Understanding The Use Of Hybrid Clouds

Consistently increasing information storage demands are forcing many businesses to choose between hosting their data on in-house servers and processing it using third-party cloud storage. There is, however, a third option - hybrid cloud storage - that combines many of the benefits of third-party cloud storage with reduced risk.

​What’s a Hybrid Cloud?

Essentially, a hybrid cloud is neither fully public nor fully private. Cloud storage is provided by an infrastructure as service (IaS) provider using a private cloud that is created internally. In a hybrid setup, the private and public portions of the cloud are separate and are housed at different locations - creating two discrete systems that communicate using an encrypted connection. 

This arrangement allows businesses to store sensitive data securely in a private cloud, while still providing access to the resources offered by the public cloud. An alternative to the IASP model is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) system in which infrastructure services are combined with development tools, allowing your organization to build and deploy its own applications easily. PaaS also provides consistency and predictability in the development and deployment of software.

Handling Seasonal Surges

Many businesses experience predictable busy and slack seasons throughout the year. In such cases it may be more advantageous to house sensitive data in a private cloud storage during slower times, and to use the public cloud when traffic levels peak. In this way, the hybrid safeguards sensitive data but preserves reliability during peak season.  Because the hybrid system is scalable, it allows your business to prepare for temporary demand spikes, while permitting you to run analytics on sales data in the public cloud.

Virtualizing Software

Another advantage of the hybrid cloud is that it allows your business to create and store virtual versions of all your business software and apps, uncoupled from your operating system, in the cloud.

That way, in the event of a major system failure or compromise of in-house software, you can simply reboot the affected apps directly from the cloud, without costly or complex data recovery processes.

Where Are Hybrid Clouds Most Effective?

There are several areas where hybrid cloud storage presents businesses with the best option. In finance, for example, the hybrid model allows trade orders to be hosted securely in a private cloud, while trade analytics reside in the public cloud. This protects sensitive customer information while allowing the business to assess its performance. 

Another example is healthcare, where sensitive patient data are protected by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Such data must be stored on a private cloud and encrypted when in transit to ensure patient privacy. Law firms also use hybrid cloud systems to store encrypted data safely and remotely. By connecting the public cloud to its private cloud, a law firm can protect sensitive data and safeguard against network failure, natural disaster, or security breach.

At Iconic Technologies, the smooth and uninterrupted flow of your business is critically important. Our talented and skilled team of consultants has built its reputation helping businesses like yours improve efficiency, reduce network downtime, migrate data to the cloud, and guard against cyber crime. Our IT technicians understand the intricacies of cloud migration, encryption, and data storage. We can even help your business develop an emergency data recovery plan to protect you in the event of a major loss or breach. Contact us today, and discover how Iconic Technologies can help you stay ahead of the competition.

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!

Is IT Consulting Cost Effective?

Persistent IT problems can negatively impact your company’s performance, reputation, and even your bottom line. And while your in-house team can handle most of the day-to-day challenges of meeting your business’s IT needs, large-scale or persistent IT issues can distract your team from mission critical tasks. 

So at what point does it become more cost-effective for your business to engage an IT professional? And how cost-effective are today’s IT troubleshooters at reducing the cost of inefficiency?

To help answer these questions, let’s look at a few possible scenarios where a skilled IT consultant can help improve your bottom line.

​Talent on Demand

Some nagging IT problems demand a particularly specialized skill set. If one or more of your team members possesses the skills required, you’re covered. But if not, you could be left with a situation where multiple in-house workers must divert their attention from other important tasks to address a specific IT issue.  

This can eat up time and cause delays as other tasks wait in the queue. Working with an IT consultant can deliver the expertise you need without diverting your team members from mission critical functions. And you only pay the consultant for the services provided - with no need to onboard or train new workers. 

