Atlantic.Net Blog

Cloud Database Hosting for Small Business: Why It’s Ideal

Adnan Raja August 25, 2017 by under Managed Hosting 0 Comments

If you’re talking about innovation and competition in the modern economy, you will inevitably wind up talking about the subject of data. It’s no secret that we rely on data for everything whether it be strategy or tactics. This, of course, leads us to the topic of “big data” which for the past decade has been touted as the difference maker in a business’ ability to gain a better understanding of the complex factors, including customer behaviors, that are contributing to a business’ success or even failure.

Of course, simply collecting the data isn’t the whole story. There are infrastructure concerns that need to be met when implementing large databases. You need somewhere to keep your database. Not only that, but the hardware needs to be up to the task of handling the processing power required to run the database and allow it to be accessible. Many small businesses are turning to Cloud Hosting as the solution that fits their needs best.

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I Need a Web Hosting Solution for My Small Business. How Do I Choose?

Derek Wiedenhoeft August 25, 2017 by under Managed Hosting 0 Comments

You’ve just started your own business and things are going well. Most likely, you’ve been growing steadily at the local level. This means most of your success has been thanks to word of mouth, existing networks, and direct orders of your product or service. This is relatively sustainable for the short term, but there inevitably comes a time where you exhaust these local networks and need to move on into new markets where you may not already have a foothold.

In the age of an overwhelmingly digital focused economy, gaining these footholds and reaching untapped audiences means developing a web presence. In 2017, it isn’t news to business owners that it’s very difficult, if not almost impossible, to succeed without a web presence of some kind. Staying competitive, reaching consumers who do their research primarily online, and advertising is just some of the reasons why executives agree that every small business needs a website.

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How Secure is the Cloud?

Adnan Raja August 12, 2017 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

Organizations migrating to a new IT environment, such as the Cloud, should always give serious consideration to the security of that environment. But how secure is the Cloud? If you don’t know exactly what piece of hardware your private data is found on at a given time, how do you know it is secure?

For those relatively new to Cloud, the first thing to be aware of is that while some of the tools and methods used to secure a network and data in the Cloud are different, the basic principles are the same as for any other environment. The next thing to know is that because the Cloud runs in data centers staffed by experts in Cloud services, data stored in the Cloud is “probably more secure than conventionally stored data,” according to Quentin Hardy, former Deputy Technology Editor of the New York Times[i].

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Safety in Redundancy: Why It’s Important to Have Multiple Backups

Derek Wiedenhoeft August 3, 2017 by under Managed Hosting 0 Comments

Everyone is familiar with the idiom, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.” It’s a good general rule to operate under, and that is certainly the case when it comes to the safety of your data. Whether it’s the files that make up your website or a database with sensitive information, it’s critical to your operations that there is always some way to restore your data so that you don’t suffer from excessive downtime, or worse, be noncompliant with certain regulatory agencies depending on the industry you operate in. Yes, your backup solutions, or lack thereof, could be putting you at risk of being in violation of some laws.

If your business operates within the healthcare industry and creates electronic medical records, there are specific requirements in place regarding not only the storage of EMRs but also where you back up these records. These requirements can be found in the HIPAA Security Final Rule: the Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Specifications. There are certain backup elements that must meet contingency plan standards.

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Security Penetration Testing: What It Is and Why You Need It

Derek Wiedenhoeft August 1, 2017 by under Managed Hosting 0 Comments

If your bank is requiring your company to perform a penetration test as part of your PCI compliance, you’re not alone. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS) are now requiring penetration testing (or pen tests) for all organizations that accept credit card payments. It’s an added way to ensure the security of credit card transactions and associated storage practices.

So what, exactly, is penetration testing? It’s a way to test your system’s security by trying to exploit its weaknesses. In the same way that the Federal Reserve requires FDIC-insured banks to undergo stress tests, penetration tests are safe methods of attempting to identify security weaknesses in your systems.  As the saying goes, one of the best ways to help protect against hacks into your systems is for someone you trust to try hacking into your systems. This will allow you to rectify security issues before they can be exploited by unauthorized individuals.

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Can You Learn HIPAA Compliance in 5 Minutes?

