Microsoft inspires with Azure Stack

Azure Stack-powered systems
Microsoft announces Azure Stack

After more than a year of building buzz and excitement, Microsoft has officially announced the availability of Azure Stack-powered systems from Microsoft partners such as Dell EMC, Lenovo, and HP Enterprise. The update was announced during the Inspire conference and other partners such as Huawei and Cisco will launch their systems in the near future too.

What is Azure Stack?

In May 2015 Microsoft announced a set of products which enabled you to create your own version of the Microsoft Azure cloud, in your own data center.

Traditionally, Azure has been an internet-based service where you can get unlimited pay-as-you-go computing power, based in Microsoft’s global data centers. Azure Stack systems are game changers, as you can plug them into your data center, and they’ll mesh together the existing servers into a system which works pretty much like the real thing. Based on the model and plan you choose, your billing will depend on how much you use Azure Stack, or how much computing capacity you end up utilizing.

Why should you care?

This is a big deal for companies not willing or unable to move their own infrastructure into public cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud. Most companies simply want to remain in control of their data and for few others the reasons could be security, regulatory and/or data sovereignty issues.

The Hybrid Cloud?

We’ve written about how Hybrid cloud management is creating a new set of challenges for organizations today. Not every customer can leverage the efficient resource utilization and developer tools that the public cloud offers, instead they choose to transition in phases and this is done by moving each application to the cloud; one by one.

This is where Azure Stack comes in, a solution which works just like Azure, but on your very own servers. Since it’s pretty much the same set of tools and infrastructure, it’s simple to lift and shift applications, workloads, and infrastructure components from an Azure Stack installation in a local data center and into the Azure public cloud.

What next?

Azure Stack Development Kit
ASDK available for download

Integrated systems with Azure Stack from Microsoft partners, will be available in 46 countries. These are meant for multi-server production deployments, and to enable developers the company has launched a free single-server kit (the Azure Stack Development Kit), for download.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NetEnrich for more news and insights. As always, for further help and expertise on Azure, talk to us, the Azure experts.

Microsoft Inspire 2017 – Digital Transformation through Partners

Partner-led ethos, says Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft at Microsoft Inspire 2017.
Satya Nadella focus on partner-led ethos

“The ethos of being partner-led is always going to be in everything we do” – Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft at Inspire 2017.

This partner focus set the tone for the announcements during the keynotes on the first day of Microsoft Inspire 2017. Some of the major announcements were:

 

  • Digital Transformation the focus

    The opportunity that digital transformation offers partners in huge.
    Digital Transformation opportunity

Digital transformation was a key theme at the conference and Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft, made it clear that it would go down that path through partners. This opens up a $4.5 trillion opportunity from digital transformation to partners. Microsoft believes, these transformation outcomes will also include optimizing operations and empowering employees.

  • Partnership with KPMG

Microsoft has teamed up with KPMG to deliver Clara, a new smart audit platform, fully powered by Azure. The comprehensive, cloud-based platform allows professional services firm to let its member firms conduct external financial statement audits. It is an accompaniment to Microsoft 365, a new go to market approach for its commercial offerings. The partnership with KPMG is part of a broader push to showcase the capabilities of Microsoft’s public cloud Azure.

 

  • Microsoft 365

    Microsoft 365 enabling digital transformation
    Microsoft 365 enabling digital transformation
  • This post from Kirk Koenigsbauer, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Office, provides details about the new Microsoft 365 subscriptions announced during the keynote.

    While Microsoft 365 Enterprise is large organization focused, Microsoft 365 Business is small & medium sized business focused. According to Forrester Consulting, Microsoft 365 Enterprise increases partner revenue opportunity by more than 50 percent vs. selling and deploying Office 365 alone.

    Microsoft EVP of worldwide commercial business, Judson Althoff said, “Microsoft 365 puts people at the center, giving them flexibility to work where and how they want, and giving them new ways to collaborate with others — all while protecting company data.”

    • Microsoft 365 Enterprise:
      1. Unlocks creativity by enabling people to work naturally with ink, voice and touch, all backed by tools that utilize AI and machine learning
      2. Provides the broadest and deepest set of apps and services with a universal toolkit for teamwork, giving people flexibility and choice in how they connect, share and communicate
      3. Simplifies IT by unifying management across users, devices, apps and services
      4. Helps safeguard customer data, company data and intellectual property with built-in, intelligent security
    • Microsoft 365 Business
      1. Helps companies achieve more together by better connecting employees, customers and suppliers.
      2. Empowers employees to get work done from anywhere, on any device.
      3. Protects company data across devices with always-on security.
      4. Simplifies the set-up and management of employee devices and services with a single IT console.
  • Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 apps and LinkedIn integrations available, including LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365 for Sales. The new Dynamics 365 for Talent and Dynamics 365 for Retail solutions to be released by the end of the month. More sales and marketing apps are available for the Dynamics 365 Insider program.

