System Integration

8 Steps to a Successful Disaster Recovery Plan

The most successful businesses are the ones that prepare for the worst. Have you?

Irrespective of what your business is, you need a disaster recovery plan in place. Losing valuable data due to human or natural disaster can be one of the worst things for any business. Consider reliable disaster recovery services as your saviour during this crisis.

A Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) will protect you against any natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, etc. and from cyberattacks or unexpected downtime issues.

According to a survey by Unitrends conducted in 2019, around 30% of businesses have lost their data due to outages for the last three years.

You can prevent such data losses during outages or any other unexpected disasters protecting your data through data backup and recovery services. 

In this blog, we’ll take a look at the essential steps for disaster recovery planning and how you can protect yourself even in the face of disasters. 

8 Step-by-Step Approach for Disaster Recovery Plan

As we are increasingly becoming dependent on networks and databases, IT protection and disaster recovery services take the center seat. According to an infographic by Rackware, 93% of companies that don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place and suffer a major data issue are out of business in a year.

If you want to protect your business and salvage it from any data disaster, here are the eight steps to follow.

1. Begin with a Clear Objective of the Project

When you have decided to have a DRP, the first step is to determine the project’s scope. Think about what your expected end results are. 

What are your recovery points and recovery time? 

What are the common disasters you’re foolproofing against?

What type of recovery systems are the best for you?

If you are a small or medium-scale business, you may have to create recovery plans for hardware outages or failures. And this could mean exploring the offsite data recovery choices like public cloud or data center. 

2. Detail the Probable Disasters

As much as we don’t like to think of our business going through disasters, we are bound to come across a situation during which we need a recovery service. Just last year alone, around 62% of companies have been in situations where they need to recover the data at least once.

To get ahead of the disasters and plan the recovery, we need to understand where our vulnerabilities lie. Based on your infrastructure, business capabilities, and the company’s location, you can list out all the vulnerabilities that could lead to data loss.

With the IT vulnerabilities ready, you can prepare a protection plan to safeguard from such issues and an appropriate backup as a service plan to recover your data.

3. Prepare the Possible Ways for Data Recovery

For all of the probable disasters outlined in the previous step, we need to create the next for recovery. 

For example, if you’re in an area where there are chances of hardware issues due to natural calamities, then a cloud platform or an offsite storage system should be your solution. Similarly, you can plan the best recovery strategy for the most probable disasters.

4. Select the Most Appropriate Recovery Method

There are different ways through which you can recover your data. You can backup on the hardware and recover from it. You can use optical recovery, RAID or any other recent technology. If you’re opting to choose an IT disaster recovery services provider, you should collaborate with them to select the best recovery method and a detailed plan.

5. Create a Detailed Blueprint of the Network Infrastructure

More often, in any disaster, your network infrastructure gets affected. So it’s crucial to create a detailed blueprint of the network infrastructure and store it along with the other data in an offsite storage system.

Having this blueprint will help your team to quickly recover and rebuild the infrastructure after a disaster. 

6. Prepare Detailed Guidelines for the Recovery

Having a set of detailed instructions for recovery is the most practical way to quickly restore your system after a disaster. In the guidelines, you should have everything you need to:

  • Get your IT environment back online after the disaster
  • Recover your data from the offsite storage
  • Rebuild the infrastructure
  • Begin using your on-site network with as minimal downtime as possible 
  • The contact details of the support team 

Make sure to have all of these details ready at a location that’s accessible even after a disaster. 

7. Test the Disaster Recovery Plan

After completing the DRP and installing all the necessary tools, now is the time to test it out. The best way to ensure that you’re protected at the times of disaster is to test out the recovery system before the problem strikes.

You can also conduct such tests periodically to feel confident about your disaster recovery system. Play out the practical scenarios of the disasters and involve the entire team in the testing. 

8. Keep Your Recovery Plan Updated

Creating a DRP is not a one-time thing. You need to revisit the plan often and check for any possible updates to improve it. As your business grows, you should also update your DRP for better features and scalability to safeguard from unexpected disasters.

You can encounter a few drawbacks in the DRP as you continually use it. You should correct those drawbacks and improve the recovery plan. You should also provide regular training for your team to act smartly and swiftly during the recovery.

