Customer Cloud Success Story: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev)

Customer Cloud Success Story: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev)

If you’ve ever had a beer, more than likely it was an AB InBev product. This global company brews and markets one-third of the beer products sold around the world and stores massive amounts of data in order to do so. 

With siloed datacenters, AB InBev lacked integrated systems, cohesion between markets and regions, and the agility to get to market quickly. Like businesses of every size, they needed a robust cloud solution in their digital transformation journey.  

Watch this quick video to see why AB InBev chose Microsoft Azure and let Oakwood Systems Group, Inc. show you how you can also break down data silos, increase operational insights, and cut down on IT costs with a modern data platform.


Protecting Azure Resources with Recovery Services Vault

Protecting Azure Resources with Recovery Services Vault

Your data is important. You need the best data recovery service on the market. At Oakwood Systems Group we know how to help you integrate the solutions that meet your needs.

With file and folder backup and recovery, virtual machine backup and recovery, and SQL running on IaaS VMs, Azure Recovery Services Vault gives users a strong feature set and an easy-to-use data protection service for businesses to protect their data.

Like many businesses, as their organization began rapidly migrating and deploying solutions to Azure, the demand for data protection in the cloud has also increased. That’s why Microsoft developed Azure Recovery Services Vault to help manage their backup and disaster recovery needs natively in the cloud.

Microsoft implemented Azure Recovery Services Vault to provide data protection services for their growing Azure virtual machine infrastructure. Recovery Services vault is a cloud-based PaaS solution⎯by using it, their employees can quickly obtain access to data protection for Azure resources. It’s flexible and adaptable enough to meet the needs of all their business groups, and it can evolve into an even more comprehensive data protection solution in the future.

Microsoft’s data protection services team manages data protection for all Core Services Engineering (CSE, formerly Microsoft IT). They oversee the backup and recovery of almost 9 petabytes (PB), or 9 million gigabytes (GB), of on-premises data for the organization. Primarily, they use Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager for their on-premises workloads. They use it for the backup and recovery of:

  • Physical servers, files, and folders.
  • Virtual machines, files, and folders.
  • Application workloads, such as SQL Server and SharePoint.


Adapting for Microsoft Azure

In the past, Microsoft’s corporate infrastructure was hosted in on-premises datacenters. However, Azure has become the default environment for all of their CSE solutions. When they develop new solutions, they look at Azure first. By the end of fiscal year 2018, almost 90 percent of their CSE resources will be hosted in Azure. With their organization rapidly migrating and deploying CSE solutions to Azure, the demand for data protection in the cloud has also increased. Although their on-premises data protection methods using System Center Data Protection Manager can be extended into Azure, backing up cloud data to on-premises datacenters introduced several problems that they wanted to address.

Backup and recovery of Azure data depends on network bandwidth between the datacenter and Azure. Backup and recovery times can be significantly impacted by fluctuations in bandwidth, and they are non-functional if the connection to Azure is unavailable. CSE manages 12,000 Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) virtual machines in subscriptions. So they recognized the need to develop a solution for data protection. Microsoft wanted the solution to provide appropriate service for their Azure users. At the same time, they wanted a manageable and maintainable solution that they could provide for their business groups using Azure now and in the future.


Using Azure Recovery Services vault for data protection

Azure Recovery Services vault is an Azure Resource Manager resource to manage your backup and disaster recovery needs natively in the cloud. Recovery Services vault provides a consistent and unlimited backup for Azure virtual machines at the file, folder, and virtual machine levels. It also provides file and folder backup for on-premises devices.

Azure Recovery Services vault has some important features and functionality that fulfilled several of Microsoft’s goals for data protection. By using these features, they quickly positioned Recovery Services vault as a data protection solution for their business groups. They identified important functionality such as:

  • It stores data in Azure datacenters, so backup, recovery, and general data movement happens quickly between virtual machines and the Recovery Services vault.
  • It provides built-in functionality for both file and folder backup and the backup of entire virtual machines.
  • It fulfills many of our requirements in its default state. It required less customization, and it’s a solution that’s extensible and more flexible to grow with Azure functionality.
  • It uses familiar backup and recovery methods and user interfaces.
  • It meets GDPR requirements in that when data resides in the Recovery Service vault, that data is encrypted and protected against malware and ranswomware attacks.

