resources.

Time to Market

Software development in the cloud also speeds up the time to market, as developers can release new, high-quality software quickly and efficiently. This makes it a lot easier to keep up with the competition and consumer demands. Cloud computing minimizes the time it takes to provision new environments, release new features, discover bugs, and deploy fixes. These are tasks that used to drain time.

Security

Security is always top-of-mind when it comes to using new technology. It’s no different with software development. Maintaining data integrity is crucial during the testing and production stages. Fortunately, cloud infrastructure can provide the proper security measures and data recovery plans. Of course, it always depends on the provider you use for the cloud environment. HTG offers high-end infrastructure with multiple layers of government-grade network and physical security. Cloud technology is our business and core competency. We know it best, so we know how to keep your software development environment absolutely secure.

Cost Efficiency

And now for the cost savings. This is a popular benefit of cloud computing, and for good reason. The cloud provides great cost efficiency for software developers, who can experience a pay-as-you-go model. You pay as you use the resources, and when you’re not working on development, you can pause your use of the resources so you don’t overpay. The overall efficiency of the cloud environment also inevitably leads to savings. For example, developers can experience effective testing, with the ability to test multiple features of the software at once by isolating sections of the code. Multiple people can work on different parts of it at once. This not only leads to wider, deeper testing of new software before releasing it, but it also leads to greater efficiency and speed of development.

Consumer Benefits

So let’s think about the consumers. When you provide cloud-based applications, customers can access the software via the Internet on a pay-as-you-go basis – similar to how you access the cloud resources to build the software in the first place. Most people already use some form of cloud software every single day without even realizing it. That’s how prevalent this is today! This simple model leads to countless benefits for businesses and consumers alike. It’s so beneficial that IDC predicts the cloud software market will surpass $112.8 billion by 2019.

Cloud software is increasingly important today. It is responsible for how we store, modify and access computing resources on both the consumer and business sides. Cloud computing has made pooled computing resources a mainstream technology that is so popular because of its flexibility, cost efficiency, and other benefits. It’s important to consider the cloud for software development not only for the cost benefits, but also for how the environment will enable greater agility, security, scalability, productivity, and a competitive edge.

Prepare With Disaster Recovery

The inability to access critical data or an extended wait time to recover from a natural disaster can be serious problems for a business. These situations can define the lifespan of that company. According to CloudTweaks, 43% of companies that experience a disaster never reopen and only 6% of businesses without a disaster recovery plan survive in the long term. Why be among them when you can use our reliable HTG CloudRecovery solution? With disaster recovery services in the cloud, companies can benefit from cloud automation and flexibility while having solid DR assurance.

Disaster recovery gives businesses the ability to store your data, applications and other assets off-site on HTG servers in a remote, fully redundant data center that is equipped with state-of-the-art resources and security. With around-the-clock support and monitoring, HIPAA and PCI compliance, and government-level security standards, all of your critical data is secured, protected and recoverable, so you’ll experience minimal downtime if a disaster occurs. Recovery can start at the first point of disaster, creating aggressive Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). Our disaster recovery solution will have your business back up and running in no time, even if you don’t have access to your primary site.

CloudRecovery offers great scalability, the recovery a business needs seamlessly and automatically, and decreased DR costs! By eliminating pricey in-house equipment and maintenance, and transferring responsibilities and management to HTG cloud team, you’ll experience major cost savings and overall efficiency. In the cloud, you only pay for what you use and need and receive 24x7x365 Help Desk support along the way. Really, cloud disaster recovery just helps make your life easier.

Cloud disaster recovery is quickly growing, and it’s an eye opener for businesses that don’t want to be constantly thinking, “What if?” Disaster recovery in the cloud ensures that business data is recoverable and secure at all times, protecting any business from crises that may occur, including natural disasters, viruses, and other emergencies. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 90% of DR operations will run in the cloud. With our cloud computing solutions, disaster recovery delivers the necessary protection, along with plenty of other benefits like lowered costs.

If you’d like to learn more about our disaster recovery, visit our Cloud page!

