The Top Advantages of Cloud Hosting over Traditional Hosting

Everyone is moving to the cloud. What does it mean to move to the cloud? How does cloud hosting work and is it better than traditional hosting?

In today’s modern business environment, every visionary business owner or leader is looking to cut costs and maximize efficiency. As technology continues to evolve, organisations and institutions are looking for new and innovative ways to manage their web hosting requirements. Cloud hosting, currently a popular buzzword, has become an effective and revolutionary method. Everyone is moving to the cloud. What does it mean to move to the cloud? How does cloud hosting work and is it better than traditional hosting? We will try and address these questions and help you make an informed decision.

What is Cloud Hosting?

In simpler terms, the cloud is an electronic structure that can store data across multiple computers. This data is then served up through networks such as the internet. In effect, these server farms act as one large storage, processor and space with your website data spread out across a cluster of multiple servers. This means that if one server goes down, no information or capacity is lost. This also means that all your data, applications, email or software are accessible anywhere on the go.

What are the Advantages of Cloud Hosting over Traditional Hosting?

Some of the benefits of cloud hosting are;

Increased Server Uptime

Your website’s performance is directly correlated to the server uptime. The system of interconnected servers ensures there is no single point of failure. If any server goes down or cannot take your request, another server from the cluster takes over by default keeping everything running smoothly. With  traditional hosting, however, any downtime or failure on your single server could result in extended downtime for your applications and website.

Cost- Efficiency

With cloud hosting, you do not have to worry about capital expenditure on infrastructure – providers handle that for you. Additionally, you only need to pay for the services and resources that you are actually using. In a traditional hosting model, however, you need to invest in infrastructure and also pay a fixed amount for services and resources regardless of whether you use them.

Increased Security

In the traditional hosting model, resources and CPU capacity on a single server are shared among multiple websites. Additionally, you need a private dedicated server to secure sensitive information which is costly.

Cloud hosting, on the other hand, comes with an established infrastructure with multiple layer security; data, network, application and physical security. Cloud service providers also provide secure and encrypted solutions, backup recovery, firewalls, identity management and data isolation and storage segregation.

Scalability of Resources

Cloud hosting makes it incredibly easy to instantly allocate resources in accordance with the emerging needs of a website or application. You can add or reduce resources like storage, bandwidth, RAM etc. from the available resources in the cluster of servers.

A traditional hosting setup has rigid specifications and limited resources. You cannot instantaneously ramp up resources if the need arises.

Independence of Location

Traditional hosting servers are tied to a fixed location. For this reason, you need to choose a server that is fairly close to you so as not to compromise your websites loading speed.

Cloud hosting servers, on the other hand, are available and accessible via the internet and with any PC or mobile device, from any location around the world.

Increased Group Collaboration

Through cloud hosting, employees can access and work on the same documents or applications from any location around the world. This increases flexibility in work practices and productivity.

This feature is not feasible in traditional hosting.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

The cloud hosting multi-server setup allows for data to be automatically backed up. This provides for a fast and easy disaster recovery feature.

In the single-server setup of traditional hosting, disaster recovery is not feasible as there is only one server that hosts your data and applications. For disaster recovery, you need to make special arrangements for backup.

Latest Technology

Cloud hosting takes advantage of the latest technologies. You can automatically integrate and customise your software applications based on your business’ needs and preferences. This includes software versions, server upgrades and processing power.

Traditional hosting does not allow you to automatically customise or upgrade.

Environmentally Friendly

  • Cloud hosting reduces an organisations carbon footprint by eliminating the need to maintain in-house servers.
  • Cloud servers are utilised to full capacity which saves energy and the environment.

If you are considering moving to the cloud, it is important to remember that cloud hosting is the newer technology and the trends are showing that it is the technology of the future. Therefore, sooner or later, irregardless of the many benefits that cloud hosting offers over traditional hosting, you will need to move to the cloud. With that said, the ability to scale your resources and only pay for what you require, whilst increasing collaboration and efficiency, are enough reasons to move to the cloud as soon as possible. Contact us today to switch to cloud hosting or speak to our experts.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

What is HSCN? All you need to know on the Health & Social Care Network for NHS

To restore and improve collaboration and efficiency, NHS Digital, in 2015 embarked on a plan to modernise NHS systems by migrating from N3 to the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).

After several years of planning and a few setbacks along the way, the destination is finally in view. In August 2020, N3 will officially be switched off and all health and care organisations must have migrated to HSCN. For over 15 years, N3 has provided a fast and secure network to connect all NHS locations and millions of employees across the UK. However, as new and helpful technologies continue to pop up, N3 has struggled to incorporate them making it not fit for purpose in the long run. To restore and improve collaboration and efficiency, NHS Digital, in 2015 embarked on a plan to modernise NHS systems by migrating from N3 to the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).

As the deadline comes ever closer for the full migration to HSCN, a number of organisations are still unaware of the full impact of these changes and how to stand to benefit.

So, what is HSCN?

