6 facts that will clear up any confusion about containers and virtual machines

vms-containersIf we created a list of top IT trends of 2016, what would be at the top? Big data tools replacing your doctor? Machine learning and AI’s new levels of sophistication? The rise of adaptive security architectures?

How about the growing popularity of containers? Over the past few years, this old technology has become a beloved tool for software engineers shirking monolithic development. Containers are small and fast, and enable rapid development and improved productivity without consuming many resources. (more…)

Pump up productivity with these Office 365 add-ons

improve performanceNo doubt, Office 365 (O365) is a powerful productivity suite. O365 turned five years old in June, and it has become the cloud service of choice for enterprise users.

Still, some organizations have more specialized needs that fall outside the scope of O365. There’s an entire marketplace of add-ons and extensions that take the already powerful set of cloud applications to a higher elevation for individual needs.

Some of the more common areas where we see organizations looking to customize are single sign-on tools, security and compliance, and email support. There are a lot of options that build on the cloud suite’s offerings, so let’s break down what these add-ons can do and which ones might be best for your O365 environment. (more…)

4 must-see technologies at Cisco Live 2016

SHI-Cisco-Live-2016The holy grail of IT might be the single pane of glass, but it eludes many IT professionals because of all the segmented technologies and platforms they have to manage. How can an organization get there? Two words: visibility and control.

Which is why those topics will be major themes at this year’s Cisco Live, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas.

Cisco’s many acquisitions in the last year, including Internet of Things (IoT) platform Jasper and a plethora of security-oriented companies, all weave around the common threads of visibility and control. These moves highlight the industry trend toward tools that provide more insights into an IT network and answer the call for stronger asset management. (more…)

How small businesses can ensure security in the cloud

Trend Micro SaaS vs. securityThe small and medium-sized business (SMB) landscape is defined by its competitiveness. These dog-eat-dog dynamics force business leaders to trim costs, improve worker productivity, and create new, sustainable business models. That’s why almost 90 percent of businesses want a cloud environment and adoption is expected to double in the next four years.

But many small business owners remain on the sidelines, wondering if moving some processes and applications to the cloud is worthwhile. And many of the businesses moving to software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions are making the same mistake, regardless of the industry: failing to improve their cloud security. Though we’ve come a long way in terms of protecting the cloud, risks always exist.

For some, SaaS might not even be necessary, and you won’t have to worry about the risks. But if you use SaaS applications or are considering them, an additional security layer on top of the built-in controls of your SaaS solution is smart thinking. (more…)

4 of the most frustrating private cloud challenges and how to solve them

Private cloud headachesCloud adoption is now the norm as nearly 9 out of 10 companies prefer cloud solutions, but many IT professionals are still asking, “Which cloud computing environment is best for my organization?” Interestingly enough, many organizations are using the “cloud” now and may not realize it — a private cloud, better known as an on-premises computing environment that’s supplied, deployed, and maintained internally.

Of course, discussions about cloud migration typically revolve around moving to a public cloud environment, in which computing services are offered and maintained by a hosting provider (e.g., Microsoft’s Azure or Amazon Web Services). Many organizations opt for a hybrid cloud environment that gives organizations the best of both private and public clouds.

So there’s a choice to be made: Should you stay in a private cloud or migrate to a public cloud? What about a hybrid cloud? While a private cloud does offer some benefits (a more secure computing environment, increased performance, and direct access to resources), there are disadvantages as well.

Let’s review the common headaches most organizations have with private cloud environments, and how public cloud offerings can give your organization some relief. (more…)

5 ways to strengthen your Office 365 security

Office 365 securityOffice 365 (O365) ups the ante of productivity, giving users the power to work from anywhere. Whether with Word, Exchange, SharePoint, or Skype for Business, Microsoft’s O365 suite allows users to access sensitive data remotely without a VPN. In the era of Bring Your Own Device and vanishing perimeters, that flexibility and ease of use is a big boost to productivity.

But that “always on” mentality can be problematic for IT, as sensitive data can be exposed if IT or users don’t follow the right protocols. Convenience shouldn’t come at the cost of security for your organization.

Luckily, there are some easy steps IT can take to tighten up O365 security without limiting productivity. Here are five ways you can improve your organization’s security posture while giving users the O365 functionality they need.

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We all hate latency. Here’s what some IT departments are doing about it.

mobile cloudSometimes latency is a matter of life or death.

That’s what first responders in Arizona’s Maricopa County realized when their 911 system couldn’t supply crucial data quickly enough. When an emergency call came through, operators updated a cloud-based system with details on where the emergency was, who was involved, and what was wrong. (more…)

Imaging and provisioning is easier with Windows 10. Here’s the story.

Replacing one laptop or tablet is easy enough, right? Sadly, as you might know all too well, it can turn into a multiday process that stunts productivity and extends downtime.

In the past, replacing a laptop meant IT had to physically touch it to upload the latest image. This traditional method of provisioning and imaging just takes too long and is too labor intensive.

Now imagine replacing 1,000 laptops with 1,000 tablets — how do you deploy and manage those, and how can they be better imaged? (more…)

4 best practices for sidestepping cloud migration challenges

cloud migrationWhether you’re the head of IT at an enterprise company with 100,000 users, or at an elementary school with 50 users, this much is true: Migrating to the cloud can be a frustrating and stressful undertaking. But it’s one that’s well worth the time and investment. The advantages in moving your environment to the cloud far outweigh any trouble getting there.

But how can you complete a cloud migration without all of the downtime, bugs, and slow user adoption that many organizations experience? The answer is simple, but not always put into practice.

Let’s go through some cloud migration best practices that make the transition less of a headache. (more…)