Have you heard about The Cloud? Some people know what it is, others don’t. Many only have half an idea and a lot of fear. Vontainment can help make the cloud work for you whether it is on a remote hosted server, an in-house server, or a hybrid setup. The options are there and we can help you leverage the power of the cloud.
Today’s websites are more like desktop apps than the sites of the ’90s. The technology powering websites can now perform all the functions of desktop and mobile software. From word processors to file management, the options are truly endless.
Getting Started With The Cloud
Vontainment can help discuss your needs to find the right solution for you. When running cloud apps the first step is to decide if they will be hosted on a remote VPS, in-house server, or hybrid setup. another major consideration is if it is the best set up as a single server or multiserver setup.
Many businesses may be scared at first by the word server. Most think of million-dollar systems, but that is only one side of the spectrum. For small businesses remote VPS starts at $5 a month and as for on-premise servers refurbished Dell or HP workstations for under $300 work as great solutions for most.
The majority of the resources on your computer you sitting at is actually spent rendering the graphical interface you see. Servers don’t have that overhead and the remote GUI you interface with is rendered locally in the browser.
Increased Productivity For SW Florida Small Businesses
Small businesses now have the option of self-hosted or cloud services. Cloud hosting has become affordable and servers that meet the needs of small businesses in Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, North Port, and Sarasota are now affordable.
We can provide many types of cloud services. From intranets that are on your local network to cloud-hosted servers. Web-based software that replaces desktop or mobile native applications are called web apps. Web apps can provide many functions and benefits, from allowing better remote work to extending the life of computers by offsetting resource usage to a central server. Some examples are:
- Project management
- Accounting systems
- File hosting/Management
- Team communication/chat systems
- Employee training and education
- Create a client area or project management. A place for paperwork, contracts, online document signing.
- Email Server (should only be used in-house if the email is of sensitive nature and security of major concern)
- Enterprise resource planning
- Document management
- Task management
- Knowledge base
- Backup systems (backup both local and remote data or entire systems)
- Booking systems
- Invoice and quotation system such as we use. w/ or w/out credit card processing and or full billing and financial management. (Handle all your finances right from any computer, phone, or tablet. As well as create accounts with custom permissions to delegate to others for help or simply so your accountant can write the checks or do the taxes.
- Customer relationship software
- Collaborative office suite (MS Office compatible and packed with the same features but hosted on a server, accessed by a browser, and documents can be worked on by multiple people in real-time.)
- FTP, FTPS and/or SFTP servers
- Employee time tracker
- Employee schedules
- Team management (Can be used to create an entire system to manage human resources. Your team can request time off, download w2s, set up direct deposit, get their schedule, time tracking, submit recipes for expenses, see assignments, and more.)
- We can create a time management/billable hour, tracker. Totally useable from your phone, tied into your invoices.
- Team calendar
- Remote access (printers, files, or other network-attached resources.)
- And many more! Just give us a call and let us know your needs.
Webservers, Containerization and virtualization
Some apps can be installed on Apache or Nginx web servers directly just like your current website. Others run in containers like Docker. Containers are just like neatly packages systems that allow many apps to run on one system. For more complex apps a full server or use of virtualization may be called for.
When To Use Remote VPS
Remote virtual private servers are already virtualized to are best used for web servers and containers. Remote servers are best for things like backup systems and web apps designed for public usage or many accessed remotely by workers.
When To Use On-Premise Servers
On-premise servers are best for web apps only accessed on-site, which requires high security or to lower the cost of more complex apps. On-premise servers can be set up with virtualization platforms that allow us to make one server into several. This provides security and runs more apps at lower costs.
On-premise servers are also the best option to assist remote workers as you can provide a secure way for employees to access resources on location. Also, such setups can allow the workflow both in-house and remotely to run identically.
Popular Uses For Cloud Services
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS)
When it comes to IaaS, using an existing infrastructure on a pay-per-use scheme seems to be an obvious choice for companies saving on the cost of investing to acquire, manage and maintain an IT infrastructure. There are also instances where organizations turn to PaaS for the same reasons while also seeking to increase the speed of development on a ready-to-use platform to deploy applications.
- Private cloud and hybrid cloud
Among the many incentives for using the cloud, there are two situations where organizations are looking into ways to assess some of the applications they intend to deploy into their environment through the use of a cloud (specifically a public cloud). While in the case of test and development it may be limited in time, adopting a hybrid cloud approach allows for testing application workloads, therefore providing the comfort of an environment without the initial investment that might have been rendered useless should the workload testing fail.
