Are You Thankful For Your Data Center Provider?

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A great data center provider should give you many reasons to be thankful, but if they are leaving you wishing for more, then it may be time to make a switch. With data center service delivery from the right provider, you can be grateful for these five benefits:

 

1. Giving Time Back to Your Team

Your team has things to do and places to be, but the investment it takes to manage and maintain a data center is immense. Having a service provider handle this burden is freeing, enabling you and your team to get back to core business operations while increasing productivity and reducing stress.   

 

2. Giving You Peace of Mind

The growing threat of cyber attacks and unexpected disasters like fire and flood cause no fear in you. Why? Because even if you experienced major data loss, you have peace of mind knowing your data can easily and quickly be restored by your provider.

With redundant power, cooling, fire suppression, and security, you know your data is in good hands. And if something goes wrong? Your provider is there for you to answer your call, day or night, and work personally with you to resolve the problem.

 

3. Saving You Money

Outsourcing to a data center provider means money saved. You don’t have to worry about the capital expenditures of infrastructure, nor do you have to pay to keep that infrastructure up-to-date and functional.

This type of service delivery means you only pay for what you need when you need it. Plus, you’re saving money on recovering data thanks to your provider’s disaster recovery (DR) solution that you can count on in the event of data loss.

 

4. Keeping Your DR Plan Up-to-Date With Constant Change

A data center’s environment is constantly changing, making it hard to ensure your disaster recovery plan stays up-to-date. This is a must if your DR plan is to be effective, and thankfully, your provider has you covered. They’re auto-incorporating all the latest changes so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Your DR plan will be perfectly executable when disaster strikes.

 

5. Giving You Flexibility and Scalability

When you host your own data center on-site, it takes a time, labor, and money to scale it up and down as your business grows, changes, or even moves locations. Thankfully, your data center provider handles the infrastructure for you, allowing you to easily scale up or down, especially since you only pay for what you need. And if you have to move? Your data center gets to stay put, allowing you to invest your resources elsewhere.

Looking for Better Service Delivery?

Are you thankful for your data center provider, or are they letting you down? The right data center provider is one that gives you much to be grateful for when it comes to service delivery.

Want to know what it’s like to have a data center provider that gives you all these reasons to be thankful and more? Contact LightBound today and we’ll share what benefits you can expect by making a switch!

5 Questions to Ask Before Going to the Cloud

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What should you ask a potential cloud services provider before signing the dotted line? While a provider can seem like they have their ducks in a row, don’t forget to vet them for how they will treat you as a client. Asking the right questions can help you reveal whether or not a provider will meet, and hopefully exceed, your expectations as you experience the transition to cloud computing.

Ask potential cloud services providers these five questions to ensure they will give you the best client experience for a successful transition:

1. Do I need a cloud storage or cloud computing solution?

This is more of a question to ask yourself, but it’s first on the list because you’ll need to clarify whether your business needs a cloud storage solution like DropBox or an enterprise-level IaaS cloud computing service with network, server, and storage resources for your application.  

Cloud storage solutions are used for basic data storage and backup while cloud computing allows you to run applications in the cloud—a huge leap beyond cloud storage. IaaS Cloud computing allows you to access and run applications or programs through the Internet rather than through a physical computer or server. If you only need to store some files, you can stick to a cloud storage solution, but if you’re ready to put your business applications in the Cloud, then you’re ready to look for a cloud computing provider.

Cloud computing offers benefits like scalability, flexibility, cost savings on capital expenditures, the ability to remotely access and transform your data, plus so much more. A cloud computing provider may also offer increased protection for your data, both physically and virtually, thanks to data security and disaster recovery capabilities.

2. Are you a reseller or do you provide cloud services directly?

Some providers resell cloud services while others provide cloud services directly. The problem with resellers is that they not only have a lack of contact with the services they’re selling, but if you have a downtime issue it can be costly not knowing whether to call the software/hardware OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), the hosting provider, or the VAR (value-added reseller) for support. Finding where the problem started can prove to be an expensive headache.

When you work with a provider like LightBound, we’re not resellers of these products—we actually provide these services directly to you. This means we are able to provide a better customer experience for you because we customize the solution for your business, handle all the project management, installation, and implementation. We also support your business with a dedicated Technical Account Manager, a 24×7 NOC, and a team of Tier 3 and Tier 4 Engineers if things go bump in the night. All of these compliment our resource pools and ensure a smooth and trouble-free customer experience.

