Month: May 2012

What Makes a Good Cloud Service Provider?

So, you want to adopt the cloud for your business. But with so many choices out there, it can be an overwhelming process. Earlier this week, CloudTweaks released a list of things to consider when searching for a Cloud Service Provider (CSP). At IronOrbit, we are proud to say that our cloud services meet these standards. Read on to find out how we are the solution to your cloud computing needs.

Technical Expertise and Customer Support

Two of the things CloudTweaks says to consider when looking for a cloud service provider for your business are a knowledgeable team and strong customer support. At IronOrbit we offer complete IT support to our clients. Our staff of experts is fully trained to answer any questions you may have or find solutions for problems that may arise. Technical support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; additionally, all of our techs and customer support representatives are domestically-based, which guarantees consistent, high-quality support any time of day or night. So if you encounter a problem at midnight and need a solution so you can make that big presentation the next day, one of our experts is available to help you.

Trust and Performance Guarantees

CloudTweaks stresses that trust is an important aspect to consider when choosing a cloud service provider due to the critical nature of your company’s data. We couldn’t agree more. We are trusted by leading organizations in many sectors including health care, legal, accounting/finance and public/government. We were recently charged with creating and hosting extremely specialized desktops for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; because of the highly-sensitive nature of their work, trust was a critical aspect for LLNL when considering a Cloud Service Provider. They trusted IronOrbit and we delivered secure and effective, customized solutions.

A major component of trust is knowing that your provider guarantees fast and consistent performance. To that end, IronOrbit delivers Atomic Speed Technology, which ensures that you can launch your cloud in less than one second and guarantees maximum performance. Additionally, our cloud solutions are highly scalable and can be adjusted based on your changing needs.

Uptime Guarantees

In business time is money and we know you can’t afford to lose any of either to unexpected downtime. Your cloud is housed on a server located in our state of the art data centers. These data centers are equipped with features like redundant Internet connectivity, redundant cooling systems and strong security measures that provide a 100% uptime guarantee.

Tools Available

It’s hard to run your business without the right tools.  With IronOrbit’s business productivity tools, virtualized desktops and hosted applications, you have access to a plethora of tools designed to help your business run smoothly and efficiently.

Ease of Migration

Migrating all of your data to the cloud can be a tedious and laborious task. We make that transition as quick and seamless as possible through cutting edge technologies such as Citrix’s VDI-In-A-Box, a fully integrated desktop management system.


According to CloudTweaks, security should be a main concern for a cloud service provider. At IronOrbit, your data and network are protected by our Orbital Security feature. Our multi-tiered approach to security includes:

  • Physical and environmental security
  • Operational security
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Logical and system security

With these security measures in place, you can rest assured that we will detect and take care of any threats to your company’s data.


Cost is almost always the biggest factor when deciding on which cloud service provider to use. The last thing you want is to sign up for a service, only to be surprised with a rate different than what you were told or get hit with an unexpected additional cost. As a client of IronOrbit, there are no unpredictable costs; you are only charged an all-inclusive, flat monthly fee that includes all of the features we have mentioned in this blog.

When it comes to cloud computing, IronOrbit is the whole package. For more information, check out our website or call us at (888) 753-5060.

Decoding Cloud Computing Models: SaaS

Our recent series on cloud computing models concludes today with a look at the third and final model, SaaS. SaaS stands for Software as a Service; on this cloud model, the consumer can access and use the provider’s applications, usually through a Web browser. According to the NIST, the client does not control any of the underlying infrastructure or the applications themselves. In this model, companies can use software programs (such as accounting, HR management and collaboration programs) that help them run and manage their day-to-day operations without having to actually purchase the software; the client rents the software from the provider and pays for a subscription to use it.

SaaS use has grown a great deal and adoption will continue to grow in the business arena. According to Gartner, worldwide SaaS revenue is expected to reach $14.5 billion this year and will continue to grow through 2015, when it is expected to reach $22.1 billion in revenue. There are several benefits that SaaS offers companies that utilize it.

