Identifying Your Business Continuity Priorities

Written by Steven Dreher on Friday, May 15th 2020 — Categories: Disaster Recovery, IT Operations

As an IT leader, you’ll have personnel to consider in your business continuity plans, with additional considerations for any data center space you operate, perhaps some critical heavy equipment, and desktop and mobile hardware. But your primary role within business continuity is likely to be disaster recovery focused, simply because you must keep crucial applications and data available to those stakeholders and operational sites deemed essential.

Your DR plan should focus on recovering key essential technical functions while also considering the supporting tools, applications, data collaboration, and potential workforce displacement.

But how exactly do you identify which systems are critical – and in need of faster time to recovery – and which can rely on more simple backup methods? Here are four key questions to ask yourself as you prioritize within your continuity plan.

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Using System Center to Reduce VPN Congestion from Remote Workstation Updates

Written by Rory McCaw on Tuesday, April 28th 2020 — Categories: Azure, Patching, SCCM, Enterprise Applications, IT Operations

During this challenging time, we need to make sure our infrastructure is available for our quickly evolving remote workforce while ensuring security and compliance.

Many organizations have sent devices home with employees so they can work remotely. Your standard monthly Windows and security updates — typically distributed across a high speed, corporate network — can now potentially create bandwidth and user performance issues if received over the corporate VPN. It’s critical to maintain patching and compliance schedules while minimizing traffic spikes over your VPN that can cause connectivity and performance issues.

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4 Digital Transformation Focus Areas During a Pandemic

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, April 9th 2020 — Categories: Datacenter Automation, DevOps, IT Operations, Digital Transformation

You’ve already been disrupted –- now see why this is an opportunity for transformation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into many IT plans and budgets for 2020. We won’t dive into that right now, as it’s been said many times over.

Now, many IT managers are turning towards the grim possibility of reduced budget. With economic uncertainty looming, it may be enough to just keep the proverbial lights on. This is a great time to take a look at both short- and long-term opportunities presented by pursue digital transformation.

Your daily operations are already disrupted. Your users are adopting new ways of working. And even if your IT staff and budget are stretched thin, many aspects of digital transformation can actually help you increase efficiency and deliver more value to your organization.

Here are the most vital transformative measures to focus on during this time of upheaval.

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Client Advisory: COVID-19 (AKA Coronavirus)

Written by Daniel Deter on Friday, February 28th 2020 — Categories: IT Operations, Security

Please note that Green House Data is actively tracking the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. We have taken proactive steps, including implementing precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our personnel and to support the continuity of our operations.

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Digital Transformation vs. Innovation: Where Should You Focus in 2020?

Written by Shawn Mills on Friday, January 24th 2020 — Categories: Enterprise Applications, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Digital Transformation

As we look forward to the new year and the new decade, it’s time for business leaders to identify how they want to drive their organization into the future. What new technologies, tools, processes—and, quite frankly, people—do you need to better serve your clients, stakeholders, employees, and community?

For 8 in 10 organizations, digital transformation has been a focus within the past five years. Meanwhile, 84% see innovation as key to success. So it’s likely either transformation or innovation will reach your whiteboard as a top initiative in 2020. But what do these terms really mean in practice? Aren’t they kind of synonymous? Well, not really. Once you dig into the meat of digital transformation, you realize it could lead to innovation. And if you can truly innovate, chances are you’ll need to transform your digital operations to follow through.

Where should you focus your efforts? That depends on the state of your IT and application teams along with your overall mission.

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What Should You Do About Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 EOL?

Written by Rory McCaw on Monday, January 13th 2020 — Categories: Azure, Windows 10, Migration, Desktop Modernization, Cloud Hosting, Enterprise Applications, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Microsoft, Virtual Desktop

Two major enterprise computing platforms are reaching their end of life this week. Tomorrow (January 14th), in fact. While this may seem like a last-minute blog entry, we know there are plenty of you out there still running Windows 7 on corporate desktops and Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 in your data centers.