Wrapping Up

Disasters are uneventful, but we can still brace ourselves from any damages. Having a foolproof disaster recovery plan prevents your business from loss of revenue, time or resources. 

To maintain the continuity of your business even through disasters, LayerOne Networks offer backup disaster recovery solutions. LayerOne Networks’ disaster recovery services can protect your company against all types of disasters like fire, cyberattacks, ransomware attacks, and natural disasters. 

With automated backups and two-layer encryption, we can keep your data safe and secure against all disasters. Contact us to get more details about our IT disaster recovery services. 

 

 

 

 

 

System Integration

What is System Integration and how it is beneficial for small businesses?

Have you ever wondered how to craft the systems environment to grow and how to do business?

Do you find managing inventory, sales, accounting, and e-commerce, etc. difficult?

Have you ever felt the need for customized software?

Many businesses cannot afford customized software. So whenever needed they spend in off-the-shelf programs.

With time the intricacies deepen and the number of such programs rises. It becomes to work on such random programs. This puts the employees under pressure and compels them to do unwanted tasks. For E.g. all your organizational data is updated with the current trends for a meaningful analysis. Managers can leverage the available data from multiple sources giving better insights. This helps in taking better decisions and reverting more promptly to opportunities and threats.

  • Cost-Effective

The cost of keeping up with different systems can be costly and each system has its maintenance at regular intervals. Maintaining all the systems with regular updates can be costly as well as more time taking. With system integration services you can witness significant cost-cutting and reduce downtime.

  • Easily Maintains Data Integrity and Security

If your data is spread across multiple tools and platforms it becomes quite challenging and complicated to maintain the same. Many of the businesses handle sensitive customer data and hence it is mandatory to abide by data integrity laws. With system integration services, all your data is kept at a centralized place so enforcing security measures becomes more easy and reliable.

  • Improve Business Innovation

System Integration helps to ensure process changes more speedily and without any hassle in your business. Apart from functional expertise and professionalism, automation adds to some value additions to your business. This would also motivate your employees for better performance.

  • Enhanced Customer Service

You can excel in your business if your customers are happy. As your business goes online, inquiries are being placed online to find out the best business providers. System integration is the best way to stand out of the competition and stay connected with your customers. It is the need of the hour to shift to efficient platforms. Stay well connected with your customers and their needs. You can also ensure that your customer inquiries are always addressed timely and in a correct manner.

To sum up, system integration is the best way for your business to remain upgraded and competitive. It also helps you to meet your customers’ requirements and handle business developments in a better way.

The above points explain why system integration is one of the most crucial tools for successful business growth. It is one of the proven methods of how businesses function. Adoption of IT integration would help you to stay ahead of your competitors and get better results.

Linking up software applications and other computing systems is a tedious and complicated process. It’s like working on a puzzle and trying to fit all the pieces in the correct places. 

Layer One Networks can be your best system integration, service provider. We provide managed server services; track your server backup, and ensure all the vital patches are maintained. Also, we provide complete security to protect against emerging threats.

So what are you waiting for? Connect with us or give us a call now on 361.653.6800 to see how we can serve you with our system integration services.

 

System Integration

How to save your business money with VOIP

It is a known fact that each one of us wants to save money and business owners are not different. They too are always searching for ways to cut their monthly expenses. If you are a business owner one of the core areas that can save you big is your business communications.

Are you troubled by costly phone lines?

Looking to improve collaboration, communication, and extend a helping hand to your distributed workforce?

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) can be a great option for your small or medium-sized business. Now let’s learn about VOIP…

What is VOIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows sending voice signals like digital packets not on the phone lines but over the internet. Calling is no longer dependent on phone lines as VoIP enjoys good functionality for businesses at a lower cost. In short communication, expenses are much more economical than traditional phone service with this innovation.

Business VOIP providers say as VoIP calls are done through the internet there is no surcharge on these calls. There is fixed billing to the company depending upon the selected plan.

Features of business VoIP include conference calls, desk-to-desk calls, automated attendants, private branch call exchange, and even music while the call is on hold.

You must be now thinking:-

Why is it important to Cut the cord and switch to VoIP

What are the ways to save money with VOIP?