Another use of hybrid cloud is also the ability to expand during periods of limited peak usage, which is often preferable to hosting a large infrastructure that might seldom be of use. An organization would seek to have the additional capacity and availability of an environment when needed on a pay-as-you-go basis.
- Test and development
Probably the best scenario for the use of a cloud is a test and development environment. This entails securing a budget, setting up your environment through physical assets, significant manpower, and time. Then comes the installation and configuration of your platform. All this can often extend the time it takes for a project to be completed and stretch your milestones.
With cloud computing, there are now readily available environments tailored for your needs at your fingertips. This often combines but is not limited to, automated provisioning of physical and virtualized resources.
- Big data analytics
One of the aspects offered by leveraging cloud computing is the ability to tap into vast quantities of both structured and unstructured data to harness the benefit of extracting business value.
Retailers and suppliers are now extracting information derived from consumers? buying patterns to target their advertising and marketing campaigns to a particular segment of the population. Social networking platforms are now providing the basis for analytics on behavioral patterns that organizations are using to derive meaningful information.
- File storage
Cloud can offer you the possibility of storing your files and accessing, storing, and retrieving them from any web-enabled interface. The web services interfaces are usually simple. At any time and place, you have high availability, speed, scalability, and security for your environment. In this scenario, organizations are only paying for the amount of cloud storage they are actually consuming, and do so without the worries of overseeing the daily maintenance of the storage infrastructure.
There is also the possibility to store the data either on or off premises depending on the regulatory compliance requirements. Data is stored in virtualized pools of storage hosted by a third party based on the customer specification requirements.
- Disaster recovery
This is yet another benefit derived from using cloud-based on the cost-effectiveness of a disaster recovery (DR) solution that provides for faster recovery from a mesh of different physical locations at a much lower cost than the traditional DR site with fixed assets, rigid procedures, and a much higher cost.
Backing up data has always been a complex and time-consuming operation. This included maintaining a set of tapes or drives, manually collecting them, and dispatching them to a backup facility with all the inherent problems that might happen in between the originating and the backup site. This way of ensuring a backup is performed is not immune to problems such as running out of backup media, and there is also time to load the backup devices for a restore operation, which takes time and is prone to malfunctions and human errors.
Cloud-based backup, while not being the panacea, is certainly a far cry from what it used to be. You can now automatically dispatch data to any location across the wire with the assurance that neither security, availability nor capacity is an issue.
While the list of the above uses of cloud computing is not exhaustive, it certainly gives an incentive to use the cloud when comparing to more traditional alternatives to increase IT infrastructure flexibility, as well as leverage on big data analytics and mobile computing.
Secure Apps And Systems On You LAN
A proxy server is a go‑between or intermediary server that forwards requests for content from multiple clients to different servers across the Internet. A reverse proxy server is a type of proxy server that typically sits behind the firewall in a private network and directs client requests to the appropriate backend server. A reverse proxy provides an additional level of abstraction and control to ensure the smooth flow of network traffic between clients and servers.
Common uses for a reverse proxy server include:
- Load balancing – A reverse proxy server can act as a “traffic cop,” sitting in front of your backend servers and distributing client requests across a group of servers in a manner that maximizes speed and capacity utilization while ensuring no one server is overloaded, which can degrade performance. If a server goes down, the load balancer redirects traffic to the remaining online servers.
- Web acceleration – Reverse proxies can compress inbound and outbound data, as well as cache commonly requested content, both of which speed up the flow of traffic between clients and servers. They can also perform additional tasks such as SSL encryption to take the load off of your web servers, thereby boosting their performance.
- Security and anonymity – By intercepting requests headed for your backend servers, a reverse proxy server protects their identities and acts as an additional defense against security attacks. It also ensures that multiple servers can be accessed from a single record locator or URL regardless of the structure of your local area network.
This is a great tool for any business running self-hosted web applications, remote work systems, or intranets. It can enhance cybersecurity by hiding vulnerable services from direct outside contact. They can be used to host local web applications under a domain or subdomain with full end-to-end encryption. Meaning even if there is a network intruder they can’t read the data.
Enhance Cyber Security With Advanced Firewalls
Network firewalls are security devices used to stop or mitigate unauthorized access to private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. The only traffic allowed on the network is defined via firewall policies – any other traffic attempting to access the network is blocked. Network firewalls sit at the front line of a network, acting as a communications liaison between internal and external devices.
