AI Robot Defense

AI, Your Silent Cyber Defender

AI (Artificial Intelligence) Cyber Defense or SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) or both?

Cybercriminals continue to come up with innovative ways to attack companies’ infrastructures, more so in the last year than ever before. Instead of hacking an infrastructure to plant a virus, cybercriminals have taken their tactics to the next level, executing cloud ransom attacks, as well as manipulation and exploitation tactics in return for access to your own IT infrastructure. This raises the question as to whether traditional cyber defense systems are equipped to detect and respond to such unique threats quick to reduce the reduce the risk of damage. Artificial Intelligence Cyber Defense has the answer.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Cyber Defense

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed the digital world and the way in which businesses operate. With AI, enterprises are able to leverage businesses advantages, such as increased productivity as a result of faster operation times and automated efficiencies. Though, the risk of cyber threats remain as cybercriminals view digitization as an opportunity to hack digital infrastructures, such as the Cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and software systems. Traditional security systems are not equipped to handle the increased and innovative attacks from cybercriminals.

How Artificial Intelligence Cyber Defense is Transforming How Companies Deal with Security Threats

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Cyber Defense, on the other hand, takes cybersecurity to the next level to protect enterprises from digital threats. From cloud ransom attacks to cybercrime exploitation, AI Cyber Defense systems offer optimal protection from past, present and future cybercriminal tactics. These systems use smarter automated security systems that detect threats and respond to them before they pose a risk to your infrastructure. AI Cyber Defense continues to learn for themselves and use AI algorithms to identify outliers from typical patterns which not only protects your enterprise from today’s threats but also, from potential ones in the future. These systems detect threats that can’t be predicted by an IT individual, while also acting faster than any security practitioner to prevent costly damage.

Benefits of AI Cyber Defense Darktrace System

Darktrace is an innovative, intuitive and impressive AI cyber defense system that makes protecting your business’ most valuable data simple. The automated system uses mathematics and algorithms to see threats earlier or as they’re happening, offering quick and efficient protection to threats that other security systems aren’t equipped to find.

What is Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) is a type of security management that uses Security Event Management (SEM) and Security Information Management (SIM) in one security management system. This type of software is designed to collect and combine data that’s generated through an enterprise’s infrastructure, from the host systems to the network, applications and security devices, such as antivirus programs and firewalls. SIEM systems then use the information gathered to identify, categorize and analyze various events, and produce reports and to send alerts on security-related situations.

While SIEM systems have been a strong force against cybercriminals in the past, they are not as equipped to deal with the new and advanced threats when compared to AI Cyber Defense Systems.

AI Cyber Defense system can be used alongside a SIEM and will enhance its value. However, this type of defense is exceptionally powerful and well-equipped to handle all security threats on its own, and in faster time than other security systems. AI Cyber Defense systems also allow companies with limited resources to do more with less; paying for two security systems is not needed for optimal protection.
Darktrace is the world-leading cyber-threat company that enhances the security surrounding your enterprises’ infrastructure. For more information, speak with one of our specialists today.

CDN Channel Innovation Awards: Zycom

Zycom showed up in full force to the inaugural CDN Channel Innovation Awards on September 19, 2018!The innovation awards turned out to be a great night and recognized some of the most innovative solutions across Canada.  Zycom is excited to announce that we were recognized for a pair of awards commending our top projects of 2017. Our unique solutions ended up landing Zycom both a Diamond and Gold Award.

 

Multiple achievements being awarded to Zycom:

Diamond for Best Education Solution

This award honors the solution provider with the most innovative education solution for the year.

Why we won:

Zycom was tasked with creating a cloud strategy for the Limestone District School Board in Kingston, specifically to update its student information system (SIS). Overall the SIS lacked the data and disaster recovery capabilities that a system tracking 19,000 students should always have. The switch to a cloud-based solution, which houses the data of all students, reduced the school boards IT costs by 70% or roughly $70,000 per year.

 

 

 

 

Read more about this here.

Gold for Top (Federal/Provincial/Municipal) Government Solution

This award recognizes the most innovative and problem-solving hardware, networking, mobile, cloud, big data or software-defined solution for a federal, provincial or municipal government, or crown agency.

