Category: How-To & Guides

Speed Up Your Network in 8 Steps

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Speed Up Your Network in 8 Steps

A faster network is all everyone wants nowadays. So, when our network is lagging or slower than usual, we tend to wonder, why on earth is my network so slow? Having a strong network is vital to creating an online presence, whether running a business or just having a personal blog to share your thoughts and opinions with the world.

The speed of your network can significantly impact your productivity and overall experience. A slow connection can make downloading files, streaming videos, or uploading large files a frustrating experience. There are several steps you can take to speed up your network. These tips will help you get the most out of your connection and improve the overall performance of your network.

 

Reasons for Slow Network

Here are some reasons for slow network speeds:

1. Old Equipment

Your network is possibly old and outdated and may not be updated with the latest technologies. This is especially true if you have an old router or modem that cannot handle the new standards.

2. Insufficient Bandwidth

If you don’t have enough bandwidth on your connection, it will take longer for your computer to send and receive files. Your device may freeze up as it struggles to get through all the data simultaneously.

3. Provider Throttling Your Connection

Several ISPs have started to throttle their customers’ connections after reaching certain limits, making it difficult for people to stream videos or browse at higher speeds. If this is happening on your account, contact your provider and request that they remove any restrictions on your connection speed.

4. Your PC has a Virus

Viruses occasionally infiltrate computers, slowing Internet speed and stealing resources without your knowledge.

5. Too Much Traffic

Suppose too many users are using your broadband connection at once. In that case, it could be causing congestion and affecting other people trying to access their services (such as streaming videos).

6. Incorrect Network Configuration

You can also find yourself with a slower network if you’ve changed settings on your router, firewall, or other devices connected to the router that affect the speed at which data travels between devices on your network.

For example, if you’ve changed how your router handles port forwarding, you may find that certain websites won’t load appropriately after making these changes.

7. Weak Wi-Fi Signals

Your Wi-Fi signal strength is the amount of power sent to your router, measured in decibels (dB). The higher the dB number, the stronger the signal. If you have an old or weak Wi-Fi router, you may not be able to get adequate signal strength on your home network.

You can try increasing the distance between your router and other devices on your home network by installing a new wireless repeater or range extender.

 

What is Network Optimization?

In order to monitor, manage, and enhance network performance, various technologies, tactics, and best practices are referred to together as “Network Optimization.”

It’s not enough for crucial networks to function properly in today’s highly competitive, dynamic corporate world. The world depends more and more on dependable, quick, safe, accessible, 24/7 data transfer as the digital era advances. Unfortunately, obsolete or inadequately sized hardware and subpar software can reduce available bandwidth and increase the delay. Performance issues and system vulnerability might result from outdated or underused network security solutions. Response times might be slowed down, and vital network services can be overloaded by sudden surges or traffic spikes. The list goes on, potentially leading to hundreds of growing problems that could harm the end-user experience.

Network optimization’s main objective is to provide the finest network performance and design at the lowest cost. An optimized network must encourage greater productivity and usefulness and enable effective and efficient data sharing. And to achieve this, network latency, traffic volume, capacity, and traffic direction must all be managed.

 

Speed-Up-Your-Network-in-8-Steps middleHow to Speed Up My Network?

The following tips can help you speed up your network.

Check Your Router

The first thing you should do is check the integrity of your router. If it’s malfunctioning, then it is time for an upgrade. You can check if it has been updated by going to its settings page and studying for an update.

Check Your Web Browser

If you’re having trouble with the speed of your network, there are likely too many open tabs or windows in your browser. Close all unnecessary tabs and windows to reduce the load on the main page and see if that helps.

Use Antivirus Software

Turning on antivirus software is a good idea because it will stop any potentially harmful files from being downloaded onto your computer. The best antivirus programs protect you against malware and spyware (malicious software).

If you’ve already installed an antivirus program, be sure to update it regularly so that it stays protected against new threats.

Clear Your Cache

The cache is a temporary space on your computer where websites store information about what they think might be helpful for you later on — like images or videos that might not be necessary at this point (but may become so later). Clearing out this cache can make pages load faster as well.

Change Your Router’s Channel

This step is essential because different channels have different speeds and can cause congestion on the network. If you have multiple devices connected to the same network, changing the channel will speed up things for all devices on that network.

Change Your Modem’s Settings

Your modem is responsible for choosing which channel to use when sending data out from your network, so if you want to improve performance, try setting it on a different channel than what you’re currently using (for example, if you’re using channel 6, try operating channel 3).