A VoIP system has many potential cost savings and principally a hosted/cloud-based solution vs. traditional phone systems, some of which are:

  1. 1. You are Remunerating for One Less Thing

VoIP on a very basic level can save your business money by removing one of the utilities that you would otherwise pay for: that is your telephone bill. As the Internet is used for transmitting data in VoIP, all you are required to pay for is your business’ Internet connection. Although there are chances that if you lose your Internet there will be issues but the cost savings over a while can make this issue less troublesome nevertheless.

  1. 2. Save Big on your Hardware

There is a requirement of an exclusive up-front hardware cost with most of the phone systems. You would also require an auto-attendant, auto-attendant hardware, and installation fees if your company has a traditional phone system. Also, you are forced to purchase additional hardware, if you need to add a second auto-attendant to another location.

While with VoIP, you have complete freedom to update or change your system in real time. This is possible without any additional installation or purchases. Without any add-on expenses or hardware requirement, you can add users or phones instantly, route calls to any location, update IVRs, etc.

  1. 3. VoIP is More Competent

You many find repeated calls from customers and clients coming in for help and other varied requests, often addressing similar topics concerning your industry. Some VoIP clarifications permit you to provide your customers and clients with an auto-attendant recording that walks them through the process that is worrying them. As a result, they are content. And also your employees don’t need to deal with disruptions throughout the day allowing them to be more fruitful during the time you compensate them to be there

  1. 4. Mobility Factor

If you have a traditional landline phone you are bound to be at your desk for fear of missing an important phone call. If you plan to move your office even across the room or town you need to manually reroute your phone number to your new location.

While with VoIP your number signifies your account and not your physical location so it can easily travel wherever you go. As long as you have an IP connection at your preferred location, a VoIP system identifies it as a handset and you are ready to move.

Also, VoIP takes a step further in mobility by employing smartphone apps, making your mobile phone an addition to your network, which permits you to take business calls on your smartphone no matter wherever you may be.

  1. 5. Easy to Set-up and Maintain

Although technical, VoIP systems are easier set-up and maintained that reduces the cost to recruit a team of experts. It is as easy as downloading a few applications into your business’ computer system directly.

Other systems can be installed via adaptors which changes analog signals into digital signals, the mode of communication of the VoIP. As these adaptors are plug-and-play type and small, there is no need to invest more money and time into setting up and establishing a VoIP system.

  1. 6. Avail Advanced Features

VOIP saves small businesses and mid-sized businesses as they appear well established and larger with no extra cost.  Business VOIP providers offer such advanced features.

Features like call routing, auto-assistant, presence, music on hold, find-me-follow-me, and many more help businesses appear more capable and professional of exceptional customer service- which always increases business.

  1. 7. Save on Calling Fees

As the IP telephony links call over the Internet, businesses using VoIP escape paying any interstate or any long distance fees. Moreover, international calls can be done at half the rate of traditional landline-based communications.

  1. 8. Regular Free Upgrades

As the technology keeps on upgrading, phone systems need regular updates, which are your responsibility if you owe a traditional phone system. While with VoIP, these upgrades are covered by your business VOIP providers, and you can always have access to best-of-the-line equipment.

  • 9. Security

This feature doesn’t save you money directly but it can save you from losing money down the line. VoIP can function through an encrypted VPN connection adding more security for customer service calls and your business.

These are some of the ways VoIP can be big cost savings for businesses regardless of their size. However, it is important to pick the correct vendor for VoIP services ensuring the best match for your specific business requirements.

Concerned about your business?

Layer One Networks can be your best VoIP partner. Although we do not provide Internet service but can help find the right provider through our Master Agent Partnership.

System Integration

Adopting Kubernetes for your Business IT Infrastructure

In this era of competition, the demand from app users is getting bigger and bigger every day. Businesses are bound to offer applications with incredible quality and which can satisfy customers on various fronts of the business. Today every large enterprise is worried about its business IT infrastructure that requires supporting such high-end apps that are advanced concerning cost, capability, security, scalability, and offers customization. This is where Kubernetes comes into the space of cloud computing services.

Now you must be thinking:

What is Kubernetes?

