The Data Stack

5 Posts authored by: JenniferSanati

In the past, security meant that you locked up your business doors before heading home. Now, things have changed – and drastically. In an effort to stay competitive, aided by the explosion of e-commerce, businesses shift to an “always open” model where customers are serviced 24/7, long after the brick and mortar stores close.

 

New IT security risks have surfaced as a result of this evolving business model, and the need for small businesses to address these risks has grown due to an increased insurgence of security breaches. Research studies show that the impact of a security breach can not only be costly, but catastrophic. The data below shows the average cost incurred by activity as a result of a data breach.

 

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A recent study conducted by the University of Texas revealed that 43% of small business IT that suffer a data breach never re-open. This study is one of many that demonstrate the fact that small businesses are not shielded from the risk of security breaches. Similar to large businesses, small businesses encounter threats and regulatory requirements; however, they often lack resources to secure their data and IT systems. This leaves security holes, and makes it even more important for small businesses to take steps to prevent security breaches. Small businesses need tools to help them protect their data, and Intel Xeon-based servers can help.

 

One common way to protect data is through encryption. Encryption works by taking data in plain, readable text form and running it through an algorithm to convert it into its encrypted form, unreadable without a special key. Historically, the encryption process was complex and computationally costly to execute, resulting in many businesses not encrypting their data. Today, with Intel® Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI), this is no longer a problem. Intel AES-NI works because it speeds up the encryption process, which makes the use of encryption feasible where it was not before.

 

There are several usages for encryption in small businesses where Intel AES-NI can speed up the process, including the following:

 

  • Whole disk encryption. Hard drive encryption is important for businesses to protect critical business and customer data from being accessed by hackers in the event of theft, or when it's time to decommission the drive.
  • Internet security. Encryption is often employed for securing internet and cloud-based transactions. Examples include online banking and e-commerce.
  • Application level encryption. Sometimes it is useful to implement more fine-grained encryption policies. Application level encryption allows you to encrypt a subset of fields in your business/customer database, fields containing sensitive data such as social security numbers, billing/credit card information, etc.

 

The encryption mechanisms above are but a few example usages of how encryption can enhance your small business' security and offer peace of mind. And with Intel AES-NI, supported by Xeon E3 servers, you can expect up to 58% faster encryption. You no longer need to sacrifice computational resources for security - now you can have both!

 

Many things have changed since the days when a key to the building meant your business was secure, and it will only continue to evolve from here. Will your business be prepared?

Small businesses today are fraught with many IT challenges: limited manpower, tight budget constraints, security concerns, lack of technical expertise, and a rapidly evolving IT environment. At the core of this IT is your server, supporting the functions which are central to your business. On the front end, servers run productivity applications such as email, file/print, and database. And on the backend, servers run various security, manageability, and backup applications to keep the server and your business up-and-running reliably.

 

But what makes a server? Aside from the underlying hardware, the right operating system is crucial for enabling shared resources and maximizing productivity. Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials (SBS 2011 Essentials) is one of the many options to consider for your first server purchase. This operating system provides an easy-to-use solution to protect your data with advanced, automated backup features. SBS 2011 Essentials helps you organize and access your business information from virtually anywhere. And, the operating system is designed to give you quick and easy connectivity to the cloud and a wide range of online services. Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials offers the best of both worlds: on-premise server capability and a simple gateway to the cloud.

 

A server running Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials powered by Intel Xeon processor E3 family is an excellent solution for small businesses. Intel Xeon processor E3 family delivers features designed to enhance your employees’ experience through dramatically improved performance of up to 30% over prior generation servers and up to 6X that of an older desktop.

 

Because your server runs many applications critical to your business, it is important that it is up and running 24x7. With support for Error Correcting Code (ECC) memory, Intel Xeon-based servers can detect and correct memory errors, preventing system crashes and potential data corruption. Security also continues to be a real concern, and Intel Xeon processor E3 family features Intel AES-NI, advanced instructions designed to speed up the encryption process and minimize compute resources, making encryption feasible where it previously was not.

 

Plus, with Intel Rapid Storage Technology, data redundancy is possible through software-based RAID allowing you to quickly recover in the event of a hard drive failure. And last but not least, Intel Active Management Technology gives service providers or your in-house IT staff the ability to remotely diagnose and repair your server, saving you time and ensuring swift recovery from system downtime.

 

Come and see all of this in action! Intel, Microsoft, and Acer are conducting a unique 3-city road show giving you a first-hand view of the new Acer AC100 server running Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials powered by the Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 product family. Experts from Intel, Microsoft, and Acer will be there to introduce you to options and give you advice on things to consider when purchasing your server. And don’t forget to take advantage of this opportunity to get hands-on experience and network with local business partners. Plus, one attendee from each event will receive a new Acer AC100 server at no cost. Go ahead and register, but don’t wait long because these free and informative sessions are filling up fast!

 

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Small businesses can significantly benefit from a networked  infrastructure. Networks enable small businesses to enhance their collaboration  and share resources such as file and print services.

 

There are two types of networks: peer-to-peer and client-server. A  peer-to-peer network consists of interconnected client computers, such as  laptops or desktops, able to access each other’s resources such as applications  or files. A client-server network is a centralized network where one or more  computers (aka servers) act as dedicated resource providers to a pool of client  computers. These servers “serve up” 24x7 services to the client computers such  as file, print, email, and backup.