Virtual Desktops: What Are the Benefits?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a virtual workspace that essentially replaces a physical desktop environment with a Web-based application. By using any Internet-connected device – smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, etc. – you can log in via your Web browser and access your files, documents, applications, and much more. Users will have the same experience as using their traditional desktop, but with much greater flexibility.

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a form of VDI in which the desktop virtualization is outsourced and handled by a third party – in this case, HTG. DaaS is delivered in the cloud, along with the applications a business needs to use on the virtual desktop.

Implementing virtual desktops allows your business to host everything virtually, which eliminates physical servers, hardware, software, updates, upgrades…the list goes on.

Let’s look further at how virtual desktops work and the benefits that come with using them:

Security comes into play with the right cloud provider. HTG’s data centers are Tier 3, Class 1, with full redundancy and both network and physical security. All of your confidential information will remain secure in HTG facilities. For any business, saving all files securely is of high importance. Using virtual desktops can create greater security than a traditional desktop environment. The devices are no longer vulnerable, as businesses don’t have data stored locally anymore. Instead, data is protected in the cloud via extremely secure data center facilities.

Business data also remains accessible to authorized users at any given time. How you ask? Well, virtual desktops remove the risks of natural disasters or failures, and the need to be glued to your office desk, because data is located in the cloud. Having a virtual desktop environment means spilling coffee on your laptop isn’t detrimental in terms of your critical data. You don’t need flash drives or constant emails to yourself to transfer information back and forth. You don’t even have to be in the country to continue working. With virtual desktops, your files and apps will be located in the cloud and ready to use whenever and wherever you want. They’re limitless.

This then brings in the possibility of BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, for the workforce. The world can become your office. You can make real-time decisions and drastically decrease costs by avoiding device upgrades or even supplying the devices at all. Additionally, a recent Cisco study found that U.S. workers save an average of 81 minutes per week by using their own devices – so clearly, BYOD leads to greater productivity as well.

-Benefits of VDI
-Mobility and BYOD
-Competitive edge
-Anywhere, anytime access on any device
-Cost savings
-Improved security
-Avoid maintenance and management
-Scalability
-The benefits of virtual desktops are simple, clear and endless. Accessibility and flexibility become effortless. Virtual desktops are an obvious choice.

Want to learn more about our DaaS offering, HTG’s CloudDesktop? Contact HTG Today at 866-278-5578.

Managed Cloud vs. Unmanaged Cloud

The beauty of the cloud is in the copious options it offers a business. One of the most important options to consider is whether or not you want to control your own cloud infrastructure or have a provider like RapidScale manage it for you. It ultimately depends on your business and the goals you have set.

Here are some benefits that both managed and unmanaged cloud computing offer and how they differ from one another:

Managed Cloud

It is estimated that the managed cloud market will grow from $17 billion in 2014 to $43 billion by 2018. (451 Research) It’s evolving at a quick rate, and the reason for its increased popularity is that providers, like RapidScale, take on a lot of the management and maintenance responsibilities and constantly ensure that everything is running smoothly. Having a managed cloud allows for redundancy and full support, as well as guidance. The operating system, control panel, server setup, added applications, ongoing maintenance and management, and more is all supported. RapidScale’s managed cloud offers the opportunity to work together to create a perfect, customized cloud solution. Businesses can reap the benefits of cloud computing while avoiding added responsibility and the added time it would take to manage a cloud solution alone.

If you don’t want to worry about the cost, stress or time it takes to manage your cloud environment, a managed cloud is for you. It’s perfect for organizations that don’t necessarily have the technical expertise in-house or those that simply want to focus on strategic business initiatives rather than maintaining infrastructure.

RapidSale’s managed solutions offer the following:

-End-use troubleshooting and device setup
-Operating system management
-100% uptime SLA
-Licensing management
-Application management
-Patches and upgrades to server
-Managed backups
-24x7x365 support
-And more…

Unmanaged Cloud

Unmanaged cloud still provides the core cloud computing services, but with a “do it yourself” method. It allows you to access the cloud solutions and their benefits, but with minimal support, unlike a managed cloud. The default solution configuration is supported, but beyond that, overall solution management becomes the organization’s responsibility. An unmanaged cloud is great for businesses that have a strong IT team in place already and need little to no assistance. It’s a great way to maintain granular control of your cloud environment, as you receive unrestricted access to your infrastructure.

