visi-holiday-festivities-and-toys-for-tots

VISI Holiday Festivities and Toys for Tots

By | December 13, 2013

For the past several years, VISI employees gather together for holiday festivities around this time of year.  Weeks ahead of time, each participating employee draws the name of a “Secret Santa” co-worker, whom they are to purchase a gift for.  The catch?  The gift should be something that the individual would have liked as a child, as the item will be donated (after being unwrapped by it’s recipient) to the Toys for Tots program.  Each gift is opened one at a time, as participating employees enjoy laughter and a catered meal.

This year, 23 employees participated in the Toys for Tots Secret Santa program and many great toys were donated to Minnesota children in need.  [Photo of Toys for Tots items]

Once the Secret Santa gifts are unwrapped, the group then collaborates to wrap presents that have been purchased for a family that VISI “adopts” for the holidays.  This year VISI’s non-profit giving committee adopted a family of eight – including a single mother and her seven children – through the Neighborhood Involvement Program.  Employees enjoyed seeing the gifts that these children would be opening for the holiday season.  [Photo of NIP family items]

Thank you to our employees for your generosity and Happy Holidays to all our customers!

 

end2end-technologies-testimonial

End2End Technologies Testimonial

By | November 19, 2013

End2End Technologies needed a data center partner that maintained the highest levels of certification and compliance. They also needed a private cloud solution that provided scalability, reliability, and robust security. They selected VISI to meet their needs. Read more by downloading the customer testimonial below.

End2End Customer Testimonial

 

dont-stay-vulnerable-to-distributed-denial-of-service-attacks

Don’t Stay Vulnerable to Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

By | November 14, 2013

Cloud computing is no longer the future of businesses. It is the now. Everything is offered cloud-based: cloud-based storage, cloud-based services, cloud-based security. With more than half the businesses in the United States integrating cloud computing into their business operations, it has become the way to communicate and collaborate, and serves as a platform for basically every business process—from hosting email servers to online transactions to remote desktop meetings. However, the reasons that make cloud computing the fearless leader in exploring the next level of technology in business are also what make it a favorite target of attacks.

The cloud is scalable and flexible. It allows for rapid deployment of programs and applications on short notice. Data and resources are easily accessible on the cloud. It grows with you. Do you need to allow for thousands, or even millions, of people to have logins for your site? There’s a cloud for that. Unfortunately, the scalability and flexibility of the cloud can also be utilized for potential attacks. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are becoming more common as the cloud continues to grow. Do you know what you’re up against?

What is a DDoS attack?

A DDoS attack is a united effort from thousands, or tens of thousands, of systems on the Internet to flood a server with the ultimate goal of creating downtime for the victim. A botnet, which is a network of computers, or “bots” or “zombies,” that have been compromised and perform automated tasks without the user’s knowledge. This includes the sending of spam emails and viruses to DDoS attacks. A DDoS attack may range from full on flooding the bandwidth or going straight for application layer attacks through an overload of requests with an intent to crash the server or consume all of the server’s resources.

DDoS attacks are difficult to prevent since it is not a single attacker, but more so a legion of bots. This makes it difficult to defend against the source of the attack, especially when the traffic may spoof the source IP address. However, you can be prepared by having a strategy in place to mitigate and respond. In general, the steps to a computer security Incident Response are: 

  • Preparation: Set up a network architecture that can withstand high volume attacks and have multiple paths for communication and continuity available.
  • Identification: Identify the nature of the suspicious activity, then protect the evidence and report it to those that have a need to know. In the case of DDoS, identify the targeted IP address and the nature of the attack (UDP, Reflected DNS, etc.)
  • Containment: Contain the incident as quickly as possible. For a DDoS attack this may mean filtering inbound traffic or provisioning extra computing resources.
  • Eradication: Use information gathered from containment to identify the cause of the incident. DDoS attacks are often retaliatory or used as a distraction for another type of attack. Perform a complete security assessment of the systems involved.
  • Recovery: Restore your system by setting up a course of action that implements improved protection techniques.

Although completely protecting yourself from DDoS attacks is impossible, it is possible to mitigate the impact an attack can have on your IT systems. If you have a network security team who are experts in this field, then DDoS attacks should not be something that discourages you from transitioning to the cloud or deploying cloud-based services. It’s not about limiting advancements in technology to protect you, but rather advancing security tactics to stay protected. Contact a ReliaCloud expert today to learn more about why our information security services should be a part of your IT strategy.

protect-business-continuity-with-disaster-recovery-as-a-service

Protect Business Continuity With Disaster Recovery as a Service

By | October 30, 2013

The most valuable assets of any IT department are its data and resources. The loss of data and resources translates to loss of revenue, loss of productivity and the most damaging, a loss of confidence from clients and partners. That’s why in any IT strategy, backup storage is a priority.