  • Azure Stack

An extension of the Azure public cloud, developed to target businesses that are still keen to stick with on-premises environments. Azure Stack is now available for hardware partners HPE, Dell, EMC, and Lenovo. Cisco and Huawei to join soon.

  • ISV Cloud Embed

Partners can purchase core Dynamics 365, Power BI, Power Apps and Microsoft Flow capabilities (business applications platforms) as embeddable building blocks, at discounts of up to 50 per cent. App developers can build on top of their unique IP and partners can showcase their apps on Microsoft AppSource.

  • Co-Sell Investment

Microsoft to hire dedicated Channel Managers who will be 100% focused on supporting partners go to market efforts, helping ensure their solutions reach new customers and integrating with Microsoft’s co-sell motion. This represent a quarter of a billion dollar investment that materially increases Microsoft’ partner-dedicated personnel, and adds to Azure co-sell incentives.

Against the backdrop of all these announcements, Microsoft is changing its approach to selling with partners and establishing new incentives. It is shifting from paying its field sales on the basis of billed revenue rather than paying on the basis of consumed revenue.

Stay tuned for more regarding partner focused initiatives from Microsoft, during the course of the Inspire 2017!

Top 7 Risks in Cloud Migrations and Mitigation Strategies

Top 7 Risks in Cloud Migrations and Mitigation Strategies
How can you avoid risks with Cloud Migrations?

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk…In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg

The Cloud is here to stay. The Cisco Global cloud index forecast 2015-20, forecasts that by 2020, 92 percent of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers.

One of the challenges faced by IT teams in organizations across the globe, is to plug in a cloud migration strategy into their overall IT business strategy. IT teams need to have a clear understanding of their business requirements, a holistic view of cloud possibilities, risks and mitigation strategies to choose the right cloud computing model and the right cloud service provider for their business.

An overview of the three kinds of cloud computing models (and the typical challenges they create in migration) is a good place to start in the decision making process.

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service (AWS, Azure, Google Compute Engine)

PaaS – Platform as a Service (examples: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, Google App Engine)

SaaS – Software as a Service (examples: Google Apps, Salesforce)

Cloud computing models to help decide the cloud migration strategy
Cloud computing models

According to Richard Watson of Gartner, “Choosing the optimal application-migration option is a decision that cannot be made in isolation. Any cloud-migration decision is, in essence, an application or infrastructure modernization decision and needs to be approached in the broader context of related application portfolio management and infrastructure portfolio management programs. This decision is not solely an issue of migration but is truly one of optimization: Which cloud platform and migration techniques offer the chance to optimize the application’s contribution to stated and implied business and IT goals? Those business and supporting IT goals, described next, should be driving any cloud migration decision — not a rush to experiment with new toys.”

When considering the various application and workload migration options, it is important that you also consider the risks involved in cloud migration and the mitigation strategies for each of them.

Risks in Cloud Migration and Mitigation Strategies

1. Intricate Architecture: 

The chances of a cloud migration failing increase with complexity or intricacy of the architecture.
Complexity or intricacy of the architecture

The chances of a cloud migration failing increase in direct proportion to the complexity or intricacy of the architecture. Data rich applications are most often dependent on multiple elements and environments.

Migration Strategy: Manage only one complex architecture, usually the one existing on-premise. Design architecture in such a way that it interacts with, and consumes data that is based and stored in the enterprise’s IT environment.

2. Multiple Dependencies:

Multiple dependencies with on-premises environments creates problems during lift and shift.

Mitigation Strategy: The best bet is to consider solutions that test before migration and which identify and remedy the differences in environments. Seek the services of a cloud services provider who is able to replicate or offer services that are relevant to your way of doing things on-premise.

3. Data Gravity:

Data gravity decides application cloud migration
Data gravity decides application cloud migration

Data Gravity is the situation where it becomes difficult to test if an application plus its data works properly in the cloud, because most replication-based migration tools require data to be moved first, and the application second, thus creating an improper sequencing problem.

Migration Strategy: Only use live migration approaches and tools that stream the whole instance. Live migration eliminates the need for complex system synchronization and thus avoids consistency issues.

