Cloud computing has created a wide range of new business solutions. Understanding the differences between similar-sounding solutions can be confusing at best, and remote desktops are particularly complex. This article will outline the key differences, pros and cons between hosted desktops (Desktops as a Service, DaaS) and virtual desktops (Virtual Desktop Infrastructures, VDIs). Understanding these differences is crucial in making the best decisions for your business.
Hosted Desktops – DaaS
Hosted desktops allow for cloud-hosting of company computers. With DaaS, your company’s desktop computers are not connected to in-house servers. Your DaaS provider is responsible for providing network management, load balancing and resource provisioning.
A third-party data centre is responsible for hosting your company’s desktops. Your staff are thus able to access their desktops, applications and data from any location. With the correct setup, hosted desktops can stream to almost any other device.
Virtual Desktops – VDIs
Virtual desktops and hosted desktops offer similar functionalities. The fundamental difference is the solution’s setup. VDIs are managed in-house and not by a third-party (external) solution provider.
Virtual desktops are the same as hosted desktops in that your staff can access their data, applications and desktops from any location.
While virtual and hosted desktops may sound very similar, important distinctions make each solution suitable for different companies’ requirements. Deciding which one you need is a matter of comparing the pros and cons of each to your company’s requirements and available resources.
Pros and Cons
The greatest benefit of utilising a virtual desktop infrastructure is control. Since a VDI is set up and managed by an in-house department, businesses retain total control over their IT solution. This level of control is vital within industries like finance or law.
The drawback to an in-house solution is the increased workload on your company’s IT department. Additionally, third-party providers can provide extra benefits in terms of security.
The setup of virtual desktops is both expensive and time-consuming. A large initial investment is required when obtaining the hardware and software for a VDI.
Hosted desktops are the opposite in that they require very little in the way of an initial investment. These desktop solutions are usually sold as a subscription-based service, and businesses do not need to own a data-centre to utilise DaaS. This way, businesses unable to build VDI can benefit from remote desktops.
Companies that offer hosted desktop services are run by experienced professionals with cutting-edge hardware. Businesses that pay for other companies to host their desktops benefit from reduced IT overheads.
Hosted desktops are usually more secure than virtual desktops. Since hosted desktops are provided by specialist companies, they utilise enterprise-grade data centres equipped with the best in physical and cybersecurity measures. Even though your business’ data is held off-site, it is much more secure since most companies cannot afford top-level security systems. Additionally, as a company’s remote desktop requirements grow, hosted desktop providers are capable of scaling the services they provide to match.
|Managed by professionals||Partial loss of control|
|Low initial costs|
|Fast implementation time|
|High levels of security.|
|Complete control||High initial costs|
|System and staff familiarity||Requires intensive management.|
There are strong benefits regardless of whether your business adopts hosted or virtual desktops.
All remote desktop solutions allow your staff to work from any location. Salespeople travelling abroad, staff working from home and other employees operating outside of a normal schedule can all work just as efficiently as if they were in their usual offices. All positions within your company benefit from increased productivity.
More opportunities for remote work lead to happier workforces. At least 30% of the average workforce waste one or more hours every day, all because of issues experienced in office environments. Problems include irritating or noisy coworkers and unnecessary meetings.
The average remote worker is 13% more productive. Remote workers suffer from fewer distractions, have more productive hours and take fewer sick days.
Finally, all remote desktop solutions are good for the environment. As businesses look for more ways to reduce their carbon footprint, remote desktop environments provide reductions in energy usage and carbon emissions.
Find out more about our Nebula Hosted Desktop Solutions.
As cloud solutions continue to be an essential part of key business operations, cloud transformation has become a more relevant issue that almost every organisation needs to address. Even for organisations that are currently using cloud solutions, most don’t yet understand what cloud transformation really is and how it can impact an organisation. Gartner estimates that cloud transformation will drive $1.3 T in IT spending by 2022 as organisations seek to benefit from cost savings, enhanced revenues increased agility and innovation. In preparation, this article goes other the key aspects you need to know about cloud transformation; what is cloud transformation? What does cloud transformation mean for an organisation? How will cloud transformation benefit an organisation?
What is Cloud Transformation?
Put simply, cloud transformation is the process of moving your work to the cloud, including migrating apps, data, software programs or the entire IT infrastructure in line with your business objectives. Understandably, cloud transformation seems like a complex process since it can mean different things to different organisations. However, the overall objective, in every organisation, is to have the ability to quickly adopt new technology while also responding to new competitive threats and immediate market needs.
What Does Cloud Transformation Mean for an Organisation?
Cloud transformation is not simple or straightforward. It involves developing new muscle memory and essentially a new organisational culture in every aspect of an organisation that encourages and supports new ways of operating and learning. It is not all about technology. Employees are a key part of this transformation where they need to be empowered to make rapid decisions inspired by common organisational principles and directions. All aspects of the people, processes and technology components need to mature to new operational models.
Cloud is just but a platform that enables a business to be more agile and responsive. For cloud transformation, however, the change must start internally and touch on every aspect of the organisation. Most organisations are under the notion that shifting their on-premise IT infrastructure to a cloud service provider like AWS or Azure equals cloud transformation. Not even close. Cloud transformation must start by transforming organisational processes, organisational culture and technological components to make them cloud suitable – otherwise referred to as attaining cloud transformation maturity. Cloud-first processes, for instance, are;
- Self-service friendly
- Embedded with learning and healing abilities
- Exchange data and services with external systems
- Highly robust and scalable
Before an organisation can optimise their processes to be cloud-first, they cannot take full advantage of the benefits of the cloud.
