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What is a VPN? How Does it Help Me?

A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network, is exactly how it sounds! In its essence, a VPN helps you create a secure and private connection between your computer or device and another network over the Internet. It uses encryption and other technologies to help you ensure that your Internet activity is safe from hackers and cybercriminals who may be lurking around when you’re using public wifi. Using a VPN to connect to the Internet allows you to surf websites privately and securely, as well as have access to restricted websites and overcome censorship blocks. In very simple terms, a VPN connects your PC, smartphone, or tablet to another server on the Internet and allows you to browse using that computer’s Internet connection.

Think about your home computer and its connection to the Internet. In most cases, there is a direct connection between your home computer and the Internet. Because of this, it’s very easy for cybercriminals to find you and attack your personal data. This is where the VPN comes in. A VPN connects your computer to a server located anywhere else in the world before making that connection to the Internet. Because there is no direct line between your computer and the Internet, cybercriminals don’t have a place to locate you and cannot attack your personal data. 

How does it help me?

No matter your purpose, having a VPN can be more than worthwhile. There are a variety of different things that you can achieve with them. 

You can use a VPN to: 

  1. Bypass geographic restrictions on websites or streaming audio/video
  2. Watch streaming media like Netflix and Hulu 
  3. Protect yourself from snooping on untrustworthy WIFI spots 
  4. Gain some anonymity online by hiding your location
  5. Protect yourself by torrenting 

Many people nowadays use a VPN for torrenting or bypassing geographic restrictions to watch content in a different country. VPNs are still a great way to protect yourself when using public wifi, but that’s not its only use anymore! While the examples above are all very relevant, VPNs capable of so much more. VPNs can allow you to access a business network while traveling, access your home network while traveling, hide your browsing activity from your local network and ISP, access geo-blocked websites, bypass Internet censorship, and download files.

When you connect to a VPN, you have a large choice of servers to connect to and each of those servers are located in different cities and countries. Once you’re connected, your computer will assume that you are connected to whichever city or country you have chosen the server from. For example, if there is Netflix series only available in Canada, you can connect to a server in Canada and watch the series without having to leave your house.

How do you get a VPN?

Depending on your needs, you can either use a VPN from your workplace, create one yourself using a service, have one created for you (we can do that for you) or even host one out of your house. If you want a way to create a VPN quickly and easily, there are a ton of websites out there that allow you to make one on your own. Websites like ExpressVPN, StrongVPN, and Tunnelbear are some of the most popular places that you can create a VPN. If you would rather have a physical piece of equipment that you can connect to your computer, just give us a call! We would be happy to create one for you.

The World of Cloud Computing and Its Services

Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services, which include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence. These services operate over the Internet, or “The Cloud”, to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. Cloud services typically require users to pay only for what they use, helping to lower operating costs, run an infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as business needs change. Cloud computing is a massive shift from the typical ways that businesses think about IT resources.

The cloud computing infrastructure offers various benefits such as cost-effectiveness, speed, productivity, global scalability, performance, reliability, and security. Cloud computing is a service that has grown in many different ways over the years. We also have to remember that not all clouds are the same. There isn’t one type of cloud computing that is right for everyone. There are four different types of cloud services and there are three ways to deploy those cloud services. Today, we will be discussing the four main types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and Serverless.

1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS is a cloud computing service where enterprises rent or lease servers for compute or storage in the cloud. Users are able to run any operating system or applications on the rented servers without the maintenance and operating costs of those servers. IaaS gives customers access to servers in geographic locations close to their end users. IaaS has the ability to automatically scale up and down, letting you pay only for what you use. It also provides the fundamental IT resources that users require to deploy and run software, such as operating systems and applications. This type of infrastructure eliminates the need to manually provision and manage physical servers in a data center. By design, the underlying infrastructure remains unseen by the user. The benefits of this service include: Faster scaling, core focus, continuity and disaster recovery. 

2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is a cloud computing model where a third-party provider delivers hardware and software tools to users over the Internet. These tools are normally used for application development. A PaaS provider hosts the hardware and software on its own infrastructure. This design frees developers from having to install in-house hardware and software to develop or run a new application. PaaS tools tend to be convenient and simple to use. This type of infrastructure allows users to pay on a per-basis use, which allows enterprises to eliminate capital expenses on hardware and software. A PaaS infrastructure does not replace a company’s entire IT infrastructure for software development. Instead, it is provided through a cloud service provider’s hosted infrastructure. PaaS can be delivered through public, private, and hybrid clouds to create services like application hosting and deployment. The main benefit of Paas is the simplicity and convenience for users.

