Desk with coffee and sticky notes where two hands hold an iPad that is displaying "IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service) and seven icons surrounding the text, including a security icon and server icon

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a popular cloud computing solution in which a third-party provider manages and maintains a data center for you, while providing your business with cloud computing resources over the Internet.

Your IaaS provider will purchase all of the necessary data center infrastructure for you, so you can skip the huge upfront capital expenditure. Meanwhile, you only pay for what resources you need, when you need them. IaaS is quickly and easily scalable according to your changing needs.

With IaaS, your provider’s team of experts manages and maintains the data center for you, freeing up your IT team to focus on more important IT initiatives. If you’re looking to make the switch to Infrastructure as a Service in cloud computing, this blog shares essential tips and tricks to know before you move your data and what traps you’ll want to avoid.

Illustrated text bubble coming from a megaphone that reads "Tips And Tricks"

Tips and Tricks

It’s easy to get caught up in the industry hype of moving to cloud infrastructure services, but carefully planning your migration will be key to your success. These tips and tricks will help you prepare for a smooth migration:

1. Make sure IaaS is right for your business. IaaS is beneficial for many, but it may not be right for every business. In some rare cases, such as when a business already has a large investment in manpower and infrastructure, it may benefit them more in the long-run to stay on-premise or consider colocation.

2. Check your migration fears at the gate. Are you worried about security? Uptime? Customer support? These are valid concerns, but with the right provider, you can relax knowing you’re in good hands. Carefully evaluate potential providers to make sure they’ll have you covered in these areas.

3. Create a clear cloud strategy. Why are you migrating to infrastructure as a service? What are you hoping to achieve and what benefits are you looking for? Specify your hopes and goals so you and your provider can work together to create a custom IaaS solution that’s perfect for you.

4. Inventory your infrastructure and applications. Before you make the move to cloud infrastructure services, it is critical to build an accurate inventory of where your applications are located and what infrastructure you already have in place. This will help you determine what parts can stay put and which are ready to move to IaaS without letting anything slip by unaccounted for.

5. Don’t just prepare your tech; prepare your people too. No matter how ready you are tech-wise, if your people aren’t ready for change, it’s a recipe for disaster. Prepare your higher-ups with the changes they can expect and help familiarize your team with new processes and responsibilities well before the move is made.

6. Prepare for necessary security changes. You’ll need to research and consider new tools, services, and options to keep your data secure in the cloud, including next-generation firewall, monitoring tools, replication and recovery options, and more. Don’t assume that your provider will handle all of these security measures for you, as many will not. Do your research to know exactly what you can expect from your provider.

7. Vet potential providers. No two providers are the same, and some will leave you with headaches rather than solutions. Pay attention to a potential IaaS provider’s service delivery quality as well as the details of their SLAs. Be sure to ask questions including:

  • What percentage of uptime can you ensure? For many businesses, 100% uptime is non-negotiable.
  • Are you a reseller? If you are a consultant or reseller, you’ll want to make sure there is clear communication between you, the provider, and your client regarding authority for the ongoing decisions that need to be made. Otherwise, your client will have a less than desirable experience with the provider you choose.
  • Do you need to be compliant with industry standards? Providers should maintain complete compliance with industry standards set by HIPAA, PCI, SOX, and FISC.
  • How do you keep data secure? Look for a provider that offers DRaaS in addition to having the most secure technology in the industry, a secure environment, geographic diversity, and SOC 2 certification.
  • Is help available 24/7/365? Choose a provider you know you can reach easily at any time of day you need it.
  • Do you need guidance or a customized solution?  Just like no two providers are the same, neither are the needs of any two businesses. Choose a provider that can customize your solution.

8. Include your legacy systems in the plans. Don’t forget that your legacy systems will need to maintain connectivity with your new cloud infrastructure. Is your provider equipped to help you make this a smooth migration? Will they allow you to utilize hybrid cloud if keeping your legacy systems is necessary? Will they allow you to colocate some of your infrastructure in their data center?