However, the unmanaged cloud does not offer support for customizations or third-party software a business wants to install. If a business wants to make changes or encounters an issue, this would largely be solved by the business alone, with its own personnel, money, and time.

If having some freedom and control over your business’ cloud environment is important to your business, then the unmanaged cloud is for you:

HTG unmanaged cloud offers:

Support for operating system and default solution configuration
Free setup and provisioning
Organizational control over implementation and overall solution management

Making a decision between managed and unmanaged cloud is critical for any business transitioning into this new environment. A managed cloud results in far less work and requires little to no expertise, but if being in control of all aspects of your business is your preference then it’s important to consider unmanaged cloud. HTG offers both options, but its key differentiator has managed the cloud. Managed cloud computing allows HTG to do what it’s best at while freeing up your business to focus on what you’re best at!

Data Security in the Cloud

One of the most common considerations about cloud solutions is their ability to secure critical data. Those who are still on the fence about implementing the cloud due to fear of data security can rest assured knowing that cloud solutions will actually improve security. 94% of businesses say they saw an improvement in security after implementing cloud solutions. While it’s clear that cloud security has improved in general, the specifics rely on the cloud provider that is chosen.

Let’s take a look at the great security benefits that cloud computing offers, as well as what RapidScale can offer.

Security Against All Odds

Cloud solutions remove your on-site physical equipment, making natural disasters and security breaches last year’s concerns. Making mistakes, overlooking, or even misplacing things are actions that are inevitable as humans. Imagine spilling coffee on your computer, losing it at an airport, or even dropping and breaking it. Having cloud solutions in place means these situations, while still unfortunate, are not detrimental. That’s because the data isn’t locally stored on the device itself. The virtual world secures data in a location where it cannot be physically harmed. By having infrastructure running out of data centers that a cloud provider owns and manages, businesses don’t fall captive to the integrity of their physical location. Data won’t be vulnerable on-site, and that’s a major perk of the cloud.

A huge misconception surrounding the cloud is that anyone can access the Internet, so anyone can access data stored in the cloud. This is not the case – if it was, the cloud wouldn’t be a huge force it is today. RapidScale has multiple layers of physical and network security in place that allow businesses to experience enterprise-grade security, regardless of their size. The cloud solutions include in-flight and at-rest encryption, strong firewalls, password protection, around-the-clock monitoring, exterior security systems and more. Full redundancy and multiple data center locations also eliminate the fear of ever losing your data. A business gains secure yet constant access to its critical data, no matter where users are, while outside eyes remain outside.

Our R.S. Tier 3 Class 1 data center facilities include full credential-limited access, keycard protocols, biometric scanning systems, exterior security systems, on-premises security guards, digital surveillance and recording, secured cages, around-the-clock monitoring, redundant HVAC systems, and much more. This cloud security is stronger than what you can provide for yourself, and that’s because RapidScale has the team and budget in place to make this happen. Don’t allow security stand in the way of taking advantage of cloud computing.

These security benefits are what make it possible to have a secure experience in the cloud. With the issue of cloud security out of the way, the cloud becomes much more difficult to ignore. The only thing to consider now is exactly how it can work for you. Reach out to us today to learn more!

93% of businesses move to the cloud to increase productivity outside of the office, as well as improve security, efficiency, and scalability.

Many industries today are joining the innovative cloud computing world. 93% of businesses move to the cloud to increase productivity outside of the office, as well as improve security, efficiency, and scalability. Cloud computing is important to gain reliability and a competitive advantage. Here are ten industries that can benefit from the cloud:

1. Hospitality

The global hotel industry produces approximately 400 to 500 billion dollars each year. Distinguishing yourself with high guest satisfaction is extremely important for organizations in this industry. Connecting quickly and easily with guests is something that can be achieved with cloud solutions. When a hotel implements BYOD solutions, guests can sign up for appointments or order room service at the touch of a button. And the cloud makes it easier on the business side to. Many hospitality organizations have already moved to the cloud because they realized it can improve their spending and overall internal efficiency, while boosting the guest experience.