Why we won:

The City of Greater Sudbury along with Nutanix and Zycom, came up with a way to deploy a 3node Dell XC Nutanix solution in an innovative way via a stretch cluster, due to the low latency of fibre links and the SCADA applications very low network traffic requirements. That solution would see a node at each of 3 plants being connected via fibre with the SCADA application, virtualized and now resilient between plants (i.e., replicated VMs with Nutanix software). Resulting in a viable and secure solution that can be easily backed up and eliminating downtime and dispatch. This means that should the CGS lose connectivity to a SCADA server that has remote wells and treatment centers reporting to it, the lost server instance will migrate to an alternate node at one of the other primary sites. Thus, the City’s networking and routing capabilities allow the affected remote reporting sites to continue to be monitored, and SCADA operational visibility is maintained for all outside wells and lift stations.

In Addition to applying of a software-defined solution to solve a monitoring uptime requirement for SCADA, the same technology was applied to a technology refresh of tier-3 infrastructure resulting in the IT Department at the City of Sudbury being able to save and return $600,000 in capital funding back to the municipal government.

Read more about these solutions via our case study here.

The event was a great experience overall; nights like this are exactly what gives us the confidence to continue to innovate and disrupt the industry.

Read the official press release of the event.  

Zycom Celebrates 20 Years in the Industry! | The Revolutionary Changes That Shaped The Tech Industry Over the Past 20 Years

From the minimal use of personal computers to a digital era, the tech industry has experienced some significant changes over the past 20 years. The year 1998 marks the beginning of Zycom resulting in the 20th anniversary being celebrated on November 1st, 2018. To commemorate the many digital transformations that occurred throughout the past two decades, we thought it appropriate to take a look at the revolutionary changes we have evolved through, that shaped the tech industry into what we all know and appreciate today.

 

1998 – 1999: The Beginning

The Zycom Launch

Despite technology being used for several years prior, 1998 truly marks the year where technology was brought into people’s homes. Compaq purchased Digital Equipment Corporate which led to Tim Allen leaving the company and starting Zycom with Mike Lucas. VMware was also founded the same year, and IBM announced 170MB and 340MB Microdrive that fit on an inch platter.

The following year, Mellanox Technologies was founded and the first Blackberry was released by RIM with many still using Blackberry devices today. Intel Pentium III 500MHz was released, with Intel Pentium III 600B MHz quickly following which was cutting edge at that time. And most notably, 802.11b WiFi standard was released by IEEE, beginning the end of the atrocious sounds you’d hear if you called someone while they were using their dial-up internet.

2000: The Millennial Milestone

The Anticipated Y2K Crash

Inarguably, one of the most significant milestones that occurred within the past 20 years is the highly-anticipated Y2K crash of technology. As the year approached, many believed that computer programs would crash and all electronic devices would fail as the year shifted from 1999 to 2000. Despite all the excitement surrounding the potential Y2K apocalypse, technology made a smooth transition into the new year, sans any technical delays, failures or outages.

The Dot-Com Bubble Bursts

The millennial year also marks the dot-com boom, where many Internet companies were launched. Investors assumed that all online companies were going to be worth millions but when many didn’t reach optimal success, the tech companies stocks crashed resulting in many investors taking significant losses.

The ILOVEYOU Virus Takes Over

One of the worst computer viruses seen over the past 20 years was the ILOVEYOU computer worm that attacked millions of Windows computers. This virus has the ability to destroy data and resulted in approximately $10 Billion worth of damages (CNet).

The Tech Industry Produces Revolutionary Upgrades

It wasn’t all bad news for the tech industry in 2000. Windows launched its revolutionary Windows 2000 software, and Intel and AMD broke record speeds on processors with their 1GHz. Super DLT Tape released with 110GB of capacity, LTO-1 launched with 100GB capacity and Seagate produced a 15,000 RPM HDDs, introducing new power never seen before.

 

2001 – 2005: From Business to Personal

The Beginning of Social Media

Throughout the 5 years that followed the millennium, technology changed from a business necessity to an entertainment device essential in every home. In 2002, LinkedIn registered their business, launching the following year which introduced revolutionary technologies that showed the world the potential of the Internet. Though, it was a couple of years before this business social media platform took off, as Myspace was founded the same year and took precedence on everyone’s computer screens. Come 2004, The Facebook, which we now know as Facebook launches, creating a new way to communicate with people across the globe. Google Gmail follows in suit with their debut which resulted in many people trading in their Hotmail and Yahoo email accounts for, and in 2005, YouTube launched its innovative platform that changed the face of entertainment.

