Happy birthday to us! virtualDCS celebrates 10 years of cloud innovation

virtualDCS will be celebrating in style on the 1st September, looking back at a decade of success in the Cloud.

A blog by Richard May, Managing Director.

The Cloud was born here in Leeds. In 2005 the virtualDCS team, working at the ICM Computer Group, built the first ever VMware cloud platform. We also signed the first ever UK lead initiative to provide rented VMware resources. This model is now the cloud as we know it today.

happy birthday virtualDCS - cloud computing expertsAfter many Coffee shop meetings after work, we decided to create virtualDCS and focus on this new IT explosion. Today, we’re still acting as catalysts for change within the industry, with benchmarks such as being the ‘first VMware Service Provider Enterprise partner’ to being one of the largest Veeam Cloud Connect providers in Europe.

Our UK hosted cloud platform now spans multiple sites and is arguably the most mature UK owned cloud platform in the country. This is another accolade we are very proud of.   

With many of our first employees still at the company, our recruitment approach of employing apprentices has been great for us. 10 years and we still have every single one of them. This is why we see our company as a shining example of how the Apprentice Scheme can help people reach their full potential.

Looking toward the future

Now we’ve hit this milestone, we’re not planning on sitting back with our feet up. We’ve just welcomed Colin Meakin as a new non-executive director into the team. We’ve also expanded our support department and are currently recruiting for new business development managers and administrative assistants.

We’ve also just recertified our ISO 27001 status and are working hand in hand with Veeam to launch a new service that the industry hasn’t seen before.

So, how do we do it all, you ask? Looking back it’s safe to say we owe a lot of our success to our fantastic employees. Our strong business values also play a part.

What are our values?

If you split virtualDCS in half like a stick of rock, these values would be right down the middle:

Be dependable – to do what we say we will when we say we will.

To be consistently innovative – We’re always looking to improve, both in business and technology.

Be easy to do business with – Any action that we take makes our customer’s lives easier.

To be an awesome place to work – We want our employees to enjoy coming to work and our customers excited to visit us.

10 years on we’ve still got our first ever customer, and yes, they still enjoy visiting us. As well ensuring our high standards, these values have seen us supporting the community doing many weird and wonderful things, from 7 seated charity bike rides to bring your pet to work week.

With so few businesses managing to hit this milestone, we’re delighted that we’ve reached our 10th birthday. We’re now looking forward to the next 10.

If you’d like to speak to us in more detail about our solutions and our company, we’re always on the other end of the phone. Just call 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk.

The right Disaster Recovery solution saves time and money

As the old saying goes, time is money and to save money, you shouldn’t be wasting time. The right plan and Disaster Recovery solution can save both.

Believe us, we know it’s a manic job to manage an IT department and we’ve seen first-hand how many different tasks managers have to juggle just to keep operations running smoothly, let alone finding the time to evaluate their current Disaster Recovery solution.

disaster recovery solutionFor me, when I think about Disaster Recovery, two phrases come to mind. The first one is the one above, and the second is the cliché expression that ‘failing to prepare means preparing to fail’.

Save time with planning

Although these may sound like obvious things to consider, in a recent Business Continuity preparedness survey, a staggering 31.5%  of organisations admitted that they didn’t have a complete Disaster Recovery plan in place.

If your business is one of the 31.5%, just imagine how much time and effort it would take attempting to find (if it’s at all possible) or recreate this lost information. If it can’t be recreated, how much money would this scenario cause the business to lose?

Again, I can offer a rough guideline on this. In another Disaster Recovery survey conducted in 2016, 98% of businesses that were reported that a single hour of unplanned downtime would cost their business over $100,000, with 33% reporting that it would cost $1-5 million. When considering the increasing reliance on data from 2016, this value would have only grown.

Save time with technology

Not only does a strong Disaster Recovery plan save time, the right solution also makes a big difference. Traditionally, tape-based backups were a chore, especially when complying with the 3-2-1 rule. Not only would you have to manually back up each device on a regular schedule, you’d also have to transport a copy of the information off-site.

If only one file needed retrieving, you’d also have to allocate time to finding and restoring the specific file. The file type and size could also add extra time on to this total.

Thanks to the cloud and advances in technology, the process of backing up and retrieving information has revolutionised. If you’re interested, you can read more about the evolution of traditional solutions in our blog ‘tape vs. cloud backup’.

Available solutions

At virtualDCS, one Disaster Recovery solution we offer to our customers is Off-Site backup, utilising Veeam Cloud Connect technology. As its one of our leading services, I’m going to use it as an example to highlight the resource saving features that are available in the market, today.

With this particular cloud solution, your department can take control of its data, with the ability to access and recover hosted repositories from one central console. There’s no wait time and cheesy hold music as you don’t have to contact any external parties for assistance.

The department could also track repository consumption with ease, quickly restore entire Virtual Machines or search and restore a single file a within a couple of clicks. This is infinitely faster than non-cloud solutions. The right cloud solution can also provide these services at a lower cost than traditional tape-based solutions. If you’d like to hear more about Veeam Cloud Connect, follow this link.

If you’d like to speak to virtualDCS about finding the right Disaster Recovery solution and how we can make your life easier,  give us a call on 03453 888 327 or drop an email to enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk We’re more than happy to help. 

big data security - cloud security

Why should you Backup Microsoft Office 365?

Even though Microsoft aims to offer an ‘always accessible’ service, the one thing it doesn’t provide is a comprehensive backup solution.

There’s a common misconception that Microsoft automatically backs up Microsoft Office 365 data, but the truth is that Microsoft only offers the very limited protection of a recycle bin and mail box preserver feature.

backup microsoft office 365

Recent industry reports tell us that 70% of data lost from Software as a Service applications is due to accidental deletion, or through the malicious deletion of files by end users.