3. Software as a Service (SaaS) 

SaaS is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. SaaS is closely related to the application service provider (ASP) and on demand computing software delivery models. In the SaaS model, the provider gives customers network-based access to a copy of an application that the provider created specifically for SaaS distribution. Depending on the service level agreement, the customer’s data for each model may be stored locally or in the cloud. Organizations can integrate SaaS applications with other software using application programming interfaces. Saas has many benefits, including flexible payments, scalable usage, automatic updates, accessibility and persistence. SaaS also removes the need for organizations to install and run applications on their own computers and data centers. Organizations typically pay for SaaS applications through a subscription fee, on a monthly or annual basis. 

4. Serverless 

Serverless computing is a method of providing backend services on an as-need basis. A serverless provider allows users to write and deploy code without the hassle of worrying about the underlying infrastructure. Physical servers are still used, despite the name “serverless”. The vendor handles the server space and infrastructure concerns. “Serverless” means that developers can do their work without having to worry about the servers.

Serverless computing allows developers to purchase backend services on a flexible ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis, meaning that developers only have to pay for the services they use. This serverless cloud provider is responsible for executing a piece of code by dynamically allocating resources. This code typically operates inside stateless containers that can be triggered by a variety of events, including HTTP requests, database events, queuing services, file uploads, monitoring alerts, scheduled events, and much more. The code that is sent to the cloud provider for execution is usually in the form of a function. Because of this, sometimes “serverless” is referred to “Function as a Service”.

Private Cloud Vs. Hyperscale Cloud, Which is Better?

Private cloud and hyperscale cloud each benefit companies in different ways. They both hold various advantages that will keep you and your company’s data safe from hackers and the rest of the harsh world. But, which of the two will move your company forward technologically and keep your data the safest? Before we compare, we must understand the difference between the two. 

Hyperscale cloud is a type of cloud environment that is also known as public cloud. It has the ability to scale computer infrastructure based on the amount of demand. It is used for cloud computing, big data, and distributed systems. Hyperscale cloud is normally completed through off-site data centers. Tech giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and much more use hyperscale computing to operate their systems. 

Hyperscale cloud can benefit companies in many ways. It can help companies minimize downtime with excessive demands and complications. Hyperscale cloud offers benefits like scalability, self-service, and cost-effectiveness. It can also help IT systems get back online much more quickly. The key difference between hyperscale cloud and private cloud is the way that businesses use them. Depending on the company size and business needs, either one would be a viable option. 

Medium to large businesses, as well as health care providers, typically utilize private cloud mainly for its protection, scalability options, and compliance. It makes sense, considering private cloud is able to safeguard sensitive information, such as customer information, confidential internal records, and business plans. Private clouds give businesses complete control over their data which allows for a more secure and safe transaction. 

Private cloud offers incredible benefits that other cloud environments just don’t offer. It actually remains a preferred model of the cloud for industries like engineering, healthcare, government, education, and telecommunication. Private cloud technology possesses unbeatable benefits. 

1. Control 

Private clouds are usually located on-site or at a data center provider. This makes it easier to access, which may come in handy if you need to make changes or manage the platform! Your data center provider can predict downtime and changes in the service. Those who use hyperscale cloud don’t have much flexibility when it comes to managing resources. 

2. Stability

Private clouds are suitable for collecting and stowing away sensitive files. Your service provider is responsible for ensuring that your platform stays up and running. With a private cloud, you or your business will not have to worry about the noisy neighbors that come along with hyperscale cloud. Private cloud provides increased data security by distributing data to secure hosting sites and making sure that everything stays online. 

3. Cloud Compliance 

Companies that use private clouds have more control over their IT infrastructure. They have the ability to control cloud storage and bandwidth, customize environments, and modify security settings. With so much control over their infrastructures, they can build a platform compliant with relevant industry regulations. Unlike hyperscale cloud, private cloud data is rarely an element of external inspection. 

