Live Event: ‘The Business of Big Data’

Every  60 seconds, 1,620 TB of data is created.  But our information management strategies are very often overwhelmed by the sheer volume, velocity and breadth of data.  Storage costs are visible, soft costs such as opportunity and risk costs are less so, but no less real.


Live Event: Internet of Things Summit

Major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions of devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, The Inaugural IoT Summit will bring together corporate, entrepreneurs and investors alike, under one roof, to explore how the Internet of Things means business.  And MJ Flood Technology is proud to be a headline sponsor at this important event.

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Join our Webinar: Windows Server 2003 End of Support

Windows Server 2003 End of Support

On July 14th, 2015 Windows Server 2003 will go end of support.  This means no more security updates, patches or bug fixes.  And if you’re running this operating system on one or more of your servers, that means your IT infrastructure could be open to attack after this date.

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Are you all at sea when it comes to Windows Server 2003?

by Guido Marchetti, cloud solutions specialist, MJ Flood Technology

Here we are again. Yet another large, software platform is being retired. On 14th July, or Bastille Day as it’s known to our Gallic brethren, Microsoft will cease its in-life support services for Windows Server 2003. This means it will no longer develop patches, security updates/fixes or any updates for the platform.   So if you haven’t updated by this deadline, your business will be using unsupported software.

So what about those of us who choose to blissfully ignore this impending date or for legacy reasons just can’t move?

To continue the battle references, if you’re like the US Navy you may be able to boast deep enough pockets to the tune of $9 million. That’s the amount, according to Newsweek, paid to Microsoft so that the US defence forces can continue to use Windows XP, discontinued for us mere mortals over a year ago.

Now I’m willing to bet that not too many of us have that type of money at our disposal but it doesn’t detract from the fact that a significant number of organisations will face complex challenges in terms of how to continue providing legacy software access on a defunct operating system.

But apart from these complexities, why do we ignore advancements in technology and insist on sticking with what we know?

  • Habit is one explanation I suppose; better the devil we know and all of that.
  • We could also claim (and in most cases it’s true) that we just can’t afford to keep up with the latest and greatest technology.  We want value for money, high return on investment and oftentimes the frequency of software updates is just plain incompatible with that.
  • And of course, let’s not forget those beloved gremlins; the ones that always seem to make an unwelcome and disruptive appearance with major updates. We choose to let others act as ‘guinea pig’ and wade through those software bugs before we decide to take the plunge.

But the IT world that we live in today has changed vastly. In many instances, software vendors are leading with a cloud first approach with the result that many well-known software packages are now delivered via SaaS. And that in itself reveals a little known secret; cloud-based platforms are actually stable.

Let’s just look at email for a second, perhaps one of the most mature cloud-based software services. Microsoft Exchange – the online version that lives within Office 365 – is now on its third generation and is about to go to a fourth generation, with a history of little or no business disruption to the millions of users that rely on it every day.

More importantly, the changes to the service are subtle and always bring additional value in terms of more productivity and new features that harden security (such as DLP services). But we haven’t seen an architectural change of any significant note since Exchange 2007, which happened three generations ago.

Another good example is the Windows platform. Windows 10 is built on Windows 7 architecture with some new additions to make it more efficient and cloud friendly. But it is stable and will work straight away and most services that run on Windows 7 can be migrated across with little or no difficulty.

Some organisations may still have legacy apps to run but the reality is that we could find alternative ways to deliver these apps. The cost of one person owning that project would be far less expensive than a dedicated support contract from Microsoft directly.

While the dominant thinking might be to save money now, the longer you leave a problem the bigger it becomes. It’s an important life lesson and one that also applies in business. The path of most resistance is often the most valuable one long term and by taking the decision to migrate away from a platform now, those long term benefits will far outweigh the difficulties of the journey getting there.

At MJ Flood Technology we have developed a structured methodology for helping clients to migrate. Our four-step plan is a successful and proven blueprint to mitigate migration risks and ensure a smooth migration that avoids costly business disruption and lost productivity.

Many of our clients have taken this approach when moving to the cloud. By ensuring that they are now working from ‘evergreen’ software, they enjoy huge value from IT and have tightly aligned it with business strategy.

It might sound obvious but many organisations fail to follow this simple approach and the business benefits are very tangible.

