Category

Virtualization

The benefits of virtualization in 2017

By | Managed Service, Managed Technology, MSP, Virtualization

The relationship between computer hardware and software can be frustrating. Both require the other to function properly, but both also require individual attention. Virtualization makes this relationship far more flexible, and we’ve got a rundown on a few of the best examples.

More technology uptime

Virtualization vendors use lots of fancy names for the features of their technology, but behind all the technobabble are a number of revolutionary concepts. Take “fault tolerance” for example. When you use virtualization to pool multiple servers in such a way that they can be used as a single supercomputer, you can drastically increase uptime. If one of those servers goes down, the others continue working uninterrupted.

Another example of this is “live migrations,” which is just a fancy way of saying that employee computers can be worked on by technicians while users are still using them. Say you’ve built a bare-bones workstation (as a virtual machine on the server), but you need to upgrade its storage capacity. Virtualization solutions of today can do that without the need to disconnect the user and restart their computer.

Better disaster recovery

Data backups are much simpler in a virtualized environment. In a traditional system, you could create an “image” backup of your server — complete with operating system, applications and system settings. But it could be restored to a computer only with the exact same hardware specifications.

With virtualization, images of your servers and workstations are much more uniform and can be restored to a wider array of computer hardware setups. This is far more convenient and much faster to restore compared to more traditional backups.

More secure applications

In an effort to increase security, IT technicians usually advocate isolating software and applications from each other. If malware is able to find a way into your system through a software security gap, you want to do everything in your power to keep it from spreading.

Virtualization can put your applications into quarantined spaces that are allowed to use only minimum system resources and storage, reducing the opportunities they have to wreak havoc on other components of the system.

Longer technology lifespans

The same features that quarantine applications can also create customized virtual spaces for old software. If your business needs a piece of software that won’t work on modern operating systems, virtualization allows you to build a small-scale machine with everything the program needs to run. In that virtual space, the application will be more secure, use fewer resources, and remain quarantined from new programs.

In addition to software, virtualization also encourages longer life spans of old hardware components. With virtualization, the hardware an employee uses is little more than a window to the powerful virtual machine on the server. Employee computers need only the hardware required to run the virtualization window, and the majority of the processing takes place on the server. Hardware requirements are much lower for employees and equipment can be used for several years.

Easier cloud migrations

There are several ways virtualization and cloud technology overlap. Both help users separate processing power from local hardware and software, delivering computing power over a local network or the internet. Because of these similarities, migrating to the cloud from a virtualized environment is a much simpler task.

There is no debate about the benefits of this technology. The only thing standing between your business and more affordable, efficient computing is an IT provider that can manage it for you. For unlimited technology support, virtualization or otherwise, on a flat monthly fee — get in touch with us today!  855-476-6347

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

NSA-approved: mobile virtualization

By | Virtualization

Server and desktop virtualization have been improving computing efficiency and data security for years. But with all the talk about mobile BYOD policies and corporate data protection on smartphones, the National Security Agency (NSA) believes virtualization is the key to true security. Here’s what you need to know:

US government approved

The NSA maintains a program named Commercial Solutions for Classified (CSFC) that tests and approves hardware to assist government entities that are optimizing security. For example, if a public sector network administrator is deciding which mobile devices to purchase for office staff, CSFC has information about which devices are approved for various government roles.

Offices in the intelligence community usually require virtualization hardware and software as a minimum for laptops and tablets. But until now, no smartphones that included the technology have passed the tests. However, a recently released model of the HTC A9 phone includes mobile virtualization functionality that got the green light.

What is mobile virtualization?

Virtualization is an immensely complicated field of technology, but when it comes to mobile devices the process is a little simpler. Like any mobile device management plan, the goal of mobile virtualization is to separate personal data from business data entirely. Current solutions are forced to organize and secure data that is stored in a single drive.

Essentially, current phones have one operating system, which contains a number of folders that can be locked down for business and personal access. But the underlying software running the whole phone still connects everything. So if an employee downloaded malware hidden in a mobile game, it would be possible to spread through the entire system, regardless of how secure individual folders are.

With mobile virtualization however, administrators can separate the operating system from the hardware. This would allow you to partition a phone’s storage into two drives for two operating system installations. Within the business partition, you could forbid users from downloading any apps other than those approved by your business. If employees install something malicious on their personal partition, it has no way of affecting your business data because the two virtualized operating systems have no way of interacting with each other.

Although it’s still in its infancy, the prospect of technology that can essentially combine the software from two devices onto a single smartphone’s hardware is very exciting for the security community. To start preparing your organization for the switch to mobile virtualization, call us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Internet Technology – The Misunderstood Managed Service

By | Hardware, Managed Service, Managed Technology, MSP, Security, Virtualization, VoIP, Web & Cloud

Written By:  Fabienne McGeever

Where clients pay a fixed monthly rate to manage their entire IT infrastructure/Network. NOT!

That is the first of many misunderstood statements the IT Managed Services Provider, known by the acronym “MSP,” industry faces today.  I remember the days when anything computer related, I would call up my sister and ask her for help.  We would spend hours trying to figure something out and she would ask me a barrage of questions that I didn’t know the answers to.  I would say, but you work with computers!  Enough said.  There is hardware, software, networks, VPN’s, domains, servers, data centers, storage, versions and levels and then there are third party vendors and partners with all kinds of areas that are a specialization unto themselves.

There are other times when an MSP misrepresents or avoids speaking directly to what they will actually be doing for you.  For example, they may offer a back-up solution but fail to explain what is indeed being backed up and where. You are thinking “I’m covered”.  Not always the case as there are different levels of backup solutions from local to external to off site.  Different devices and storage capacity.  You need to know what data is being backed up, where and how often. All businesses should have a disaster recovery solution in place so that should something catastrophic happen, the business can easily recover and get “back to business” with minimal data loss.

Typically the client and the MSP are bound by a contractual, service-level agreement(s) that states the performance and quality metrics of their relationship.  The agreement should address a range of issues related to cost, quality and timeliness of service, remote and/or on-site support and the recovery risks.  An in-touch business person will understand completely what is being accomplished and how much they are paying for the level of service being provided.  A good estimate for this is 4% of the business revenue costs yearly, so make sure this is in the budget.

A well-intended MSP offers many services including communication i.e.: email, VoIP phones, workstation support, backup solutions, security solutions, and facilitation with third party applications.  An MSP assumes responsibility for providing a defined set of activities and tasks for its clients either proactively or, as the MSP, for a certain product.  The services configure in many variations based on the client’s needs and budget.

Hiring an MSP facilitates streamlining of processes, outsourcing services and redesigning systems so a business owner worries less about IT and focuses on running/growing their business.  The decision to hire a MSP that can remotely monitor and manage your computer network is a no-brainier. The managed service provider improves efficiency, reliability, security, and maintenance — all while lowering costs.  The slogan “pay now or pay later” comes to mind.  What will you do?  Give Simpatico Systems a call.  We are here to help!  855.476.6347 Read more about us at Why Simpatico Systems. 

About the Author: Fabienne McGeever is a middle child/twin in a family of ten children.  She gained the unique perspective to see both sides and get along with most. She loves snow skiing, the beach “in any form,” and glamping. Fabienne lives in Santa Clarita, CA and serves as a Corporate Admin/Client Relations Liaison for Simpatico Systems.  Contact her directly:  fabienne.mcgeever@simpat.co