Shark with fishing rod trying to catch a fish in a bowl as a concept for avoiding traps

Traps

Avoid three major traps when moving to Infrastructure as a Service in cloud computing:

1.) Not knowing which applications are interdependent. You may virtualize one application and not realize that the application depends on another server, accidentally leaving it out from a network standpoint. This is why it’s essential to inventory your applications and where they reside.

2.) Networking troubles. If your servers can’t communicate, your IaaS solution simply won’t work. Having a network expert review the networking to the servers can help you, your employees, and customers avoid significant frustration with all the new changes.

3.) Not testing storage speed. Test to make sure that the storage in your virtual environment is just as fast, if not faster, than what you have now, rather than assuming it will be. Performance is essential to success, but not all providers can offer excellent performance, which is yet again another reason to vet potential providers carefully.

Infrastructure as a Service: the Key to a Successful Migration

At the end of the day, choosing a trusted IaaS provider like LightBound is the key piece of the puzzle to enjoying a smooth and easy cloud migration. A provider like LightBound will keep you informed and in-the-know about every tip, trick, and trap you’ll want to know, supporting you throughout your migration and beyond.

Have questions about Infrastructure as a Service or want to learn more about how you can prepare for a successful migration? Contact LightBound today and our experts will answer any questions you might have about IaaS in cloud computing.


A hard disk damaged by fire and water meaning data loss and a need for disaster recovery as a service

From lengthy downtime, to a damaged brand reputation and bottom line, no one wants to face the brutal costs of data loss. Unfortunately, every business will experience data loss at some point thanks to the variety of common ways it can occur. This leaves a cloud of dread hanging over many, but the good news is that data loss is preventable with the right preparation.

This blog shares key ways you can take action to prevent a data loss disaster and minimize any negative impact on your business, including how Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can help keep your data safe.

What Causes Data Loss

Here are some examples of the many causes of data loss, varying from rare to everyday occurrences:

  • Power loss from equipment failure or wildlife interference
  • Power surges damaging computer hardware
  • An overheated server room shutting down in an uncontrolled manner
  • Accidental fiber cuts from nearby construction equipment
  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and fire
  • Leaks from the water heater or air conditioning
  • Spilled coffee, or other liquid, onto a computer
  • Human error, including accidentally formatting a hard drive or unwittingly deleting a file
  • Cyber attacks such as ransomware, viruses, or malware
  • Hard drive failure due to software or file corruption
  • Stolen devices, such as laptops, that hold critical or confidential data
Utility truck lifts a severed power pole and lines after an accident

Key Ways to Prevent Data Loss

Thankfully there are many actions you can take to prevent data loss and banish your fears, including finding a Disaster Recovery as a Service provider.

Store computers and equipment in the right environment, which should be dust-free and dry with proper heating and cooling. Be sure the environment is maintained and kept in pristine condition. Consider a generator or UPS (uninterruptible power supply) to protect computers in the event of a power failure as well as physical security measures to deter theft.

Use a firewall and antivirus software. These are basic essentials that your business should utilize for protection against viruses and malware, so be sure that you not only use them but keep them up-to-date.

Train employees to recognize suspicious attachments. Employees often serve as the greatest point of vulnerability for cybercriminals to take advantage of, but keeping your employees educated and informed with regular cybersecurity training will help prevent clicks on suspicious links or other actions that could lead to malware or a virus. Restrict access to important data from certain employees that don’t need it and encrypt any sensitive data.

Backup your files regularly and save often. This is one of the most basic, yet essential, tasks to prevent data loss that should not be neglected. To increase protection, be sure to create more than one backup, store them in different locations, verify the success of backups, perform backups routinely, and keep a close eye on your hard drives for signs of failure before they happen. You may also want to consider cloud-based disaster recovery solutions for further data security.

