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Elevate Your Small Business: Embracing Hybrid Tech Solutions

In the busy small business landscape, staying competitive means embracing new tech without drowning in jargon. Hybrid tech solutions act as your trusted ally. They blend various technologies to boost your business without confusing you with technical terms.

Unlocking Your Small Business’s Potential

Imagine a world where technology works for you, not against you. That’s the power of hybrid tech solutions for small businesses. They bring together easy-to-use tools like web hosting, online marketing, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. This allow you to focus on what you do best – running your business.

Example: Just like using Wix to build a professional website without any coding knowledge, or Square’s cloud-based Point of Sale (POS) system to manage transactions and inventory effortlessly.

Streamlining Your Operations

With hybrid tech solutions, you can streamline your day-to-day operations without pulling your hair out over complicated setups. Say goodbye to spreadsheets scattered across different platforms – with integrated systems, you’ll have everything you need in one place, from managing inventory to tracking sales.

Example: Think of how HubSpot combines CRM and marketing automation, allowing you to organize customer data and run effective marketing campaigns from a single platform.

Delighting Your Customers

In today’s digital age, providing top-notch customer experiences is key to winning hearts (and wallets). Accordingly, Hybrid tech solutions make it easy for you to connect with your customers on a personal level, whether it’s through a user-friendly website, targeted email campaigns, or a loyalty program that keeps them coming back for more.

Example: Consider using Ecwid to create an online store with seamless integration into your existing website or social media platforms. Ecwid offers a simple setup process and allows you to customize your storefront to reflect your brand identity, providing a smooth shopping experience for your customers.

Fueling Your Innovation

You don’t have to be a tech genius to innovate – hybrid tech solutions are here to help unleash your creativity. Experiment with new ways to reach your audience. Whether it’s through social media advertising, live chat support, or even virtual events. The possibilities are endless, and the best part? You don’t need a degree in computer science to make it happen.

Example: Platforms like RingCentral offer unified communications systems, allowing you to communicate seamlessly with your team and clients using voice calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging.

Navigating the Tech Terrain

We get it – technology can be intimidating, especially if you’re not tech-savvy. With hybrid tech solutions, you don’t have to go it alone. Therefore, Look for providers who offer friendly support and easy-to-understand tutorials, so you can get up and running in no time.

The Future is Bright for Small Businesses

In conclusion, hybrid tech solutions are the secret weapon for small businesses looking to thrive in today’s digital world. Embrace the power of technology without the headache, and watch your business soar to new heights. The future is bright – and with hybrid tech solutions by your side, the sky’s the limit!

Ready to Elevate Your Small Business?

Whether you’re a boutique bakery or a family-owned hardware store, hybrid tech solutions can help take your business to the next level. Say hello to smoother operations, happier customers, and endless opportunities for growth. Don’t let technology hold you back – let it propel you forward.

Solutions By BG can help you with these solutions, whether you host with us, or just need assistance in integrating these solutions with your business.

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Choosing the Right IT Infrastructure for Your Business

In today’s digital age, choosing the right IT infrastructure is a critical decision for businesses of all sizes. Your IT infrastructure forms the backbone of your operations, affecting everything from performance and scalability to security and cost-efficiency. In this article, we will explore the various IT infrastructure options, including on-premise, cloud, and hybrid solutions, discuss their advantages and disadvantages, and provide guidance on how to assess and select the most suitable infrastructure for your specific business needs.

Understanding the IT Infrastructure Landscape

Before diving into the options, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the IT infrastructure landscape:

On-Premise Infrastructure

On-premise infrastructure refers to physical servers, storage, and networking equipment that is located and maintained within your organization’s premises. It provides full control and customization but requires substantial upfront capital investment and ongoing maintenance costs.

Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure, offered by providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, involves renting computing resources, such as servers, storage, and databases, from third-party data centers. It offers scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, with pay-as-you-go pricing models.

