Category: Desktop as a Service

Why Alignment in Manufacturing is Less Important Than You Thought
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Why Alignment In Manufacturing Is Less Important Than You Thought

Business Optimization is more important than alignment in the new normal
Section 1

Author: John McMahon

Read time: 7min

 

There has been a lot of speculation and much written in recent days about the “new normal.” How much is going to change? How much is going to stay the same? Who are going to be the winners and who are going to be the losers? There are many unanswered questions. One thing is certain, however these challenges are resolved will have long-lasting implications.

How will you lead the recovery of your manufacturing firm in 2020? The answer to that question will determine the health of your business in the coming months, and even in the coming years. Fortunately, leadership principles don’t change because the marketplace is thrown into upheaval. Business optimization is going to be your friend in the latter part of 2020 and beyond. As a leader, you want the best for your team. Balance the needs of your employees with investor expectations. What are your capabilities and cost of streamlining technology? It’s a tightrope to walk. There is good news. Others have paved the way. The technologies involved are dependable and effective.

Lisa Caldwell, in an April 14, 2020, Forbes article entitled “Now, Next, Beyond: The Three Phases Of Manufacturers’ COVID-19 Recovery,” addresses some of these concerts.

 

3 Main Conclusions & Action Steps:

Now – Address the Most Immediate Challenges – Employees, Customers, Liquidity

Next – Ensure Business Continuity and Enterprise Resilience

Beyond – Building Greater Agility and Resilience into the Organization’s Ecosystem

 

business recovery and optimization

What are the business realities of your manufacturing company?

The Alignment of People, Processes, & Resources

There has been so much said about alignment in business circles. The literature is full of “the alignment of people, processes, and resources.” So much so that the phrase itself has lost much of its meaning.

Why?

Because talk of “alignment” has become more of a marketing tagline. Instead of a business reality. The reality is that you will never find alignment perfection. The reason is obvious. Employees will come and go. Markets will fluctuate. Customer expectations will change. Suppliers can become dodgy. And technology is always evolving. The old axiom of “get everything set up so that it is perfect and all will be well” is gone forever.

Patrick Tickle of Planview wrote an article in 2016 boldly declaring, “Alignment Is Dead … or at Least It Should Be!” He was right. He said, “Everyone becomes so focused on aligning to the plan that they cannot easily take advantage of opportunities or pivot when they encounter challenges.”

The new mantra of manufacturing firms needs to be “agility.”

·         Agile Workforce

·         Agile Processes

·         Agile Technologies

It reminds me of the old cowboys trying to hit a target while riding on horseback. If you can make split-second decisions in real-time, continuously aligning people, processes, and resources, you’re an agile leader of a forward-leaning firm that just might make it in the information economy.

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What's next for industrial manufacturing? Adopting disruptive digital "make and deliver" technologies.

Although Different,
Discrete & Process Manufacturing Have Similar Priorities

For the outsider looking in on the manufacturing industry, it seems like all manufacturing firms do the same thing…make stuff. But you know different, and so does the IronOrbit team. Each manufacturing firm falls into its own category. Each one is unique within that segment of manufacturing. No matter where your firm sits in that vast expanse of Manufacturing organizations, you have similar priorities to your competitors and colleagues.

  • Implement and Utilize ERP Successfully
  • Integrate Disparate Applications for Greater Efficiency
  • Keep Processes Dialed-in and Optimized
  • Manage Complexity
  • Attain Sustainable Market Leadership
  • Maintain Customer Satisfaction

 

One article isn’t going to solve each of the multi-layered challenges you face. Take a look at these objectives. Consider which ones you want to tackle first.

In part 2 of this blog (be on the lookout for our email invite) we will explore some ideas that can be helpful as you move forward.

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Manufacturing Solutions
What Can Your AEC Firm Control During Times of Uncertainty?
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What Can Your AEC Firm Control During Times Of Uncertainty?

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Section 1

Author: John McMahon

Read time: 8min

 

Even as architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) companies anticipate project delays they are bracing for the unexpected. There’s the two trillion dollar infrastructure bill. Is it going to happen? Unless you’ve got a crystal ball, a lucky rabbit’s foot, and a divining rod all calibrated to the right frequency, your guess is as good as mine.