Hard drive from array at server cloud equipment being held in a hand

Create a disaster recovery (DR) plan so that in the event of a disaster, and in the midst of chaos, your team knows exactly how to restore data quickly and effectively, without causing further problems or delays. Test your DR plan regularly, including testing that employees are able to follow through when it comes to restoring lost data. This can reveal weak points while also encouraging employees to stay informed and ready.

Backup as a Service (BaaS) gives you an alternative to handling backup on-premises with an IT department. With BaaS, maintenance and management are offloaded to a third-party provider at an off-site storage system. This is a great option for those who want to pass off the burden of backing up data to a trusted provider that will ensure your data is in good hands.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) goes further beyond the capabilities of BaaS. With DRaaS, a third-party service provider hosts and continually replicates your servers to enable failover in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe, protecting both your data and infrastructure.

Disasters that lead to data loss, such as hurricanes, fire, and ransomware, don’t stand a chance against DRaaS, because you can easily get all your data back with the push of a button. Disaster Recovery as a Service is the perfect solution to recover quickly from data loss, with benefits of DRaaS including:

  • Continual, automatic replication to a different location geographically any time there are file changes.
  • Your provider will handle getting all your apps, files, and systems right back up and running with lightning speed, minimizing downtime.
  • You can utilize the DRaaS failover to continue normal business operations until you can restore your on-premises environment.
  • Excellent for business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR).
  • With the right provider, it will be tested regularly, customized, and perfectly executable.

The more of these data loss prevention methods you are able to implement, the safer your data will be. Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect your data.

Interested in Disaster Recovery as a Service? Be sure to choose a DRaaS provider like LightBound, who will work with you as a true partner to customize a DRaaS solution specific to your unique business needs. Contact LightBound today and our experts will help answer any questions about data loss or disaster recovery solutions you might have.

Cloud Computing Concept with three clouds designed technologically in appearance

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between “Cloud” and “data centers”? What about Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, insourcing, outsourcing, and colocation services?  

When researching cloud computing options for your business, it’s important to know specifically what you are comparing when it comes to these often-confused terms. In this blog, we explain what “Cloud” and “data center” refer to specifically and the differences in how each cloud computing option serves your business.

Are You Talking About “Cloud” or “Data Center”?

When talking about Cloud, it’s a reference to cloud computing, which is the delivery of computing services over the Internet. Types of cloud services include infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). IaaS is further subdivided into Private, Public, and Hybrid. Cloud services come in different shapes and sizes, but most are highly scalable, handled by your provider, and you only pay for what you need when you need it.

Where it can get tricky is understanding the three models by which cloud computing is deployed: Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Private Cloud.

Public Cloud is the most commonly used deployment of cloud computing, where a provider manages and maintains your hosting solution for you. When people simply speak of “Cloud,” they most commonly mean this kind of outsourcing to a provider. The key to Public Cloud is that the infrastructure resource pools you subscribe to are shared by other companies. None of the resources are yours entirely or discretely in terms of deployment.

If you are talking about Private Cloud, a hosting provider still provides and manages the infrastructure, but that infrastructure is dedicated to you. It’s your dedicated resource pool, or at least most of it. You may share CPU and memory, but the storage allocation is typically on a separate SAN dedicated to you.

There’s also a combination of both Public and Private Cloud: Hybrid Cloud. Hybrid Cloud allows a company to utilize both cloud computing methods as needed for a more custom solution.

On the other hand, if you’re talking about a data center, this is insourcing. Many people call this Private Cloud, but that’s incorrect. You own the data center, the infrastructure and likely your staff manages everything. Any virtualization that takes place is simply your company buying software and virtualizing the infrastructure you own. This deployment is very traditional in every way. Insourcing is called as such because your company either capitalizes the elements or leases some of them, but it’s highly capital intensive. It’s not technically Cloud, because Cloud always refers to outsourcing.

What about colocation services? The term Colocation refers to a commercial datacenter. You are essentially leasing data center space, power, and cooling from a company that owns and manages the data center. The “co” in colocation services refers to the fact that other companies put their servers and infrastructure in the same building. That infrastructure is typically housed in separate, locked cabinets or cages dedicated to your company’s infrastructure, but you share the power, cooling and other building infrastructure.

