Outsourcing CTO Responsibilities

For small and even medium sized businesses, it can be difficult to figure out which positions you need in your company and which ones you don’t. This is especially true when it comes to executive positions. On one hand, team leadership is vital for maintaining structure, managing departments, and growing in a healthy manner. 

On the other hand, these higher-level positions can come with high salary requirements 

But the question isn’t just whether or not you can afford them. It’s also whether or not you really have the need for a full-time employee in that position. You might need some of their skills and duties fulfilled, but that’s not enough to justify a high-level hire. 

Especially in the case of something like a CTO. 

What Does a CTO Actually Do?

CTO stands for chief technical officer. Generally speaking, they have the role of managing technology infrastructure, overseeing teams, creating digital/tech strategies, and driving everyone towards overarching goals and standards. 

However, with today’s tech-heavy, digitally driven world, the exact responsibilities of a CTO can get a little muddled. Sometimes they get mixed up with other positions, such as a VP of engineering or CIO.  

In the case of tech startups, the founder and CEO actually might act more like a CTO. Or the CTO might be a separate cofounder. 

For companies that aren’t building a software platform or a new piece of technology, however, a CTO usually isn’t an immediate position. As the company grows and you start to integrate more devices, digital storage, cloud-based software, etc. into your operations, some of those CTO-like skills are suddenly much more important. 

Unfortunately, a quality in-house CTO is one of the most expensive hires to make, as they are typically highly educated and very experienced. Rather than creating an executive position that will prevent you from making other key hiringsyou may want to consider outsourcing the basic CTO responsibilities to an IT company. 

Advantages of Outsourcing Your CTO Needs 

CTOs need to stay current with technology standards and security threats. They must also be good at developing and executing strategies to keep ahead of these standards and threats. As it happens, these are all things that full-service IT companies like Data Yard do by nature. 

Because of thisIT companies are regularly used to handle the responsibilities typically associated with a CTO. 

By utilizing a third-party IT company, you can have access to a higher level of knowledge and skills for less than an executive role would cost you. It’s also scalable, so you only pay for the amount of work that you need. As your company grows, the level of service provided by your IT partner can grow with you. 

At Data Yard, our AYS (At-Your-Service) solutions allow us to operate as a partner of your business. We provide strategic support including big-picture planning, infrastructure management, security implementation, on-going support, and more. 

We also fit into your business where you need us to. Whether you need us to act as your CTO and IT department or you need us to assist an in-house IT team, we have you covered. The responsibilities of a CTO are very important to a modern business, but that doesn’t mean you have to strain your budget on a single position. 

Instead, contact Data Yard. Our IT consultants in Dayton, Ohio are happy to help you figure out how we can better serve your business. 

We Are At Your Service

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR AYS SOLUTIONS


Deciding Between Colocation vs. In-House Hosting

Cloud-based hosting is the go-to option for many businesses, large and small. It provides great flexibility while keeping things simple. Sometimes, however, you need your own server equipment. Whether it’s to meet compliancy needs, maximize control, or simply because you prefer to own instead of rent, there is still very much a place for physical hosting in today’s cloud-based world. 

However, if you own your own equipment, that means you’ll need to house and power it. While a server is essentially just a computer, it comes with some critical requirements: 

  • Continuous power supply 
  • Digital and physical security protection 
  • Total temperature control 
  • A fair amount of space 
  • And more 

If you’re able to accommodate those needs, you might choose to keep your servers in-house. Otherwise, there is colocation. Colocation is where you store your own equipment in a third-party data center that’s built to handle the special requirements of server equipment. 

Not sure which option is best for you? Let’s take a look at both. 

What's the difference between in-house hosting and colocation?

In-House Hosting

With in-house hosting, you’ll need to setup a proper server room on your property. This will need to be fitted with power-supply redundancies so that your servers don’t crash if the power in the building unexpectantly goes out.  

The primary benefit of in-house hosting is immediate access. If you have the IT staff to manage and support it, they’ll able to get directly to it at a moment’s notice. Of course, that also means you need to have an in-house IT team that can support it as needed. 