You rely on industry lobbyists to push infrastructure spending, Whether or when it happens, is out of your control. The big government money isn’t coming quickly. Coronavirus continues to cause volatility in every sphere. Nearly half of all AEC firms expect to be significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Many anticipate their projects to be postponed. So, all of this begs the question. What can AEC firms control in a time of uncertainty?

 

 

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1. Today’s Work

I know that it sounds simplistic, but sometimes the simplest truths are the most important. Tomorrow we can’t control, so we have to focus on what we can do (and get done) today.

Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “The future depends on what you do today” — and he’s not wrong.

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2. Spending

Likely, your firm has already had to tighten its belt. Projects delayed and on hold are squeezing you. You can’t close the company wallet entirely while you ride out the storm.

Companies that choose their spending carefully will thrive. That’s true in general, but especially true during times like these. When things get back to normal, companies that choose to close their wallets and wait out the storm might find themselves behind. It might even be difficult to compete on a level playing field. Putting some financial resources into departments like marketing, internal sales, and human resources (searching for that perfect addition to the firm) during this time can pay off big.

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3. Technology Utilization

In our current work-from-home climate, architectural, engineering, and construction firms across the country – big and small – have had to lean on cloud technologies like VoIP phones and hosted desktops to keep workflow rolling. Cloud computing also helps them stay in touch with employees, vendors, sub-trades, and clients. Right now, technology is something that you can control. If what your firm has got now isn’t working for you, or if you want something better, better is out there! And you’d probably be surprised how quickly and easily it can all be implemented.

Most firms will continue to use the cloud-based technologies they have discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic long after the crisis has ended. So, taking the “technology bull” by the horns now and taking control of your future IT environment, is a good call (understatement).

If you’d like some advice or assistance in how your firm’s technology can be improved upon, the IronOrbit team would be glad to have that conversation with you.

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4. Care for Employees, Vendors, and Clients

The AEC firms that are going to come out ahead are the ones that focused on relationships. Relationship building is one of the things you can control. Anyone can pick up the phone or send an email to check in on a colleague or client – and you should. It’s good business. It’s also the kind of cement that can hold relationships together through thick and thin.

Steve Pavlina, author of Personal Development for Smart People, said, “Treat your business relationships like friendships (or potential friendships). Formality puts up walls, and walls don’t foster good business relationships. No one is loyal to a wall… except the one in China.”

By investing care, concern, support, and if needed financial resources into employees, vendors, and clients now, you foster a relationship that will pay dividends in terms of business when things get rolling again.

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5. Compliance

As hard as it is, compliance with federal and state closures, social distancing, and isolation is something that you have under your control.

As things begin to open again, those restrictions begin to relax. Implementing ongoing safeguards in the workplace is also under your control.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has changed the way the world looks at contagion, and the behavioral effects of the virus upon clients and employees alike will be with us for some time to come. There are sure to be an increased number of new safety measures.

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6. Charity and Cheer

Remember the last time all the employees or your firm pitched in to take on a project that benefited someone who needed help. Remember what it felt like? Call it the power of positive intent or just goodwill. It’s amazing what good it does for the morale of a firm.

This week, in our town, a truck will pull into the parking lot of the local Salvation Army Church. Because this is a time when some people have a scarcity of food supply. We will distribute 50,000 pounds of potatoes and French fries to folks who need them.

Why?

Because a farmer somewhere knew he could do something.

So, your AEC firm has no potatoes… No surprise there.

But with some thinking and a little imagination, I’m sure you can find some way to band together. Become helpful to someone less fortunate during this time – and there’s always someone less fortunate.

We’re all in this together. And ever-so-slowly, we’re coming out of this crisis together. There’s one thing the leadership of every AEC firm in the nation has under their control. They can choose to be charitable. They can nurture an attitude of cheer and possibility thinking among their employees.

Great Britain may have gotten through WWII with the motto, “Keep Calm and Carry On” but that stoic side of bravery has never been the American way. Instead, every crisis has seen business owners step up to the plate. They do what they can (charity and cheer). A happy warrior to assist in combating the enemy.

Today is no different.

Sure, you may not be able to give to every charity that you would like to support. Your firm may be one of the thousands across the USA that have had to apply for federal loans to keep afloat. It’s a tight spot we’re all in.