Hybrid Infrastructure

Hybrid infrastructure combines elements of both on-premise and cloud solutions. It allows businesses to integrate their existing on-premise systems with cloud resources, offering flexibility, scalability, and data redundancy.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Option

On-Premise Infrastructure


  1. Control: You have complete control over your infrastructure, allowing for customized configurations to meet specific business needs.
  2. Data Security: Data is stored locally, providing a higher level of control over security measures and compliance.
  3. Predictable Costs: While the upfront costs can be substantial, ongoing costs are more predictable, as you’re not subject to variable cloud usage charges.


  1. High Initial Costs: Setting up on-premise infrastructure requires a significant upfront investment in hardware, software, and facilities.
  2. Limited Scalability: Scaling up can be slow and costly, as it involves purchasing and installing additional hardware.
  3. Maintenance Burden: You are responsible for hardware maintenance, software updates, and security, which can be resource-intensive.

Cloud Infrastructure


  1. Scalability: Cloud resources can be quickly scaled up or down to meet changing business demands, allowing for flexibility and cost savings.
  2. Cost-Efficiency: You only pay for what you use, eliminating the need for upfront capital expenses.
  3. Accessibility: Cloud services can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, enabling remote work and global accessibility.


  1. Data Security Concerns: Storing data offsite may raise security and compliance concerns, although cloud providers invest heavily in security measures.
  2. Potential Downtime: Reliance on third-party providers means that downtime or outages on their end can impact your operations.
  3. Vendor Lock-In: Transitioning away from a specific cloud provider can be complex and costly due to vendor-specific technologies.

Hybrid Infrastructure


  1. Flexibility: You can choose the best deployment model for each application or workload, balancing cost and performance.
  2. Data Redundancy: Critical data can be replicated both on-premise and in the cloud, enhancing data availability and disaster recovery.
  3. Cost Optimization: Hybrid solutions allow you to use cloud resources when needed, reducing overall infrastructure costs.


  1. Complexity: Managing both on-premise and cloud environments can be more complex and may require specialized expertise.
  2. Integration Challenges: Ensuring seamless communication and data flow between on-premise and cloud systems can be challenging.
  3. Cost Monitoring: Cost control can be more challenging in hybrid environments, as you need to monitor usage across multiple platforms.

Assessing and Selecting the Right Infrastructure

Choosing the right IT infrastructure for your business involves careful consideration of your unique needs, budget, and long-term goals. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Assess Your Needs: Evaluate your current and future IT requirements, including performance, scalability, security, and compliance.
  2. Budget Analysis: Determine your budget for infrastructure, including both initial and ongoing costs.
  3. Risk Assessment: Consider the level of risk your business is willing to accept regarding data security, downtime, and compliance.
  4. Evaluate Workloads: Assess your applications and workloads to identify which are suitable for the cloud and which are better kept on-premise.
  5. Vendor Evaluation: If considering a cloud provider, research and compare different vendors to find one that aligns with your needs and offers the required services and support.
  6. Plan for Transition: If migrating from an existing infrastructure, develop a migration plan that ensures minimal disruption to your operations.
  7. Security and Compliance: Implement robust security measures and ensure compliance with relevant regulations, regardless of the chosen infrastructure.


In conclusion, choosing the right IT infrastructure for your business is a pivotal decision that directly impacts your efficiency, agility, and competitiveness. Each option—on-premise, cloud, or hybrid—has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice should align with your specific business requirements and resources. By carefully assessing your needs and considering the pros and cons of each option, you can make an informed decision that sets your business up for success in the digital era.

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  1. On-Premise Infrastructure:
  2. Cloud Infrastructure:
  3. Hybrid Infrastructure:
  4. Assessing and Selecting Infrastructure:
  5. Budget Analysis:
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Safeguarding Your Business: Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small Businesses

Hello fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners! In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, it’s more crucial than ever to ensure the safety of our businesses from cyber threats. As the proud guardians of our ventures, we need to arm ourselves with the knowledge and tools to protect our data and assets from potential cyber attacks. In this article, we’ll explore some simple yet effective cybersecurity best practices tailored specifically for small businesses.