However, backing up your data and resources only guarantees that your information isn’t lost. It doesn’t guarantee minimized downtime or ensure fast and reliable recovery to maintain business continuity. The next step in protecting your data and resources is Disaster Recovery. This is what guarantees that critical data and systems are protected with minimal downtime, even up to less than a minute if a high value, higher cost solution is deployed. Disaster can strike anywhere, anytime. Are you protected with a Disaster Recovery Plan?

In order to meet each client’s business needs, ReliaCloud™ now provides cloud-enabled Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) with the flexibility to mix and match the different DRaaS service levels depending on the business criticality of the disaster. DRaaS powered by ReliaCloud offers several service levels under either a Hot DRaaS or Cold DRaaS solution.

Hot DRaaS creates a duplicate of the original site of the organization with full compute systems. Following a disruption to the original site, the Hot DRaaS site exists so that the organization can relocate with minimal losses to normal operations. It offers clients:

  • Zero tolerance for data loss
  • Near instantaneous recovery
  • Business critical applications
  • Test failover scenarios on a regular basis
  • Assistance with a Disaster Recovery Plan

Cold DRaaS is delivered as either an unmanaged or managed cloud offering. Unmanaged Cold DRaaS is a recovery cloud environment that contains backup images of the environment that must be first rehydrated before recovery. Managed Cold DRaaS adds remote backup infrastructure and includes a Disaster Recovery Plan with configuration and rehydration assistance of the recovery environment.

Disaster Recovery as a Service powered by ReliaCloud™ provides solutions that are scalable and manage your data and resources without you having to worry about the cost and time of managing multiple data centers. Contact a ReliaCloud expert today to learn more about how Disaster Recovery as a Service protects critical information and maintains business continuity when disaster strikes.

the-cloud-here-to-protect-and-serve-the-healthcare-industry

The Cloud: Here to Protect and Serve the Healthcare Industry

By | October 28, 2013

As health care coverage becomes more easily accessible, more personal information is being entered and stored into patient records in hospitals and practices across the nation. Coupled with an industry-wide shift towards a coordinated care approach for delivering patient care and services, the fact of the matter is that a lot more patient information is available and accessible, creating a new set of challenges for IT security with privacy and compliance.

Real-time information is essential for coordinated care in the health care industry, which means it needs to be accessible to all team members from doctors to patients in order to achieve the best possible outcomes. However, information needs to be protected and networks and servers must be reliable, which is why so many health systems are moving their data and resources to the cloud, like ReliaCloud™.

ReliaCloud is built with industry-leading products and capabilities from Cisco, EMC, and VMware, guaranteeing an IT environment that is reliable and secure. From networks to data storage, enterprises and organizations around the world count on ReliaCloud with data and resources. ReliaCloud also offers managed services including:

  • Monitoring
  • Patches and upgrades
  • Shared firewall protection
  • Antivirus protection
  • Hardware receiving service
  • Linux and Windows administration

These services allow the healthcare industry to focus on delivering care and services to patients, rather than managing and maintaining hardware, software and security for IT infrastructure. ReliaCloud provides a system for patient records to be readily available for all parts of care coordination from doctors to providers to patients.

ReliaCloud prioritizes privacy and security in every process. ReliaCloud leverages advanced technology to offer multi-factor authentication, intrusion detection, dedicated firewalls, encryption and 24/7/365 monitoring at all levels. Security controls with ReliaCloud also offer:

  • Flexible scalability to deploy security capabilities easily and quickly when needed.
  • Both physical and electronic security controls to protect data integrity.
  • Experts who manage every aspect of security from facilities and data center operations to network and system administration and compliance.

The ReliaCloud team understands the needs of healthcare providers and patients and offers flexible infrastructure options for the industry. Contact a ReliaCloud expert today to learn more about why companies in the healthcare industry are moving their data and resources to the cloud and how ReliaCloud has the solutions to fit your unique needs.

protecting-the-confidentiality-integrity-and-availability-of-your-data

Protecting the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of Your Data

By | September 23, 2013

The value of your business depends on your data and resources. You can have the most experienced and knowledgeable employees of the industry on your team, but if they don’t have information to work with and the resources to perform their tasks, then ultimately, you’re out of business. That’s why maintaining data integrity is a top priority for business leaders across all industries.

