FRII Break Room

Informal tech chatter from the geeks of Northern Colorado’s largest commercially available data center

Northern Colorado Internet: Why Carrier-Agnostic Matters

Couple using FRII carrier-agnostic internetWhen it comes to Northern Colorado internet service, you can work with a service provider that uses a particular data carrier exclusively, or you can work with one that is “carrier agnostic.” Also called “carrier neutral,” this means that that provider is not in an exclusive relationship with one carrier. Why does it matter whether your provider is involved in one or many relationships? We’ll explain.

Picking the Right Partner

The truth is, you may never know if your Northern Colorado internet provider is carrier agnostic or not. However, there are a number of benefits of relying on one that is. They include:

  • Loyalty to customers over carriers. When a service provider has an exclusive agreement with one data carrier, that carrier has a lot of leverage in the relationship. Contrast that with a carrier-agnostic provider who uses many carriers. In that scenario, the provider can focus more on its relationship with the consumer and less on the carrier’s concerns.
  • Flexibility to take advantage of innovation. Service providers who are exclusive with one carrier can easily find themselves falling behind if another carrier enhances their offering with faster speeds, new services, etc. Can the provider switch allegiance to the other company? Possibly, but contractual obligations and other challenges related to making the change can leave them unable or unwilling to do so.
  • A backup plan. While it’s unlikely that any of the major data carriers would ever suffer a long-term service interruption, what happens to an internet provider who uses on carrier exclusively? It could result in a major inconvenience to their residential customers and a serious problem for their business customers. Carrier-agnostic providers don’t have to worry about that, which means their customers can rest easy as well.

Northern Colorado Internet: Working with the Best in the Business

At FRII, we partner with the most highly regarded data carriers in the business. We’ve got excellent business relationships with companies like:

  • Level 3 Communications
  • MHO Networks
  • Comcast
  • Zayo Group
  • CenturyLink
  • Cambium Networks

This ensures that our customers get the fastest, most reliable Northern Colorado internet today. It also means they can take advantage of advances in the industry whenever they occur. We’re carrier agnostic, and whether they know it or not, our customers reap the benefits. Check out our internet service options, including our: WiFRII (WiFi) wireless, Commercial Ethernet, Commercial Custom Wireless or 10 GB Fiber Internet. To learn more about our services, complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527.

8 Important Elements of an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan

FRII disastery recovery freak outIn today’s digital world, companies need 24/7, uninterrupted access to their customer data, order information, reports, etc. Even if disaster strikes, the business must be able to continue operating. Consequently, having a dedicated disaster recovery server is a great first step toward ensuring business continuity. But you also need a plan for how to you will maintain effective operations in a crisis.

Defining Your DR Strategy

As you put together your disaster recovery plan, here are eight key components:

  1. Always-current contact list. Your DR plan should have list of everyone who would be involved in handling an emergency and their contact information. This includes internal staff members, third party service providers, local utilities, and first responders like police and fire departments. And just as important as creating the list is making sure it is always current.
  2. Step-by-step recovery process. While the steps to take to ensure business continuity may seem very straightforward today, when a crisis arises, it’s easy to forget even the most obvious actions. Be sure that every step is documented and prioritized.
  3. A process and schedule for testing the plan. Your DR plan is not something that should ever gather dust. You should review and test it on a regular basis. When and how to do that should be included in the plan itself.
  4. Task summaries by role. Ideally your DR plan should indicate the recovery process both chronologically and summarized by role. For example, there should be a section of the document where your IT Manager can quickly find all the tasks that he or she will be responsible for.
  5. Detailed software and data lists. In addition to mentioning them within the DR process, you should have a comprehensive list of the software you use and the kinds of data you generate, gather, and store.
  6. A list of nearby resources for food and supplies. In some cases, a full disaster recovery process can take days. Being able to easily arrange for delivery to the DR site of everything from office supplies to meals means you have one less thing to consume your valuable time.
  7. Network diagram. To give your team a “big picture” perspective on what needs to be done during disaster recover, your plan should include an in-depth schematic of your network.
  8. Details on the DR site. You should not assume that everyone involved in your DR efforts knows where the DR site is and how to gain access. So, be sure that information is in your plan.