Understanding the Importance of Cybersecurity

You might be wondering, “Why does my small business need to worry about cybersecurity?” Well, my friends, cybercriminals do not discriminate based on the size of a business. In fact, small businesses are often targeted because they tend to have fewer resources dedicated to security. But fear not, for by implementing these best practices, we can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber threats.

1. Educate and Train Employees

Your employees are your first line of defense against cyber attacks. Ensure that all team members are educated about the common threats they may encounter, such as phishing emails or suspicious links. Conduct regular training sessions to keep everyone up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity practices and reinforce the importance of safe online behavior.

2. Secure Your Network

Your business network is like the fortress that protects your sensitive data. Set up a robust firewall to prevent unauthorized access, and use encryption to safeguard data transmissions. Additionally, a virtual private network (VPN) can provide a secure connection when accessing sensitive information remotely.

3. Keep Software Up to Date

It’s tempting to click the “Remind me later” button when software updates pop up, but don’t underestimate their importance. Keeping your operating systems, applications, and antivirus software up to date is critical, as these updates often contain patches to fix known vulnerabilities.

4. Regular Data Backups

Imagine losing all your valuable business data in the blink of an eye. Terrifying, right? Well, regular data backups can save you from such nightmares. Consider using cloud-based backup solutions to automatically store copies of your data offsite, providing protection against data loss due to hardware failures or cyber incidents.

5. Implement Access Controls

Limit access to sensitive data and systems to only those who require it for their roles. Utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA) for an extra layer of security, ensuring that even if a password is compromised, unauthorized access is still thwarted.

6. Monitor and Detect

Install intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS) to monitor network activity for any suspicious behavior. These systems can detect and block potential threats before they can cause significant harm.


There you have it, our friendly guide to enhancing your small business’s cybersecurity posture! By being proactive and following these best practices, you can greatly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber attacks, safeguarding your business and your customers’ trust.

At Solutions By BG, Inc., we understand the unique challenges faced by small business owners when it comes to IT security. Our team of experienced professionals can help assess your current cybersecurity measures, provide personalized recommendations, and implement robust solutions tailored to your specific needs and budget. Let us be your trusted partner in protecting your business from the ever-evolving threat landscape.

Remember, investing in cybersecurity is not an expense but an investment in the longevity and success of your business. So, don’t wait until it’s too late! Reach out to Solutions By BG, Inc. today and fortify your business against cyber threats. Stay safe, stay secure, and thrive in the digital world!

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For further information, please consult the following websites:

  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework
  2. Small Business Administration (SBA) Cybersecurity Resources
  3. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Small Business Resources
  4. Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report
  5. McAfee’s Threat Intelligence Reports
  6. Cisco’s Annual Cybersecurity Report

January 2020

Migrations, Migrations, Migrations

For the last 12 months at least I have been industriously working on migrating Server 2008R2 systems to Server 2019. These are times that I am thankful for virtualization. It is relatively easy to spin up a new Windows Server VM, install all the needed software, and then spend the time to configure things so that everything works just right. Often times though, it’s the final configuration task that is always a challenge; mostly due to missing documentation from a vendor or software provider.

This month was no exception: we had to migrate a clients CRM systems to new servers. This was a SQL Server database, an IIS Web Application/Application Server with SQL Server Reporting Services, and an IIS Web Server/ Customer facing portal. The vendor at least provided some documentation though it was incomplete. Another application that I will need to reconfigure is an Asterisk IVR solution, so to test, I spun up a clone of the IVR Server and set it up so I could test it using softphones.

IVR Challenge

One challenge with the IVR server was some incomplete coding by the consultant who originally set this up. The IVR checks for the house number and then proceeds with its lookup from there. Well, what if there is no house number? Apparently the programmer didn’t think to check this; a query of the database would have shown him that there are indeed some properties that don’t have a house number. So I had to modify the Perl programming to account for that. Testing showed it worked, so I was happy with that and was now set up to do a cut-over migration.