The MyDoom Virus

As technology continued to advance, so did the computer viruses. 2004 marks the year of the MyDoom Virus, a vastly damaging worm that spread through emails like wildfire, creating a backdoor in computers’ operating systems.

The Tech Industry Continues to Improve

Anyone who had a computer in 2001 can relate to the excitement surrounding the 2001 launch of Windows XP, a progressive new platform that many still run today. But the advancements didn’t end there. In 2002, SATA introduced 1.0, Dell becomes the largest PC maker, Hitachi buys IBMs HDD business and HP announces a plan to buy Compaq.

Come 2004, IBM sells their computing division to Lenovo and in 2005, the SAS interface was introduced and the first ever 500GB HDD ships, sparking a new series of changes within the tech industry.

 

2006 – 2010: The Era of Cutting Edge Technology

The Cloud is Coined

The launch of social media continued into 2006 with Twitter launching but it was the cloud computing software that captivated everyone’s attention, coined by Google CEO. Following in suit, Dropbox was founded the following year and in 2010, OpenStack established their open-source Cloud platform services.

The Apple Trend

Today, Apple is a leading brand within the tech industry and it all began in 2007 when Apple launched their first iPhone.  Only a couple of years later in 2010, Apple launched the iPad which introduced the first consumerization of IT which lead to VDI tacking off to enable secure applications on BYOD devices. The same year, Zycom launches its VDI practice to accommodate this new technology trend.

The Ups and Downs

Between 2006 and 2010, the tech industry experienced many ups and downs. In 2006, it was all positive, with AWS opening Amazon.com, Intel Core 2 Duo processors being launched and Seagate hitting 750GB with HDD. During the years that followed, technology was still on the rise, with Microsoft releasing their first hypervisor in 2008, Google releasing their Chrome web browser and VMware VCM became VMware View V3.

In 2009, Nutanix was founded, Probook was launched by HP and Microsoft released Windows 7. However, Nortel declares bankruptcy protection which resulted in tech stocks plummeting.

Heading in 2010, technology continued to improve with Oracle completing their acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

 

2011 – 2015: The IT Transformation

The Details Count

Throughout the years of 2011 to 2015, the IT industry began to transform and shape into what the world uses today. 2011 marks the year of Chromebooks, and in 2012 Dell completes acquisition of Wyse and Cyptolocker was discovered.

Come 2014, DDR RAM makes Its debut and 8Tb HDD ships from Seagate, marketing the beginning of new storage.

The Zycom Transformation

Zycom launched our first cloud-based DRaasS in 2012. The following year in 2013, Zycom began selling Nutanix for VDI use cases which led the company on an innovative adventure toward a journey in IT transformation. Software Defined Storage became a buzz phrase used throughout the tech industry, HCI became a dominant acronym, and Zycom begins to pioneer HCI services in Canada resulting in significant growth in IT transformation.

 

2015 – Today: The 20th Anniversary

The Advanced Gets Advanced

Just when you think technology couldn’t become any more advanced, 2015 rolled around. During this year, Microsoft released Windows 10, Dell enters into an agreement to acquire EMC, HP splits into HP and HPE and Zycom sells the first hyper-converged Rubrik data recovery appliances in Canada.

In 2017, LTO-7 Tape drives get a powerful upgrade with 12TB native uncompressed capacity, SATA HDDs reach the 12 and 14TB capacity range SSDs begin shipping at 3.84TB capacity and Zycom grows 39% year over year.

The 20th Celebration

As of November 1st, 2018, Zycom formally celebrates a successful 20 years of operations, growth, success and digital transformation.

We continue to look to the future for emerging technology that will help change the face of Information Technology to help business evolve in a digital economy.

We would like to thank our valued customers and all of our staff and vendor partners that have helped us achieve this milestone in Zycom’s history.