How can Cloud Transformation Benefit an Organisation?
Many organisations approach cloud transformation intending to save costs on IT infrastructure and operations. While this is one of the benefits, we wouldn’t rank it as the most important reason why you should start your cloud transformation journey. Knowing what you know so far, you wouldn’t either. This is because the real value of cloud transformation is in helping organisations respond to the age-old dilemma; how do we respond to market changes, technological advancements and competitive forces? Cloud transformation gives organisations the ability to quickly consume the latest technology, rapidly adapt to the changes, and provide better responses to market needs. It achieves this through;
An organisation’s cloud transformation maturity can be measured by its ability to quickly respond to market conditions and competitive threats. Cloud transformation allows businesses to rapidly consume new technologies and resources and efficiently apply them to market conditions.
Failure is an essential part of growth. You cannot innovate without an aspect of failure. An organisation’s future can depend on the ideas that its employees come up with and how quickly they are incubated into products or services. Cloud transformation, inspires a learning culture that tolerates failure and thereby allows employees to be more expressive and creative to try new things, test new products and fail forward. Encouraging risk-taking is key to rapid innovation. This is the culmination of failure tolerant processes, transformative and learning organisational culture coupled with agile technological components.
Cost optimisations is also a key aspect of cloud transformation but not really in IT infrastructure and operations as many organisations assume. Instead, cloud transformation allows organisations to accurately measure their investment against key value chains and thereby determine if a particular investment is feasible and optimal in line with their P&L.
Recruiting Top Talents
Organisations can define their success by the talents they hire and mature internally. Cloud transformation pushes an organisation to look beyond the traditional pool of talents. In today’s fast-paced world, organisations must focus on finding adaptive, self-learning and highly dynamic and engaged employees. This ensures that the employees can take on the transformative organisation culture and evolve with the business by demanding improvement in everything that they do.
So, to answer the question; what is cloud transformation? The correct answer is it depends on your organisation and your objectives. However, if you want to create an agile, innovative, future-proof organisation, it should be your priority. Contact AdEPT today, the leading business solutions firm in the UK, to get started on your digital transformation journey or to learn more.
Business continuity is vital in every sector and industry, but perhaps none more than the healthcare industry. Over the last couple of years, the need for business continuity management has become ever so apparent. Be it from past experiences such as the 2007 floods, the H1N1 pandemic, the emergence of formal guidelines and standards or the COVID 19 pandemic – the importance of a robust NHS is there for all to see.
In this article, we will look at why the NHS needs business continuity, the aim of business continuity in the NHS and the steps you need to take.
Why Business Continuity in Healthcare is So Important
According to a 2016 report by Security Score Card, healthcare ranked 9th in overall security in comparison to other industries. Additionally, 1 in 4 healthcare organisations has been hit by a ransomware attack. The most prominent example being the WannaCry ransomware that cost the NHS upwards of £92m in damages. With increased risks, both natural and manmade, the threat is clear. When such disasters strike, medical professionals and organisations need to have the ability to regain immediate access to critical patient data. If the data is corrupted, stolen, lost or unrecoverable over a prolonged period of time, the impact can be costly both from a business and medical perspective.
We all appreciate the role of a good healthcare system. However, healthcare systems and organisations are incredibly complex. This leaves systems like the NHS open and vulnerable to countless risks. According to the Security Score Card, the most common vulnerabilities in healthcare include;
- Lack of system patching due to lax protocols for updating operating systems and applications.
- Inadequate cybersecurity training. Healthcare is one of the leading industries that are prey to malicious email attacks.
- Weak password. Most healthcare organisations have lax password management policies that make it easy for hackers to access their systems and applications.
- Unprotected devices. In a vastly interconnected world, some advanced medical devices connected to the internet, unfortunately, lack sufficient cybersecurity protection measures.
- Outdated data backup systems. Although a change in the healthcare industry does take some time, some organisations have taken too long to upgrade to more advanced data backup solutions that could negate the effects of data loss or corruption.
Above are some of the many reasons that have necessitated the introduction of the NHS England Business Continuity Management Framework.
The Aim of Business Continuity in the NHS
Compliance with the Law
Business continuity is now mandatory in all NHS organisations. Under the Health and Social Care Act, 2012 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, all NHS organisations have a duty and obligation to implement continuity arrangements as set out in the NHS England Core Standards for Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR). This framework gives organisations the ability to identify and manage risks that could disrupt normal service. It also obligates them to maintain services at set standards in case of any disruption or recover services to these standards in the least possible time.
The consequences of any disaster, be it a virus, flood, power surge, fire or cyber-attack, can be fatal. Consider a high dependency unit with patients who require constant monitoring to adjust what medication they need, in what dosage, keep track of the latest systems, what has worked and so on. If this data was lost, corrupted or couldn’t be accessed in a prolonged time, the consequences could be life-threatening. Having a dependable business continuity management plan ensures that critical medical data can be restored almost instantly to maintain vital care to patients.
Protect Sensitive Data
Electronic personal health information (e-PHI), is incredibly personal and sensitive. In most cases, this information needs to be accessed from multiple sources across vendors and locations which increases the risk of it being compromised. A business continuity plan implements technology that regularly backs up data, checks it for integrity and also encrypts it to reduce the risk of unauthorised access. In addition to protecting PHI, it also maintains the security of the entire organisation.