One of the biggest advantages of using the SaaS model is that it alleviates a lot of work and stress for the business since they do not have to design, build and run their own infrastructure, which can be extremely difficult and impractical for most businesses. The business also does not have to worry about maintaining the database, network, operating systems or the applications. Instead, all they need is an Internet connection and they can access the software they need which is hosted by a service provider. SaaS is great for companies that want to take a more hands-off approach to their IT needs.

Like the other service models, SaaS can save businesses money in several ways. The first area is in terms of IT costs. Since everything is hosted off-site and maintained by a service provider, the company does not have to worry about paying someone to handle their IT concerns (e.g. updating software or checking for viruses). Second, Saas allows for an economy of scale. Since applications hosted on this model are operated on multi-tenant structure, services can be offered at a much lower cost. Lastly, SaaS is offered on a pay-as-you-go basis. Instead of forking over a ton of money in order to purchase and own software, a company can pay a subscription fee based on what they use.

Accessibility is a third major advantage of the SaaS model. Since your applications and software are hosted, you are not limited in your ability to access them. If you are halfway across the world for a business meeting, you can access your email server, word processor or any other business application you may need.

Of course, these are just some of the benefits that your company can reap if they choose a SaaS provider. Since most of the service models offer similar benefits, it is up to you to decide which model will work best for your business.

At IronOrbit, we provide our clients with both application hosting solutions and virtual hosted desktops that are customized to fit their business needs. Whether you need Microsoft Office, Quickbooks or Peachtree, your applications are anywhere enabled through your own personal cloud, allowing you to access them securely from wherever you are.

Telecommuting: Taking The Workday Out of The Office

It used to be that the typical American workday consisted of trying to get to work by 9:00 a.m. (easier said than done in some areas of the country), working for eight hours then heading home. But thanks to advances in technology, such as the cloud, there has been a shift in what a “typical” workday looks like. Telecommuting and teleworking have become increasingly common; a 2012 survey of more than 1,000 workers revealed that 83% worked remotely at least part of the day.

Before we discuss the potential drawbacks and benefits of allowing your employees to telecommute or telework, we should probably define what these two terms mean. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but do have slightly different meanings. Teleworking is the broader of the two terms and refers to working at any location off-site from the main office. Telecommuting is a slightly narrower term that generally refers to working from the home, thus eliminating the need to commute. According to Brie Reynolds, a teleworker travels to and from various locations, but not necessarily a regular office; this includes working on-site with a client, working at a branch office or working from an airport or hotel. She goes on to say that telecommuting does not require one to leave their own house and includes working from a home office or an office on one’s property.

Despite the growing number of people teleworking and telecommuting, some employers are still hesitant to allow their employees to work outside of the office. One of the most obvious concerns employers have is whether or not their employees will get the work done if they are not in the office. While a majority of managers said they trust their employees, one-third said they would rather have them in the office just to be sure they are completing their work. Security is another major concern for many businesses, since telecommuting and teleworking requires that they allow their employee to access their network and data from an outside source. Working from outside the office also makes communication slightly more difficult. It is often easier to discuss things (e.g. new projects, changes in policies, etc.) when they are actually in the office.

The benefits of telecommuting and teleworking for the employee are fairly easy to see: it means they don’t have to sit in traffic trying to get to the office, a more flexible schedule and allows them to more easily balance their home and work lives. Like most things, telecommuting and teleworking are not right for every business and every employee. If you feel that these methods could work for you, however, they do offer several distinct advantages and benefits:

  • Productivity: While employers are concerned that employees will not be as productive, studies have shown quite the opposite. A study from Cisco showed that nearly 60% of employees surveyed who work remotely actually felt they were more productive, 75% said their timeliness had improved and 67% said their quality of work had improved.
  • Money: Telecommuting and teleworking can save you money. Since the company does not have to house as many employees, this can save a lot of money in terms of overhead costs.
  • Employee satisfaction: Since hours are flexible and they don’t have to spend extra time commuting to and from the office, employees often more satisfied with their jobs. Employers who allow their employees to work off-site have seen higher levels of employee retention.

