Newsletter – May 2015
How virtualisation can save you time and money?
Imagine that you have three servers: one for your emails, one for your customer database and another to host your website. Each of these servers is running at only 15 percent capacity. In a traditional set-up with x86 servers, there’s no way to use the remaining 85 percent for a different purpose. One server means one function. And if, for example, you wanted to add a server for your applications, you’d need to buy new hardware to house it.
Virtualisation makes it possible to combine your servers and allocate resources to minimise wastage and duplication. By moving beyond the physical constraints of conventional servers, virtualisation allows you to save time, money and space while boosting server performance. Read on to learn more about its pros and cons.
Every dollar counts
Virtualisation works by consolidating your physical resources into one virtual environment that is capable of running several operating systems and applications where once it was only possible to run one or two. As a result, businesses of all sizes can reduce their capital expenditure by negating the need to purchase new hardware. Once virtual servers are operational, they also require less maintenance and draw less power, enabling businesses to cut operational expenses.
For some businesses, the higher up-front cost of virtualisation might be discouraging. Indeed, virtualisation is best seen as a long-term investment – one that, according to HP, usually pays itself off in 12 months and reduces ongoing operational expenditure by 50 percent1
More space and more power
A recent study by HP of customers using its virtualisation solutions found that they experienced an 80 percent reduction in unplanned downtime and a 57 percent increase in productivity2. Similar research by Gartner showed that virtualisation led to an 80 percent increase in the use of server resources3.
By allowing you to access the computational power of servers you already own, virtualisation provides you with better performance without requiring any additional space. The chief drawback is that not all servers and applications are virtualisation-ready. Some licences, for example, prohibit the use of certain applications in virtual environments.
Making a speedy recovery
IT administrators dread the thought of servers crashing – but it does happen, and it’s important to be prepared. With virtualisation, you can create what’s known as a ‘golden image’ – a cloned template of your server infrastructure that can be used to relaunch it in the event of an unexpected disaster. This allows you to reduce recovery time from days to mere hours.
Given the benefits of virtualisation, it’s no surprise that 70 percent of existing x86 servers have been virtualised already4. It can seem like an intimidating process, but with the right solution – like HP’s Converged Storage – you’ll be enjoying reduced costs, better disaster recovery and increased performance in no time.
Want to know more?
We can tell you if virtualisation will help your business. Please feel free to call us at 1300 732 810 or visit our website at http://www.businessworks.com.au/contact-business-works/ for IT services and support in Melbourne.
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Protect your documents
Gone are the days when protecting a document meant writing it in invisible ink or padlocking your diary. Business documents, whether stored on a PC or in the cloud, frequently contain sensitive data: trade secrets, financial results, contact details for employees and clients, and legal information. Here are some simple tips for keeping your documents secure.
What’s the password?
With modern word processing applications, such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, it’s easy to password-protect sensitive documents. If you use Word on Windows 8, simply click ‘File’, then ‘Info for the ‘Protect Document’ drop-down menu, then select ‘Encrypt with Password’. For additional security, choose a password of more than seven characters, containing both letters and numbers.
According to Microsoft, it’s impossible to recover a password-protected document without the password. However, programs like DocRecrypt and Advanced Office Password Recovery make it possible to reverse Microsoft’s encryption process. For this reason, password protection should be seen as a basic security measure that will, at best, inconvenience determined hackers.
Permission to read freely
Many business documents are written to be shared and this often means exposing them to uncontrolled networks. One way to protect a document on the internet is to use a hosting service, like cPanel or Dropbox, to control who has permission to view or edit it. This approach allows small business owners to affordably take advantage of sophisticated encryption techniques.
But first, you have to get the document into the cloud. Some services, including Dropbox, encrypt files on your computer before uploading them. Otherwise, you might consider using a public key encryption service, like DocuSign, to protect your documents with 256-bit SSL encryption – a protocol that would, in theory, take six times the age of the universe to crack.
Under lock and key
If you’ve seen The Imitation Game, then you have a decent idea of what encryption looked like in the middle of the 20th century, when machines like the Enigma were used to turn sensitive information into long strings of gobbledygook.
The modern approach is much the same, except that today’s cryptography uses faster computers and more complex algorithms to create codes that are practically uncrackable. According to Seagate, if every person on the planet used 10 computers simultaneously to test 1 billion key combinations a second, it would still take more than 1 billion years to crack a standard 128-bit symmetric key.
The good news is that you can now use encryption programs like GNU Privacy Guard to protect everything from individual documents to computers and servers. Of course, it’s essential that you follow a simple rule: remember the password.
Who watches the watchmen?
Using the above techniques, it’s easy to secure your documents both on and offline. The final choice you make, therefore, will be to decide who knows the passwords for which files. And that, of course, we shall leave to your discretion.
We’ll keep your documents secure. Call us at 1300 732 810 or visit our website at http://www.businessworks.com.au/contact-business-works/ for IT services and support in Melbourne.