The well-being and proper care of patients are undoubtedly very important. However, the bottom-line impact on NHS organisations as business entities is also very important. A loss of data regardless of duration or volume can be extremely expensive – both directly and indirectly. There is also the issue of downtime which can grind operations to a near halt, spike operating costs and damage goodwill. It doesn’t help that the cost of downtime rises with each passing minute. Business continuity ensures that healthcare organisations can maintain an acceptable level of service in the face of a disaster or at least recover to an acceptable level almost instantly.
It is not hard to see why all NHS organisations are required to have business continuity management plans. The benefits, both to the organisations and the patients are evident. At AdEPT, we have seasoned IT consultants who have worked with and provided training for a wide range of NHS organisations for many years. Contact us today to learn more about Business Continuity planning, training and implementation from the leading business solutions firm in the UK.
Data is the single most expensive asset in an organisation – far more than the equipment you use or a warehouse full of products. This is predominantly the reason why the thought of losing data is so sobering. With an increasing number of ways an organisation can lose data, it is only right that every organisation keeps its data safe and retrievable. From hardware fails, power outages, human error, increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, natural disasters and even insider threats, the risks are endless.
Why Data Backup Is Important in Business
The average cost of each record lost or stolen in the UK is around £113. Businesses collect an increasing amount of data every day – and its value is ever increasing. As such, the reason why businesses should regularly back up their data is not only to protect their most valuable asset, but also to guarantee its security and privacy as well as your ability to survive a malicious or accidental event. Studies also show that the cost of data loss and breaches is increasing as companies collect more data.
As a small business, you might think that you are immune to such dangers – that it only happens to big corporations. Well, research has identified that theft of intellectual property is the prime motivation for data breaches that result in data loss. This means that all size organisations, including start-ups and SMEs, are susceptible to loss of data either through malicious events or mistakes. To avoid becoming a victim of preventable human error or malicious data breaches, and to maintain continuous access to your data, you need to make data backup a regular part of your IT practices. The question now becomes; how often should you backup your business data?
How Often Should a Company Back-Up Data?
Although a bit of a cliché, the answer is; it depends.
Backing up data as part of industry regulation or organisational insurance policy takes more discretion that just making duplicate copies of everything. Understandably, data backup can be exorbitantly expensive. Therefore, to design an effective and efficient data backup strategy you need to evaluate the following;
- Who manages the data? Is it your in-house staff or do you work with a vendor?
- What data do you need to back up? Everything or the most vital?
- Where do you intend to store the backups? On-premise or off-site?
- Why are you backing up your data? In-house policy or by obligation?
- How do you intend to back up the data? Via cloud or traditional backup?
Having a clear understanding and answer to the above issues will make deciding how often you should backup your data a lot easier particularly when you are working with a vendor or you have an obligation to maintain backup data.
That’s not all, there are additional factors you need to consider when deciding how often you should backup your data.
Factors to consider when deciding how often a business should backup its data
- How important is the data on your systems?
- How often does the data change?
- What type of information is contained in the data?
- What type of equipment do you have for backup?
- How quickly do you need to recover the data?
- Who is responsible for your data backup and recovery?
- Do you have/need off-site backups?
- Does backup interrupt your business operation?
Although there are many things to consider, experts agree that how often your data changes and how important it is, are the most influential determining factors. With almost every business creating new content and collecting more data sometimes by the minute, organisations need to make sure that this data is safe and secure as soon as possible. While you might assume that you are relatively safe from cybercrime or malicious attacks, hardware failure and software corruption account for more than 75% of all business data losses.
What Should You Do?
It is important to remember that every business has unique circumstances and therefore different requirements. However, in general, the average mid-size company will be okay with a full back up every 24 hours with incremental backups every 6 hours. However, mid-size online retailers might need more frequent incremental backups of around 4 hours as well as making hourly transaction logs – to keep track of new purchases.
If you have significantly high traffic or handle more sensitive data such as large banks or enterprise online retailers, you may adopt a more aggressive approach with a full back up every 24 hours, incremental backups every 3 hours and transaction logs every half hour. However, this requires sizeable storage capabilities and resources not to slow down normal operations.
It is also important to consider whether backups will be done automatically or manually. Automatic backups will save your IT team time and focus their abilities on other tasks particularly in more frequent backups. Additionally, manual backups are prone to human error. This and other reasons makes cloud backup through a provider the best solution for most businesses.
At AdEPT, we provide you with just the data backup solution you need with the ability to scale as your business grows or needs change. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to talk to our team about your needs.
For an industry that has historically lagged behind in adopting new technologies, healthcare is surprisingly leading in cloud adoption. With a huge number of legacy systems and large volumes of highly sensitive and personal data, it is understandable why the industry has traditionally been slow to embrace change. However, this approach has completely changed with the rise of cloud technology. According to the West Monroe Partners Report, a remarkable 35% of healthcare organisations held the majority of their infrastructure and data in the cloud – becoming one of the leading industries to do so. What makes the cloud such a good match for the healthcare industry and what is the impact of cloud computing on the healthcare industry?
This article details the reasons healthcare is leading in cloud adoption and how the cloud is transforming healthcare as we know it.