4. Management And Control Of The Data Streams Within The Heterogeneous Environment

Databases that require a consistent view and transactional production servers that continuously generate or update data are an issue. Once the data is migrated, the system must track and synchronize new changes to the production application. There are security concerns about storing production data in the public cloud, because of lack of control on multiple and different data repositories across the many different IT environments.

Migration Strategy: Look for solutions that offer direct and secured connectivity in and out of the cloud, and implement them in a highly available configuration.

5. Cloud Gravity

Workload mobility is required for effective cloud migrations
Workload mobility for effective migration

IT teams require workload mobility for effective data and workload migration to ensure it does not adversely affect business or introduce costs.

Migration Strategy: In case of enterprise applications that are data-rich, then evaluate migration solutions for speed and simplicity. And for portability and interoperability of stateless applications in a multi-cloud strategy, using containers is a good idea.

6. Latency:

Added latency when using cloud applications over the Internet is an issue that a lot of applications face.

Migration Strategy:  Use optimization services from a cloud service provider to help tide over latency issues.

7. Architectural difference:

Modifications may be required as your application design and architecture may not completely follow distributed cloud architectures.

Migration Strategy:  The way to go ahead in these cases is to do a piece-by-piece evaluation and move only pertinent features.

Choosing a cloud service provider may seem like a tight-rope walk, in the decision making stage. The best way forward is to study your desired architecture thoroughly and make sure you choose a cloud resource that works for your enterprise at scale, helps manage fluctuations,  and supports migration of key applications.  All this needs to be done without adding complexity, compromising the data, or locking you in.

Register for the upcoming Microsoft Inspire conference, July 9–13, 2017 at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. It is a great place to network, learn and collaborate with large managed cloud vendors.

Learn how NetEnrich helps CSPs, VARs and MSPs, get their foot in the door with white-labeled Azure migration assessments services and seal the deal.

Getting more clients with Managed Services for Azure

Managed Services for Azure can help you get more clients
How can you get more of your clients on the cloud?

It’s no secret that enterprises are seeing significant advantages with cloud technologies such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS, and are keen to optimize their IT infrastructure, by deploying in the public cloud. According to IDC, the Cloud market, including cloud services, hardware, and software, will grow from nearly $70 billion in 2015 to more than $141 billion in 2019. The cloud is more flexible and scalable than on-premise infrastructure because it’s more difficult and time-consuming to invest in new equipment as technology continues to evolve.

The Importance of Service Providers (SPs)

As more and more companies become intent on moving all or parts of their IT infrastructure to the cloud, the service providers that survive will be the ones that help their clients get on the cloud, rather than avoid it. According to a recent survey 56% of businesses seek external service providers for their cloud strategy and Gartner, Inc., states that by 2018, more than 40% of enterprises will have implemented hybrid data centers, up from 10% today.

This is a great opportunity for service providers like you to gain a competitive advantage by offering your clients better solutions at lower costs. Managed services for Azure, AWS, and other cloud technologies can help you do this.

Service Provider Challenges for Cloud Services

Challenges for providing managed services for Azure
What’s stopping service providers from providing Cloud Services?

Not all service providers are created equal – there’s a wide range of obstacles which can prevent you from providing cloud services. Are any of these challenges giving you sleepless nights?

  1. Lack of expertise in solution design: For traditional service providers, it’s a race against time to build, train, & retain in-house technical experts. New service providers who offer only cloud solutions are better positioned as they’re not tied into any existing business models or margins. Creating comprehensive solutions for cloud and planning migrations isn’t an easy task either. Forward-looking service providers need to become an integral part of the cloud ecosystem, rather than ignoring it.
  2. Inability to provide workload management operations: While a public services cloud provider such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS can provide basic management of compute, storage, and networks, clients still need to manage the workloads running in the public cloud. Enterprise workloads use various native cloud resources for user management, collaboration, application integration, or analytics. Managing cloud services is entirely different from on-premise environment management. The monitoring parameters, metrics management, troubleshooting, workloads performance tracking, network management, storage usages, and dependencies with cloud operators are unique challenges and service providers need to build in-depth knowledge to service clients better.
  3. Limited knowledge of automation and tools: Automation and the right tools can improve your productivity, increase efficiency, reliability, and consistency of operations, while reducing defects and risks. Workflow, workload, and IT Process automation are critical to serve more clients effectively. Automation can help you take command of traditional and agile infrastructure, cloud, and more, to provide better visibility, control, and improved service levels. Platforms such as Vistara, can help you provide centralized availability, asset and automation management, pro-active care, remote control and compliance.