That’s also why ReliaCloud™ implements advanced technology and robust security measures to protect and maintain their clients’ information. From administrative policies to technical controls, ReliaCloud makes privacy and security a top priority in all processes. With multi-factor authentication, intrusion detection, dedicated firewalls, encryption and 24/7/365 monitoring at all levels, ReliaCloud guarantees the highest level of IT security and information assurance by strictly following the CIA Triad security model.

The CIA Triad is a widely accepted and practiced model for IT security teams and developers around the world. CIA is an acronym for the three principles that guide policy and development of security measures: confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

Confidentiality covers the privacy of the data. Measures are in place to protect your data from unauthorized access. Authentication processes, file permissions, and encryption protect your confidentiality from attacks and unauthorized users from seeing sensitive data.

Integrity ensures the data is accurate and consistent. This means taking measures to protect the integrity of your data so that unauthorized users cannot modify or delete information during business operations. It also allows for reversal and retrieval of data if authorized users accidentally modify information.

Availability allows you to have access to your data when you need it, where you need it. Power outages, upgrades, and hardware malfunctions can happen and security measures such as redundancy systems and disaster recovery capabilities ensure your data will be available with minimized downtime.

ReliaCloud’s security controls are designed with the value of your data in mind, and the IT security team who monitors and manages your information are strict followers of the CIA triad security model to protect your information from unauthorized users and prevent modification, deletion, and security breaches. Contact a ReliaCloud expert today to learn more about the CIA Triad security measures and policies in place to protect your data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Get Your IT Services Managed

By | September 12, 2013

Compliance and Security
Companies that offer managed services understand the importance of compliance and security. If they risk flaws in their security, they risk losing everything in their business. That’s why you can count on the measures they have in place to maintain your data integrity and security, and you can also trust that they stay updated with changing policies to ensure you are compliant with your industry’s regulations.

Implement Best-of-Breed Resources
Managed service providers invest in the latest hardware and software to maintain fast and secure computer networks for their clients.  It is their cost of doing business to be the best in the business in terms of equipment and maintenance.  They are also responsible for hiring and retaining the best and the brightest IT employees to manage this equipment. So, take advantage of implementing best-of-breed technology managed by best-of-breed IT staff without having to worry about managing the cost of ownership and maintenance.

More Efficiency, More Productivity
It’s simple. When you outsource IT management to experienced professionals, you can focus your time, energy, and resources on the things that matter the most—like running your business. Managed service providers are subject matter experts so the chances of downtime are less likely, especially with services like 24/7 network monitoring and database management.  It also allows your IT department to focus on strategy and long-term goals to support the company, rather than devoting time to managing day-to-day tasks like troubleshooting and provisioning.

Only Pay For What You Need
Managed IT services helps manage costs by allowing you to only pay for what you need, when you need it. It’s a cost-effective way to meet your IT needs without compromising quality or security.

Have Room For Growth
Managed service providers are capable of deploying IT solutions easily and quickly, no matter how big or small. When you anticipate growth in business or have seasonal spikes in client demands, it can take longer and be more costly to develop and implement in-house solutions. When you outsource IT managed services, no need to worry about acquiring new hardware and software to accommodate growth. They already have the experts and resources to support your needs.

Be a Good Citizen Part 2

By | August 29, 2013

Last week VISI employee, Meagan Maue, made the trek up to the Red Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota, to assist in Red Lake Rosie’s August spay and neuter clinic.  She was able to do this as part of TDS’s “Be Good Citizens” Volunteer ProgramMinnesota Spay Neuter Assistance Program members brought their large surgical van up to the reservation for three days to provide basic medical care – primarily spay and neuter surgeries – to dogs and cats belonging to members of the Red Lake community.  The reservation has no veterinarian onsite, so for many community members these annual clinics are the only way their canine or feline companions will get this kind of care.

Meagan helped vaccinate, walk, groom, feed and water more than 100 cats and dogs that came into the clinic for various needs.  The days of work were long – about 14-16 hours – but her efforts were rewarded with lots of tail wags and kisses!