In short, HSCN is a new data network for health and care organisations designed to replace N3. It is designed to enable greater and more fluid regional collaboration, increase reliability and provide flexibility for health and social care organisations. The network fundamentally transforms the sector by creating a competitive marketplace which gives customers the freedom of choice, as opposed to the single supplier contracts that have existed in the past. Health and social care providers can now choose their network connectivity suppliers from a competitive marketplace and in collaboration with other health and social care organisations. Ultimately, this is intended to level off service in the sector and result in far more cost-efficiency.

How Does HSCN Work?

HSCN is an interoperable network of networks provided by multiple suppliers who comply with open and common standards and acts as a single network provided by multiple suppliers. This allows health and social care providers to share information and access services regardless of their network supplier or location.

Objectives of HSCN

HSCN is a critical step forward in the push to realising the vision of making digital health and care services widely available over the Internet. By providing both private and public connectivity over one connection, HSCN hopes to;

  • Help health and social care organisations move to Internet and cloud-based architectures
  • Provide highly improved access to critical digital services relied upon by health and care but which are not currently available over the Internet.
  • Help health and social care organisations protect themselves against network-related cybersecurity threats.

HSCN is designed to support the delivery of key health and social care initiatives such as NHS England Five Year Forward View, National Information Board ‘Paperless 2020’, Sustainability and Transformation Plans and Local Digital Maps. In this regard it will help in the following ways;

  • Establish network arrangements that support integration and transformation of health and care organisations, flexible work patterns and regional collaboration.
  • Enable reliable, safe, efficient and flexible sharing of information among health and care services
  • Create a competitive marketplace for network services. In turn, this will improve customer’s freedom of choice, deliver better value for money and enable organisations to easily and efficiently access faster, better and cheaper network connectivity services.
  • Improve collaboration between health and social care services by encouraging sharing and reusing existing services and infrastructure as well as reducing duplication.

Benefits of Joining HSCN

  • Improved ability to send and receive secure data between health and social care services as well as better service and information sharing.
  • Cheaper network connectivity and services than N3
  • Standardised networks
  • Simpler network Information Governance requirements
  • Better access to NHS Digital’s national applications which makes it easier to share care plans, confirm NHS numbers and access Summary Care Records.
  • Facilitate working together of staff across health and social care organisations.

How is HSCN Different from N3?

N3 was primarily designed as a single supplier service for NHS providers to access national applications. On the other hand, HSCN is designed to enable multiple suppliers to provide connectivity services in an integrated and rapidly evolving health and social care sector.

HSCN features comprehensive security monitoring and analysis functionality. This provides the capability to detect irregular traffic volumes almost in real-time and for prompt resolution. However, even though these features improve network security, NHS Digital emphasises that HSCN should not be considered a secure network. For this reason, all health and social care organisations connected to it must perform their own risk assessment and employ their own security controls to protect the data for they are responsible.

If you have been putting off migrating to HSCN, this is the right time to finally make the leap. However, as with any new technology, it is important to identify your initial and long-term requirements for the transformation. As you take the step to a more connected NHS, we can hold your hand and guide you as we offer dedicated connectivity to NHS organisations from a Stage 2 Compliant provider. Contact us today to learn more.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

9 Top Cyber Security Risks for Businesses

A host of new and evolving cyber security threats is keeping businesses and the information security industry on high alert. A survey conducted by the World Economic Forum shows that cyber attacks are the number one concern for executives in Europe and other developed nations. Today, cyber terrorists don’t just hack emails.

They can take down entire websites, steal sensitive information or corrupt entire databases with just a click of a button. From healthcare institutions to government facilities and online stores, no business industry is exempted from this challenge.

Now more than ever, it is important to be proactive in understanding the cyber security risks we face and also learn how to protect our businesses – large or small.

Here are the top cyber security risks for business today.

Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks use deception to exploit social interactions to gain access to valuable data. The criminals behind these attacks manipulate employees or associates into disclosing sensitive information or bypassing security measures. Social engineering attacks are on the rise and unfortunately, even the best cyber security systems cannot reliably stop them. The best defence is to educate your employees on the importance of following laid out protocols and to always be on the lookout for out of the ordinary conversations.

Third-Party Exposure

Many retailers use third parties for services such as payment processing. Unfortunately, using a third party vendor does not absolve you from the responsibility of a data breach on the vendor. Even if an attack originates from a third party, you are still liable and are legally required to notify regulators and your clients not to mention that the fines and penalties are very steep.

Patch Management

This is how many attacks start – outdated software. If you are not up to date with software patches, your company is severely vulnerable to any number of information security breaches. Attackers are actively looking for software vulnerabilities they can attack.

Cloud Vulnerabilities

Cloud services are now an essential tool for businesses of all sizes. However, this reliance on cloud services exposes businesses to a wide range of cyber-attacks including denial of service attacks (DoS) and account hijacking. No technology is completely safe from vulnerabilities and so a holistic approach is important in protecting organisations – including taking up insurance as a part of a cyber-risk management plan.