Turn Off Unused Hardware

Another way to speed up your network is by turning off any unused hardware on your computer system. This includes printers, modems, and other devices that may not be in use at the time but are still plugged into the wall or modem port.

It might be tempting to leave these devices plugged in so they will stay connected until needed again. Still, this practice can slow down your computer because it takes more power from the wall outlet or modem port than required and may even cause damage if left plugged in for too long without being in use.

Get a Better Plan

You may only be paying for slow Internet if you’ve checked your speed and compared it to the figure your Internet provider should receive, and the numbers line up. In this situation, you might want to think about choosing an upgrade.

Final Words

There are several reasons why your network may be either running slow or not working properly, and it could be that the problem is on your side of the router. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you don’t have any options to fix it.

With an effective network management solution from Protected Harbor, you can expect a significant increase in productivity and efficiency. You can reduce latency, drop-outs, and other communication issues. You can even improve reliability with a robust and reliable security solution leaving you to feel secure with a best-in-class network security solution. It will also reduce the stress and frustration of network troubleshooting by network engineers and IT managers.

By offering the knowledge necessary to identify complicated issues and provide proactive remedies, Protected Harbor assists businesses in maintaining the functionality of their intranet and Internet applications.

With this advanced technology, your business can have the confidence to expand, explore new markets, and grow its profits without worrying about network speed or outages. You can also view our small business network security checklist here.

Get a free consultation today with one of our network engineers and stop worrying about network issues.

How to Prevent Crashes and Outages?

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How to Prevent Crashes and Outages?

Today’s workforce relies heavily on computers for day-to-day tasks. If a computer crashes, we tend to get more than just a little agitated.

Fear of being unable to work and get our jobs done for the day races through our minds while anger takes its place in the forefront of trying to fix whatever went wrong, throwing all logic out the window.

When a system abruptly ceases to work, it crashes. The scope of a system failure can vary significantly from one that affects all subsystems to one that is just limited to a particular device or just the kernel itself.

System hang-ups are a related occurrence in which the operating system is nominally loaded. Still, the system stops responding to input from any user/device and ceases producing output. Another way to define such a system is as frozen.

This blog will explain how to prevent crashes and outages in 6 easy steps.

 

What is a System Crash and an Outage?

A system crash is a term used to describe a situation in which a computer system fails, usually due to an error or a bug in the software. An outage may also be caused by an application program, system software, driver, hardware malfunction, power outage, or another factor.

“A system freeze,” “system hang,” or “the blue screen of death” are the other terms for a system crash.

An outage is a general term for an unexpected interruption to a service or network. Outages can be planned (for example, during maintenance) or unplanned (a fault occurs). Outages can last for minutes, hours, days, or even weeks.

 

Main Reasons for Crashes and Outages

System outages can be caused by various factors, from hardware failures to software glitches. In many cases, outages are the result of a combination of factors. The following are some of the most common causes of system outages:

  • Hardware failures: A defective component can cause an entire system to fail. Servers, hard drives, and other components can fail, leading to an outage.
  • Software glitches: Software glitches can also cause system outages. A coding error or a bug in the software can disrupt the system’s regular operation.
  • Power outages: A power outage can cause the entire system to fail. The system may be damaged permanently if the power is not restored quickly.
  • Natural disasters: Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes can damage or destroy critical components of the system.

System crashes can be caused by various things, from software defects to hardware failures. Sometimes, the crash may even be caused by something as simple as a power outage or due to a more severe issue, such as a virus or malware infection.

  • Overheating: When a computer’s CPU or graphics card gets too hot, it can cause the system to freeze or crash. This is often the result of inadequate cooling or dust and dirt buildup inside the computer.
  • Bad drivers: If a driver is outdated, corrupt, or incompatible with the operating system, it can cause the system to crash. In some cases, this can even lead to data loss or permanent damage to the computer.

How-to-Prevent-Crashes-and-Outages-middle-imagePreventions Against Crashes and Outages

Nobody wants their computer to crash, but it will happen eventually. Here are a few ways to help prevent them and keep your computer running smoothly.

 

1.    Keep Your Software Up to Date by Installing Updates

One of the best ways to prevent crashes and outages is by updating your software. This means installing updates as soon as they become available. You should also keep your operating system and programs up to date. These updates can fix bugs and security vulnerabilities, so installing them as soon as they are released is essential.