Letters "V" and "S" written on two seperate black cubes on a wooden background with the left side behind the V colored turquoise to show the concept of comparison

The Key Differences Between Hosting Your Own Data Center and Going to the Cloud

When comparing insourcing versus outsourcing to a provider, how do you know which solution is best for your business? Compare the key differences between hosting your own data center on-premise and seeking out a cloud services provider:

Insourcing with an on-premise data center:

  • Slower time to market
  • Lacks scalability and flexibility
  • Physical and geographical constraints
  • Fine-tuned control of, and access to, your environment, security, and data
  • Increased responsibility and overhead to keep your business operations running smoothly
  • Difficult to achieve 24/7 monitoring by on-site staff
  • Increased risks, unless you are experienced with industry regulations and handling disaster recovery (DR)
  • Offers no geographic separation for mitigating disaster and operational risks
  • 4-5 times more expensive than outsourcing, assuming you have all the talent and expertise in-house to make it work

Outsourcing to a cloud services provider:

  • Faster time to market
  • On-demand scalability and flexibility
  • Independence from physical and geographical constraints
  • Relinquishing some control of your environment, security, and data
  • You can focus on your core business without the distraction of supporting a non-core business expense
  • Provider can handle 24/7 monitoring for you
  • Your provider’s expert staff should be experienced in industry regulations and handling disaster recovery (DR) to reduce risk
  • Provides better geographic separation for mitigating disaster and operational risks
  • Significant cost savings and conservation of capital, only paying for the services you need

Looking for another option?

The benefit of choosing Hybrid Cloud is it allows you to have continued control over critical data with Private Cloud infrastructure while leveraging Public Cloud services for non-sensitive data.

Having a colocation site can serve as a beneficial compromise between insourcing everything and passing off responsibilities to a provider.

3D illustration of server room in data center full of telecommunication equipment as a concept for colocation services or cloud computing technology

Which Option is Right for Your Business?

Hands down, it’s almost always a better idea to outsource data center services thanks to several financial and functional benefits. At the very least, if you still want to buy your own equipment, virtualize, and staff for the management of your own infrastructure, you can still leverage a commercial colocation data center facility to house all of your infrastructure for you in a professionally maintained environment with colocation services.

Long-term, it rarely if ever makes sense to build and maintain your own data center. There are some exceptions, for instance, if that’s your main business, you have a very unique circumstance, or you have an abundance of capital you don’t know what to do with.

Otherwise, you’ll want to seek out a trustworthy cloud services provider like LightBound, who will be a true partner to your business and ensure an easy and pain-free transition to Cloud. Contact LightBound today to learn more about your options for harnessing the power of Cloud and get answers from our experts about any cloud computing questions you might have.


Hand with marker writing the word "Facts" and crossing out the word "Myths"

Before Googling “data center services near me,” are you sure you have the information you need to evaluate potential providers? Do you know for certain that everything you’ve heard about data center hosting is true? Chances are, you’ve heard one of many myths circulating that need to be set straight.

When shopping for data center services, it’s important to separate fact from fiction so you don’t run into any surprises down the road that could leave you frustrated or disappointed. This blog reveals the truth about five major myths to give you the information you need to know before signing the dotted line on data center services.

Close-up of network cables and servers for data center services

5 Data Center Services Myths

1. An impressive-looking facility means you can expect equally impressive service delivery.

False.

The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” absolutely applies when it comes to data centers. There are plenty of data centers that look amazing when touring the facility, but it’s also true that the devil is in the details. The distracting flashiness of certain facilities can pull you away from all of the details you need to truly consider when it comes to data center colocation, of which cost would probably not even make the top ten.

Before becoming carried away by appearances, arm yourself with the knowledge that some colocation data centers do quite a bit of window dressing to make things look better than they are. Of course, the converse is also true in that while some colocation sites aren’t much to look at, their uptime performance is top-notch. Why? Because while they didn’t focus on aesthetics, they were designed with functionality as a priority from the start and with all of the appropriate redundancies.