Why do Irish SME’s resist technology adoption?

by Guido Marchetti, cloud solutions specialist, MJ Flood Technology

I have spent over 15 months working in a pre-sales role for a large partner of ours in the UK. In this role, I specialised in Microsoft Office 365 and the story around the ‘Modern Business’.

It’s a simple concept really; you embrace cloud computing by moving your infrastructure and applications into the cloud. This introduces you and your staff to a standardised technology platform, new ways of remote working and those who really understand the benefits start to look at higher level applications such as business intelligence and “Big Data”. Data analytics is a lot easier to do with the horse power of the cloud behind you but also makes it accessible to small and medium sized businesses from a cost and technology perspective.

For example let’s look at another analytical app, CRM. Without a CRM tool how can you centrally manage your clients’ relationships, look at who is costing you money, who are your best clients or identify cost centres and big spenders?

In short you can’t, because it’s too difficult to do. Sure, you might have a vague idea of big spenders. But times have changed and maybe they don’t spend as much as they did historically yet you still have your best people working on that account.

Contrast that to a company that at a click of a finger can trace marketing activities through to sale, identify clients who spend and those who don’t, track client history and see what, why and when they purchase, helping you to identify patterns and trends within your business base, while making sure you don’t have a high cost resource working on an account that will never give you a justifiable return.

The vast majority of our UK-based clients, ‘get’ this concept of a ‘Modern Business’, based on transparent technology that delivers huge business benefits through deep analytics. They see the business value of the story and are very open to the idea of increasing productivity. Of course, they also want to know more about how to become more efficient, more informed and make sure they have the latest technology at their disposal.

These clients ranged in size from five to 5,000 employees yet there was no difference in attitude. The enterprise accounts expected solutions that delivered these insights and services, and the SME market were keen to achieve the same using the same services because they see themselves as equally important.

SMEs might be less cash rich than their enterprise counterparts, but they’re nonetheless prepared to invest modest sums in an IT architecture that can deliver proven business benefits to all their staff. They’re open to the concept of using technology for business transformation.

But I’ve noticed a puzzling pattern when it comes to SME technology adoption. It seems that many businesses don’t value themselves enough or fail to see the benefits and opportunities of investing in the latest technologies. I know that the economic slowdown hurt us all, personally and in business. I don’t think any of us can say it was easy. But technology in that time has moved on and the era of cloud is here and with it the ability to have enterprise-type functionality at a fraction of the cost of the SME solutions we are all using or are used to using.

But why is it that companies fail to buy into the vision of what can be? Why does the conversation always end with the familiar “I’m not sure if we need all of that, we’re getting on fine without it”. I’m always stumped when people do not see the exciting world of the modern work place.

But my concern for SMEs runs deeper than that.

I know of a young graduate who has come straight out of college and thanks to a challenging interview process in Facebook will join their cyber-bullying task force on a starting salary of €65K p.a. You might ask what this has to do with my ramblings but it’s closely linked.

Millennials are attracted to these type of companies because of the technology and culture that they breed. There is an inherent risk for all SMEs who resist technological change like cloud – change that enables a different type of work culture. By not allowing themselves to change, by not wanting or striving to be more than they can be, by remaining shackled by a habitual modus operandi, they risk falling behind the competition and simply becoming irrelevant in the market.

Change is something that we all are afraid off, and that can look like many things; a change of technology, a change of expenditure model, a change in the daily routine. But things that are hard are rewarding, change is rewarding, and being a leader in your space is very rewarding. Don’t wait for the bus to leave the station and then try to catch it. Be the one driving the bus. Be the one leading the direction of your market segment and be the one that strives to be better that you can be.

By embracing this way of thinking, you will ensure that you are always on the latest and greatest technology. But that in turn will change your culture and changing your culture will bring with it, rewards in the form of young, highly qualified employees whose ideas, passion and energy could be the difference between an innovative market leader and a mediocre market follower.

Live training: Become an accredited arcserve expert

We would like to invite you to an Arcserve UDP Technical Bootcamp on Thursday 28th May, where you will have the chance to become a technically accredited Arcserve expert.

Over the course of a day, you can expect to gain a comprehensive technical understanding of the Arcserve UDP solution, covering Backup, Unified Data Protection, Replication, Virtual Standby & Continuous High Availability. The course also covers the Arcserve Unified Data Protection Update 3!

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