What is virtualisation and how does it work?

What is virtualisation and how does it work?

The term ‘virtualisation’ sounds complicated and vaguely futuristic, which can be intimidating if you don’t have a lot of IT experience. In reality, virtualisation is a fairly simple concept that can help to greatly improve the efficiency of a business’s IT system. It might be able to help you make the most of the hardware at your disposal. In today’s blog, we’ll explain what virtualisation is and how it works. We’ll also examine its advantages and limitations in detail, so you can decide if it’s the right IT solution for you.

What is virtualisation?

As its name suggests, virtualisation involves creating a virtual system that replaces or emulates a physical one. In IT, this means building a digital system that negates the need for hardware. For example, virtualisation can be used to create a digital server inside the server hardware you already have so you don’t have to add extra hardware. It can also be used to create separate desktops and other basic systems inside your existing computers, so you don’t have to add extra computers if you want to use radically different systems.

Virtualisation works because servers and other pieces of hardware often run at a fraction of their actual capacity. Under normal circumstances, some functions and systems are mutually exclusive. A server, hard-drive or other piece of hardware can only be used to run systems or functions that aren’t mutually exclusive. By building a virtual ‘machine’ inside your existing hardware, virtualisation allows you to overcome this limitation. It enables you to run systems that would normally be incompatible on the same piece of physical hardware by using its left-over processing and storage capacity.

What are the advantages?

The main advantage of virtualisation is that it allows you to add applications, server functions, storage and other features to your IT system without investing in extra hardware, which can be expensive and difficult to maintain. Of course, virtualisation is limited by the available capacity of your existing hardware. If you already use most of your hardware’s data capacity, the extent to which virtualisation can help you is limited. However, if you don’t, virtualisation could revolutionise your IT system.

Here at Nimbus CS, we don’t just carry out routine IT support: we can also virtualise your IT system to make it more efficient. If you want to avoid adding bulky hardware to your system while improving its performance and versatility, get in touch with us today.

What is a hosted desktop and why should you have one?

If you run a business, you are probably already aware of how important it is for your staff to have access to the right software. If they can’t utilise the correct programmes and applications, it can be difficult for an employee to carry out their role sufficiently. Unfortunately, ensuring that your employees can get access to the software they need isn’t always easy. In today’s flexible and complex work world, many of your employees may have to work from outside the office, meaning that they can’t simply sit down and log onto a company-owned computer. One way to solve the problem is to invest in a hosted desktop. But what is a hosted desktop and how does it work?

Hosted desktop

The concept of a hosted desktop is actually much simpler than it sounds. It just refers to an online space where individuals can access a range of applications that aren’t stored on their computer. These virtual desktops look and act exactly like ordinary, offline desktops. They present users with a range of different software applications that can be accessed and used just like their offline equivalents. The only difference is that hosted desktops are stored on a cloud server rather than on a single computer’s hard drive. This means that they can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

Hosted desktops are obviously ideal for employers who want to make sure their employees can access the right software, regardless of where they are or what device they’re using. Instead of installing a set of programmes on every single device an employee might use, the employer only has to place those programmes on a single desktop that everyone can access. This saves a lot of effort and hard-drive space while simultaneously ensuring that everyone can use the same software.

Make sure it’s right for you

Of course, hosted desktops aren’t the correct solution for everyone. Offline desktops are obviously slightly more secure because they can’t be accessed through the internet. As a result, if security is a major concern for your business, it may be better to stick with offline applications. However, if you don’t need to store sensitive information in any of your applications and security isn’t a major problem for you, a hosted desktop may be the ideal solution.

Contact Nimbus

Here at Nimbus CS, we can provide you with a hosted desktop alongside the IT support you need to maintain it and make the most of it. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to know more.

