We Provide Answers to the Most Common IT Questions We Get
How can I protect my customer's confidential data? Will cloud-based services work for me? Am I protected from a potential disaster? Find answers to these questions and more in our FAQs. If your pressing questions are not answered here, give us a call to make an appointment with one of our IT experts.
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How is my data being protected?
So many business owners oppose outsourcing their technical processes and critical hardware because they do not want to risk a security breach or create extensive downtime. While these risks are very real, they are minimized considerably with the right fail-safes and data protection procedures. ATI Solutions is a high-availability data center, utilizing reliable systems and components that will keep your virtual platform operational around the clock.
Our Physical and Virtual Data Protection Services
Our technicians and engineers understand that any compromise to your systems can directly affect your ability to retain and serve your customers. Whether you have entrusted us with your hardware, your virtual platform, or the full range of your IT services, it is our goal is to provide you with continuous and secure operations that can be scaled up or down to meet the needs of your business.
Our data centers offer the following protection methods:
- Redundancy. We have multiple redundant systems and components to eliminate downtime, all of which are maintained by onsite personnel and are regularly tested. Our Chantilly location offers 2N redundancy for power and cooling, while our Rockville location has N+1 configuration for power and cooling.
- Failover. We configure servers to switch mission-critical operations to a secure alternative server so that in a scenario where a sudden adverse event occurs (such as a power outage, natural disaster, or equipment failure) all function will seamlessly be transferred. This process allows operations to continue without disruptions to the user experience.
- Hardened security system. Our data centers use industry-standard privacy measures such as 24/7 security surveillance monitoring, CCTV with 365-day retention, and multi-factor access control system with biometrics, security PINs, and access card readers.
- Immediate intervention. Our business continuity team performs emergency and preventive services, helping you respond to an emergency and maintain your presence with as little interruption as possible.
The professionals at ATI can evaluate your needs and help you determine which storage and service options are right for you. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.
How much space will I need in a colocation center?
You are ready to take your network to the next level, but you are not sure if a colocation provider is the best option. A colocation center can provide the power, cooling, bandwidth, and security necessary to store your servers and to keep your network up and running; however, there are monthly fees and rental costs needed to do so. As a result, you should carefully consider what your current needs, growth objectives, and the many options you have before you buy.
Types of Server Space Available in a Colocation Center
Data centers use a standardized measurement system when it comes to classifying server space. A (U) is the term used to measure storage space in racks, and the standard physical measurement of one rack unit (U) is 44.45 mm or 1.75 inches in height. From there, the amount of space used by a business can vary from inches to several thousand square feet depending on the scale and complexity of its network infrastructure.
Because space is offered in many different ways in a data center, below are some of the common rental options and their distinct advantages:
- Racks. In a colocation center, servers, network devices, and other hardware are mounted in a frame called a rack, making it easy to replace failed components. A standard rack is 19" wide, can accommodate several U in height, and each server rack shelf is positioned to provide optimized cooling. Data centers may allow customers to rent quarter, half, or full racks.
- Cabinets. A cabinet is an enclosure that acts as an outer shell or casing on a rack, which is locked and kept secure by the colocation provider. Fundamentally, all cabinets serve the same purpose. However, they can physically vary from being a separate enclosure installed around a rack, a larger enclosure meant to closely house multiple full racks, or even a “one-piece” design where the racks and the cabinet are one unit. Depending on security preferences, a customer may require an entire cabinet or share a single cabinet with other customers.
- Suites. Customers who require either higher security, extensive storage, or both may store their servers in large locked areas, commonly referred to as suites. A suite can be a large metal cage, a locked transparent room, or a secure confined area composed of privacy paneling. Suites house several or hundreds of cabinets depending on the desired square footage.
If you are anticipating rapid growth, it may be a good idea to invest in one of these storage options now to avoid the headaches of a massive data center migration later on. ATI offers secure server storage in one of our two DC-area data centers, both of which offer critical systems monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.
What cloud infrastructure plan is right for my business?