Ransomware

These attacks infect your network and hold your computer systems and data hostage until a ransom is paid. On top of the ransom, the business loses productivity and its brand image is severely damaged. Attacks like these have put 60% of companies out of business within six months of the attack. Mistaking Compliance for Protection

Meeting the adequate legal data compliance standards is not a substitute for robust cyber protection. It is not enough to meet the legal standards. Take proactive steps towards protecting your data as pertains to your operations. Legal guidelines are not tailored to specific operations and thereby are not sufficient.

Mobile Security Threats

Although mobile technology is a valuable technology, it can also expose you to potential cyber security breaches. Many organisations are now facing such breaches with most of them coming from malicious Wi-Fi and malware.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies

Cloud services have allowed businesses to cut down on capital investments and to adopt solutions like the bring your own device trend. While this has been shown to increase convenience, flexibility, productivity and even morale, it also leaves businesses exposed to cyber security breaches. This is because personal devices can be easier to hack than company devices thereby giving attackers an opening to compromise data and breach networks. It is therefore important for you to review these policies and ensure that all your employees are adequately trained to minimise this risk.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT uses the internet to connect devices from all over the world. This allows for a network of devices that can send, receive and store data which gives individuals and businesses a lot of convenience. However, hackers can exploit this internet connectivity to steal data.

Outdated Hardware

Not all cyber security threats result from software. As hardware becomes obsolete it cannot support newer and more secure security measures which puts company data at risk. Therefore, it is important to monitor your devices and replace or upgrade devices that are out of date.

Additional Measures You can take to Protect Your Business from Cyber Security Threats

  • Identify risks related to cyber security
  • Establish cyber security governance
  • Develop oversight procedures, policies and processes
  • Identify and mitigate risks associated with remote access and funds transfer
  • Define and address risks associated with third parties and vendors
  • Have the ability to detect unauthorised activity

Cyber security threats are not slowing down. In any case, they are only becoming more complex and devastating. It is therefore imperative that business have to take active steps in protecting their data and networks through holistic measures anchored by a cyber-risk management plan. At AdEPT, we help businesses deploy a wide range of security measures including firewalls, end point security, BYOD policies and even cloud security policies and to make cyber security measures as intuitive as possible. We also deploy behavioural analytics and industrial grade encryption to protect you but we strive to make sure that all processes are and intuitive. Contact us today to learn more about our cyber security services.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

What is Digital Transformation for Business?

Every keynote address, panel discussion, study or article related to how business can increase their efficiency or remain competitive and relevant in today’s world reiterates the same idea – digital transformation. However, it’s not clear to many business owners and leaders what digital transformation really means. Is it just another fuzzy tech word meaning moving to the cloud? How do you go about digital transformation? Do you need to design new job roles or hire a consulting agency? Is it really worth it? These are some of the many questions you might be having about digital transformation. This post attempts to answer them:

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation looks different in every organisation. Therefore, it is hard to pinpoint a clear definition that applies to all cases. However, in general terms, digital transformation can be defined as the holistic integration of digital technology into all aspects of a business with the aim of achieving fundamental changes in the manner in which businesses operate and deliver value to their customers. But, it is much more than just technology. It is also a cultural change that requires businesses to actively and persistently challenge the status quo, experiment often and to embrace the chance of failure. Understandably this is a new way of thinking that requires businesses to walk away from long-standing business processes and to embrace new practices that are still being defined.

There is a plethora of definitions and articles on digital transformation all taking a slightly different view. It is no surprise therefore that most business leaders and owners don’t know how to feel about digital transformation. After all it is just a hot mess. Or is it?

Why Does Digital Transformation Matter?

Businesses embark on digital transformation for different reasons. However, the most prevalent reason is survival. Moving forward, businesses that will survive and thrive are those that act fast, adapt quickly or chart new paths. Speed and agility are now business imperatives for organisations of all sizes.

What are the Benefits of Digital Transformation to a Business?

Although digital transformation is risky and expensive, the resulting benefits outweigh the challenges. Some of these benefits include:

Delivers a Better Customer Experience

Technological advancements have broadened the ways in which businesses interact with their customers. This allows businesses to provide a better and consistent customer experience. Speed is an important factor in creating satisfactory customer experience and digital transformation gives business the ability to serve its customers quickly.

Improves the Skill Set of Employees

The adoption of new technologies will require employees to update their skills to meet the changing environment. As the employee’s skills and knowledge increase, your company will achieve better communication between departments while also becoming more agile. On top of that, the quality of work will improve.

Promotes a Digital Culture

Having a digital culture and environment enhances productivity and allows employees to quickly and easily adapt to any technological change within the company. It helps them explore their creative side and promotes innovations through a process of continual learning.

Improves Data Collection and Analysis

With all the available data analytics tools and the ability to collect extensive data online, businesses can now easily, collect, monitor and analyse customers data to aid informed decision making. Businesses can now study and predict the online habits of their customers and further enhances their business strategies.

Enables the Digitisation of Products and Services

Customers want to have things done quickly and the company that has quick processes will naturally have more companies. Digital transformation allows businesses to convert tangible goods into digital goods thereby meeting the needs of their customers in a shorter time.

Increases Profitability

When successfully implemented, digital transformation positively affects all areas of business. By improving customer experience and shortening delivery times, businesses earn the trust and loyalty of customers which increases revenue. This general improvements also opens new markets and sales channels leading to more profitability.

