What to Look for in Colocation

With a growing need for flexibility, scalability, complexity, and power, more and more businesses are keeping their server systems off-site. While cloud servers work great for a number of businesses, some companies need (or just want) to utilize their own equipment. 

Colocation is still very much alive in the 2020soffering a best of both worlds approach to hosting. Businesses get to purchase, setup, and control their own equipment. However, they don’t have to worry about housing, cooling, or powering it. 

That is, as long as they choose the right colocation provider. What should you look for when deciding on a colocation site? 

What to look for in colocation...

Scalability 

One big reason businesses look to colocation is because they simply don’t have the space to house their equipment. But it’s not enough for a colocation space to meet your current needs. As your business grows, your technical needs will grow as well. This doesn’t just mean you need more space, but you will also need more power. 

Before looking at a colocation space, consider what your technical needs might be 5-10 years from now. Make sure that you choose a provider that can easily grow with you, providing the space and resources you need. 

Accessibility  

While colocation systems might be housed off-premises, they’ll still need to be accessible to your team. After all, it’s your equipment. With how dependent businesses are on keeping their systems operational at all times, you need to be able to get to your equipment anytime, day or night. 

24-hour access, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is a must. 

Security 

Servers don’t just need digital protection; they need to be physically safe as well. While protecting your systems from cyber threats might be the responsibility of your team, it’s up to your colocation provider to keep your equipment safe. 

In addition to keeping it secured from unauthorized access and theft, they also need to keep it temperature controlled, safe from power outages, and more. 

Our Colocation Services 

In need of a secure, scalable, and reliable colocation facility to house your servers and equipment? Our Data Center is an excellent choiceWherever you’re operating from, our facility has the capacity and capabilities for both today’s and tomorrow’s needs. 

Here’s what you can expect from our colocation services: 

  • Move-in Ready 
  • Scalable 
  • 24/7/365 Customer Access 
  • SOC 2 TYPE II Certified 

Not entirely sure what you need? Maybe you’re looking for additional help building out your infrastructure? Our experienced team of IT consultants in Dayton, Ohio is up to the task. For all of your hosting, IT, and data center needs, DataYard is here for you. 

Our Data Center is Here for You

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR COLOCATION SERVICES


Work-Life Balance with BYOD

BYOD (bring your own device) offers a number of benefits. Employees choose the device they use, employers save on device costs, remote working is simplifiedthe list goes on. It’s not without its concerns, however.  

In addition to security risks, one of the primary red flags with BYOD is the blurring of work life and personal life. With the rise of smartphones, powerful portable computers, mobile networks, and cloud-based systems, the work-life balance has become increasingly murky. Left unchecked, BYOD can disrupt this balance even further. 

While work-life balance is sometimes labeled as an employee concern, it should be just as important to employers. It’s not just about whether their work life bleeds into their personal time, but how much of their personal life infiltrates into work time. 

True to its name, it’s a balance of both sides. Maintaining work-life balance results in employees with better attitudes who are more efficient. With the current COVID-19 quarantine measures that are in place, keeping work life and personal life separated is more difficult (and more important) than ever. 

Here is some general guidance for maintaining work-life balance with BYOD, whether your employees are quarantined at home or not. 

Separating Work and Life with BYOD

When it comes to managing devices owned by your employees, much of it is about setting expectations.  

You shouldn’t expect your employees to always have their work email pulled up, their communication app turned on, etc. In fact, unless their role requires emergency responses or it’s a special situation, it might be good to encourage employees to mute work-notifications during off hours. 

On the other hand, you should set hours when they should be online and reachable from their device. Make sure they know when their hours of availability should be. Set a policy for placing meetings/availability on a shared calendar.  

If you’re using Slack, Teams, or a similar communication tool, ask that employees keep their statuses updated. 

Speaking of tools and apps, make sure they have the necessary programs installed on their device so that they can adequately perform their tasks and responsibilities. Additionally, make sure that antivirus and firewall software is in place and activated.  

This will help protect both them and you from whatever they use their device to do. It’s hard to tell them what they can’t do with their own device, but you can mandate what they need to do if they’re going to use it for work. 

Preventing Personal Actions from Invading the Workplace 

If your employees are using personal devices for work, those devices are naturally more exposed to risks. To protect your company’s information and network from things the device might be accessing, proper security measures need to be implemented. 

