Customer’s story: What we gained from moving business to SIM-Cloud IaaS

We at SIM-Networks always gladly accept feedback from customers. Each case is unique; each customer's story is one-of-a-kind. Our partner and CEO of Іgnis Fatum Ltd, Vadim Podovalov, has kindly agreed to share his own story about how he decided to work with SIM-Networks and how our SMB cloud servers helped his business grow. The approach described in this case is universal – it can be useful both for those who plan on starting their own business and those who want to increase the efficiency of an existing business. We're giving the floor to our customer.

Moving to the cloud as a way to start a successful business

Hello to everyone who uses SIM-Networks products, in particular, SIM-Cloud IaaS, and to those who are planning on it, but have not yet taken this chance. I decided to tell you how the cloud helped me launch and grow my business.

My name is Vadim Podovalov. I am the founder and director of Ignis Fatum Ltd., a company that delivers business automation solutions and website development on the Ukrainian market. But that is the case as of now. But a few years ago, our company did not exist yet — we just had a keen desire to start our own business, backed up by seven years of experience in site-building and process automation.

A few years ago, our company did not exist – we only had a keen desire to start our own business, backed up by seven years of experience in site-building and process automation.

Once the papers were signed and the office was rented, it was time to think about the company’s IT structure. Having many years of experience in IT, I understood that before launching my business, I had to find answers to two key questions — what kind of software to use and where to deploy it.

In each case, the choice of software and vendors is up to the business owner

The apps you need to start any business

First of all, we defined those services, apps, and systems that will ensure the efficiency of the business. The list of must-haves is as follows:

  • Accounting system
  • ERP system
  • Corporate web portal
  • A website for advertising services and products
  • Internal communication and management system in the company
  • CRM system for interacting with customers
  • IP telephony.

This is the minimal set of applications and tools necessary for the efficient functioning of a business of any size and in any industry. Of course, in each case the business owners choose the software and vendors by themselves. However, the software listed above covers the basic organizational and promotion needs.

The next question is where to place all this. The features of the software listed above have to be used with two OSs, at least Windows Server for 1C systems and Linux for everything else.

A company’s internal infrastructure is its health

Essential requirements for corporate infrastructure

To ensure the productivity and security of your business, you need to deploy your apps and systems in a stable environment where the effects of negative factors are minimized. Here are the essential requirements for the corporate IT environment.

1. High-speed and safe interaction (data exchange between various modules of ERP, between the accounting system and CRM, between sites and CRM, etc.)

Each app and system module is highly specialized, and it is important to customize their interconnection so that the data protected from interception.

Let me explain this interaction with an example: an order is received through the website → CRM system captures it, and the sales manager processes the order → the order is added to the accounting system and then to the ERP.

2. Easy system management

The IT environment where your systems are deployed should be intuitive and straightforward in terms of management, configuration and support.

3. Secure remote connection for access from anywhere in the world (remote offices, remote employees, business trips)

Secure remote access to corporate infrastructure is vital these days. It's a fairly typical situation when you have to waste time, and often money, waiting for an urgent response from a partner or customer because they are on vacation, on sick leave, on a local business trip, abroad, and so on. To eliminate the risk of such losses, establish remote access via a secure channel to connect to the company's IT environment. This way, you’ll stay in touch anywhere in the world and under any circumstances.

Remote access to the corporate IT environment is crucial if your business is works in multiple regions or continents, or if some of your employees work remotely. Staying in touch and operating in a single environment is essential if you want your business to grow and generate profits.

4. Infrastructure Data Security

It is a significant risk that is often overlooked by many. Attempts to hack your corporate systems are a rule, not an exception. All URLs on the Internet are checked by malicious bots almost daily to find vulnerabilities. You can't see this with the naked eye; often, it does not affect the system's performance. However, this almost always leads to the worst consequences. Imagine that one day your client base suddenly ends up in the hands of your unscrupulous competitor. To prevent this, think about how to provide reliable protection for your IT environment.

5. Independence from physical factors, such as power or internet outages etc.

If the operation of the system is interrupted, the processing of information is slowed down, and, as a result, the company's business processes freeze. Downtime is always too expensive for businesses, which is why you should take measures to prevent it.

6. Data duplication to prevent data loss in case of fires, illegal actions, etc.

Unfortunately, many companies overlook this possibility. However, no one is safe from an accidental fire, a flood or intruders. Data loss within all systems and drives can drive a company to bankruptcy if critical data is affected.

7. Data recovery for unforeseen circumstances

Make sure to organize the possibility of a quick recovery in case of any failures. We tend to always hope for the best, but a wise approach is to prepare for any developments, especially negative ones.

*8. Flexible scalability

Any person in business will tell you that it's hard to predict when you will need to expand your infrastructure. This depends entirely on your business growth. However, infrastructure scaling must be easy and convenient to adapt quickly. It's reasonable to guarantee the possibility of IT infrastructure scaling from the get-go.

9. Reasonable price

This is the last point on the list for a good reason – it is like a summary. The company's internal infrastructure is its health. Health is not something you should try to save money on. However, it is also fair to say that you shouldn’t dive into business with extra costs. Therefore, the project budget should be enough to allow you to choose the best solution, but at the same time, remain within the limits of reasonable cost-effectiveness.

We have listed mandatory requirements for an IT infrastructure, the implementation of which will ensure the stability and reliable functioning of your business. The lack of any of these points can lead to disastrous results for the entire company.