But we’re all in it together. It’s an expression you hear a lot nowadays, and it’s true.

These are difficult and uncertain times. You need a solutions provider who can partner with you. IT experts who can pivot and adjust to your needs as they change.

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The Remote Work Survival Kit Under the Threat of the Coronavirus

There is no denying the impact COVID-19 has had on us over the past couple of months. The coronavirus has managed to work its way into every conversation, news headline, and social media post.

The coronavirus is a pandemic according to the World Health Organization. The threat of the virus spreading
has changed the way we live. We have to prepare ourselves for the upcoming months. Canceling large events and gatherings is one way to mitigate the spread of the virus. Sports, schools, churches and many businesses have closed. Or they avoid interaction with the public. Social distancing is the new mandate. Government officials have urged us to not congregate in large crowds. Stay at home if possible. Many companies are sending emails to employees asking them to work from home if possible. Companies that aren’t set up to work remotely are scrambling to make it happen. What was once an option has become a necessity.

This article will provide some options on how to deliver a great work from home experience. None of these technologies are new. If used in combination they will ensure a better work-from-home experience.

Let’s start with the one that can take on many forms and methodologies: BYOD. Bring your Own Device. Gartner defines BYOD as allowing someone to use a personally-owned device to access a company’s resources. This could be the company’s email. It could be actually installing a VPN client on their home computer. Each company has a different take on the level of access granted to non-company assets.

 

The “Bring Your Own Device” concept has been around since 2004. It is not a new trend. What is new is the popularity of using personal mobile devices on the job. The security risks of allowing access to corporate resources has discouraged some companies from adopting a BYOD policy.
Bring Your Own Device

In this post by Remote.CO you can get a sense of the varying level BYOD plays at different organizations. BYOD had its start in the mobile device world. Companies were tired of purchasing cell phones for employees. Employees were tired of carrying around 2 phones. Employees carried their personal phone and the locked-down, outdated one provided by the company. Since then, companies have other ways of getting business data secured on personal devices.

Mobile Device Managers

Microsoft Intune and VMware Airwatch are MDM programs that help protect corporate data on personal devices. Employees have access to an Enterprise app store where they can consume their internal data while using their device of choice. The employee first opts in to install the MDM agent on their device. The list of devices with current modern Operating Systems is no longer limited to only smartphones. Once the agent is installed, the company can push down a profile that allows the device to be managed. Both Intune and Airwatch have a robust set of policies available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. What degree of enforcement the company has on the phone will vary on the company and device type. Once the agent is deployed, and the configuration of Security baseline is set, the device can be actively monitored and secured. This could mean enforcing Bitlocker encryption for Windows 10 devices or managing Filevault on macOS with Intune.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

VDI technology has taken many forms over the years. In its purest form, VDI is accessing a virtual machine over the network from a client or web-browser. This enables companies to have virtual machines always available on the internal network. These virtual controlled Existing management systems control these machines. Security tools protect the company provided applications and data. Having a proper VDI solution for employees to use can be a major advantage. Especially if they need to travel or work from various locations and/or devices. If a company already has VDI in place today, the process of deploying new virtual desktops is easy. It only takes seconds to accommodate new users.

VDI began as a technology installed on-premise or in a company’s private data centers. Later VDI transitioned to the cloud. The major VDI players Citrix, VMware and Microsoft all have major cloud offerings. This is called DaaS or Desktops as a service. Citrix and Microsoft host their DaaS offerings within Azure. VMware can host desktops in AWS, Azure, and the IBM Cloud. Google Cloud is coming soon.

The ability to leverage cloud-based virtual desktops has great advantages. Especially in certain situations like Disaster Recovery. Traditional VDI takes longer to procure and deploy new hardware. DaaS has some extra benefits like less IT overhead. This is because the cloud provider manages more components.

 

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a means of which a computer user is granted access only after successfully presenting 2 or more pieces of evidence (factors) to an authentication mechanism. These are usually having to do with knowledge (something only the user knows); possession (only the user has it); and inherence (like fingerprint voice scan, or retina scan).

Let’s discuss the use of a multi-factor authentication solution. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a subset of multi-factor authentication (MFA). It ensures you can pass multiple criteria for identity. This includes something you know (password or security PIN). It also includes an object like a security token or fob. Finally, something physical that is specific to you (fingerprint, retina scan, facial recognition). A 2FA solution would offer only 2 of these mechanisms to prove your identity.

