Data Security

  • Azure Site Recovery Migration & Deployment Guide

    azure site recovery migration

    Starting from the Beginning

    All the research has been completed. All the decisions have been made to use Azure Site Recovery. Now the real work begins with planning the deployment. Beyond creating an Azure Portal account and budgeting for cloud storage and other services, decisions must now be made to execute the move to the cloud and/or site recovery. Current information is needed for determining what VM servers can be migrated or replicated to the cloud.

    Fortunately, new and old customers of Azure services alike can take advantage of one tool to assist with planning and completing a Site Recovery implementation. The Site Recovery Deployment Planner for VMware and Hyper-V presents a handy set of features that easily assists with planning your Site Recovery project, so you can successfully complete the project while meeting all the requirements defined for business consistency and disaster recovery.

    How the Deployment Planner Assists

    The latest version of the planner is now available for enterprise customers and provides insights into an IT environment. The tool delivers enterprise customers with three key types of information:

    1. Customers with either VMware and/or Hyper-V VMs can determine the scope of their on-premises network requirements based on their current number of servers and application demands.

    2. The planner also assists with calculating storage requirements for satisfactory replication to Site Recovery storage.

    3. Also, the planner assesses infrastructure needs for test failover or application failovers.

    With these key data points, customers can determine their precise infrastructure requirements to estimate their total costs involved for meeting disaster recovery needs. With the tool, total cost estimates and licenses can be determined for an associated subscription with currency specified to generate a report that includes needs and pricing for compute, storage, network and Site Recovery. The tool's reporting can be completed without installing any software or creating a negative impact on the existing VM environment since it collects performance data directly from VM environment host servers (either Hyper-V or VMware hosts).

    Information Gathered by the Deployment Planner Tool

    By using the planner, the following information will be extracted to discover infrastructure topography and meet project objectives with precision:

    · Compatibility Assessment - VM servers are assessed for eligibility for use in Azure with Site Recovery

    · Network bandwidth needs versus Recovery Point Objects (RPO) - this provides estimates for required bandwidth for delta replication, expected throughput for Site Recovery between on-premises equipment to Azure, what RPO can be achieved given existing bandwidth, and any impact to RPO for choosing a lower bandwidth.

    · Required Microsoft Azure infrastructure - determine the following factors based on VMs: type of storage needed (standard or premium), the total number of accounts necessary (standard or premium) when setting up replication, storage-account placement of all VMs, how many cores will be needed for test and application failovers, and Azure VM size recommendations for on-premise VMs

    · Required on-premise infrastructure - the required free storage of volumes for Hyper-V volumes for successful replication, copy frequency maximums for Hyper-V replication and requirements for the number of process and configuration servers for VMware replication to Azure scenarios.

    · Guidance for initial replication batching - the planner determines the number of VMs that can be initially replicated.

    · Estimates for disaster recovery (DR) cost with Azure - specifics for total DR cost with detailed cost analysis for each VM

    · Determining growth estimates - future demands for on-premise workload and demand growth are assessed for future planning and budget projections.

    Deployment Planner Modes and Output

    The planner runs in three modes to generate effective reports, so enterprise customers can create the most complete picture of their IT needs and the scope of the project:

    1. Profiling mode gathers information for on-site VM equipment and existing VMs to gain an overall profile of performance by connecting to host servers for Hyper-V or VMware hosted VMs. A number of performance counters are gathered over several days up to a month for an accurate picture of site needs for storage, compute, network, and Site Recovery infrastructure as well as bandwidth discovery.

    2. The planner summary mode generates a report from the data created while in profiling mode. A generated report in the form of a spreadsheet details: current information, creates recommendations, determines storage needs, details which VMs are compatible and which are not, assesses Hyper-V requirements for storage and batching as well as provides cost estimates.

    3. Network bandwidth is determined with the Throughput Calculation mode. With this mode, bandwidth needs, and recommendations are provided even if throttling is necessary.

    With the Azure Site Recovery Deployment Planner, enterprise-class customers can achieve all expectations and requirements from Microsoft Azure for best outcomes of deployment. To learn more about Microsoft Azure Site Recovery and the Deployment Planner for VMs, contact our experts at RoyalDiscount.com - Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products.