 

 

 

 

 

The Digital Workforce

The future of the workforce is going digital. With the evolution of technology quickly progressing, a variety of automated and robotic solutions are being made available to businesses interested in driving productivity efficiencies. However, the digital workforce is not a physical representation of a digital worker. Instead, a digital workforce utilizes virtual software to enhance the experience staff and consumers have with your business.

The Significance of The Digital Workforce Today

CNBC recently reported that a study conducted by IWG found that approximately 70% of professionals work remotely at least one day a week. 53% of people work remotely for at least half of the week.

This stems from the changing attitudes associated with work environments and whether the traditional nine-to-five working hours are the most beneficial to both staff members and the companies in which they work for.

By utilizing a digital workforce that enables employees to work in an environment that’s best suited for them, it’s believed that their views of the company are transformed, thus allowing them to be more productive.

In fact, a study reported by Forbes found that remote workers made 13.5% more calls than their coworkers who worked in the company’s office. Additionally, 91% of people who work from home feel that they’re more productive than when they are in the office. When Best Buy introduced a more flexible work program, they experienced a 35% increase in employee productivity, and when ConnectSolutions did the same, they found that 77% of remote workers were able to get more done in less time.

Components of a Digital Workforce

Transforming to a digital workforce isn’t as simple as sending your employees off with their computer to work at home.  There are various components that make up a digital workforce, such as the following:

WiFi connected and ISP connected

Remote workers need to have reliable, secure, fast Internet to ensure productivity efficiencies. Thus, a key component of a digital workforce is to have WiFi connections and ISP connections readily available for employees telecommuting.

Endpoints and newer desktop as a service (managed endpoints as a service)

Endpoints are the remote computing device that communicates with a network, such as any desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, servers or workstations used remotely. It’s imperative that any company undergoing a digital transformation has implemented the right software and technology that allows them to manage them.

Next-gen endpoint security

The utmost vital component to a digital workforce is security. With employees working remotely, you must have the highest grade of security installed on all devices to secure your data while also avoiding internet threats and attacks.

Notebooks and tablets

Notebooks and tablets present a plethora of advantages within the workplace, such as access to crucial documents, manuals, and books. This allows remote workers to increase speed and agility anytime, anywhere.

For example, Alaska Airlines equipped all of its pilots with iPads that hold the various flight manuals needed. By doing so, their pilots are able to access valuable information quickly from any location. Additionally, it’s environmentally-friendly and a more secure way to share crucial documents in comparison to physical manuals.

Portable 2nd USB monitors

You’ll need to provide your remote workers with reliable displays to enable optimal productivity. However, the displays must be portable to allow for easy transportation to and from locations. 2nd USB monitors ensure remote workers have a reliable display that they can hook up to their computer, sans complications and frustration as the monitors require nothing more than a USB port. This makes them power efficient and exceptionally portable.

Portable printers and scanners

Remote workers will need access to printers and scanners; supplying both machines to each remote worker is costly. However, with portable printers and scanners, remote workers are able to take the devices to their remote office when needed, as they’re compact enough to easily be transported to and from different locations.

Office productivity suites like Office 365

Office 365 is a web-based productivity tool designed to allow companies to capitalize on the power of collaboration. It helps remote workers work together on projects and communicate securely across any device. Put simply, it provides employees with vital business programs (Word, Excel, Outlook, Sharepoint, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business, etc.) which can be accessed securely, anytime and anywhere, with optimal reliability.

Collaboration spaces like Microsoft or Cisco Teams and SharePoint

Workers need to have collaboration spaces that allow them to work together, despite being in separate locations. Advanced technology has made collaboration fairly easy amongst some of the biggest platforms, such as Adobe and Microsoft programs. There are also various apps dedicated solely to bringing together a team of remote workers such as Cisco Teams and SharePoint.

This component to a digital workforce is, inarguably, one of the most crucial ones to your success, as they enable remote workers to participate in meetings, group messages, collaboration, file-sharing and more.

 

 

The digital workforce is the future of business. To learn more about digitally transforming your company, contact Zycom today.

Data Center Storage Futures

Data storage technology is taking a giant leap in evolution, offering the most powerful capabilities the world has yet to see, in compact form, here are some highlights you need to know about the future of data storage technology and what it means for you.