Taking the Stress Out of Disaster Recovery

Crisis situations are stressful by nature. However, with a business continuity solution in place that includes a colocation facility with dedicated services, automated backup, business continuity suites in which to execute your processes, and a well-designed and tested disaster recovery plan, you can prevent the chaos that can ensue without these measures. To learn more about our disaster recovery services, complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527.

What to Look for in Residential Custom Wireless Internet: 6 Key Components

Mother and son on FRII custom wireless internetHome internet needs have changed dramatically in the last decade. We’re surfing, gaming, working, and downloading at a rate today that would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago. Consequently, where you might have been able to get by with any residential internet provider and any internet setup 10 years ago, it’s a different story now. These days, you need custom wireless internet designed around your requirements.

Custom Wireless Internet Built with Your Needs in Mind

You want to create the optimal custom wireless internet environment in your home. Here are six things you want to be sure your provider can offer you:

  1. 24×7 support. Before even getting into the specifics of a provider’s solution, if they don’t have around-the-clock support for your wireless network, you should look elsewhere. Your need for uninterrupted high-speed internet doesn’t end at 5 p.m. In fact, in most households, internet use probably accelerates after “quitting time.”
  2. Comprehensive security measures. You want everything you do through your custom wireless internet solution to be absolutely secure. A provider should be able to set up multiple access groups. That allows you to grant specific users the access they need to particular resources while restricting access to things that aren’t relevant to them.
  3. A solution sized for your needs. It’s important that you can enable internet access for as many people as you would reasonably expect to be using your system at any given time.
  4. Cutting-edge encryption. As part of the security of your system, all of your access points should use the latest technology to encrypt and protect your data (currently WPA2 Enterprise encryption).
  5. Multiple bands. Your wireless internet solution should have access points that operate in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands simultaneously. This allows the system to accommodate any type of wireless network interface adapter.
  6. The right technology. Your internet access should utilize 802.11 A/B/G/N technologies. (IEEE 802.11 is a set of specifications created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for implementing wireless local area networks.)

You Deserve the Best Residential Wireless Internet

You and your family want the ability to move freely around your home while maintaining a strong, uninterrupted internet connection. And with a custom wireless internet solution from FRII, there’s no reason you can’t have it. Our experts can design and implement a system perfectly suited for your unique needs. Ready to learn more? Just complete our website Contact Us form, or call us at 800-935-6527.

Strategies for Staying Safe Online from a Fort Collins Internet Provider

Fort Collins Internet customer hackedThe recent “WannaCry” ransomware attack was unfortunate for those who fell victim to it. But, it serves as an important reminder to everyone that we have to stay vigilant against hackers, identity thieves, and other criminals online. As we tell our Fort Collins internet customers, even people who believe they know how to stay safe on the web should review the list of best practices periodically as a refresher.

How to Stay Ahead of Hackers

Here are some tips for making sure you don’t get burned:

  • Be informed. Watching the news, reading articles, and following tech-related blogs can help make you aware of the latest scams. Get the scoop before you become a victim. Doing so also lets you warn family and friends so they don’t get caught up in them.
  • Look closely at URLs. Hackers may try to lull you into a false sense of confidence by leading you to a bogus website that looks exactly like the real one. It may also have a website address that is nearly the same. Look closely at a site’s URL, especially if it’s a site where you intend to provide credit card or other information.
  • Don’t use a debit card online. While you’d hate for a hacker to steal any of your payment information, you definitely don’t want them to get access to your bank funds. Credit card companies are good about reimbursing people who are the victims of identity theft. Your bank may or may not be so generous.
  • Be VERY cautious about clicking email links. Unless you are absolutely certain that a link in an email is from a trusted source, don’t click it. This is good advice even if it appears to be from an organization you do business with. It’s better to open a browser, type in the site’s address, and navigate to the page you’re being asked to visit.
  • Look for “https” and the padlock icon. If a website’s address doesn’t have these items beside it, indicating the site is secure, you should be suspicious.
  • Create very strong passwords. While it’s easier to remember a password that combines your favorite color and your favorite animal (say, bluecow), that password is also much easier to hack. Something like 4eY349(4#j is going to be much harder for someone to figure out.
  • Protect your Wi-Fi connectivity. We tell our Fort Collins internet customers to protect their network by changing the default settings on routers and other equipment. We also advise them to make sure their connections are password protected.
  • Install security updates promptly. When security updates are released for your operating system, devices, etc., install them right away. The longer you wait, the more you risk being hacked.