  • Azure Virtual Machine Pricing & Costs - Azure VM Solutions Guide

    azure virtual machine pricing for VM instances

    Azure VM Pricing Guide

    Azure services are known for their flexibility and savings are available using the pay-as-you-go plan. However, higher cost savings can be achieved for organizations able to commit to virtual machine instances for long time-frames. With Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances impressive savings of 72% are available, while combined Azure RI and Hybrid Benefit savings can rise as high as 82%.

    Azure RI Savings & Predicting Cost

    Commitment of 1 to 3 years for reserved virtual machine instances allow Microsoft to offer much lower pricing compared to pay-as-you-go plans. Predicting the cost of a cloud deployment ahead of time is often imprecise. Azure users can lock themselves into lower costs by committing to longer-term contracts of one to three years. As a result, flexible cloud solutions become far more cost-efficient with simple pricing solutions.

    Suddenly, total cost of ownership is far more manageable with payment plans that are as flexible as Azure's cloud products. Combine your known cloud-based deployment needs with those that are variable, and costs are suddenly lower so users are less likely to be surprised with sudden billing changes. With this cost management system, businesses and organizations will find it much easier to ascertain and manage internal charges without unpredicted rises in cost.

    If organizational dynamics require changes, Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances may be exchanged or canceled with ease. Overhead just became far simpler than ever while retaining, or even improving, operational functionality. With such flexible pricing, Azure is certain to meet customer expectations while servicing all levels of business needs, even for enterprise-class users.

    How It Works - Based Around Simple Solutions

    Not only is pricing efficient, but purchasing is easily completed. By selecting the Azure region, virtual machine type, and contract terms, users can quickly relieve budgets without the worry of changing business needs. Since reserved instances for virtual machines can be exchanged or canceled at any time, changes for companies are far easier to achieve. Committing to up-front compute capacities no longer mean being stuck with capital overhead as with pay-as-you-go plans or even on-premise solutions.

    Even with the contract flexibility, solutions remain flexible as reserved instances can be exchanged between regions in any configuration based on demand, workload or changes with applications. Cancellation is never a problem and adjusted refunds are easily applied.

    Assignment of reserved instances are equally flexible. Reserved instance management can be made even down to department levels within an organization while the reserved instances are assigned either at enrollment or as a subscription for granular cost oversight. Changes are simple even after purchase making this contract plan the least headache for users.

    Available Virtual Machines Options

    Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances are available for both Windows Server and Linux operating system instances. As such, Azure remains a prime cloud product for all user demands while offering its flexible pricing. One-year rates receive the least cost benefits while three-year rates are lower. However, Hybrid benefits are available for both lengths of contract.

    Economical virtual machine instances such as Burstable V1S or compute optimized Fv2 VMs remain available only in pay-as-you-go plans. However, such virtual machine offerings as general purpose DV3s (VMs with balanced CPU and memory) or memory optimized EV3s (high memory to core ratio VMs) are available for reserved instance pricing. Even enterprise class virtual machines can be purchased with this latest pricing package. Additionally, NVIDIA Tesla P40 GPUs, useful for AI implementations with up to 24GB of memory are now available under reserved instance contract pricing. Contact Royal Discount for more server options and pricing rates.

    When added up, Azure's new pricing for Reserved Virtual Machine Instances contracts, users are sure to improve cloud-solution needs while lowering expenses with measured cost efficiencies. Finding the necessary balance of need and cost is now accomplished with less time while sensitivities for business evolution are retained.

    FAQ

    Q: What are the billing and purchase terms for reserved instances?

    A: Contract terms are available either in one or three years increments with one payment upfront. Contact us for more information about billing terms.

     

    Q: How does assignment of reserved instances between subscription and enrollment levels work?

    A: Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances can be purchased and assigned during enrollment so that all instances are assigned to the account. However, if particular departments want exclusive organizational usage, reserved instances can be assigned as a subscription, so the department can take advantage of specific savings.

     

    Q: Is there a price difference between Microsoft Windows Server and Linux virtual machines and is it required to choose these offerings at the time of purchase?

    A: Single prices are assigned for virtual machines within a region without any requirement to choose between Microsoft Windows Server and Linux virtual machines. However, with the selection of Windows Server the additional options for Azure Hybrid Benefits or payment for Windows Server are available. For more pricing information contact Royal Discount to discuss your specific needs and Microsoft's plan details.

     

    Q: What are the cancellation terms?

    A: Contact Royal Discount to discuss cancellation terms versus terms for exchanges.

     

    Q: What happens to expired reservations?