Companies that offer the opportunity to telecommute or telework are finding more and more benefits. The above are certainly not an exhaustive list of the benefits, but they are pretty good incentives to consider the possibility of letting employees work outside of the office setting.

Cloud computing is one of the technologies that has made effective telecommuting and teleworking possible. Since your company’s data and software are hosted off-site, your employees can access the information they need from anywhere, increasing collaboration between those working in the office and those working from elsewhere.

At IronOrbit, we provide cloud solutions that make working remotely easier. With your custom-built cloud and virtual desktop, your company reaps all the benefits of a telecommuting employee while knowing that your data and network are protected by our Orbital Security feature. You and your employees can access necessary data and applications from anywhere: the office, their home, a hotel room or a coffee shop.

Decoding Cloud Computing Models: PaaS

Last week we began a series on the different types of cloud computing service models by discussing the broadest: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Today we will take a look at a second model, known as Platform as a Service, or PaaS.

Some experts are calling 2012 the year of the platform. As the name suggests, a service provider hosts and delivers a computing platform for its clients. With IaaS, the provider functions almost as a storage unit: they manage the underlying infrastructure while the consumer still controls database, applications and operating systems; with PaaS, on the other hand, the consumer manages the applications and the provider manages the infrastructure, network, servers and operating systems. According to the NIST, “PaaS consumers employ the tools and execution resources provided by cloud providers to develop, test, deploy, and manage the operation of PaaS applications hosted in a cloud environment.”

The great thing about having various service models to choose from is that they offer different benefits and utilities to consumers based on the company’s needs and offered services. One business may just need to store their systems while retaining a majority of control over them, another company may just want to control the applications while taking a more hands-off approach to the rest of the components. Here are a few of the benefits that the PaaS model offers clients:

  • Cost: Like other cloud models, cost is a huge benefit of PaaS since you pay as you go, instead of fronting a huge amount of money for an initial investment.
  • Hands-off: With the IaaS model, your company is ultimately responsible for updating and maintaining your applications and network (the provider maintains the physical database for you). With a PaaS model, you only have to worry about the applications, your provider does the rest.
  • Ability to test: One of the major benefits that PaaS offers is the ability to test possible deployments. It allows development teams to try out their projects in various machines, with differing configurations and from multiple locations.
  • Time: The “Time to Value” of PaaS is high. Applications can be both developed and deployed quickly.

In terms of cloud service models, PaaS lands itself in the middle of its counterparts. It allows companies to retail ownership of the applications while not having to worry about managing the supporting hardware and infrastructures. Depending on what your business wants to do and what kind of control it wants to have, any of these options are viable. Be sure to check back for the concluding segment in this series, in which we will look at the SaaS model.

Our team of experts at IronOrbit can design and implement cloud strategies based on your business needs. We can deliver any model that your organization may require. All of our custom-designed cloud solutions include several benefits, such as: Atomic Speed Technology (which allows you to launch your applications in less than one second), multi-tiered security and unlimited technical support.

Should They or Shouldn’t They: BYOD Policies For Your Business

The “Bring Your Own Device,” or BYOD, trend is a growing one in the business arena. According to a Forbes, more than 80% of employed adults use at least one personal device (such as cellphones, tablets or computers) for business use and 74% of companies allow their employees to use their own devices. Like other technology trends, there are upsides and downsides to the BYOD phenomenon, and ways to ensure that it is used correctly.


There are a couple of concerns when it comes to BYOD usage. The main issue for many businesses is control. Since it is the employee’s device, they have complete control over the apps and data they access, not the company. This lack of control correlates with a second issue when it comes to letting employees use their own devices: security. Since there is no control over what employees do with their devices, they run the risk of downloading apps and data that are not secure and could pose a threat to your company technology. Many employees are not aware of what apps could present a risk or even aware of what constitutes a risk.

Another major issue in terms of BYOD is deciding what constitutes acceptable use. With company-owned devices, what is and is not acceptable is pretty easy to define.  It is harder to define those uses when the employee owns the device and uses it for both business and personal reasons.


