Infradapt Blog

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John Reilly is Managing Partner at Infradapt, LLC. Prior to joining Infradapt, he was the President of Vital IT Solutions, Inc., where among other roles, he developed a methodology and approach for performing risk and compliance assessments.



Prior to Infradapt, Mr. Reilly founded Vital IT Solutions, Inc., Mr. Reilly worked with Expanets, Inc., as a Senior Converged Account Executive, specializing in VoIP and Security, and a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on HIPAA. His Expanets’ achievements included national Sales awards including Millionaire’s Club and pioneering VoIP deployments for regional clients.

Mr. Reilly also has direct work experience in the banking industry, where he worked in Sales and Management, and in manufacturing, where he worked as an Accountant. John earned his BS in Accounting at Gwynedd-Mercy College, while also studying Negotiation, Decision Making, and Creative Problem Solving. He holds a SANS GIAC security certification and is a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of InfraGard.


 

Is Cloud Storage Going to Work for Your Business?

Is Cloud Storage Going to Work for Your Business?

Depending on your business’ operations and industry, there’s a solid chance that your company has some sort of investment in cloud storage. Over 85 percent of businesses today use some type of cloud platform, and many of them use a multi-cloud approach to their organization’s IT. At the center of this trend is cloud storage. This month, we take a look at the types of cloud storage and how one (or more) of the types can help meet your business’ needs.

The types of cloud storage are:

Public
A public cloud is the most accessible form of cloud storage (and cloud computing) for most individuals and small businesses. It comes equipped tied to productivity, management, and other utility applications and is relatively affordable compared to all other types of computing/storage, coming in at just cents per gigabyte. Whatever gains you get from the public cloud, it typically loses in terms of flexibility and customization, as many providers charge a flat rate per user or have static service levels that must be adhered to.

Private
Private clouds differ in that the management of the cloud platform is delegated to your business (or to an outsourced provider like Infradapt), which means that if you’re not taking care of it, nobody is. On the other hand, since your business is the one in control, you have freedoms that you wouldn’t have otherwise, including complete and total control over your cloud infrastructure.

Hybrid
A hybrid cloud storage system is one that takes the customization and flexibility of the private cloud and combines it with the accessibility and ease of use of the public cloud. Since some aspects of your business’ computing need more diligent care than others, hybrid cloud storage melds the cost-effective computing of the public cloud with the more hands-on private cloud to create a computing infrastructure that works the way your businesses needs it to work, while allowing for a pretty significant cost reduction in the places where it’s possible.

The Benefits
The main benefit of cloud computing is always going to be accessibility. You can get access to the files you need from anywhere in real time. Public cloud solutions allow your organization to forgo burning your available capital on the often-enormous upfront hardware costs, while adding the benefit of scalability. You can purchase the storage space you need and scale down and back as needed, but, as mentioned above, with public cloud solutions this benefit may be broken in to static tiers of available space.

The best way to take advantage of this is by working with a managed service provider like Infradapt who can host and manage the cloud on their own infrastructure. To learn more, call us today at 800.394.2301.

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Data Recovery Is an Important Part of the Backup Process

Data Recovery Is an Important Part of the Backup Process

How does your business manage its data backups? How about restoring them in the event of a disaster scenario? These are questions that no business wants to have no answer to on the spot. You want to have both data backup and disaster recovery put into place to avoid losing a considerable amount of progress.

It can be difficult to see how data backup and disaster recovery are two different things, but the fact remains that they fulfill a very important role for business continuity. Data backup is the process of actually taking the data backup that you will then later restore to a workable state. Disaster recovery is when you restore a working data backup so that it can be used to get your organization into a state where it can operate following a data loss incident.

A business continuity solution needs to include both data backup and disaster recovery, both of which should be used to achieve an ideal recovery point objective and recovery time objective. Here are what they are:

Recovery point objective: The recovery point objective, or RPO, is how much data needs to be restored in the event of a disaster. Basically, the more data that you need to restore to get your operation going again, the larger your RPO is going to be.

Recovery time objective: The recovery time objective is the amount of time your organization has to restore data before your business is in trouble. Every moment wasted waiting for your data to be restored is costly, but there reaches a point where if you don’t have your data, you can’t sustain operations, and the business begins to fail.

Not all data backup and disaster recovery systems are the same. In some cases, they are just inferior to others. Take tape backup as an example. While it may have been the standard solution for quite some time, it’s an inconvenient manner of taking data backups and restoring them. Not only is it time-consuming, but it’s also not automatic and prone to user error. You could potentially lose up to an entire day’s worth of data in the event of a disaster scenario. Network-attached data backup and disaster recovery with cloud functionality is better, as it allows for fast data recovery and for multiple backups to be taken every single hour. In fact, you can take backups as often as every fifteen minutes, making it much better than the singular large data backup that can only be taken once. This helps to minimize downtime and data loss in the event of a disaster.