A network firewall can be configured so that any data entering or exiting the network has to pass through it – it accomplishes this by examining each incoming message and rejecting those that fail to meet the defined security criteria. When properly configured, a firewall allows users to access any of the resources they need while simultaneously keeping out unwanted users, hackers, viruses, worms, or other malicious programs trying to access the protected network.
There are very affordable options for small businesses. Using a good edge router to protect your network, set up secure segregated guest wifi, quality of service, and other network enhancements.
Local DNS Servers Can Provide Faster, Safer Internet
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical and decentralized naming system for computers, services, or other resources connected to the Internet or a private network. It associates various information with domain names assigned to each of the participating entities. Most prominently, it translates more readily memorized domain names to the numerical IP addresses needed for locating and identifying computer services and devices with the underlying network protocols.
By hosting a DNS server on your local network, We can prevent access to dangerous or inappropriate sites by employees or guests. Using lists maintained by cybersecurity companies your server can automatically block the IPs of botnets and malicious software.
On a local network, we are able to map a regular domain name and/or subdomains to your server(s). With external access from the internet optional. For external access, the domain must be obtained from a register like any website’s domain. If it is intended for local use, we can make it anything. Anything or xxx.anything.anything. Though it can’t match a real domain that you intend to visit like amazon.com as it would block access to that website.
Local domains come in handy as you get to your cloud services by domain vs ip. Your team project management system could be at projects.domain.lan and your network file storage at files.domain.lan.
We are able to set up firewalls and routing tables that will block anyone from bypassing your DNS server. We are also able to implement DoH and DoT (DNS over HTTPs & DNS over TLS). This blocks the ability of any hackers or even your ISP from seeing what websites you request. Combined with the fact most websites are HTTPs enabled, no one could see your request (DNS) and no one could read your data stream (HTTPs). Giving you security and privacy.
Remote Access That Is Fast And Secure
We can set up any type of VPN you design including OpenVPN; one of the best know and most used. As well as our favorite options. IKEv2 works on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android without any extra software by means of OS native settings.
Our other favorite is Wire Guard. It is an extremely simple yet fast and modern VPN that utilizes state-of-the-art cryptography. It aims to be faster, simpler, leaner, and more useful than IPsec/IKEv2. It is considerably more performant than OpenVPN. Wire Guard is designed as a general-purpose VPN for running on embedded interfaces and super computers alike. Initially released for the Linux kernel, it is now cross-platform (Windows, macOS, BSD, iOS, Android). It is currently under heavy development, but already it is regarded as the most secure, easiest to use, and simplest VPN solution in the industry.
Apps and services that will mostly be used on location, and/or used lightly from remote locations. Services that are accessed remotely but do not involve heavy bandwidth-intensive traffic. Services such as video conferencing if used to communicate with clients or others outside your LAN should be cloud-hosted. File management and storage solutions work in both remote and cloud-hosted settings. Though based on the Number of users, Frequency of use, types, and sizes of files, and other variables can affect performance not just of the file service but of your business’s network. File services should be decided on a case-by-case basis on whether they can be local or should be remotely hosted.
Where file security is of overwhelming concern alternative file solutions that do not sync files can be used. Without sync you can avoid issues on your LAN but allow you to store files encrypted and on-premise.
Vontainment Has Always Been About Security First!
Every website we make uses HTTPS:// for SEO as well as security and includes the following security features:
- Software firewall & antivirus. Prevents hackers, if any malware or hacks are successful and site files are changed the antivirus immediately restores the website’s original files and the firewall blocks the hacker.
- We use the free tier of https://cloudflare.com on all our sites to speed uploading, make sure uptime is 100%, prevent over 10 types of attacks, and adds a second physical firewall between the site and any possible hackers. (mattering on clients’ needs we may suggest a paid tier, but their free plan is best for most small or medium businesses.)
- All code is optimized, kept updated, cleaned, patched, and secured to the best of our abilities (And our abilities are a lot) We take pride in security.
- All sites are backed up twice daily as the last resort if all else failed.
If You’re Looking To Make The Internet Part of Your Business
Let Vontainment help you, it just starts with a call or an email. We can discuss some of your wants, needs, desires, and options. Come set up an appointment for a consultation and come see us or we can come to see you. Let us take your business and website to the next level with cloud services that you can trust and control.