Maintaining a Competitive Edge

Businesses should always aspire to have an advantage over their competitors. This is the only way to remain in business. Digital transformation presents a firm foundation from which new ideas and opportunities can be integrated into the business. This not only makes the business competitive in the present, but also highly adaptable and agile in the future.

What Next?

Digital transformation is your ticket to the future growth and success of your business. While digital transformation might be a challenge for most companies in the short term, the long-term benefits outweigh all challenges. If you are a small or medium business owner, digital transformation may just be the revolutionary strategy you need to break into the big league.

Contact AdEPT today to learn more about how digital transformation can help your business grow into the future. We have a dedicated team of IT professionals waiting to guide you step by step towards digital transformation. 

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

Benefits of Using a Hosted Desktop Solution for Your Business

PCs, laptops, tablets and other computing devices have universally helped improve productivity in the office. However, these computers, software licensing and peripheral hardware all carry substantial costs. When you factor in maintenance and support, the costs accrue significantly. As businesses continue to look for solutions to help them be more efficient, productive and competitive, hosted desktop service is emerging as one of the leading solutions.

Hosted desktop service is an innovative and efficient way of thinking about computing hardware and software. Hosted desktop service, often referred to as Desktop as a Service (DaaS), is a shift from a personal computer being defined as a physical piece of hardware, to a model where any web browser, on any size of screen, becomes an instant gateway to your software applications, PowerPoint presentations, documents, spreadsheets, photos etc. with just an internet connection, your employees can access a cloud hosted virtual desktop environment from any device and thereby work from any location.

Using hosted desktop services can be the change your business needs to move to the next level. Small and medium businesses stand to gain the most from the benefits of using a hosted desktop service. Some of these benefits include;

Mobility – Work from Any Location

Hosted desktops allow business owners, managers and employees to log onto their own desktops from any location and using any device. Through the desktop environment, users can access their entire suite of business software applications including accounting packages, CRM database, files and data as well as emails. With any internet-enabled device, your employees do not have to wait to reach the office to work on urgent tasks. Additionally, you can engage professionals from around the world remotely on a temporary or contractual basis.

Cost Savings

Analysts, including Gartner, show that it costs an average of £1500-£2000 per person annually to supply licences and to manage and support a fixed desktop. A hosted desktop service can reduce this cost to less than £1000 annually thereby saving 30-50% of your annual IT budget. The provider provides the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and is responsible for security, storage, managing updates and data backup and related services. With no need for costly capital expenditure and a low fixed monthly cost, a hosted desktop service frees up your resources including time and money to focus on the core functions of your business.

Scalability

As businesses grow, their needs change. Additionally, businesses experience demand fluctuations throughout the year. Hosted desktops give organisations flexibility and make it easier to grow and scale their IT capacity up or down as the circumstances require. You can easily and quickly pay for more storage, applications or capacity when you need it. In essence, you only pay for what you use unlike in the traditional system where the majority of your IT capacity goes unutilised for extended periods throughout the year.

Increase in Productivity

Cloud computing has been shown to improve productivity by up to 20%. Hosted desktops facilitate seamless remote working from any location in the world which dramatically increases productivity. Additionally, it allows businesses to offer flexible working arrangements and schedules to their staff thereby keeping them happy which in turn increases their job satisfaction and productivity. In the long run, if your employees are happy, the bottom line will reflect.

Near 100% Reliability

Downtime is not only expensive but also very detrimental to an organisations brand image. With most hosted desktop provider promising 99.9% uptime, your business can always be open. Providers also use corporate-grade firewalls to secure customers data and offer 24/7 support and monitoring. If a server fails, the load is automatically taken up by another server to keep your applications live at all time.

Enhanced Security

Digital security is an increasingly crucial concern. After all, a single cyber-attack can result in more than £2 million to an average business in damages. In hosted desktops, data is stored in a central system which allows you to have more control on access and security. You can easily set rules, policies and restrictions to make sure that your data and applications are only accessed by the right people.

A Greener Business

Cloud solutions have been shown to reduce carbon emissions and energy use by more than 90% for smaller deployments and more than 30% in large companies. This is due to the fact that businesses using hosted desktops use fewer machines, have better equipment efficiency and do not have to maintain climate control rooms for in house servers or extra servers to handle peak data loads.

Are You Ready to Switch to a Hosted Desktop Solution?

These benefits show that it is not only beneficial to move to a hosted desktop solution but also critical for future growth and success. With the ability to leverage a part of this technology or make a holistic switch, you can tailor the solution to your needs and objectives.

Switching to a virtual environment is a huge change, both for your digital infrastructure and your employees. However, adept is here to help. With our team of highly experienced and knowledgeable IT professionals, we will help you evaluate your needs, objectives and available options then help you to tailor a hosted desktop solution within your budget. Contact us today to start the conversation on how we can help you move to a hosted desktop solution or any other managed IT solution.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

Best Cloud Solutions Compared: AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud Platforms

Cloud computing, over the last couple of years, has moved from being an emerging technology to being an essential tool for all businesses. The debate has now shifted from whether or not to adopt cloud computing to which is the best cloud solution. At the heart of this debate are three major players; AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. While these three providers seem like they provide almost the same services at relatively similar prices ranges, choosing among them is not as straight forward.