Storage Density

Less is about to become more in terms of size, with mind-blowing speed, performance and storage capacity. The biggest change you can expect from data storage technology in the future is the physical size of the storage technologies. The industry is beginning to roll out astonishingly compact storage devices that will have you wondering how you ever survived with a hard drive, USB stick or floppy drive.

What’s so revolutionary about this new technology isn’t necessarily the size but rather, the power that can be found in such density.

HCI Footprint

The new, compact storage devices will play a significant role for the HCI footprint, allowing you to plug more into your integrated server via the new infrastructure. Previously, you had a select few options to increase storage. You could update an existing HCI node via swapping or adding an HDD or SDD, in order to increase storage or you could add a storage-heavy node to increase storage but it would come with limited compute.

With the revolutionary new storage technologies, you can expect the highest density the industry has seen. The traditional Tier-3 storage architectures have already been knocked down to more than 16:1 consolidation ratios for customers and the future of storage is expected to double the current capacity.

To put it into perspective, Nutanix 2U block/chassis structure in 2015 offered 4 host servers with a max of 16.6TB of raw capacity per 2U footprint in the data center. Today, the same 4-node Nutanix 2U block offers 55.6TB of raw capacity per 2U footprint in the data center. This is a 315% increase in storage density.

Come the future, if HCI technology begins to incorporate the anticipated 20TB HDDS for enterprise use, it is expected that the Nutanix 2U structure will have a minimum 200% increase in storage density, offering 111.2TB of raw capacity per 2U footprint in the data center.  We say, bring it on!

PMR vs HAMR

HAMR is predicted to follow in suit with the new data storage changes, bringing hard drives that use Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) to the forefront. This is a significant change from Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), a method used almost exclusively prior to the introduction to HAMR.

Advantages of HAMR over PMR

HAMR offers immense storage capacity and storage density that simply isn’t offering in PMR form, so much so that they’re on track to providing 20TB drives by 2019, with a predicted 30% compound annual growth rate in data density moving forward. By 2023, you can expect to see 40TB or higher by 2023. To put it into perspective, that’s an improvement of 10X over PMR drives.

Additionally, HAMR drives offering more reliability due to the glass media used in their manufacturing. Each part that makes up a HAMR drive gets be heated and cooled in a nanosecond, and although a laser diode is used during the writing process, it has no impact on the temperature, stability or reliability. As a result, HAMR offers trustworthy technology the industry has yet to see.

From floppy disks to zip drives, USB sticks and hard drives, data storage technologies have come a long way in a significantly short period and it’s not about to end. 2018 starts the beginning of a revolutionary technology that will inevitably shape the future and the way businesses operate moving forward. It will be interesting to see where the physics of RAID algorithms fair compared to companies opting for distributed file systems which offer faster rebuild times. Whilst Zycom is eager to deploy and play with these forecasted larger data drives for HCI in particular, we do so with extreme curiosity for the results of rebuild times in RAID versus DFS.

 

vSphere v5.5 End of Support September 19th

As the industry prepares to upgrade from vSphere V5.5 to V6, it’s time to ensure your cloud computing virtualization platform follows suit. The general support timeframe is scheduled to come to an end as of September 19 and to continue leveraging the power of virtualization, you’ll need to upgrade to V6.

Benefits of Upgrading to V6

While there are some other alternatives to upgrading to V6, it’s strongly recommended to continue with the vSphere platform. Aside from maintaining the same level of quality and support you require, upgrading to V6 provides you with new enhancements and features, such as:

  • vCenter Migration Tool

o    Built-in migration tool to assist with moving to the new version

  • vCenter High Availability

o    Ability to create clusters of vCenter appliances

  • Updated Web Client

o    HTML5 web client is improved

  • Encryption

o    Ability to encrypt VMs at the hypervisor level and on a per-VM basis

  • HA and DRS

o    Improvements such as network utilization improved DRS load balancing and proactive HA

  • Storage

o    Increased LUNs, NFS v4.1, advanced format drives, and automated UNMAP

Preparing to Migrate Off of V5.5

Migrating off of vSphere V5.5 is a complex task that comes with many prerequisites. It’s recommended to take note of the following computer systems and software capabilities to get the process started:

  • Any VMware solutions associated with your environment
  • Any other third party solutions associated with your environment
  • Any databases used with vCenter Server, vSphere Update Manager or any other VMware solutions associated with your environment
  • The database’s current compatibility level (and if it’s supported with V6)

Migrating off of V5.5

The next step is to determine which versions of VMware solutions are compatible with vCenter Server 6.0 and to then follow a specific sequence to upgrade your IT infrastructure properly. This can be a complicated task without extensive vSphere and IT knowledge.