2. Healthcare

61% say that cloud computing will be a major player in the healthcare industry in the next five years. One of the greatest benefits that cloud computing offers the healthcare industry is the delivery of efficient health services and improved doctor-patient relationships. With the cloud, information regarding patients’ diagnoses and treatments can be made available, securely, from the touch of a button on their phone, tablet, computer, etc. Cloud also creates a one-on-one connection between the doctor and patient. Doctors can stay connected and communicate with their patients easily. Cloud computing also frees up time for doctors, allowing them to focus more on their patients, rather than spending excessive time on paperwork. Tasks like scheduling appointments, making referrals, or completing patient history can be completed anywhere at any time with greater efficiency.

3. Automotive

Making sales is huge for the automotive industry, and having constant availability of data is big part of producing sales. Cloud computing migrates data to the Internet using remote servers, giving automotive businesses the ability to access inventory or other necessary data easily. Employees will have the information they need at any given time, even if they’re on the floor with a customer. Sale reps will be prepared constantly, generating sales successfully. With this competitive advantage, it’s easy to direct customers to their perfect car. Instant access of information closes deals faster, and the cloud makes this possible.

4. Real Estate

Communication is key in the real estate industry, and cloud computing can be a lifesaver for real estate agents. These professionals are constantly out in the field with customers, and they need easy access to information to share with clients on the spot! Accessing business files, customer information, or listings is quick and easy in the cloud. Agents can remain focused on sharing the best information with clients and closing deals. Agents can maintain access to customer and prospect information, new listings, and efficient marketing platforms. Everything is centralized in the cloud.

5. Financial and Banking Services

Cloud computing offers the financial and banking services industry the agility to innovate and scale rapidly. And an industry with so much important data can’t afford to lose access to it. With access to virtual infrastructure through the cloud, the financial sector can maintain privacy and security of customer and business information, while also accessing efficient, modern computing solutions. Our cloud solutions come with 24x7x365 support and monitoring, and multiple layers of security and disaster recovery services. This allows the financial world to focus on the customers.

6. Education

The technology world is constantly advancing, creating new, innovative ways for students to learn. It’s important for students to keep up with technology and the education industry is starting to include this more and more today. 43% of higher education institutions have already implemented or are maintaining cloud computing. With the cloud, communication will evolve between staff, students and parents, and all parties will develop greater knowledge on today’s modern technology solutions and maintain quick and easy access to the information they need at all times. With cloud solutions, students can access their assignments and resources from any of their Internet-connected devices, and teachers can assign and upload materials to one central location. It’s that easy!

7. Legal

Implementing cloud solutions in the legal industry allows law firms to store client data, financial records, legal documents and more in a central, virtual location, securely. When you look deeper, cloud computing services are actually proving to be more secure than traditional on-site infrastructure. Since the legal industry holds a lot of sensitive data, secure accessibility is key. Thanks to cloud solutions, you can achieve this today! Through secure client portals, authorized users can access necessary data from any location, at any time, using any Internet-capable device. Our cloud solutions include advanced backup and recovery services, and multiple layers of enterprise-grade security. This makes the cloud accessible for any legal firm.

8. Manufacturing

Manufacturing depends heavily on suppliers, distributors, and customer interactions. Accuracy, speed and knowledge are all key in this sector. Cloud-based systems allow manufacturers to focus more on efficiency and the creation of new products. They often face the challenge of handling multiple locations and supply chains, and all of the communication that goes on between them. Cloud computing generates real-time data, places it in a central location, and allows all team members to collaborate, communicate and share information easily, from afar. Cloud syncs files in the central location so users can access them on any device, no matter where in the world they are. Cloud computing creates a big competitive advantage for manufacturers, as they can experience increased efficiency throughout all operations and improved communication.

