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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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Design of a cloud with digital features to illustrate cloud computing technology, data storage, or data transfer to the cloud

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a champion among disaster recovery solutions for protecting your business’s data and applications. But how exactly does this service work? With terms like RPO, hypervisor, and more, it’s easy to get lost in the technical details or even sidetracked by myths about DRaaS.

In this blog, we share what LightBound’s DRaaS is, the technology behind it, and a basic breakdown of what DRaaS looks like in action. This will help you gain a clear understanding of how this business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) service keeps your data safe.

What is DRaaS?

Every second it takes for your business to recover from data loss or downtime matters to your bottom line. That’s why it’s key to be able to achieve a quick and easy recovery from a crisis, which is exactly what Disaster Recovery as a Service is designed to do.

With DRaaS, a third-party provider like LightBound hosts and continually replicates your servers. This allows your business to failover in a disaster scenario so you can continue normal business operations until your on-premises environment is restored to normal.

DRaaS protects both your data and infrastructure. Any time there are file changes, DRaaS automatically replicates those changes to a different location geographically—that of your provider.

All in all, DRaaS means that any time you experience downtime, it won’t be for long. With basic backup procedures, downtime can last hours or even days, but DRaaS reduces downtime to mere minutes:

  • RTO (Recovery Time Objective) is the time in the future your business will be up again, which is measured in only minutes with DRaaS
  • RPO (Recovery Point Objective) is the point in time you recover to in the past, which is measured in only seconds with DRaaS
Orange and blue document icon symbolizing a Copy, Duplicate, or Replication

How Does the Replication Technology Behind DRaaS Work?

From a more technical standpoint, LightBound’s Disaster Recovery as a Service is what’s known as a hypervisor-based replication solution. With hypervisor-based replication, each time a virtual machine (VM) writes to its virtual disk, the written command is automatically and continuously captured, cloned, and sent to the recovery site with no impact on application performance.

Regardless of underlying infrastructure at a virtual level for both storage and server locations, enterprise applications are recovered with consistency through hypervisor-based replication. The replication technology consists of:

  • A virtual manager that manages disaster recovery, business continuity, and offsite backup functionality at the site level
  • A virtual replication appliance that replicates the VMs and associated virtual disks and copies I/O (input/output) as it is created before it leaves the hypervisor

Other physically-bound disaster recovery solutions, including array-based replication and appliance-based replication, work in the virtual environment, but they aren’t optimized for it. This prevents the full benefits and capabilities of virtualization from being received.

Hypervisor-based replication bridges this gap in the data protection strategy because it is perfectly optimized for virtual environments, offering major benefits without the drawbacks of other solutions.

Benefits of hypervisor-based replication include:

  • The virtual manager, installed directly inside the virtual infrastructure, is able to tap into a virtual machine’s IO stream, making it more efficient, accurate, and responsive than prior methods
  • Continuous replication with zero impact on application performance
  • There are no guest-host requirements or additional hardware footprint
  • You can quickly move virtual machines around from one physical server or array logical unit (data store) to another
  • It’s fully hardware-agnostic to storage source and destination, able to replicate to anything from anything
  • Achieves RPO in seconds and RTO in minutes
The word "recovery" written on a notepad for disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

How Does Disaster Recovery as a Service Work?

1. Getting started with LightBound’s DRaaS.

Choosing your provider is a crucial first step and can make or break your DRaaS experience. Once you’ve found the right provider, it’s time to get set up.

With LightBound as your provider, we will work personally with you to create a custom plan for your company. Deployment is extremely fast, only taking a fraction of the time needed for traditional disaster recovery setups. The failover is fully configured to simplify your recovery process to only a few clicks.

Once deployed, your servers will be continuously replicated over LightBound’s private fiber optics. With LightBound you can expect:

  • Testing 2x annually to ensure a fast and efficient recovery
  • Your data is stored in an SSAE 16 SOC 2 Certified data center
  • 24/7/365  monitoring by skilled support staff
  • Guaranteed resource pool reservation

2. Disaster strikes your business.

You never know when disaster will strike your business, but when it does, you’ll want to be ready. Whether an employee accidentally formats a company hard drive or a major hurricane strikes your office building, disaster can take on many forms, big and small. Thankfully, choosing DRaaS means that no matter the cause of the disaster, you are ready.

3. Automated switch to failover operations.

Even after a disaster has struck your business, your applications are still being served through the cloud with minimal or no data loss thanks to the seconds-long RPO DRaaS is able to provide.