What Makes Cloud Computing So Ideal for the Healthcare Industry?
Governments and healthcare institutions all over the world have faced countless challenges in trying to digitise health service. With the rising demand for healthcare services due to an ageing population and innovation of more efficient infection detection technologies, personnel shortfall and rising expectations for digitised services, current healthcare models are under immense strain. Additionally, there is a cultural push for efficiency across all industries, healthcare included. When you consider the process of version control for a healthcare system or institution managing millions of electronic patient records, the need to integrate healthcare and social information while connecting countless hospitals, clinics, trusts, insurers and practitioners, the challenge is clear for all to see.
However, in the challenges that healthcare is facing is where the cloud excels. In the past, healthcare systems had to be centralised. This meant that institutions had to acquire, manage and maintain all the necessary hardware, software and all relevant IT personnel whether these resources were used at full capacity or not. While you would think this would make for a fail-proof and secure system, apparently not – as evidenced by the WannaCry attack on the NHS.
Cloud computing is changing how doctors, nurses, clinics and hospitals deliver cost-effective and quality services to increasing numbers of patients. This is driven by need and push to improve the quality of patient care and experience, the economic imperative to cut costs and have integrated, secure and efficient systems. Through the decentralised system supported by cloud computing, healthcare systems and institutions can efficiently process, deliver and analyse data in collaborative fashion at a fraction of the cost of the previous system.
How the Cloud is Transforming Healthcare
Here are the ways in which the cloud is impacting healthcare
Cloud computing allows for on-demand availability of computer resources such as computing power, data and storage hence negating the need to purchase and maintain in-house hardware and servers. An institution pays only for what they need and use resulting in massive cost savings. This also improves scalability which gives institutions the ability to perform capacitive overhauls whenever they need to while also keeping costs in check.
Cloud computing facilitates and supports data integration regardless of origin or storage thereby making data patient data readily available throughout the healthcare system whenever needed. This diminishes the distance between specialists and allows them to review cases regardless of location while also providing insight to improve healthcare delivery and planning. Interoperability across various healthcare sectors such as pharmaceuticals, insurers and payment avenues increases efficiency and improves patient’s experience.
High Powered Analytics
Data in any industry is a huge asset, both structured and unstructured. The application of artificial intelligence algorithms and Big Data analytics on patient data collected from various sources can power up medical research including formulating personalised care plans. It also means that entire medical histories of patients are readily available to physicians when prescribing treatments so that nothing is missed.
Cloud computing gives patients’ access and ownership to their data allowing them to participate in decisions that affect their health as well as enhance patient engagement and education. While there are concerns about cloud storage of patient data, reliability is higher including data recovery if need be.
Cloud storage of patient records allows for remote accessibility which is one of the leading benefits of using the cloud in healthcare. This is particularly helpful for post-hospitalization care plans, telemedicine, and virtual medication follow up. Telemedicine apps improve access to healthcare services, convenience in service delivery and the overall patient experience.
Understandably, there are concerns regarding the security of patient data and the system itself, compliance with health data related security norms and system downtimes. However, cloud technology is rapidly evolving to increase security through encryption and provide redundancy to caution against downtimes.
Although cloud computing still has a long way to go in healthcare, its adoption has definitely had a powerful positive impact on the industry including cost savings, increased interoperability and improved service delivery. If you would like to learn more about how cloud computing can improve healthcare institutions, contact AdEPT today – the leading business and IT solutions firms in the UK.
Every business faces challenges, both common and unique. Some of these challenges and potential risk factors could cause significant setbacks or in some cases, utter ruination of a business. Owning and running a successful organisation requires an astute understanding of how to maintain core operations in the face of these challenges. From bad publicity, internal wrangles, cybercrime, natural disasters, economic downturns to power outages these and other risk factors are enough to keep you awake.
While some business owners and leaders tend to believe that they can quickly come up with a “Plan B” on the go, the leading global corporate leaders spend time and money creating a business continuity plan for events they hope will never come to pass. After all, preparedness if the key to mitigating risks, avoiding disaster, as well as coping and recovering when unavoidable setbacks occur. On top of that, there are many benefits of having a business continuity plan, not only for the business itself but also its partners, stakeholders, employees and of course its customers.
After creating a business continuity plan, the question becomes, how do you implement a business continuity plan?
Formulating a Strategic Implementation Plan
The next step after creating a business continuity plan is to formulate a strategic implementation plan starting with a risk-based analysis. The analysis will help you determine the risk level in relation to the capital investments that your business can make to guarantee viability. The business continuity plan is generally a holistic and expansive plan with different levels of critical assets. The analysis helps you determine where best to focus your expenditure and resources on a reliable system.
To formulate the strategic implementation plan, you first need to analyse the following 4 business models.
On-site Versus Off-site
Determine whether you will make an investment in an on-site infrastructure or will partner with a hosted co-location facility. The on-site infrastructure will include redundant systems for cooling, power, hardware and connectivity as the plan requires. On the other hand, the off-site option has less TCO. Regardless of which investment you decide to focus on, it is important to remember that every plan must include an off-site option with manual storage or automatic replication in case of a physical disaster.
Determine how tolerant your business as a whole is to downtime. Then, make an internal tolerance threshold determination depending on the service provided, type of data and customer demand. This will help you determine the levels of redundancy your business needs to prevent or minimise downtime to within tolerance.