An open-source system that divides workload through an orchestration technique and apps for servers that gather round in a data center is Kubernetes.

What is the Kubernetes advantage?

Over the years Kubernetes capabilities for enterprises have been witnessed by successful project accomplishments. It assists applications to be more functional, flexible and saves your hard-earned money as it requires lesser workforces for managing IT.

Kubernetes is a Google product that is a part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNFC). CNFC brings along with itself strong engrossment and contribution from several organizations (small and large).

Why Kubernetes Should Be Your Next Infrastructure?

If you are planning to take on Kubernetes for the growth of your business then you need to know its fundamental business capacities and reasons as to why it is being adopted by enterprises.

Let’s focus on why enterprises prefer Kubernetes for their business IT infrastructure?

Ensures Enhanced Scalability and Availability

App success doesn’t depend just on its features but scalability determines the success of a particular app. Kubernetes being an orchestration system is a crucial management system to scale and enhance app performance automatically. Kubernetes auto-scaling is not only limited to infrastructure metrics but to custom metrics and all kinds of metric or resource usage metrics can be employed to boost the scaling procedure.

Excellent for Businesses

The world is incomplete without software and application development is the elementary tool for business development.

Improving the quality of apps is a way to win many customers as reported by some of the organizations. Kubernetes directly contributes to these enhancements, with improved resource usage and reduced development cycles as reported by 53% of respondents. They are having more out of every penny spent and are building software faster than ever.

Kubernetes Aids in IT Cost Optimization

Kubernetes helps in reducing business infrastructure costs and can prove to be of great help for your vast scale business. It is highly competent in putting apps together which assists in optimal utilization of your cloud investments and hardware which in turn improves container-based architecture more conveniently.

Solution for the Future

Kubernetes is a convenient solution for many reasons like:

  • Every prime cloud vendor is backing Kubernetes for its offering various unusual solutions for it.
  • Many other container orchestration solutions also support the same in terms of adoption, cloud vendors’ support, and ecosystem.

Supports Your Application Run More Stable

K8s can help you out if you are looking to check whether your app is running steadily or not. What it does is that it permits you to get rolling updates to modify your software with no prevention. K8s can further be set up in such a manner that it assists in highly accessible apps. 

Highly Economical When Compared to Other Solutions

Based on your application requirements, incoming traffic and load by your app Kubernetes can easily auto-scale. With auto-scaling features during the hectic times of the year, a particular app can scale up its needed resources. This in turn will automatically reduce your infrastructure during the less loaded times of the year. 

Assists In Effective and Smooth Migration to the Cloud

Kubernetes is an ideal solution whether you are thinking to re-host, re-platform, and re-factory. As K8s runs constantly across every environment, clouds like AWS, Azure, GCP, and on-premise it paves the way for porting your app on-premise to cloud hosting services smoothly.

Help You Boost up Your Productivity

You can attain the highest level of productivity if Kubernetes is well-executed into your engineering workflow. Drone and other such tools support making CI/CD pipelines swiftly and Prometheus makes the monitoring process easier. Everything is tailored precisely as per your needs with K8s massive array of technologies. Kubernetes ecosystem offers the maximum of its tools free to be used and are open-source which is a big add on benefit.

Kubernetes Cloud-native Tech Stack Attracts Talents

According to reports by Stack Overflow Developer Survey 2019, Kubernetes is ranked 3rd and is the most preferred platform to work on. Many software engineers demand to work in companies that deploy cutting-edge technologies.

Your technology stack and procedures can be very attractive with an integrated and effective workflow for possible candidates. Also, your present workforce will get inspired to work on new technology which boosts the contentment in your development teams and can reduce member turnover in the future. In short, it’s a material benefit for your company.

Future of Kubernetes….

Kubernetes is on the verge of rising performance at present because organizations are deploying Kubernetes and due to the development of mobile apps. This is just the commencement of the new ways to adhere to the edge computing, managed cloud hosting services, and machine-learning. Kubernetes is doing a marvelous job in transforming the world and it has a long way to go.

The above-given piece of content suffices all the questions you had regarding implementing Kubernetes. Finally, it all depends on your specific needs and priorities whether you wish to deploy it or not. 