 

2.    Avoid Clicking on Links or Downloading Files from Unknown Sources

It’s essential to be proactive in preventing crashes and outages. One way to do this is to avoid clicking on links or downloading files from unknown sources, as these can often contain malware that can harm your computer or network. Additionally, you should routinely back up your data to recover it if something goes wrong.

 

3. Make Sure You Have Good Antivirus and Anti-Malware Programs

One of the most important things you can do to prevent crashes is to ensure that your antivirus and anti-malware programs are up to date. These programs can help protect your computer from malware infections, which can cause crashes.

 

4.    Close Programs You’re Not Using

One of the best ways to prevent crashes and outages is to close any programs you’re not using. When too many programs are open, your computer’s performance can suffer, leading to crashes and outages.

 

5.    Delete Unwanted Files

Another way to improve your computer’s performance is to regularly delete files you no longer need. This will free up space on your hard drive, allowing your computer to run more efficiently.

 

6.    Try a Trusted Disk Clean-Up to Free Up Some Space

This will help your computer run faster and smoother. You can even defragment your hard drive occasionally to keep it organized and running smoothly.

Remember to install updates for your operating system and software as soon as they are available. Keeping your computer clean and organized will help prevent crashes and outages.

 

Final Words

Don’t forget that you are the one running the computer, not the other way around. Therefore, it is your top priority to maintain the computers for improved performance and to continually check for any disruptions that could result in computer failures.

Try to pay attention to the little warnings your system sends you so you can save not just your computer but also yourself from a mental spiral.

Now that you know what causes crashes and outages, you can stay on top of them by following a few simple rules. Regularly monitoring your system resources, updating your software, keeping your system up to date, and having a good antivirus are the best ways to keep your computer running smoothly and keep both crashes and outages at bay.

Taking care of your data can help you to protect it from crashes and outages. You can get expert help from Protected Harbor to manage and maintain your systems and data. Protected Harbor provides an added layer of security that helps to ensure the uninterrupted flow of business-critical data. Additionally, our expert team monitors and detects any threats or updates to your system in order to ensure a smooth, efficient operation that saves it from crashing.

We help you to avoid the most common causes of data loss and system outages. These include network issues due to malicious activity, viruses, and system overload; natural disasters; power outages; and accidental deletion or corruption of data. You’re less likely to experience a system outage or lose critical data if you have a backup, plus 99.99% uptime is our guarantee.

 

Sign up now and get a free consultation to learn more about how Protected Harbor can keep your company’s data secure and your business up and running.

 

Finding and Keeping Good Employees‍

Finding and Keeping Good Employees‍

Keeping your employees happy, engaged, and productive is challenging for every business. After all, happy employees are more productive and have higher retention rates. But it’s not easy to keep them that way. Without the proper management strategies, employee dissatisfaction can quickly become unbearable in working conditions. Working effectively with limited resources is a struggle for most businesses. That being said, there are plenty of ways to optimize your team’s performance while remaining fiscally responsible — and it all starts with your hiring strategy.

Welcome to another video in the series Uptime with Richard Luna. Every business has come across this question of how to find and retain the best talent. According to Richard Luna, here are some ways to find and keep good employees.

 

Hiring Strategies: Finding Good Employees

The first step to finding good employees is to define what makes for a good employee. Start by looking at the jobs you need to fill. What are the most important qualifications for those positions? Does your company culture prioritize certain traits over others? Once you’ve identified your company’s core values and hiring needs, you can create a job description. A job description can help you streamline your hiring process by making it easier to evaluate candidates who respond to your job listings. How? Job descriptions allow you to pinpoint each position’s essential duties, making sure each applicant is qualified for the job. This will save you a lot of time and energy down the line when reviewing resumes or conducting interviews and will help you avoid making a bad hire.

Their Work Matters

To keep your team members happy and engaged, you must ensure they feel their work matters. What does this mean? It means you have to give them work that feels significant and that they believe is valuable to the company. You must show them that their work is a core part of the business’s mission. This doesn’t mean that you have to change your business model or core objectives. It simply means that you have to make sure your team members see their work as something significant and that you take the time to explain why their work is so crucial.FINDING-Keeping-Good-Employees middle

 

Company-Wide Communication

Communication is crucial in any business relationship, but it’s essential between managers and employees. Managers must communicate expectations clearly and effectively, and employees must feel comfortable sharing their concerns and suggestions. If you want to keep your employees happy and engaged, you have to open lines of communication both within and outside each department. You must ensure your team members feel comfortable raising issues and speaking up when they need assistance.