Don’t Let the Bad Guys Get the Best of You

The internet is an awesome place to shop, explore, and do business. Just be sure you use caution. If you have questions about our Fort Collins internet services, complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527.

6 Tips for a Seamless Transition to Your New Colocation Server Hosting Facility

Colocation Server HostingYou’ve decided it’s time to capitalize on the many advantages of using a colocation server hosting facility. As you prepare to act on that decision, the reality of the challenges you’ll face in making the move hits you. Now you begin to think about how to ensure that your migration takes place without incident. While it’s true that there are risks associated with making the switchover, there are steps you can take to help guarantee a seamless transition.

Preparing for Your Colocation Server Hosting Move

You’re eager to move your processing to your new colocation server hosting facility. But, it’s critical that you do so without interrupting business operations. Here are six things you can do to help ensure success:

  1. Create a detailed migration plan. Put every step of your transition process in writing. This is critical to achieving your goals. Create a plan that has a step-by-step description of the process with specific times (i.e. “Saturday 8:00 a.m.” versus “Saturday morning”) and assignments. This will provide clarity and instill confidence in everyone involved. Develop this plan based on available bandwidth and be sure that someone is assigned the task of ensuring that all necessary software licenses have been obtained.
  2. Choose a migration manager. Your transition will be a group effort. However, be sure to name one person to ride herd over the entire process. Without someone in that role, it’s too easy to assume that someone else is going to take care of a task that was left unassigned or handle an issue that has come up.
  3. Practice to the extent possible. While not every aspect of the move can be tested in advance, many things can be. Do whatever “dry runs” you can, and repeat them if necessary to ensure that on move day, everyone is comfortable with their assigned tasks. This can prevent a situation where you discover in the middle of a move that some task wasn’t accounted for or someone is unclear about what they should be doing.
  4. Back everything up. While your preparation and testing will almost certainly guarantee a smooth transition, those are, of course, famous last words! Better safe than sorry. Be sure to create all necessary data backups, restore points, and image archives just in case. And by this, we mean every last byte of data should be backed up.
  5. Be well-staffed. Having just enough personnel available to handle all the transition tasks is really not enough. If problems arise and people are pulled away to handle them, you can easily find yourself short-staffed. Hope for the best, and plan for… something short of that!
  6. Run in tandem if possible. If the early indicators are that the transition was successful, it probably was. However, running in tandem for a period of days or weeks can be very reassuring to your organization. It can also be a lifesaver if a significant issue is encountered.

 

Helping You Make a Risk-Mitigated Data Center Move

When you’re ready to transition to colocation server hosting, we’ve got the cutting-edge facility you need. And we can share our insights on how to make a stress-free transition. Complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527 and let’s talk about your objectives.

Understanding Colocation vs. Cloud Computing Platforms

FRII | Colocation vs. Cloud Computing PlatformsIf your company is looking to move some or all of its computer processing off site, there are a few primary options. Often the decision comes down to colocation vs. cloud. If you’re faced with making that choice — and especially if you don’t have an IT staff — the question then becomes, “What’s the difference? What is colocation vs. cloud?” Or, in some cases, people assume the two terms mean the same thing. Consequently, they don’t bother to ask about the difference.

Colocation and Cloud Explained

While colocation and cloud platforms can help you achieve the same goals to a degree, they definitely go about it differently.