So, how do you decide which provider is best suited for your business? This blog on Azure vs AWS vs Google Cloud highlights and elaborates the key differentiating factors between AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. We will cover the following key area regarding AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.

  • Features
  • Pricing
  • Advantages

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Features

The amazon cloud platform provides almost every feature in cloud computing and it is no surprise that is currently the leading provider. Their services allow you to gain quick access to computing power, data storage and other functionalities. They also offer developer tools, mobile services, management tools, and application services. Their computing and database infrastructure combined with their application services provide critical components for all sizes of organisations.

Pricing

AWS has played a crucial role in adjusting the pricing of cloud computing. Their prices are very competitive and continue to decrease as pricing structures change. AWS offers free tiers of services for individuals and start-ups. It is a convenient way for you to try out the services before you commit. On top of that, users can purchase servers by the second rather than by the hour. Depending on the services you intend to use, you can find an affordable AWS prices structure that is lower than the cost of all that infrastructure investment.

Here are their pricing structures

Advantages of AWS

By purchasing AWS cloud services, you benefit from 15 years of enterprise infrastructure developed and perfected by some of the leading IT professionals in the world. AWS has some of the best talents in the market giving you plenty of expertise and experience to work with.

Microsoft Azure

Features

Similar to AWS, Azure provides a full variety of cloud services. The platform allows you to deploy and manage virtual machines at scale. You can also compute and process at whatever capacity you need within just minutes. Additionally, it can handle large scale parallel batch computing if your custom software needs to run it which is a unique feature to Azure and AWS over Google Cloud. The wide-ranging Azure Features integrate into your existing processes and systems which offers you more computing power and capacity.

Pricing

It is important to keep in mind that the pricing of Azure products depends on the types of products your organisation needs. The hourly cost of a server can range from $0.099 to $0.1449 which might not be consistent since this is just one parameter. However, in general, the prices are comparable to AWS when you consider the price per GB of RAM. It is also important to remember that these providers are competitors and so the prices of one affects the other and vice versa.

Here is the pricing structure of Azure

Advantages of Microsoft Azure

In addition to the customisable pricing and a full set of features, the Azure platform is one of the fastest cloud solutions in the market. It particularly excels in operation scalability and speed of deployment. Azure is the undisputed leader in cloud computing solutions with regards to speed. On top of that, it integrates seamlessly with Office 365 and is part of the Microsoft eco-system of services. 

Google Cloud Platform

Features

The Google Cloud Platform offers a myriad of services to different size organisations. Its App Engine product is particularly popular with app development teams. This is a fully managed app development solution that is uniquely agile. On top of that Google cloud also allows you to perform high-level computing, networking, storage and databases. Depending on the products your organisation needs these are all great products even though their selection is limited in comparison to other competitors. With that said, you can almost certainly find all the products you need.

Pricing

Where Google Cloud fails in feature selection, it makes up for in cost efficiency. The platform employs a pay as you go pricing structure – billing to the per second of usage. To set it apart from competition, Google Cloud offers discounts for long-term usage starting at the end of the first month. In contrast, other provider may take over a year to provide such discounts. If your biggest concern is cost, Google Cloud is an enticing option.

Here is their pricing structure

Advantages

As Google Cloud continues to establish itself in the industry, it offers another level of security. They are no stranger to enterprise-level security meaning you can rely on their solutions. They have multiple layers of authentication, data encryption, third party validations and over 500 employees dedicated to security protection. For security, Google Cloud might be an excellent solution.

Which Cloud Services Provider is Right for Your Business? Azure vs AWS vs Google Cloud

When comparing Azure vs AWS vs Google Cloud, there are many features to evaluate and considerations to make. However, rather than trying to pick a provider, start by understanding your needs and objectives. You can then select services either from a single provider or a combination of two or three of these providers. The key thing is to find the right mix of solutions that fit your needs and objectives.

Still, have questions about cloud services providers? Talk to us today to understand how cloud services can best serve your organisation.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

VoIP vs SIP Phone Systems: The Key Differences to Know

In recent years, Internet telephony technology has become more reliable and accessible than ever before, allowing businesses of all sizes to enjoy a rich and affordable communication experience.

Both VoIP and SIP provide the foundations for IP technology with ample opportunities and benefits for users to increase their efficiency & productivity whilst saving money. However, how do you tell which technology between VoIP and SIP best works for your business? Below are some of the key aspects of each technology, their similarities, differences and the various ways your business can benefit from each technology.

What is VoIP?

VoIP, short for Voice over Internet Protocol, refers to any technology that allows voice signals to travel over a network which in this case is the Internet. It can be configured using various hardware and software combinations but provided voice messages travel over the Internet, it is VoIP. VoIP technology is rapidly expanding and developing and popular platforms and apps such as Skype are common tools in most small and medium-sized businesses.

What is SIP?

