Tag Archives: SME

UK Home Secretary Opens Our Newly Expanded Data Centre  

We are proud to announce that the UK Home Secretary, The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, has officially opened a £multi-million extension to one of our data centres.

The Home Secretary was given a guided tour of the new facility in Maidenhead, Berkshire, by Angus MacSween, the CEO of our parent company iomart. It was the first time Mrs May had been inside a data centre.

The Rt Hon Theresa May said: “Data centres are an important part of the global economy, so I’m delighted to be opening this new facility for iomart. The technology on show is impressive and will allow businesses to be better connected than ever. It is interesting to see that the cloud has a physicality to it and isn’t just something up in the ether.”

The 1500 square metre extension took 12 months to complete. It features the first major deployment of Cisco Dynamic Fabric Automation (DFA), which enables iomart’s network infrastructure and services to be dynamically and automatically provisioned alongside Cisco’s proprietary Bi-Directional (BiDi) Transmission technology, which allows 40 Gigabit Ethernet transmission over small form factor, duplex connectivity, which was previously only possible with more expensive MTP Fibre technology. The result is a greater level of scale-out without congestion points while providing optimised forwarding for all types of applications, and a network enabled for secure multi-tenancy at scale.

Angus MacSween, CEO of iomart, said: “We are delighted that The Home Secretary has officially opened our next generation data centre and seen first-hand the technology involved in creating the infrastructure needed to support the dynamic and ever-changing web hosting and data storage needs of SME and enterprise business.

“By investing in the latest Cisco technology, we are creating data centres that are not just software defined but customer defined. We are transforming our network to deliver the highest levels of agility, performance and flexibility.”

Backup Technology Parent Company iomart Announces 37% rise in Pre Tax Profits

– 28 May 2014 –

Our parent company, iomart Group plc (AIM: IOM), has today announced pre-tax profits of £14.6m for the year ended 31 March 2014.

In its annual results announcement to the London Stock Exchange iomart revealed that adjusted profit before tax had increased by 37% from £10.7m in 2013.

iomart also announced revenue growth of 29% to £55.6m (2013: £43.1m), with revenues from its hosting segment growing by 40% to £44.7m (2013: £32.0m), as well as a 43% increase in adjusted EBITDA to £23.6m (2013: £16.5m).

iomart said the increase in profitability had been driven by both by organic and acquisitive growth. iomart has made 11 acquisitions over the past five years, with Backup Technology its biggest to date. iomart now owns and operates datacentres in eight locations throughout the UK to support the delivery of cloud solutions. Angus MacSween, Chief Executive of iomart, said: “We continue to believe in the long term opportunity for iomart as IT spending moves towards the ‘cloud’, as networks and connectivity expand and mobility increases. Our vision remains to be the best in the UK at the delivery of compute, storage and network in the cloud in a seamless, efficient and scalable way.”

iomart continues to invest in the tools and technologies used to deliver cloud services and has  completed a £multi-million state-of-the-art extension to its datacentre in Maidenhead to meet the computing needs of the growing number of SME and enterprise level customers who are moving to the cloud.

Angus MacSween added: “To date it has mainly been the web-facing elements of infrastructure that have been outsourced to the cloud and the back-office workload continues to be handled ‘on premise.’ Most of this back-office infrastructure is bought in the same way as it was 15 years ago. We believe this will change and we can already see the early adopters starting to move to the cloud. This reinforces the ‘dripping roast’ nature of the market opportunity and as I have been saying for the last five years, it has a long, long way to go. iomart is at the forefront of this transformational shift and I expect the cloud opportunity to continue for many years to come.”

The full results statement can be viewed here: http://news.iomart.com/iomart-announces-37-rise-in-pre-tax-profits/

Online Backup – Consumer versus Enterprise

A recent post to this blog received a number of comments questioning primarily the reliability of online backup solutions, as well as the security of the data.

Whilst these comments relate to valid concerns that should be considered when choosing a solution, the examples given, for the most part, seemed to relate to providers of consumer solutions, rather than SME level solutions.

There are several key differences between online backup solutions aimed at the consumer (home user) and business. This blog aims to discuss these distinctions and we welcome readers’ comments.

The distinctions stem from the cost of the two types of service. To put it simply, consumer and entry level business solutions put in much less investment, whereas the more comprehensive solutions aimed at larger businesses invest much more heavily in various areas.

Looking at this argument from a customer’s point of view, it is easy to see why providers of the consumer products keep costs down. The home user will, for example, use online backup for pictures and videos of family holidays. Whilst this data holds precious memories, it will not incur costs to the user if data is lost, corrupted, or even stolen.

For this reason, consumer online backup providers will put low levels of investment into the initial development of the product as well as key areas such as staffing levels and hardware. This benefits the home user or very small business owner, as the relatively low level of investment on the provider’s side keeps cost down. The home user is likely to be backing up a small selection of data and therefore can manage the software themselves with few problems. The small business user, whilst requiring more frequent backups, is not likely to have acquired large amounts of data, and in any case will likely be restricted in their range of choice by their IT budget. For these types of customer, a provider which puts more emphasis on low cost rather than quality of overall service, is the right way to go.

However, when dealing with the data sizes of an SME, a more comprehensive and sturdy online backupsolution is required. For example, companies, even those with around 20 employees, can still have data in the region of 1TB, spread over several servers or machines, on different operating systems.This can become a massive headache for whoever is lumped with the responsibility of making sure that this data is backed up on a regular basis, is held securely and reliably, and isrestorable in the quickest time possible.

On top of the daily management, if a business experiences data loss, for example, pay-roll or customer data, the lasting effects can be hugely costly to the business both in time as well as money.