Colocation — In a colocation scenario, you own and use your own equipment but rent space from the colocation provider. You share the cost of power, communications, cooling, etc. with other facility users. Colocation is a great option for companies that want to maintain full control of their equipment. Organizations that have HIPAA or PCI requirements may prefer (or be required to use) colocation rather than a public cloud platform.

Colocation also works well for companies that need to increase their processing capability cost-effectively. With colocation, they don’t have to invest a large amount of capital into building an additional data center. Organizations looking for a disaster recovery “failover” site often utilize colocation as well.

Cloud computing — Cloud platforms are similar to colocation in that the company’s data processing, storage, etc. moves off site. However, in this scenario the cloud service provider owns and manages the hardware including servers, storage devices, and network. The provider’s staff takes care of day-to-day operational tasks, troubleshooting, etc.

Colocation vs. Cloud: Assessing the Costs

Colocation and cloud offerings and their prices vary by provider, of course. However, colocation often comes out ahead when the focus is on cost. Colocation may require a higher initial investment if you need to purchase hardware, but once you own the server(s) and software you will use, the ongoing monthly cost of having your machines in a colocation facility is frequently lower than the monthly fee for a cloud platform.

Finding the Right Fit for Your Business

If you’re debating colocation vs. cloud and you have questions, we’re happy to help. Although we’re a colocation provider, we’ll certainly let you know if the cloud seems like a better option for you. Complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527 and let’s talk about your needs.

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Your Northern Colorado Internet Provider: Experience Matters

FRII Your Northern Colorado Internet Provider: Experience Matters (son and father)

When you’re looking for a Northern Colorado Internet provider, there are many characteristics you could consider — everything from data speeds to the types and quality of support offered. As you make your list of selection criteria, one item you should be sure to include is experience.

The ability to provide reliable, high-speed Internet and related solutions isn’t something you have simply by virtue of creating a website and advertising your offering. It takes years of working in this industry (like any industry) to understand how to deliver the best possible service to your customers. You also need to be familiar with all the potential pitfalls you may encounter in your operations and how to avoid them.

FRII has been the leader in Northern Colorado Internet and commercial datacenter services for more than two decades. We own and operate 10 Gbps fiber Internet infrastructure in a number of Colorado communities. This includes Fort Collins, Loveland, and Estes Park. We also provide high-speed, point to point, point to multipoint, and meshed wireless solutions to customers all around the state. FRII knows this business inside and out because we’ve been in it for over 20 years.

Who can You Trust for Your Northern Colorado Internet and More?

Reputation is another important factor to consider when selecting a technology company. In addition to being a Northern Colorado Internet provider, we also own and operate SSAE 16 Type II certified datacenters. These facilities must have cutting-edge systems and advanced security to earn the confidence of our customers. This is especially true for those that handle sensitive data. Some of the names on our client list are a testament to the quality of our datacenters and services. They include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the City of Fort Collins, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The State of Colorado, Computer Associates (one of the world’s largest independent software companies), Arapahoe County, and La Plata County are on there as well. In fact, we provide 24x7x365 network monitoring and support services for over 3,500 customers.

They trust us because of our experience and because our datacenters and Internet infrastructure utilize the latest technology. For example, our Internet connections use the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) for load balancing and automatic failover. And our datacenters are fully redundant and designed with separate dual power feeds, three generators, three uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). They also have 120 tons of cooling, and two independent 10 gigabit fiber connections to the Internet provided by Tier 1 carriers.

Delivering the Quality Internet Experience You and Your Business Expect

Looking for a Northern Colorado Internet provider? We’ve got the experience and the trust of a long list of loyal customers that few can match. If you’ve got questions about FRII’s suite of services, just complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527.

5 Tips for Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

FRII web hosting | building a websiteIf your company is like most, your website is one of the most valuable assets you own. Not only is it a key marketing tool, it may also be used for communication, education, resource storage, and other purposes. When your website goes offline, your business goes offline. Consequently, it’s critical that you do your research before selecting a web hosting provider.