A virtual balancing act: Big Business features, SMB budget

Originally written by me for a “Spotlight on IT” series on January 24th 2013.


Six years ago a client was forced to consider a new computer for a legacy app his business was running. The maker of the app, which only ran on Windows 95, had gone the way of the dodo, and the new computer coming in didn’t support Win95. This is where I got to see first-hand how simple, powerful and elegant virtualization was: I set up a new Windows XP machine and, using Virtual PC, created a new Windows 95 machine on the workstation. I installed the legacy app, copied over all the data and voila — my client was back in business.

Fast-forward six years: Virtualization has vastly matured, but, being in the SMB space, I still didn’t quite see how I could make this all fit. My biggest headache was and is the fact that all the enterprise features that are so cool (e.g., high availability and fault tolerance) are priced for the enterprise. As a systems administrator for a small company, I get a small IT budget — so much of what I do in the field of virtualization has to fit into that scope. Yet by the same token, I am in dire need of these same enterprise features.

Proving the need for virtualization
My first challenge was not in the technical aspects of virtualization, but in convincing management that there was a real need for it. To set up a demonstration, I had to set up a virtual server without any sort of budget for it — quite a trick if you ask me. Well, it so happened that I had a “spare” 2U server hanging around in case of hardware failure of an existing server. I installed the free ESXI (v3) and bought an inexpensive 3Ware Sidecar with an LSI Raid Controller (which I needed in any case for my backup project) that I attached to an old PC and, using Openfiler, made my first “SAN” (really it was just a Direct Attached Storage device). With this I was able to throw a few virtual servers onto the ESXi host and launched into my presentation.

Persuading management was not easy. They were old school — the ledger paper, slide rule and big iron servers; trying to explain the concept of virtualization (the server is just a file) just didn’t fly. The managers were used to seeing and dealing with MASS. The more solid it was, the more real it was. I tried to explain virtualization in terms of Moore’s law — how hardware has become so much more powerful that you’re really paying for 100% of the server but only using 5%. Their eyes just glossed over on most of this, but they could understand the fact that you’re wasting 95% of your investment with buying one big server for each role that you needed performed.

I had to explain virtualization in terms of an apartment tenement. The physical server was the big building and the virtual servers were the apartments, each one separated from the other but all sharing the same common hardware (water pipes, electrical, and so on). I then demonstrated how easy it was to set up, copy, and move virtual servers around using the vSphere client. I powered on a virtual server, and it looked just like a computer powering on. I then logged into a virtual server using RDP and to all intents and purposes this looked just like the real thing. They couldn’t tell the difference, which is the point I was trying to make. I think more than anything the visual demo is what convinced them for me to go ahead with my plans.

Small budgets, big challenges
As I mentioned, my biggest challenge around virtualization is providing all the cool features at an SMB budget (emphasis on the small). For this, planning was VITAL. I needed to specifically figure out:

  • What processes/servers had to be virtualized and why?
  • I had to plan backup and recovery of VMs in the case of a disaster.
  • Then, there were all the hardware choices I had to make for best performance.

I found that in order to fit my budget I had to work with open source solutions. I also found that working with the Spiceworks Community has been and is a great resource pool to draw from. Nowadays, when I Google for a solution I find that my answer invariably comes from a past Spiceworks post!

I made tight comparisons between VMware, Citrix/Xen and Microsoft’s Hyper-V. VMware at that time was way more mature, offered more features and had way better support and documentation set up. By working with sysadmin friends who were using VMware, I got closer insight into this particular product, and so that’s what I ran with.

There definitely was a myriad of data to sort through. My whole approach to virtualization was aligned to business continuation. Deploying, backing up and recovering virtual machines is so much easier and convenient than moving the same amount of stuff around in big clunky hardware and doing traditional restores from tape or hard drives (after the server OS had been restored and all application set back up again).