 

Culture Instilling Practices

To keep your employees happy, you must ensure that your company’s culture is positive. This means you must be intentional about creating a positive company culture. To do this, you have to ask yourself a few questions: What are the core values of my company? What are the main traits that each of my employees possesses? What are our main goals as a company? It would help if you kept these things in mind as you make hiring decisions, promote employees, and make everyday decisions as a manager. You also have to take the time to celebrate your wins and show gratitude to your team members. You have to make sure that your team members feel like they have a voice and are appreciated as individuals and part of a team.

 

Conclusion

Finding and keeping good employees isn’t easy, but it’s crucial for any business. Luckily, you can do many things to make hiring easier. Start by creating a job description that identifies each essential duty, and use it when reviewing resumes. Communicate company expectations clearly, and make sure your team members feel comfortable speaking up when they have questions or concerns. And finally, make sure your company’s culture is a positive one.

At Protected Harbor, we help you drive performance and culture with awareness-based training. From diversity and inclusion to collaboration, we have the training for you.

Contact us today to explore workforce and collaboration solutions and several awareness training programs.

5 Emergency Hard Drive Recovery Solutions

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5 Emergency Hard Drive Recovery Solutions

 

We’ve all used them, and we’ve all had problems with them. Of course, we’re referring to hard drives, which are just as crucial in our personal and professional life as the computers on which they run.

The most significant drawback of hard drives (both HDDs and SSDs) is their low reliability. According to Backblaze, cloud storage and data backup firm, the Annualized Hard Drive Failure Rate (AFR) for 2022 is expected to be approximately 1.45%, which indicates that more than one out of every 100 hard drives will fail over a year.

Hard drive failure can strike at any time and without warning. When it does, it can be devastating, mainly if the drive contains essential data that has not been backed up. Fortunately, several emergency hard drive recovery solutions can be used to salvage data from a failing drive. If you’re worried that your current cloud storage provider won’t be around if your data is lost, or you are concerned that your data may be at risk due to a natural disaster or another unforeseen event, then you’ve come to the right place.

 

What is a Hard Drive Recovery Solution?

A hard drive recovery solution is a process of retrieving data from a damaged or inaccessible hard drive. Data loss has many potential causes, including physical damage, logical damage, virus attacks, and software corruption. In most cases, data can be recovered using specialized software and techniques. Among the different recovery solutions available, the best one for you will depend on the damage to your hard drive and the amount of data you need to recover.

 

Emergency Hard Drive Recovery Solutions

Emergency hard drives recovery solutions are crucial when recovering data from a failed or damaged hard drive. Here are five of the most effective methods:

 

1. Disk Imaging

Hard drive failure can be devastating, especially if critical data is lost. To avoid further damage and preserve as much data as possible, disk imaging should be performed. Disk imaging involves creating an exact copy of the damaged hard drive. This copy can then be used for recovery purposes. Hard drive recovery solutions can be used to recover data from the image, or the image can be used to create a new hard drive. Either way, disk imaging is an essential step in hard drive recovery.

 

2. Data Carving

Data carving may be a successful solution even when other methods have failed. Data carving involves scanning the hard drive for known file types and extracting them. This method can be successful because it does not rely on the file system to locate the files. Instead, it looks for specific patterns that are known to be associated with certain file types. As a result, data carving can effectively recover lost files from a damaged hard drive. Hard drive recovery solutions can be complex, but data carving is a simple and effective method that anyone can use.

 

Emergency-Hard-Drive-Recovery-Solutions middle3. Firmware Updates

In some cases, updating the firmware on a hard drive can enable it to be recognized by the computer and allow data to be recovered. The manufacturer usually updates the firmware, but sometimes it can be done by the user. Firmware updates can be found on the manufacturer’s website or on a CD that comes with the hard drive.

Instructions on updating the firmware can also be found on the manufacturer’s website. In most cases, it is best to leave the firmware update to be done by the manufacturer. However, if the user feels comfortable doing it, they can follow the instructions with the update. Once the firmware has been updated, it is essential to run a test to ensure that the data can be recovered from the hard drive. If not, there may be something wrong with the hard drive, and a professional should be consulted.