Let’s consider the main options for infrastructure deployment and analyze the pros and cons of these options. I'll share a little life hack that I use not only in business but also in life. If I have several options to choose from, I draw two columns on paper and put down the pros and cons of each option. The one with more pros is obviously the best option among those considered. It’s quite simple.

In my opinion, cloud technology is the epitome of modern infrastructural solutions

What is the best environment for your IT infrastructure?

Any business owner wants their systems to function perfectly and to quickly compensate all of the costs of the initial investment and become profitable. The best way to get there is to choose the optimal location for corporate IT infrastructure deployment. I will describe the possible options and their features. Note that I took all these observations from experience in communicating with numerous clients, acquaintances, and partners. The list includes the most distinctive approaches for our market.

On-premises servers (in the company’s, or friend’s, or partner’s office)

Some business owners and company managers consider on-premises data centers to be the most secure place for corporate servers. The rationale is usually that you can see your server at any time, you can touch it, you can hear how it buzzes, so you will can sure that your apps and systems are fine. As a result, the servers are located «somewhere in the office», in places that are usually not suitable for this – e.g., underground storerooms, utility roomі, or even the CEO's office.

Any office is a place with a huge list of risks, and ensuring the normal functioning of the server room can cost tens of thousands of dollars for redundant power supply systems, air conditioning systems to maintain the temperature and humidity.

Besides, to build and support such a system, it is necessary to have several (tens!) top-notch qualified specialists. Otherwise, even the most expensive server equipment can be likened to a Ferrari 330 which is used exclusively for shopping trips.

Keep in mind that despite the «one-time» purchase of equipment, you will have to spend on its depreciation, maintenance and keeping it technologically relevant for many years.

Dedicated bare-metal or virtual server rental

In this case, you rent dedicated servers or VDS located in professional SMB data centers with redundant power supplies and communication lines and served by highly-qualified experts. Data centers have state-of-art security systems which protect the servers against physical threats (access control, video surveillance of the perimeter, security and fire alarms, fire protection and air conditioning systems, etc.). Advanced encryption tools are used to encrypt data transfer channels. If you wish, you can even house your server in the provider’s data center and delegate support to the provider. This service is called colocation. Server colocation is a good option, but it works better for a single server.

Building a secure virtual network for your servers in the provider's datacenter is possible. However, the bandwidth and data transfer speed may be limited by the bandwidth of internet communication and other factors (depending on the hosting, location of the servers, etc.).

An important point: these network setting has to be set up manually, which is far from an easy task.

Cloud solutions

When I'm asked what a cloud is, I say: «The cloud is resources.» At the hardware level, it can consist of hundreds of servers, combined into a single entity using a specialized system. When you rent a cloud, you specify what resources (CPU, RAM, storage volume, etc.) you need. These resources are allocated to you and work only for you.

When working in a cloud environment, you work with all the resources that you ordered. You create and manage virtual servers (instances) based on these resources. If you need additional resources for a server, you can order them or simply transfer them from one server to another.

The entire physical infrastructure of the cloud cluster ensures fault-tolerance and high availability of services. All data exchange between servers in the cloud, as well as through channels between the cloud and the client, is encrypted. This minimizes the risk of data interception. Dozens of professional system administrators monitor the status of the system around the clock and provide it with trouble-free operation.

Managing your infrastructure in the cloud is easy: using an intuitive control panel, you can add or remove a server, allocate resources within instances, and configure a LAN to connect nodes. Each operation will take you only a few minutes.

I chose SIM-Networks for me & my clients and I haven’t regretted it once

Why SIM-Networks?

Choosing a cloud service provider is a task that requires a serious approach. You do not just choose the platform where your business will actually grow – you choose the entire roadmap for the development of your business.

For myself, I determined the following criteria, based on which I chose a cloud provider:

  1. The legal system of the country where the provider is located.
  2. The resources needed to ensure the stable operation of the systems.
  3. Prompt and competent responses from technical support.
  4. Advanced equipment, following innovations in the field of data storage and processing.
  5. Reasonable pricing.

Over the years of my experience in IT, I have come across many companies that offer hosting services and infrastructure solutions both in Western Europe and Eastern Europe. I will not describe the specifics of how other companies operate, nor will I advertise anyone. I can only say that I chose SIM-Networks for my business and my clients, and I do not regret it. Reliability, professionalism, a customer-centric individual approach was precisely what I needed. I’d like to thank SIM-Networks for high-quality work in their segment.

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To summarize

The solution that SIM-Networks experts created for me met all the requirements for corporate IT infrastructure. The design of SIM-Cloud IaaS ensures the reliable operation of my business and the high availability of my systems round-the-clock. It often happens that you need to look at data, for example, from your CRM, while out of office. I can get it from the cloud easily and quickly. Data security guaranteed by advanced hardware and software protection tools is on-top. During the several years of my partnership with SIM-Networks, I got an opportunity to try out the scaling capabilities of the cloud for SMB. It is quick, simple, and very convenient. Having registered in the SIM-Networks affiliate program, I recommend their services to my customers, and I want to note that my clients who use SIM-Cloud are also very pleased with this cloud service.

Let me summarize the main result:

To ensure the operation of my company’s IT infrastructure and the deployment of all systems, I needed two cloud servers, one work day for a technical expert to customize the infrastructure, and 90 Euro per month.

Thank you for your attention! I hope my story will be useful for those who want to start their own business or optimize their existing infrastructure.

CEO of Ignis Fatum Ltd.

Vadim Podovalov

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