With anything that’s complex and multi-faceted, it is not always easy to explain it to others. Oddly enough, it sometimes seems especially difficult to convey ideas when we are highly trained in the subject. We start to take the broader, basic-to-intermediate knowledge we have for granted, glossing over it as we focus at a higher level. Conversely, when we are learning about something new, it helps when we can get simplified, “boiled-down” essentials without any unnecessary legal jargon or other distractions. Well, here is an attempt to get to the essence, a Quick-Start Guide of sorts for HIPAA compliance that should only take you another 270 seconds or so to read. Forgive the lack of transitions from here forward – nuts and bolts only!

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We can’t keep up with IT and we need help!

Derek Wiedenhoeft July 12, 2017 by under Cloud Hosting 0 Comments

Until recently, businesses adapted to the computer age by purchasing desktop systems and possibly servers, to run a local area network, and maybe a website. IT needs have changed, however, with cloud-based productivity applications, electronic records, and mobile workforces. Keeping up with these and related innovations is vital to business efficiency and profitability, but IT teams tasked with making every digital element in the organization work — and work together – are often overwhelmed, leading to system failures and major problems for business operations.

Businesses typically have different expectations from their IT systems than even a decade ago, and therefore should adapt their approach to IT.  For many, this means closing down that old server room; the number of businesses hosting their network on-premises is projected to fall from 31 percent to 17 percent by 2018. Correspondingly, budget allocations for hosting services will rise by an average of 20 percent for 2017, according to 451 Research.

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Finding HIPAA Hosting Solutions as a Small Business Owner

Operating within the healthcare industry can be challenging. There are many moving parts that must be accounted for, whether you’re a new startup firm or a large network of hospitals. When most small business owners are looking for hosting solutions, the only concerns are cost and the capability of the hardware to meet the needs of a website. The options are endless when it comes to finding simple hosting. When it comes to firms in the medical sector, there are special considerations to be had.

Your hosting options are significantly narrowed when looking for HIPAA-compliant hosting. Small business owners working in healthcare must seek out hosting companies that specialize in HIPAA compliance. Relatively speaking, few hosting companies can provide this service because of what it entails. Powerful hardware is just one part of the equation. There must also be a long list of security measures put in place to protect sensitive data. This strict set of regulations is the reason why you can’t trust your hosting with just anyone. It’s also why many hosting companies can’t offer this service and why trying to establish local infrastructure to handle these duties isn’t the best option. Part 2 of this document released by the SANS Institute delineates what is required at the local level to remain compliant with HIPAA regulations.  Maintaining HIPAA compliance at the hardware level is cost-prohibitive for most firms and a host is required.

Finding a hosting provider that can meet your organization’s needs can seem daunting, but there are a number of things to be aware of when seeking out a HIPAA-compliant hosting solution. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when looking for the right hosting solution for your business.

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SSAE 16, SSAE18, SOC 1, SOC2: What they are and why you should care

Cloud computing has revolutionized the world of software licensing, but it has also opened the gates to new security risks. In the past, if a company wanted to add new software, it had to endure long installation processes on local servers. This gave companies the opportunity to verify the reliability of their systems, while local hosting gave them more control over their data. However, it was also immensely time-consuming and costly to set up and maintain.

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How to: Getting started with Windows Containers and Docker


This article is a basic primer on how to use Windows Server 2016 with Containers and Docker on the Atlantic.Net Cloud. Docker popularized containers first on Linux, but now with Windows 2016, Windows containers are now natively supported as well. This means you can build your application in a container and ship it across your development and production environments knowing that it will work and run the exact same way on every device.

In this tutorial, we will deploy a web page in an IIS container from a Microsoft-distributed IIS container image. Let’s get started with a quick tutorial!

Deploying an Atlantic.Net Cloud Server

First, we need to deploy a new Windows 2016 with Containers server from the Atlantic.Net Cloud.