If your team is already stretched thin, it can be yet another thing they have to deal with. 

Additionally, many offices, even larger ones, simply aren’t equipped to meet the needs of a server system. It can also increase your utility costs more than you think. 

Colocation 

Colocation is pretty straight forward. You supply the equipment and a data center takes care of the rest. A proper data center is well-equipped to house and supply server equipment, making sure it stays protected and running properly.  

While there is some initial setup cost, along with the on-going rental fee, the expense of colocation is actually comparable to the cost of in-house hosting. That’s not to say you should put your server equipment in just any data center.  

You want to make sure it’s a trustworthy facility that can exceed your needs and provide room for growth. 

Reliable Colocation Wherever You Are 

At DataYard, we can handle almost all IT and hosting needs. From cloud hosting to colocation and beyond, our data center is equipped to meet your storage and security requirements. With colocation at Data Yard, you’ll receive 24/7/365 access, so you can get to your equipment whenever you need to. 

Need additional support or guidance for your server setup and infrastructure? Our team of IT consultants in Dayton, Ohio  can help ensure you have all of your bases covered. 

Contact us today! 

Our Data Center is Here for You

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR COLOCATION SERVICES


Google Chrome Updates – Is Your Site Secure?

The world’s most popular Internet browser, Google Chrome, is releasing an important update in the coming weeks.  Starting with the public and stable release of Chrome update 68, the browser will show a yellow “warning” icon next to the URL of web sites which are not protected by a SSL cert, and when this icon is hovered over a “Not Secure” warning will be displayed.  With over 53% of total browser market share, this update is sure to affect a wide swatch of users and websites.

Read the Google blog post here.

Not sure if your website will be affected by this change?  Visit your site in a browser, and then look at the URL in the address bar.  If your address begins with “HTTP” and not “HTTPS”, your visitors may start to see a warning when this update is released.

To get ahead of the curve on this, give us a call or send us an email – for $175 a year, we can purchase, coordinate, and install a fix for this issue for any DataYard hosting customers.  Just another way we are here to help you make IT better.

 

A Commitment to Radical Privacy

On April 3rd, President Trump signed legislation repealing the FCC’s privacy regulations. As a result, Internet Service Providers (like DataYard, AT&T, Spectrum, etc.) can now quietly gather, store, and sell the Internet histories, communications, and usage patterns of everyone they provide Internet access to. The legislation goes further, by placing restrictions on the types of privacy guidelines the FCC can attempt to institute in the future. If you’re reading this on a screen, this action covers you at this very moment.

I’ve worked at DataYard (and previously DONet) for 11 years, four of those as a Systems Administrator and Data Center Engineer. I know first-hand the level of access that ISPs have to customer data, and the gravity of that access. We have a mantra at DataYard, “with great power comes great responsibility”, attributed to either Voltaire or Ben Parker, depending on who you ask. It is incredibly true in this and many other industries and vocations, but as more and more of our daily lives are driven online…well, ours is a unique business. We at DataYard make it our practice to log only the data we need to maintain our systems and provide the best customer service to our clients. We’ve got a database with your address in it, but so does Trader Joe’s.

If you are a business owner, work with Intellectual Property (IP) or Personally Identifiable Information (PII), are a HIPAA covered entity, or simply don’t want your personal preferences and business browsing data tracked and categorized – this new reality is an uncomfortable one. When ISPs begin to track, store, and replicate this personal data, it exponentially increases the potential attack footprint for malicious access. We’ve all heard about the Target / Yahoo / Verizon / [insert name here] hacks. Can you imagine the fallout if those companies had the last four years of your Internet usage stored and indexed for the taking?

We at DataYard want to publicly voice our disapproval of these legislative actions, undertaken with the sole purpose of opening new profit centers in an exploding industry. We know better than most the implications this decision has. It’s our business to know. Every customer we work with can rest assured that DataYard is not, and will not be, interested in the collection or sale of your communications and activities.

In a time when every move is tracked, every bit is stored forever, and everything is for sale, promising to forgo those profits is a radical move. But it’s a promise we make proudly.