Training & Implementation

Major upgrades to your IT network or software can leave your in-house team facing a steep learning curve before they become fluent in the new systems. An experienced IT consultant can go beyond installation and implementation to train your team members in best practices for engaging with the new system. Even a brief training program can help workers familiarize themselves with the new system, speeding fluency and maximizing efficiency.

Increasing Security

Today’s cybercriminals are becoming more skilled and the attacks more brazen and costly. Phishing scams, malware, ransomware, and data breaches cost U.S. businesses millions annually. And while you may believe you have addressed every potential cybersecurity threat, new ones are emerging every day.

A professional IT consultant can give your business a cybersecurity audit, revealing potential vulnerabilities and suggesting appropriate solutions. The cost of closing these risk portals now, before a cyber attack, is far less than the cost of repairing the damage incurred by a large-scale data breach.

Staying Competitive

In today’s diverse and highly competitive business environment, success and failure are often separated by seconds. If your in-house network is laggy or prone to interruptions or breakdowns, it’s probably costing your business money. An IT consultant can suggest targeted hardware and software purchases that can help bring your system up to date and maximize performance, so you’ll stay ahead of your competitors.

A Fresh Set of Eyes

Working on the same problem for a prolonged period can sometimes make the solution harder to see. One faulty premise or assumption can prevent you from seeing a workable fix. A consultant can bring a new perspective to the situation, with tactics and technologies that may be unfamiliar to your team, or with new products or applications that can address your problem without the need for large or costly purchases. A consultant can also help streamline installation and implementation, while training your in-house team to use the upgraded system.

At Iconic Technologies, we understand how important your business is to you. Our team of skilled IT consultants has built their expertise and reputation helping businesses like yours solve the IT problems that can drain away efficiency and cash. From 24/7 network monitoring and maintenance to cybersecurity and employee training, we offer our clients top expertise at affordable rates. Contact us today and discover what Iconic Technologies can do for you.

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!

Data Archives Vs. Data Backups

In the digital age, the ability to store, access, and recover data quickly is vital to running a successful business. The development of cloud storage has allowed companies, both large and small, to store large amounts of data in the cloud, thus adding a level of security and reducing the burden on in-house servers.

When we talk about cloud storage we often hear the terms “archive” and backup” used almost interchangeably. But the two are actually different yet complementary systems that perform two distinct functions.

Archiving vs. Backup - What’s the Difference?

An archive typically refers to the long-term storage of large amounts of historical data for future reference. The aim of an archive is essentially to organize and warehouse information so files can be retrieved easily. Archives are typically used to build a permanent record of documents, transactions, and correspondence that can be accessed on demand. Archived data may be deleted from a source system, so it’s not unusual for an archive to represent the only extant copy of a file.

An archive may be created to warehouse information from past transactions, inactive accounts, or workers who are no longer with the company. An archive is also useful when you’re looking to store metadata (such as tags, keywords, and formatting info) about a project for future reference.

A backup, however, is a digital copy of any information you cannot afford to lose. Designed primarily for short-term data retention, a backup allows you to quickly restore your original data in the event of a breach, hardware failure, or catastrophic data loss. Unlike an archive, its purpose isn’t to organize the data so it can be cherry-picked later, but rather to retain a complete working copy of your current data to ensure the uninterrupted operation of your business.

Backups are typically performed either on a scheduled basis or on the fly as data change. And backup includes not just the data, but also the operating system and applications—allowing restoration of the entire system in the event of a catastrophic loss. Backup also extends to the devices your workers use daily, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Additionally, virtualization has created a system in which VMDK files can preserve both structured (database, OS, etc.) and unstructured data (your files), which can greatly speed restoration of your system after a loss or breach.

Why Your Business Needs Both Archives and Backup

Cloud storage has become critical to the way companies do business. Archives and backups comprise two essentially different but complementary systems for maintaining a digital record of your data.

You need archives to:

  • Create a place for long-term file storage.
  • Organize data for easy retrieval.
  • Build a record of past transactions and communications.