Many companies are allowing their employees to use their own devices for work-related purposes because it offers their company several huge benefits that may outweigh the negatives. One of the main advantages of allowing employees to bring their own device is that it often saves the business money. When employees use their own cellphone or computer, they pay for it themselves, which can save companies as much as $80/month per employee.

According to an article, increased employee productivity and efficiency is another major benefit of BYOD. 64% of IT managers surveyed said they felt allowing employees to use their own devices would increase productivity and efficiency and 42% of employees enrolled in BYOD programs said that they saw a rise in both areas.


Before you start allowing employees to use their own devices, make sure you do your research to determine if a BYOD policy will work for your company and employees. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when considering BYOD:

  • Evaluate: Consider whether or not the benefits outweigh the negatives, or vice versa.
  • Educate employees: Make sure your employees are aware of the risks of using their own devices for work purposes. If employees are educated about the risks and potential errors, they are less likely to make them.
  • Create a strategy: According to Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco, organizations need to create a mobile strategy and should especially consider potential security issues.
  • Communicate: You need to be clear about expectations and rules for when employees use their own devices. Once you have a policy for use in place, communicate that with your employees so they know what to expect.

Cloud computing is one of the major contributing factors to the growth of the BYOD trend. When you sign your business up for IronOrbit’s cloud services, you can “anywhere enable” your data and applications so that employees can access them on their own devices. Your customized cloud comes with several benefits, including our 4-D Data Security, regular data backups and 24-7 technical support all for a low, fixed monthly fee.

Decoding Cloud Computing Models: IaaS

In a previous post, we defined the different service models offered by cloud technology: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (Paas) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Today, we will take a deeper look at the IaaS model of cloud computing.

As the name suggests, Infrastructure as a Service is a computing infrastructure that is fully outsourced to a provider. It is the most basic of the three aforementioned models. In the IaaS model, the provider handles all the equipment and hardware used to maintain an infrastructure, such as the servers and operating systems necessary to run elements of the other types of service (e.g. databases and web servers on PaaS and various applications on the SaaS).

Many businesses are moving toward the IaaS model, because it frees them from worrying about basic computing needs while still retaining control of their software and data. Instead of designing and managing their own servers (which can be wildly expensive and time-consuming), companies can hand over the reins to an outside entity. Below are a few of the benefits businesses have found when employing an IaaS provider.

  • Reduced cost: For most businesses, money is a driving force for many of their decisions. Like other cloud services, the IaaS model is usually operated on a pay-as-you-go basis, which allows for a huge cost decrease, since companies only have to pay for what they actually use.
  • Scalability: One of the big benefits of the cloud is that it is scalable. Since your infrastructure is hosted on this model, your service provider can scale your services up and down based on your company’s current needs.
  • Customization: IaaS allows for a high level of customization. As a client, you can just tell a provider what services, software and applications you want to access from your devices. Just about any service you desire can be virtualized and placed on your infrastructure.

At IronOrbit, we know that technology infrastructures are essential to your business operations, but running and managing this technology can be difficult, especially for SMBs. With our Managed Server Hosting services, we manage all of that equipment for you, so you can focus on more important things. Our team of experts is dedicated to maintaining your server (and the data it contains), so you don’t have to. Your server is always accessible through your customized cloud, so you can use it anywhere. Along with your hosted server, you also receive 24-7 tech support; our technicians are there to help you whenever you need it. And best of all, these benefits are available for a low, fixed price. To discover all the benefits you can find when you subscribe to our services, please visit our website.

Offsite But Not Out of Mind: Data Centers for Business

Data centers, at their core, are places where important computer systems and applications are housed. The systems and applications, usually found in the form of huge servers, contained within data centers are often integral parts of running a business. They allow companies to store important data in a location external of the computers and other devices they use daily, and guard against massive data loss in emergency situations (such as hacking or power failures). But unless you are a huge corporation, having a data center on-site is not practical nor is it feasible.