Microsoft itself estimated that 60% of its Windows Server install base was still running 2008 back in August. Some of those instances may have been upgraded or migrated to cloud VMs, but we’re betting many of them remain. Unofficial estimates peg the number of Windows 7 machines worldwide at around 200 million.

Change can be hard, especially when your systems seem to be working properly and upgrading appears to be a complex and time-consuming endeavor. But operating systems that have reached End of Support open the door for vulnerabilities, bugs, and incompatibility with newer infrastructure. They also make it more difficult to deploy and support newer software that can improve employee efficiency and empower the business to drive revenue in new areas and to compete with others in the industry. With Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 End of Support upon us, what are your options?

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Shift Left? Shift Right? Continuous Improvement Depends on Both

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, December 12th 2019 — Categories: DevOps, Enterprise Applications, IT Operations

As you dig into DevOps methodology, you’re likely to encounter the term “shift left” and the slightly less common “shift right.” What exactly are we shifting here?

The two terms are sides of the same coin. They refer to when you will test your application or piece of technology – is it during development or once your solution has already entered production? Of course, for true DevOps success, the answer is both! Continuous improvement involves testing at all phases of the application lifecycle.

Let’s take a closer look at the ideology behind “shift left” and its counterpart as well as how they affect the development cycle (which can also be applied beyond app development itself and used when designing and deploying most IT systems).

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Where Is Enterprise IT Heading in 2020? Lessons from Gartner IT Symposium

Written by Cortney Thompson on Friday, November 22nd 2019 — Categories: Multi-Cloud, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Security

It’s been over a month since I attended the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo in Orlando and I’ve spent that time really chewing on some of the great sessions and thought leadership presented at the show. Modern IT practices remain a moving target so plugging into the analyst machine every once in a while helps me get a bigger picture beyond even our day to day at Green House Data (which can be pretty diverse itself, with big pushes on DevOps and digital transformation while we balance our existing data center, cloud, and managed services pillars).

It was interesting hearing Gartner start to shift their message from “cloud is the only option” to “cloud is an option.” As cloud adoption strategies have matured we have seen this attitude shift as well, with more organizations looking multi-cloud while maintaining some on-prem systems. One presentation on public cloud costs compared to on-prem data centers really helped drive this home. The bottom line is that the cloud is not automatically cheaper or even necessarily more efficient depending on the application or purpose of the deployment.

Other major topics included how to find digital talent, as the management of human capital and IT teams continues to evolve alongside the industry, as well as one of my favorite presentations, “Are You Maximizing Your Security Operations Center,” which had a ton of great information around security.

With the symposium still fresh in mind, here is my list of where enterprise IT operations are heading in 2020 and beyond.

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Our Biggest Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite 2019

Written by Rory McCaw on Wednesday, November 13th 2019 — Categories: Azure, SCOM, SCCM, DevOps, Enterprise Applications, Hybrid IT, IT Modernization, IT Operations, Microsoft, Software Development

Green House Data was onsite last week at Microsoft Ignite. We had some incredible conversations at our booth about Azure, PowerApps, application modernization, DevOps, Windows Server end of support, and more. Of course, while we were working the floor, Microsoft made a bevy of product announcements around core products and services that are sure to shake up your IT world! I’m super excited about these new developments, so here are my top takeaways from the show.

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Staying on Top of IT Cost Optimization

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, October 24th 2019 — Categories: IT Modernization, IT Operations

It happens to everyone at some point. Your budget gets slashed; the economy tanks; you’re suddenly in the red thanks to cloud sprawl. Whatever the cause, you’ll likely face a mandatory cost cutting initiative at some point in your IT career.

While cost cutting is a reality, it is fundamentally different from ongoing cost optimization. You should be practicing cost optimization as part of your regular duties, reviewing spend and ensuring the technology, hardware, software, and services in use across your organization are serving their business need and appropriately configured in scope and performance.

By formulating and practicing a cost optimization protocol, you’ll be prepared should the day for cost cutting ever come, while also gathering evidence for the impact IT has on the overall bottom line.

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