Does your business need a better way to approach data backup? Infradapt can help. To learn more, reach out to us at 800.394.2301.

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Is Your Cloud Solution Actually a Money Pit?

Is Your Cloud Solution Actually a Money Pit?

The cloud has proven to be an extremely useful tool for the modern business. Not only does it provide anywhere-anytime access to applications, processing, storage, et al; it also delivers those products as a service, allowing you to budget for recurring costs rather than major upfront ones. This provides your organization with functional, supported, and secure computing environments that eliminate a lot of the support costs that traditional computing environments require. It sounds like a perfect scenario for small and large businesses alike, but things aren’t always what they seem, as a lot of cloud users have found that they have incurred several hidden costs by using cloud platforms. Today, we take a look at these hidden costs.


A study from Research In Action polled 468 CIOs about their cloud usage and the costs associated with them. Many admitted that cloud investment was one of the largest expenses their organization would have from a technology point of view. The study went on to find that while a majority of CIOs considered the “hidden” costs of this technology, much of the concern is alleviated by the reputation of their vendors. Some of the potential problems they considered include:

  • Having to put forth more effort to properly manage vendors, and their corresponding Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
  • Bottlenecking and the impact poor cloud performance could have on brand perception, productivity, and customer support.
  • The increased cost of solving complex problems inside cloud environments.

Are these concerns justified? Sure, but they are hard to measure. Many businesses just haven’t developed a system to properly quantify the perceived loss in revenue tied to cloud inefficiency. In fact, most companies don’t have updated, automated methods in use to track and manage their cloud performance.

Costs of Scalability
Many organizations also run into cloud cost overruns when dealing with the scale of their cloud platforms. Costs associated with over-provisioning (buying too much), under-provisioning (buying too little), management, and administration of cloud hosted environments present costs that may not look significant up front, but over time can have negative effects on the overall profitability of a business. Understanding the amount of space/processing you’ll need to meet your organization's needs is almost always going to be a fluid situation, but understanding how they affect your business’ bottom line is crucial to mitigate unwanted monetary responsibilities or cost overruns associated with the cloud platforms you utilize.

Going Too Far
Cloud platforms are nice, but you don’t have to look much further than your personal situation to see how the ease of use these platforms provide can get expensive pretty quick. For the individual, costs add up quick thanks to cloud-based streaming media and other platforms that come in a subscription model. You’ve got Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, and many, many more that are relatively cheap. Microsoft Office 365 is exceptionally useful and affordable, providing unparalleled value for about any computer user. The more you subscribe to, the more costs add up, which is why you’ll want to design, and stick to a dedicated plan to avoid overextending yourself, or your organization.

Utility computing in the cloud, whether it be applications, storage, processing, or some other form, is extraordinarily valuable, but only if you understand how to avoid paying more than you should for your cloud assets. The knowledgeable technicians at Infradapt can help you come up with cloud deployment strategy, while also helping you avoid cost overruns typically associated with these assets. Call us today at 800.394.2301 to learn more.

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Does Outsourcing Your Business’ Network Security Make Sense?

Does Outsourcing Your Business’ Network Security Make Sense?

Managed service is a relatively new concept, but that doesn’t mean that the industry hasn’t grown rapidly. You can now get a managed service contract for your household appliances and one for your automobile. The truth is that not having access to a large cache of capital needed to make proactive investment used to be the bane of the small business. The service model has changed that completely. It has certainly revolutionized the IT deployment and support models. In fact, from hardware support to cloud computing, there are service options for most IT products. This month, we will take a long look at the Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP), and the circumstances that need to happen to gain value from one.

What is a Managed Security Service Provider?
You know how it seems like every other day there is a major data breach, network takedown, or infiltration broadcast on the evening news? Companies of high repute, including Disney, Yahoo, Sony, Anthem, Target, Equifax, and a laundry list of others have had major data breaches that have exposed hundreds-of-thousands-to-billions of users’ information. As a result, you’ve seen companies start up with one goal in mind: to mitigate detrimental circumstances that surround the growing use of IT.

Like many of other IT service providers, the first companies to utilize these services were larger enterprises with tens of thousands of employees. Given that they tend to have the most complex environments and the financial resources to afford the often-pricey services MSSPs provide, it isn’t a big surprise that a lot of the best practices used in network security were developed by IT technicians solving enterprise-level problems for enterprise-level businesses. After strategically moving into the mid-market over the past few years, MSSPs have increased enough in number to start selling their brand of managed security to small and medium-sized businesses.

It’s not really news that SMBs have suffered a disproportionate percentage of hackers’ ire recently. The Verizon Data Breach Investigation report in 2016 found that two-out-of-every-three of the 855 reported data breach incidents happened to businesses that employed between 11-and-100 employees. Demand, it seems, has allowed SMBs access to better outsourced security services.