See more: Dayton Daily News story here.

DataYard’s Privacy Policy:

https://www.datayard.us/about/policies/open-internet-compliance-statement/

DataYard – At Your Service

DataYard – At Your Service!

Now available by popular demand, DataYard has created a brand new offering under a brand new division, At Your Service.  AYS will help regional companies with all aspects of business IT – whether it is managing existing workstations and servers, migrating to a VoIP phone service, upgrading network equipment, or guiding your transition to the cloud – DataYard has you covered.

The DataYard Difference

For over two decades, DataYard has helped thousands of local businesses use technology to improve business efficiency and reliability. But we noticed that we were getting more and more requests from clients to assist with projects beyond just Internet services or hosting projects – they needed help with technology inside of their businesses, and turned to us for advice. AYS is an answer to those questions and needs, and DataYard can now bridge the gap between on-premise IT work and cloud-based hosting services.

We’ve built some great partnerships over the last twenty years – with Microsoft, VMware, and Cisco, to name a few – and these relationships make it possible for DataYard to be your full-service, end-to-end IT partner. If you have a problem, project, or just want to talk through an issue, give us a call – DataYard is here to help you make IT better.

DataYard’s 2016 Internship Program – Internet of Things Kick-Off!

On June 1st DataYard officially brought on two new summer interns for a specific and pretty cool project – to explore the Internet of Things (IoT)!

The chosen ones – Owen Devine and James Kinion – will be working with us through August to design, build, and deploy mobile units which report not only their own geographic location, but a slew of environmental variables as well. While we have a vague idea of how we at DataYard might accomplish this task, the interns have been set free in a sea of low-cost devices which when used together can accomplish almost anything.

We’re makers here at DataYard, and are super excited about the future of the IoT space. We got a 3D Printer for the office last Christmas, and Eric Wright has probably burned through twenty pounds of PLA over seventeen generations of a custom-fit phone Heads Up Display for his road bike. We built our own big-screen network status and reporting display, have daily DJ battles on a Raspberry Pi3 via Airplay to the MusicBox interface, and a Retrobox Pi3 for SNES emulation is coming soon – not even mentioning the custom solutions we put in place for clients every day.

We’re hoping to support the future of the IoT movement by getting some sharp young minds playing the field – and we plan to do that while deploying additional (and mobile) environmental monitoring to our data center – stay tuned for updates on DataYard’s continuing quest to innovate and create ways to Make IT Better!

Client Spotlight – Mikesell’s Project Overview

DataYard is proud to announce our latest partnership with the Mikesell’s Snack Food Company – the oldest potato chip company in the United States! Since 1910, Mikesell’s has been manufacturing and shipping delicious treats from right here in Dayton to the surrounding tri-state. DataYard and Mikesell’s were introduced via mutual partners and Technology First relationships, and we began discussing a full-scale technology redesign and refresh in May of this year.

Mikesell’s had an interesting predicament, albeit not out of the ordinary – recent restructuring of the internal technical team had brought with it a change in long-term vision and strategy. Mikesell’s new CIO, Steve Hangen, wanted to shift the focus of the internal technical resources away from supporting local servers and towards supporting internal processes. However that didn’t remove the reality that there were multiple (and fairly critical) line of business applications running internally on antiquated hardware. Pair that with an Internet bandwidth bottleneck and an outdated DR strategy, and the risk to business continuity was enough to make anyone sweat.

After months of planning and fine-tuning, DataYard and Mikesell’s finalized our strategy and partnership at the end of August. In a few separate installments, I’ll be describing the individual goals of the overall redesign – the how, what, and why.