Once you have decided to invest in cloud computing, you will need to consider who will be responsible for hosting and maintaining your infrastructure. Large corporations may host their own platforms onsite, but this is often not feasible for small- or medium-sized businesses who do not want to devote a large portion of their resources to the IT department. Fortunately, third-party hosting services can take on as much or as little of the hosting and deployment necessary for your virtual environment.
Hosting Options for Cloud Computing
In most cases, businesses have three options for the deployment of a virtual platform: hosted infrastructure, hybrid infrastructure, and private infrastructure. Each one carries significant advantages, and can be scaled to meet the changing needs of business operations. The following is a brief overview:
- Hosted. A hosted cloud is owned and maintained by a service provider, with the hardware necessary to deploy the cloud in an offsite location. The business pays a monthly subscription fee, and the provider manages all of the applications and services.
- Hybrid. In a hybrid system, part of the infrastructure is hosted by a provider and part is hosted by the business. This system can involve many different combinations of solutions depending on the individual needs of each business. One of the benefits of a hybrid solution is that it allows companies to migrate into the cloud slowly, keeping sensitive systems onsite and using hosted clouds for less critical applications.
- Private. A private infrastructure is optimal for businesses who want to keep their servers and equipment onsite. The hardware is kept on the company’s premises, and the service provider is responsible for deploying and maintaining the cloud platform.
Many different factors can impact the choice of an infrastructure plan, including the type of industry, client base, and scale of operations. The professionals at ATI can evaluate your needs and help you determine which cloud computing plan is ideal for you. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.
What is patch management?
Patch management consists of grading new patches, testing them, and pushing them out. Patching plays a crucial part in businesses staying up-to-date with the newest versions of all the software they use on a day-to-day basis. Patching can correct known issues without installing new programs from square one. The system will remain secure and navigable without any disruption to the user when patches are implemented correctly.
Importance of Patch Management for Businesses
A patch is a piece of code that is created to be integrated into an existing software program. Software providers often release patches as new “updates” or “versions” which can improve functionality, performance, provide bug fixes, and prevent security breaches. Installing a Windows update or upgrading to the newest version of an iPhone app are examples of patch deployment. Without good patch management, a company could have a vulnerability in its software that a hacker could take advantage of—which could lead to stealing private information or bringing down the entire system.
Software developers will typically release new patches when:
- The developer has received reports of successful hacking in one of their applications
- The developer’s coding and testing team discovered a glitch before it could be exploited
- The developer has found a better way to implement or strengthen security
- The developer has improved user interface on one or more applications
Software and applications cannot exist in a vacuum. They will need to be updated regularly—in most cases, every few weeks—in order to function as intended. As businesses may neglect to install patches or fail to identify weaknesses in their systems, patch management is a necessary part of any IT service.
Our team is proud to offer patch management for all Microsoft releases, as well as third-party software programs. We also identify potential security threats before they can be exploited, implement emergency patches for disaster recovery, and provide you with a report detailing any potential vulnerabilities. Contact our family-owned DC-area data center today to get more information about how we can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.
What are the benefits of Software as a Service (SaaS)?
One of the many major benefits of secure cloud computing is the ability to deploy and access business software applications without the need to host servers onsite. Companies that subscribe to Software as a Service (SaaS) can access most of their core business functions through the internet just by opening a web browser, relying on software vendors to host, maintain, and deliver applications through the cloud.
Advantages of Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is ideal for small- to medium-sized businesses who do not want to invest in their own virtual environment. The SaaS vendor hosts the servers and hardware, maintains the databases and code for all applications, and essentially performs the majority of the company’s IT operations.
Major benefits of SaaS include:
- Pricing. For a monthly or yearly subscription, SaaS vendors take the responsibility of installing, managing, and upgrading software, as well as remediating updates and maintaining software licensing. This allows the company to focus on their goals and objectives while greatly cutting down their stresses and costs.
- Customization. Businesses can pick and choose their most used and critical software, allowing the company to streamline all their day-to-day business operations.
