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!

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!

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.

 If you already have Backup as a Service (BaaS), do you need Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and vice versa? What’s the difference between the two? Is one better than the other?

In this blog, we clear up any confusion between BaaS and DRaaS by defining what each solution is, compare and contrast their differences, and help you determine which solution might best fit your business.

Defining BaaS and DRaaS

You’ve likely experienced personal data loss at some point, losing photo memories to a water-logged camera or an important digital document to an ill-timed power surge. But for businesses, the sting of loss can be even worse.

Data loss can halt business operations and tarnish your brand reputation, crushing revenue and could even cost enough that a business must shut down. BaaS and DRaaS seek to minimize or eliminate those losses.

Businessman shows the words "data backup" written on red block in front of blocks lined up like dominoes and a hand stopping them from falling with icons showing types of data as a concept for backup as a service (BaaS)

Backup as a Service (BaaS): A third-party service provider backs up business data to an off-site storage system. Instead of handling backup on-premises with an IT department, maintenance and management are offloaded to the provider.

Like you might use DropBox or Google Drive, BaaS keeps files safe in the event your computers crash, an employee unwittingly formats a hard drive, or a construction crew accidentally severs your fiber optic cable. You decide what’s backed up, from applications to databases and more.

If your PC goes out and you have BaaS, you can simply get a new PC, relieved knowing your files are safely backed up with no data loss. Your provider will restore your backed-up data, but if any of your infrastructure is down, your business will be responsible for restoring it, which requires time, resources, and expertise.

Hand writing in marker the words "Disaster Recovery Plan" with the first letter of each circled in yellow, orange, and red respectively as a concept for disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

Disaster Recovery as a Service (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. This means both data and infrastructure are protected.

Any time there are file changes, DRaaS replicates those changes to a different location geographically. If you experience downtime, it won’t be for long because your provider will handle getting all your apps, files and systems right back up and running. You can utilize the DRaaS failover to continue business operations as normal until you can restore your on-premises environment to normal.

This ensures excellent business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR). Major disasters like hurricanes, fire, and the growing threat of ransomware don’t stand a chance against DRaaS, and the burden of recovery is placed on your provider so you and your team can get back to work without breaking a sweat.

Hand holding an open red umbrella which protects from a collision with a broken wrecking ball as a concept for data protection, disaster recovery, or backup as a service

Key Differences Between BaaS and DRaaS

1. Who’s Responsible for What?

With BaaS, only data is backed up, so if your infrastructure is out of order, then you are completely responsible for its redeployment.

With DRaaS, your data and infrastructure are backed up. Your provider takes care of deploying servers so your business doesn’t have to manage a thing.

2. BC/DR Capability

RPO (Recovery Point Objective), which is the point in time you recover to in the past, and RTO (Recovery Time Objective), which is the time in the future you will be up again, are parameters for a BC/DR solution.

With BaaS, effective BC/DR is difficult to achieve. While you have the data recovered, it could take a long time to get your infrastructure back up and running. Your RPO and RTO will be slower, measured in hours or even days.

With DRaaS, RPO is measured in seconds and RTO in minutes so you can recover with lightning speed. It’s a top-notch BC/DR solution, able to get your business back up and running in the face of floods, ransomware, and even spilled coffee. DRaaS can handle any worst-case scenario.

3. Cost

With BaaS, the cost is generally cheaper upfront because the provider is only maintaining the storage. However, you may pay later if you aren’t prepared with a disaster recovery plan.

With DRaaS, you will pay more upfront because the provider is handling the infrastructure as well, but with the promise that you are protected from potentially greater losses caused by downtime later on.

Check list and marker making yellow checks on it as a concept for comparison of features

How Do You Know What’s Best for Your Business?

There’s no universal “right answer” for which strategy is better when it comes to BaaS vs. DRaaS. Instead, the answer depends on which solution will best fit your unique business needs.

BaaS is a good fit for your business if:

  • Your business can survive potentially long stretches of downtime with only your data restored, from a few hours to a few days or weeks
  • The cost of downtime for your particular business would be measurably less than investing in DRaaS, and you’re on a tight budget
  • You have a full-fledged DR plan and are happy with your RPO and RTO times
  • You have a team that is well-equipped to restore infrastructure in the event of a disaster
  • You have large amounts of data that doesn’t change often

DRaaS is a good fit for your business if:

  • Your brand and revenue will suffer if downtime lasts more than a few minutes, and you could even be put out of business if it lasts for days or weeks
  • The cost of downtime for your business outweighs that of investing in DRaaS
  • You want the fastest RPO and RTO times without having to worry about a thing
  • You do not have the resources to restore infrastructure quickly enough
  • You need more than periodic backups—you need constant data replication to ensure no data is lost

What about both?

