IT Computer Systems for Start-Up Companies
How start-up and small businesses and can get Enterprise level IT/Computer systems.
I was at a business networking event recently and on introducing myself to people at my table I was asked “So what’s this Cloud stuff all about”. I could have done worse than to give the title of this post as the answer.
I’ve had the pleasure of working in a huge range of businesses, either as an employee or consultant, and have seen everything from state of the art, multi-site data centres to single dusty (very) old servers propping up a shelf in the corner of the warehouse office. Yet they all share that one same function in that they are critical to the businesses they support. So what is it that IT departments of the big “Enterprise level” companies have that the smaller firms or start-up businesses also need, and how do they get it without giving the accountant heart failure.
Here’s a quick list of the things that corporate IT departments are expected to provide, things which very often the SMEs and particularly start-up businesses have to compromise on.
- Performance – fast servers, fast disks, fast networks
- Reliability – data centres with uninterruptible power supplies and backup generators; latest Operating System versions with latest patches; performance monitoring to catch a problem before it affects the end user
- Reliance – things shouldn’t stop working just because a server has died; data is securely backed up, backups are taken offsite.
- Security – data needs to be secure behind managed firewalls, viruses are kept at bay, spam is filtered and adherence to local data protection laws can be proven.
- IT Support – probably the most expensive thing the large corporation has in its IT armoury that the small business can’t always afford is the dedicated IT department itself, supporting the user and the infrastructure.
So, how does the small business get this level of IT infrastructure and support? The answer is “Very easily”, and “Very cheaply”, and if you read the first paragraph, this is
what this Cloud stuff is all about. I make no apologies for the fact that this article seeks to promote Your Office Anywhere, but I think the thing that customers and potential customers sometimes miss is that by hosting with us they will be getting a level of IT infrastructure and support that would be the envy of many Enterprise level corporations. Let’s look at an example. A small business owner needs to run his off the shelf accounting package for him and a colleague to use. Instead of buying an entry level server to share the application he decides to host it with Your Office Anywhere around £25 per user per month. What he gets for this is:
- His own Windows 2012r2 server running as a Hyper-V virtual server. This means in the event of a hardware failure his server can be seamlessly moved to another physical server and he won’t even know anything has happened. As his server is monitored for performance it could even be moved if there was a risk of a performance degradation.
- He can access his application or a full remote desktop if he prefers from anywhere with an Internet Connection, and on most devices, PCs, MACs, iPads and Android tablets.
- The server has managed Antivirus on it and will have critical Windows updates automatically applied. When his version of Windows comes end of life he can upgrade to the latest version (once stable) at no extra cost.
- His data is stored on an EMC Storage Area Network (SAN). This is very expensive kit with fast fibre attached disks running at 15,000rpm
- His data is backed up and shipped to a second data centre 3 times a day, his server is backed up nightly and again the backup is stored off site.
- The data centre this is all running in is in the UK and is ISO27001 compliant, has UPS batteries to keep things up in the event of a power failure and diesel generators to keep it that way if power is off for more than a few minutes.
- Most importantly he has a team of UK based support engineers that are like his own IT department except he doesn’t have to worry about them being off sick, stuck in traffic, or being on holiday, plus they talk like real human beings. If his server goes down in the middle of the night they will be there to help sort it out.
- What he doesn’t get is a bill for the electricity. When you think a typical server could use £25 a month in power, hosting one for £25.50 per month is a bit of a no-brainer.
This is how Cloud computing with Your Office Anywhere can provide Enterprise level IT for any size of business.