For more hands-on monitoring and control, there are additional tools you can implement, such as a MAM (mobile application management), This allows you to monitor, update, and even remove mobile applications from a remote device, protecting your employees from otherwise dangerous software. 

Other tools can allow you to monitor, access, and update laptops and desktops as well. Whatever you do, it’s always important to be transparent with your employees. Make sure they know what you can see and access on their device. 

It’s a Process 

Successfully integrating BYOD requires guidelines, policies, and expectations. Maintaining the balance between work and life as your employees use their own devices is a process. It’s important that you engage with your employees, get their feedback, and adjust accordingly. 

Of course, creating policies, implementing changes, and assisting employees with any technical difficulties is a lot of work. This is where a dedicated IT team can help. 

At DataYard, we provide a range of IT services to assist modern day businesses. Whether you need cybersecurity, cloud storage, managed IT, or all of the above, we’re here to serve. For BYOD, our IT consultants in Dayton, Ohio can help create and implement policies and that maintain work-life balance and keep your systems protected. 

Contact us today! 

Keep Work and Personal Use Separate

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR CYBERSECURITY SERVICES


Importance of IT in Quarantine Remote Work

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and the implementation of quarantine and social distancing measures, most office workers are finding themselves operating from home. While many modern offices have some degree of work from home policies in place, the idea of everyone working from home day after day is a much different situation. 

Everyone is having to rapidly adjust. 

Working from home every day sounds great in theory, but it also poses a number of problems. For workers, many struggle with productivity and focus at home, especially with schools being closed and children being home.  

For business owners and office managers, there are more unique concerns. It’s very important to maintain proper IT practices and security measures while everyone is working from home. Though we don’t know how long this time of quarantine will last, it’s best to prepare for the long-haul. 

Here are a few things to be mindful of...

Employees Being Ill-Equipped 

Most office workers have a laptop, tablet, or at-home computer to utilize. If you have a bring your own device policy in place, they may even use it for work already. Even if they do, the rest of their athome setup likely pales in comparison to their work setup. If your employees have multiple monitors, standing desks, comfortable chairs, and/or new computers at the office, sitting at a dinner table with a laptop is going to be a challenge for them. 

If possible, let employees take monitors, work computers, and even desk chairs home during this time. Give tips for creating their setupYou can even have employees share their own setups.  

Security Connections 

Home networks are often much less secure than business networks. While you can’t overhaul the broadband and Wi-Fi systems that your employees have at home, you can implement protocols on the devices they’re connecting to it.  

This includes making sure their devices network settings are configured correctly, that firewalls and anti-virus software are turned on, etc. A further measure would be to implement a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This encrypts the data coming and going from a device, making it undecipherable to anyone who isn’t authorized to view it. 

This is a highly effective measure that can be implemented with simple, affordable software. 

If further security measures are needed, you could issue hardware firewalls to employees to be used at home. It’s an added expense, not to mention some additional configuration would be needed, but for employees who are handling especially valuable data, it may be necessary. 

Implementing Communication Tools and Software 

With everyone working from home, there’s a greater need for implementing communication and sharing tools. While you certainly had a number of software programs and online tools you used in office, some applications might be needed. Thankfully, there are more ways than ever to connect, share, and work collaboratively without being in the same building. 

The main hurdle here is getting your employees setup and trained on the tools. 

A Dedicated IT Team Makes Remote Work Much Smoother 

With so much already going on, trying to micromanage the individual IT needs of each remote employee can be impossible. However, it’s very important that these needs are met and that they’re handled appropriately.  

This is an especially terrible time to lose productivity, experience miscommunication, or suffer from a security breach. 

Having a dedicated IT team on hand can make a massive differenceA quality IT company is well-versed in operating remotely, and they’ll be able to assist in setting employees up with new hardware and software and making sure your systems are secure. 

At DataYard, we provide a wide range of IT services perfectly suited to help businesses adapt to the rapidly changing work atmosphere. Our IT consultants in Dayton, Ohio can help you maximize security, connectivity, and productivity while your employees operate remotely. We have the knowledge and experience to spot shortcomings, create IT strategies, and implement changes so that everyone is on the same page, regardless of where they’re working from. 