Regardless of the challenges, moving to managed cloud services is inevitable. However, implementing, managing and monitoring all of your clients’ cloud deployments can be a time-consuming, expensive process, especially while trying to provide managed services for Azure. According to Microsoft Azure cloud strategist James Staten, nearly every enterprise now has at least one relationship with a managed service provider – and that’s for a good reason.

The opportunity – Managed Cloud Services

Are you clueless about how you can monetize cloud? Getting your clients to adopt cloud and managing their assets differs from managing on-premise infrastructure. The customer has ownership control of the assets to be managed with a traditional on-premise environment, whereas cloud-based assets are owned and operated by a cloud provider. The service provider is responsible for monitoring additional aspects of the customer’s operations, such as cloud service availability, security, and quality of service.

Embrace the cloud

Managed services for Azure can increase margins
It’s time to capitalize on Managed Services for Azure

“Gray skies are just clouds passing over.” – Duke Ellington

Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Value Added Resellers (VARs), Large Service Providers, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and Hosters need to embrace the future of technology. The cloud is clearly not going away and services, such as managed services for Azure, are a critical requirement for service providers. If you wait too long to explore your cloud options, you may risk losing business to competitors who are evolving quickly.

By providing managed cloud services, you can help your clients:

  • Adopt cloud computing and modernize their IT, giving them a unique differentiator
  • Achieve 30-60% savings in overall IT costs
  • Enable 99.999% availability of their hybrid cloud infrastructure and applications
  • Increase performance and agility to auto scale their infrastructure on demand
  • Optimize their public cloud usage and efficiently use cloud resources

Microsoft Inspire 2017 – Connections that transform your business

Previously known as the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), Microsoft Inspire 2017 is easily the biggest event of the year for Microsoft Partners. It boasts of hosting over 16,000 attendees from over 130 countries, and is a week of learning, making connections, and exchanging ideas. This year the event will be hosted in Washington, D.C. from July 9th – 13th and is expected to be bigger than ever before. The goal of the conference is to enable Microsoft partners to accelerate business and increase their profitability.

Don’t miss Microsoft’s biggest partner event of the year!

Managed Services for Azure
Visit us at Microsoft Inspire 2017

Meet us at the event (Booth 1115) to learn how you can leverage NetEnrich’s white-labeled, industrialized and packaged solutions for Cloud, Datacenter/Network, and Security Management to:

  • Increase win rates and monthly recurring revenues
  • Improve margins by up to 40 percent
  • Deliver higher volume of services without losing control

5 Reasons why you need a Channel Partner for Cloud Managed Services

5 Reasons you need a Channel Partner for Cloud Managed Services

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”  – Michael LeBoeuf

Gartner predicts the worldwide public cloud managed services market will grow 18% in 2017 to $246.8B, up from $209.2B in 2016. As the cloud service provider (CSP) market has grown, it has evolved from a one-service-fits-all model to include niche services such as assessment, disaster recovery, backup, migration, and more. This disrupts legacy technology service provider business models built on implementing, hosting, or reselling computing infrastructure. As a result, many cloud service provider (CSPs) and value added reseller (VARs) are being left behind.

If you are a VAR, a CSP or MSP, there’s a good chance some of these challenges give you sleepless nights.  While some struggle to increase their win rates and monthly recurring revenues, others see continuously reducing margins. Most are unable to deliver larger volumes of service.

The partner ecosystem may be your answer to some or most of these challenges. An effective and reliable channel partner can help:

Empower you to deliver higher volumes of service

Deliver high volumes of service for Cloud Managed Services
Empower to deliver higher volumes of service

Whatever the size of your customers’ servers, data centers or devices, your partnership with a reliable, large channel partner will ensure you deliver on every one of your service level agreements to tight timelines.  It ensures you never have to worry about availability of necessary resources, allowing you to do up to 3X more migrations at 60% lower costs.

Assure increased MRR with no added investment

Increase Monthly Recurring Revenue with Cloud Managed Services
Channel partners can assure increased MRR with no added investment

Large channel partners continuously invest in people, processes and tools. It means you, as a CSP or VAR, can onboard customers and deliver higher volumes of service, at the blink of an eye. With cloud essentially being a pay-as-you-go and your clients getting cloud optimized solutions, you stand to gain from the monthly recurring revenue it ensures. Some CSPs and MSPs who have teamed up with large channel partners have seen MRRs go up to 70 percent.

Ensure peace of mind

Automation of Cloud Managed Services
Ensure peace of mind

Lack of expertise in solution design and high upfront investments in tools, automation and scripting is not going to pull you back any more. Your channel partners have the technology, processes and service factory teams to power your end-to-end services for backup, disaster recovery, application workload management, virtualized machines, storage, IaaS, PaaS, and hybrid cloud management. Some of them partner with you every step of the way, from assessments through managed services. 