 

3. What are your service hours?

Technology doesn’t wait for “office hours” to malfunction, and things tend to go wrong in the middle of the night when you’re least expecting it. Will your provider be there for you when you need them most?

Some providers limit the hours when you can actually reach them for assistance, which can mean increased downtime for your business, frustrated employees, unhappy customers, and halted business operations.

Choose a provider like LightBound that offers always-on, always-available service designed to solve your problems with lightning speed. We are there for you day or night and will work hard to get your services back up and running if there’s ever an issue. Your bottom line will thank you!

4. Who answers the phone when I call?

When you call for help, will you be speaking to an answering machine, robot, third-party assistant, or a personable and ready-to-help expert? Will they know what they’re talking about and be able to help you, or end up wasting your time?

When something goes wrong, having an experienced professional on the other end of the line makes all the difference in getting your problems solved. When you call LightBound for help, one of our expert employees will be ready to assist you 24/7/365, and you’ll be able to put names to faces with our team.

 

5. Who’s responsible for what?

Who’s responsible for the services you receive and who owns the datacenter? Will they be accountable for monitoring and ensuring uptime? Know what your provider promises and what their responsibilities are, only choosing a provider you know you can count on to have your back, make you a priority, and solve issues directly.

If your services will be handled by separate parties, it will be more difficult and time-consuming to resolve issues. This is because, in addition to not knowing where your problems are rooted, you may not be able to get any party to take responsibility for solving them or even care that you’re experiencing downtime.

This is yet another reason it’s important to choose a provider that offers you services directly rather than a reseller that can’t ensure the success of your cloud services all the way through. At LightBound, we are your single-source solution for cloud services, so you have only one phone number to call and we are accountable for your uptime.

Need help choosing the right cloud services provider for your business? Contact us today for direction!

Why the Future of Cloud Services is Hybrid

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You’ve probably heard the terms “Cloud” and “datacenter” solutions thrown around by providers to describe just about any datacenter or hosting service. This kind of generic phrasing may be more marketable for providers, but it’s important to know the nuances of each service option and how they work differently to serve your business.

This blog explains why two service options, IaaS and colocation, are often marketed interchangeably, what their differences actually are, and how they’re evolving together to create a hybrid future for Cloud.

What are Cloud Services, IaaS, and Colocation?

Cloud Services refers to any cloud-based resources a provider deploys and manages for you via the Internet on an on-demand, pay-as-you-go basis.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud computing service where a third-party provider purchases, installs, and manages datacenter infrastructure for you, allowing your business pay-as-you-go use of storage, networking, and computing resources via the Internet.

Colocation, also known as colo, allows your business to rent from a provider the physical space, power, redundancies, and cooling needed to house your own hardware. You own and manage your equipment.

IaaS is a cloud service while colocation is not. Colocation simply provides the space for you to house your own datacenter infrastructure such as routers, firewalls, servers, and storage. The differences between colocation and IaaS make it tempting to compare and generalize which service is better than the other, but the two are not interchangeable because the value proposition and capital cost (as well as manpower resources) are entirely different.

Determining whether IaaS or colocation is the best solution for your business all depends on your business’s unique needs. So why are providers referring to these separate services as though they’re interchangeable?

 

IaaS and Colocation: From Interchangeable to Integrated

When big names in the industry began using phrases like “datacenter solutions” to describe IaaS and colocation, it became a trend and the two services started to sound interchangeable. The generic phrasing helped providers improve the marketability of their non-Cloud services by associating them with the growing Cloud market.

While IaaS and colocation are not exactly interchangeable, we are beginning to see a future where these two services are combined in more than just name. By utilizing both colocation and IaaS together, businesses and providers are able to achieve more customized and beneficial solutions than either service could alone.

 

The Future of Cloud

The integration of both IaaS and colocation is certainly one definition of a “hybrid” solution and is what’s growing and shaping the future of Cloud. Essentially, it’s “some of yours and some of ours” from a provider’s viewpoint.

A hybrid solution is a cloud service that allows for greater flexibility and efficiency by integrating the use of private cloud and public cloud solutions. Colocating your virtualized environment in a datacenter is commonly referred to as private cloud, but your virtualized environment could also be located in your own datacenter. IaaS Cloud providers like LightBound offer private cloud resources that can also be meshed with your public clouds.

