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XChange of Ideas – Trends with Benefits

XChange Events

This XChange of Ideas shares trends that can boost your business’ productivity.

We recently spent three packed days at the XChange 2022 Conference. While we attend to improve our service offerings and business, many of the insights will benefit your business as well.

1 Industry Consolidation Awareness 

As with most maturing, dynamic industries, consolidation of vendors is not unusual in technology. Bringing together complimentary technologies and solutions can create synergy and economies of scale.  Currently, we are seeing something a bit different.  Companies that provide the systems we use to run our business are acquiring products and services that we offer to our customers.  By offering solutions we sell, and the solutions we use, our vendors are hoping to provide us with better integration and efficiencies.

The risk, however, is that service providers will focus, or limit, their options to match the “single vendor” efficiency. While you, as the customer, may benefit from the efficiency, these benefits will be fleeting if the solutions do not meet your needs.

We, at Cumulus Global, will continue to offer multiple solutions for nearly all of the services we offer. We commit to this strategy because efficient mediocrity serves nobody well.

2 VDI is Better than O.K.

Acceptance and use of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and remote desktop services is on the rise. Beyond an interim solution, VDI services prove to offer many businesses long term value. We see several reasons for considering a move to VDI, including:

  • Support for hybrid work environments. With employees working in office and remote, a VDI environment provides a single computing environment for your entire business.  Accessing files and applications is the same, regardless of location and end user device.
  • Strategic Savings. VDI services extend the useful life of your existing laptops and desktops.  Since VDI clients are not processing data locally, the demand on processors, memory, and disk space are minimal.  Aging equipment can remain in service without impacting performance.
  • Improved Security.  VDI services run in secure, professionally run data centers. We use Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform for VDI services. VDI provides private, secure networks, with multiple access options to meet your business needs.
  • Business Continuity and Resiliency. The faster you can recover from a disaster or technology failure, the better your business will survive and grow. VDI services remove most of the risks from local disasters and system failures.  As you can access your services from anywhere you are Internet-connected, and from most any end user device, teams can easily relocate and work around localized disruptions.

As disruption of technology supply chains continues, VDI allows you to upgrade your environment without investing in new desktop and laptop devices. You can move forward with your business without worrying about system availability.

To explore if VDI services can help your business, contact us about our security assessments, or schedule an intro call with one of our Cloud Advisors.

Calm Before the Storm: 3 Models for Protecting Your Business

Hurricane
What began as a mild tropical storm season has suddenly become quite active, with multiple significant storms expected to impact the southeast and Atlantic coast and the Hawaiian islands. And while every storm may not be a major hurricane, your business is at risk because our infrastructure is at risk.

Power outages, local or regional flooding, and disruption of communication services continue to increase in frequency as our infrastructure ages faster than our upgrades and as our economy rewards utilities for trimming staff and services rather than trimming trees and keeping current with maintenance.

Are you protecting your business from the damage and risk of disruption?

You have seemingly infinite choices on the types and cost of protection, each with benefits and limitations. Your challenge: pick the solution that is most cost-effective, meaning the time it takes to Return to Operations (RTO) is acceptable given the cost.

To simplify your search for a solution, we propose you consider one of three models:

  • Restoration
  • Recovery
  • Continuity

Restoration

Restoration is the least expensive option.  You backup all of your data and critical systems, including full system images, off-site.  In the event of a disaster, you restore your systems once you have fixed or replaced any damaged or lost equipment.

  • Cost Structure:
    • Scales with the size of your system images and the amount of data you keep in offsite backup
  • RTO:
    • 1 to 3 days once replacement equipment arrives
  • Admin:
    • Must ensure backups include all images and data needed to recovery, including Bare Metal Restore (BMR) for key servers and systems.
    • Must periodically test restore for data integrity and to ensure the recovery process is documented and understood.

Recovery

In addition to keeping an off-site or cloud backup covering all of your data and critical systems, you have the ability to access replicas of your network and servers in a remote data center.  In the event of a disaster, you “spin up” your latest system snapshots and restore any incremental data. You access your mirror network via remote desktop, VPN client, or LAN-to-LAN VPN.

  • Cost Structure:
    • Scales with the size of your system images and the amount of data you keep in offsite backup
  • RTO:
    • 1 to 18 hours, depending on your configuration and needs.
  • Admin:
    • Must ensure backups include all images and data needed to recovery, including Bare Metal Restore (BMR) for key servers and systems.
    • Must periodically test recovery for data integrity and to ensure the recovery process is documented and understood.
    • Once primary systems are repaired or replaced, snapshot backups and recovery move your data back for normal operations.

Continuity

Continuity means your IT infrastructure keeps running, even in the face of disaster or significant local events.  You have multiple options for continuity, including: mirrored networks and systems in remote data centers, remote desktops, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) models. In each scenario, your servers, applications, and data live in a redundant, remote cloud data center. You access your environment via remote connection, using a web browser or a small local app known as a receiver.  In the event of an emergency, you only need to provide a browser and Internet connection to be up and running.

  • Cost Structure:
    • Scales with the size of your systems and networks
    • Offsets day to day costs of owning and managing on-premise hardware and software
  • RTO:
    • Immediate, based on Internet availability
  • Admin:
    • Providers typically include standard server admin and management, reducing local need for IT resources
    • Application and data management are similar to on-premise systems
    • Backup/restore capabilities are still recommended to protect against application and/or human error.

Using these models as a guide, you can select a solution that balances cost, convenience, and complexity against the operational needs of your business.


Want to setup or improve your disaster recovery/business continuity capabilities? Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.