You need backups to:

  • Preserve a working copy of your OS and data files.
  • Respond instantly to a data breach or loss.
  • Restore lost or corrupted files quickly.
  • Protect your business from security threats such as hackers, malware, and ransomware.

By employing data archiving and backup together, you’re both protecting your business from potentially catastrophic interruptions while also creating what is essentially a library of your past projects, contracts, transactions, and documents tat you and your team members can access on demand.

Need to set up or improve your cloud storage, archiving, or data backup and data recovery systems? An experienced managed IT consultant can help. At Iconic Technologies, we’ve built our reputation helping businesses like yours manage large amounts of information, eliminate vulnerabilities in cybersecurity, and reduce recovery times after a data breach or loss. Our skilled team members have the experience to help determine the best archiving and data backup solutions for your business. Why put your business at risk?

Contact Iconic Technologies today, and discover the peace of mind you deserve.

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!

10 IT Security Needs Business Owners Must Know About

In today’s information-driven business environment, cybersecurity threats are multiple, varied, and often quite sophisticated. Hackers, phishing scams, malware, and ransomware can damage both your company’s reputation and its ability to function efficiently. And a catastrophic data breach or failure could cripple your business.

One way to address these cybersecurity threats is to assess the risks and vulnerabilities of your corporate data. Who has access to your company’s sensitive information? Are files secure while in transit?  Do you have a disaster recovery plan in place? The answers to these and similar questions can help you identify key vulnerabilities in your IT network and close potential entry points.

Here are 10 IT security essentials your growing business needs:

​1. Cloud Migration & Storage

By moving your company’s sensitive data to the cloud, you can archive documents, transaction information, and correspondence for easy retrieval, create a virtual backup of your OS and data files, and unburden in-house servers.

​2. 24/7 Network Monitoring

Whether you rely on an in-house IT staff or partner with a managed IT consultant, round-the-clock monitoring of your network can help identify minor problems and potential security threats before they become costly headaches.

​3. Disaster Planning

A catastrophic data loss or breach can be devastating to your business. By creating a disaster recovery plan now, you can respond quickly in a worst-case scenario - minimizing both business interruption and revenue loss. 

​4. Data Backup & Recovery Services

Creating a backup of your company’s structured and unstructured files allows you to quickly recover and restore your original data in the event of a breach, hardware failure, or catastrophic data loss. Backup can also extend to the devices your workers use daily, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

​5. Email Encryption

A company’s success can depend on the security of its communications while in transit. Today’s cybercriminals can intercept emails, generate fake documents, and even convince authorized users to share sensitive data. Email encryption can add an extra level of security to safeguard important communications and attachments while in transit.

​6. Access/Password Protection

Are your passwords robust enough to discourage cybercrime? And how do you determine who is authorized to access sensitive material? By tracking and controlling access to devices, files, and servers, you can be sure that only authorized personnel are able to access vital data.

​7. Antivirus Protection

It seems as if computer viruses are evolving as quickly as attempts to stop them. If your antivirus protection program relies on a single software package, you may be leaving yourself vulnerable to attack. Staying abreast of the latest cybercrime techniques and tools can help your business build an antivirus strategy that evolves to address the changing nature of cyber-threats.

​8. Malware Protection

Malware introduced to your system by s third party can significantly impede your company’s ability to do business. Investing in sophisticated anti-malware software can significantly reduce your risk.

​9. Ransomware Protection

A particularly damaging form of cybercrime, ransomware allows criminals to hold your company’s key files hostage, threatening to release the data unless a ransom is paid. When dealing with ransomware, prevention can prove far more economical than taking your chances negotiating with a criminal.  

​10. Employee Training & Education

Your team members are your greatest asset, but if not properly trained to identify and address potential cyber-threats, they can also leave your business vulnerable to attack. That’s why it’s essential that your team members are properly trained and educated to spot the signs of a potential cyber attack now, before it happens.

