From March 2020 the operating world of SMB’s has
changed in a fundamental way. They can now be closed- down by governments at a
moment’s notice, staff asked to work from home and their customers/markets can
practically collapse in a matter of days.

This new reality brings challenges to business owners/
executives such as:

  • To let go staff or wait for government
    assistance to finally arrive
  • How to manage staff working from home
    and monitor their decisions
  • Manage security of systems with
    hackers keen to exploit any vulnerabilities that arise from the ongoing chaos
    and instability.
  • Do you build business back up only to
    be told to close or stay at home again by government?

Due to this uncertainty most SMB’s will adopt a
cautious and conservative approach going forward which will include:

  • Not wanting to take on full time
  • Looking to reduce costs from all
  • Hibernating certain IT systems until
    operating conditions improve

Next Generation Service and Data Protection

Typically, being cheaper to run than employing full time staff Next Generation Providers may be a logical choice for the new reality of uncertainty. Many employers also see them as an important component of their Risk Mitigation Strategies. A third-party provider continues operation in the event staff are sick or unable to work from the office.

Read on to understand how Next Generation Service and Data Protection Providers work and the advantages they can offer.

Day to Day Running (Legacy vs Next Generation)

Legacy Systems – with
Legacy systems you have a number of factors to consider – first of all Physical
security such as Biometric access and Staff checks – this is all more of a
challenge now with the current Pandemic where staff don’t want to travel or go
in to a data center.

There are also concerns about protecting your IT
systems whether on premises or data center – connectivity, power continuity and
cooling plus protection from fires and flood.

Planning also must include what to do in event of
hardware failure or when devices come to end of life – it is becoming harder to
replace certain equipment. Negotiations also need to take place with vendors
for new hardware.  

Next Generation Cloud – the
focus shifts from hardware to designing / architecting and automating
infrastructure. Solutions are software and API based in order to improve the
customer experience.  

Hardware vs Cloud Solutions

Legacy Systems revolve
around the data center or premises and logistical challenges. Hardware supply
chains can impact decisions / SLA’s for example sudden growth of clients can be
difficult to service immediately if there are long lead times to order and
implement hardware. Likewise, a sudden fall in business does not mean that Hardware
costs can be reduced as often they are fixed over a certain period.

Next Generation Cloudis
software focused and if it is architected correctly has a big benefit of
elasticity. For example, as Cloud is pay as you go it is typically a lower
upfront cost than Legacy. Systems can be hibernated, and costs reduced if sales
fall and likewise high growth can be accommodated by resizing systems in a
matter of hours / days.    

Service Level Agreements

Legacy system SLA’s revolve around the device
(hardware) while Cloud is Solution / Application based.

Cloud provider SLA’s are 99.999% (the “five nines”)
with service credits being offered to clients in the unlikely event they are
not achieved.

Next generation Service and Data Protection Providers can offer additional Stack
Support and 24/7 support if your Application or Systems are mission critical with
ticket support systems that offer SLA’s depending on the severity of the

Change Management and Agility

Legacy systems are usually based on complex manual
procedures while Next generation Service and Data Protection Providers focus on DevOps automation. An Agile
methodology is applied to the creation and maintenance of Infrastructure which
is often deployed as Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC). Benefits of this approach
are rapid response ability to change use requests, configuration tracking and

Enhanced System Monitoring

System Monitoring in a Legacy system can be limited in
nature. We have often seen performance issues with applications which tend to
resolve once moved to a more flexible infrastructure that can be tweaked to
optimize performance parameters within a matter of hours.

Here are the types of monitoring you can expect from
Next Generation Service and Data Protection Providers:

  • Server resources such as CPU, Memory,
  • Database resources including I/O
  • Firewall and Network logs
  • Bandwidth in and out metrics
  • Global service uptime checks
  • Centralized
    view of system health
  • Anomaly
    detection with Machine Learning
  • Alarm
    triggers based on key metrics

Backup and Recovery

With Legacy Systems these are usually one of the
toughest items to plan for – back-ups are kept off site along with DR options.
Back Ups often must be done by staff after hours or weekends when systems are

Cloud brings new possibilities with the ability to
back up systems with near zero downtime, reliable server image backups and
automated backup archiving at low cost. We now see sophisticated database failover
models and many disaster recovery options can be in real time.

Cloud can also provide cloned environments for
development and testing – isolating your production from the above adds obvious
security and operational benefits.

in the Cloud

With Legacy systems the focus of security is the hardware components such as physical load balancers that need to have patching up to date and logins that are potential security red flags. Other aspects are centred around Data Centre access.

With Cloud there are substantial differences with
Cloud Providers being responsible for security of the cloud and
customers responsible for in the Cloud.  Providers networks are architected to protect
your information, identities, applications and devices as well as achieving
third party validation for thousands of global compliance requirements. 

Next Generation Service and Data Protection Providers can incorporate security including:

  • Vulnerability Scanning and Compliance
  • Network and Firewall Security
  • Edge Network protection
  • Web Application Firewalls (OWASP, Custom
    Rules, Geo Filters)
  • OS Vulnerability protection
  • Security Information and Event Management
  • Threat Protection Layers

Cost Savings and ROI

Legacy models are often based on purchasing equipment
which is subsequently amortized over several years. Cloud pricing is based on a
“pay as you go pricing model” with discounts for longer term commitments. ROI
can be boosted with the ability / elasticity to hibernate environments or ramp
up quickly to service new clients / markets.

A typical Cloud Engineer salary is $100,000 (source
Indeed.Com) – add in benefits, sickness benefits and usual employee remittances
and an employer’s bill can easily be $120,000 per annum.  Service and Data Protection Providers are typically cheaper and can also give
an employer the opportunity to re-deploy existing staff. Some sources estimate
that savings can be between 25 / 50%.       

Summary – Benefits of Next Generation Service and Data Protection Providers

  • Cheaper
    then employing full time specialist IT staff.
  • Cloud
    systems can be hibernated to reduce costs or ramped up.
  • No
    contact required – trips to data centers or offices.
  • Third
    party can manage your systems in the event staff are sick or working from home.
  • More
    secure from hacks/ransomware.
  • Additional
    full stack options can be available
  • Ability
    to back-up/Disaster Recovery Scenarios

Ready to find out more