“I will never forget some of the things I saw during the spay and neuter clinic – both good and bad,” said Meagan Maue. “I saw a dog come in with dozens of porcupine quills stuck in his face, neck, chest and legs.  I saw an embedded collar wound on a big, beautiful German Shepherd.  I saw an emaciated dog whose mange was so bad it literally made my skin hurt.  But I also saw a puppy with two broken legs who would wag his tail anytime someone would simply just talk to him.  I saw a Dutch Shepherd mix, who was terrified of men, give tons of kisses to the male veterinarian treating his mange.  I have always heard the phrase ‘rescue dogs know that you are helping’ and during my work at this clinic, I found that phrase to be more true than during any of my previous rescue work before.  For that, I am forever grateful.”

To find out about how you can help during the next spay and neuter clinic in Red Lake, please contact Red Lake Rosie’s at animalrescue@redlakerosie.org.

Meagan Maue, Karen Good, founder of Red Lake Rosie, and another volunteer

 

 

 

 

hybrid-clouds-protecting-data-integrity-security-and-compliance

Hybrid Clouds: Protecting Data Integrity (Security and Compliance)

By | August 28, 2013

Hybrid Clouds are the new black. It’s a cloud computing system that lets you reap the pros of both the Public Cloud and Private Cloud with none of the cons. You have flexibility to jump back and forth between the two clouds where you need it and when you need it. But, with all this flexibility and jumping around, what about security? Is your information safe?

ReliaCloud™ for Hybrid Clouds security is our number one priority. Some policies and technologies that ReliaCloud employs to protect your data are:

  • Multi-factor authentication using biometric scanners and proximity access cards.
  • Remote access multi-factor with multi-factor authentication including SMS based one-time passwords, software tokens and physical hardware tokens to augment traditional password based authentication.
  • Intrusion detection/prevention within networks to target application exploits.
  • Dedicated firewall contexts to provide full separation of firewall services from other customers via an exclusive configuration assigned to a single customer.

ReliaCloud for Hybrid Clouds also provides measures to ensure their clients are compliant with their industry regulations:

  • SSAE16 SOC 1 audits based on the AICPA’s standards for Type II reports on controls
  • AICPA’s SOC 2 criteria which consists of five sets of pre-defined trust principles
  • HIPAA and HITECH to secure your protected health information
  • PCI-DSS to protect payment card data

Flexibility and scalability with ReliaCloud for the Hybrid Cloud does not mean compromising security or performance. ReliaCloud is safe, and it will protect your information and guarantee your data integrity is not at risk. To learn more about ReliaCloud for the Hybrid Cloud, contact us today for more information.

Be a Good Citizen Part 1

By | August 20, 2013

An important shared value of TDS is “Be Good Citizens in Our Communities.” As such, TDS wholeheartedly recognizes the importance of “Investing in our Communities” and being a good corporate citizen to help enrich the surrounding communities in which we operate, reside and work. Employees are encouraged to lend their support/time and become involved in their communities by volunteering in programs which positively impact the quality of life and assist those in need. To help accomplish this, TDS is proud to be able to offer the “Be Good Citizens” Volunteer Program where employees can receive paid time off to volunteer in their local community.  As part of the TDS family of companies, VISI employees also receive this benefit.

Meagan Maue, Marketing and Events Specialist at VISI, will be participating in this program because she is an avid supporter of animal rescue. She is headed to northern Minnesota to assist Red Lake Rosie’s Rescue with their August spay and neuter clinic. Meagan is able to do this using hours from the Be a Good Citizen program. 

The need for spay and neuter clinics became evident years ago when community leaders recognized the domesticated animal population was out of control on the Red Lake Reservation. Since then, programs like the Minnesota Spay and Neuter Assistance Program and Kindest Cut have stepped in to offer three day clinics several times a year. Each clinic sees approximately 150-200+ cats and dogs altered.

If you would like to provide assistance to this effort, the upcoming spay and neuter clinic is looking for donations of canned dog and cat food, blankets, towels, and flea/tick preventative for dogs and cats of all sizes.  Items can be mailed to:

VISI, c/o Meagan Maue
10290 W 70th St
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

hybrid-clouds-the-future-of-public-and-private-cloud-computing

Hybrid Clouds: The Future of Public and Private Cloud Computing

By | August 02, 2013

It’s only a matter of time until the future of IT strategy for all companies incorporates cloud computing to run their IT systems, but the question is: What type of cloud will give your company the competitive edge? Do you go with the Public Cloud for its price model or the Private Cloud for its added security and flexibility? What if there was a cloud that offered the best of both clouds? There is. Meet the Hybrid Cloud. 