We’ve all had to input our email or phone number when signing up for an account online. Using a mobile banking app is a good example. An authentication mechanism can be a one-time-password sent to you via text message. It could be using your phone’s builtin face or fingerprint reader. These are ways to prove your identity.

The FBI warns MFA solutions are not completely foolproof. Still, it’s the best way to thwart cyber-thieves from stealing your data. Having a second form of authentication proof is safer than only having a long password. Most modern smartphones and laptops have a built-in fingerprint or smart card reader. There are several key players in the MFA space. The top leaders include Okta, Microsoft Azure MFA, and Duo (recently acquired by Cisco). Duo uses a simple cloud-based 2FA approach. Their system integrates with various types of applications. When a user attempts to gain access, a VDI or VPN provider sends a push notification to your smartphone. The user acknowledges the push notification on their smartphone. There’s no need to enter a second password or copy a 16-digit PIN for verification.

The order from management is to stay at home. Do not come to the office for the next 2 weeks. Work remotely until government and health organizations deem the coronavirus has been contained. Don’t worry about a report or project plan saved on your office desktop. Embrace VDI technology.

Do Your Work, Anywhere, and on Any Device

 

If you’re new to working from home, make sure your technology is in order. One important aspect of working remotely is communication. Make sure you have the bandwidth needed to support your tasks throughout the day.

The order from management is to stay at home. Do not come to the office for the next 2 weeks. Work remotely until government and health organizations deem the coronavirus has been contained. Don’t worry about a report or project plan saved on your office desktop. Embrace VDI technology.

VDI means working from a virtual desktop every day. Your data is always available, accessible from wherever you are and protected. Your data is more secure now than it ever was when kept on-premises. The data is backed up across different geographic regions within the cloud. There is no need to worry about catastrophic power or network outage at your local data center. It’s also always on and provides a consistent experience whenever you need to access it.

Maybe you don’t need a full Windows Virtual Desktop to get your work done. You just need access to a handful of SaaS apps like Salesforce.com. An Okta or other MFA solution can help authenticate you from an outside connection. This allows you to gain entry to those specific internal resources without the need to install a VPN client.

Or, what if all you really need is to access your corporate email and files on your phone while safe at your home? Having your smart device enrolled in your company’s Mobile Device Management solution can provide the access you need while keeping the business data secured.

Deciding how to start a remote work enablement plan for your team can seem like an overwhelming task. Like other challenges, it can is not so daunting when done in small steps. Better yet, it is a good idea to bring in experts who can design a solution that works best for your business.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach. While there are many ways to enable employees to work from home, there is only one that is perfect for your needs.

Many adversities are beyond our control. It is helpful to focus on those things we can control. We can take steps to prepare for the uncertainties ahead. We can do what is best for our employees and our loved ones.

Using the cloud to work remote is less to do with “social distancing,” and more to do with benefiting your company. Being on the cloud will democratize opportunities for you across the board. You’ll see that remote work is not so much a challenge to overcome, but a business advantage to achieve.

 

The Main Benefit of VDI
VDI Planning: 4 Key Pitfalls to Avoid
What is VDI?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) enables virtualized desktops hosted on remote servers on the Internet.  Reducing the need for hardware while improving flexibility, VDI offers practical benefits as well as a hefty return on investment. There is a strong business case to be made. According to the IDC, “The Business Value of VMware Horizon,” of January 2016, there is a 5-year return-on-investment of 413 percent. On average, the virtualized desktop costs 71 percent less to buy, deploy, support, maintain, and use over a 5-year period. This is on a per-device basis. Users spend 76 percent less time on device application log-ins. VDI enables companies to make full use of human capital while preventing many IT-related issues. We need all the help we can get to unlock the massive human assets such as talent, empathy, and creativity. You know, the things computers aren’t that good at. There are indeed great advantages to moving to a DaaS environment. There are also many opportunities for making mistakes along the way. Let’s take a look at the 4 most common pitfalls associated with VDI migration.

A TechRepublic article cites a lack of planning as a major pitfall of VDI integration.  The article went on to report that companies failed to plan for enough resources. Don’t provision for today or tomorrow. Design an infrastructure that will serve your needs next year and for the years ahead. That article was from 2013. It is just as relevant today.

