For the second year in a row, we’re delighted to report that Infinitely Virtual has been named to the Ingram Micro 2014 SMB 500 (www.im-smb.com/smb500). The annual list recognizes the 500 fastest-growing Ingram Micro U.S. channel partners serving the small and midsize business (SMB) market. Ranked at number 58, we expanded our business with Ingram Micro Inc. (NYSE: IM), the world’s largest technology distributor, by more than 107 percent during the past three years.
What does that mean for you? It’s a very good sign not only for our company but for cloud computing generally. Ingram Micro’s endorsement underscores how popular the cloud has become among small and midsize businesses. At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that the Ingram list isn’t limited to providers who make cloud migration happen. The list includes a diverse mix of solution providers— truly, the full gamut for SMBs. In other words, cloud computing is now a fully mainstream technology, in part because providers have proven that they know how to deliver a superior customer experience.
Ingram Micro continues to be an outstanding channel partner for us, in large measure because the company knows the SMB world so well and has helped us serve our customers so productively. Clients turn to us for virtualized infrastructure services, and we in turn enlist Ingram Micro to ensure that we can provide those products and services efficiently and cost-effectively.
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Toward a Cloud Hosting Bill of Rights: A Virtual Win-Win
To mark this year’s 25th anniversary of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, its creator, suggested the time was ripe for an Internet Bill of Rights.
That struck us as a very smart idea, so we’ve taken the liberty of extending the concept to cloud hosting. After all, powerful new virtualization technologies carry with them some very specific rights and responsibilities. Here are our suggestions about some fundamental expectations and norms for those doing business in the cloud:
1.The right to an audit – and information about it. You have the right to a data center that has passed a SSA16-type II audit. The SSAE (Standards for Attestation Engagements) No. 16 Type II audit is among the most rigorous auditing standards for hosting companies. The audit confirms the highest level of service and reliability attainable for a virtual server hosting company.
2.The right to be free of contracts. You must be able to come and go as you please, free of contracts and minimums that tether you to a provider indefinitely. Relationships with hosting providers are best managed month to month.
3.The right to backup as a core service. Backup services must be included as an integral part of every package, not as an option available at additional cost. Ideally, providers should offer managed backups with 14-day retention.
4.The right to comprehensive data protection. Although it would seem self-evident, you are entitled to have your data protected through various state-of-the-art tools and techniques. Providers should offer both enterprise-level and application level protection, including SSL capability, hardware firewalls and IP-restricted FTP – at minimum.
5.The right to total data integrity. Ensuring data integrity is closely related to data protection, but well worth a special mention. As cyber threats become ever more insidious, it’s vital for providers to implement systems that go well beyond basic antivirus “solutions.” Advanced monitoring and multi-level intrusion detection and prevention ought to be mandatory, not discretionary.
6.The right to 100 percent uptime. Providers must do no harm. Maintenance intervals should not cause downtime on any kind of a periodic basis; such intervals must be infrequent and near to zero as possible.
7.The right to live telephone support. You have the right to speak to an engineer, in real time – a professional who understands your configuration and can address your specific problem(s).
8.The right to tech support that is clear and informed. You are entitled to speak to engineers and knowledgeable support personnel in plain English. Problems should not be considered “resolved” until both parties agree that they fully understand each other.
9.The right to 24×7 support. Problems and issues don’t adhere to regular business hours. You are entitled to tech support any time of the day or night. Period.
10.The right to transparent pricing. You should know precisely what you’re paying for, and how much you’re paying, this year and next.
Cloud hosting providers like Infinitely Virtual live in the “Infrastructure as a Service” marketplace. As far as we’re concerned, service truly should be the last word.