4. Customization 

Private clouds allow you to configure your platform in a way that best suits your business’s needs. It’s a very customizable platform! Private clouds can adjust to companies of different sizes, objectives, industries, and much more. Depending on your company, you can decide what will work best, based on security, availability, and scalability needs. 

5. Availability 

One awesome advantage of using a private cloud is that you can scale resources if you need them. For example, if a server goes down, your data will be copied and backed up to other locations. This makes private cloud an incredibly versatile and useful system, as your backups can be available anywhere to you. Your bandwidth and network resources are capable of being scaled to fit your needs. 

6. Privacy and Greater Security 

The most impressive aspect of private cloud has to be security. There is not a more secure option when it comes to cloud computing. Private clouds are an excellent option for anyone looking to protect their data and information from hackers and outsiders! This is especially important for businesses, as they require top-of-the-line safety and security. Leaked data or information could absolutely ruin a business. In a hyperscale cloud space, all information resides on a shared platform. Security concerns are significantly increased in this type of environment.  

Businesses in every type of industry should have a safe way to store and access their information. With various new options available, more companies are turning to the cloud to operate and manage their business. Hard drives, flash drives, and USB’s are a thing of the past! While hyperscale cloud offers numerous benefits, private cloud provides a greater degree of security. Private cloud is an incredibly sensible choice for all types of businesses. While hyperscale has its own unique benefits, private cloud may be the better option.

What is a Private Cloud and What Are The Benefits?

Before we dig into the details of a private cloud, let’s look at general cloud hosting and what it can do. General cloud hosting enables you to create servers quickly, resize them as you need, copy and scale-out identical copies, and move them around. In a general cloud environment, you or your business is being hosted on hardware with tons of other cloud servers. As you can imagine, a room full of cloud servers can get pretty loud. To avoid those noisy neighbors and co-mingling with other tenants, many people turn to a private cloud. A private cloud settles those issues by providing a singular server with many benefits and features. 

A private cloud is one of three general models for cloud deployment in an organization: public, private, and hybrid. These three models share basic elements of cloud infrastructure. In the IT world, all clouds need some type of operating system to function. The different types of software used on the operating systems are what determines how the cloud will function. This is what distinguishes the three different models and how they are used. 

What is it?

A private cloud is a single-tenant environment. This means that the organization using it (the tenant) does not share resources with other users. The resources in this type of cloud environment can be hosted and managed in many different ways. It will also allow you to divide up your server as you see fit, have granular control over CPU cores, RAM, and disk space. This is a viable option for many different organizations, such as businesses, developers, and resellers. Private clouds are often used when public clouds are deemed inappropriate for business.

What are the types?

A private cloud is divided into three sections, each providing different functions. Each section is managed and hosted differently. 

Virtual: A private cloud computing environment located inside of a public cloud that enables you to experience the benefits of a virtualized network while using public cloud resources. 

Hosted: In a hosted private cloud model, the servers are not shared with other organizations. The service provider maintains the hardware, configures the network, and updates the software. In this environment, the infrastructure, data center facilities, power and cooling, and much more are provided by the service provider. 

Managed: This is a hosted environment in which the provider manages every aspect of the cloud, such as organization, identity management and storage. This is a great option for organizations and businesses that do not have the staff to manage a private cloud environment. 

What are the benefits?

The biggest advantage of using a private cloud is that users don’t share resources. This cloud computing model fits best with businesses with unpredictable computing needs that demand for complete control over their environment. 

Organizations and businesses who run their IT systems in a private cloud environment are guaranteed most of the same benefits found in a public cloud, such as scalability, self-service, flexibility, resource availability, security, regulatory compliance, and cost savings. It also allows the ability to provision, configure VMs (virtual machines), and modify computing resources on demand. 

Private clouds deliver a higher level of security and privacy through company firewalls and internal hosting to ensure that sensitive data is not accessible to third party providers. In addition to these benefits, you will have an increased capability for customization, increased performance due to resources being dedicated to one organization, and have incredible security due to the isolated network. Businesses that operate using the public cloud run the risk of co-mingling with multiple other tenants.

It is much more beneficial for businesses to invest in a private cloud. While some may want to invest for peace of mind, others may need it for compliance reasons. 

Here at Hostirian, we can host private clouds around the world. We are the third-largest data center in the St. Louis area. If you have any questions about a private cloud and what it can do for you or your business, fill out this form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!