What Does an MSSP Do?
The MSSP, especially ones that conduct business in the SMB market, traditionally are just managed service providers that extend a routine agreement to one that is a little more device-sensitive. Typically MSSPs are tasked with two basic things. First, they are responsible for the monitoring and management of an organization’s network to ensure that security threats are mitigated. Secondly, they manage device deployment. Users are less apt to be on point about security initiatives so by having people there managing the devices that connect to your organization’s network, you position someone between endpoints and hacker paydirt: the data on your central servers.

Of course, for businesses that function inside the various industries that require very specific security practices, such as healthcare, retail, and professional services, the benefits an MSSP provide is that they have a lot of experience dealing with data, infrastructure, and regulations in those specific industries. For those companies that are under strict compliance regulations, or those that work with them, having a service in place that allows for comprehensive security service and thorough reporting is ideal. Specifically, some services an MSSP would offer include:

  • Compliance assurance
  • Intrusion detection
  • Managed firewall
  • Malware elimination
  • Pen testing
  • Virtual private networks
  • Vulnerability scanning

Are the Costs Worth It?
There are two schools of thought to this. The first is that if your business is inundated with security problems, there is a good chance that you will deal with data loss, downtime, and other situations that could make it increasingly difficult to create positive revenue positions. If that is your current position, paying the extra money for an outsourced security provider will pay for itself. After all, with the myriad of entities out there actively looking to get into your network; or, more specifically looking to get ahold of the personally identifiable, financial, or medical information that you depend on, maintaining a high level of network security is paramount to any success your organization is going to have.

The second position is that the average coverage of a small business will cost a few thousand dollars per month, and if you already have IT personnel on staff, or you pay a managed service provider like Infradapt for network monitoring and patch management, it could put your organization behind before it even has a chance to create any revenue. If you have sustained a secure network and infrastructure with the security resources you have in place, adding the extra layer of security monitoring, while it couldn’t hurt your security position, may hurt your financial position.

Really, it comes down to your needs. For the organization that deals in information that hackers would target, an outsourced MSSP contract may be just the thing you need to ensure airtight security. However, if your company functions fine without the extra security, whether it’s because the information you have is safe enough, or because the data you possess isn’t necessarily what hackers are looking for, you can probably forgo the expense as long as you are diligent about how you manage, share, and store data.

At Infradapt, we have found success creating and managing storage and computing infrastructures that are reliable and keep data secure. If you would like more information about managed security services, or if you just want to talk to us about the state of your network and endpoint security, call us today at 800.394.2301.

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Tech Term: Computer Forensics, Defined

Tech Term: Computer Forensics, Defined

Pop culture gives us an impression of what cyber investigations look like. Official-looking people, in impeccable suits, typing away at terminals and analyzing the data scrolling past them on their heads-up displays. In reality, computer forensics (as they are actually called) are a little less dramatic, and much more serious. For today’s tech term, we’ll dig into the field of computer forensics.


What are Computer Forensics, and What Are They Used For?
Computer forensics can be defined as the application of certain specialized techniques to locate and analyze the information on a computer or computer system, protecting it for use as evidence in a trial. Once the requisite warrants have been acquired, a forensic technician is tasked with isolating the device from outside influence by disconnecting it from the Internet before copying every file and poring over their contents for evidence.

The investigator must make a copy of these files so as to preserve the original evidence. Accessing a file can be enough to change it slightly, potentially rendering their evidence inadmissible.

Computer forensics can be leveraged in a wide variety of cases, as any given device may contain evidence of a crime to be, or that was, perpetrated, as well as effectively be the scene of the crime itself. An investigation dives deep, not only focusing on the presence of files, emails, or other documents pertinent to the case on the device, but also on an analysis of these items’ metadata, as it reveals when data appeared on a computer, when it was edited and saved last, and who the user was that carried out these actions.

These methods have been used to crack cases involving a dirty laundry list of crimes, as this sample of their uses suggests:

  • Intellectual Property Theft and Industrial Espionage
  • Employment Disputes
  • Bankruptcy Investigations
  • Inappropriate Email and Internet Usage in the Workplace
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Forgeries and Fraud Investigations

Alternative Sources of Analysts
Of course, law enforcement are not the only bodies that maintain and utilize computer forensics labs. Six major companies, including Walmart, American Express, and Target, have accredited laboratories, and there are countless other independent labs that have not been accredited. These in-house labs can often outperform traditional law enforcement groups, as they are better able to keep their solutions on the cutting edge.

In fact, these labs are often recruited by law enforcement to assist in solving crimes. Target’s labs have announced in the past that they have assisted with “felony, homicide, and special-circumstances cases” on a volunteer basis for years, a spokesperson claiming in 2008 that a full quarter of cases worked by Target’s laboratory had nothing to do with the company.

How Does Your Technology Compare?
If you want a team on your side that will take as much care to protect your solutions as a computer forensics team does to track down cybercrime, give Infradapt a call at 800.394.2301.

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