Our IT Pros are Here for You

MAKE REMOTE WORKING BETTER


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


Why SD-WAN Matters for Businesses in 2020

SD-WAN stands for “software-defined wide area network”. Whereas a traditional WAN typically operates at the point of contact, an SD-Wan is able to create a virtual architecture within the network, proving intelligent control. SD-WAN is designed for today’s network activity, bringing more customization, faster speeds, tighter security/privacy, and more.

Continue reading

Why I Decided to Join DataYard

As a self-proclaimed “Jack of all Trades, Master of None” – DataYard seemed to be a perfect fit for me.  In my previous venture, prior to joining the DataYard family, I found my career in somewhat of a rut.  The monotony of what would be my final months at my previous employer had proved to be too much and I succumbed to the temptation of seeking a more exciting opportunity.  This statement is definitely not aimed to denounce my previous employer; but more attributed towards my inclination and desire to be perpetually challenged in my field.

I put much thought into my decision to seek a new employer before I did so.  I had as much job security as one could garner.  I had spent a decent amount of time in my position as a network administrator and established a very good rapport with not only my supervisor but my clientele as well.  I was well-liked (at least I’d like to think so).  I made decent money.  I was able to make business critical decisions with very little push back or input from my leadership.  And lastly, I was praised often for my work and was well-versed in my duties.  So you might be asking yourself, “Why the heck did you decide to leave?”  My answer?  It’s simple; I wasn’t challenged anymore.

As I started the often stressful, nerve-wrecking process of seeking a new employer, I thought many times over about what I was giving up and whether it was really worth it to terminate the fruitful relationship between myself and what would turn out to be my previous employer.  I asked myself, “Joe, can you see yourself in this position for another 15 years?  Can you continue to sit behind a desk for roughly seven hours a day virtually completing the same tasks every single day?”  The answer yet again was simple.  No, I couldn’t.

So, down the vigorous path of signing up to the Monster’s, Career Builder’s, LinkedIn’s and any other “job search” site I could think of I went.  My inbox was inundated within the first few hours of signing up on these sites.  “Welcome to…” such and such, they’d say.  “Hi Joe, we have a great opportunity here at…” such and such, they’d say.  Then came the phone calls from any and every technologically based recruiting firm.  “Hi, Joe.  My name is John Smith from Technology Recruiters ‘R Us.  Do you have a moment to discuss some career opportunities?”  “Well, John Smith.  I’m at work right now, so could you give me a call after 4 pm?  I don’t think my current boss would appreciate me misusing company time to speak with you about a new job opportunity.”  Thank goodness for unlimited calling plans as my minutes during the month long search for DataYard spiked like I’ve never seen before.

In the following weeks of signing up to these job search .com’s, I spent a rather large portion of my evenings sifting through countless emails and continued to field phone calls and talk to these total strangers about my salary requirements, why I’m seeking new employment, what am I looking for, what am I good at, what are my weaknesses, what industry within Information Technology would I like to work in and my all-time favorite question to answer; why would Company XYZ want to hire you?

On a day I can’t exactly recall, I do remember an email I received from one of these recruiters that made mention of, “Jack of all Trades, Master of None”.  Obviously that peaked my interest because I have always thought that about myself.  I possess many skills in many areas of Information Technology but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself to have a niche or be dedicated to one particular area.  With that said, I decided to return a message to these folks and within a day or so, I received a call back from them.

“Hi, Joe.  My name is Nancy Smith and after reviewing your resume, I think we have a great opportunity for you in Dayton, OH.”  I instantly thought, “I’ve heard this a time or two.”  But nonetheless, I gave her my due attention.  As she began explaining to me what I’d be doing on a day-to-day basis, the environment and culture as well as the nature of the work I’d be expected to complete; I was hooked.  I pictured in my head that I’d be out from behind a desk most of the time, working on a great variety of projects and most importantly, that I’d have the opportunity to get out and meet new people from around the Dayton area.  It seemed perfect for me…and it IS everything I thought it’d be.

After a handful of interviews with DataYard, including interviewing with some of the team members, I received an offer from their leadership to join the DataYard family.  Needless to say, I jovially accepted.