Enable end-to-end cloud transformation

End-to-end cloud transformations for Cloud Managed Services
Enable end-to-end cloud transformation

Most of these large channel partners help you prove the cloud ROI to your customers with their white-labelled cloud assessment reports. They evaluate and identify the right applications to move to cloud and determine target operating models, technologies and processes needed.

Ensure a larger share of profit

Profit more from Cloud Managed Services
Ensure a larger share of profit

Some of these large channel partners have ensured CSPs and VARs keep a larger share of the profits. A few have seen an increase in margins by up to 50 percent.

Partnering with large channel partners will allow you to focus on and build stronger and lasting client relationships. Profit from the trained in-house technical cloud experts with comprehensive knowledge of scripting, automation and tools that they have on their rolls. They help you significantly lower upfront investments, reduce costs, increase margins and address all complexity, strategic, and economic needs, with their comprehensive suite of offerings.

Register for the MS Inspire, July 9–13, 2017 at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. It is a great place to network, learn and collaborate with large channel partners of Microsoft. You will stand to gain from partnering with a reliable highly recommended channel partner!

Stay in command of your clients’ IT environment, as your channel partner co-manages the environment, with migrations and solutions, part of Cloud Managed Services. You will be able to execute multiple projects at the same time as they help reduce turnaround times, increase roll-outs, and offer predictable, high quality delivery execution.

Learn how NetEnrich has helped a solution integrator turn into a managed services provider ensuring monthly recurring revenues.

How Can SOC Secure Your Hybrid Cloud Deployments?

Cloud computing is a key priority for CIOs looking to modernize their IT and benefit from an on-demand, pay as you go model. This is resulting in the slow extinction of massive internal IT systems. The cloud is being used by enterprises for various business reasons, however aligning multiple cloud infrastructures with existing on-premise assets is a very complex and cumbersome process.

Cloud is a new, ever evolving paradigm shift. If you’re adopting public cloud services such as Azure or AWS or using a private cloud, you still require a managed cloud services provider to monitor and manage these hybrid cloud environment. Enterprises need managed cloud services for the following reasons:

  • While a public services cloud provider such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS provide basic management of compute, storage and network, you still needs to manage your own workloads running in the public cloud.
  • You may have workloads running in a public cloud which uses various cloud resources for compute, storage, and network. The workload may be using native cloud services for user management, collaboration, application integration or analytics. All these building block services and cloud resources have to be monitored and managed.
  • Comprehensive Security Operations Center (SOC) to prevent, detect, analyze, and respond to cyber security incidents, using both technology and precise procedures.

The increase in hybrid environments is a challenge to manage security. Cyber-security has long been gaining momentum and mind share within executive teams of large enterprises. It poses a real threat to not just large enterprises but also to small and mid-market enterprises.

An efficient SOC analyses threats from malware to phishing attacks through a sequence of tools. It reduces the time and impact of security incidents that deny, degrade, disrupt and exploit your business operations. A SOC monitors, manages and reports security incidents real-time and provides post-incident analysis. It helps identify and respond before the incidents cause damage and helps recover from them in a reasonable time. Well defined policies and procedures are integral to an effective and efficient SOC.

A Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) approach is the backbone of a smooth functioning SOC. The size and scale of a SOC depends on the size of your business and the amount of sensitive data it is built to protect, and the potential threats.

A SOC from a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) is cost effective (with no upfront capital expenditure) and provides access to the security expertise, research, scalability, flexibility and threat intelligence of the MSSP, streamlined and optimized for the highest level of efficiency and effectiveness for your organization 24×7. They also help you meet any compliance and governance that need to be met in your industry of operation.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to invest in cybersecurity tools.

Service providers with historical core offerings for Network and Data Center technologies, have a significant advantage compared to “cloud only” Managed Services provider. You can leverage Hybrid (On-prem, DC, Private and Public Cloud) environments and hence improve the network performance and resiliency combined with a robust SOC to increase effectiveness of your Hybrid cloud model.

NetEnrich cyber-security services enable you to have peace of mind while we manage and thwart threats and attacks on your digital perimeter and applications. We provide services to help manage and keep pace with frequently changing compliance requirements, emerging threats, and continuous business demands that create havoc with security posture. Contact us today.

Managing infrastructure in the multi-cloud economy

It’s pretty easy to get lost in a sea of technical jargons. In recent times, “Hybrid Cloud” has been gaining popularity, and for good reason. The term is an accurate and useful way to describe how most organizations are setting up their IT operations.