Decide what are the priorities in your VDI environment.

The problem with most VDI implementation is lack of planning. Internal stakeholders should begin with a comprehensive assessment of the IT environment. Also, consider the individual desktop environment. The VDI landscape has changed over the years. Planning and project management are the key to a successful VDI adoption. The initial steps start with an internal dialogue. It’s a good idea to bring in outside expert advice early in the process. Each company is unique. There are different demands and different expectations. The time and effort put into VDI planning will pay incredible dividends for years.

Here are a few of the most common hurdles. They can be overcome when identified early.

VDI Planning
A Common problem with VDI planning is wanting to include everything.
Don’t Try to Do Everything at Once

The first common issue in rolling out a VDI initiative is trying to do too much at once. This applies to both large and small environments alike. VDI does not look the same at any two companies.

Don’t try to include every attractive feature in your initial implementation. Be focused on meeting key objectives. And be selective. Understand the major features and benefits of VDI. But don’t try to include everything in the beginning. This will only slow down the process. It will also distract you from your key objectives. A white paper by VMware recommends taking a step back. Consider what you’re trying to do. Do this before you even think about IT requirements. Instead of diving straight into technical requirements, such as numbers of servers and sizing of WAN links, begin by exploring user needs, business drivers, and special requirements. These special requirements might include things like: compliance issues; high availability; disaster recovery plans, or even the need for the business to rapidly onboard large numbers of new users due to mergers or acquisitions.

Don’t get stuck on the age-old VDI question. For example, using non-persistent versus persistent desktops in their initial deployment.

A company may never deliver a useable VDI solution if they allow themselves to get stuck on an idea. Let’s say that you determine 99% of its VDI desktops will be non-persistent. Well, you need to know that you’re going to spend countless OpEx and CapEx funds.

Stay Focused on Key Points
Zero in on what’s most important to you in a VDI environment.

Narrow down what you need in the planning stage to get VDI in a solid usable state. Set-up your VDI on a set of lean criteria. You can make additions as you go.

Do an Effective Initial Assessment

The next hurdle is company-specific. It is also often overlooked due to the upfront cost and time. I am referring to the VDI assessment that should be a part of the planning. The VDI assessment is the discovery phase of the project. It will help you isolate and focus on what is most important for your business.

Identify who will be using the VDI solution. The assessment is two parts: discussion and analysis. Be sure the process includes all the stakeholders including those who will be using the virtual desktops. Getting them involved early in the design process will help manage expectations. It will also go a long way in nurturing the acceptance of the resulting VDI environment.

Bring All the Brains to the Table
Bringing all the brains to the table will ensure the existing infrastructure is understood and all solution options are on the table.

Let’s use the example of an HR group that will be using VDI during the initial deployment. There is an initial interview. The agenda includes setting expectations of VDI. Begin by looking at how the company currently uses the computer environment.

Discussions along these lines will establish some parameters.
Do they generally only use a combined set of 4 applications? Do they work at varied times throughout the day? Do they only need a web browser and the ability to email clients on the company network?

You also need to do some data gathering of what traditional desktops are doing during the day. What are the applications used? What is needed for the machines to operate?

Most PCs are oversized with wasted resources. VDI is all about compute and storage density. Determining accurate sizing needs equals more cost savings. There are several tools that can do the 2nd part of this equation but don’t overlook the first.

Don’t Overlook Management and Support Responsibilities
This third point is around IT staff.

Who will be managing the new environment once the consultants have departed? Will you share this duty between existing desktop/infrastructure teams? Or will a new team arise to manage the entire solution? Decide this early on.

Manage a VDI environment requires an engineer who understands several key technologies. They sound know how these technologies affect the virtual desktop. These technologies include but are not limited to:

Networking  
Know how users connect to the virtual desktop. Know where to troubleshoot problems like lost connections or poor performance

Compute/Infrastructure
Deep understanding of hypervisors and server infrastructure, depending on the vendor of choice

Security
Knowledge of security products will be inside the virtual desktops and in the network path of VD. This is for troubleshooting purposes.

Desktop Engineering
Basic knowledge for customizing Windows installations and troubleshooting.