ReliaCloud™ for Hybrid Clouds utilizes the same hardware and software as the Public Cloud and Private Cloud, but it allows for more flexibility to jump between the two for specific purposes. It offers dedicated resources where you can store data and information and run compliance-critical workloads, but gives you access to a public cloud system where you can perform services and host other mission-critical workloads in the Public Cloud environment.

Benefits of the Hybrid Cloud include:

  • Flexibility to use the cloud that would best serve you in terms of cost, performance, and security, so you can maintain the most efficient use of your resources.
  • Redundancy from distributing data delivery and storage with multiple clouds, lowering the risks of downtime and data loss.
  • Scalability to seamlessly and quickly mix and match infrastructures between public and private systems for the needs of a large user base.
  • Security with highly reliable processes and policies to maintain your data integrity depending on the sensitivity of the data or regulations within your industry.

Your options used to be either a Public Cloud for its scalability or a Private Cloud for its more robust security, and if you needed both, you had to pay for both. Now  ReliaCloud for Hybrid Clouds lets you have the best of both clouds and is transforming the way companies utilize technology to optimize their business from core functions to innovation. Hybrid Clouds are on the rise, and the sky is not the limit.

hybrid-cloud-is-the-new-solution

Hybrid Cloud is the New Solution

By | July 16, 2013

More and more businesses are converting to the cloud because cloud-based solutions offer businesses what IT needs: flexibility, accessibility, scalability and reliability. There are several cloud models to choose from including Public, Private or Hybrid. A Hybrid Cloud offers the advantages of both the public and private cloud models, allowing businesses to customize their services to best meet their ever-changing needs.

Benefits of a Hybrid Cloud Include:

Scalability of Resources: Allocate resources for short-term projects at a much lower cost than using your local IT infrastructure. Scalability = efficiency.

Data Security Management: Keep sensitive data behind your firewall and outside the public cloud. Migrating data to the public cloud is easy, and it remains safe and secure behind your IT walls.

Save Time and Money: Quickly adjust capabilities and capacities, as you need them without the expense of new software, training staff or investing in new infrastructure. 

Your Business Is Unique and Your IT Should Be Too
ReliaCloud™ for Hybrid Clouds offers your business the most in flexibility and scalability.  There are different uses for Public and Private Clouds; our Hybrid Cloud model allows you to use dedicated resources and shared cloud resources to fulfill your needs. You can run compliance-critical workloads in the private cloud environment while continuing to host other mission-critical workloads in the public cloud environment.  Migrate existing internal infrastructure as future business conditions warrant.

Hybrid Cloud allows you pick and choose the relevant features of the Public Cloud and Private Cloud, and customize a unique solution for your business. You have the flexibility to expand and scale your virtual capacities as you please, based on your current and future needs.  Think of it as a cloud… à la carte!

ReliaCloud Has You Covered
This stuff is confusing, so we don’t expect you to figure it out alone.  We arm you with the all the resources and support you’ll need.  Our solution architects will help to build a customized cloud solution by analyzing your current IT infrastructure and creating a combination of products to best suit your business needs.  Our expertise lies within the cloud, so make us do the work!  We’ll take care of IT, so you can get back to business.

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Hybrid Cloud: The Best of Public Cloud and Private Cloud

By | July 01, 2013

For some businesses, the choice between Private Cloud and Public Cloud is obvious.  For others, that decision is not so clear – nor should it have to be.  Every user is different, and so are your needs and goals. What works for one, may not work for another. More importantly, what works for your business now, may not meet your needs in the future. 

Your Solution is ReliaCloud™ for Hybrid Clouds
ReliaCloud offers three cloud services: Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud. Our Hybrid Cloud solution offers a combination of the advantages of both Public Cloud and Private Cloud models, maximizing efficiency, security and flexibility. 

Our solutions architects work with you to design a customized solution based on your unique needs, expanding and scaling your virtual capacities when you need them, how you need them.  Capabilities such as storage, computing power and RAM can be instantly adjusted, resulting in a more efficient and cost-effective IT environment for your business. This stellar combination also enables organizations that have already built a Private Cloud, to use resources from Public Clouds as a way to expand their own IT infrastructure.

Let Us Architect IT, So You Can Focus On Your Business
This cloud stuff can be confusing, but you don’t have to try and figure it all out.  Let our solutions architects use their skills and knowledge to design a cloud combination that works best for you. Let us architect it, so you can focus on your business.

ReliaCloud allows you peace of mind knowing that your data is safe, secure and protected by our state-of-the-art, integrated security. We employ a combination of standard security controls, as well as optional, advanced capabilities that can be added as needed to suit your unique security requirements.