Quantity of Data
Determine how much infrastructural investment is required in the on-site location depending on the amount of data you deem mission-critical and that you need for disaster recovery. The cost point of off-site remote access versus on-site redundancy will help you determine where you should focus your resources.
Determine the communication infrastructure you need to replicate large amounts of data to an off-site location or the network services that you require to maintain a reliable remote access connection to off-site live data repositories. This analysis should be done in conjunction with the quantity of data analysis. As a general rule, the more data that is being replicated, the larger the data access point needs to be. In most cases, the cost of replication is prohibitive thereby making remote access a more feasible option.
Execute the Implementation Plan
You now have a business continuity plan to respond to all natural and unnatural disruptions and its strategic implementation plan, it is now time to execute. At this stage, ongoing system monitoring and testing are key as they help you prepare for actual recovery. Additionally, your business will grow and change as time goes by. As such, you need to conduct an annual evaluation where policy, plan and procedures might need to change to adapt to your growing and changing system.
Important Tips when Implementing a Business Continuity Plan
- Have an understanding of the business architecture of your enterprise
- Have a knowledge of the daily business routines and the people responsible for them
- Formulate and maintain a service catalogue and CMDB
- Periodically perform trial runs of your BCP for practice and to make sure that it actually works
- Plan disaster recovery teams as well
- Continually update your BCP as the business changes including personnel, IT services and business context
- Use simple and clear “how to’s” rather than complicated flowcharts
- Formulate straightforward instruction directed to specific individuals to reduce panic and tension in the face of an emergency.
Just as is the case with creating a business continuity plan, implementing it also focusses of planning, analysis and evaluation. Depending on the size and context of your business, the solutions and options might differ. If you are looking to create and implement a business continuity plan for your business but do not know where to start, contact Adept today. We are a leading IT services firm providing all size organisations in the UK with innovative and reliable business solutions. Talk to us today to learn more about our services.
If you are considering cloud migration as the next logical step forward for your business or organisation, you are on the right track. In the last few years, many people have come to appreciate the many incredible benefits of cloud migration although there are still some lingering questions, how does cloud migration work? Who does the work for cloud migration? When is the right time for cloud migration? These and other questions make cloud migration, though beneficial, appear time-consuming and complicated.
This article demystifies this belief and aims to give you a better understanding of how cloud migration works so you can be better prepared.
What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process of transitioning or moving the company’s data, applications and services from on-site premises to the cloud. Cloud migration can also be used to mean moving from one cloud to another. Essentially, it is putting information and services in a virtual space where it can be accessed immediately from any location on the globe.
The key objectives of cloud migration are to help companies reduce capital expenditures and operating costs and make it easier for them to function. However, most organisations seek cloud migration for the resource allocation and dynamic scaling capabilities it offers.
Basics of Cloud Migration
Cloud migration can mean any of the following things;
SaaS, Software as a Service, is a more comprehensive meaning of cloud migration and also the most common solution. In this type of integration, the client company uses a third-party hosted and maintained software that is immediately ready to go. Users go in through the software system and make a command to perform a specific action.
IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, is the most basic form of cloud migration. Client companies use the infrastructure and raw resources of the system to do whatever they want including storing data and creating back-ups.
PaaS, Platform as a Service, is a higher level iteration of IaaS. Users have access to the tools and resources offered in IaaS but with the added ability of building apps.
Cloud migration, therefore, can manifest in different ways to different organisations. It can be one of the ways listed above or a self-defined version unique to your business.
How Does an On-Premise to Cloud Migration Work?
Although every business has different needs and will, therefore, adopt a slightly different cloud migration process, cloud migrations often include the following steps;
Formulate Migration Goals
Establish the performance gains you want to achieve. Having goals to measure against helps you determine whether the migration was a success.
Create a Security Strategy
Cloud cybersecurity is different from on-premises security and requires a different approach. Deploying a web application firewall or a cloud firewall might be necessary to protect corporate assets.
Copy over Data
Replicate existing database with your cloud provider throughout the migration process to keep the database up to date.
Move Business Intelligence
This might involve rewriting code or refactoring all at once or piecemeal– more on that later.
Switch Production from On-Premise to Cloud
Once the cloud goes live, the migration is complete. You can opt to turn off on-premise infrastructure or keep it on as back up or as part of a hybrid cloud deployment.
Cloud Migration Strategies
Gartner describes 5 options for organisations looking to migrate to the cloud – commonly known as the “5R’s”
Essentially, rehosting is doing the same thing but on cloud servers. It involves selecting an IaaS provider and recreating your application architecture on the provider’s infrastructure.
It involves reusing pre-existing frameworks and code while running your applications on a platform provided by a PaaS provider.
Involves partially expanding or rewriting the code base then deploying it using the refactoring or rehosting options.
This involves re-architecting and rewriting the application from the ground up on a PaaS provider’s platform. While developers take advantage of modern features offered by the provider, it can be labour intensive.
It involves discarding old applications and switching to already built SaaS applications from SaaS vendors.
Cloud Deployment Styles
In conjunction with a cloud migration strategy, you also need to decide how your cloud deployment will look after completion of cloud migration.
Combines two or more types of environments – private clouds, public clouds or on-premise legacy data centres. This style requires tight integration across clouds and data centres.
Combines two or more public clouds. This style generates cost savings, redundancy and leverages features from different providers.
Though not always feasible, it is still an option of deploying from a single cloud vendor.