Additionally, there are several other ancillary technologies that come in handy. These technologies include DNS, Active Directory, Application Packaging/Delivery, Load Balancing, and Storage.

These skills can come from various class training offerings. Many should come from experience. Knowing how all these different technologies work together in your environment is critical.

Larger companies own many of these technologies.
Separate teams manage them. It is crucial that all the stakeholders be aware of the impact of VDI.

Know who has ownership of the new VDI systems. Make sure there is buy-in from across your IT organization. This is important to establish in the beginning. Everyone needs to be on the same page. This will make training easier. can occur for those needing to ramp up.

This ownership and buy-in include first-line defenders like your typical service desk team. Let them know they’re responsible to field certain common VDI related issues as they come in. Provide education and resources to support them. Service and support is the key benefit of partnering with seasoned VDI consultants.

Don’t Forget the User Experience

As VDI deployment comes together, don’t forget about the user experience.

The User Experience Is Important
User experience is the final litmus test. How the user feels about the experience means the success or failure of VDI or DaaS.

Consider how things were before VDI. Chances are, your employees have been using similar pieces of hardware. They know how their workstation machines perform every day (good or bad). They’ll compare the new VDI environment to what they had before.

This goes back to the assessment stage. Understanding the proper-sizing and performance of each machine is important. It can mean the difference between successful adoption and one that isn’t. It’s also more than that.

If a user now has to login twice to access their Virtual Desktop they will complain. If the machine hangs when opening a video conference they will complain. If patches cause reboots on different days, they will complain. You want to make the change over to VDI as seamless as possible.

The experience should be better, not equal or worse than on a traditional desktop. Make sure you plan to provide the expected performance of each workstation. Allow for a tailored storage solution that is intelligent and optimized for VDI. Consider network crashes. If for whatever reason, they can’t access their virtual desktops, this can also be a problem. Here’s the point. Outside factors can contribute to the total experience on a Virtual Desktop. Many of these factors will be beyond your control.

The successful adoption of VDI means user acceptance. Deliver a desktop-like experience. It means proving the training and support necessary. Company-wide buy-in is key to the success of the whole program. It all begins with planning and making sure you have every brain at the table when that happens.

Ransomware Risk Mitigation: The Desktop-as-a-Service Solution

Ransomware is a dangerous and growing threat. Find out how security-minded executives establish best-in-class protection.

2019 has proven to be an alarming year for cybersecurity professionals and cyber-attacks show no signs of slowing down in 2020.

One cybersecurity firm characterized the rapidly growing pace of cyberthreats across all industries as an “unprecedented and unrelenting barrage”. Within 24 hours of its report, the City of New Orleans and several other municipal organizations fell victim to ransomware attacks.

But it’s not just large-scale enterprises and public institutions that are under attack. Small and mid-sized businesses offer low-hanging fruit for opportunistic cyber criminals, who often use automation to widen their area of attack.

Small businesses, large enterprises, and public institutions alike have all struggled to respond decisively to the ransomware threat. Until recently, executives had few options – and fewer defenses – in their fight against cybercrime. Now, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions offer comprehensive, scalable ransomware protection services to organizations of all sizes.

 

What Exactly is Ransomware and How Does It Work?

 

There are a number of ways for a cyber intruder to take over your computer system without your knowledge. You won’t know about it until it’s too late.

The typical ransomware attack begins with the stealthy takeover of the victim’s computer. This may be accomplished through phishing, social engineering, or a sophisticated zero-day exploit – the goal is to have access to the network while remaining undetected.

Upon compromising the network, the cybercriminal can begin slowly encrypting important files. Most ransomware applications do this automatically, using a variety of different methods to evade detection. The process may take days, weeks, or months to complete.

Once the ransomware encryption algorithm reaches critical mass, it then locks users out of the network, displaying a ransom note demanding payment for a decryption key. Sometimes the demand is small – on the order of $500 to $1000 – and sometimes the demand reaches into six-figure sums.

Ransom demands are usually for bitcoins. “If one organization is willing to pay $500,000, the next may be willing to pay $600,000.”

Small sums make paying the ransom a tempting option, but a dangerous one. There is no guarantee that the cyber attacker will relinquish control of the network. Instead, executives who pay up reinforce the cybercriminal profit cycle. It is only a matter of time before the ransomware attacker strikes again.