Cloud computing continues to grow every year. Forrester Research predicts the global cloud computing market will mushroom from $40.7 billion this year to a staggering $241 billion by 2020. The days of massive internal systems are waning. Unless your company is a few months old, you will have a set of IT assets running somewhere. These assets aren’t running themselves for free either. The cloud is being used by enterprises for various objectives, and aligning multiple cloud infrastructures with existing on-premise assets is a complex task for most enterprise IT teams.

The challenge lies in treating the two environments differently. Setting up the tooling and processes required to make hybrid cloud work is a significant hassle. On-premise environments tend to use a lot of manual processes and are generally divided into silos. In the cloud however, processes are implemented in systems and automated workflows help in abolishing traditional silos.

NetEnrich specializes in infrastructure management for companies of all sizes from small and midsize (SMB) to large enterprise. We help companies move to the cloud and manage hybrid cloud, along with delivering remote IT operations and automation to boost efficiencies. Our 1,200+ customers, including global brands such as Disney and GE, along with channel partners like CDI and Ingram Micro, come to NetEnrich because they need help managing and reducing the complexity of modern IT environments.

“With our automation and technology platforms, hundreds of highly-skilled engineers and always-available shared services, we can be extremely efficient on behalf of clients,” says Raju Chekuri, president and CEO of NetEnrich.

The NetEnrich technology platform and practices encompass:

  • Vistara for centrally managing hybrid IT environments across public and private clouds and internal data centers;
  • Support for all cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, and OpenStack, and major networking, security and unified communications (UC) vendors;
  • Industrialized service factory automation software, algorithms, tools, templates, and methodologies;
  • Big data analytics, including use of Hadoop and Cassandra, to enable high-quality IT decision making;
  • Intelligent routing of issues and incidents to the most optimal and lowest cost resources;
  • Artificial intelligence and bot software to automate menial tasks and processes

NetEnrich brings companies the ultimate flexibility to choose only and exactly the services that they wish, based on business goals and efficiency targets. This could entail managing all the networks and sites along with databases and virtual environments, or just a single network.

WannaCry Ransomware Attack: Things you must know

You must have heard about the recent ransomware attack, which has till date affected over 10,000 organizations and 200,000 individuals in over 150 countries! This ransomware is generally being referred to as “WannaCry” and was first reported in May 2017.

NetEnrich is proactively doing our job of staying in front of this as we work to ensure our internal and customer environments are protected.

About WannaCry ransomware

WannaCry ransomware targets and encrypts 176 file types. Some of the file types WannaCry targets are database, multimedia and archive files, as well as Office documents. In its ransom note, it initially demands US$300 worth of Bitcoins from its victims—an amount that increases incrementally after a certain time limit. The victim is also given a seven-day limit before the affected files are deleted—a commonly used fear-mongering tactic.

WannaCry leverages CVE-2017-0144, a vulnerability in Server Message Block, to infect systems. The security flaw is attacked using an exploit leaked by the Shadow Brokers group—the “EternalBlue” exploit, in particular. Microsoft’s Security Response Center (MSRC) Team addressed the vulnerability via MS17-010 released March, 2017.

It propagates to other computers by exploiting a known SMB remote code execution vulnerability in Microsoft Windows computers. (MS17-010)

Best practices for protecting against ransomware

  • New ransomware variants appear on a regular basis. Always keep your security software up to date to protect yourself against them.
  • Keep your operating system and other software updated. Software updates will frequently include patches for newly discovered security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by ransomware attackers.
  • Email is one of the main infection methods. Be wary of unexpected emails especially if they contain links and/or attachments. Do not open unknown links and attachments.
  • Be extremely wary of any Microsoft Office email attachment that advises you to enable macros to view its content. Unless you are absolutely sure that this is a genuine email from a trusted source, do not enable macros and instead immediately delete the email.
  • Backing up important data is the single most effective way of combating ransomware infection. Attackers have leverage over their victims by encrypting valuable files and leaving them inaccessible. If the victim has backup copies, they can restore their files once the infection has been cleaned up. However organizations should ensure that back-ups are appropriately protected or stored off-line so that attackers can’t delete them.
  • Using cloud services could help mitigate ransomware infection, since many retain previous versions of files, allowing you to “roll back” to the unencrypted form.

Click here to learn more about how you can protect yourself from “WannaCry”.

Regular backups of your data can save you a lot of money. It’s important to remember that, unsecured backups can also be encrypted by ransomware. So it’s critical to ensure that backups are not connected to the computers and networks they are supporting.