- Flexibility. SaaS offers a company global access, so no matter where you are in the world you can connect and use the software that you need at that particular moment.
- Automatic updates. We automate patch management, and upgrade to new versions without your incurring additional software costs. Our SaaS platform offers Microsoft’s Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), making it easier for us to maintain license count and stay current with Microsoft’s frequent upgrades for your business.
ATI Solutions is proud to offer a wide range of technical services for all sizes and types of business operations, allowing your IT processes to be as stress-free as possible. Our family-owned DC-area data centers offer all the power, connectivity, protection, and security you need in a location that is close to home. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.
What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?
Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, is a way for businesses to have flexible cloud computing without the need for installing and managing their own virtual platforms. A third-party cloud provider hosts the infrastructure components—including servers, storage, and networking hardware—allowing the business to run its online processes and applications through the cloud.
Advantages of Infrastructure as a Service
IaaS is a great option for businesses of all sizes who want to focus on their daily operations without devoting resources to IT management. The infrastructure is hosted on the business’ server and the client accesses operations remotely over a network. The system stays in a secure location, and the business runs all of its programs through a virtual environment using virtual machines (VMs).
There are many reasons a business may choose IaaS, including:
- Cost benefits. IaaS is typically purchased on a usage-based, pay-as-you-grow system, and only charges clients for the number of machines and resources that are actually being used.
- Resilience. IaaS cloud providers have the ability to run large numbers of VMs for multiple clients, allowing businesses to run large workloads without worrying about service availability and performance.
- Scalability. Clients can scale their needs up or down without delays or service interruption, while not having to worry about purchasing additional licensing for the hypervisor or virtual platform licensing—which can become costly very quickly.
- Security. Not only do data centers offer physical security, but there are also additional options for virtual security. These include the most up-to-date patched systems, intrusion detecting software, virtual environment security that is segmented over a massive network of WAN connections, and virtual private networks (VPN) to protect data during transmission and storage.
- Backup and data recovery. IaaS can be utilized from any secure terminal, making it easy to institute a disaster recovery plan immediately using cloud-hosted backups. With IaaS, your back up and data recovery is available depending on your back up schedule and retention time periods.
ATI Solutions is proud to offer a wide range of technical services for all business sizes and types of operations. Our highly flexible IaaS options can support large numbers of virtual machines with fully-redundant backups, allowing your IT processes to be as resilient and stress-free as possible.
Our DC-area data centers offer all the power, connectivity, redundancy, and security you need in a location that is close to home. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.
What is disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)?
Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) uses third-party server hosting and cloud resources to restore business operations after a catastrophic event. The service provider backs up the company’s vital data, replicates production and processes on a temporary infrastructure, and migrates back to the original server after the threat has passed. When done correctly, DRaaS allows clients to transition between environments seamlessly and can even protect against future outages.
Choosing the Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) That Fits Your Needs
Business opportunities may be lost in the moments of service interruptions, and you should not have to worry about cloud performance or migration issues after the initial shock of IT disruption. We strive to provide a variety of DRaaS services to ensure the continuity of your business, including:
- Continuous improvement. A company’s digital profile is always in the process of changing, whether with consolidation, virtualization, or upgraded hardware. This makes maintaining a strong disaster recovery strategy difficult, as backup environments must reflect every adjustment made in the data center. DRaaS solutions are designed to keep up with this rapid rate of change and ensure that the business is backed up with every innovation.
- Flexible options. We understand that disaster recovery needs may vary depending on the size and nature of a business. Whether you choose to protect your entire environment or just the vital functions of your business, we can create a solution that is tailored to you.
- A safe location. Colocation providers are less likely to suffer the immediate effects of a natural disaster, as they are in protected locations with no need for access to foot traffic. From these vantage points, we can implement our clients’ disaster recovery plans quickly after the interruption occurs, allowing business to continue in a safe secondary environment.