    A: Notifications of expiration are sent to customers 30 days in advance of the date of expiration. If a reservation expires, deployed virtual machines continue operation and billing reverts to a pay-as-you-go plan.

     

    To learn more about Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances, or Azure Backup Pricing contact our experts at RoyalDiscount.com- Your online source for cheap OEM, Retail & Cloud products. Have questions? Contact us directly at 1-877-292-7712 - 8:00am-5:30pm MST.


  • How to Find Discount Software On Amazon

    Fraud Re-Sellers on Amazon Offer Software at Bargain Prices - At a Cost To You

    With the introduction of online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, it is no surprise that end users are looking for the best software deals, to help them save on their often costly business investments. The problem is, most buyers don't realize the inherent risks of buying from un-registered, un-verified third parties. The fact is, an overwhelming majority of discount software retailers on these online marketplaces are selling illegitimate copies of software that often leave the end user at risk for costly audits and downtime. When buying from a re-seller on Amazon or eBay, it is important to verify the legitimacy of the products being sold and to read the reviews to determine if the product is genuine and legal.

     

    Cheap Software Turned Our Fraud

    Deals That Are Too Good to Be True Usually Are: Don't Fall For Fraudulent Software

    If you find software that is listed well below list, or MSRP price, be wary. Most genuine retailers cannot afford to sell their products for rock bottom prices, and there's a reason for that: The margins on software are simply not that big. So if you find that killer deal on an expensive piece of software, it probably isn't a legitimate copy. Most of the time, if fraudulent, it's the wrong version, a compromised key, or made for a region outside of the U.S. - this means you will get software that might work for a few weeks, months, sometimes a year or more, but eventually you will be paying more to rectify these types of issues. Downtime, expensive audits, and lack of functionality can severely hinder businesses and become extremely costly in light of the up-front savings.

    Protect Yourself: Buy Genuine and Eliminate The Risk of An Audit

    Did you know a Microsoft Audit can cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars. All it takes is for one piece of software on your network to be out of compliance for Microsoft to initiate an Audit letter, placing your entire business and infrastructure under the microscope. Trying to save on that one piece of software just isn't worth it unless its certified genuine. For those trying to save a few bucks, Royal proudly offers some of the lowest prices in the business, with monthly promo codes and incentives to boot - We ONLY sell legitimate software, ensuring our clients are never put in harm's way.

    Have questions about a specific deal online? We can verify if it's legitimate or not. Contact us for more information or call our licensing department direct at 1-877-292-7712.


  • How Safe Is a Password Manager?

    thieves stealing passwords

    Using strong and unique passwords is a piece of advise that we often hear. Unfortunately, most people still opt for weak but easy to remember passwords. Worse, some would use the same password for multiple sites. That’s not surprising since it’s not that easy to remember a handful of passwords. This is where a password manager comes in handy.

    Password managers recall all your passwords for you and help you log into all the websites you use automatically. The password database is encrypted with a master password, which is the only one you have to remember. But the question is, are they really as secure as they claim to be?

    Putting all your eggs or passwords in one basket is sort of a scary proposition. If a hacker successfully gains access to your password manager, then it’s like handing him/her the keys to your online kingdom. For some people, this may be a deal breaker. But isn't it just as easy to break into your online accounts with weak passwords? And if you do use the same password on different sites, all others will also be compromised.

    Yes, intrusions happen all the time. Popular password manager, LastPass, suffered from an intrusion a few months ago. The good news is that the incident didn’t leak any passwords directly. They said that the passwords were so heavily encrypted that no passwords were stolen.

    Now, don’t panic. If you are using a password manager, consider changing your master password every once in a while. Remember, a password manager is only as secure as your master password. Change it often and make sure that it’s a very strong password. Don’t make a hacker’s job easier.

    While a password manager can help organize all your online accounts and increase your online security, you shouldn’t rely on it too much. Make sure that you can remember passwords for crucial services such as online banking and email accounts. Find the latest information data security technologies, speak to our representatives. Get a free consultation or shop the latest software deals.


  • Backup Your Most Important Data

    Back Up Your Data With OneDrive
    Many of us have important files on our computer, but it seems like people don’t know how to take care of them. As a responsible computer user, it is essential that you always back up your most important files and have a plan for recovering from a system failure.