As I got to know my co-workers a bit more as weeks passed, I often found myself asking them a very specific question; “What makes you stick around?”  Now I find myself answering that very question I’ve asked so many times before.  Simply put… 
 
DataYard is everything I want in a “job.”  I am challenged on a daily basis, I travel around the Dayton area on a regular basis to meet both existing and potential clients, I’m surrounded by a great group of like-minded, light-hearted, intelligent and caring teammates and the culture and environment here at the “Yard” is so very cool.  But I just don’t stick around because of what DataYard offers me.  I love the fact I’m free to work not only in a technology capacity but I also have the ability to discuss with clients about how great DataYard is and about how DataYard can assist them via the services we provide to local businesses.

How do I configure my Android phone to work with Connect mail?

Follow the guide below to set up POP/IMAP email on an Android device.

Step 1: Go to “Apps“.
Step 2: Go to “Email”.
Step 3: Click on the Menu” button.
Step 4: Go to “Settings“.
Step 5: Click on “+ Add An Account“. (You may have to select Add New Account again depending on you phone app)
Step 6: Enter your full email address and password for the email account.

android setup

Step 7: After hitting “Manual Setup” you will select the desired protocol.

android account type

Step 8: Enter in our mail server information. For POP/IMAP server enter pop3.donet.com or imap.donet.com and for username enter your username given to you by DataYard. Example “carri.test”. If the password field is not filled in, re-enter it again.  Select Port 995 for inbound POP. Select Port 993 for inbound IMAP port. 

android incoming_pop                                                          android incoming_imap

Step 9: Enter in our mail server information. For the host SMTP server enter smtp.donet.com and for username enter your username supplied by DataYard.  If the password field is not filled in, re-enter it again. Select Port 587 for outbound server.

android outgoing

 

Step 10: Select “Next”.  Proceed to the following steps on screen.  These setting are your personal preferences.

 

Hack Your Own IOT Thing

On November 18th, 2015, DataYard participated in the 9th Annual Taste of IT put on by Dayton’s Technology First at Sinclair’s Ponitz Center. It was a great show — well attended, and lots of energy. Many thanks to the organizers, Ann Gallaher and Michelle Marek, as well as the many volunteers and speakers who helped put on a wonderful technology event here in the heart of Dayton.

Taste of IT 2015
Taste of IT 2015

I had the pleasure of doing a presentation in the afternoon on a topic that has really captured my imagination: the ideas behind IOT, an “Internet of Things”. Lately, I’ve been exploring the concepts behind network-connected Things, and building my own prototypes to bridge physical and virtual realities.*

The intention of my talk was to briefly describe at a high level how Things work, and then I dove into some of the hardware, software, and apps that make building Things relatively easy.

For those who are interested, I’ve uploaded my slides and presenters notes to SlideShare.net. Feel free to contact me with questions or project ideas.

David Mezera

* Yes! The picture in the banner is a Thing I recently built and tested for our data center — an underfloor pressure and temperature sensor that streams data out via WiFi to Blynk. It uses the Sparkfun ESP8266 Thing Dev Board and the Sparkfun MPL3115A2 pressure/altitude/temperature sensor.

EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE WINDOW 9-30-2015 T1 Customers only

Wednesday September 30th at 5PM EST, the DataYard Technical Operations Team will be performing a emergency software update on Core Networking Equipment. This emergency update will be updating core infrastructure for our T1 customers only. We do not anticipate any downtime, the estimated time is < 20 minutes for completion.  Affected clients will receive a notification via email.

If you have any questions regarding this maintenance please contact our technical support team at 1.800.982.4539 or support@datayard.us. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@datayardtechops) for the latest service and maintenance status updates at DataYard.

Emergency Maintenance Window 7-20-2015

This evening, Monday July 20th at 10PM EST, the DataYard Technical Operations Team will be performing emergency software updates on Windows VIPs, Fusion and Connect Exchange systems.  These emergency updates are in response to a remote security vulnerability that Microsoft has announced (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms15-078.aspx).   Patching the vulnerability quickly will help ensure the stability and security of your environment.  Affected clients will receive notification via email that their systems will be updated.

If you have any questions regarding this maintenance please contact our technical support team at 1.800.982.4539 or support@datayard.us. Remember to follow us on Twitter (@datayardtechops) for the latest service and maintenance status updates at DataYard.