DRaaS fails over processing to the cloud so your organization can continue to operate during a disaster. The failover notice can be automated or manual. In a high-pressure scenario, your IT can count on DRaaS to provide automated and orchestrated processes that can be executed in just a few clicks.

For manual initiation of failover, the process is simple:

  1. Click “failover” in your management console
  2. Select the applications that need recovery
  3. Choose the point in time to which your apps need to be restored (to the point when they were not corrupted)
  4. Start the failover process

4. Automated failback.

The DRaaS operation remains in effect until your IT team can repair the on-premises environment and issue a failback order. Many businesses without DRaaS avoid failover because failback can be a huge ordeal, but LightBound’s DRaaS makes failback easy. After your environment is back up and running, it is only a few clicks to failback.

Ready to Get Started with DRaaS?

DRaaS makes recovering from disaster affordable, achievable, and fast. If you’re interested in learning more about Disaster Recovery as a Service or its benefits, contact LightBound today. Our experts will help answer any questions you might have about cloud data recovery and more.


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.


"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written on colorful illustration of three gears next to a laptop with an illustrated Cloud on a background of the world map in grayscale

“The cloud” is a phrase thrown around casually as though it has one specific meaning, but in reality, the cloud is a broad concept used to reference many different services and deployment models.

If you’re speaking of “the cloud” generally, then it can refer to how and where data is stored—and where it isn’t. The cloud has become important for its improvements to modern business operations. Instead of being able to run only locally on one device, the cloud enables software and services to run and be accessible over the internet.

Interested in switching your business to the cloud? Then you’ll want to think of “the cloud” more specifically, with three primary cloud service options to consider: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Knowing the difference between each of these cloud services will help you discover which solution, or solutions, could most benefit your business or organization.

"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written with a diagram to explain briefly what each cloud service option does

SaaS

Software as a Service, or SaaS, is cloud-based software hosted online by a provider that is delivered via the internet and available for use on a subscription basis.

Beneficial for startups, e-commerce companies, and short-term projects that require collaboration, SaaS is the most common type of cloud computing service used by businesses.

Advantages of SaaS include:

  • It’s managed in one central location and hosted on a remote server accessible over the internet.
  • Users are not responsible for hardware or software updates because they are handled by the provider.
  • It doesn’t need to be downloaded and installed on individual devices in order to be deployed to an entire team or company.
  • It is ideal if you use applications that aren’t in demand very often or applications that need both web and mobile access.

PaaS

Platform as a Service, or PaaS, refers to cloud-based platform services that provide a framework for developers to build custom applications. Note that PaaS does not deliver software over the internet. Rather, it provides an online platform accessible to different developers so they can create software over the internet.

This allows developers to build custom applications online without having to deal with maintaining or managing infrastructure, software, and more.

There are several advantages to PaaS including:

  • It makes the development of apps simple, cost-effective, and scalable.
  • It gives developers the ability to create customized apps without maintaining any software.
  • It reduces the amount of coding needed.
  • If multiple developers are working on the same project, or if other vendors must be included, PaaS grants speed and flexibility to the entire process.

IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, is the delivery of cloud-based infrastructure resources to organizations through virtualization technology, helping businesses organize and manage their servers, network, operating systems, and data storage.

With IaaS, customers have control over their own data without having to physically manage it on-site. IaaS is also known as a “virtual data center.”

The benefits of an IaaS include:

  • It is the most flexible cloud computing model, ideal for startups and reducing time to market.
  • It allows for automated deployment of storage, networking, servers, and processing power, all handled by your provider.
  • It allows resources to be rented in a flexible, pay-as-you-go model.
  • It gives you the ability to easily scale your infrastructure as needed.
  • It gives you increased security and 24/7 monitoring with the right provider.
"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written on colorful sticky notes and posted on a chalkboard illustration of a cloud that reads "CLOUD" for cloud services

Is SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS Right for You?

To put it simply, IaaS provides pay-as-you-go use of cloud computing infrastructure that can easily and flexibly scale with your business, PaaS provides developers with a maintenance-free platform to build custom apps, and SaaS is cloud-based software that makes it easy and less time-consuming for companies to use applications.

Although these services have similar acronyms, they all serve very different functions. However, at the end of the day, all three work together to help businesses improve operations through cloud computing.

When it comes to your business, are you ready to experience the power of the cloud? Choosing the right provider will make all the difference. Contact Lightbound today to learn which of our Indianapolis cloud services is the best fit for your business.

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