This is where a managed service providers (MSP) come in. Having already invested in the software solution, the accompanying hardware and the knowledge and training of its staff, the MSP takes on the responsibility of monitoring backups and restores. Furthermore, the customer has direct access to an experienced team of engineers who work with backups on a daily basis to fix any problems just as quickly as they are discovered. The customer can even choose where their data is kept – in a shared data centre on the internet or their own data centre connected to their office using a private link – and also the level of encryption they require to secure it. This frees up the employee previously responsible for backups and restores, allowing them to concentrate on other roles.

So, to conclude, the customer generally gets what they pay for. If the files to be backed up do not hold a monetary value (family photos, for instance), it does not make sense to invest in a high quality online backup solution. However, to many businesses, customers’ data is the most important electronic asset and is therefore worth a considerable amount. Accordingly, businesses should chose a solution and service that reflects their investments.

Tightened Cyber Security Required for Digital Healthcare Adoption

The U.S. government is encouraging healthcare organisations to utilise electronic healthcare records. However this will mean much more is required to be spent on Cyber Security.

As no organisation can afford to ignore the potential consequences of a data breach, according to the American National Standards Institute.

Of the 100 healthcare executives surveyed 60 of them cited lack of funding as the primary reason for not securing digital records.

However Obama is attempting to mitigate this and spur the adoption of digital health records through increasing incentive payments to doctors and hospitals. The economic stimulus legislation, established in 2009 may reach $27.4 billion.

The problem with the increasing adoption of electronic health records however is that it is leading to an increased frequency of data breaches. In 2011 breaches of healthcare data increased by 32%, costing the industry a collective $6.5 billion.

To successfully mitigate data breach threats and risks, leaders of organisations in the healthcare sector must understand the evolving healthcare ecosystem, American National Standards Institute.

A Bloomberg study which spoke to healthcare providers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies estimated that spending on cyber security would rise from $23 to $155 million in order to stop 95% of hacking attacks.

The report released by The American National Standards Institute offered a five-step model to help top executives invest in protecting health records. What we want to demonstrate is the work that the private sector can do on a key national priority, James McCabe senior director at the institute.

The emphasis which is being placed on encouraging private service adoption is similar to what is now taking place in the UK with the G-Cloud rollout and certainly helps level the playing field for SME service providers.

SMEs should prioritise Business Continuity Plans in 2011

Aviva, one of the worlds largest insurance groups, have recently urged SMEs to focus their attentions on Business Continuity Planning in 2011. This was based research carried out online as part of Avivas Bi-annual SME Pulse, with help from 500 SME owners and looks into how SMEs are running their businesses.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery planning was a question posed to the SMEs; the results which are published here, are quite surprising. Half the SMEs who were questioned admitted to having no Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Plan in place. 16% of those asked felt there wasnt a business requirement for one, whilst only 28% of those surveyed said they had a Business Continuity Plan in place. Given the amount of studies that have been conducted about how soon business go out of business after a major data loss incident, it seems not all SMEs are taking the issue too seriously.

The study reveals much more and states that owners of SMEs are underestimating how long it can take a business to get back to normal and continue trading. Obviously this is dependent on the type of business, but it is reckoned 33% of SME owners would be back on their feet within a week, whilst 31% believed within a month. With only 19% of those surveyed saying they had a full contingency in place, with full insurance cover, these figures seem to leave many SMEs exposed and their businesses at great risk.

By carefully planning data backup and business continuity requirements, companies can ensure that thier businesses downtime is kept to a minimum. Could any business cope with being out of action for a week, let alone a month? With no plan in place businesses run the risk of losing their customers they have spent years to attract and maintain the credibility they have built up.

Data loss is costly and time consuming

While technology has greatly enhanced business productivity over the past decade it has also been massively costly to many organisations. The ability to operate more efficiently has been a driver in business success, centralising core operations whilst optimising revenue. However what happens when these reliable and critical technology systems fail and data loss occurs?

A report, conducted by market research firm IntelliQuest, states that American businesses surrender close to 6 billion annually to data loss from power failure, computer viruses, human error, and user negligence. Many companies pinned the price of replacing their data loss at a whopping 15,000 to 150,000 or higher per incident. So what is the likelihood of data loss?

Data loss is a serious and costly problem that strikes businesses globally on a daily basis. According to reports over 6% of hardware will suffer severe data loss in any given year, totalling 4.6 million incidents in the U.S alone last year. With data loss costing businesses billions of pounds worldwide each year, both in lost productivity and data recovery, it is clear to see why data is a companys most valuable asset.

In todays world data loss could mean the difference between the life and death of a company. Therefore whatever the cause of data loss having the ability to recover data quickly and accurately is essential. Bearing this closely in mind what safeguards can one put in place for critical data and intellectual property? The solution is secure offsite/online data backup.

By securely backing up a companys data using an online backup system organisations can potentially save thousands of hours of productivity and man-hours that have been spent generating data. Any good backup solution should be fully scalable so there is no excuse for SMEs and Multinational Enterprises of any size not to utilise the industry standard for data backup and recovery. So how can an organisation identify if their practices are insufficient?

The answer is disaster recovery testing. Best practice is to fully recover an entire environment to ensure that should the worst happen an organisation can recover all critical operating systems within the required time period.

Our Customers

  • ATOS
  • Age UK
  • Alliance Pharma
  • Liverpool Football Club
  • CSC
  • Centrica
  • Citizens Advice
  • City of London
  • Fujitsu
  • Government Offices
  • HCL
  • LK Bennett
  • Lambretta Clothing
  • Leicester City
  • Lloyds Register
  • Logica
  • Meadowvale
  • National Farmers Union
  • Network Rail
  • PKR

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