9. Nonprofit

It is crucial for nonprofits to stay connected and innovative using technology. They face a demand for transparency, either in competition for funding or accountability for organizational outcomes. However, nonprofits also rely heavily on low budgets and this has traditionally been a barrier when it comes to investing in new tech. With our cloud solutions, we can eliminate this barrier. The cloud offers nonprofits mobility, accessibility, efficiency and productivity for prices they can afford. Collaboration can occur 24×7 via the Internet, allowing for real-time management, insight, and action.

10. Insurance

In the insurance industry, cloud computing can reduce the total cost of IT operations, engage customers more effectively, and handle peaks in demand with unlimited scalability. The cloud offers the opportunity for real-time communication between a business and its employees and customers, and allows customers to have constant access to their accounts and information. It allows insurers to better address the demands of consumers, achieve faster speed to market with new products or services, and achieve efficiency overall.

Want to learn more about how cloud computing is impacting business across all industries? Visit our Industries page!

HTG announces its new Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Software and Appliances that are on the radar for CIOs and CISOs around the world

HTG 360 (https://htg360.com) announces its new Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Software and Appliances that are on the radar for CIOs and CISOs around the world. DLP solutions have been traditionally hard to find in the marketplace and extremely expensive. Corporations have looked elsewhere for solutions that can address data in motion and the internal brains of protecting their most valued assets. Today, HTG 360 is proud to announce that they can help Enterprise Corporations and Fortune 1,000 companies source a robust, reliable and cost-effective DLP solution. By implementing their new DLP solution, organizations can now have visibility and control of their internal operations and data movement all the way down to the KERNAL level.

Chris Ichelson, CEO of HTG 360, stated the following: “Understanding that in today’s ever-changing world of technology and data movement through private and public domains, data breaches are inevitable. Technology leaders must find a solution to remain permissive in order for executives and associates to be successful while protecting their client’s sensitive information. Our expertise is in helping these types of organizations set security standards, as well as implement checks and balances. This is accomplished through software and hardware appliances that help them manage and audit down to the kernel level. We are confident that any organization that we have the opportunity to work will achieve an increased security posture and help them minimize data breaches as well as zero-day attacks by applying computer network security protocols.”

About HTG 360

HTG 360 is committed to working with their clients to be a single source for all Security, Network and Cloud Products and Services. HTG can now deliver multi-level technology solutions for any client worldwide. If companies would like to learn more about HTG and also discuss their security and data protection plans for 2015-2016, they can be contacted by visiting https://htg360.com.

Security Services Provided

Network Security, Firewall/UTM/NGFW, IDS/IPS, Email and Web Security, DDoS Mitigation, DNS/DHCP/IPAM (DDI), Advanced Malware Detection, Secure Wireless, Secure Networking, Network Change Management, Remote Access, Network Access Control, System Security, Anti-Malware, Vulnerability Management, Change Management, Systems Access Management, Host IPS (HIPS), Secure Platforms, Secure Interfaces, Secure Storage, Endpoint Security, Endpoint Suite, Host IPS (HIPS), Advanced Malware Detection, Patching and Configuration, Disk Encryption, Application and Device Control, MDM/MAM, Endpoint Virtualization, Application Security, Web Application Firewall, Web Application Testing, Mobile Application Testing, Client/Server Application Testing, Secure Development and Methodology, COTS Testing, Data Security, Discovery and Classification, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Encryption, Database Protection, File Integrity Protection, User Security, Authentication, Authorization and Accounting (AAA), Federation, Provisioning, Training and Awareness.

Network Services Provided

Dedicated Line Access (T-1), Dedicated Internet Access, Ethernet over Copper, Fiber, Metro Ethernet, MPLS, IP-VPN, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, DRaaS, Networking Hardware, Cloud, Private Cloud, Managed Information Technology.

By Phone: +1-866-278-5578
By Email: info(at)htg360(dot)com
By Website: https://htg360.com/data-security.html

Compliance References

GLBA – ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/privacy-and-security/gramm-leach-bliley-act
SOX- soxlaw.com/compliance.htm
PCI – pcisecuritystandards.org
HIPAA – hipaa.com