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BLOG WRITTEN BY BRAD HALLIDAY.

The Cloud - It’s not what is in the sky and about to ruin your weekend, it’s actually the term of choice in the technology world as every year it seems to be adopted by more companies and respectively more users. The cloud is something that has been around since the dawn of the internet and you have probably used it in one way or another possibly without even knowing it. 

What is it?

The cloud is in its simplest terms storage that exists somewhere other than your computer. It means a space on the internet that you can store pictures, files, music, or anything you’d like. Let me give you a scenario that you may have experienced in the past:You are working on a document from home that you will need at the office. Instead of printing it at home (you’re probably low on ink) you attach the file to an e-mail and send it to yourself so you can print it when you get to the office. This could constitute as cloud storage in an archaic sort of way. You have given this file to the internet to hold on to so that you can access it somewhere else.

Why Should I Care?

Fast forward to the technologies that are available to you today and you will find that there are actually free options that are specifically made for this without cluttering up your e-mail. Examples of cloud service providers include Box, Dropbox, iCloud and OneDrive. All of these cloud providers will give you a private space for you to store items in order to keep them safe and/or access them remotely any time you would like. These types of clouds also give you a file structure very similar to your computer. You can create private folders that you don’t want others to access or share specific folders in order to make them available to a co-worker to share documents. Most cloud storage providers even include a client you can install on your computer that automatically syncs the folders in your cloud, making them that much easier to manage right from your computer In the case of an emergency, you can wager that no matter what happens in the world around you, data that is held in the cloud will always be available. When you save a file to cloud storage, the servers that are holding on to your files will be backed up several times on different servers in different locations perhaps globally. If your computer was stolen, damaged in a flood, or lost to a fire, your wedding pictures will be accessible from any other computer, anywhere in the world via the cloud.

What Are the Business Applications?

In short: there are endless business applications. The cloud offers the opportunity for you to offload the real-estate, cost, and potential downtime of managing your own IT infrastructure by letting you “rent” it as a service – Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The same can be said about software – software as a service.
 Infrastructure as a service is best exemplified using a backup example. Most businesses value their data extensively and should therefore go through all the necessary scenarios to protect it. Say you currently have a server that backs up to another server in your office. This would be satisfactory if you needed to restore a backup after a power outage. However, if the office was destroyed, you would lose everything. This situation can be circumvented by using the very basic idea of the cloud – saving your data somewhere else over the internet. Instead of solely backing up to a server in your office, you now also backup all of your data to Skycomp’s data center every night over the internet to storage space that you rent from us. You don’t have massive servers in your office, you don’t need to manage your backups or space, and you don’t have to worry about that data going missing. Your business is now safe thanks to the cloud. Software as a service is something you may already subscribe to. Many clients choose to have Skycomp host, manage, and keep their e-mails through hosted excahnge. A hosted Exchange service brings all of the features of Microsoft's very popular Exchange Server such as ActiveSync to your front door without any of the hassle. You don't have to worry about downtime, backups, user management, storage management, or rack space because it's all made available to you over the cloud - let us take care of the backend work.

Phew...The Conclusion

I hope this long-winded article helps to ease some of the fears that you’ve heard about the cloud. It’s not a man hovering over you trying to steal the files on your computer, it’s a new technology that can make your day-to-day life easier, and your business more efficient. Let Skycomp show you how you can take advantage of what the cloud can do.

The Cloud: Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of It

BLOG WRITTEN BY TIM SCHLEICH.

A blog of things that make my brain hurt...

After putting much thought into the possibility of consistently writing for a blog and understanding it was part of my slightly less bitter self-improvements, I decided to put into written word the many foibles that have irked me. This week we will start with; shutting a computer off.

With many years working in the IT field I have been asked one question more than any other, why should I leave my computer on. From a security aspect, this answer is quite simple, leaving your computer on will allow your system to obtain patches at regular intervals which will keep the system both secure and running well. When dealing in a business environment this is very important and may even be required in your chosen field of work.

In addition you will also avoid dealing with that pesky, your system has been updated and requires a restart to complete that can occur if the patching occurs outside of regular hours, and most likely when you’re trying to get something done. This is also avoid the troublesome my computer gave me 15 minutes to save my work but my coffee needed to be refreshed and I had the intention of coming back but I got busy talking to Marylou and now I got back and my system rebooted and the 14 page document that I began writing and did not save is gone, can you get it back? Yes, it is true this will also happen if your system reboots during the nightly patch window and a document is left open and unsaved but no one does that.