    I often hear end-users say that they don’t have important files on their computer, so they don’t really need to do backups. That’s not true. The truth is, all the important memories in our lives are being looked after by technology – family pictures, vacation photos, wedding photos graduation photos, financial documents etc. It’s really sad when people say that their hard drive died and they lost all their pictures with it. These photos may not cost you money, but losing all those memories can be difficult.

    Most businesses also rely on soft data. Think of all the projects, files, documents, emails, spread sheets, databases and software on your computer. Now imagine what would happen if you lose all these in an instant. What would your clients say? What would happen to your business?

    You may have protected your computer form viruses, malware and other potential threats, but are you backing up your files regularly? Yes, we understand that this can be a chore for most people since the initial setup could take hours, but your data is valuable.

    Backing up your files is advantageous since you can retrieve some, if not all, of your information in case something happens to your computer. Recreating these data will take time and effort. Worse, some of them cannot be recreated at all.

    The most important files to backup are your pictures, documents, music and other files you can’t replaced easily. If you use your computer every day, please try to back up files you use most often at least every week. If you can do it every day, much better.

    If you’ve put off backing up your computer for too long, now is the perfect time to do so. You never know when your computer would give up or malicious software would destroy the information it holds.


  • Tips for Creating a Strong Password

    Creating A Strong Password

    We live in a password-driven world. We are required to create a password for every account that we make online. They provide the first line of defense against hackers and malicious software.

    Security experts often advise us to use strong passwords at all times. But what qualifies as a strong password?

    Here are 4 tips for creating an unbreakable password.

    Minimum of 12 characters

    While it’s fine to use an 8-character password, we’d like to stress the importance of using a long password. Longer passwords are much harder to crack. Go for passwords with at least 12 characters.

    Mix it up

    To make the password harder to crack, use a mix of different types of characters. Include capital letters, lower-case letters, numbers, symbols and punctuations. Instead of bighouse, try BigH0use$123.

    Avoid common passwords

    Avoid using places, names, birthdays, dates and dictionary words as password. A lot of people use the name of their kids or pets, anniversary date, city of birth, favorite team or even their car license plates as their password. Guess what? That's not a strong password, even if you combine them with numbers. Why? It’s because these are the types of information that hackers would want to know first. If you do use any of these as your password, it would only take a few minutes before they gain access to your accounts.

    Use different passwords

    Why would you use a different password for different accounts when you can easily type in your favorite password? The answer is simple. If your password gets cracked, then the person will now have access to all your accounts – email, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, PayPal, bank accounts etc. You can say goodbye to your funds in an instant. Do yourself a favor and use a different password for every account.

    Add an extra layer of protection

    Add an extra layer of protection by enabling 2-step verification. Here, users are required to type in their username and password, along with the code that will be sent to their mobile phone. So even if the hacker gets a hold of your username and password, he still can’t access your account because he doesn’t have your phone.

    For additional tips and information on data security, contact our licensing experts at Royal. We specialize in affordable, legal oem and retail software sales and support. For more information, call us Monday-Friday at 1-877-292-7712.


  • Microsoft Pushes Emergency Patch for Internet Explorer Vulnerability

    A dangerous flaw in Internet Explorer has prompted Microsoft to issue an emergency out-of-band security update.

    In an advisory posted last Thursday, Microsoft informed the public about a newly detected security vulnerability in Internet Explorer. Here, they warned that the vulnerability affects all versions of Windows – from Windows 7 to Windows 10, including 8.1.

    According to the company, the vulnerability was already exploited and is rated as critical on client operating system and moderate on all server operating system.

    The advisory explains that the CVE-2105-2502 has the potential to hijack control of your computer via Internet Explorer. They also warned users that vulnerable computers can be exploited by simply visiting maliciously-crafted websites.

    Attempts would be made to redirect potential victims to booby-trapped websites by tricking them into opening an unsolicited email attachment or by using spammed out links.

    Once the computer has been compromised, it may grant the attacker administrator-level privileges on the target device. This kind of vulnerability may allow attackers to see personal information. The good news is, they won’t be able to choose what they see.

    If the user has administrative capabilities, the attacker would be able to take complete control of their device and do certain things such as install a program or modify a file. Attackers can do the same thing even if users do not have administrative privileges but may be slightly better off.

    Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, is not listed on the page and is not at risk through the vulnerability. However, since it also ships with a copy of Internet Explorer 11 installed, they included it in the update as well.