 

Support for vSphere V5.5 ends on September 19th. Contact Zycom today for more information and/or for assistance migrating off of V5.5.

Chief Cloud Officer (CCO): CCO versus CIO in Business

Gaining competitive advantage within the business industry requires embracing digital transformation. However, digital transformation comes with many new applications of technology that require dedicated maintenance and attention that not all employees and business owners have the capabilities or knowledge to provide. As such, many businesses are choosing to hire Chief Cloud Officers over Chief Information Officers to lead how technology empowers business forward, which presents many benefits. Though, you first need to understand the differences between the two positions and what each offers to a company.

What is a Chief Cloud Officer (CCO)?

A Chief Cloud Officer (CCO) is an individual within a business who has the primary responsibility to ensure the company is getting the most out of cloud computing. Their tasks include managing, supervision and governing the cloud computing environment and its operations within the business – from the initial cloud assessments to vendor evaluation, shortlisting, maintenance, deployment, and troubleshooting. Thus, a CCO allows a business to capitalize on the productivity, efficiency, and power that comes from cloud computing services.

Benefits of CCO in Business

With cloud computing software taking precedence within the business industry, a Chief Cloud Officer is deemed as being a crucial position to maximize the opportunities offered by the community, private, public and/or hybrid clouds. The benefits of doing so include:

  • Ability to align existing business goals with a cloud initiative
  • Gain competitive advantage through the use of cloud solutions
  • Transforming on-premise infrastructure into a private cloud
  • Leveraging cloud-ready platforms
  • Mapping business workloads to cloud use cases
    • Financial competency in cloud economics to advise business
    • Implement optimal cloud security policies
    • Manage relationships with cloud service providers
    • Gain valuable insight on the activities within the cloud
    • Optimize network security and performance with regular cloud monitoring
    • Deter and manage potential incidents and outages

What is a Chief Information Officer (CIO)?

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is an individual within a business, often the most senior executive, which is responsible for traditional computer systems and information technology. Their role is to fulfill the position of a business leader, making executive decisions regarding technology, such as IT equipment purchase and the creation of new systems with the proprietary goal of gaining a competitive advantage.

A CIO is a strategic position that requires strong organizational skills to ensure future proofing, procurement and standards are followed. It’s their responsibility to manage IT systems and functions, while also creating and delivering strategies and policies that are focused on internal customers.

Benefits of a CIO in Business

As the business industry shifts towards a digital transformation, a Chief Information Officer is a necessary position that helps manage all technical aspects of a company which comes with many benefits:

  • Ability to make informed decisions based on many different aspects of a company’s operations
  • Garner the proper information needed to develop strong IT strategies
  • Discover new ways to ensure continuous growth through the use of proper technologies
  • Gain a competitive advantage by remaining current with technical trends
  • Management of existing infrastructure and infusing it with IT knowledge

Chief Cloud Officer vs. Chief Information Officer

Put simply, a Chief Cloud Officer (CCO) is responsible for the set-up, execution, and maintenance of cloud enablement services to ensure a company harnesses the power of cloud solutions whether on-premise or hosted, whereas a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for selecting the proper technologies to implement into a business’ infrastructure to ensure growth and success on a technical level.

Both roles can garner a competitive advantage for your organization.  We see CIOs evolving into CCOs to ensure continuous growth and success in today’s digital age. Just like hybrid clouds, the two positions share similarities in the sense that they’re both responsible for utilizing technology to drive company goals, they are quite different in terms of how they do so. A CCO garners the power of cloud computing integration services, whereas a CIO garners the power of up-and-coming technologies.  With the rapid adoption of hyper-converged infrastructure, the boundaries between cloud and on-premise are pushing a hybrid world.  Which CIO or CCO will lead your organization into the new digital era ruled by hybrid?

 

Cloud First Strategy Is A Good One But Which Cloud? Private, Public or Hybrid?