With the request of leaving your system on to ensure it is patched, I have always received the rebuttals; “What about the power consumption?”, “Leaving my computer on will waste power and I ride and e-bike to work to reduce may carbon footprint.” These are both valid concerns, well, not the e-bike thing, but that will be another bitter blog. A system that is in the correct state will use only slightly more power than a powered off computer. Yes computers, much like many electronics, still have a small power pull even when they are off. If the pro and cons could be measured financially the benefits to the overall productivity, and the less time lost to mid-day updates and reboots will far outweigh any cost incurred with the nightly power drain.

That Bothers Tim

BLOG WRITTEN BY ERIC BRAUN.

Are you still using a traditional tape backup system? While tape backups were once the standard in most business backup systems, we now have far greater backup technology that we can leverage. It is a known fact that tapes have a high failure rate, slow backup process, and above all a slow restore procedure. Not to mention the space limitation. It’s time to upgrade.

Regular, reliable backups, and a disaster recovery plan play a very important role in protecting your data and your server infrastructure. Today’s hard drives offer large quantities of space that allow us to back up our systems like never before. Since hard drives operate at a much faster rate than tape, it allows servers and workstations to backup hourly throughout the day without sacrificing performance by utilizing snapshot technology. Hard drive backup repositories focus on hardware redundancy as well so you are never left with a single point of disk failure.

Sick of swapping tapes regularly? Modern backup systems allow your data to replicate offsite to a trusted location without any physical interaction. No need for remembering a monthly tape either. Policies are set in place to keep monthly archivals of your data on an ongoing automated process.

One commonly overlooked feature when choosing a backup system is the restoration feature. Backing up your data is one thing, but when it comes to a critical situation where you need to access yesterday’s or last week’s data, a reliable restoration process is key. Modern backup systems perform frequent verification of your backup files to ensure that when a restore is needed, it is a seamless, painless operation. No need to manually swap tapes and go searching for missing files.

We at Skycomp Solutions take disaster recovery very seriously, which is why we have partnered with the best modern backup vendors available today. We offer robust solutions that offer multiple levels of data protection to ensure your data is backed up and safe - both on and offsite. Physical or virtual environments, we have the right  backup solution and disaster recovery play to ensure your data is kept safe and ready for restoration.   

Backups. Keeping Your Data Safe

BLOG WRITTEN BY TREVOR BOND.

Do you have a vast collection of movies, music, photos or documents at home? Are you tired of having to sit at that computer desk to show off those latest photos of your trip around the world when you wish they would just show up on your laptop or smart TV? Are you weary of throwing all of that information out in the cloud to be in someone else’s hands? Or is the cloud not a practical solution in the case of movies/video or other large files.  If so a NAS may be something for you to consider for your home.

So what is a NAS? For short it stands for Network Attached Storage. It is essentially a mini computer that contains a hard drive or a group of hard drives and presents those hard drives as storage to your network that can be access by other devices. For a more in depth explanation please refer to this article here.

A NAS has much more to offer then just the ability to show up as a network drive on your computer.  Most vendors have 2 and 4 drive options that allow for more space, speed or redundancy through the use of RAID or has a single drive bay. I won’t get to into RAID as I may cover this in a different blog.

So now that we know a bit about a NAS what can we do with it? Well depending on the model and the manufacturer (please read the specifications to make sure the NAS offers the feature you want) there is a wide range of options and I’m going to focus on the home use ideas.

File services – a NAS is a great place to consolidate your files from all of your computers to one central location that you can access from any PC in your house. They are built to be available 24/7 and require a lot less power than running a PC with shared folders that stops you from using power saving options like sleep or hibernate just so you can access the shared folder any time you want. It uses no local drive space allowing you to access Terabytes of information from that tablet pc that only has a few Gigabytes of storage built in, saving you money because you don’t need to buy expensive hard drives to have a copy on every computer. It also provides an ideal place to back up all of your computers. One thing to remember is that the files are only available on your network, if you leave the network you will not have access so copy a couple movies to that laptop before your flight.

 

Streaming – now for my favorite features of a NAS. If you purchase a NAS that has streaming capabilities it will allow you to really take advantage of the features on your gaming consoles, smart TV, media players and other devices. A DNLA certified NAS will offer you the ability to stream media (music, movies or photos) on the NAS directly to a device on the network such as a smart TV with minimal configuration, most device will be able to scan for a DNLA server (running on the NAS) and automatically display the available media. So you can browse and play all of it right from your TV. As an added bonus streaming media directly from a NAS requires no internet usage so those internet overages you received last month from watching too much Netflix are gone.

The list of features goes on and on while being finely tuned to be extremely easy to use. With features from basic file services to iTunes media servers a home NAS can really take your digital media experience to the next level.

 

TB

NAS. Not Just For Business