SIP, short for Session Initiation Protocol, is a powerful system of digital rules that allows multiple devices to communicate with each other including sending and receiving multimedia messages. Put simply, SIP is one of the many protocols you can use to implement VoIP. This system is used to set up and terminate multimedia sessions including video and voice. It is this intertwined relationship between the two systems that gets most people confused about VoIP and SIP.

The Relationship between VoIP and SIP

To make it easier to understand, you can think of the relationship between these two technologies as that of websites and HTML. HTML is one of the languages you can use to build a website. Though common, you can also use other languages such as Java. Similarly, VoIP is any method one can use to send voice messages over the internet including enterprise phone services, FaceTime and Skype. SIP, on the other hand, is one of the many protocols being used today although you can use other protocols as well.

Case in point, most enterprise-level phone systems use SIP but Skype does not rely on SIP.

Key Differences between VoIP and SIP

In certain aspects, these two communication protocols differ from each other although with some overlap. Below are some of these differences.

Device

To make a call, VoIP handsets or phones need to be connected to a computer that is turned on and which has an internet connection. On the other hand, SIP phones operate like a regular phone and do not need to be connected to a computer before making a call. However, it does require a modem to send and receive multimedia messages.

Data Handling

VoIP only allows for voice messages. SIP, on the other hand, can handle all forms of media including voice messages. Additionally, SIP systems are processed by individual systems in each user’s system, allowing it to handle more data and traffic than VoIP, which uses one central network. However, this single network system also gives VoIP a stronger security defence.

Scope

VoIP is a fundamental technology that uses other protocols such as SIP to allow it to work as it does. On the other hand, SIP is a stand-alone technology that can be used by itself under the VoIP umbrella.

VoIP Vs. SIP – Which is The Best Fit for Your Business?

If you are wondering which technology between VoIP and SIP will serve your business better, you are on the right path moving to the future. However, it is important to note that VoIP vs. SIP is not a direct comparison. Therefore, you should be considering whether voice-only VoIP phone services meet all the needs of your business now and in the near future, or you would be in a better position with a SIP implementation with Unified Communications tools.

As a continuation of this deliberation, UCaaS vs. VoIP is a better comparison than SIP vs. VoIP. If you are already using collaboration technologies and apps which are a part of Unified Communications, then SIP adoption would be the next logical step. However, if you just getting started with the idea of using internet-based phone systems, and you are limited by your budget, VoIP would be a good starting point. With that said, it is also important to remember than SIP enhances the capabilities of VoIP beyond voice messaging including the ability to exchange files, video and other forms of data. As such moving directly to SIP and Unified Communications can offer productivity gains and cost savings even though you will need a bigger initial budget.

Business phone systems can be complex to understand and tell apart – the numerous terminologies and overlapping roles do not help either. This is why we recommend that you talk to a dedicated Voice Services provider offering multiple services including Unified Communications, SIP Connectivity, VoIP, Avaya, Nebula Voice and others. At AdEPT, we are a full-service managed IT service provider offering these and other services. Our team is ready and capable to help you decide which is the best system for you, then assist you with all phases of planning, design, installation, training and then offer proactive maintenance and support for your business communications. Talk to us today to learn more.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud: Differences Between Azure On-Premise vs. Cloud Solutions

As Cloud computing continues to permeate every aspect of our daily life and business, more businesses now demand dynamic IT solutions that take advantage of the associated benefits of improved agility and lowered costs.

However, the need to reorganise and re-evaluate unique solutions and architecture to meet the changing business goals and needs can be very complex. Managing hundreds or even thousands of different applications written by different people, in different languages and at different times requires meticulous planning, oversight and insight. This makes the critical decision of which environment between public cloud and private cloud to deploy your applications and services all the more important.

What is Private Cloud?

Also referred to as an enterprise or internal cloud, a private cloud is a cloud solution dedicated for use by only one organisation and delivered through a secure private network. The data centre resources can be located on-premise or hosted off-site by a third-party vendor. This gives you more control and visibility into the infrastructure thereby allowing you to customise the private cloud to meet your unique business and security needs.

Advantages of Private Cloud

  • Dedicated secure environments that can only be accessed by one organisation
  • Ability to run unique configurations, measures, protocols and also customise security, based on workload requirements thereby complying with strict regulations
  • High SLA efficiency and performance
  • High efficiency and scalability to meet fluctuating demands without compromising on performance or security
  • Ability to adapt the infrastructure based on changing organisational IT and business needs.

Limitations of Private Cloud

  • Can be significantly more expensive than the public cloud solution with a high total cost of ownership.
  • If the cloud data centre is limited to on-premise computing resources, the infrastructure may not be sufficiently scalable to meet unpredictable demands
  • Considering the high-security measures in place, mobile users may have limited access to the private cloud.

When to Use the Private Cloud

The private cloud is ideal in the following scenarios;

  • Technology companies requiring strong security and control of the underlying infrastructure and their IT workloads
  • Highly regulated government agencies and industries
  • Large enterprises requiring advanced data centre technologies to operate cost-effectively and efficiently.
  • Big organisations that can afford to invest in availability and high-performance technologies.

What is Public Cloud?

