Quotables and Notables

A wall of colorful Legos with a hand trying to place the final piece that does not fit

The benefits of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are undeniable, but the key to fully receiving these benefits is choosing a solution customized to fit your unique needs. Many mistakenly believe IaaS is a commodity that just about any provider can implement with success, but the truth is, having a provider that offers customization options makes all the difference.

In this blog, we will share several ways Infrastructure as a Service can be customized to best suit your business needs and allow you to enjoy the full power of IaaS.

The word "SOLUTION" surrounded by icon concepts that represent solutions including puzzle pieces and Clouds for custom Infrastructure as a Service

Six Key Ways IaaS Can Be Customized for Your Business

Customized Infrastructure as a Service allows you to optimize the power of cloud computing to perfectly work with your business. Look for a provider that is able to offer these six IaaS customization options:

1. Private and Dedicated Resources. If you’re looking for increased security and improved performance, dedicated resources are a great option for your business. Choose a provider that will allow you to have your own dedicated servers, plus private storage and LUN’s.

2. Management. Which level of control do you need and what do you want your provider to take responsibility for? Consider the following areas of management you may want access to:

  • Operating Systems
  • Workloads
  • Disaster Recovery as a Service
  • Backups
  • Intrusion detection and prevention
  • Anti-virus
  • Software licensing
  • DDoS mitigation
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Virtual and dedicated firewalls

3. Compliance. From HIPAA and PCI to SOX and FISC, consider what industry standards your business must comply with. For instance, is it required that certain pieces of infrastructure be dedicated to you? Be sure to choose a provider that is fully compliant with any standards that you—and they—need to follow.

4. Speeds and Feeds. Do you need certain speeds or feeds for infrastructure components that are not available in traditional public cloud environments? This could include disk speed, amount of memory, speeds for network elements, and more.

5. Connectivity. Do you need connectivity to certain networks or providers such as Megaport, or do you need fiber optics? Make sure your provider can offer the connectivity you need.

6. Geodiversity. Do you need geo-diverse production and backup/recovery sites? Choose a provider with ample distance between the two so that their secondary site is viable in the event of a widespread disaster.

Coworkers discussing plans in an office to customize a solution

Do You Need Standard or Custom Infrastructure as a Service?

Customization options are the key to harnessing the full power of cloud computing through Infrastructure as a Service, and the best IaaS providers will be able to customize options to fit your specific needs. On the other hand, your business may be seeking a standard private option where little to no customization is needed.

At LightBound, we’re able and ready to serve your business either way. We offer several options for customization as well as several standard, private options. This way, IaaS adoption is made easy for your business and you can have peace of mind knowing that you won’t be stuck without options in the future as your needs change.

Are you unsure of whether you need IaaS customization? Or do you know what you need and want to learn more about LightBound as a provider? LightBound will work with your business to help you discover your needs and recommend a personalized plan for your use case. We’re happy to help answer any questions you have, so don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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Padlock lock surrounded by different internet-related icons as a concept for internet protection, data protection, and next-generation firewall

Firewalls are essential to network security, even with a Cloud solution like Infrastructure as a Service, but traditional firewalls won’t cut it when it comes to today’s rising security demands. Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is the key to ensuring security in response to an increase in advanced security threats.

In this blog, we share three reasons why upgrading to NGFW is a modern security necessity and how its features will make a difference in keeping your business secure.

Why NGFW is a Modern Security Necessity

1. Cybercrime is rising, and increased application use has opened up new vulnerabilities.

Research shows that cybercrime is rising while the technology and tactics used by cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated. For instance, The SSL Store reports:

  • Enterprise ransomware attacks increased by 12% in 2018
  • 1 in 50 emails contain some form of malicious content
  • Mobile ransomware jumped 33% last year
  • An estimated 10% of all malicious emails contain malware such as ransomware, spyware, adware, or trojans

Adding to these concerning statistics is that application usage has skyrocketed in recent years, bringing increased vulnerabilities with them. Considering that applications like Trello, Slack, and Skype have become popular for, or even integral to, business productivity, their use isn’t likely to go down. The solution? Application vulnerabilities need to be checked, which is where NGFW comes into play.

While traditional firewalls only block forbidden packets by protocol or port, NGFW takes security even further by inspecting packets all the way down to the application layer. This provides protection for attacks on layers 4-7 of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection), where the growing number of application attacks are taking place.

To defend and safeguard against the emerging and unknown threats in today’s security landscape, NGFW’s advanced malware capabilities are needed. These capabilities include Packet Filtering Network Address Translation (NAT), URL Blocking, VPN, Quality of Service (QoS), Intrusion Prevention SSL, Deep-Packet Inspection, and more.

Internet technology network and cyber security concept with a shield icon on a globe surrounded by a network

2. Traditional firewalls are complex and time-consuming, crippling response time.

Simplicity and automation are key to reducing your workload and saving money, but if you’re still using traditional firewalls, you’re likely dealing with unnecessary complexity and wasted time. This is especially true if your security provider is constantly adding new devices to your firewall, which means that more overhead is required, and even worse, it could mean your response time to threats will be slowed.

Traditionally having to be used through separate devices, NGFW integrates enterprise firewall capabilities, intrusion prevention system (IPS), and stateful packet inspection into one device. This allows for improved performance and accessibility.

Through automation and integration, NGFW reduces the number of manual tasks necessary, improving remediation speed. Security policies, service orchestration, monitoring, and reporting can all be centrally managed thanks to NGFW, saving your business time and money.

A business man working with devices including a laptop, phone, and iPad with screens displaying a cyber security icon

3. Moving to the Cloud doesn’t protect your existing network infrastructure.

Cloud solutions like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offer increased security when compared to on-premises solutions, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect firewalls. Even if you move all of your infrastructure to the Cloud, your business still has devices such as employee computers and a network connection that will remain vulnerable without a firewall. What if an unwitting employee accidentally clicked on a malicious link and your network wasn’t protected by a firewall? That’s a costly problem that could have been prevented.

Knowing that firewalls are still necessary for Cloud services, why should you choose NGFW over a traditional firewall? NGFW offers protection that functions in this new age of remote workers and BYOD policies. While traditional firewalls restrict your protection to a single location, NGFW protects your network no matter where your employees are working or what device they are using.

Additionally, NGFW removes the blind spots of traditional firewalls, offering:

  • Application-level control for superior visibility, allowing you to see and control what applications are being used on your network
  • Identity awareness that integrates with application awareness to enable you to apply security policies more granularly using corporate directories

NGFW gives you increased knowledge and nuanced control over how your employees access and use websites and applications.

A person typing at a laptop computer with a cyber security shield icon in front of it

Are You Ready for Next-Generation Firewall?

NGFW provides essential capabilities against rising cybercrime and new application threats while simplifying your workload through integration and automation. Whether you’re already using Infrastructure as a Service or are looking into other Cloud options, don’t let the lack of adequate protection open your doors to unnecessary vulnerabilities.

Keep in mind that if you decide on NGFW, it’s crucial to choose an experienced provider that you can trust to be there for you beyond implementation. With more power, features, and functions, the set-up and ongoing management of NGFW are more important than ever.

There are many NGFW services on the market, but LightBound has the unique expertise necessary to successfully implement and manage NGFW devices across your network. To get started with Next-Generation Firewall or learn more, contact LightBound today and our experts will help answer any questions you might have.

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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.

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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.


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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