Do You Need Help with Cloud Migration?
Adept offers a comprehensive and intuitive single control panel for the security and performance products required for successful cloud migration. We take time to understand your business needs, goals and long-term objectives to provide you with exactly the solutions you need within your budget. Talk to one of our experts today to learn more.
Communication is a vital aspect of every successful business or organisation. The quality of your communication with colleagues, customers, partners, vendors, prospects and other stakeholders has a direct impact on your organisation. If you do not have proper systems that can support fluid communication either because they are not up to date or they aren’t reliable, your organisation will suffer. Phone calls are a big part of business communication. An Inefficient and expensive phone system will not only cost you money but also productivity, reputations and even business.
To avert this challenge, more businesses are now considering SIP calling and SIP trunking. However, many business owners and leaders are still stuck with some all too familiar questions – what is SIP calling? What is SIP trunking? How can SIP calling and SIP trunking help my organisation?
Well, in this article, we will take a closer look at this technology and its benefits to an organisation to help you make an informed decision on whether to move to SIP calling and SIP trunking.
What is SIP Calling?
SIP calling, also referred to as Session Initiation Protocol calling, is a process in which voice calls are transmitted over a SIP channel or a SIP trunk. From the onset, it is important to note that SIP calling and VoIP are not the same thing. However, they do use similar technology in the sense that SIP calling harnesses the internet protocol (IP) to transmit your analogue call traffic over an internet connection. But, they address different needs even though both can handle voice, instant messaging, video and other data.
How Does SIP Calling Work?
To understand how SIP calling works, you first need to understand how the traditional phone system works. Essentially, a traditional phone system has three parts in sequential order;
PBX – Private Branch Exchange which is the system that manages calls on-premise
PRI lines – Primary Rate Interface lines that connect your calls to the PSTN
PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network which is the network that routes/directs calls to their destination.
With SIP calling, PRI lines are no longer a requirement. A SIP trunk, which is a phone line installed virtually over your internet connection uses the SIP protocol to complete the link. The SIP trunk then uses your internet connection to connect your PBX to the PSTN thus bypassing/eliminating the need of having PRI lines.
What is SIP Trunking?
PRI lines were initially created to handle the increasing complexity of having internet and landline connections running through the same PBX hardware initially meant for voice only. PRI lines have since been phased out by SIP Trunking which is easier to implement, has lower installation and operating costs and more capable of handling voice-only data traffic.
SIP trunking, therefore, provides a better path on which an on-premise telephone system can access the PSTN using an internet connection rather than PRIs or traditional telephone lines, often at a much lower monthly cost. SIP trunks take advantage of the flexibility provided by cloud-based communication to expand or contract in line with the call activity and needs of a business.
What are the Benefits of SIP Calling and SIP Trunking?
If you are not using SIP calling, what is your current business phone bill? Imagine paying only 30% of that. That is what SIP trunking allows you to achieve. Sip calling eliminates worries about your phone setup including installation, maintenance and disruptions so you can focus on improving your business communication.
Using SIP trunking means that everything happens over the internet including calls and video conferencing. Therefore, if you hire more employees or your organisation expands, you do not need to buy more physical lines. You can easily add more lines yourself or with the help of your SIP provider within a few minutes. You can also reduce the number of lines as need be.
Improved Flexibility and Productivity through Unified Communications
Studies have shown that using unified communication can save a business up to 115 minutes per day for each user. A SIP phone system helps you create a unified virtual presence that is synchronized and centralised rather than having to switch between communication channels. This results in better productivity, collaboration and efficiency.
Reliable, High-Quality Calls
Physical landlines are prone to many causes of disruptions – power outage, bad weather, system failure etc. SIP ensures you can receive calls even in these unpredictable scenarios due to its redundancy that automatically re-routes your calls to other employee mobile phones or other locations
Excellent User Experience
The responsibility of setting up and managing SIP calling falls to your provider. Additionally, you can manage everything about your SIP account from a simple interface without the need to master new technologies or train your employees. It gives you a user-friendly way to control the entire communication system of your company.
So, what is SIP calling and SIP trunking? I guess we can now agree that it is a good idea for your organisation. Talk to AdEPT today to learn more about what Sip calling can do for your organisation.
If you are considering investing in a new phone system for your organisation, you must have come across the phrase “hosted phone system”. The terms “hosted” and “cloud” have for a while now attracted the attention of large and small businesses. Tech media as well loves the concept and enjoys analysing its benefits and application. But, most business owners and leaders are still left with the question; what is a hosted phone system and how can it benefit my organisation?
In this article, we will go into a little more detail on what a hosted phone system is, how it works and how it can benefit your organisation.
What is a Hosted Phone System?
A hosted phone system, also referred to as hosted telephony or hosted PBX, is an internet-based phone system that is not based at your organisation’s premises. The servers and applications of the hosted phone system are based at a data centre or in the cloud rather than at your place of business.
Most people confuse a hosted phone system with a VoIP phone system but there are significant differences in these systems. VoIP, Voice over Internet Protocol, is a type of phone that uses an internet connection as opposed to the traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) to deliver phone traffic. As you know, most phones are now IP phones – be it for business or personal use. However, using an IP phone does not mean that your call traffic is being carried over the internet or that you have a hosted phone system. It just means that your phone can use an internet connection to send and receive calls.
In simpler terms, not all IP systems are hosted, but, all currently available hosted or cloud systems are IP.