ReliaCloud satisfies the needs of our customers by providing enterprise-class infrastructure and services that are managed 24/7/365 in facilities that are built to Tier 3 standards and SSAE 16 audited.  Delivered in both dedicated and shared resource pools from multiple Tier 3 data centers, ReliaCloud is architected for maximum flexibility and security.  Since resource pools will never be shared, your performance will never be compromised.  Your data is secure, available when you need it, and meets all your compliance requirements.

cloud-hosting-services-its-not-one-size-fits-all-its-we-fit-your-needs

Cloud Hosting Services – It’s Not One Size Fits All, It’s We Fit Your Needs

By | May 30, 2013

A common misconception with cloud services is that it’s based on a one-size-fits-all model: the idea that if you use a cloud service, it’s automatically a prepackaged, non-flexible cloud service. With ReliaCloud, we offer a variety of cloud services, and you choose the model that best fits your needs and budget.

ReliaCloud offers three cloud services: Private Cloud, Public Cloud and Hybrid Cloud. Our Hybrid Cloud service option allows for a wide variety of cloud service configurations, enabling you to blend multiple cloud options including your own on-premise computing infrastructure. 

ReliaCloud™ for Private Cloud
Private Cloud allows you to create and manage virtual servers with resources that exist within a dedicated environment leveraging enterprise-class hypervisor technology. Whether you are looking for the most secure cloud computing environment or the most flexibility for applications, the Private Cloud model can fit your needs.

ReliaCloud™ for Public Cloud
Public Clouds are designed as a multi-tenant environment that provides support to multiple customers and varying application requirements. Although all tenants physically share servers and resources, our secure networking and virtualization technologies ensure that customers only access their own data. Sharing the physical environment together provides customers with the most cost effective cloud service available.

ReliaCloud™ for Hybrid Cloud
Want the best of all Cloud configurations? The Hybrid Cloud allows you to take advantages of the Public Cloud, Private Cloud and your already established compute infrastructure in a flexible manner. A combination of these models, the Hybrid Cloud allows you to easily increase your current capacity with public resources and migrate existing internal infrastructure as capital, capacity and business conditions warrant.

We Fit Your Cloud Service Needs
ReliaCloud is here to meet your cloud service needs, not ask you to fit into ours. We understand that your business is unique and situations arise all the time, and we want to help you as best as we can. That’s why ReliaCloud is architected for maximum flexibility with the ability to adjust as your needs change. And, in addition to our flexible cloud services solutions, we also provide monitoring and infrastructure management services.

Our certified staff can manage your owned equipment such as web and database servers, load balancers, routers, firewalls and switches, allowing organizations to leave the management of infrastructure to us.

ReliaCloud™ managed services include:

  • Monitoring
  • Patches and upgrades
  • Security services
  • Antivirus protection
  • Linux and Windows administration

getting-started-with-cloud-computing

Getting Started With Cloud Computing

By | May 13, 2013

The way IT has changed the way we do business is a testament to the creative innovation and intelligence that we are capable of achieving and have yet to discover. With each new development, IT has transformed how a business provides service and how they develop. IT has not only increased computing efficiency, but also the efficiency of the workplace. One of the latest IT frontiers that has been playing a big role in the shift from how traditional business applications are programmed and services are delivered is cloud computing.

Although some could argue that the concept of cloud computing has been in existence for years, what users associate with the idea of a “cloud” platform is the flexibility and application accessibility from multiple devices, and that is relatively new, and it is exciting.

The Information Technology Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards has published a draft working definition and starts off with a broad top-level definition:

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Cloud computing offers three different layers that each offer specific services for IT systems. When getting started, it’s important to understand the differences in functionality to make an informed decision on which would best serve your company:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Accessible from various client devices through a thin client interface such as a Web browser.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Ability to deploy consumer-created applications using programming languages and tools supported by the provider onto the cloud infrastructure.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Provides processing and storage capabilities, networks, and other fundamental computing resources. Consumer is able to deploy and run software, which can include operating systems and applications, and has control over storage and possibly select networking components. ReliaCloud, an enterprise-class IT IaaS cloud solution, is available through VISI, which provides scalability and high performance data management for use in public, private, and hybrid cloud configurations.

Cloud computing has multiple layers and different models that might require further clarification as to how each one would benefit you. We have put together a white paper on cloud computing that explains its many components and goes into detail about evaluation criteria to verify that the solution you select meets your particular needs.

Want to learn more about VISI? Check out the About Us page.