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Online Backup & Recovery Predictions for 2013

Our friends at Zetta have just released their list of industry predictions for the coming year. This is an in-depth, well-written analysis that touches many areas which are of primary concern amongst SMBs. Definitely worth checking out.

Click here to view Zetta’s Online Backup & Recovery Predictions for 2013

Merced College Avoids Costly Disk-Backup Investment With Zetta.net 3-IN-1 Online Server Backup Solution

College Uses Zetta.net Integrated Backup, Disaster Recovery and Archiving to Protect Critical Server Data and Enable Data Access in Minutes vs. Days 

SUNNYVALE, Calif.– August 29, 2012 —Zetta.net, a provider of 3-in-1 online server backup solutions, today announced that Merced College has selected Zetta.net for critical server backup and disaster recovery. The community college has deployed Zetta.net DataProtect to speed data recovery when required while reducing the cost of campus-wide data protection.

California’s Merced College serves more than 17,000 students with 500 faculty and adjunct professors, and another 200 staff members. The college’s data center had rapidly grown to the point where its traditional tape-based system was no longer a viable option. With 65 virtual servers, another 30 physical servers and 24TB in SAN storage, a more reliable and economical backup and disaster recovery solution was needed.

“We were dealing with the highly manual and time consuming process of storing tapes and tapes that were aging out,” said Don Peterson, director of information technology, Merced College. “The system wasn’t meeting our needs, and traditional disk-to-disk systems required a large, outright investment that was simply beyond our budget. We soon began to evaluate our options for online backup.”

Peterson’s IT staff initiated its evaluations with the goal of finding a secure, reliable and economical solution that would eliminate performance bottlenecks of working with tape. They also wanted the ability to go back at any point in time to recover files or restore machines that might go down.

Today, Merced College is using Zetta.net to achieve complete backup and disaster recovery for 80 percent of its live server data, including virtual machines, SQL and files. The college has eliminated having to purchase costly backup hardware and software, while eliminating the need to manage backup tapes. When restores are required, the college has confidence in knowing files can be recovered with ease.

“We’re saving an enormous amount of time compared to our old system which required many hours to manage, and restoring data could take days,” said Arlis Brotner, network manager, Merced College. “With Zetta.net, there’s very little to maintain and not only can we recover at any point in time, we have almost immediate access to files when needed. We’re definitely getting a lot more value for much less cost.”

“Our customers have found that integrated 3-in-1 backup that includes online backup, disaster recovery and archiving is ideal for replacing tape-based systems or the heavy investment of disk-to-disk,” said Gary Sevounts, vice president of marketing, Zetta.net. “With Zetta.net they get the full functionality of backup, disaster recovery and archiving, all in one solution – an unparalleled value in today’s market.”

 

About Zetta.net: Zetta.net is an award-winning provider of enterprise-grade online backup and disaster recovery solutions for small and mid-size enterprises. Zetta enables companies to simplify and automate backups and instantly recover data using just a web browser. Advanced security, high redundancy and a high-performance architecture deliver true enterprise-grade data protection that scales to meet customers’ business requirements.

Who Owns Data In The Cloud?

An interesting question was posed on a recent teleconference on data security when a healthcare practice uses a Cloud-based Electronic Medical Record system (EMR):  Whose data is it?  It is more than a debate point because, as illustrated below, there are significant issues that potentially arise as the volume of data stored increases.  The leadership of today’s healthcare practice need to consider such things as “Whose data is it anyways?”;“Who is responsible for notification in the event of a breach?”; “What happens when you want to switch software platforms?”; when thinking about moving into a Cloud-based EMR system.

Two principle means exist for delivering a Cloud-based EMR service: Software as a Service (SaaS) and Application Hosting Providers.  SaaS is generally “vendor” based, meaning that your software developer stores the application and data on their private data center for their subscribers to access.  Vendors generally build their SaaS sites around their suite of programs.  Application Hosting Providers are usually independent businesses that host your licensed software on virtual servers.  Regardless of which service you choose, the real problem remains, “Whose data is it?”  The answer is, not surprisingly, “It depends.”