The public cloud refers to a cloud computing model in which IT services are hosted and maintained by an external provider then shred between multiple tenants across the network. Examples include Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS. The computing functionality may range from common services such as apps, email and storage to enterprise-grade infrastructure environments or OS platforms for software testing and development. The stand-out feature of the public cloud solution is its high scalability and elasticity for delivering low-cost subscription-based services.

Advantages of Public Cloud

  • High flexibility and scalability to meet fluctuating workload demands
  • Flexible pricing options
  • Reduced complexity and the need to have in house IT expertise. The vendor manages the infrastructure.
  • No investment required to deploy or maintain the IT infrastructure
  • Flexible pricing allows organisations to only pay for the services they need and to follow lean growth strategies.

Limitations of Public Cloud

  • For large scale use in midsize and large enterprises, the total cost of ownership can rise exponentially.
  • Low control and visibility into the infrastructure may not be enough to comply with all regulations.
  • May not be ideal for availability and security-sensitive mission-critical IT applications

When to Use the Public Cloud

The public cloud is ideal for situations with these needs;

  • Apps and services necessary to perform business and IT operations
  • Software development and test environments
  • Predictable computing needs such as communication services for a defined number of users
  • Additional resource requirements to address changing resource demands

Which Type of Cloud Should you Choose?

The choice between public and private cloud solutions depends on many different factors, limitations and use cases. In practice, it is not an either/or question as different businesses have different needs and considerations.

Azure On-Premise vs. Cloud

If you are considering migrating your applications into Microsoft Azure cloud platform, this is a case in point. Both solutions have unique strengths and downsides depending on your business needs and the services you are setting up. For this reason, the decision can be incredibly complex. Therefore, taking the time to fully understand the costs associated with both cloud and on-premise Azure solutions and formulating a holistic cloud strategy will help you arrive at the right solution uniquely suitable for your organization into the future.

At AdEPT, we have helped countless organisations of all sizes and from different industries make a seamless transition into cloud services. We have developed a full Azure RDS environment at a fixed monthly fee to cover almost all your computing needs. We deploy the minimum resources required at any time and allow you to scale as your needs change. If you are having a hard time figuring the right approach for your organisation, talk to us today – we are here for you.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

The Benefits of Cloud Managed Services for Business

Today, businesses run on data – lots of it. However, managing all this information can be very complicated particularly when you factor in system glitches and security threats. Such pitfalls, however minor, can lead to huge revenue losses, lost productivity and damaged reputation.

While some IT teams choose to take on the management responsibilities of their cloud solution infrastructure internally, this might not be the ideal approach for most organisations. If you want to get the best possible services, you might want to consider a managed service provider to help manage your cloud solution.

What are Cloud Managed Services?

Put simply, this is the practice of outsourcing IT management for your cloud-based services as well as technical support to support the automation and enhancement of your business operations. In-house IT departments may not have the technical skills or resources to effectively maintain and monitor a cloud environment. This necessitates hiring a third-party cloud managed services provider.

Managed Service Providers’ (MSPs’) services may include but are not limited to; computing, cloud storage, cloud security, applications stacks, vendors, network operations and more. Some MSPs can also handle performance testing, monitoring and reporting, backup and recovery and more. Some of the benefits of  using  a cloud managed services provider include:

Cost Savings

Maintaining full time IT staff to manage your cloud services is very expensive and not feasible to most SMBs. Outsourcing your cloud managed services allows you to control and reduce your network maintenance costs. This will save you thousands of dollars yearly without compromising on security or productivity.

Predictable, Recurring Costs

The flexibility of cloud managed services allows you to decide how much you are willing to pay for the services you need and have a guarantee that you will have a consistent bill throughout. You also have the ability to know during which months you need additional support and resources, then budget for them beforehand.

Future Proofed Technology

While migrating to a cloud environment is a positive step in future-proofing your business, it is not enough. You will need to consistently monitor and integrate new services and technology in your business. Unlike an in-house IT team that needs training or new personnel to implement new technologies, cloud MSPs have a larger pool of talent already prepared to manage the latest technology.

Custom and Integrated Service

Most cloud MSPs offer flexible payment plans that allow businesses to pursue a lean growth strategy and to prioritise investments. Some providers even offer a converged solution that includes network monitoring, security protection or the setup of a new service area leading to more cost savings.

Robust Infrastructure

The best cloud MSPs such as AdEPT offer a robust network infrastructure that offers comprehensive and holistic support including round the clock monitoring. Depending on the service contract, the cloud managed service provider can also integrate existing business policies and practices to align your network management with your business goals.

Centralised Applications and Network Services

By managing all servers and applications in a central data centre, cloud MSPs guarantee increased network availability which also raises productivity among your employees. Remote network users can access data and virtual services within the same network. It also allows you to build storage and backup into a centralised network.

Coverage of all Service Levels

As your business grows, you will need different levels of service. The same applies if your business fluctuates throughout the year. Cloud MSPs offer better and more flexible control over service levels, maintenance and performance. When drafting your service agreement, you can factor in all these needs thereby allowing you to have sufficient service continuity throughout the year and as you grow. Additionally, as your relationship with a particular provider grows, the better they understand your needs leading to better issue resolution.