Famous examples of ransomware variants include WannaCry, which spread to over 230,000 computers across 150 countries in 2017, and Petya. The WannaCry crisis targeted healthcare clinics and hospitals, causing untold damage and highlighted the risk that outdated IT systems represent in these industries.

Petya was unique because it did not encrypt specific files. Instead, it encrypted the local hard drive’s Master File Table, rendering the entire device unusable. There are dozens of other variants out there, and each one uses a unique strategy to take advantage of victims. NotPetya developed on Petya’s attack method, using the same vulnerability previously exploited by WannaCry.

Who Is At Risk of Ransomware Attacks?

 

Emsisoft reports that during the first half of 2019, 491 healthcare providers were hit with ransomware. The attacks are increasing and the demands are for larger ransoms.

Everyone. Although high-profile targets like hospitals and municipal institutions make headlines, thousands of business owners are defrauded every day. On average, one business falls victim to ransomware every 14 seconds.

Small and mid-sized businesses are especially vulnerable because they typically do not have access to the kind of comprehensive security resources that large enterprises can afford. Small businesses that do not rely on reputable third-party managed service providers make especially easy targets.

Cybercriminals have shown that they are willing to target hospitals and public institutions without shame. The greater the need for functioning IT systems is, the more likely the cybercriminals are to get paid. This is how the cybercrime profit cycle perpetuates itself.

What Can Small and Mid-sized Businesses Do About Ransomware?

 

Organizations caught unprepared have few options. Although cybersecurity experts correctly warn against paying the ransom, desperate business owners often pay anyways. But the relief is only temporary. 60% of small and mid-sized businesses victimized by cybercriminals do not recover and shut down within six months.

Preparation is key to successfully resisting a ransomware attack. Organizations that cannot afford to develop, implement, and deploy state-of-the-art security resources need to contract a reputable third-party vendor for the purpose.

Even enterprise-level organizations with tens of thousands of employees often find themselves opting for a managed solution instead of an in-house one. The cybersecurity industry is experiencing a widening talent shortage, making it difficult even for deep-pocketed businesses to hold on to their best security officers.

Introducing IronOrbit: Comprehensive Ransomware Protection

IronOrbit achieves best-in-class ransomware protection through a unique approach to cloud desktop hosting. There are three key processes that must work together flawlessly to guarantee ransomware resilience:

1.   Prevention

The best way to prevent a ransomware attack from taking place is preventing the initial malware deployment. Firewalls, email filters, content filters, and constant patch management all play a critical role in keeping malicious code out of DaaS systems.

Maintaining up-to-date software is more important than most executives and employees realize. Since NotPetya used the same attack vector as WannaCry, its victims entirely consisted of individuals and businesses who neglected to install security patches after the WannaCry crisis.

2.   Recovery

There is no way to guarantee 100% prevention. However, business owners and their IT teams can circumvent the damage ransomware causes with consistent backup and restoration tools. IronOrbit’s disaster recovery features can wind back the clock, reloading your entire suite of business systems to the state they were in just before the attack occurred.

3.   Remediation

Ransomware recovery cannot guarantee business continuity on its own without best-in-class remediation tools. Without the ability to trace the attack to its source in a fully logged environment, there is no way to tell whether the attack has been truly averted or not. IronOrbit uses state-of-the-art digital investigation tools to track ransomware attacks to their source and mitigate them.

Schedule a Consultation with an IronOrbit Security Expert

IronOrbit has helped numerous businesses capitalize on the efficiency and peace of mind that secure DaaS solutions offer. Protect your business from the threat of ransomware with the help of our expertise and knowledge.

 

What to Look For in a DaaS Provider

One of the misconceptions about Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions is that they are less secure than virtual desktop infrastructure.

A DaaS provider can address potential compliance and security issues. You just need to make sure that you know what your security requirements are so you can find a provider that is capable of fulfilling your business needs.

It starts with evaluating your DaaS options. You should also look at the providers’ confidentiality, integrity, and availability so you can make an informed decision.

Does your DaaS provider tick all the right boxes?

Is your DaaS provider reliable?

Before you move forward with your provider, it’s best to check a few aspects of their service to find out whether or not they are trustworthy.