Your business may benefit from combining the services of both BaaS and DRaaS. Not all data is equal and combining BaaS and DRaaS can be a cost-effective way to ensure all of your data is safe.

LightBound’s DRaaS Has You Covered

If you’re interested in DRaaS, LightBound’s Disaster Recovery as a Service has you covered. We’ll work with you to customize a DRaaS solution specific to meet your unique business needs.

 

When you think of a disaster you probably picture fires and floods, but in today’s digital age, your business may be more likely to encounter the growing threat of ransomware than a devastating natural disaster.

In 2018, ransomware “was found in 39% of malware-related data breaches—double compared to last year, making it the top variety of malicious software,” TechRepublic shared from Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations Report.

But what exactly is ransomware, and how could it exploit your business? In this blog, we define ransomware, how it can harm your business, and how you can effectively render ransomware powerless.Ransomware attack with image showing a caution sign and the words "Your Files Are Encrypted" and an explanation that a key is needed on the screen

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malware that infects a computer and restricts access to data by encrypting files. Once the access is blocked, the user is prompted to pay the attacker in order to restore access to their files, effectively holding the business’ data or applications ransom. Payment is typically demanded via a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

In 2017, major ransomware attacks included WannaCry, which “affected computers in at least 150 countries and has caused a potential loss in millions if not billions,” and NotPetya, which affected at least 65 countries with monetary losses estimated “to be around $200-$300 million.”

In 2018, the city of Atlanta was “brought to its knees” by “one of the most sustained and consequential cyberattacks ever mounted against a major American city.” Behind it was a prevalent ransomware attack group known as SamSam, known for selecting victims most likely to give in to high ransom demands and finding and holding that victim’s most important data hostage until the payment is made.

In the past year SamSam has targeted “hospitals, police departments and universities — targets with money but without the luxury of going off-line for days or weeks for restoration work,” thus making the ransom payment a tempting solution for victims, though it is not ideal. Paying up could mean the attackers double-back to target your business again and encourages future attacks.Man frustrated, confused, and holding head in despair because of WannaCry ransomware attack displayed on his desktop screens

How Could Ransomware Impact Your Business?

Any business can be targeted by ransomware, and while you might hope to be lucky and avoid it, the growing threat of ransomware means it’s best not to wonder if it might happen, but to prepare for when it will happen.

Ransomware cuts straight to the lifeblood of your business, holding your important information and applications hostage so your business can’t function. With 96% of malware attacks coming through email, even one simple click on a malicious link by an unaware employee could spell disaster.

On top of losing access to critical data, the negative impacts of ransomware can include hours, days, or even weeks of downtime. This means stunted operations and a potentially devastating hit to your bottom line. In addition, your brand reputation may be tarnished as customers and partners lose trust in your business.

Ransomware can kill your business, but making the decision between losing your business in the midst of an attack and paying a costly ransom should never be a decision you have to make. That’s because ransomware can’t succeed if you have the right disaster recovery solution in place.A button glowing blue that reads "DISASTER RECOVERY" and "START"

How to Stop Ransomware Dead in Its Tracks

LightBound’s Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can help you recover from a ransomware attack in minutes. DRaaS is the hosting and replication of your servers by a third-party service provider to enable failover in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe.

Disaster Recovery as a Service is ransomware’s kryptonite and its benefits are numerous:

  • Provides failover in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe
  • Rewinds the systems to the last point in time before the infection struck, to within a matter of seconds
  • Recovers all the critical systems in minutes with only a few clicks
  • Not only restores entire applications and databases with consistency but restores individual files as well
  • Performs non-disruptive failover tests at any time, to be sure the business can be brought back online straight away when needed
  • Creates off-site data copies for longer-term data retention in addition to giving the business a Continuous Data Protection for up to 14 days

With DRaaS your info is replicated so no one can hold your data for ransom—you can easily push a button and get your data back!

Want to learn more about disaster recovery solutions to find the best one for your business? Download our FREE Disaster Recovery Guide today!