Disaster Recovery

A data breach or cyber-attack can decimate your entire business operation. A cloud MSP can leverage a disaster recovery solution that will create redundancies in your cloud environment. They can also back up your cloud services including operating systems, applications, file systems, customer data and existing system configurations. This will enable recovery or continuation of essential IT requirements after a disaster. It will also significantly reduce costly downtime.

Vendor Interfacing

In most service agreements, your cloud MSP becomes a buffer between you and third-party vendors. If any vendor-specific issues arise, your provider takes care of it by contacting the vendors. This relieves a lot of the pressure involved in managing your cloud services.

As a result of these and other benefits, the cloud managed services market is on the rise. Reliable cloud managed services help thousands of all size businesses improve productivity, save money and scale resources. At AdEPT, we are committed to helping you leverage custom cloud solutions to automate critical processes and control costs. We set up, manage, monitor and secure your cloud environments so you can focus on growing your business. If you are looking for a trusted cloud managed service provider, look no further than AdEPT. Contact us today to learn more about our services.  

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager

What is the Importance of a Business Continuity Plan?

Failing to prepare is by consequence, preparing to fail. This phrase is particularly true in business continuity planning. Preparedness is the key to mitigating risks, having an effective plan to cope and recover after a setback and avoiding disasters when possible. As more businesses continue to rely on complex supply chains and network technology, businesses are more susceptible to existing and emerging exposures that are more frequent and severe than ever before. To survive, businesses need an effective and dynamic business continuity plan.

What is a Business Continuity Plan?

A business continuity plan is a set of pre-determined, pre-drafted protocols stipulating how an organization will cope with and overcome a disruption of normal business operations as a result of an emergency. The plan contains a serialised checklist of actions to take in the face of human and natural disasters including;

  • Technological outages
  • Severe weather incidents
  • Cybersecurity breach events
  • On-premise accidents
  • Supply chain disruptions
  • Or any other significant operational, system or process failure affecting core business functions.

What is the Importance of a Business Continuity Plan?

Every business continuity plan has one overriding onus – to keep the organisation running as productively and smoothly as possible in the face of an emergency. The plan achieves this objective in the following ways;

Organisational Assurance

While disasters can cause huge direct damage, more severe indirect damage can occur if your customers, partners, employees and third-party vendors lose confidence in your ability to handle the emergency. A business continuity plan allows you to have a clear and deliberate plan on how to comfort and communicate transparently and swiftly with all your stakeholders on what the issue is, what is affected, the actions being undertaken and the timeline before you can resume normal operation.

Clear and transparent communication bolsters the stakeholders’ confidence in your ability to handle the emergency and to protect their business interests. It also helps limit stress and confusion among your employees with an understanding of what is expected of them and who to turn to in case of any concerns or questions.

Quality Control

Although loss of revenue can be detrimental to any business, a damaged brand reputation can obliterate any chances of recovery after a disaster. For this reason, the quality of your products and services must remain consistent even in the midst of an emergency. Customer dissatisfaction can be a greater and more damaging threat than the initial disaster.

A business continuity plan includes redundancies and alternative solutions that allow businesses to patch any affected business operation with minimal drop in functionality. This includes having replacement buildings, technology, infrastructure, personnel and more. This ensures that the quality of your products and services will remain consistent regardless of any emergency and that your customer base and brand are well protected.

Risk Management

Panic can turn an otherwise minor emergency into an existential business crisis. For this reason, one of the overriding objectives of any business continuity plan is to prevent incidents from degenerating into major emergencies. An effective BCP thereby protects your business from a cacophony of costly damage control measures that can be easily prevented by properly and swiftly managing every incident as it happens.

Decreased Downtimes

On average, a simple technology outage such as a downed network, costs small and medium businesses £5 by the minute. While this may range across different businesses, over a period of time, these figures can be downright eye-watering and most SMBs cannot cope with a couple of such outages.

A business continuity plan helps a business place emphasis on product and service continuity so that you can keep your revenue and cash flow going even during disruptions. The quicker normal business operations can be restored, the shorter your downtimes and revenue losses. It also helps prevent downtimes before they happen.

Threat Analysis

One of the key components of any business continuity planning is threat analysis. This gives you a clear idea of all the parts of your business operation and the potential risks each of these parts faces. These exposures can be wide-ranging. Therefore, a business continuity plan helps you account for all risk factors on a small and large scale. While this might seem overwhelming, there are dedicated experts who offer comprehensive business continuity planning services thereby taking the stress out of this complex process. On top of that, their expertise and experience in this field guarantees that they will give you a business continuity plan that protects your business from almost all risk scenarios and even offer continued support.

Developing a business continuity plan gives you the assurance and peace of mind knowing that your business can handle almost all types of emergencies with minimal disruption or damage. At AdEPT, our best in class business continuity services deliver a fully managed business continuity solution that you can rely on. We can meet almost all business continuity requirements so talk to us today about your needs and let us show you what we can do for your business.

Written by Sami Malik

Marketing Campaigns Manager