Category: IT Hosting

How Cloud Computing Can Lower Your IT Costs

Hosting your IT solutions, including your desktops and applications, with an IT hosting provider or cloud computing provider is almost always more cost-efficient than hosting or installing these solutions “locally,” or hosting them on your own physical servers or installing them directly on users’ PCs.

Some of the main reasons that cloud computing is more cost-efficient than local IT include:

Multitenancy

Because of the multitenant architecture of the cloud, hosting providers can host solutions for several different customers on the same physical server.

This both minimizes the hosting provider’s hardware costs (savings that the provider can then pass on to its customers) and allows the customer to pay for just the portion of the physical server that it uses, not the whole physical server.

If you host an IT solution locally, in contrast, you’re always going to have to purchase full physical servers (which can cost $1,000+), even if you only need to use a portion of the server.

Advanced security, DLP, and downtime prevention

Security breaches, data loss incidents, and downtime can be extremely costly. They can result in financial losses in the millions due to lawsuits, fines, lost customers, lost sales, and lost productivity.

IT hosting companies are generally better than in-house IT departments at preventing these types of IT disasters. They can afford to employ advanced security, data loss prevention, and disaster recovery measures that in-house IT departments cannot. Such features include offsite data backups, N+1 redundancy, RAID storage arrays, next-generation firewalls, and 24x7x365 monitoring.

Higher operational efficiency

Hosting providers can manage the hosted solutions of thousands of businesses at once with a relatively small number of administrators. This is due to the fact that the management of IT solutions is mostly automated. It doesn’t require a lot of direct human oversight or interaction.

Thin client and BYOD compatibility

Hosted IT solutions can be accessed from anywhere with any Internet-connected device. These include low-cost devices such as thin clients, budget PCs, and older, ready-to-be-replaced PC workstations.

In addition, users can access their hosted solutions from personal devices that they bring with them to the office.

If you allow your employees to use their personal devices at work to access their hosted solutions (which is called having a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy), you can potentially reduce your end-user hardware costs to $0, without decreasing the manageability or security of your IT.

More Reasons Cloud Computing Is Cost-Efficient: Specialization and Economies of Scale

As we explained in the article, “How Cloud Computing Can Lower Your IT Costs”, four of the main reasons that IT hosting is more cost-efficient than onsite or local IT are:

  • Multitenancy
  • Advanced security, DLP, and downtime prevention
  • Higher operational efficiency
  • Thin client and BYOD compatibility

More advantages of Cloud Computing

In today’s post, meanwhile, we’re going to be talking about how the specialization and economies of scale of hosting companies are two additional reasons that IT hosting is more cost-efficient than onsite or local IT.

As we mentioned in the previous article about IT hosting’s cost-efficiency, the multitenant architecture of the cloud allows hosting providers to host solutions for several different customers on the same physical server.

This both minimizes the hosting provider’s hardware costs (savings that the provider can then pass on to its customers) and allows the customer to pay for just the portion of the physical server that it uses, not the whole physical server.

If you host an IT solution locally, though, you’re always going to have to purchase full physical servers, even when your solution utilizes only a portion (25 percent, let’s say) of the physical server’s total resources.

Hosting companies would still be more cost-efficient than in-house IT departments at hosting IT solutions. This is  due to their higher level of specialization and economies of scale. Even if you discounted the ability of hosting companies to host IT solutions for multiple customers on a  single physical server.

Specialization

IT hosting companies are more specialized because all of their efforts and operations are focused on IT hosting. In-house IT departments, in contrast, have to concentrate more generally on managing all aspects of their companies’ IT.

Every decision a hosting provider makes (such as the staff that it hires and the hardware and software it buys) is focused on how it can maximize the performance, security, and reliability of its hosted solutions, while minimizing its overall costs.

Economies of Scale

economies of scale

In most cases, IT hosting companies can get discount bulk rates on IT hosting hardware and software. This includes servers, networking equipment, operating system licenses, and virtual machine licenses. As well as on resources like Internet bandwidth and electrical power, which in-house IT departments cannot.