2. Every provider’s data center services are the same.

False.

While providers might seem similar in cost and services at first glance, it is the differences you don’t see right away that end up counting the most. Most of what data centers have and do you can’t see with your eyes, including their access to fiber, which other data centers they have on the network for secondary sites, whether they provide adequate cooling for your footprint, their expansion possibilities, and more.

You’ll want to consider key questions up front such as, “are their physical security access requirements too loose? Too tight? Or just right?” After the honeymoon is over with your new provider and you’ve settled into your new home, that’s when you’ll discover that your main point of contact is really the support and engineering staff. Every provider has a different company culture, meaning every provider will offer you a different customer experience that has the ability to make or break your services.

3. Data center services are a commodity nowadays, so pretty much anyone can handle them.

False.

Data center services are so much more than a simple commodity. As you conduct your due diligence, you’ll discover that some facilities don’t take care to apply data center hosting the correct way, doing your business a huge disservice in the process. Not every provider works with the level of care necessary when it comes to the mission-critical nature of colocation hosting services.

For example, did you know that some providers will cut maintenance costs by stalling upgrades for infrastructure elements beyond vendor recommendations? You’ll want to be sure you’ve seen your potential provider’s upgrade plans, being aware of what’s already been upgraded and what is planned for the coming year, plus how expensive and difficult those upgrades will be to achieve.

After all, most of these upgrades involve risks that may become your risks even though your provider is the one responsible for them.

4. Services in the Cloud are not as secure.

False.

Many assume that the Cloud is less secure, but this is an incorrect assumption. In fact, data center hosting providers should be able to provide far superior security compared to a typical on-premise data center. The right provider will offer protection in the following ways:

  • Advanced physical security such as registration, I.D. badges, and biometric access
  • A team of trusted, expert staff members managing and maintaining the data center, ensuring peak security and performance
  • A 24/7/365 Network Operations Center to ensure high visibility and protect your data
  • Disaster Recovery services
  • Meeting strict industry certifications and standards
  • Your business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) will automatically be better because your data center isn’t in the same location as your business

Rest assured, your data will be safer with a trusted provider than you would likely be able to achieve both successfully and affordably on your own.

5. It’s a data center, so my main focus needs to be centered on evaluating the tech details.

Maybe.

How many times have you signed an agreement and found out later that it was really the people you were buying that mattered? Culture and people are what stand the test of time, every time. Carefully examine the team of people that will be there for you when the chips are down. Are you instilled with trust and confidence in their care and expertise?

What you learn about a provider’s staff will tell you a lot about the quality of that provider. As much as any provider plans, designs, and implements their systems to avoid failure, all of the systems in a data center are electro-mechanical. At some point, they will fail. It all comes down to that staff getting systems back online quickly and the transparency of communication—something you can’t put a price on.

Two business people standing and talking in data center server room with laptop

Are You Shopping for Data Center Services?

The vast ocean of information out there about data center services can be confusing, but through knowing the truth about these five myths, you can move forward in confidence, and find the right provider for your business.

Choosing the right provider will be key to your success because they’ll make a huge difference in how your services are delivered. Be sure to choose a provider like LightBound that you can trust, who is willing to sit down with you in person, answer all of your questions with clarity, and customize your solution.

With LightBound, our data centers are among the safest and most secure in the nation. Our always-on, always-available service will have your back, and our expert team is ready to ensure the success of your services.

Contact us today to learn more about LightBound’s data center services and how we can be a true partner to your business.

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Goldfish swimming in the ocean with a shark fin tied to its back and poking out above the water as a concept for deception, lies or myths

Disaster Recovery as a Service, or DRaaS, is an excellent business continuity and disaster recovery option (BC/DR) for many businesses, going beyond the capabilities of Backup as a Service (BaaS).