In the past, businesses had no other option but to run applications and programs on software that was downloaded onto either a physical computer or a server in the business. This restricts access, control and flexibility, as well as many other features which are crucial to maintaining precedence in the digital age of today. As such, cloud computing software is a necessity for businesses, particularly those undergoing an IT and workforce transformation. However, determining which one to go with – private, public or hybrid – can be a difficult task without the known benefits or said differently, without knowing the bottom line impact of each.
To ensure you make the best choice for your business – and to save you an abundance of time of research, here is your quick guide to private, public and hybrid clouds, and what is provided from each.

Public Clouds Are Not the Most Affordable Option

Chances are, you already use public clouds in either your personal or professional life, as they’re one of the more popular options for both businesses and individuals. Public clouds were also the first to come along, offering quick, free and easy sharing of data via platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox that revolutionized technology.
One of the biggest misconceptions about using public clouds is that they’re the most affordable option, and sometimes, they can be used entirely free depending on how much data you’re storing. However, Zycom has proven that public clouds are not cheaper than on-premise private cloud for predictable workloads running on HCI. In fact, on-premise, cloud-ready platforms like Nutanix, are more cost-effective than putting workloads into a hyper-scaler cloud for the same predictable mission-critical workload once all costs are ascertained.
That said, there are great use cases for public cloud like development workloads, backup, disaster recovery and any use case that requires elasticity of performance requirements. And never mistake the high adoption of office productivity suites in the Cloud like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Suite.

The True Cost of the Cloud

With the prior mentioned, there are various factors to consider when determining the actual cost of Cloud ownership for both local servers and cloud infrastructures. Take a look at the different on-premise services for predictable workloads and cloud considerations like network and security architecture, to evaluate to discover the true total cost of ownership.

On-Premise Costs

On-premise infrastructure features and costs vary from that of a cloud-based infrastructure and it’s imperative to understand what this technology brings to your business in order to know the true cost of total ownership. Here are many of the things to consider:
• Cost of replacement parts
• Cost of maintenance (labour expenses)
• Initial hardware costs of storage and servers versus cost for HCI
• Resilient hardware costs if you receive high availability
• Power and cooling technology expenses
• Software update costs
• Software licensing costs
• Cost of multiple IT staff members
• Disaster recovery and off-site survivability costs

Cloud-Based Costs

Long-term, cloud costs can be higher than on-premises services but such is not always the case. Again, it comes down to the various factors that contribute to the total cost of ownership. As such, here are some of the things to consider:
• Length of ownership/usage (costs more over time)
• Cost of time spent looking for a third-party provider
• Cost of downtime when outages occur
• Cost of lost business and productivity if service level doesn’t meet your standards
• Failure to pay can result in loss of data
• Costs to maintain and manage workloads (this never goes away)
• Unpredictable and unexpected spikes in costs due to data usage
• Cost of WAS connectivity and resiliency multiple users having access to the cloud
• Resiliency in terms of replicating workloads to another cloud to equal on-premise resiliency

Notably, one significant difference in the list of factors that make up the true total cost of ownership for on-premise infrastructures and cloud-based services is that:
• On-Premise costs are not as utility as cloud and required to maintain optimal operation
• Additional cloud costs are manageable and often, optional

Private vs. Public Clouds: Which One is Better?

Once you have gone through the various factors that contribute to the total cost of on-premise private cloud running on HCI and public cloud-based infrastructure, you likely have selected to opt for a combination of both driving your Hybrid cloud strategy. However, you then need to choose which private cloud or public cloud is the most ideal solution for your specific use cases. Here are some things to consider:

Private Clouds

For businesses who need more out of their virtual infrastructure, whether it’s more storage space, more capabilities, more control, etc., private clouds are often the recommended. However, they can come with a larger price, a price that may very well be worth it depending on your needs.
One major benefit to private clouds is the enhanced security measures that provide better protection of your business’ most crucial data, as the cloud is operating on-premise and is typically sized for predictable workloads. Private clouds also have customization options which provide you with greater control and access, custom security measures such as disaster recovery, increased flexibility, and custom networking components.
The downside to private clouds is that they aren’t for every business, historically due to cloud governance and skill sets internally to deploy. However, the initial cost can become more cost-effective than a public cloud utilizing HCI as your platform depending on the specifics of a business.