    Microsoft urged Windows users to update their machines as soon as possible to protect their devices from security vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer.

    For those that have an automatic updating turned on, Microsoft is delivering the update via its automatic Windows Update. For others, these patches are already available via Microsoft’s Download Center.


  • McAfee vs Norton: Which AntiVirus Software is Best for Small Businesses?

    Antivirus software is important for any small business. Protecting computer equipment from spyware, malware, and ransomware is essential to daily business operations. In addition to the pain and hassle of dealing with a virus, some of the more severe viruses can compromise client data, financial information, and other sensitive or personally identifiable data.

    Most people are familiar with both McAfee Antivirus and Norton Antivirus, but few know the real differences between them. Although both commercially-available antivirus software providers are widely used in the business world, not all antivirus software is best for small business needs. Before you select your small business antivirus software, consider the four following considerations all small businesses need to be aware of.

    Bulk License Program Options

    McAfee: McAfee offers several volume licensing options at different available tiers. The minimum volume licensing order is 11 nodes, and it goes up to 10,000+ nodes.

    Norton: Norton doesn’t offer flat-out purchasable volume license – rather, they offer an incentive program where you receive discounts on additional licenses based on how many points you’ve accumulated (dollars spent).
    McAfee seems to be better for small business antivirus licensing if you plan on buying all of your licenses up front. Norton is better if you buy antivirus licenses over time, and accumulate points to earn discounts on volume licenses. McAfee’s volume licensing is extremely scalable, and can help small businesses budget up front for licenses better than Norton’s plan.

    Cost Factors

    McAfee: McAfee offers three different pricing packages for small business that are clear and concise. The packages range from $24.90 per license per year at the very low end, to $51.85 per license per year at the very high end. This does not factor in volume licensing pricing, however.

    Norton: Norton doesn’t list clear pricing plans specifically for small businesses or volume licensing on their website, however, the general range is around $35.00-$50.00 per license per year. Norton does, however, offer lots of different branded software solutions for different needs.
    The costs seem about comparable, but McAfee’s pricing is much more simple and clear to understand. Their three packages for small business are easy to get and straightforward. Although Norton offers many small business solutions, their branded names make it difficult for small businesses to figure out what exactly they need.

    Flexibility of System Requirements

    McAfee:

    • PC - Min Windows + 500 MB available hard drive space
    • Mac - OS X 10.6 or higher + 300 MB available hard drive space

    Norton:

    • PC - Windows + 300 MB available hard drive space
    • Mac - Must buy separate Norton for Mac software (for OS X 10.7 or higher) + 1.5 GB available hard drive space

    McAfee is better for organizations who have PCs and Macs, but for organizations that only have PCs, Norton takes up slightly less hard drive space per computer. The hard drive space savings between PC software is marginal though, so McAfee’s ability to work on both Mac and PC without buying additional software is beneficial. Plus, if your organization runs mostly on Macs, the hard drive space savings is more significant when choosing McAfee over Norton.

    Upgradability

    McAfee: McAfee doesn’t list their specific upgrade rules on their website, but they do offer free automatic security updates as they become available. They also provide support solutions for small businesses.

    Norton: Norton upgrades are available to users who have a support account, and they will receive automatic notifications. Users without support accounts can buy one at an additional charge to receive these upgrades and notifications.

    Norton is more clear and upfront about their upgrade policy, and offer more support options for upgrading. McAfee’s failure to list upgrade details is questionable, however, they do offer a number of support services for small businesses.

    Conclusion

    When comparing and contrasting McAfee Antivirus with Norton Antivirus, it seems as though McAfee is slightly better for small businesses for a number of reasons: McAfee is scalable, price-plan predictable, and flexible on a variety of types of computers and operating systems. However, Norton offers many of the same great benefits that McAfee does, and excels in support and a large variety of solutions for specific small business needs.

    Although these four considerations are among the most applicable to small business needs, there are many other considerations and questions that might be specific to different businesses. For example, if your small business needs to remain HIPAA compliant, PCI compliant, or if you store other types of sensitive data, you may require different offerings from an internal source. Either way, investing in antivirus can save your business a lot of time, reputability, and money in the future.

    For more help deciding on the right antivirus program, or for questions, contact our Licensing & Sales experts. Royal Discount is the internet's best source for cheap online software deals. Helping individuals, IT managers and businesses for over 20 years running. Call in direct at 1-877-292-7712 - Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:30pm.