How Does a Hosted Phone System Work?
In today’s modern hosted system, a hosted phone system typically resides in the cloud. Cloud in this context means servers and switches that are located at a secure data centre off-premises. To connect to this phone system, you need to be a subscriber which comes with a monthly fee. To setup, all you need is to plug in the provided desk-phones and you are set to go. They are designed to connect automatically back to the brains of the system – the servers and switches at the data centre.
Much like every other cloud service or computerised system, it is the “brains” of the system that needs regular maintenance and updates. Of course, the maintenance and updates are done by the hosting company meaning you are saved from the worries of dealing with upkeep, repairs and updates. You can, therefore, focus on your core business and redirect time and resources to increase productivity.
With that said, not all hosted phone systems are the same. There are;
- True cloud-based phone systems
- Hosted phone systems – also called hosted hybrid systems or hybrid.
A true cloud system is one that comes with certain pre-set features targeted at small businesses and provided entirely via the internet. It is designed to allow small businesses to enjoy a selection of Unified Communications features you get from a premise-based enterprise phone system. The key downsides are that it is reliant on the strength of your internet connection and of course the low flexibility offered by the limited features.
A hosted hybrid phone system though similar to a cloud solution, is based at an off-site location or data centre. It essentially is a premise-based system set up to be hosted off-premise and handled by the provider or hosting company. This setup provides more flexibility and the ability to take advantage of full features of having your own hosted system specifically designed for your needs but maintained by the provider or hosting company. On top of that, you can choose the features, applications and integrations that your business needs at any given time.
Benefits of Using a Hosted Phone System
It gives your team the ability to work from anywhere. You also get to choose and use the features applications and integrations that you need.
Probably the main benefit is that there are no upfront equipment costs and no ongoing maintenance and repair costs. You can, therefore, enjoy a great communication system at a fraction of its value. A hosted phone system also absolves you from the cost of downtime and an unreliable phone system which is critically important in some organisations.
Embrace Unified Communication
Your team can take advantage of the many features and applications to achieve quick, easy and efficient internal and external communication.
A hosted phone system is a great idea for every organisation moving into the future. However, as cliché, as it might sound, it all depends on your needs. There are many things to consider and it is worth talking to an expert to determine what makes sense for your business, systems, goals, practices, operations and overall cost of ownership. Contact AdEPT today to kick-start this discussion so you can make an informed decision, or read more on our voice services.
From calls with our loved ones, to making a business agreement, the humble telephone is arguably one area of technology that’s integral to our lives, yet is so easily taken for granted. After all, we’ve all grown up with telephones and as such, they’re part of the furniture.
But in December 2025, telephony in the UK will change forever. Openreach – the infrastructure division of BT – will retire the old copper lines that have been at the heart of the UK’s telephony for decades. It’s a development that appears to be behind the scenes, but it has a very real impact on every household and every business.
How this affects you and your business
There’s obviously a lot of complex technical, practical and political discussion around this major change in the UK’s telephony. Essentially, the switch-off of copper telephone lines will see the withdrawal of two different copper-based telephone systems – PSTN and ISDN – with fibre-optic based internet telephony taking their place.
Broadly speaking, PSTN – or Public Switched Telephone Network – is the system that is used by most residential telephone lines. It’s also used by businesses too: if you have a security or lift alarm that’s linked to a phone line in your business, then you too use PSTN.
ISDN is similarly prevalent. It stands for Integrated Services Digital Network and is generally used to connect lines to a business telephone system, giving you the ability to provide a direct number for every employee or department.
Both PSTN and ISDN run through the old copper telephone network. And as such, when these copper lines are switched off, so too will the PSTN and ISDN services cease.
Why act now?
We appreciate 2025 seems a long way into the future. And particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and its massive impact on our professional and personal lives. But, five years is not a long time in business – and there are other, more immediate, factors to consider.
One of the most pressing considerations relates to Openreach’s decision to stop providing new PSTN and ISDN services at more than 118 UK telephone exchanges. As described in this article from ISP Preview, Openreach is already trialling this in Suffolk and Wiltshire – and is replicating this across the UK.
The article provides a full list of the affected exchanges. If you are served by one of them, do keep in mind that this does not mean your telephone service will cease, but rather, you may not be able to add new PSTN- or ISDN-based features to your existing telephone service, including features such as caller display, call barring, and the 1471 service.
Furthermore, this so-called ‘stop sell’ transition is due to be in place across the UK by September 2023. This means that after that date, nobody – whether consumers or businesses – will be able to buy or add new features to their PSTN or ISDN-based telephone services.
Given the ongoing trials by Openreach – and the September 2023 restriction of new PSTN and ISDN services – we are advising all of our customers to at least have an informed discussion about their telephone system. And while it might seem daunting, it’s actually a very simple process, and may bring some pleasant surprises…
How you can benefit from the copper line switch-off
Practically speaking, there isn’t a lot for you to do to respond to the copper line switch-off. We’ve explained what’s involved below, but before that, it’s worth noting some of the benefits of the change.
Essentially, our telephone lines will all eventually be run over fibre optics – the technology that already brings the internet into so many of our homes and businesses. You may see these kind of internet-based voice services referred to as ‘IP telephony’ – which stands for ‘internet protocol telephony’. And you’ll understand why VoIP – ‘voice-over internet protocol – is another term that’s bandied about in such discussions.