Finding the Right Web Hosting Partner

Your web hosting company is more than just a service provider. They actually function almost as a business partner. That said, you want to be sure and find the right fit. Here are some aspects of their service that you want to look very closely at:

  1. Reliability and uptime. Like we said above, if your website goes down, your business is in a world of hurt. So, getting the details on a potential web hosting provider’s reliability should be the first thing you do. While no provider can guarantee 100 percent uptime, you want one whose number is very close to that. Also, what plans do they have in place for keeping servers powered up in an emergency?
  2. Monitoring and support. Does the provider monitor the server where your website resides 24/7/365, including holidays? And how do they handle support inquiries? These two issues are critical when it comes to ensuring uninterrupted operation for your website.
  3. File backup. Does the web hosting provider back up your files? You should, of course, have your own archive of your website files, but the provider should be backing things up regularly as well.
  4. Expansion potential. Be sure that a provider can not only handle your needs now, but can accommodate you if your company and website start growing exponentially. The last thing you want is to have to move your website to another provider a year from now.
  5. Server features. Does the provider offer Linux servers, Windows servers, or both? Be sure that whatever type of processes your website will need to perform can be handled properly.

The More You Know…

These are, of course, just some of the questions you should ask a potential web hosting provider. However, the answers you receive will be a good indicator of whether you want to learn more about them.

If you have questions about our web hosting services, we’re happy to answer them. Complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527.

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The True Cost of Data Center Downtime & the Need for Disaster Recovery Capabilities

Data Center Downtime - Disaster RecoveryWhen you think about a business having one (or more) of the servers in its data center go down, what comes to mind? Most people will say angry customers and lost revenue. Companies will almost certainly have to contend with these consequences. But the potential overall cost of a data center outage can be much, much higher.

Colocation and Disaster Recovery to the Rescue

Thankfully, you can work with a seasoned colocation provider like FRII. We provide cutting-edge disaster recovery services so you can avoid other potential results of an outage, including:

  • Damage to your reputation. A comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity plan can keep your business online even under the most difficult of circumstances. Consequently, you don’t ever have to worry about the social media backlash that spreads like wildfire when a company’s operations are interrupted.
  • Costly remediation efforts. When a server goes down, a business must do whatever it takes to bring it back online as soon as possible. That means obtaining whatever expertise is needed and scheduling as much overtime as is required. The organization has no choice but to write the check. A colocation provider like FRII puts many safeguards and redundant systems in place to ensure these are costs you won’t have to face.
  • The ripple effect. Many companies today utilize server time down to the minute. When downtime requires one project to be delayed, the ripple effect can impact other high priority tasks. This can put many deadlines at risk.

Ultimately, if a company doesn’t have fine-tuned disaster recovery procedures in place, it can end up dealing with the fallout from a data center outage for months, if not years, to come. So if someone at your organization asks the question, “Can we afford to move our processing to a colocation facility,” you should reply with, “Can we afford not to?”

Is Colocation and Disaster Recovery Right for You?

We’re here to answer your questions about our data center colocation and disaster recovery services. Complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527.

Colocation Server Hosting vs. Managed Hosting

Colocation Server Hosting

It’s generally common knowledge that every business needs a website, and every website needs a domain and hosting. Typically, most people and businesses select a shared hosting account, which means that many users share space on a single server. There are a couple additional options: Colocation server hosting and managed hosting.

Colocation Server Hosting

Is when you purchase both the hardware (server) and the software that will host your website, and you are responsible for properly setting up and configuring the colocation server hosting hardware and software. Plus, your IT department performs the upgrades and backups. The benefit is that the space, security, power and bandwidth are not compromised by other websites being hosted in the same space.

Managed Hosting

Is when the hosting provider ‘manages’ the hardware and the software. After creating an account, you only need to upload your website pages and any other additional services wanted. Upgrades and back-ups are performed by the hosting company on a regular basis.

As you can see, Colocation Server Hosting and Managed Hosting are two very different ways to host your website, and the decision of which to use is dependent on the needs or your business. If you’re looking for the security and performance of Colocation Server Hosting, contact FRII for your options and learn how state-of-the-art Data Center can benefit you!

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