When you think of that Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, an argument could be made that the data no longer belongs to the practice.  It is the vendor’s software and data storage system; you are just dropping data points into it.  If this is the case, then potentially the vendor, not the practitioner, owns and controls the data.  If the vendor owns and controls the data then, in the event of a data breach, accountability should lie with the vendor, not the practice.  This actually is the ideal situation in the event of a data breach, but you should evaluate the unintended consequences of this position.

A significant unintended consequence pops up when you decide to switch software platforms.  Before moving to any Cloud-based system, you should get answers to the following questions and ensure they are in the Business Associate Agreement and the subscription/service agreement:

  • If the data belongs to the vendor, how do you switch to another software system?
  • What is the cost to move the data?
  • What happens in the event of a dispute and you withhold payment of the bill, can they hold your data hostage?

Keep in mind that soon your practice’s database could be terabytes in size and transferring it will be no easy feat.  Today, a charge of say $10 a gigabyte to transfer may seem reasonable because your database is 20GB in size.

In five year, that same database might be 250GB; which leads to a transfer charge of $2,500, even though your practice might not have grown during that time.  Remember, you are now responsible for holding more data for longer periods, which means larger data-files.  In addition, with the requirement to deliver a portable patient file on demand, you cannot off-load parts of the database to deep storage because your EMR system holds everything.

Another point to think about when moving to a Cloud-based service is responsibility for completing a record transfer request.  If you put in the request on behalf of a patient and the vendor doesn’t respond, you could be held liable under HIPAA.  You will want to make sure that your cloud-based provider understands their part in responding to an electronic record request.

With an Application Hosting Provider, the lines of ownership are a little clearer. The AHP simply hosts your licensed software on their virtual server.  This means, at least in the case of Argentstratus, that the data is yours, not the AHP’s.  Since it is your data, the Business Associate Agreement should spell out the circumstances when either party is responsible for data breach notification.  You will also want to verify the charge, if any, for data transfer.

The best way to protect your business is to ask hard questions and then document the answers in the service agreement or better yet, the Business Associate agreement.  Here you will need to spell out who owns the data and responsibility for notification and transfer. Ensure the Business Associate agreement includes relevant parts of the service agreement. These issues should not be left to chance.

About The Author: John Caughell is the Marketing Coordinator for Argentstratus. They are leading experts in the field of cloud technology for the medical industry. If you have any concerns about privacy and security for PII or PHI in the cloud, get in touch with them. (PHI Protection and PII Protection)

Tools and Timing For Moving Servers To The Cloud (Video 2)

This is the second video in CoreVault’s 3-part series about moving your systems to the cloud. Often, businesses imagine “the cloud” as being this overwhelming concept that’s the exclusive domain of technology uber-experts.

But the reality is that everything about cloud computing revolves around making technology simpler, easier and more accessible to businesses. When your servers are in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about handling, troubleshooting or upgrading any hardware. All of that dirty work is taken care of in the background by the experts at CoreVault.

Instead, hardware becomes a commodity just like the electricity in your walls or the water in your faucet.

In a past video, CoreVault discussed the importance of finding the right cloud partner. In this video, CoreVault talks about the Tools and Timing that are required when moving servers to the cloud.

You need to have the right tools in place during the transition process so that you can determine the amount of resources that the server is using and the amount of data that will be transferred during the migration. Using this data, combined with other information, the client can be sized into the most appropriate package for their requirements.

Once a migration plan has been put in place, the IaaS provider will then work with the client in order to establish the most appropriate timing for the transition. Especially with critical 24/7 systems, timing is critical.

An experienced cloud provider can help you in making this switch as fast and painless as possible, and help avoid many of the unexpected last-minute problems that come up with complex technical projects. If uptime is absolutely critical, you might want to ask about the possibility of setting up server replication for the fastest possible cutover.