In addition, IT hosting companies are more efficient because they have the capability to perform the following:

  • Buy the latest-and-greatest IT hosting software
  • Hire experienced IT hosting specialists
  • Purchase or rent large data centers that have expensive climate control systems
  • Fire suppression systems
  • And physical security measures (including biometric access panels, servers cages, and 24x7x365 onsite security guards)

Hosting companies can also offer affordable hosted solutions. They can do this since the costs of these assets are all shared amongst the IT hosting company’s clients.

Most businesses would never be able to afford to purchase these assets by themselves for their own in-house IT department. But with IT hosting, the client’s share of the costs of all of these assets ends up being a small amount per user. Let’s say $5-$10 per user per month. In my opinion, that’s a great deal with all the advantages and benefits that go with the subscription.

Case Study: ICON Builders

ICON Builders, a general contractor, wanted to reduce the time and money that it was spending on managing and maintaining an important application. By signing up with IronOrbit, ICON succeeded in reducing its IT costs and outsourcing the application’s management to a hosting provider it could trust.

The Client

ICON Builders is a general contractor that specializes in the renovation and construction of affordable housing. Since 1984, it has renovated more than 17,000 affordable housing apartment units.

It has completed projects in five different states: Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington. According to its website, the company is currently engaged in nearly a dozen different projects—costing a total of $187.6 million—that involve the renovation or construction of close to 1,200 housing units.

The Problem

ICON Builders contacted IronOrbit because it was unhappy with its current deployment of an application called Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate.

Sage 300 CRE is business management software for enterprises in the construction industry. General contractors like ICON Builders use it to manage and track their finances, store and organize their electronic files, and assign and monitor the progress of project tasks, goals, and schedules.

At a certain point, ICON Builders decided that it was spending too much time and money maintaining its deployment of Sage 300 CRE by itself.

It wanted to redeploy the application with a hosting provider that would not just host the application but also perform all of the maintenance and support tasks that ICON once handled internally.

It was important for the hosting provider to be able to resolve problems with the Sage 300 CRE deployment quickly. It’s also crucial to maintain the availability of the application at all times, since much of the work at ICON involved the application in one way or another.

The Solution

“We moved our Timberline (Sage 300) server to their Hosting service and we have never had a better IT decision.”

In the end, ICON Builders selected IronOrbit, a leading provider of managed hosted IT solutions, to host its Sage 300 CRE deployment.

No other hosting company provides as many advanced IT services with its solutions for no additional cost as IronOrbit. For example, the IT services that came with ICON Builders’s hosted Sage 300 CRE (as they do with all IronOrbit hosted solutions) included:

  • 24x7x365 all-inclusive technical support. All-inclusive meaning that IronOrbit will provide technical support for all of ICON’s networks and IT hardware and software. Not just the hosted Sage 300 CRE
  • 24x7x365 monitoring and maintenance of the Sage 300 CRE deployment and its underlying IT infrastructure
  • An IT security system that protected the Sage 300 CRE deployment from hacking attempts, malware, physical theft. And also from inappropriate access by Ironorbit personnel
  • Complete onsite and offsite backups of all of the data associated with the Sage 300 CRE deployment. Which is performed multiple times daily

World-Class IT Solutions at a Price You Can Afford

ICON Builders only had to pay a low, flat monthly fee. This all-inclusive fee is for the hosted Sage 300 CRE and all of the included IT services.

In addition, no one at the company had to spend any of his or her own time managing the application. Plus, ICON Builderswas able to save itself thousands of dollars by not having to purchase any servers. Which it would need if it planned to host the application onsite.

By signing up for hosted Sage 300 CRE from IronOrbit, ICON Builders achieved its goals of reducing its IT costs and outsourcing the management and support of the application. They achieved that while also ensuring that the application was properly maintained and protected.

The Chief Financial Officer of ICON Builders, Marianne Laupp, summed up how pleased the company was with IronOrbit.

Laupp said, “We have been with IronOrbit for more than a year now. We moved our Timberline (Sage 300) server to their Hosting service and we have never had a better IT decision. The move went very smoothly and we have had very few minor issues since then. Their ticketing process and support is great. They look at a problem and have the ability to fix anything immediately. We are very happy that we moved to their service, it has saved us immeasurable time and money. I would highly recommend their team to anyone looking for a better IT solution.”