Usage options for Recovery Services vault

Microsoft offers three primary methods for data protection using Recovery Services vault:

  1. File and folder backup and recovery. You can protect files and folders from within the operating system of your virtual machine using the Azure Backup agent. The agent is installed and managed for each virtual machine. Business groups can use the agent to back up individual files and folders or entire volumes, either as scheduled backups, or on demand.
  2. Azure IaaS virtual machine backup and recovery. With virtual machine recovery, you can back up the virtual machine state to a fully recoverable snapshot in Azure. It provides the most immediate and complete option for full virtual machine recovery. And it can be done using either Azure Portal or Azure PowerShell. With the latest release, you can even perform an item-level recovery of an Azure virtual machine deployed using the Azure Resource Manager model.
  3. SQL running on IaaS VMs. Recently, Microsoft introduced workload backup for SQL running on IaaS VMs. It uses the same native SQL APIs to do the backups and provides the added advantage of being able to manage all of it through the Azure portal. Seamless discovery and agentless protection has made it one of the best solutions available.

With Azure, your data is safe. Contact Oakwood Systems Group to find out more on how we can help you integrate the suite of tools you need to recover your data.

The Power of Backing Up in Azure

The Power of Backing Up in Azure

Data has never been more critical to your enterprise as it transforms in this digital world. Azure Backup helps you retain rapidly increasing amounts of data while keeping storage costs low. It makes it easy for you to backup and restore your most important information when the unexpected happens. As ransomware attacks increase, built-in protection from Azure keeps your data safe. Azure Backup gives you a cost-effective, simple and secure backup solution that protects your data.


Benefits of Azure Backup: Simple, Secure & Cost-Effective

Setting up Azure Backup for your virtual machines can be accomplished in just three steps. Once the initial backup is completed, only incremental changes are sent based on a defined schedule. You can then retain your backups for as long as your compliance(s) require.

Built-in protection against ransomware helps you protect your data from unauthorized requests to delete your backups. Before ransomware has the chance to corrupt your data, you’ll be notified so you can save your data.

Store your backups in Azure instead of an offsite to reduce infrastructure costs. Pay for what you use in Azure.


Additional Key Benefits

  • SaaS pay-as-you-go service
  • Have the latest backup of your data whenever you need it at no additional cost
  • Support for VMware, Hyper-V, Linux and Windows in Azure and on-premises
  • Avoid the complexity of managing on-premises infrastructure
  • Safeguard your backups from ransomware with one-click multifactor authentication
  • Retain unauthorized deleted backups to give you time to investigate and recover your data

Simple and secure cloud-based backup

  • Hybrid and heterogeneous – Protect your data from Azure no matter where it resides – in the cloud or onpremises. Support for virtual machines running on VMware, Hyper-V, Linux and Windows.
  • Flexible – Scale protection to just a few files and folders or multiple virtual machines in a few clicks. Restore individual files and folders or virtual machines from Azure when you need them the most.
  • Efficient – Eliminate the challenges of getting started with your backup solution. With no need to provision storage, enable backup for your virtual machines running in Azure in a few minutes.
  • Fast – View your backups from Azure and onpremises in one centralized location to quickly decide what needs to be restored to keep business operating as normal.
  • Compliant – Export Power BI reports to understand information about your backups. Ensure you are meeting your industry’s unique compliance requirements.
  • Safe – Receive instant notifications of suspicious backup activities so you can take action. Generate a security PIN required to complete critical backup operations for an additional layer of protection.

We don’t have to worry about managing space on expensive purpose-built backup storage systems. We have no tape costs, management costs, nothing. Backup is dramatically cheaper with Azure.

Sean DeLessio Lead Engineer Russell Reynolds Associates

Even with the cost of adding a Data Protection Manager server to each jobsite, Azure Backup is cheaper than our previous solution—one quarter the cost. The savings increase with every gigabyte of data we add.

Chris Palmer Solutions Architect PCL Construction

By using long-term Azure Backup to eliminate tape, we could save US$20,000 annually,” Karabiber says. “We also avoided the need to build or rent an off-site backup location at a cost of $50,000.

Kerem Karabiber IT and Business Development Manager Kardem

The process for backing up data can seem complicated. With the increased importance of data in the digital age, isn’t it time you integrated a solution that helps you safeguard your data? At Oakwood Systems Group, Inc., we know how tough it can be to safeguard your data. That’s why we’re here to help.


Contact Us Today!

Interested in a 212% ROI?

Interested in a 212% ROI?

When you think about switching from running and housing your SQL Server on-premises to Azure, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the infrastructure maintenance savings.

But what about hidden savings? Like efficiency savings for your IT team and database admins? Or the freedom to expand your capacity as soon as you need it?