Our cyber-security services enable you to have peace of mind while we manage and thwart threats and attacks on their client’s digital perimeter and applications. We provide services to help manage and keep pace with frequently changing compliance requirements, emerging threats, and continuous business demands that create havoc with security posture. Contact us to find out about local or regional service providers in your area.

Monitoring in Azure & AWS – What do you gain?

How do you monitor your cloud infrastructure? Azure Monitoring Software and AWS CloudWatch are tools, which help to scan the entire infrastructure, gather and report on performance insights and takes actionable measures.

Microsoft Azure a growing collection of integrated cloud services is used by developers and IT professionals to build, deploy, and manage applications through a global network of datacenters.

It delivers on demand computing, network and storage resources to host, scale and manage Web applications and services, ensuring users focus on their key business goals and objectives rather than on the supporting IT Infrastructure. It is a great way to monitor, manage and optimize your IT infrastructure.

Azure Monitoring Software automatically scans the entire Azure Infrastructure, gathers and reports performance insights and takes actionable measures to optimize performance and mitigate issues. Some of the benefits are:

  1. Seamless Monitoring:

The Azure Monitoring software is an agent-less monitoring software that is quick to start and configure and only requires a simple authorization. It gathers and processes data from the entire Azure Infrastructure on a central dashboard. It can be stretched to monitor multiple virtual servers and virtual machine instances ensuring no performance gap goes unnoticed.

2. Infrastructure Visibility:

The Azure Monitoring software provides system wide data about performance, processes, and issues along with visual charts and graphs to measure system performance against KPI’s. It also provides past infrastructure view to enable us to know how the system behaved that allows us to the root cause of the problem at hand.

3. Instantaneous Notifications:

Azure Monitoring Software provides instant alerts and notifications about production and performance issues, via email, SMS and monitoring dashboards.  The outcome is that IT infrastructure is up and running smoothly 24/7, as production and performance issues are resolved as they strike.

4. Automatic Resolution:

The self-healing techniques in Azure Monitoring Software, can automate the resolution of performance and optimization issues. It triggers and implement automatic remedy process for problematic events by configuring management and recovery procedures.

5. Cost Efficient:

It provides deep insight into the state and level of performance of each Azure resource. The subscription based flat monthly billing, rapidness of implementation and bulk of monitoring and automation features make it the best and most cost effective monitoring system of Azure Infrastructure.

AWS CloudWatch collects metrics from major AWS tools, including Amazon EC2 performance and loads, sends notifications via Amazon SNS, initiates action in response to different events on schedule-basis and also stores instance logs. Its architecture allows it to be used in conjunction with AWS Auto Scaling and AWS Lambda to initiate specific actions, if a metric (or multiple metrics) exceeds or drops below the average.

AWS CloudWatch metrics are unique and represent quantitative measurement (such as CPU Utilization percentage or number of VolumeReadOps), while CloudWatch dimensions describe the quality characteristics of an object that can be further described through metrics. Based on your Amazon Cloudwatch metrics, the EC2 instances can be added or removed using autoscaling.

The major benefits of AWS CloudWatch monitoring are:

  • To ensure your website/cloud and app are always online.
  • To ensure application security for customers using it.
  • To monitor the resultant performance and cost of the application.
  • To troubleshoot and recommend how to avoid existing errors in the future.

These are possible through the AWS CloudWatch Alarms, Events, Dashboards and logs.

CloudWatch Alarms

CloudWatch performs actions on user-specified events, monitors a metric for a defined period of time and acts, when it achieves the specific value. These alarms are most commonly used to increase or decrease current instance capacity and user notifications. They can also be sent to Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) and received as SMS or email messages.

Amazon EC2 instances that are unused or underutilized can be detected or shutdown using CloudWatch alarms.

CloudWatch Events

Events in AWS CloudWatch consists of:

  1. Event – Generated by changes in the state of different AWS resources, by the conditions specified in the code, by AWS CloudTrail or triggered on a schedule basis.
  2. Targets – Represents the endpoints for Events, for example, AWS Lambda function, Amazon SNS topic, Amazon SQS queues, Amazon Kinesis Streams, etc.
  3. Rules – Describe in what way the Event will affect the target

When an event reaches a target, a rule is evoked.

CloudWatch Dashboards

Amazon CloudWatch gives a dashboard view of a combination of different statistics from other AWS services too. It consists of graphs combining different metrics on one dimension. Customizing the widgets within a dashboard gives you an overview of storage cost forecasts, workload, IOPS level, etc.