DRaaS offers huge benefits to protect your data and infrastructure in the event of both natural and manmade disasters, minimizing downtime and keeping your brand reputation intact at a pay-as-you-use low cost.

Unfortunately, many are unaware of the myths that have cropped up about DRaaS, leading to frustration, instead of what should be peace of mind, with this service. In this blog, we clear up five major myths about DRaaS so you can move forward with the information and confidence you need.

Businessman drawing on a chalkboard the words "FACTS," outlined in a green arrow, and "MYTHS," outlined in a red arrow

5 Myths about Disaster Recovery as a Service

1. It fixes all your problems.

False.

DRaaS is a top-notch recovery solution, but it can’t cover up all the problems you’ve already left unaddressed. If you have existing issues with your applications, application design, or data issues, then your recovery will be just as problematic as day-to-day operations.

As the old saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” Make sure everything in place is already running smoothly so that your DRaaS will too.

2. It’s all I need.

False.

Yes, Disaster Recovery as a Service is the “executable” part of the plan, meaning it carries out the actual recovery. However, truly effective BC/DR solutions need to account for things like workspace, telephones, a plan for who to call, and what to do in various situations depending on the emergency.

Your BC/DR especially needs to take into account the human element that accompanies and compliments the system element. Make sure your DRaaS is supported by a well-designed plan so the human element it relies on to succeed isn’t a sinking ship.

3. It covers everything.

False.

DRaaS solutions typically include replication and recovery of existing virtualized systems; but they may or may not cover any legacy physical servers you have. What’s more is that most solutions do not cover replication or recovery for other platforms, including IBM’s iSeries, zSeries, or pSeries.

Be sure to check with your provider about traditional backup, archival, and retention of data based on your business and compliance requirements. Some industries are required to keep records for up to seven years. This typically involves a relatively large volume of data as well as policies and procedures to recover files based on daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual backups. It is too costly for most large companies to just conduct a full backup of all their information every night and have it available for production systems.

It’s likely your DRaaS provider can help you with this, but it’s also not typically “included” in the base solution. Be sure to check the details of a potential provider’s offerings and how they can strategize with you to meet your priorities for recovery.

4. It’s an IT solution and therefore and IT decision.

Maybe.

While the IT department can typically scope and spec a DRaaS solution because they know the systems and requirements of IT, you’d be well advised to get buy-in from your executive team. That’s because your execs will likely be funding it to protect the assets, brand, and ongoing operations of the business.

As we all know, priorities change, markets change, and businesses change. That’s why it’s a good idea to approach your executive team before putting considerable effort into pursuing a solution.

5. All DRaaS solutions are the same.

False.

DRaaS providers can vary greatly from each other, including differences in:

  • What they are able/willing to cover
  • How fast they are able to recover and how much they can reduce downtime
  • The level at which they will manage/monitor your solution
  • Their level of compliance with industry standards
  • How physically and virtually secure they are
  • The quality of their customer service
  • Whether or not they are willing to customize your solution
  • How often they test, if at all, which is crucial to preventing failure

All of these qualities will vary from provider to provider, so be sure to get to know a potential provider well before signing the contract.

A word cloud of disaster recovery related items

Are You Interested in DRaaS?

With five major myths debunked, you can skip the surprises and make an informed decision about whether or not Disaster Recovery as a Service is right for you. At the end of the day, the key to success with DRaaS is choosing the right provider, especially one like LightBound who will work with you personally, explain the details of what you can expect from their solution, and be a true partner to your business.

With LightBound, you can rest assured knowing that our DRaaS services protect you with the most secure technology in the industry and can help you recover from downtime with lightning speed. Our data centers are SOC2 certified and we maintain complete compliance with industry standards set by HIPAA, PCI, SOX, and FISC. We care about the success of your solution, which is why we offer 24/7/365 monitoring by our skilled and experienced support staff.

Have more questions about DRaaS? Contact us today and we’ll answer any questions you might have about Disaster Recovery as a Service and share how DRaaS can help protect your data.

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