When you pick the right cloud provider, you shouldn’t have to think about these tiny details. The cloud provider should be taking control, leading the way, and making you feel safe during this sensitive transition period.

For more help with migrating your servers to the cloud, you can contact CoreVault directly by following this link.

How Do You Move Your Servers To The Cloud? (Video 1)

On this blog, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about cloud the amazing benefits of virtualization and cloud computing. But have you ever wondered about what first steps you’d have to take before moving your servers to the cloud?

Well then, you’ll definitely want to check out this next series of videos from our friends over at CoreVault.

If you’ve been evaluating the many features that the cloud has to offer – and you’ve decided that you’d like to dip your feet in the water – there are some steps you can follow to ensure a smooth transition.

Amongst the most important pre-migration points that you’ll need to consider is which partner to choose. You’ll need to do your homework and make sure that you partner with a company that has the technical capabilities, certifications, staffing, reputation, service, support… and a range of other criteria.

In order to address all of the most important questions that you might have during the migration process, CoreVault has put together a helpful 3-part video series that covers everything you need to know about cloud migration.

If you’d like to learn more about cloud hosting, I’d encourage you to visit our good friends at CoreVault for more information.

Key Points to Consider When Upgrading Or Designing A New Datacenter or Server Room

Your business is facing an interesting challenge when it comes to designing your enterprise data center.  The previous method of having servers support each office no longer really delivers an effective or secure solution.  What are some of the things you should consider as you plan your updated data center? The first thing to consider in planning your data center should be the operating needs of the business.  Next, it is important to determine if virtualization is a viable option.  Another area for the leadership to study is how redundancy of computer components helps or hurt the business.  Finally, the executive team should study if using a Cloud service provider can deliver the needed resources safely and at a substantially reduced cost.  With these issues in mind, management can design the data center to benefit the business.

Far too often, the business creates a data center that does not support the strategy.  This potentially leads to higher operating costs and missed opportunities.  For example, a month ago we met with a large insurance company that decided to open several new branch offices.  Each office has a server and these feed to the central data center for backup and archive services, but not for data sharing.  When speaking with the executive team it became clear that they lacked an operational vision for how the data center should operate in support of their growth strategy.  This lack of planning led the IT department to plan the technology to support the strategy by putting servers in each location.  The IT department needs leadership to design the best solution to support the vision or old methods will continue to hamstring opportunities.

The next thing to consider is the role of virtualization.  Today’s data center can potentially reduce hardware costs through creating several virtual servers on a single physical server.  Where once there were many servers scattered through the country, an enterprise can now work with fewer servers in a central data center, substantially reducing risk and costs.  This method requires running virtualization software such as Microsoft’s HyperV or VMWare’s VCloud.  Some important things to consider are the cost of the virtualization software and the technical skill required to run a virtualized data center. It is also critical to make sure that sufficient bandwidth exists at both the data center and remote locations.

Another important issue when considering replacing servers is the role of redundancy.  Five to ten years ago, the concept of redundancy made sense as a lost hard disk or drive controller effectively shut down the server.  Today the main problem with this concept, at least from a multi-server data center standpoint, is that computers, not components, are the redundancy.  Since each machine works as part of the whole, stripping out redundant components substantially reduces cost.  This approach however can lead to additional risk if too few servers make up the data center.

When planning your data center and server replacement policy, one concept to keep in mind is using a Cloud server solution to deliver the enterprise’s computing needs.  In a Cloud environment, the provider virtualizes the physical servers to keep utilization high and ensure that each client has the computing resources necessary to support the business.  Cloud server providers, such as Argentstratus, build servers to reduce the cost by stripping out unnecessary redundancy while employing virtualization managers to keep the servers running at high utilization and putting data on multiple drives to keep it safe.

Your business can no longer effectively compete without seriously considering the role of the server today.  Your data center must support your strategy; but this requires looking at leveraging today’s technology and understanding available options such as virtualization and reducing hardware costs.  To succeed however, you seriously need to consider if the costs of owning and operating an internal data center are substantially lower than outsourcing to a Cloud provider.  There are other issues to consider, such as data security and data center location, but if profits and cash flow are critical, outsourcing could provide a critical edge over your competition. In the end, however, it is essential that the executive team ensure IT supports the vision, not the other way around.