- Optional IT resources. Most IT teams do not have the resources to maintain operations while implementing recovery solutions. Our professionals can create and test recovery plans for small and medium-sized businesses that will be ready and waiting to deploy after a disaster. We can ensure that you have a fully operational backup environment while your original environment is under repair, and can implement failback when your original environment has been repaired.
- Reduce disaster recovery costs. Businesses that currently have a secondary site for disaster recovery purposes are surely familiar with the high costs associated with it. Beyond the unavoidable investments in replication software and the required software licenses for servers, storage, and security, there are a number of significant additional costs. Most of these additional costs are effectively eliminated by using DRaaS through a managed service provider. A DRaaS often eliminates the need for the following expenses:
- Owning or leasing space for a secondary data center.
- Monthly costs associated with power, cooling, and internet bandwidth at the secondary site.
- Purchase or lease of servers, storage, and network equipment for the secondary site.
- Travel to and from data centers or onsite staff at the secondary data center.
When choosing a DRaaS provider, it is vital that you trust the technology company that will store and implement your recovery plan. Our DC-area data centers offer all the power, connectivity, protection, and security you need in a location that’s close to home. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly or Rockville facility.
Why Choose ATI Solutions for Denovo Banks?
Industry Expertise and Experience
- ATI’s 20+ years of experience serving community banks has proven our knowledge is unmatched in the market.
- Having provided IT solutions for many denovo banks, ATI knows and anticipates the bank needs for rapid growth with limited resources.
- ATI delivers reliable, scalable and cost-effective solutions so that our clients can focus on banking.
- Our staff understands the IT needs for bank’s core and ancillary solutions and we have long-term relationships with the top three Core providers; Fiserv, FIS and Jack Henry. Fiserv has dedicated MPLS circuits to both ATI data centers.
- ATI understands the bank’s IT needs for various solutions such as LaserPro, Teller, Platform and other banking solutions.
- ATI completes the AICPA’s annual Service Organization Control Report (SOC 2 Type II) to fulfill our client’s vendor management requirements; we understand the bank’s critical IT regulatory needs.
- ATI proposes solutions that allow clients to save money and reduce operational risk.
- ATI currently support banks with combined assets of $30+ billion.
- We are a demonstrated market leader partnering with CEO’s opening denovo banks having helped 15+ meet their technical regulatory requirements; past examples include:
- Alliance Bank
City First Bank of DC
Freedom Bank of VA
James Monroe Bank
Oak View National Bank
Potomac Bank of VA
Virginia Heritage Bank
Demonstrated Customer Service Quality and Support
- ATI’s community banking references are superior and a testament to our service quality and support.
- The average client has been with ATI for 12 years.
- ATI employees have an average of 12.5 years with the company and/or financial industry.
- Our company added the first operational DR backup site in the Washington DC metro area based upon client/industry needs.
- We are proactive and continually evaluate and update processes, education, and client communications to address the root cause of client issues.
- We propose standardized solutions which result in higher end-user satisfaction and productivity; thin client desktops/laptops.
Vendor Strength and Stability
- Founded in 1997 with focus serving community banks.
- In 2015, ATI invested $10+ million for technology refresh and data center build.
- Use of Nutanix hyper converged solution that delivers enterprise-class storage, compute, and virtualization services to any application.
- ATI’s solution minimizes upfront and ongoing capital expenditures to keep up with rapid technology changes thus reducing overall cost of ownership.
- Eliminates need to build out facilities to support data center requirements.
- Flexibility to evaluate options for the bank’s amortization and repayment of upfront fees.
- Benefit of ATI’s “pay as you go” model for licensing, firmware, and recurring maintenance/patching eliminates ongoing one-time costs of software and assurances; some of
- Fixed cost per users per month provides predictable cost that makes CFO’s lives easy
- Reduces bank management’s oversight and expenses for audits and examines by consolidating vendors and leveraging ATI’s annual SOC2 Type II Report.
- As part of vendor management, our client’s internal auditors and examiners review our financials annually. ATI has had a positive cash flow since its’ founding in 1997.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, and analytics—over the Internet. Users can access their data whenever and wherever without physically hosting software or hardware. While it is often referred to as a singular “the cloud,” there are actually multiple clouds, each one controlled by a different provider (for example, Apple's iCloud).