Layer One Networks can be your best cloud computing services partner with well-managed cloud hosting services.

Reach out for any of your Cloud Computing needs on 361.653.6800.

Happy Reading!!

 

System Integration

How WhatsApp is Competing with Zoom & Google Meets

An extraordinary increase in the use of video and audio conferencing is one of the many impacts of COVID-19.  

In addition to the tragic personal toll and loss of lives, we all know COVID-19 brought comprehensive corporate impacts which are being felt globally across all sectors. The technology realm is no exception. Consider the changes we’ve seen in the use of the internet to communicate. With many people self-quarantined for weeks or months, many countries imposing isolation orders, and so many individuals working from home, millions of people who had never used VoIP or video conferencing before suddenly have a huge need for ways to connect with others in new ways.

How have the major VoIP service providers reacted to the huge demands created by the Coronavirus pandemic?

The VoIP service provider, Zoom, has become the early champion. Zoom use jumped from 10 million daily users in December to above 200 million in March. It has become the defining app of the coronavirus era.

Zoom owes it huge popularity to its straightforward interface. The app is easy to learn and it’s super user-friendly even for people who are uncomfortable with technology. The Zoom app allows people to connect with others for almost any purpose, whether it’s working remotely, joining a fitness class, completing online education, or keeping in touch with family and friends – all while adhering to social distancing norms.

But as Zoom use soared, people started looking at the security and privacy features of the app, learning that the app wasn’t as safe as claimed by the company. The calls were not entirely end-to-end encrypted, and data was leaked over to Facebook. Although the company promised fixes as soon as possible, some companies instructed staff to move to substitutes.

Google Meets by Google, with Hangouts video conferencing app for G Suite subscribers, offers one alternative that is giving tough competition to Zoom. Folks preferring Google Meets will get some new features in a couple of weeks. Javier Soltero, VP of Google informed Reuters that Meet will soon be united with Gmail to make it easier for users to join calls. The app will be revamped with a new layout that will allow up to 16 call participants at once like Zoom. Also, some background noise will be filtered out, including slamming doors and keyboard clicks. Meet will also deliver better video quality improvements suitable for low-lit environments. And these upgrades will not cost a single extra penny!

Also, Microsoft Teams saw extraordinary demand from a new remote global workforce. This helped Teams to get more traction in the consumer sphere, helping Microsoft to expand the scope of Teams to target a larger consumer base.

Finally, people all over the world began turning to WhatsApp video call and voice calls more than ever before as people were isolated from their family and friends. Facebook-owned WhatsApp saw a 40% increase in usage that grew from an initial 27% bump in the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic to 41% in the mid-phase. For some of the countries which are in the later phase of the pandemic, WhatsApp usage has increased by 51%. And last month Facebook revealed that video and voice calling in WhatsApp and Messenger have more than doubled in a few markets.

So, it’s quite clear that VoIP service providers have largely benefitted from the current pandemic condition. For personal social interactions and for work, people are adopting these tools at an incredible rate. A myriad of consumer apps are helping people connect across the globe and the usage of all the key social networking apps has grown.

So, it’s WhatsApp vs Zoom vs Google Meets. 

The competition is fierce! We will focus during the remainder of this piece on how WhatsApp is working to compete with the other two top contenders, Zoom and Google Meets.

WhatsApp is preferred by more than 2 billion users globally. So logically, it should be getting the focus when it comes to group WhatsApp video calls. But millions of users have shown a preference for enterprise apps to stay in touch with their loved ones. One of the obvious reasons for this is when people organize group video calls, they tend to switch to platforms they are familiar with from their workplace like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

There is another key reason that users are sidestepping WhatsApp: the WhatsApp video call limit. Until recently, WhatsApp allowed only four participants per video call. Compare that to Teams, which allows 20 participants in a video chat, and Zoom’s free plan, which allows up to 100 participants (although for only 40 minutes). Also, the complete-featured version of WhatsApp is restricted to smartphones.