Just last week we detailed that SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 will no longer be supported by Microsoft starting in July 2019. Outside of the reasons stated above, here’s a few more on why this is an issue to be addressed sooner than later.

  1. Mitigate risks with platform security and compliance: There will be no access to critical security updates, opening the potential for business interruptions and loss of data.
  2. Upgrade to better cost efficiency: Maintaining legacy servers, firewalls, intrusion systems, and other tools can get expensive quickly.
  3. Modernize to innovate: Grow your environments with data, analytics and the cloud.

In a recent financial impact study by Forrester, they detail all of the potential savings, costs, frustrations, and advantages associated with switching to the Azure cloud and the results are exciting!

At Oakwood Systems Group, Inc., we want what is best for your business. Contact us to learn more.

Six Common Cybersecurity Mistakes You Can Fix Now

Six Common Cybersecurity Mistakes You Can Fix Now

Cybercriminals are clever and on the lookout for vulnerable businesses. They exploit common mistakes and flaws to breach systems, then steal, disrupt, or hold businesses for ransom. But here’s the good news: you don’t have to be an easy mark. You can make changes right now to reduce the likelihood of a successful attack.

Here are six common cybersecurity mistakes and how to fix them:

cybersecurity

Mistake 1: Piecemeal approach

It’s tempting to stack new security measures on top of existing ones as new threats emerge. But this results in too many products and not enough integration. Every product has its own dashboard, controls, and alerts. And someone has to stay on top of it all.

This lack of integration between security products makes it difficult to see threats holistically, and even harder to respond quickly and effectively. Instead, look for products designed to work together, and partner with companies that actively seek collaboration with the security industry.

Mistake 2: Insufficient Security Expertise

Cyberthreats continue to increase every day, and 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, which usually have limited IT resources in-house. Everyone else is focused on running the business, not security. You need help.

Consider automated, software-based processes that can monitor your systems continuously and even take action when a threat is detected. Smart automation can save you time and energy, allowing you to focus on other priorities. Also, consider partnering with a specialized security provider. And finally, invest in educating your employees on security awareness so everyone can be part of the solution.

cybersecurity

Mistake 3: Unsecured personal devices

How many ways do you access your business data? Even small businesses may have multiple computers, laptops in remote locations, personal smart phones, and tablets. A determined hacker can attempt access through many possible endpoints. In fact, 60% of breaches stem from a compromised endpoint, such as a personal device.

Identity and access management (IAM) eliminates the complexity of multiple user credentials by giving each employee a single, secure identity to access all your network resources. And multifactor authentication (MFA) offers another layer of protection, requiring a user to present a password plus secondary authentication such as a fingerprint or code sent via SMS.

Mistake 4: “I’m too small to be a target”

Cybercriminals increasingly target smaller businesses assuming that you may be complacent and unprepared. A study by the Better Business Bureau found that nearly one in four businesses with 250 employees or fewer reported having been the target of a cyberattack, and the overall annual average loss for smaller businesses from these attacks is estimated to be $79,841.

Make sure to invest in security, but realize that no program is 100% foolproof. Assume that you can be attacked and breached. Prepare an incident response plan, ensure continuous monitoring for suspicious activity, and organize the resources needed for a quick response to reduce the damage to your business.

Mistake 5: Overlooking the security of the cloud

Security is complex, and even well-funded enterprise IT departments struggle to stay on top of it. The right cloud partner can do much of the heavy lifting for you and provide smart ways to encrypt and backup your data.

Moving to the cloud doesn’t have to mean starting over from scratch. Evaluate your needs, and make the move in stages. Or even employ a long-term hybrid strategy where some of your systems remain onpremises. Be sure to evaluate cloud service providers using international standards, and look for vendors that publish detailed information about their security and compliance measures.

Public cloud providers offer better security than a small business or even a big enterprise is able to achieve. This is due to the investments that cloud providers are making to build and maintain their cloud infrastructure.

Rene Buest – Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead, Crisp Research

Mistake 6: Leaving data unprotected

Data travels outside your control when it’s shared by employees, partners, and customers. But trying to lock down everything discourages productivity and innovation, and eventually leads to employee workarounds if the inconvenience proves too great. Balance protection with productivity by focusing on security at the data level.

Categorize your data based on how sensitive and critical it is to your business. Better yet, automate your data classification so the appropriate protections and monitoring are in place when the data is created. Protect what’s most important with the strongest measures, such as restricted access, limited sharing privileges, and encryption.

