Q&A: Paul Butcher of HostedBizz On Cloud Computing, Backup and Disaster Recovery, Security and MoreMay 29, 2019
As part of our ongoing efforts to explore various avenues within the cloud computing market, CloudCow is constantly on the lookout for new, disruptive or even lesser known technologies and companies that should be given more attention. As part of that quest, we recently spoke with HostedBizz Co-Founder, Paul Butcher, to learn more about the company and get his expert opinion on a number of important topics.
CloudCow: Can you start off by providing CloudCow readers with a little background on HostedBizz?
Paul Butcher: HostedBizz is a Cloud Infrastructure as a Service provider for the IT Reseller channels and business. Our suite of hosted, business critical IT products and services remove the technical challenges and reduce the costs associated with infrastructure and application ownership. We provide public and private cloud infrastructure along with hosted applications and services including virtual servers, virtual desktops, data backup and disaster recovery solutions that easily scale with organizational needs.
CloudCow: Despite being established for over a decade, Cloud computing is still considered a disruptive technology. What are your thoughts on this?
Butcher: The original benefit of cloud, a decade ago, was to provide unlimited computing resources that are fully scalable for raw compute requirements. What we are seeing today is that all businesses can leverage the cloud as a fully managed alternative to their on premise solutions. The redundancy, management, reliability and scale of cloud services provide customers with lower costs and reliability at a superior order of magnitude over traditional IT. Additionally, we are seeing strong demand for cloud backup and full disaster recovery (DR) readiness solutions at price points that were not available before. This is driving a migration from active, active architectures as well as moving long term archiving of data to the cloud.
As a result, we are seeing many mid market clients starting their cloud journey with DR services as the first step to getting comfortable with the cloud. Once there, as customer IT assets need to be replaced, many customers are opting for 100% migration to the cloud.
CloudCow: So how does the role of an IT leader change if infrastructure is outsourced to a cloud provider?
Butcher: The key part of the role change is that there is no longer IT infrastructure to manage (depending on what model your business has opted for). This leaves key IT staff to have more time to plan how technology can give their businesses a competitive edge and what tools staff need to to improve business performance.
Where there was once fear around job losses, we have seen roles change to provide better application management and tool creation to help make sense of the data now available. These roles now have the ability to use the resource available to decipher what the business needs.
It is essential that CIOs and IT Managers who were originally very technical are now more strategic and business focused. They need to effectively ensure that the business is provided with the IT tools and data that is required to be successful.
CloudCow: What is the difference between backup and Disaster Recovery?
Butcher: We get asked this a lot and we like to stress that cloud backup and cloud disaster recovery are very different solutions. In basic terms, backup protects and retrieves your data as and when required. Disaster Recovery on the other hand, is recovering and restoring your entire IT environment in the event of a major IT failure, a disaster or a cyber-attack.
Backup strategy is quite easy to plan – you just decide how much data you want to backup, what the retention requirements are and how frequently you need to backup. Disaster Recovery involves prioritising which systems are mission critical, how long you can be down for and what the plan is to keep your organization functioning in the event of a disaster. Typically this results in customers categorizing the criticality of each of their workloads to set a priority to restore critical services. Of course, all machines can be classed as critical, but this will drive up the overall DR costs.
CloudCow: Over the next two years, experts predict that attacks on cloud providers will grow in an attempt to bring down economies. What is HostedBizz doing to prevent this?
Butcher: We employ a defense-in-depth strategy in line with industry best practices to ensure that our infrastructure, systems and data are resilient to attacks. In addition to our own systems, we leverage the physical and network security systems of our Tier 3 certified co-location providers to provide an additional layer of security. At a high level our strategy includes:
- Network isolation of all customer networks
- Dedicated out of band management networks that are IP restricted and encrypted in transit
- Strong password policies and two-factor authentication for administrative access
- UTM Firewalls providing IPS and Anti-Virus protection in real time at the network layer
- Host-based AV on all infrastructure systems
- Monitoring systems that identify “unusual” behaviour to provide early indication of malicious activities on any virtual machine running in our environment (such as extended CPU spikes correlating with high I/O)
- Storage-based snapshots on all volumes to allow quick recovery of data/systems that have been compromised
- Comprehensive Veeam-based backups of all systems to provide quick recovery of systems that have been compromised
- Regular vulnerability scanning, assessment and remediation
- Regular patching and firmware upgrades to address security vulnerabilities
In addition to our protections, we encourage our customers to be vigilant with managing the security posture of their own systems.
CloudCow: The large cloud players are getting more aggressive with pricing and offerings. Why should organizations consider a smaller provider?
Butcher: There is a big assumption that the big 4 hyper cloud vendors are lower cost than other, smaller cloud providers. One of the common complaints that we hear about AWS and Azure in particular is the large number of hidden costs to using their services. Transit, data egress, peak CPU usage, disk I/O overages are all incremental costs that come as a surprise to customers. Many of our MSP partner customers expect their cloud usage bills to be uniform as this is what they contracted with their customers. These incremental costs are commonly not anticipated and there is no way to bill their clients which erodes their already thin gross margins.
Beyond costs, we are seeing demand for specialist support and services. Whether this is designing network architectures, disaster recovery solutions or cloud migration, the big vendors are just not set up to give this level of support.
Many of our customers don’t have an IT department as it has been outsourced to us, therefore we provide this expertise and support to businesses where no technical knowledge is available. We also have the ability to offer competitive, money back guaranteed SLAs where customers have access to help and support 24/7.
For more information, visit www.hostedbizz.com.