To address this, WhatsApp recently announced a change to compete with Zoom, Google Meet, and Facebook Messenger. Facebook-owned WhatsApp increased the group WhatsApp video call limit to eight people. The new feature will be first available through a beta version of the app. Although this is a big improvement for WhatsApp, but still doesn’t compare well to its competitors (Google’s Duo raised its call participant limit to 12 recently), WhatsApp is working hard on multi-device support without compromising security. This could be a game-changer for group video calls.

Important: The higher participant limit on WhatsApp calls is only be possible on the latest version of WhatsApp for Android or iPhone.

Facebook also previously introduced Messenger Rooms which can accommodate up to 50 participants without any time limit. The IT company is also planning to add new ways to create rooms from WhatsApp, Portal, and Instagram Direct.

Clearly, security is a main priority and an advantage for WhatsApp. Rather than an email address, WhatsApp is tied to a phone number making the app more secure. And it can be used on both Android and iOS.

Another substantial change made by WhatsApp concerns limiting the number of times a message can be forwarded. The new limit applies to frequently forwarded messages. The limit kicks in once a message has been previously forwarded 5 times or more – then a message can only be forwarded to one chat at a time. According to WhatsApp, this is being done to stop the spread of misinformation during coronavirus and to constrain virality.

How to video chat with up to eight people on WhatsApp?

  • Limited to the latest beta version of WhatsApp

  • Version 2.20.50.25 on iOS and 2.20.133 on Android

  • On top of the group chat, tap on the call icon to make a group call and manually select the participants

  • If your group has more than eight participants, you will have to choose among the participants

The public’s sudden desire for enhanced ways to communicate via the internet due to COVID-19 has created huge opportunities and huge competition for all the VoIP service providers. This intense focus and increased usage are exposing limitations and security challenges. WhatsApp is stepping up to some of these challenges by introducing new features and enhancing its offering to stay in the race and give the biggest competitors a run for the lead.

Share your comments on this blogpost.

Stay Home, Stay Safe!!

System Integration

System Integration: What It Is And How To Do It

system-integration-layer-one-networks

As a business owner or operator (or both!) in this day and age, you’re probably familiar with all the things you’re told you should do with your IT department. Modernize! Integrate! Standardize! Everyone should be using the same technology, the same systems, and it should all be state-of-the-art and probably from the year 3030 or something.

“Yes!” you think, “but how?

We know you’re not made of money. If you’re frustrated by the thought of trying to bring together all the incongruent systems and processes you’ve collected over the years, without spending a huge amount of time and money to make that happen, we can help.

Here’s a quick look at our system integration process—that we designed with businesses like yours in mind:

Define Your Goals

The first step in successful system integration is determining what you want the end product to look like. What features do you have that you want to keep? What are the most important improvements that you need to make with this integration? And, perhaps the most commonly missed step: What improvements would you like to be able to make six or twelve months down the road? By taking the time to visualize your goals, you’ll be able to plan more efficiently and get the most out of your integration process.

Select Your Integration Architecture

Taking into account your current systems, data flow, interfaces, and syncing options, the next step is to decide what your new system will look like when it’s completed. For this step, you may want to bring in an expert IT consultant, since it can involve plotting out highly complex translations between data types, hardware and software requirements, and more. You’ll want to leave no stone unturned and plan out each part of the new system architecture down to the smallest detail. This stage is crucial to the success of your system integration process.

Put the Process in Place

Once the plan is complete, it’s time to build! In simpler system integration processes, this may just mean running updates and installing new software. In others, this may mean coding more efficient data flows between hardware that wasn’t originally designed to communicate with one another, which can be extremely complex—and very difficult without years of experience. Make sure you test your new process over and over again so that there are as few problems as possible when you’re ready to roll out to your team.

Ongoing Maintenance

It’s live! Now that your new integrated system is live, there’s probably a few bugs to work out and updates to make. But even then, your work isn’t done. Even after your team has worked out all the initial issues, and your business is operating at maximum efficiency with standardized systems across the board—you can’t just “fix it and forget it.” You’ll need to have a plan for ongoing maintenance, so that as technology continues to update, you can stay updated as well.

Ready to start your system integration? We can help you blend together disparate systems, enable communication between existing technology, and improve performance across the board—without requiring that you dump thousands of dollars into replacing hardware with the latest models. If that sounds like exactly what you’re looking for, contact Layer One Networks today.