Advantages of Cloud Computing for Businesses and Users
Cloud computing allows files, photos, software, documents, and other digital information to be stored and shared securely. The cloud can be used to stream video, analyze data, create apps, and complete virtually any task that requires data storage. As long as you have Internet access, you will be able to open and share anything that is stored in the cloud.
The exact benefits will vary according to the type of cloud service being used; however, some advantages of cloud computing include:
- Scalability. Your business can scale your operation and storage needs up or down to suit your situation, allowing flexibility as your needs change. Rather than purchasing and installing expensive upgrades yourself, your cloud computing service provider can handle this for you.
- Reduced costs. A cloud system reduces the need for high-priced hardware and software, as well as labor and storage costs associated with maintenance. Businesses can simply rent the space that they need on demand, without worrying about expensive infrastructure costs.
- Global scale. Cloud computing allows users to access files anywhere in the world using any Internet-enabled device, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The cloud makes it easy for users in multiple locations to work on the same project, since all users can access and edit files simultaneously (without the need for back-and-forth emailing).
- Reliability. If data loss occurs, cloud-based data duplication technology will allow users to securely store and recover their data. Protecting your data and systems is an important part of business continuity planning. Being able to access your data again quickly allows you to conduct business as usual, minimizing any downtime and loss of productivity.
- Manageability. Cloud computing provides enhanced and simplified IT management capabilities through central administration of resources. IT infrastructure updates and maintenance are eliminated, as the service provider maintains all resources.
What is colocation?
A colocation facility, sometimes called colo or co-location, is a data center created specifically for the housing and storage of servers, computing hardware, and networking equipment. Colocation may be compared to an apartment building, with each secure “unit” rented by a different tenant. The customers can either own their own servers or lease hardware through the colocation provider, but each will rent the space, bandwidth, power, and cooling necessary to house it offsite.
Benefits of Colocation for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
Small businesses often begin their online hosting by renting space on a server owned by a hosting provider. As the business grows, it may need its own dedicated server to ensure high levels of connectivity and the security of company information. However, housing the server(s) onsite can be a costly endeavor, especially when it comes to:
- Physical space. Multiple servers may take up whole rooms, decreasing usable floor space that comes at a premium for commercial renters.
- Utility costs. Since information technology hardware must be kept at cool temperatures and require high power levels around the clock, hosting them in-house may be cost-prohibitive.
- Flexibility: Choosing a custom-made building allows customers to personalize their colocation plan and decide which aspects of their system they focus on, choosing from a range of facilities for individual infrastructures and budgets.
- Physical security. Many colocation facilities offer multiple layers of security, including cages, video surveillance, card reader and PIN access, and 24/7 technical support.
- Economies of Scale. Colocation allows custom access to the technology and higher bandwidth requirements at a low cost for each of its customers, making it easy for growing businesses to upgrade without interruption.
- Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity. By placing servers in a data center, customers build in an extra layer of disaster recovery in the event of power loss, enabling them to recover business-critical data. Colocation offers backup generators and several redundancy methods to keep servers running.
- Connectivity. Colocation service providers utilize the investment into the facility to attract major telecommunication companies for wide area network (WAN), internet peering, and service providers like those of Verizon, Cox, Zayo, Comcast, and CenturyLink (formerly Level3). With that investment, it allows each provider to enter the premises with multiple access points creating a multi-redundant web of connections into the building to ensure you have the best bandwidth while being able to choose your carrier.
Still Curious As To What Is Colocation? Contact us Today
In a digital economy, it is vital that businesses have the tools that will allow them to conduct business around the clock while keeping costs low. Our DC-area data centers offer all the power, connectivity, protection, and security you need in a location that is close to home. We are a family-owned company, so when you become a client of ATI, you become a part of our family. Contact us today to get more information about how our data centers can serve your needs or set up an appointment to tour our Chantilly facility.