At the core of cloud, the private cloud is an essential building block to delivering hybrid services to your organization.

Hybrid Clouds

When considering which cloud computing service to implement, it’s important to consider the benefits of a hybrid cloud option which is where most Zycom customers are choosing.
Just as the name reads, this cloud solution is a combination of select features from both public and private cloud computing options. It has the pay-as-you-go flexibility that’s offered from a public cloud, with the increased security and control provided from a private cloud.
The disadvantage to using a hybrid cloud is that they often require complicated IT integration which can initially inflate the cost of using the best form both sides of cloud. There is also the vulnerability and security risks that come from the public cloud components.

Hybrid Cloud is driving the need for Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions to secure users and cloud-based applications. CASB offers a great deal of value in simplifying the integration of on-premise security with cloud and furthering the adoption of hybrid cloud strategies for customers.

Choosing between a public, private or hybrid cloud computing service depends highly on the infrastructure and necessities of your business. If you are a start-up with minimal overhead, a free cloud service that caters to predictable workloads may be ideal for you. However, if you are a large business or operate within a niche that is highly confidential, a private cloud could be the best option for you. It all comes down to the specifics.

Furthermore, there are various cloud infrastructures and features to choose from, such as the Nutanix cloud ready platform that connects customers to a public cloud to map the right solution to the proper workload/use case under one management platform, which can also be a driving factor in determining the best cloud strategy for your business.

AI & RPA in the Data Centre – Robotic Process Automation

As the digital transformation era gains precedence across the business industry, many companies are interested in the revolutionary robotic processes becoming available. While positions such as Chief Information Officers and Chief Cloud Officers are still considered necessary positions that help a business gain a competitive advantage and to garner continuous growth, when combined with robotic process automation, the potential is strengthened. However, not all robotic process automation systems are the same and understanding the differences between Artificial Intelligence (AI), and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is key to choosing the best option for your business moving forward.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a form of computing hardware that is able to think and make decisions based on the data being received. As such, AI systems are vastly complex and equally as powerful offering businesses the power to utilize technology to process complicated tasks and procedures within a business, such as voice to text features, business and sales forecasting, online customer support, and process automation. Additionally, due to the latest tech developments, AI systems can complete these complex tasks faster and more efficiently than humans in some cases.

Benefits of Implementing Artificial Intelligence Services

The benefits of implementing AI technologies into a business infrastructure are grand, with the most popular ones being:
• Reduce the time spent on routine tasks and processes
• Increase operational efficiencies and productivity
• Avoid ‘human error’
• Gain a competitive advantage by meeting customer demands
• Free up employees so time can be spent on higher value tasks
• Make faster decisions
• Generate business and market insights to ensure continuous growth
• Improve customer experience with efficient and timely service
• Identify and maximize sales
• Understand your customers better and provide personalized service

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology application that automates business processes, based on the structured inputs of a company. There is a vast array of RPA tools that can be used to automate a wide range of business tasks, such as manipulating data, triggering responses, processing transactions and sharing data with other systems within the IT infrastructure. RPA tools can be used to complete simple tasks, such as sending automatic responses to incoming emails to more complicated tasks, such as processing claims and cleansing data.

Benefits of Implementing Robotic Process Automation

RPA is an evolution of workflow automation, screen scraping, and artificial intelligence. As such, it also offers the benefits of each, as well as many more with some of the top advantages being:
• Optimize customer service by improving efficiency
• Complete business processes quicker without jeopardizing quality and accuracy
• Ensure operations and processes comply with the standards and regulations of a business
• Reduce costs spent on manual and repetitive tasks
• Allow employees to focus on higher value tasks
• Decrease ‘human error’ caused by lack of knowledge or tiredness
• Enhance internal processes such as reporting
• Leverage your existing IT systems
• Increase productivity
• Accelerate ROI

Artificial Intelligence is more geared towards the automatic completion of tasks that require thinking or input of detailed data so a personalized process can be executed, whereas Robotic Process Automation technologies pertain more so to the automation of tasks that don’t involve unique characteristics for each process. However, both AI and RPA are futuristic technologies that are changing the way businesses operate and can be used to enhance business processes internally and externally.

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