As we continue to move into the future, most larger companies will likely leverage hybrid solutions depending on their need for scale and time to market. Less on-premise solutions will be maintained in favor of moving to the Cloud, and the hybridization of colocation and IaaS will be a large player in what makes this transition possible.

Want more insight into IaaS, colocation, and hybrid solutions? Sign up today for a FREE, one-hour, zero-obligation tech assessment with LightBound. Our experts will meet with you in person to evaluate your business’s unique needs, answer questions, and help you discover the best fit for your business.

5 REASONS TO UPGRADE TO NGFW FROM TRADITIONAL FIREWALL

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Years ago, the only traffic on corporate networks were business applications, threats, or email. But technology has come a long way since then, and a multitude of applications like Skype, Dropbox, and Slack have flooded the business world.

Increased application use has been helpful, even essential, for maximizing employee productivity and improving business practices, but these applications can carry viruses, malware, and other threats with them.

Traditional firewalls are unable to see or control all of these applications, meaning increased vulnerability to threats. Thankfully, the next-generation firewall (NGFW) was born, filling a much-needed gap in modern security needs.

 

Why Upgrade to NGFW from Traditional Firewall Security?

NGFW works better and faster than traditional firewalls to control the traffic that can enter and exit a network. While traditional firewalls are behind the times, next-generation firewalls provide increased control, improved security, and other essential features.

In this blog post, we’ll cover five main ways NGFW is superior to traditional firewalls and why, if you haven’t already, your business should upgrade to NGFW.

1. Single Device Functionality

If your current security provider is adding new devices to your firewall, that’s a red flag. It means unnecessary complexity and added cost for you. Plus, it increases the amount of oversight needed to keep your network secure while slowing down response time to threats.

NGFW integrates enterprise firewall capabilities, intrusion prevention system (IPS), and stateful packet inspection into one device. Traditionally, these would have been done on separate devices, but this integration allows for improved performance and accessibility.

  • Intrusion prevention system (IPS): detects and prevents vulnerability exploits by examining traffic flows
  • Stateful packet inspection (SPI): monitors the state of active connections to determine which packets to allow through a firewall

2. Better Security

Traditional firewalls block forbidden packets by protocol or port, while NGFW takes security even further by inspecting packets all the way down to the application layer. NGFW improves security in many ways, including:

  • Protection across the entire attack continuum: a growing number of application attacks are taking place on layers 4-7 of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) network stack, which next-generation firewalls are designed to help prevent.
  • Multilayered protection: to get multilayered protection traditionally, businesses would have to buy many different solutions from different vendors. Having an integrated solution means less complexity and smooth functionality so threats can be better spotted and stopped.
  • Advanced malware capabilities defend and safeguard against emerging and unknown threats
  • Faster response time from automated security
  • Limiting traffic to approved applications only, reducing risk

3. Simplified Management

NGFW reduces the number of manual tasks necessary with automated security features and integration, which also improves remediation speed. You can centrally manage security policies, service orchestration, monitoring, and reporting.

 

4. Improved Visibility and Control for Safe Application Enablement

Traditional firewalls have blind spots, but NGFW has superior visibility into all network traffic to detect and prioritize threats. With the multitude of applications out there today, NGFW’s application-level control, which allows you to see and control what applications are being used on your network, is key for today’s businesses.

Rather than having a policy asking employees not to use Facebook, you could not only have the option to block it completely, but you could set a policy nuanced enough to allow employees onto the site while blocking parts of it like Facebook Messenger or Candy Crush.

NGFW’s identity awareness integrates with application awareness to enable you to apply security policies more granularly using corporate directories. Now you can let your marketing team access social media sites while blocking employees that don’t need it, or only allowing partial access.

5. Lower Costs

Integration, security automation, and management simplification reduces complexity and the work necessary to respond to and remediate from security incidents. You save money and that’s a good thing.

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Implementing and Managing NGFW with LightBound

Upgrading your business security solution to the next-generation firewall is a smart move in response to today’s increasing security vulnerabilities. With the increased power, features, and functions that NGFW offers, it’s not easy to implement, so it’s more important than ever to ensure proper set-up and ongoing management.

There are many NGFW services on the market but look for a provider that’s experienced and is there for you before, during, and after implementation. LightBound has the expertise necessary to implement and manage next-generation firewalls across your network, and we’ll be there for you every step of the way. Contact LightBound today to get started, or learn more about our Choice Network.