2012 has been a year of great achievement for Virtela. One case in point: we are closing the year with 40 industry awards recognizing our continuous innovation in the cloud, our unique approach towards managed services, our partnership-based model and our exceptional customer support. These achievements instill a sense of great pride in our company, but more importantly, they motivate and drive us to continue to innovate and achieve the highest standards possible to help our customers and partners succeed.
Today’s companies are constantly reminded that if they aren’t thinking on a international scale, they aren’t dreaming big enough. The Internet Age has brought customers and partners from all over the map into the fray, and the maturation and integration of global markets has inspired more firms to set up foreign outposts. But as these organizations attempt to extend their reach into new regions, many are watching their legacy infrastructure strain under the pressure.
Controlling costs, delivering strong performance and ensuring uptime for primary and backup networks was never an easy job description for enterprise IT teams, but the task has grown taller as operations expand and fragment. Instead of serving one location, they are monitoring traffic between multiple satellite offices (and potentially multiple continents). Instead of dealing exclusively with hardwired desktops, they are balancing VPNs and all kinds of associated arrangements to support remote and mobile workers.
When IT security professionals are asked to describe a “typical” day at the office, there’s usually a wry smile followed by a few moments of hesitation. Considering the wide variety of threats they may face or fires they might fight, it can be hard to come up with a simple summary that an outsider would understand.
Nevertheless, some days are stranger than others. And when things start getting “weird” on the company network, administrators are all but assured of a long night ahead. To mitigate potential damage and increase their odds of an early evening, smart IT pros know it’s all about effective security information and event management (SIEM).
Last month, Wired.com published an article about the various and seemingly unusual ways to kill a company’s data center. By this point, we’ve all read about the unfortunate consequences that hurricanes and wildfires can have on a business’ network. Silly employee mistakes are equally notable and just as widely highlighted.
One data center issue that we may not think about, though, that Wired was actually wise to point out is squirrels. That’s right, squirrels. Wired was so bold to call squirrels the “data center’s enemy No. 1.” That might be a little extreme, but they can certainly be a nuisance.
IT nonprofit CompTIA recently released the results of its Third Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study, which – as one might expect at this point – shows the use of cloud computing among enterprises is still on the up and up.
According to the study, more than 80 percent of businesses are currently using the cloud in some capacity, marking the third straight year this figure has grown. Even more impressive, the study also found that 85 percent of businesses surveyed have positive feelings about the cloud, up from 72 percent in 2011.
It’s not a bad time to be on the business side of the cloud. In fact, if you keep up with the latest analyst reports and projections, it’s actually a good time to be in the cloud. Gartner’s most recent IT spending report, released earlier this month, predicts cloud spending to nearly double within the next five years, jumping from $109 billion in 2012 to a cool $207 billion in 2016.
Not too shabby.
Of course, it’s not a bad time to be on the customer side of the cloud either. Massive spending growth for the cloud indicates someone must be doing something right.
However, there is still confusion surrounding the cloud. For all its benefits, there are plenty of myths, misconceptions and general misunderstandings about the technology that may hinder businesses from using the cloud to its utmost potential – or in some cases, may lead businesses to develop too high of expectations.
There was a time not too long ago when every conversation about the benefits of the cloud was accompanied by a “but,” followed by something to the tune “what about security?” Businesses were worried that storing their data and running their applications in the cloud presented a security problem, as they would be required to sacrifice control to the hands of some third-party vendor they barely knew.
And their worries were not without merit. It’s true; trusting your data to some other company can – and in some cases should – be a daunting move. After all, in this era of multi-million-dollar data breaches, cybercriminal attacks and the rise of so-called hacktivists, it seems wise to keep your cards close to the vest. You didn’t build the cloud provider’s data center. You don’t know who has access to it on a daily basis. Why on earth would you store your company’s most valuable assets there?
The IT world as a whole has made much to-do about the cloud in recent year, and rightfully so. The cloud, while not without its faults, is a game-changer in the enterprise. Rapid cost savings are often cited as a top benefit, as businesses can remove the need for certain on-premise hardware and software, as well as the need to maintain these solutions.
The benefits don’t stop there either. Cloud users are also afforded the benefit of tapping into the expertise and personnel of the vendors, taking advantage of resources that may not otherwise be available to the company. To top it off, companies can gain access to high-end solutions that some businesses, particularly smaller ones, would not be able to afford.
Apple was certainly the talk of the town at this month’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company introduced a grocery list of new updates. Between expected announcements for Mac OS X and iOS, as well as a few surprises along the way, Apple demonstrated once again why it’s one of the biggest names in the consumer tech industry.
But then, maybe that description does Apple a disservice. After all, can we really say Apple is still a company geared toward the consumer market? You’re not likely to see a great deal of Mac desktops in the workplace. But the iPhone? In this age of consumerization and bring your own device, seeing one of your co-workers pull out the smartphone isn’t likely to come as much of a surprise anymore.
The amount of data that a company now generates on a day-to-day basis is growing at a breakneck pace. According to a 2010 study by IDC and EMC, the so-called digital universe doubles in size every two years. By 2020, the world will generate roughly 50 times the amount of data that it did in 2011. That equals about 90 zettabytes, which is nothing to shake a stick at.
At the same time, much of this information is coming from unstructured sources, like video and social media. Such data holds valuable potential, but it is only effective if a company knows how to handle it properly.