Build your security strategy— one step at a time

Modern cybersecurity requires a coordinated, multifaceted approach. But it’s a journey, and every step you take makes a difference and reduces your risk. If you haven’t been attacked yet, assume that you will be a target eventually and look for partners to help. Start with this free security assessment tool, and get prepared to protect, detect, and respond to the threats that come your way.

Contact the security experts at Oakwood Systems Group today and learn more about vulnerabilities you may have and how they should be addressed.

We get it. Change is scary!

We get it. Change is scary!

We get it. Change is scary. If you’ve been running the same operating system for many years, a large-scale overhaul is understandably intimidating.

However, with service ending for SQL and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, now is the time to make the switch to Azure and experience the latest in innovation and security.

If you are still running either of these, don’t panic! Microsoft has put options in place to give you the time you need, and we at Oakwood Systems Group, Inc., are here to assist you with a smooth transition.

Almost any business using technology is producing enormous amounts of data. Unfortunately, much of this data comes in a wide range of formats and most businesses don’t have the tools or know-how to fully utilize it.  

This is exactly what SitePro observed in the oil and gas industry, where large amounts of data were being generated but not used to their fullest extent. Using Azure, SitePro was able to compile this data and channel it all through a single, user-friendly application available to their customers. 

Suddenly, oil and gas companies could see in real time what was going on at their various fields and know exactly when servicing was needed on their equipment, saving them valuable time and resources. 

What could your data be waiting to tell you? Find out with Azure. Call or write us today.

Move Forward Securely with Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Move Forward Securely with Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

When thousands of hospitals, health systems, community practices, and pharmaceutical companies rely on your software to deliver smarter, more effective patient care, you had better make sure it’s secure and reliable. That’s why Allscripts, a leading healthcare software manufacturer, uses Microsoft Azure

Having a reliable and secure IT service provider was more than acquiring 1,000 VMs needed to run the show. Allscripts, a leading healthcare software manufacturer, acquired two companies in 2017. To ensure their new datacenter assets had a home fast, they brought on Microsoft Azure. The reliability of built-in disaster recovery protections means Allscripts doesn’t have to worry about losing their data. You can do the same.

Using Azure Site Recovery, Allscripts was able to easily move 500 development VMs running critical healthcare applications to Azure. In just three weeks, the company lifted and shifted dozens of acquired applications running on 1,000 virtual machines, ensuring they met & Allscripts’ governance policies and security requirements.  

Running your business on the cloud was never easier thanks to Azure. With Oakwood Systems Group, Inc. and Microsoft, your business can achieve the same security and reliability of Allscripts. Email us today to find out more information on how we can help. 

Azure Database Migration

Azure Database Migration

The ability to innovate is what separates long-term successful businesses from the pack. However, a business can have all the game-changing innovative ideas in the world, but it won’t do them any good unless they are actually implemented. 

SitePro gained a competitive advantage by combining onsite sensors and data collection with online data processing and management using Microsoft Azure. As a result, they were able to provide faster and more effective service to their customers, which in turn strengthened the offerings of their customers. It’s a win for everyone.

“We realized we were leaving too many good ideas on the side,” Aaron Phillips, President and CEO, SitePro. 

SitePro, a software platform that supports oil and gas facilities, knew that to power the kind of data collection and usage they imagined, they were going to need to switch from an onsite infrastructure to a scalable cloud service. They found the solution they were looking for in Microsoft Azure

Now, they alone can provide data services that usually require multiple companies to perform, and they are passing on those benefits in cost savings and efficiencies to their customers. 

Interested in what innovations you might achieve with Azure on your side? Send Oakwood Systems Group, Inc. an email to learn more.

Drive secure and scalable business success with a modern data platform

Drive secure and scalable business success with a modern data platform

If you really want to make a difference in your organization, you can start by modernizing your IT infrastructure. That’s what Kyle began with when he started to work for the City of Corona. He worked hard to help the citizens of Corona by moving the city’s IT services to Microsoft 365 and Azure. This allowed the Corona government to provide real-time data and insights for their traffic management professionals; enable better communication with first responders via mobile devices; and connect with the community.

Editing in Microsoft Teams and being able to access features from a mobile platform brought huge time savings and removed redundant efforts among the staff, saving time and resources. With Azure, the city can now access and analyze data quickly, so they can respond to the changing environment faster and with greater accuracy.

Thanks to Kyle and Microsoft, Corona’s shift to a modern IT platform helps them to rapidly meet the changing needs of the city and its employees.

Send Oakwood Systems Group, Inc. an email today to find out how we can help you and your organization shift to a modern business platform with Microsoft.