About The Author: Argentstratus provides specialized IT services and private virtual offices for the healthcare industry.

Cost Reduction Benefits Of Cloud Hosting (Video 3)

Over the past few days, we’ve features a series of video interviews from CoreVault, discussing the flexibility and availability benefits of cloud computing. But there is one major factor that makes clous computing especially attractive to bueinsesses: Cost Savings.

And that’s the topic of today’s video, which is the last of the 3-part series.

The economy has been up and down a lot these past two years and I don’t know a single company that isn’t watching its expenses very closely. This especially occurs when a company needs to replace any equipment like servers. Other items that trigger cost reduction talks are the consideration of eliminating capital expenses or reducing ongoing monthly expenses. Whenever any of these areas are brought to light for discussion, then your business should be evaluating Cloud Hosting as a viable solution to these financial challenges.

You can also more about pricing and how Cloud Hosting can improve these important areas of your business by going to http://www.corevault.com/quickquote.

Accessibility Of Data And Services Hosted In The Cloud (Video 2)

Our friends at CoreVault have recently published the second video in their 3-part series on cloud hosting. If you’ve ever been curious about the accessibility of your servers when moving to the cloud, I’d definitely reccomend checking out this video.

Here is a short description, according to CoreVault:

Accessibilty is the name of the game these days. Businesses need to be up and running 24/7 with little room for any downtime, if any at all, depending on your business needs. The mobility of workforces and diverse needs of organizations requires the need for 24/7 access of data. Cloud hosting can provide that level of access while improving your disaster recovery and business continuity plans at the same time.

Learn more about pricing and how Cloud Hosting can improve these important areas of your business, then go to http://www.corevault.com/quickquote.

Why Companies Should Consider Cloud Hosting (Video 1)

This is the first in a 3-part series about the benefits of cloud hosting. It was put together by our good friends at CoreVault, and I strongly recommend checking this out.

We recently introduced our new Cloud Hosting services to the marketplace leveraging VMware’s industry leading technology. So like with any new product and especially with all the buzz around the Cloud, we wanted to help businesses understand what factors are most important to them when evaluating Cloud Hosting as a service.

So we have developed a new 3 part video series with CoreVault’s CIO, Raymond Castor, and Jeff Cato, V.P. Marketing, to help shed more light on this topic. Here is Reason #1 – Flexibility.

Flexibility is absolutely critical when needing access to your applications and data from anywhere, anytime. The 24/7 environment we operate in these days requires this type of flexibility. You need to test some applications before making it live? That is no problem with Cloud Hosting.

If you are interested in learning more about how our Cloud Hosting Services and even get a cost assessment, go to http://www.corevault.com/quickquote. Join us again soon as we unveil Reason #2 for why you should be considering Cloud Hosting.

How strong admin safeguards protect your practice (HIPAA IT Disaster Protection)

It is 3am and you receive the dreaded phone call from your alarm company.  There is a fire in progress at your practice and the fire department is on scene.  You quickly scramble out of bed to dress and head to the clinic to inspect the damage.

You are relieved when you get there.  The fire gutted the business next door and there was very little fire damage to yours.  Until you walk inside.  Then you notice that the intense heat, smoke and water ruined everything.  The loss of your furniture is bad enough, but your computer equipment, and most importantly, your server, is now unusable.  What can you do to get your practice up and running?

Disaster recovery is an important part of the administrative safeguards for your practice.  While there is a slight risk that you will have your computers hacked or employee’s share information they shouldn’t, there is a much greater likelihood that your practice will suffer from some sort of disaster that affects your operation for at least 3 days.  What steps can you take to get your practice up and running immediately after an event like a fire?