 

 

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Peer to Peer Network

Client-Server    Network

 

 

There are advantages and disadvantages to both peer-to-peer and  client-server networks; however, in general, small businesses benefit more from  a client-server network designed to maximize your employees’ productivity  through enhanced  security, reliability, and  accessibility features. And client-server networks built with an Intel®  Xeon®-based server are the ideal choice for small businesses.

 

If you’re unsure about whether a client-server network is the way  to go, here are the

 

Top 10 Reasons  to Setup a Client-Server Network with an Intel Xeon-based Server:

 

1.

24x7 Accessibility: With a  peer-to-peer network, if a user needs to access a file residing on another  computer, that computer needs to be powered on. This is not practical with  client devices that are generally powered off when not in use. With a  client-server network, the server is always-on, always available, so files and  applications can be accessed at anytime.

2.

Improved  Collaboration: The server in a client-server network can act as a centralized  hub for storing and sharing files. This configuration allows multiple users to  access files and makes changes to a single centralized copy. This also helps  minimize version control issues that often arise from managing multiple  versions of the same file.

3.

Centralized, Client Backups: Servers can be configured to automatically  backup client computers and also restore data based on those backup images, in  the case of a client hard drive failure.

4.

Remote  Access: Servers support remote access which  enables employees, partners, and customers, to access data on the server  without physically being in front of the system.

5.

Server  Backups: Intel Xeon-based servers support Intel® Rapid  Storage Technology, which enables the server to seamlessly store  multiple copies of its data on additional internal hard drives, so if one of  its hard drives fails, it can quickly recover the data with minimal system  downtime.

6.

Enhanced  Security: Servers can be configured to control access to the server’s data  and other resources on a per-user basis. This ensures that only individuals  with proper permissions access specific data and applications residing on the  server. And with Intel Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (Intel AES-NI),  data passing between the server and clients is encrypted to prevent data from  being compromised in transit.

7.

Better  Client Performance: In a peer-to-peer network, clients also have  to act as servers, “serving up” services to other clients on the network. This  can negatively impact performance of those clients. This computational burden  is lifted by having a high performance, Intel Xeon-based server, dedicated to  supporting the clients.

8.

Shared,  System-Wide Services: Servers provide shared, centralized services  for clients to access such as file, print, email, database, and web hosting.

9.

Enhanced  Reliability: Intel Xeon-based servers support Error Correcting Code (ECC)  memory which helps protect your business-critical data and prevent system  errors by automatically detecting and correcting memory errors.

10.

Business  Growth: Peer-to-peer networks are limited in terms of the number of  users. A client-server network built with an Intel Xeon-based server is  scalable for your needs, allowing room for growth as you business grows.

 

 

For your small business’ client-server network, the right choice  is a server based on the Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1200 product family. For  more details on the Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 product family, listen to my Intel Chip  Chat.

I have grown up around small businesses all my life. From my father’s sandwich shop, to hamburger joint, to local restaurant. I have seen firsthand the types of challenges that small businesses face: long hours, high employee turnover, demanding customers, and lots of bookkeeping!

 

We have seen leaps and bounds in the computing industry over the past several decades and its impact on small businesses has been substantial. My father has come a long way from the days when he would ring up customers on an old-fashioned cash register. But what is next? And what types of IT challenges can computers, and namely servers, solve for small businesses?

 

Today Intel is introducing the new Intel® Xeon® processor E3-1200 product family – the ideal entry level server for small businesses. The server is typically the core of a small business’ IT, and servers based on the Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 product family are designed to increase business responsiveness, enhance business protection, and deliver 24x7 dependability, all at costs comparable to a desktop.

 

With up to 30% better performance than prior generation servers, Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 product family runs business-critical applications faster, enabling improved employee productivity. And with Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, you get an even greater burst of speed automatically when your server needs it most.

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Security continues to be a real and costly threat, with the average cost of lost business due to a data breach in the US in 2010 at around $4.5 million. The built-in security capabilities of the Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 product family enable small businesses to secure their data with encryption acceleration technologies like Intel AES-NI, and secure startup of the operating system with Intel TXT. And, Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) provides continual protection from loss due to a hard drive failure or data corruption, and should it happen, sends an automatic alert so hard drives can be swapped out quickly and the business can stay up and running. These are just a few of the new features available with the Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 product family.

 

Sometime in the next two weeks, Dell will refresh their entry level servers with these new processors. These servers will deliver substantial performance gains for running business-critical applications, provide system management capabilities designed to ease maintenance, and expand system scalability – all this to meet the needs of your business today, with headroom to support business growth of tomorrow.

 

What are your security concerns; do you feel these new features will help meet your needs?

ENERGY STAR compliance is becoming an increasingly important factor for servers and workstations.

Accurate interpretation of the ENERGY STAR specification can be quite challenging with the ever-expanding scope of rules and regulations that govern platform and component-level design considerations.

Intel recently developed a semi-automated test tool to greatly simplify ENERGY STAR testing of servers and workstations. This tool has the following capabilities:

1. Ability to identify the relevant ENERGY STAR criteria per configuration

2. Automated assignment of ENERGY STAR test conditions and system testing

3. Preparation of system test data for analysis and ENERGY STAR submission

Feel free to stop by my booth at IDF in the Eco-Technology Community for a hands-on demonstration and to learn more.

 

Jennifer

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