Since you’ll store client’s information, a provider should have a confidentiality protection in place to limit other companies from accessing sensitive information. On-premise directories can be compromised when hackers gain access to the unified directory.

Aside from confidentiality, you should also evaluate the availability of your provider because the service may not be up and running all the time.

Your service can be interrupted due to internet connection issues. DaaS also allows employees to work remotely through a reliable internet connection, but if other tenants are sharing the same infrastructure, the performance of your company’s DaaS service will also be affected.

Is your DaaS provider secure?

Cloud services have now been proactive in implementing stronger security measures to keep cyber threats at bay.

However, on-premises systems and infrastructures only focus on the needs of your business. Make sure you check how cloud services are dealing with potential threats. Some providers can isolate your records so they won’t be accessible to other employees.

You can also configure your compliance and security requirements based on the specific needs of your company.

Benefits of DaaS

DaaS does not rely on an existing hardware infrastructure to get services to work. This service is a more affordable option because it can lower the total cost of ownership.

Even virtual desktops don’t require new hardware because you can just use the available technological resources. You’re not only saving money but a great amount of time installing replacements as well.

Since BYOD has its own policy, you need to keep in mind that data can be stolen or compromised anytime. If you allow employees to store business files on their unsecured devices, you’re increasing the risk of data breach. DaaS addresses this concern by storing your data in the data center.

Human error is one of the reasons businesses have been suffering from the data breach, data loss, and fraud. With traditional setup, you will need to carry around your device wherever you want to work.

DaaS eliminates this risk by keeping everything within the cloud. Virtual desktops give you access to your files on any device. With improved mobility, you’re also increasing the productivity of your business.

Choose a DaaS provider with a disaster recovery strategy in place because hackers can easily penetrate into your infrastructure if you fall short on providing strong security for your business assets.

Why Switch from On-Premise to the All-In-One Cloud

If you’re a business with an onsite IT infrastructure and you’re looking to lower or stabilize your IT costs, reduce your IT management and maintenance responsibilities, or switch to a more accessible and flexible cloud-based infrastructure—or all of the above—migrate to an IronOrbit all-in-one hosted solution today!

IronOrbit Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) all-in-one hosted solutions have all of the features and capabilities required of a complete IT infrastructure.

They can run all of your applications and store all of your files; and are accessible, centralized, and manageable. In addition to being complete IT infrastructures, however, IronOrbit all-in-one solutions also have a number of advantages over onsite IT infrastructures, which include:

  • Accessible from anywhere with any Internet-connected computer, tablet, or smartphone
  • They don’t require the purchase of any onsite servers
  • Include around-the-clock monitoring and maintenance, 24x7x365 technical support, an enterprise-level IT security system, and managed data backups
  • Because they’re scalable, you can add as many extra users and as much processing power or storage capacity to them as you want at any time
  • They cost only a low, flat monthly fee

Benefits of All-in-One Hosted Solutions

Meanwhile, some of the ways that you can benefit from switching from an onsite IT infrastructure to IronOrbit all-in-one hosted solutions include:

  • Lower, more predictable IT costs. Because they don’t require the purchase of any onsite servers and cost only a low, flat monthly fee, IronOrbit solutions have lower and more predictable costs than onsite IT infrastructures
  • Enhanced productivity. With IronOrbit DaaS and IaaS solutions, your business’s employees can access their files, applications, and emails from anywhere and with any device, so they can stay productive no matter where they are, and they can do their work from the device they’re most proficient with
  • Increased centralization. Businesses that have multiple offices can use an IronOrbit DaaS or IaaS solution as their singular, consolidated IT infrastructure. This helps ensure that everyone in their organization has access to the same IT resources
  • Reduced hassles. Our solutions are fully-managed. You and your IT department don’t have to worry about maintaining, securing, supporting, or backing up your IT infrastructure. This way you can focus on more important tasks.
  • Less worries. You don’t have to worry about security breaches or downtime with IronOrbit hosted solutions; our solutions comply with data security regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, and SOX. They are backed with a 100 percent uptime guarantee

Contact an IronOrbit representative at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 to sign up for one of our all-in-one hosted solutions today! It’s quick and easy to switch from an onsite IT infrastructure to an IronOrbit solution. We’ll take care of transferring all of your existing files and applications to our servers. As well as the entire setup and migration process is guaranteed to take three days or less.