Moving a copy of your data back-up off-site is critical to recovery.  The more recent the data on the back-up, the quicker your recovery in the event of a disaster.  Having only last week’s back-up in the safe deposit box potentially means that a weeks worth of data is lost if something happens and the most recent back-up (still at the office) cannot be used. Even in today’s modern small healthcare practice, a week of work can amount to millions of data points that might be lost and unrecoverable.  Seriously consider moving data back-up offsite daily using an online service to ensure availability.

Keep the CD’s and licensing information for all the software in your practice in the safe deposit box.  Restoring data is relatively easy; reinstalling software and not having install codes could delay your practice’s reopening.  No matter what software developers tell you, restoring applications from a backup seldom goes smoothly.  Keeping software at the office can lead to problems in the event of disaster recovery.

Find a practice with a similar set-up in your area and work out a site-sharing arrangement in the event of a disaster.  It should be a mutual agreement where each practice can use the other’s space in the event of specific damage to their respective building.  This type of agreement can really help reduce patient stress, especially if practitioners’ are going to be out of their building for a period in excess of three days.

Practice a part of your disaster recovery quarterly.  One of the most important areas to test is restoring the back-up.  Work out: Who will get the back-up tape from the safe deposit box?  Where do we get the equipment to replace lost computers?  What technical problems come up during the restore?  Addressing these issues before a disaster strikes can help smooth the recovery cycle should something happen.  Your IT professional should be able to provide test equipment to facilitate this vital drill.

As part of your disaster recovery planning, consider if having an off-premise service may offer a better solution. Almost all off-premise services are located in specially designed facilities with advanced fire suppression and data recovery systems.  These services have powerful generators to keep the building operating during power loss and battery systems to keep all the equipment online while the generators spin up. With your applications hosted and data stored on off-premise servers, you can be assured of 24/7 access regardless of any physical damage to your practice.

Remember, administrative safeguards help protect you against data loss.  While hacking and data theft are the scarier prospects, you run far more risk of data loss from fire, vandalism or severe weather.  Putting solid disaster recovery plans, perhaps to include moving your applications and data to an off-premise service, can not only protect your patients’ data, but also speed up recovery if something happens.  Understanding your risks allows you to plan appropriately and a good recovery plan gets your practice back into operation that much faster, reducing stress for everyone.

About The Author: John Caughell is the Marketing Coordinator for Argentstratus. They are leading experts in the field of cloud technology for the medical industry. If you have any concerns about privacy and security for PII or PHI in the cloud, get in touch with them. (PHI Protection and PII Protection)

CoreVault Launches New VMware vCloud Powered Hosting Service

Flexible Consolidation of Data Security and Built-in Backup and Data Protection

CoreVault, an industry leader in providing data protection services, today announced the availability of its new VMware vCloud® Powered Hosting service. Through its partnership with VMware, CoreVault has developed its Cloud Hosting service to take advantage of all the cost and efficiency benefits of cloud computing, without sacrificing the control of information security.

Designed to consolidate security processes, increase operational flexibility and deliver built-in backup and data protection for today’s business, Cloud Hosting features full compliance with stringent regulatory requirements including HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley and PCI and is hosted in CoreVault’s own SAS 70 Type II facility. The new solution is available as an Individual Service for small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that only need a single virtual machine and as an Enterprise Service for larger-scale companies that require a more powerful package of resource options.

We are pleased to build upon the value of our partnership with VMware to offer one of the most secure, flexible and efficient cloud computing environments available,” said Jim Rutherford, President, CoreVault. “By matching industry leading technology with our years of data protection and disaster recovery expertise, CoreVault has perfected cloud computing so that today’s businesses can remain more agile without worrying about business continuity or security.

The CoreVault Cloud Hosting service offers multiple advantages for companies both large and small, including:

  • High Performance with minimized risk and maximized security.
  • Easy deployment that virtually automates infrastructure virtualization with instant scalability.
  • Built-in backup.
  • Cost savings that benefit the bottom line by reducing capital expenses.
  • Flexibility to access applications and data from anywhere at anytime.

