Preparing for Takeoff with Managed Azure Cloud Services

By David McKenney, Director, Product Management

A client recently told me that he thinks of TierPoint’s Microsoft Azure managed services as his company’s airline for navigating through the cloud. We get them where they need to go safely and securely, when they need to get there, without having to buy, maintain and fly their own fleet of jetliners.

His metaphor illustrates how the top three concerns clients have when making the move to Microsoft Azure tend to be the same as when we fly: security, expertise and flexibility.

Aircraft taxiing

Before we take off, we want to know the pilot and crew have followed all the security and safety protocols, and possess the expertise to navigate through unexpected weather and air traffic to get us to our destination safely. We also need the flexibility to send our sales VP from Miami to Albuquerque while our trade show team flies to New York on the same day. And we definitely don’t want to pay for any planes sitting in the hangar when they’re not needed. Continue reading

5 Reasons Organizations Are Driving Toward Hybrid IT

By John Holland, TierPoint SVP, Sales

I always enjoy speaking with our clients because they shine a true, unbiased flashlight on our industry, particularly the real infrastructure challenges and how they approach to solve them.  Recently, I was privileged to moderate a hybrid IT panel discussion featuring TierPoint clients in the retail and health care industries.  Several themes emerged that illustrate why hybrid IT represents the next wave of Cloud computing.

Application Integration and Management Can Cause Severe Headaches
Panelists voiced frustration about the continuing complexity of managing applications. Concerns included security, latency and enterprise-wide compatibility among others.  While Cloud computing addresses a lot of these challenges, it doesn’t solve all of them.   Often, blending together Cloud, colocation with your own data centers will be the best way to deliver services your users need.

Confident Businessman Solving Jigsaw Puzzle On Field

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Thank You to the People Who Worked in Data Centers on Thanksgiving

By Brian Schwartz, TierPoint Content Team

Data center employees including network engineers and security personnel all across the United States gave up part of their Thanksgiving yesterday to protect Cloud and client infrastructure.  In fact, if you used the Internet during the holiday to share photos or contact family, a human somewhere likely was watching to make sure the network was performing correctly.

Thursday morning, I visited two TierPoint facilities near Boston to drop off goodies and show appreciation for those working.  At our Boston-Marlborough location, I was greeted by friendly security staff and spoke with the people managing and monitoring network activity.  Two clients were also in the building working on their own equipment.

 

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Three of the TierPoint employees who gave up part of their Thanksgiving to serve customers

 

When I suggested a move to the break room for cookies and sparkling cider, one of the engineers declined politely saying, “Can’t leave because the monitoring never stops.”  The commitment in that comment struck me.

Thank you to all the people who delayed their holiday celebrations to serve clients.  We notice.

Are You a 21st Century CIO?

By Lucie Poulicakos, General Manager & Vice President, TierPoint

The role of the CIO or CTO—or even IT manager—hasn’t been around that long. According to CIO.com, the title of CIO didn’t come into existence until sometime in the late ’80s or early ’90s. Even then, it was seen as a “trendy title,” but “often at the same level as the IT manager or MIS manager.” Not the role most CIOs probably envisioned when they finally earned their promotion!

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As technology advanced, so too did the role of the CIO and CTO. It’s been said that every organization is a technology organization these days. There’s certainly some truth to that. Everyone from C-level executive, to salesperson, to receptionist relies on technology to get the job done. Managing this level of complexity requires someone with the capacity to look at the big picture and to understand how all the pieces fit together. Somewhere in the 15 years, the role of CIO transitioned from a “trendy title” to a “must have” for every organization. And the role isn’t done changing yet. Continue reading

Architecting your Network for Azure

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By David McKenney, Director,  Product Management

Microsoft Azure is one of the cloud platforms we work with most frequently. It is reliable, fast, and has some of the best security features in the industry. There’s a reason Azure is a multi-billion-dollar business for Microsoft. We trust it. So do millions of other businesses.

But, as with any cloud deployment, a little preplanning can result in a smoother transition. If you’ve not been part of a team responsible for moving applications and data to the cloud before, one of the best ways to gain knowledge quickly is to learn from others. If there is any organization that can push Azure to its limits, it would be Microsoft itself.

When Microsoft IT moved its application platform to an Azure cloud, they needed to:

  • Support more than 200,000 workers in more than 880 locations
  • Support more than 2100 line-of-business (LOB) applications running on more than 40,000 servers
  • Work with individual business units to develop road maps for moving applications out of the Microsoft data centers and into the Microsoft Azure public cloud

Note: Microsoft Azure is a separate business unit from Microsoft IT. Although both are Microsoft entities, all operations are separate, and Microsoft IT is functionally the same as any other Microsoft Azure enterprise customer.

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What Is Ransomware and How to Protect Against It

 

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By Paul Mazzucco, TierPoint Chief Security Officer

Ransomware attacks have escalated dramatically in recent months. In fact, there’s been a 300 percent increase in ransomware attacks this year according to the FBI, to an average of 4,000 attacks a day, up from 1,000 ransomware attacks a day last year. What’s more, organizations are more often targeted – because the bigger potential payoff.

At TierPoint we’ve assisted many clients with data restoration to avoid the downtime that can be caused by a ransomware attack. Here’s what your organization needs to know about what is ransomware and how to protect your organization from it.

What is ransomware?

Basically, three traits are common among the many variants of ransomware viruses:

  1. They infect your computer, such as through a malicious email or a visited website.
  2. They encrypt your files and demand payment (usually in bitcoin) to receive a decryption key.
  3. The decryption key is usually successful, however, it can depend on the honesty and follow-through of the attacker.

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TierPoint Gains Traction in New Gartner DRaaS Report

data-center-image_neon-linesBy Shea Long, SVP of Products at TierPoint

Adopting Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is fast becoming a de facto standard for business continuity.  Gartner has noted this trend in its recent report, Critical Capabilities for Disaster Recovery as a Service:

By 2018, the number of organizations using disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) will exceed the number of organizations using traditional, syndicated recovery services.

By 2018, 20% of enterprises with a minimum of 5,000 employees will be failing over the operation of one or more production applications to DRaaS, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or cloud-enabled managed hosting.

– Gartner Critical Capabilities for Disaster Recovery as a Service, Ron Blair, John Morency, Mark Thomas Jaggers, October 10, 2016

Gartner’s research focused on enterprise businesses, however, we’re seeing substantial interest among small and midsized businesses (SMBs) too.  Organizations of all sizes want the benefits of a managed service like DRaaS to ease staffing concerns, cut capital expenditures and address rising regulatory compliance pressures while making sure their corporate data and applications are protected and available to their users. Continue reading