 

4. Consult with a Specialist

While many do-it-yourself data recovery solutions are available, these are often ineffective and can even cause further damage to your hard drive. A data recovery specialist like Protected Harbor will have the tools and knowledge necessary to safely and effectively recover your lost data. In addition, they will be able to advise you on the best way to prevent data loss in the future. As such, consulting with a professional data recovery specialist is the best way to ensure that your lost data is recovered and that you are prepared for future data loss.

 

5. Reformatting

You may be considering reformatting as a last resort option. This process will erase all data on the drive, but it can sometimes enable the drive to be used again. Before reformatting, you should always back up any important files you don’t want to lose. Once you’ve backed up your data, reformatting is a relatively simple process. However, it’s important to note that reformatting will not fix any underlying problems with the hard drive.

If the drive fails due to physical damage, reformatting will not repair the damage. In some cases, reformatting can even make physical damage worse. As a result, reformatting should only be attempted if all other options have failed and you’re willing to accept the risk of losing all data on the hard drive.

 

Final Words

In the event of a hard drive crash, there are several solutions to consider to try and recover your data. While some solutions may be more successful, it is essential to try various methods to increase your chances of recovering as much data as possible. If you have experienced a hard drive failure, don’t panic – start by trying one or more of these emergency hard drive recovery solutions. In most cases, data can be recovered using specialized software and techniques.

However, in some cases, data may be permanently lost due to severe physical damage or corrupt file system structures. If you have lost essential data from your hard drive, it is crucial to seek professional help from reputable providers like Protected Harbor as soon as possible. Their qualified data recovery solutions will be able to assess the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of action. In many cases, data can be successfully recovered even if the hard drive is severely damaged. A data backup and disaster recovery plan are also essential to prevent such situations from happening again. Our experts also suggest a regular restore functionality check.

If you are a business with a critical need for data continuity and considering buying a stand-alone device for data backup in an emergency, there is a better option. You can get an enterprise-grade external hard drive or a cloud solution from Protected Harbor and set it up as a data recovery vault. This way, you’ll have it ready to go in case of emergency, and you won’t have to worry about the possibility of data loss.

Want to know how our isolated backup and disaster recovery is one of the best in the industry? Contact our experts who are available to assist you 24×7, and you get a free IT audit as well.

10 File Sharing Tips from The Professionals

10 file sharing tips from the professionals

 

10 File Sharing Tips from The Professionals

When the topic of file sharing is mentioned, some people revert to the days of when programs like Napster were widely used to share music files illegally across the internet in the 90s. However, file sharing is now a crucial component for many companies and other use cases.

Key Takeaways

  • 39% of company data stored within the cloud are used for file sharing.
  • Over 800 web domains, including partners and vendors, share files with the average company.
  • A file sharing service receives about 60% of files used as backup copies that are never shared with anybody else.
  • Only internal users in a business receive about 70% of shared files.

Types of File Sharing

You must choose the method and protocol you want to employ before you can begin sharing files. Your choice should depend on the types of data you are moving and the recipients of those files.

Let’s examine the types of file-sharing options and which one may be better suited for you.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

FTP was among the earliest techniques for transferring data over networks to be developed, and because of its dependability and effectiveness, it is still widely used today. A tool with a user interface or a command prompt window can be used to execute FTP operations. Simply specifying the source file you wish to relocate and the destination for where it should be stored is all you need.

Peer to Peer (P2P)

A P2P file transmission does away with the requirement for a central server to hold your data. Clients, instead, link up with a distributed network of peers and carry out the file transfers across their network connections. P2P could one day be utilized to build an impregnable TOR (The Onion Router. TOR is widely used to provide more secure online connections.

Cloud Sharing Services

One user uploads their data to a central base using a cloud file sharing service, and others can then download those contents to their own devices. Although users can choose the types of permission levels to apply to the files, all data is hosted by a third-party source.

10 File Sharing Tips smallEmail Providers

Some people are unaware that email can be a system for transferring files. You start a data transmission over the public internet every time you attach a document to an outgoing message.

Removable Storage

If there isn’t a network-based solution that will work for you, you may always use a hard disk to handle file transfers. This implies that you copy data to either an external hard drive or a USB flash drive that you then insert into the target computer.

10 File Sharing Tips For Businesses

You may either already be utilizing cloud-based file sharing or you may have been thinking about doing so. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your cloud storage file-sharing capabilities.

1. Set File Permissions:

You must ensure that only the right people can access your files on a file-sharing platform. You should restrict access to particular files or a whole folder.