If you’ve ever made a call through an internet-based service, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or WhatsApp, then you’ve already used a form of VoIP. This is particularly relevant to the past few months where many of us have been working remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So whether knowingly or not, millions of us have already been using VoIP services to make and receive calls.
During this time, you may have noticed that these services bring with them a huge range of features that aren’t available through traditional phone lines. For example, applications like Microsoft Teams and Zoom feature video calling, screen sharing and recording. You may already have reaped the benefits of such features.
On a more personal level, smartphone apps like WhatsApp – which now has more than two billion users – have made internet-based phone calls a familiar concept, meaning it now only takes a few swipes to make a call to someone on the other side of the planet, only requiring an internet connection to do so.
If any of these examples ring a bell with you, then you can probably envisage the benefits of internet telephony. For businesses specifically, internet telephony can translate to improved collaboration, enhanced disaster recovery and business continuity options, better information sharing and a greater, richer, variety of call features. Internet-based telephony can also bring cost savings – and for home-based and mobile workforces, it often proves invaluable – which is particularly important in the post-Covid workplace.
How might your business respond to the copper line switch off?
So far, the copper line switch-off has tended to make headlines in industry publications rather than general media. And consequently, many businesses are understandably unaware of the changes ahead. Meanwhile, we’ve already spoken with many of our existing business customers about the switch-off – and in all cases, the first thing we say is ‘don’t panic – just be prepared’.
For those customers, and for you, responding to switch-off is relatively straightforward, involving three main steps.
Typically, the first step is an assessment. We would start by auditing your existing telephony estate, to confirm the lines you have across your business premises and work with you to identify what is connected to each of these lines. This audit would be carried out remotely and we might only need to work with you on site to assist with identifying the location of lines where the information you hold may be missing or out of date.
Once this audit is completed it will be important to review the various lines and understand the commercial implications of changing – and how those commercials will change with time. Don’t assume that you need to change all your lines immediately – your telecoms supplier should be able to discuss your various lines with you and agree the best course of action, both commercially and technically.
Next – the second step – is a simple hardware installation. If you decide to change to internet-based telephony and are happy with our assessment and recommendations, we’ll need to prepare your business for the switch from your copper-based telephony to fibre-based telephony. Practically, this means we’ll need to install a gateway in your business that converts internet voice to the format that will work with your existing handsets and hardware.
And here’s a really important point of note – you do not need to change your hardware to use internet telephony. Of course, if you do want to upgrade your handsets and perhaps even connect your PCs and other devices to your new IP telephone system, then we can help with that. But it isn’t necessary to do this to use IP telephone services: you can continue to use your existing handsets and other connected devices.
Finally – the third step – we’ll need to turn off your old telephony service and switch on your new IP telephony. Typically, this means your phone lines will be unavailable for up to two hours, but we’ve seen the switch happen in as little as 15 minutes. We can do this at a time that minimises disruption, and make the switch for you remotely. However, if you’d prefer to have somebody on site while the switch happens, we can be there throughout the process.
As you can see, as technology upgrades go, switching over to IP telephony is one of the more straightforward processes. And for all our customers, we’re very proud to give a truly consultative service: one that’s focused on finding your business the right solution, rather than cajoling you towards products and services because we have a sales agenda.
Next steps: what now?
If on reading this blog, you feel ready to make the switch – or you’re still not sure – then we can advise you either way. Of course, there is no obligation to make the switch now – and for our existing customers who are not ready to change to IP telephony, we’ve agreed with them to have a chat every three months as a gentle nudge. This might be the right option for you if you’d like to see a return to a little more normality before you make any commitments.
Whatever your circumstances, our voice and telephony experts can give you objective advice. You can call us on 0333 4002490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org – or get in touch with me through LinkedIn, as below.
A final note: why are the copper lines being switched off?
This is an important question to ask for context. And as mentioned above, the rationale for the change is complex, touching on everything from advances in technology to economical reasons.
In broadest terms, as with all technology, the copper lines that serve the UK’s telephone network have a shelf life. And since the origins of these lines can be traced to the Victorian era, it’s fair to say that more than a century later, our copper telephone network is feeling the strain.
At the same time, the cost to maintain this copper network is increasing, as suppliers of parts and hardware are becoming scarce. Likewise, relevant knowhow is dwindling – training of engineers now tends to focus more on fibre-based voice telephony, rather than older systems. It all means that as time passes, running the copper telephony network will become more and more prohibitively expensive – and this expense will be ultimately passed onto customers.
Finally, consider the advent of smartphones. Certainly domestically, we are using our landlines less and less. For example, according to Ofcom, the amount of time we spent making landline calls dropped by a half between 2012 and 2017, while the amount of data we use through our mobile phones has increased tenfold in that period. This pattern has been mirrored around the world, and it suggests we’ve gone past the point of no return with our landlines.
One last point of note relates to industry terminology. You may see the phrase ‘wholesale line rental’ – or WLR – mentioned if you read further about this topic. For what it’s worth, it’s industry lingo and is of far less importance than the points covered in this blog. But if you need any further explanation, please call 0333 4002490 or email email@example.com.
- Peter Fisher is the Head of Network Services within the Comms South division at AdEPT Technology Group and has been in the industry for over 20 years. He has built up a wealth of experience in the various technologies available across both telephony and networking, making him well placed to offer insight and guidance to businesses, large and small. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.