Cyber security threats to look out for in 2018

2017 saw a rise in the number of high profile cyber attacks worldwide. Malicious software is becoming more sophisticated and harder to detect. Now more than ever it is important for businesses to recognise the biggest threats to cyber security and know the methods of protecting against them. The most significant threats in 2018 include:

DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service)

This is a variation on a Denial of Service attack. A standard DoS will work by overloading a computer system to the point where it becomes totally inaccessible. The DDoD version is particularly dangerous because the attack comes from multiple sources. This means that even if your security software recognises and stops one source the others will continue causing damage. Defence against these attacks requires a number of tools in order to identify and categorise the threat before responding. For staff members to gain back access the security software must be able to recognise and differentiate legitimate users from hackers. Blocking the malicious traffic will help bring the system back to functionality.

State sponsored malware

In recent years we have seen the emergence of sophisticated malicious software that has been designed by nation states for cyber warfare. This is a worrying development as companies have no way of knowing the nature of this software and what to look out for. The bright side is that even advanced malware needs an incubation period before it can spread onto other computers in a network. A strong security system will be able to identify any suspicious behaviour and isolate the malware before any further damage can be caused.

Outdated systems

Not all threats are external. The scope of the damage caused by the 2017 WannaCry attack on the NHS was partly due to obsolete security systems. As malware continues to evolve it is essential that the workplace has an up to date firewall in place to serve as an effective deterrent. It is also important that staff members are trained on how to safely use the computing system. All it takes is one uninformed team member to open a suspicious email attachment and then the entire internal network is compromised.

Contact the team at Nimbus for more information.

Why IT training is a wise choice for your business

If you run a business, then you need to use all the resources you can to make it run to its maximum potential. While there are many ways to do this, including outsourcing your IT support or using a managed service desk, one superb option is to invest in IT training for your staff.

Your staff are the most valuable asset you have as they will be the people to deal with customers and drive your operation forward. With this in mind, making sure they get the right ongoing IT education and training is key. This will help them to improve their business IT support skills in a way that will have a positive effect on their daily roles.

Here are three great reasons why IT training is so good.

1. Improves staff efficiency

While most employees who use IT software each day will have a good grasp of the basics, they may be missing out on neat tricks or features that could improve their productivity. IT training will make sure they are made fully aware of ways in which they could work smarter. It may be that they didn’t know about a certain feature or weren’t sure how to use it – IT training will be able to fill in these knowledge gaps.

2. It makes sense to invest in staff

By providing training in this key area, you are making a serious commitment to staff development. It will provide much more value to your staff in terms of their continued growth and mark you out as someone caring to work for. This in turn will improve your staff morale and make them more valuable to you as an employee.

3. Improved cyber-security

When it comes to protecting your business’s cyber-security online, you need to keep staff up to date on all the latest procedures. This will keep your business as safe as possible and give them the knowledge they need to spot any malicious attacks from outside sources. It may be as simple as reminding them to never open suspicious emails or attachments – they key is that it good IT training in this area will protect the whole company.

If you need help with sourcing IT training or what you should cover, give Nimbus CS a call today on 028 900 800 30. We have many years of experience in this field and can give the best advice around.

Nimbus shortlisted for Small Business Awards 2018

Nimbus shortlisted for Small Business Awards 2018

We are delighted to have been shortlisted for Small Business of the Year and Technology Business of the Year Awards in this years Business Eye First Trust Bank Small Business Awards.  While both award categories have different guidelines they both recognise an outstanding small business that has a clear vision and strategy to deliver growth and expansion with a commitment to superior customer service and care.

 In less than 8 years Nimbus has recorded very impressive growth year on year with offices in both Belfast and Dublin we have built and continue to support IT networks for clients across the UK & Ireland but also America and across Europe.  These achievements will see our team grow significantly over the next 12 months and are a result of our core values to build and support high quality innovative networks using our unrivalled focus on customer and service and exceptional technical expertise.

 It has been a busy few months for Nimbus with our Founder and MD, Gareth McAlister recently being shortlisted for the Digital DNA Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was selected for the Business First top 40 under 40 leaders within Northern Ireland.

 To be shortlisted for both of these awards highlights the hard work and continued dedication from our entire team at Nimbus and we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the other finalists in the categories.

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