We’ll tell you more about these features below, but the bottom line is if an IT manager isn’t backing up information independently, they’re simply leaving data at risk. It is the organisation’s responsibility to protect the information directly and the only way to do this is with a hybrid solution.

 

Standard Microsoft Office 365 tools aren’t enough

Microsoft allows the business administrator to customise the organisation’s data retention period within a recycle bin before the data is automatically deleted. Although this feature allows the data to be retained for longer it will use up disk space rapidly and create considerable expense.

Another protection feature provided through Microsoft Office 365 is the ability to preserve a mailbox for a period of time when a user leaves the organisation. If this is not retained before the user leaves, or if the user decides to manually empty all folders the information is permanently lost.

 

An alternative solution – Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365

For any Microsoft Office 365 customers looking to protect their data, we’re more than happy to recommend Veeam Cloud Connect. As a Veeam partner, we’ve seen first-hand on many, many occasions how powerful the backup solution is.

Working together, we can help you to:
  • Take control of your Microsoft office 365 data
  • Reduce time and effort restoring your emails
  • Migrate email data between Microsoft Office 365 and on-premise Exchange
  • Protect against data loss scenarios that aren’t covered by Microsoft’s recycle bin or preserve mailbox facilities.

 

You can read more here or contact the team below for more information and a free 30 day trial of Veeam Cloud Connect. Together we can protect the information vital to your business.


Yorkshire risks pouring £4.4 million profit down the drain

Another widespread Ransomware crisis such as WannaCry would cost the region millions, as staggering survey results show that Yorkshire is unprepared for a widespread ransomware attack.

The recent attack on the NHS was devastating to all involved, but it is only one of thousands of viruses that can hold and destroy business information at will.

virtualDCS - disaster recoveryThe outbreak brought a significant amount of attention to the threat of cyber-criminals but businesses still need to be aware of other risks to their data, such as natural events and IT incidents as recently witnessed at British Airways.

In both of these cases, a comprehensive Business Continuity plan could have had the organisations productive again within minutes.

Coincidentally these events happened around the time that virtualDCS decided to repeat its investigation into Yorkshire Disaster Recovery preparedness. Participants were asked to complete a survey and number of questions based around their existing strategies.

Currently, in Yorkshire, there are 200 medium sized businesses actively working and contributing to an impressive regional turnover of £27bn. From emails to invoices and images, these businesses need their data to function successfully, however, virtualDCS discovered that around 144 of these businesses are currently at risk due to a lack of Disaster Recovery preparedness.

Out of all the participants surveyed, only 41% of businesses were confident that they had a Disaster Recovery plan in place. What’s even more concerning is that nearly half of those surveyed had already lost or potentially lost important information over the last two years and have chosen to leave themselves unprotected.

virtualDCS - disaster recoveryCurrently, almost three-quarters of businesses within the region are happy to lose over 24 hours’ worth of business data at any time which, given a widespread disaster, would cost the region at least £4.4 million profit.

If participants were struck by flooding, a virus or hardware failure they may be unable to operate – putting both the business and employees at risk.

This frightening statistic doesn’t only apply to SMEs within the region, as 28% of those surveyed had a business turnover of over £10 million, with 44% having 51+ employees.

Despite these concerning statistics, there has been a positive change within the region overall, with the number of businesses that continually protect their data has increasing by 8%.

Businesses were also generally more confident in their overall continuity plans than the previous year, with a 2% increase in businesses with an active recovery plan in place.

The results also uncovered that:

  • If an IT incident was to occur, 28% of companies don’t know if they’d be able to restore their information.
  • Only 29% of businesses continuously protected their data.
  • 13% of businesses knew they wouldn’t be able to recover all of their data after an incident. Last year this figure was 15%.

We’ve created an infographic to break down the results and compared them to last year’s findings.

VIEW FULL INFOGRAPHIC HERE

For more information contact virtualDCS on 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk

Why cloud disaster recovery?

Regardless of the industry or size of your business, preserving your data is critical to its survival.

93% of organisations that lose data due to an incident are bankrupt within two years. Traditional continuity methods have been proven to be expensive, difficult to manage and increasingly unreliable.

Cloud backup is now a more popular and efficient solution, but why?

Options for Offsite Disaster Recovery

You think you’re doing everything right, backing up your data on a regular basis and checking your backup configurations are up to date. Yet, when a pipe bursts in your building and leaks on your equipment, you lose your critical data within a matter of minutes.

disaster recoveryIn order to accurately protect your information, you must also move it off-site. Many organisations store their backup technology on-site, exposing the only copy of their data to risk from disasters such as fires, floods and storms.

The time and money spent recreating lost data is costly, not only in lost productivity but in terms of lost revenue and customer goodwill.  With cloud-based disaster recovery, your data could be backed up or replicated off-site within minutes.

Fast restoration

When disaster strikes, you don’t have the luxury of waiting hour on hour to recover your data. Your organisation cannot afford the cost of downtime or lost revenue, but with real-time replication, you could restore your up to date information rapidly.

Simplicity

The unpleasant reality is that tape-based backup is time-consuming and tedious. While organisations know that they must protect their data, those with limited IT staff would prefer to focus their time on more strategic projects central to the business. Cloud disaster recovery solutions reliably and automatically offload these functions, freeing staff to work with a more direct impact on your business.

Reliability

Cloud backup solutions automatically transmit changes in files and databases to a secure, off-site facility, so your staff can achieve this level of backup with minimal effort. Greatly increasing reliable protection of your organisation’s data.

Get predictable costs and simpler budgeting

Not only does cloud DR protect your data, it could also protect your cash flow by offering predictable budgeting and costs, with no surprises.

1 2