The Cloud Hosting service leverages the latest VMware technology, including VMware vCloud Director, which enables the delivery and consumption of multi-tenant private and public clouds. CoreVault provides backup, recovery and hosting services to customers nationwide. Its services are endorsed by professional associations in the legal, healthcare and financial services industries representing over 500,000 business professionals.

Cloud Hosting services are now available. For more information, please visit:

http://www.corevault.com/hosting_in_cloud_solutions.

Follow CoreVault at http://twitter.com/CoreVault

About CoreVault

CoreVault is a Cloud solutions company that provides backup, recovery and hosting services to businesses in more than 37 states. Your data is securely and automatically stored off-site in our privately owned, SAS 70 Type II certified facilities. It is accessible 24/7 with monitoring and support provided by certified experts. Built on VMware’s industry leading technology, Cloud Hosting services are available on an individual or enterprise-level basis. CoreVault is recommended to more than 500,000 business, legal and healthcare professionals across the country by more than 25 associations. You run your business while we provide elite protection and hosting of your data and reputation. For additional information, go to corevault.com.

VMware and VMware vCloud are registered trademarks and/or trademarks of VMware, Inc. in the United States and/or other jurisdictions. The use of the word “partner” or “partnership” does not imply a legal partnership relationship between VMware or any other company.

The Importance Of Physical Server Security For Privacy Protection (HIPAA, HITECH, PII, PHI)

The doctor insisted on knowing our physical security arrangements.  We explained that our servers run in a building designed for securing telecommunications equipment and staying online 24/7 with battery backup and powerful generators.  We shared that the building required electronic key cards to enter, security cameras monitoring who accessed the building and the cage required an actual key to unlock and enter. We closed by saying that all keys were under the control of our infrastructure coordinator and had to be checked out to leave his office.

At this point, we smiled and pointed to his server, and asked how his security compared to that.

The server sat under the reception counter ten feet from the front door.   Even more troubling; the admin password for the server was taped to the side of the box, as it seemed the server needed rebooting every few days and the doctor felt the IT professional was too expensive to bring out every time.  While this is an extreme example, it highlights a serious issue affecting the small healthcare business; how to physically safeguard data without spending huge sums of money.

HIPAA and HITECH both have compliance exemptions for small practices.  But, and this is an important but, those exemptions only protect covered entities as long as they follow “best practices”.  In this situation, the doctor likely could not fall back on the small practice exemption because no safeguard existed to protect the server.  Compromised data could result in penalties and public exposure costing the practice money and patients.  The small practice exemption is both a blessing and a curse: It can keep doctors from spending money with no real payback, but it means that the risk doesn’t go away if reasonable steps are not taken.

What can a small practice do to enhance physical security without spending a large sum of money? To begin, everyone must appreciate that the server itself is not the target; it is the sensitive information on the server someone wants.  Best practice for hosting an on-premise server means the office should not use a room in a high traffic area and limit server access to a select few.  It may require retrofitting an area in the back of the office to offer a secured area to house the server.  An electrician will likely have to reroute network cables to this new room and HVAC technicians may possibly need to put in a new cooling vent to keep the room at the proper temperature.  As you can see, costs begin to mount when physically securing the server becomes important.  Unfortunately, the small healthcare practice often overlooks server security when designing the office. What other alternatives exist?

The practice can evaluate the physical security strengths of renting its own space in a facility designed to run and protect computer equipment.  With this approach, the doctor has the benefit of sharing the facility cost with other businesses using the site, but now someone has to travel to the building to handle server issues that arise.  While physical security increases, so too does the cost of managing technical and administrative security.

The practice can also look at a complete off-premise solution to securely host their applications, store data, and provide secured access to users anywhere.  A service like this, whether vendor-based Software as a Service, or a virtual desktop like that delivered by Argentstratus, uses sophisticated security measures and then shares that cost with all users of the system. This approach reduces the cost of physical security to pennies an hour and frees the practice to use the space for treatment instead of storage and security.