One of the major issues with an in-house data center is space. Where are you going to put a large server? Additionally, the room that the server is housed in needs to be kept at a regulated temperature so that it does not overheat. Another major issue with in-house data centers is the cost: they cost a lot to build and to maintain. You have to pay for the equipment itself, and then pay to have it installed in an appropriately designed area. They also require near-constant monitoring in case something goes wrong. If your data center experiences a power outage, someone needs to know about it so that it can be repaired in a timely manner in order to minimize downtime. These things all add up to one major headache for businesses. At the end of the day, however, data centers are important because of the systems they contain. Companies who realize the importance of those systems but can’t feasibly create their own data centers should consider off-site data centers. They give your business access to the systems you need without the hassles of an on-site data center.

Many companies have moved their data to off-site data centers and are leaving the maintenance to the companies who specialize in running them. When you migrate your data to an off-site data center, you no longer have to worry about hardware refreshing, hard drive failures, maintaining the right temperature for your servers to function or possible downtime.

With IronOrbit, your desktops, servers, data and applications are housed at our state of the art data centers. We have partnered with the best in the industry: AT&T, COX, Time Warner, SAVVIS and Level 3. Our data centers are housed in multiple locations, which are all equipped with the following features:

  • Redundant Internet connectivity: If the main Internet connection fails, a backup will kick in; this will decrease any possible downtime, so you can get back to serving your clients as soon as possible.
  • Environmental Protection Systems: We offer several environmental control systems. First, we feature HVAC redundant cooling systems; these help regulate temperature and humidity in our data centers, so the servers are kept at an optimum temperature. We also feature fire suppression systems designed to protect the servers from damage.
  • Multi-level security: Rest assured that your data is protected by top-of-the-line security systems. Each data center is equipped with multiple levels of security controls such as biometric palm readers, video monitoring and alarm monitoring.

IronOrbit’s data centers allow you to easily house all your systems and applications through a secure and reliable off-site source.

Email Hosting: Leave it to The Pros

Email is something most of us use on a daily basis (both in business and in our personal lives). Despite the huge growth in social media consumption, email is still one of the main Internet-based activities (along with using a search engine); more than 60% of Internet users send or read an email on a typical day.

Email is an effective communication tool for many businesses. It allows employees of an organization to relay basic information quickly. With one click, a business owner or CEO can send out a memo to the whole company. It can also be used to get a message out to your customers. A company can quickly alert clients to upcoming events or changes in the company or its services. It can also be a great asset for the marketing team. Unlike other forms of marketing, email marketing is inexpensive and allows customers to easily share what they find interesting with friends.

While email services such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail are great for personal use, they are not good options for a professional setting. Having a corporate email address is important for your business because it makes you look credible. Anyone can open an email account with the aforementioned services, so people tend to be more wary of business emails using those sites. That said, it is often difficult for businesses, particularly SMBs, to maintain their own email system on-site. Between the investments in equipment, hiring someone to maintain the system and software applications like spam blockers, creating and running an email system can be quite expensive. That is where email hosting comes in. With off-site email hosting, you don’t have to worry about expensive equipment and software. Some other benefits your company may see when using an email hosting service include:

  • Offsite backups- Since your emails are hosted and stored offsite, your important emails will not be lost if your hardware crashes.
  • Security– Hosting your emails offsite can lead to greater technological security. With email hosting services, you are often provided with a filter that makes it easier to catch potential threats such as spam, malware or hacking.
  • Storage space- Hosted email services generally offer businesses flexible storage capacities based on your business’ needs and storage demands.

At IronOrbit, we offer hosted email solutions to our clients using the latest cloud technology. With onthenet Mail, you can access your important business emails from wherever you are and on any device. We also offer SPAM and virus protection features, so you can read your emails without worry. Like the other services we offer, email hosting is available for a low, fixed price.

Tablets & Clouds: Growing Trends in Data Access

Tablet use has caught on quickly: it took less than two years for the tablet to reach 40 million American users, while it took seven years for smartphones. According to a report from Forrester Research, tablet sales are expected to drastically increase (going from 56 million in 2011 to a projected 375 million in 2016) and will largely displace personal computers.