Over a period of two years I was able to move more and more items into my virtual infrastructure. I started out with all my support systems: syslog servers, MySQL servers and Nagios (for system monitoring). This was followed by a redundant DNS server and a VPN Server. Then I moved our line of business applications systems and finally I migrated our physical SBS 2003 server to a virtual SBS 2011 server.

There are a few instances where open source solutions don’t quite get the job done — yet. One instance was the backup and recovery software. For version 3, I was able to use the ghettoVCB backup script to backup my VMs. However, in version 4, the VMware storage (amongst others) APIs changed. Thus, to provide backup and recovery I got budgetary approval to purchase Veeam for backup and replication (though I also recently had the privilege to try out Unitrend’s backup and recovery solution, which turned out to be very nice — I’m now using on a different project). Also, since then Veeam has come out with a free product, which is also very useful to small operations such as mine.

Remaining challenges
I now have a few physical servers left that present some unique challenges such as telephony devices — making outbound analog calls from a VM. But, no doubt, the Spiceworks Community is filled with good and helpful resources along that line. And the last project I am working on is in building a decent, but inexpensive SAN using a couple of Supermicro servers with a SAS backplane and a couple of LSI Controllers using SSD for caching and of course a few 15K SAS drives.

At first Openfiler looked attractive — even if you pay the 1000 Euros for the Advanced iSCSI Target Plugin. Though I have to admit, in looking at Windows Server 2012, I am starting to think that this might make a better iSCSI Target than Openfiler, with built in data de-duplication amongst other attractive features. I’m now, with some help from the Spiceworks Community, looking into FreeBSD and ZFS (which is way cool) and am currently building a set of SANS. (The specs include: Supermicro MBD-X9DR3 motherboard, Dual Intel Xeon E5-2620 CPUs, 128 GB DDR3 RAM and 16 1TB Seagate 7200 RPM drives and a Supermicro CSE-836E16 3U rack mount chassis. ZFS will use the 128 GB of RAM to do the L1 caching and ZFS is fully replicable using a block send/receive mechanism).

My current infrastructure now spans several sites and multiple hosts. In the next couple of years I am looking to expand into the VDI space. For this I have already looked at OpenThinClient and have set up several working instances of this and was able to do a demonstration to the management team. This is key, as in the next year or two we’ll be looking at refreshing all desktops at considerable costs. But if we go the VDI route we’re looking at huge cost saving benefits and lower maintenance and support costs. At least, that’s the current theory.

I have learned much in moving my servers to a virtual infrastructure. No doubt there is a ton more to know, but these are indeed exciting times to be in IT.

– Thomas

July 2011

Veeam Backup and Replication

Backing up servers and desktop can be a challenge, especially with limited storage resources. So I finally got one of my clients to purchase Veeam and offsite Storage. Networking had to be set up and configured to ensure that the backup images would be routed without clogging up the existing production network. Daily and weekly updates will be created by Veeam and then replicated to these off-site servers to ensure that the local systems are backed up and that the remote systems remain current. As part of the Disaster Recovery, all system back-ups will be reviewed and tested and fixed accordingly.

Operations Reporting:

Back in December 2010, I wrote some VBA code to automate Operations Reporting. The existing Operations Reporting system has been modified to now make use of the new SCADA system that has been deployed. Report data will be collected from the SCADA system (where this data is available).

A Day in the Life of IT

To help organize my thoughts I have decided to blog about my experiences in my life as the IT Guy. What – another ridiculous IT blog. How boring. I am sure millions of other IT Guys (and Gals) go through these experiences. From the very mundane to the exciting. And IT Blogs abound. From the very technical to the absurd. And all shades in between. As a small business consultant, I get to see how the struggles for the business Principle in IT are real.

Sometimes one finds a gem solution. That knowledge should be shared and passed on.

Well, that’s why I am here. And my story follows.

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