2. Verify File Activity:

After sharing your files, you might want to view a summary of user activity, comments, and revisions for each file. When you right-click or hover over a file in your cloud storage root view, you can frequently get either a detailed pane or hovercard view of your file activity. With the help of this view, you can quickly find out who has viewed or possibly altered your file.

3. Use Sharing Links With Password Protection:

Virus screening upon download, ransomware protection, password-protected sharing links, at-rest, in-transit encryption, and two-factor authentication are some of the robust security features that the leading cloud storage providers offer. Use sharing URLs that are password and time protected.

4. Check the Shared Files Directory:

If you already use cloud storage, it most likely has a shared folder feature. In this single folder, you’ll find every file you’ve ever shared and every file that has ever been shared with you.

5. Maintain a Standard for File Naming:

Everyone you share files with will benefit from your use of uniform naming rules and short yet descriptive file names. When naming a file, please consider the search terms other people would probably use to find it.

6. Classify the Security Level of Your Files:

You must be aware of the dangers that can arise upon handling important files poorly and especially those with whom you share these files with. It is worthwhile to categorize your sensitive data and provide each of those files or folders with the proper level of security. When required, strictly regulate who has access to certain files.

7. Download the App:

Install the cloud drive app on your phone. There, you will be able to access, share, and modify all of your files when you’re on the move.

8. Create Offline Access for Important Folders and Files:

Usually, you can just right-click on a file or folder and choose “offline access,” which in turn means your device will keep a local copy of it. You can access and work on your files even if there is no Wi-Fi around you.

9. Designate Folders for Routine Backups

For your most crucial folders, including you Desktop, Documents, and Pictures, enable automatic synchronization. You won’t ever lose your work if you keep all of your files within these folders, even if you misplace your device. All of your work will be stored in the cloud and readily available to you via the web or an app.

Final Words

Nowadays, collaboration is the name of the game. People must collaborate in order to drive revenue generation and because of this, decision-makers must have an access control strategy in place. Not all members of your workforce require access to every piece of information. If you give employees full authority over your file systems, things could go wrong, and data might end up in the wrong places.

For everyone to operate effectively and securely, make sure you specify permissions on your file-sharing system.

Although simplicity and access control will go a long way toward securing your file-sharing platform, you might require other solutions for it to be completely safe. Your disks will be far more secure if you encrypt them. Using a virtual private network to send and receive files will prevent them from being intercepted by businesses that use remote workers.

Protected Harbor’s file-sharing solution allows employees to share and collaborate on documents and files from any location. It will enable secure file sharing across your organization, keeping your data private and safe while reducing the risk of information leaks. Features like MFA, Encryption, and Identity & Access Management allow you to set up secure and granular file sharing permissions for each file.

Contact Protected Harbor’s IT professionals right away if you’re seeking for strategies to enhance your organizational file sharing.

The Hidden Costs of Microsoft 365

Hidden Costs of Microsoft 365

The Hidden Costs of MICROSOFT 365

What You Need To Know

In this always-advancing era of technology, every company should have a strategic plan for moving their applications and data to a cloud. Microsoft 365 is an excellent choice for companies that want the security and control of on-premises software with the flexibility and cost-efficiency of a cloud service.

If you’re considering Microsoft 365 for your company, read this post to find out if this is the right move for your business.

 

What Exactly is MICROSOFT 365?

Microsoft 365 is a subscription service-oriented for enterprises and businesses, combining many of Microsoft’s current products under one license.  It is effectively a package of services that contains all of the desktop apps and services offered by Office 365. So if you already use Microsoft apps like Exchange, SharePoint, or Skype for Business, or if you use any third-party apps that integrate with Office 365, Microsoft 365 makes it easy to combine everything into one cohesive experience. Microsoft 365 also simplifies setting up workspaces for any new employees, making the process near seamless for your IT team.

 

Cloud Services Have Hidden Costs – Know This Before You Move

The biggest thing to remember about cloud services like Microsoft 365 is that the initial costs are low, but there are hidden fees.

The upfront costs are minimal because you are essentially renting the software—not buying it. An example of hidden fees would be, needing a high-speed internet connection to ensure smooth, efficient collaboration with your co-worker plus needing a robust backup and disaster recovery plan to prevent data loss in the event of a hack or natural disaster.

Cloud services like Microsoft 365 do not come with these necessary essentials at the base price.