There are a lot of differing views on the definition of a tablet. Some industry experts say a tablet is any device with a touch screen, while others say users should be able to write on it with a pen. Some consider the size of the screen to be a determining factor: it should be smaller than a computer but bigger than a cell phone. According to Mashable, a tablet is “a mobile computer, larger than a mobile phone or personal digital assistant, integrated into a flat touch screen and primarily operated by touching the screen rather than using a physical keyboard. It often uses an onscreen virtual keyboard, a passive stylus pen, or a digital pen.”

Given that there are a lot of definitions pertaining to tablets, you can just imagine how many models are out there for you to choose from. Some of the most popular tablets available right now are (in no particular order):

  • Apple iPad- Apple launched its third generation iPad earlier this year. Features include: retina display (allowing for increased readability), 4G LTE wireless technology and access to some of the most popular apps available. For more information visit the Apple iPad site.
  • Sony Tablet S- Sony’s first tablet was released in 2011. It is an Android-based device that can act as a universal remote and allows users to rent or buy movies from Sony Entertainment Network. For more information, visit Sony’s website.
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab- Samsung offers a wide variety of tablets, including its newest addition, the 10.1. To compare models, check out the Samsung Galaxy Tab page.

There are numerous other devices out there. It’s just a matter of finding out what each device offers your business and determining which suits your needs best.

Cloud computing has, and will continue to, have a huge effect on tablet use, and vice versa. With the increasing popularity of the tablet, it was just a matter of time before its use permeated the corporate arena; because of that fact, many companies are realizing the value of cloud technology. The tablet is being used in a wide variety of fields from education to retail to healthcare, and just about every industry in between.

One of the great things about the increased usage of cloud technology and tablets is that they make it easy for your data to be anywhere-enabled. You can access the things you need from anywhere so long as there is an Internet connection. At Ironorbit, we build customized cloud solutions based on your needs. Your unique cloud allows you to access your vital information from any device.

Big Data: A Fit For Every Business

You may have heard the term “big data” and brushed it off as something not applicable to your business. A study conducted by Techaisle revealed, however, that there is an increasing interest in big data and its advantages for SMBs. According to the study, business owners have begun to see the competitive advantages big data offers and are willing to invest in consultants that will help them develop big data insights.

Before we go any further, you should probably be familiar with what the term “big data” means. There are several definitions floating around, but, at its core, big data refers to the copious amounts of data that would “take too much time and cost too much money to load” into a database for analysis. Let’s explain it this way: 90% of the data that exists today was created within the last two years and 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day. It is difficult to analyze all of that. Big data can include anything from photos and videos to Tweets.

Now that you understand the basis of what big data is, it is important to note that it affects everyone, not just large corporations; it will become “a key basis of competition, underpinning waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus.” Because of that fact, all companies should consider big data an important factor in running their day-to-day operations and will need to leverage strategies to capitalize on that data. By analyzing the data available, you can make well-informed decisions that will benefit your business. It can also help keep you abreast of the topics and ideas pertaining to your industry such as competitor’s promotions and comments on Facebook and Twitter. For example, a company can analyze data and determine which of their products sells best and when; they can even go so far as to link sales data to time, weather or even local events.

Big data also seems to be one of the main contributors to the growth of cloud computing. Cloud technology allows consumers to more easily access the kind of data they need in order to grow their business: “Cloud infrastructure and platforms will play a huge role in accessing, processing, and analyzing such massive amounts of data. This is where cloud-based systems shine.” Some analysts say that how people use big data will determine the “winners and losers in the next wave of cloud computing innovation.”

One major trend in the growing connection between cloud computing and big data is the BDA, or the big data app. According to Raj De Datta, BDA’s are web-based applications that interpret and use big data to bring results to their clients (a good example of a BDA is the networking and recruiting website, LinkedIn). He says that they are an extension of the SaaS cloud model.

Storing and handling a lot of data can be extremely difficult, especially for small businesses. At IronOrbit, we design cloud solutions that help our customers, with their specific needs and requirements in mind. We know that as your company grows, the amount of data you store and process does as well. Our clouds are highly scalable and allow your infrastructure to grow as your company’s needs grow. With our Atomic Speed Technology, you can grow your infrastructure whenever you want, for no upfront fee.