Information security starts with making sure people cannot get easy access to the server.  This comes at a cost to the practice.  To house equipment on-premise requires giving up treatment rooms for server rooms.  To move off-premise will require the doctors to know and trust the service provider and insist on practice-centered Business Associate agreements, but in the end, the risk of data loss is real.  Knowing this and dealing with it early will allow the practice to adapt and create best practices that allow doctors to practice medicine, not IT.

About The Author: John Caughell is the Marketing Coordinator for Argentstratus. They are leading experts in the field of cloud technology for the medical industry. If you have any concerns about privacy and security for PII or PHI in the cloud, get in touch with them.

Are We Seeing The Death Of The Small Business Server?

The doctor is adamant.  She wants a managed service agreement with a maximum15 minute response time and a guarantee that her office will be up and running in under 30 minutes if the server goes down.  This seems unrealistic but, in a world where even the smallest business has a centralized server to host applications and store data, the inability to stay connected can cost business thousands in revenue.

She is not alone.  Decision-makers in every type of enterprise are beginning to worry about how they will work if their server goes down.  Even though hardware costs continue to drop, server set-up and management is becoming increasingly expensive.  IT professionals continue to offer technical solutions to the risk of downtime by increasing the number of disk drives, mirroring technology, swappable drives, remote monitoring software; but all this technology simply continues to push the cost of technology even higher.

These technological solutions, however, do not eliminate downtime.  To be fair, they reduce the risk of lost data in the event of catastrophe, but they do not keep the enterprise server online.  The only certain way to keep the hosted applications online and the data accessible is through complete redundancy.  But, if costs are already too high, hardware and software redundancy simply pushes the cost of complete accessibility out of reach.

This is the dilemma facing business decision-makers and computer manufacturers alike.  Centralized servers have become so essential to business that any amount of downtime puts the business at risk.  The IT dream solution is to increase the cost and complexity of on-premise systems to keep systems online.  The economic reality is that enterprises must find a way to have greater access without increasing their investment in IT infrastructure because they are already spending too much money on equipment they are not fully utilizing.

What are the options for business when equipment utilization is low, the cost high, and the equipment is essential to making money? The construction industry offers a potential solution. One company owns the expensive equipment and contractors pay for its use. High utilization reduces the ownership cost per hour.  Contractors no longer have to invest their capital and borrowing capacity in equipment; they can pay for it as they use it.

Creating “rent-like” qualities is one solution that gives enterprises access to their applications and data without the upfront equipment investment.  It requires one Company to own the expensive IT infrastructure and share it to keep utilization high.  To provide unlimited access, however, there has to be enough bandwidth, or the electronic means to move data and, the hardware and software must be infinitely expandable.  The industrialized world has invested heavily in creating broadband internet as well as new generation wireless connectivity.

The increase in high-speed connectivity has lead to higher demands for access to enterprise applications and data from places once unthinkable.  Today, all across America, sales professionals complete transactions in coffee shops and in airports.  This explosion of access to your enterprise applications and data has put more demands on your equipment, and placed your business information at risk.  If your business information is so sensitive, what steps are you taking to safeguard it?

In most instances, on-premise security is weak at best.  Server access is essentially uncontrolled and equipment does not have its own power and fire suppression systems.  There are limited technical means keeping data from incorrect storage on local drives.  There are no administrative requirements to create a complex password and change it regularly.  Let’s be honest: Security equals commitment and commitment equals dollars.  Small business just does not have the resources to commit to security.  Given their limited resources, decision-makers need to focus on ROI. Marketing and customers generate superior ROI; security systems do not.  Face it though; the demand for access will not go away.  This is the dilemma facing decision-makers today.

Securing your sensitive data requires a serious commitment. This commitment is best borne by groups of businesses with identical security needs and a willingness to share the cost of superior security solutions.  To steal a phrase, there is security in numbers and the need for security is what will kill the small server, not the other way around.

About The Author: John Caughell is the Marketing Coordinator for Argentstratus. Argentstratus provides secure hosted solutions for the medical industry. They are experts in the protection of PII and PHI.