  • Network topology redesign – DataYard completely re-imagined the WAN design, and has deployed a new network to centralize ownership and management of network services. We had to get creative in a few spots, and a description of these challenges will be an interesting read!
  • Active Directory Upgrade and Virtualization – Once the WAN was centralized, we needed to upgrade and migrate internal Active Directory (AD) services up into the DataYard cloud. One less administrative headache for Mikesell’s internal personnel! We’ll discuss the process, benefits, and challenges here in a later post.
  • Exchange Upgrade and Virtualization – After the AD project was completed we’ve now set our sights on the upgrade from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2016. This upgrade is happening simultaneously with the migration up to the DataYard cloud. The Exchange project will lighten the load on Mikesell’s staff, and the coming description of the objectives and execution should give valuable insight to anyone facing a similar challenge.
  • JDE Deployment – Mikesell’s is moving away from legacy line of business applications on an internal mainframe and towards the JD Edwards ERP solution in the DataYard cloud. This project will undoubtedly have its obstacles, but the resulting streamlining of operations will provide significant benefit and increased efficiency at Mikesell’s for years to come.
  • University of Dayton Project – DataYard is assisting seniors from UD and providing the needed infrastructure for the students’ MIS Capstone project. The development of this new application will result in the increased day-to-day effectiveness of Mikesell’s internal staff, as well as provide invaluable experience to future IT professionals.

I’m looking forward to sharing the details of these projects as DataYard knocks them out, one by one – starting with a description of the network topology redesign and deployment, coming soon.

Mikesell’s is a historic brand with deep roots in Dayton, and we are very excited to begin a long and successful partnership – stay tuned!

Modernize Your Email with Connect Exchange

Your Business Demands More.

You’ve suffered under the limitations of basic email service for long enough. DataYard’s newest offering, Connect Exchange, lets you take advantage of the full suite of Microsoft Exchange and Outlook features, without the cost and hassle of buying a server of your own.

It’s time to work differently. It’s time to work smarter. Let DataYard help – talk to us today.

remote access icon Escape the dark age.
Synchronize your email, calendars, and contacts across all of your devices. Get anytime, anywhere access on your PC, laptop, smart phone and tablet – you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
24-7-365 monitoring Always up and running.
Be confident in 24/7 access to email, so no more worrying about an hour of downtime ending a deal. Rest easy with an industry leading 99.999% uptime guarantee.
cloud connectivity icon Freedom to get more done.
Give yourself the freedom to connect with critical information, online and offline, so you can work faster and more efficiently.
customer notification icon Incredible customer service.
DataYard customers love local, responsive customer service! Real people provide real assistance and will help you make a smooth transition!

Monthly plans start at $90 for 10 users.

 

Ready to learn more? Contact us for a consultation.

“Heartbleed” Vulnerability Rocks the Web – DataYard Responds

Earlier this week, a security advisory was released by the OpenSSL team warning of a vulnerability for certain versions of the organization’s widely popular encryption package. If you’ve listened to the radio or watched the news in the last 24 hours, there’s a good chance you have wondered what (if anything) this means to you. From the official page of the team tracking the bug:

“The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).”

DataYard quickly responded to the potential security issues this new vulnerability posed to our customers.

Our system engineers and administrators worked throughout the evening on April 8th and into the morning of April 9th to ensure the security hole was patched on every system under DataYard Server Management. By 7:45AM on the 9th, all client and DataYard corporate systems were fully protected, hours before the mainstream media began reporting on the story. CNN didn’t begin its coverage until 10:23 that morning.

There are plenty of in-depth response articles emerging within the technical community, both as organizations continue to deal with this problem and as others are just realizing its scope. DataYard continues to educate concerned customers on any potential security implications the vulnerable code base may have created. But at the moment I think it is important to focus briefly on the value that a professional, focused, and serious system administration team brings to the business in a digital age. 

To the client, system administration is not a sexy endeavor.

With great system administration there is not the obvious visual satisfaction offered by such trades as design, manufacturing, architecture, and countless other creative occupations. Rest assured, DataYard System Engineers do not deploy final security fixes or application upgrades at 3:23AM to the roar of customer accolades and champagne spray at Winner’s Circle.

But that is kind of the point. The value of DataYard Server Management isn’t that you see it; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The value is that when something like Heartbleed happens, it isn’t your responsibility as the client to respond to or even know about the issue – it’s ours. And, believe it or not, we think that calmly fixing potential problems before they become real problems is pretty sexy in its own right. 

NASCAR can keep the champagne.