CloudWatch Logs

Logs are gathered and stored inside AWS cloud storage, where up to 5GB logs are free. They can also be gathered from other AWS resources such as EC2 instances, CloudTrail etc. and you can also decide how long you want them stored for thorough retention policies.

AWS CloudWatch is a perfect answer to track performance, estimate billing and automate tasks for other AWS services.

NetEnrich will help you through the various tough decisions you may need to take, to limit downtime and make the most of either an AWS or Azure investment, as quickly as possible.

 

 

Sources:

https://aws.amazon.com/cloudwatch/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/

Smart Automation – Benefits, trends and the NetEnrich difference

Over the last few decades, physical labor and transactional tasks have been largely automated. With machine learning, advanced data analytics and low-cost computer power, the stage is set for automation in Information Technology (IT) too. Machine and context learning, pattern recognition and evolving artificial intelligence are enabling automation and development of powerful productivity-enhancing technologies.

For example, a Silicon Valley company that analyzes legal documents for pretrial discovery, used computers to scan more than a half million documents and selected the 0.5 percent of them relevant for an upcoming trial in three days, saving several weeks of works for a large team of lawyers.

The benefits of automation are compelling. It improves accountability, efficiency and predictability, while reducing costs, variability and risk.  The time is now ripe to move from opportunistic to systematic automation of IT processes. Automation increases visibility of what’s happening in the production environment, freeing up time to focus on business critical and strategic issues.

Firstly, it is important to list what automation already exists within the organization. Standardize processes and environment as much as possible before you get started on the automation journey. It is better to get rid of the mess within the system than automate the mess!

In most instances, technical staff may have to automate themselves out of a job leading to resistance and non-cooperation. It calls for humane leadership with emphasis and encouragement of a culture of process definition. Organizations also need to make available opportunities for technical staff to move up the value chain.

Gartner predicts that by 2017, 75 percent of enterprises will have more than four diverse automation technologies within their IT management portfolios, up from less than 20 percent in 2014.

A few automation trends to look forward to:

API accessibility: APIs are the preferred connection method for cloud, mobile devices, and just about any end-point. With Representational State Transfer (REST) becoming the dominant model for Web Services, automation solutions must support for APIs by providing true end-to-end connectivity and reusability between APIs and applications, without the need for custom scripting.

Security-Driven Automation: Workload automation solutions will need to add new levels of security to ensure automated user credential management, where access to objects is based on permissions and a visible, reportable audit trail is possible, to trace the changes made and identify them.

Automation for IoT: As IoT makes headway, there is a need to leverage rules-based and policy driven IT automation to interpret processes, understand and recognize dependencies, and perform monitoring that allows communication between people and their devices, and between different devices.

SaaS-Based Offerings or Pay As You Go: As automation solutions begin to support dynamic workload placement and monitoring in hybrid cloud environments SaaS based offerings are starting to make more sense for organizations.

The NetEnrich Differentiator

A Gartner Report of April 2015 listing Cool Vendors in Infrastructure Services describes NetEnrich thus:

“NetEnrich is a pure-play provider of automation and technology-enabled IT infrastructure and operations management services. NetEnrich’s IT services cover the entire spectrum of operation and management of heterogeneous on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud technologies or a combination of those. NetEnrich differentiates itself from other infrastructure management service providers with industrialized, automated IT services and analytics.”

In spite of proven experience in data center outsourcing, infrastructure management and cloud services across many verticals, our focus is on simplifying the hybrid IT management challenge through smart automation and niche expertise.

We don’t want to be the comprehensive IT outsourcing company. But if your company strives at efficiency alongside driving a competitive advantage, while continuing to use the latest infrastructure, technologies and methodologies, we will help you get there.

NetEnrich brings industrialized, automated services and products. We are not into expensive custom-made IT. We deliver expertise in networking, storage and security, across cloud and on premise environments. We offer flexible contracts and pricing, because we believe businesses change all the time. We offer comprehensive white-labeled service offerings of every major cloud provider to our channel partners. We are confident that we are the only service provider that offers NOC and SOC services for hybrid IT infrastructure.

NetEnrich is singularly focused on helping IT service providers and IT leaders become highly strategic partners to the business. Our tools, knowledge of industry best practices and services help build a stable foundation upon which companies can derive market value from technology, not just data and uptime. After all, isn’t it what digital transformation is all about!

 

“Through massive automation, our end clients can cut through the noise to deliver lower cost, higher performing IT services to their users. They can do this using agile, modern platforms like cloud computing and SaaS, enabling them to meet business needs in the moment.” says Raju Chekuri, CEO NetEnrich.