At Iconic Technologies, our skilled and experienced team members can assess the risks your business faces from cybercrime - identifying potential vulnerabilities, assisting with cloud migration, creating a backup and recovery plan, and educating your team members on ways to improve cybersecurity. By partnering with Iconic Technologies, you’ll have on-demand access to the expertise you need, both for the short- and long-term. Contact us today, and learn what we can do for your cybersecurity profile.

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!

How Cloud Storage Promotes Scalability

It’s no secret that cloud technology has altered the fundamental landscape of IT infrastructure. It has provided both companies with access to virtually limitless storage space, has expanded data backup and retrieval capability, has improved recovery after data loss, and has allowed smaller companies to respond effectively to the challenges posed by rapid growth.

If you’re like most business owners, you’re already looking toward the future and your company’s place in it. Cloud technology offers some distinct advantages to the startup or small business poised for growth.

​More Storage Space

Though the cloud offers far more than data storage, it is this feature that continues to attract small and medium-sized businesses. The cloud’s virtually limitless data storage capacity allows you to safeguard sensitive information and host vital applications offsite, taking the burden off your in-house servers and providing a secure home for personal data, financial transaction data, and more.

For a growing company, the cloud presents an open horizon in terms of storage, letting you abandon that patchwork of hard drives that got you through your first year. And perhaps best of all, cloud storage means that your company needn’t incur the expense of major IT infrastructure acquisitions (like new servers) every time your business expands. What ever your data storage needs, today or in the future, the cloud can handle them.

Greater Power

Another advantage of cloud technology is that it allows small businesses access to powerful processing resources such as software development or analytics tools. Infrastructure limitations once hobbled rapid growth because expensive capital purchases, system integration issues, and troubleshooting consumed time and resources. The power of the cloud removes these limitations and allows smaller businesses the same agility enjoyed by their larger competitors. 

And unlike expensive hard capital purchases, the cloud never becomes outdated or obsolete, never fails to meet compatibility requirements with other technologies, and allows you to power up when you need to—whether during seasonal traffic spikes or over the long term as your business grows.

Increased Flexibility

To remain ahead of the competition, your business must be agile enough to respond to rapid changes in market dynamics. If a sudden shift in customer demand catches your company by surprise, the result could be empty warehouses, backlogged orders, and lost customers.

The cloud allows you the versatility to answer changes in marketplace dynamics with confidence. Cloud technology makes it possible to reconfigure your IT infrastructure and reshape workflows in response to market forces—without committing yourself to costly equipment or assets that may lose value tomorrow.  

Better Time Management

Managing, monitoring, and troubleshooting your company’s IT infrastructure can consume your in-house IT team’s focus and attention. That means less time to work on the mission-critical task of making your business the best it can be. Cloud technology takes the often-burdensome responsibility of troubleshooting network problems off your hands, allowing you to focus on innovation.

The Bottom Line

As a business owner, you’re always conscious of the effect any expense will have on your business. When considering a new capital purchase, you have to ask: What kind of return on investment will it deliver, and how soon will it pay for itself? Because cloud technology lets you scale up (or down) based on the daily demands of your business, it removes the risk of purchasing potentially costly assets today that may be obsolete tomorrow. And with cloud storage, you won’t need to worry about recouping the cash outlays of capital purchases.

The Rise of Managed Data Centers

The scalable nature of cloud computing has allowed many organizations to rely on managed data centers, maintained by experts who understand how to maintain and scale shared, private, and hybrid clouds. Cloud technology also allows resources to be allocated easily in a monitored environment where overloading is not a problem.

At Iconic Technologies, we understand the needs of today’s growing businesses. Our skilled IT consultants are eager to share our advanced computing solutions with your team. We can assist in migration of data to the cloud, creation of a backup and recovery plan in the event of data loss, and reinforcement of your network’s cybersecurity protocols. Contact us today and discover what Iconic Technologies can do for you!    

Interested in learning more? Contact one of our representatives today!