 

How to Determine if Moving to MICROSOFT 365 is Right for Your Company

Hidden-Costs-of-Windows-365 smallTo determine if Microsoft 365 suits your company, start by understanding your business requirements and goals. What applications do you need to run? What are your security and compliance concerns? What are the current and future costs of on-premises software versus the cost of Microsoft 365?

Regarding security and compliance, Microsoft 365 brings the full power of Windows to the cloud. This means you have the same robust security and compliance features as on-premises software and end-to-end encryption’s added security. There are also low upfront costs when you make the switch to Microsoft 365.

You’ll likely save on IT support, hardware, and software licensing.

 

No Support, No Backup

Microsoft 365 offers no assistance with issues, problems, or concerns.

If a problem comes up that is too difficult for you or your IT team to solve, you are on your own and will need to find a third-party solution. Help is only available to customers who have signed an Enterprise Agreement or enrolled in a Volume Licensing Program. It is important to note that there are no phone support options available for Microsoft 365.

The support that comes with microsoft 365 may not even be enough for your needs, either. If you have specific needs or requirements for your network, you may want to hire an outside IT company to provide these support services.

Microsoft 365 doesn’t give the feature of a backup either, so to keep your business safe in the event of a disaster or outage, you will need to have a plan in place that ensures your critical data is stored in a separate location.

There are several clouds and on-site options available that offer backup solutions for Microsoft 365.

 

No Monitoring, No Help

Moving your company’s apps to Microsoft 365 gives you complete control and governance over your data. However, if you’re experiencing performance issues or have questions about how to best use your applications, you may not get the help you need. With most cloud services; monitoring and support are minimal. With that said, some cloud providers will offer managed services to address this problem.

You may want to investigate whether your specific provider offers managed services or if they can recommend a third-party provider that can help you get the most out of your applications.

 

Final Words: Is MICROSOFT 365 Worth It?

Microsoft 365 is a great way to give your business the best of Microsoft’s software. It’s packed with the best of Microsoft Office, offers all Microsoft features for your PC, plus it gives you access to a standard email client. It’s an excellent choice for small businesses and individuals who want to standardize on Windows software.

Free Microsoft 365 security may be appropriate in some situations, but it also has the potential to cause issues and end up costing more than you anticipated. Similarly, a sophisticated security solution can offer superior security and compliance defences in today’s complex cyber security environment.

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What is Site Reliability Engineering? A Definitive Guide

What is site reliability engineering a definitive guide

 

What is Site Reliability Engineering? A Definitive Guide

As the world is rapidly moving towards digital services and more organizations are adopting cloud-based services, site reliability engineering practices have become essential. The reason is that IT experts and engineering teams operating software have changed drastically. These practices let organizations meet the service level agreements for performance, availability, business KPIs, and user experience.

In this article, we’ll learn about site reliability engineering, key practices, benefits, roles, and responsibilities of a site reliability engineer, and tools used for SRE. Let’s get started with the basics of site reliability engineering.

What is Site Reliability Engineering (SRE)?

Site reliability engineering or SRE is applying software engineering principles to infrastructure processes and operations to help companies create highly scalable and reliable software systems. As a discipline, site reliability engineering focuses on optimizing software systems’ reliability across categories, such as performance, availability, capacity, latency efficiency, and incident response. And those who perform these operations are known as site reliability engineers.

Google was the first who task its software engineers with making large-scale sites more efficient, scalable, and reliable by implementing automated solutions. SRE is a way to bridge gaps between IT operations and developers, even in a DevOps culture. The primary purpose of SRE is to develop automated solutions and software systems for operational aspects.

What does a site reliability engineer do?

A site reliability engineer generally has a background in software development and business analytics and substantial operations experience. They monitor systems in production and analyze performance to detect areas that need improvement. This observation helps them calculate potential outages cost and plan for contingency.

Software reliability engineers split their time between software or system development and operations. Their on-call responsibilities include updating tools, software, and documentation to prepare IT teams for future incidents. Moreover, they build and deploy services to optimize the workflow for the IT and support departments.

Key Practices in Site Reliability Engineering

Site Reliability Engineering small

Here are the key practices to implement software reliability engineering in your organization.