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.

SECURITY WARNING: The OpenSSL ‰ÛÏHeartbleed Bug‰Û

If you‰Ûªve ever submitted any kind of private or sensitive information to a website‰ÛÓincluding usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, addresses, and phone numbers‰ÛÓthis security alert applies to you.

This week, security researchers discovered a serious vulnerability in the OpenSSL encryption software. Two-thirds of all websites use OpenSSL, as do many email, instant messaging, and virtual private network (VPN) services.

These services use OpenSSL to establish an encrypted connection between them and the user (or between two or more users) to prevent the data transferred between the two from being intercepted.

Usually, not all of the pages on a website that uses OpenSSL are encrypted. Just the pages that require a secure connection. Like those where the users input their usernames and passwords or submit their credit card information.

The Heartbleed Bug Explained

The vulnerability in question has been nicknamed the ‰ÛÏHeartbleed Bug,‰Û since it is located in the code for the ‰ÛÏheartbeat extension,‰Û a part of OpenSSL that controls how long a secure connection can remain open.

A hacker could use this vulnerability to gain access to OpenSSL‰Ûªs encryption keys. Which could then be used to intercept and decode all data sent to and from the service.åÊ As well as steal access to any existing info stored in the service‰Ûªs databases.

Therefore, not only could a hacker with the OpenSSL encryption keys of a website intercept any data (usernames, passwords, credit card info, etc.) you send to the site after it‰Ûªs been hacked. The data that you submitted to the site in the years before the infiltration occurred is also at risk.

The first version of OpenSSL to include the ‰ÛÏHeartbleed Bug‰Û was released in December 2011. In addition, exploits of this vulnerability don‰Ûªt leave any trace. So, it‰Ûªs impossible to tell if a hacker has ever used the vulnerability to intercept or steal data from a certain website.

How to Protect Yourself From the HeartBleed Bug

The ‰ÛÏHeartbleed Bug‰Û in no way affects any of IronOrbit‰Ûªs hosted solutions, our website, or any of the systems that we use to process and store your payment information.

In general, though, here is what you need to do in order to protect yourself from this vulnerability:

  • Make sure that a site is secure before you send any of your sensitive data to it. You can use this app to check if a site has a secure version of OpenSSL.
  • Make a list of all of the websites that you‰Ûªve ever sent sensitive data to. Change your passwords for these websites only after you‰Ûªve confirmed that they are running a secure version of OpenSSL. Or alternatively, that they never used the insecure version of OpenSSL.
  • Find out if your company‰Ûªs website used or is using OpenSSL versions 1.01 through 1.01f. If it is, update OpenSSL to version 1.01g immediately. Then, replace your encryption keys, and ask any users that your site has to reset their passwords.

To ask for assistance in responding to the ‰ÛÏHeartbleed Bug‰Û or for more information, IronOrbit users should contact IronOrbit 24x7x365 technical support at [email protected] or (888) 753-5064.

The Benefits of 24x7x365 Technical Support

24x7x365 technical support is included free with all IronOrbit hosted solutions. Our technicians are available around-the-clock via phone, email, or online chat.

In addition, our technicians are all based in the United States and are either native English speakers or fluent in both English and Spanish.

Also, our technicians all have several years’ experience providing remote IT support and possess an in-depth knowledge of all of the IronOrbit cloud hosting solutions. These include Server Virtualization, Desktop Virtualization, and QuickBooks Hosting services.

Many of our technicians have advanced certifications, including CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, CCNA, CCNP, CCISP, MCITP, and MCSE.

In short, because our technicians are all available 24x7x365, are fluent English speakers, and are extensively trained, experienced, and skilled, any time IronOrbit users can request help from us.

Whether it’s two in the morning or two in the afternoon, they can always expect to be provided with IT support. We are prompt, highly-effective, and hassle-free.

IronOrbit technical support isn’t only unique in its unparalleled quality and around-the-clock availability, however. It’s also unique in that it’s all-inclusive, meaning that we will provide technical support for all of a client’s IT hardware.

All-Inclusive Features:

  • Computers
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Monitors.

And software (like Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange, or Intuit QuickBooks, regardless of whether or not they are used in connection with an IronOrbit hosted solution.

Businesses can contact us for technical support with any aspect of their IT infrastructure that we can fix directly (via remote connection or by repairing or recalibrating something that’s on our end) or guide them through the process of fixing the problem themselves.

The reason we’re capable of providing all-inclusive support, meanwhile, is that, rather than hire technicians whose skill set and experience would only allow them to provide IT support for our hosted solutions.

At IronOrbit we’ve made a point of hiring technicians with the versatility and wide-ranging knowledge to be able to fix any problem with any device or application.

24x7x365 technical support is just one of the IT services that are included at no extra cost with all of our hosted solutions; the others include Orbital Security (firewalls, IDS/IPS, antivirus, and content filtering) and managed data backups.

And just as the IT services that come with our hosted solutions preclude businesses from having to hire any onsite IT personnel. Every aspect of an onsite IT infrastructure is capable of being replaced by an IronOrbit hosted solution.

We can manage the following aspects of your IT so you don’t have to:

  • Desktops
  • Applications
  • Email servers
  • Terminal servers
  • File servers

Our hosted solutions eliminate the costs and hassles associated with a business managing its own IT infrastructure. At the same time make its IT more secure, reliable, and accessible.

To put the costs and hassles of IT management and maintenance aside, businesses should contact us at (888) 753-5060 or [email protected] and sign up IronOrbit cloud hosting solutions today!

IronOrbit Managed Server Hosting Options

Hosted servers (servers that are physically located in a hosting provider’s data center, which companies manage and access via the Internet and typically rent on a month-to-month basis) are preferable to onsite servers because the former can be accessed from anywhere and don’t require the purchase of expensive hardware.

Businesses can use these web-based servers to host any IT solution they want—including applications, virtual desktops, email clients, databases, and websites.

The advantage of selecting IronOrbit hosted servers, meanwhile, is that our hosted servers come with 24x7x365 all-inclusive technical support, an enterprise-level IT security system, and managed data backups.

With IronOrbit Managed Server Hosting, businesses get around-the-clock IT support and thorough protection from security breaches, downtime, and data loss.

The five different varieties of Managed Server Hosting that we offer are:

  • Dedicated Server Hosting. A dedicated server is a single-tenant hosted server. Unlike with virtual dedicated servers, where a business’s virtual server is hosted on the same physical server as the virtual servers of other businesses, with dedicated servers businesses get an entire physical server to themselves. The main advantage of dedicated servers is that they generally have more processing and storage resources than virtual servers. It’s also required in some industries to host sensitive data like payment card information or medical records on single-tenant servers.
  • Virtual Dedicated Servers. With virtualization technologies, it’s possible to partition a single physical server into multiple, independently-functioning virtual servers. With virtual servers, businesses that only need one-fourth or one-half of a physical server’s processing and storage resources only have to pay for one-fourth or one-half of a physical server. And because virtual servers are scalable, businesses can also add users and resources to a virtual server at any time.
  • Terminal Servers. A terminal server is a server that’s running Microsoft Terminal Services. With Terminal Services, businesses can centrally host and manage all of their Windows-compatible applications. Hosted Terminal Servers from IronOrbit are ideal for businesses that want remotely-accessible applications, or that don’t want to deal with purchasing and managing their own onsite servers but that still want to directly manage their applications.
  • Citrix Servers. A Citrix server is a server that’s running either Citrix XenApp or Citrix XenDesktop. As with Microsoft Terminal Services, with Citrix XenApp businesses can centrally host and manage all of their applications. With Citrix XenDesktop, similarly, businesses gain the ability to centrally host and manage their virtual desktops, along with their applications.
  • Compliance Hosting. A compliance server is a server that has been customized to comply with data security regulations such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, and GLBA. IronOrbit Compliance Servers have been used by businesses in a number of industries—including retail, healthcare, finance, government, and manufacturing—to ensure compliance with their respective regulations.

To sign up for any of these types of IronOrbit Managed Server Hosting, businesses should contact us at [email protected] or (888) 753-5060 today!