  • Availability_ The SRE team is responsible for maintaining system and service availability once they are in production, initiated by service-level agreements (SLAs), service-level objectives (SLOs), and service-level indicators (SLIs) for the underlying services.
  • Performance_ After stabilizing availability, the SRE team can focus on optimizing service performance. They assist development teams, fix bugs, and identify performance issues across the system.
  • Monitoring_ SRE teams have to monitor operations and implement appropriate solutions based on how respective services measure performance and uptime.
  • Incident response_ Site reliability engineering is critical for incident response. The SRE team should be available to respond, review, and explain incidents occurring within the system. It includes auditing processes, production workflows, alert criteria, and other factors.
  • Preparation_ The integration of SREs into IT and development allows developers to learn more about the production environment and help IT and DevOps teams get involved earlier in the development lifecycle.

Roles and Responsibilities of an SRE

Here are the leading roles and responsibilities of a software reliability engineer.

1. Monitoring

Software reliable engineers ensure that underlying infrastructure is running smoothly and that tools and systems are working as desired. Moreover, they monitor critical services and applications to reduce downtime and ensure availability.

2. Automation

Software reliability engineers build automation tools to manage IT operations. Therefore, rather than performing these tasks manually, they aim to automate them. These functions include

  • Incident response
  • Continuous integration
  • Continuous delivery
  • Monitoring
  • Alerts

3.Cross-team collaboration

Software reliable engineers work across different teams, particularly development and operations. By developing a reliable system and offering support to these teams, they give their teams more time to focus on building new features and get these out faster to consumers.

4. Issue resolution

Software reliable engineers work closely with the development team, especially when problems arise. They collaborate with the developers to help with troubleshooting and offer consultation when alerts are issued. Following the incident resolution, SRE will revisit the situation and determine the cause to ensure it does not happen again.

Benefits of Site Reliability Engineering

Site reliability engineering aims to enhance high-scale systems’ reliability through automation. The main goal of SRE is to fill the gap between the infrastructure and development teams. Incorporating aspects of software engineering into infrastructure and operation functions has several benefits, the most notable being more service resiliency and constant uptime. Here are some other benefits of SRE.

  • Filling the gap between infrastructure and development teams
  • Automate processes
  • Planning and maintaining operational tasks
  • Continuously analyzing and monitoring application performance
  • Managing emergency and on-call support
  • Contribute to the overall product roadmap
  • Ensure that software has proper logging and diagnostics

Common Tools used by SREs

Here are some of the most common tools used by software reliability engineers.

1. DataDog

Datadog is a monitoring and analytics tool used by system reliability engineers and DevOps teams. It can determine performance metrics and event monitoring for cloud and infrastructure services. You can see across systems, services, and applications, get complete visibility into advanced applications, analyze and explore log data in context, and proactively monitor your user experience. Moreover, Datadog lets you visualize traffic flow in cloud-native environments and get alerted on critical issues.

2. AppD

AppDynamics puts your IT teams at the center of business success. It’s a tool that provides a common view across server and database infrastructure, providing real-time actionable insights. SREs can track numerous metrics for their SLI. However, its core APM product gives valuable metrics. AppD includes many additional tools delivering deep insights, such as End User Monitoring and Browser Synthetic Monitoring. Site reliability engineers can measure SLI, SLA, SLO, and error budgeting to tie them to their business objectives. It lets them prioritize the most critical business aspects and take action in real-time.

3. DynaTrace

Dynatrace software intelligence platform empowers DevOps teams and site reliability engineers to detect issues before they occur by providing intelligent and automatic observability for the most complex distributed cloud environment. Moreover, continuous automation delivers precise root-cause answers to site reliability problems at all software development lifecycle (SDLC) steps. Dynatrace helps software reliability engineers improve availability, reliability, and latency and mitigate the impact of service outages and downtimes.

Conclusion

Site reliability engineering requires strong skills to succeed. There should be a sense of trust between the teams, and being responsible for SRE is more about taking ownership of production operations. It’s a specific approach focusing on IT operations, and if you want to adopt an SRE culture in your organization, go ahead and train your IT team by following the best practices. However, it’s a myth that you can achieve 100 percent perfection, but you can make things better using suitable tools and best practices based on your organization’s requirements.

With a team of experienced engineers from Protected Harbor, you can rest assured that your site is in good hands. We provide a range of site reliability services including monitoring, capacity planning, incident management, and security. Protected Harbor’s engineers are experts in Ruby on Rails, Python, Node.js, and other popular open-source technologies. They have experience with many enterprise-level technologies, including Apache, Nginx, Kafka, etc. We are giving free IT audits to the companies and site reliability consultation. Contact us today!