  • Log in to cloud login
  • Click “+ Add Server.”
  • On the “Add a Server” page, enter the following:
  • Server Name: What you’d like your server’s name to be. For example, “Windows 2016 Docker.”
  • Location: The data center you want your server created in.
  • Type: Under the “Operating Systems” tab, select “Windows,” and then select “2016 Datacenter (with Containers/Docker).”
  • Term: Do you want month-to-month, on-demand pricing, or do you want a one or three year term commitment for this server?
  • Plan: We recommended at least a G2.2GB plan size for Windows-based servers, due to memory requirements.
  • Enable Backups: Do you want your server backed up by us daily?Docker selection
  • Click “Create Server” to begin the provisioning of the server. The next page will have your login credentials for the new server displayed. Please save these somewhere so you can use them to log in. Note: The credentials will also be emailed to you.

Logging in to Windows 2016

Once the server is done provisioning, you will need to log into Windows 2016. Click here to find out how to remotely log in.

Checking Your Docker Version

Ensure that Docker is actually installed by running the “docker version” command from the Windows command prompt (cmd.exe).

C:\Users\Administrator>docker version

 Version:      17.03.1-ee-3
 API version:  1.27
 Go version:   go1.7.5
 Git commit:   3fcee33
 Built:        Thu Mar 30 19:31:22 2017
 OS/Arch:      windows/amd64

 Version:      17.03.1-ee-3
 API version:  1.27 (minimum version 1.24)
 Go version:   go1.7.5
 Git commit:   3fcee33
 Built:        Thu Mar 30 19:31:22 2017
 OS/Arch:      windows/amd64
 Experimental: false

Running Your First IIS Container

The first step is to retrieve the Microsoft distributed IIS container. We could do this with the docker pull command (ie: docker pull microsoft/iis). However, in the interest of simplicity, we can skip this step and go straight to launching our first container. Docker will automatically pull down the necessary image (and any dependent images) if they don’t already exist locally.

Note: We are going to set some properties of the container when we run the command:

  • Name: The name of the container. In this case, we would specify the name by entering “–name myIIS.”
  • Ports: You can specify what ports you want open on the server. You do this by binding the internal ports of your container to an external port so it is accessible publicly. In this case, we are binding port 80 (the web port) of the container to port 80 of our Cloud Server with “-p 80:80“.

Docker will automatically pull down the necessary image (and any dependent images) if they don’t already exist locally.

C:\Users\Administrator>docker run -d --name myIIS -p 80:80 microsoft/iis
Unable to find image 'microsoft/iis:latest' locally
latest: Pulling from microsoft/iis
3889bb8d808b: Pull complete
6d4d50238ed1: Pull complete
0606d7d474d1: Pull complete
672755d284cd: Pull complete
88f5b9741695: Pull complete
d53dd94c8474: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:bcbcb3b442bc5f0ab3b8b769b52584d98751861b5e438b866d59287cc8112f10
Status: Downloaded newer image for microsoft/iis:latest

Your container is now running, which you can check with the following command:

C:\Users\Administrator>docker ps -a
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND                   CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                NAMES
2614436cb74c        microsoft/iis       "C:\\ServiceMonitor..."   4 days ago          Up 4 days >80/tcp   myIIS

Next, we will login to the container and start a Windows command prompt (cmd.exe) in the container to enter interactive commands:

C:\Users\Administrator>docker exec -i myIIS cmd
Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.14393]
(c) 2016 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Now that you are logged into the container, we are going to remove the default IIS web server start page so we can add our own index page:

del C:\inetpub\wwwroot\iisstart.htm

Now add your own content to the index.html page:

echo "Nice! My first container is displaying this text on my index page!" > C:\inetpub\wwwroot\index.html

Now open a browser and type in the IP address of your Cloud Server into the URL field. You should now see your index page:

iis container


Back in the CMD prompt, type exit to exit the interactive session of the container:



Building and Deploying a Docker Container with Your Changes

Now that the container is configured the way you want, you can save the container to a new container image for future use. First, we need to grab the name of the container from the “docker ps -a” command and stop the container:

C:\Users\Administrator>docker ps -a
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE               COMMAND                   CREATED             STATUS              PORTS                NAMES
2614436cb74c        microsoft/iis       "C:\\ServiceMonitor..."   4 days ago          Up 4 days >80/tcp   myIIS
C:\Users\Administrator>docker stop myIIS

Create the new container with “docker commit <current name> <new image name>“. In our case the current name is “myIIS“:

C:\Users\Administrator>docker commit myIIS configured-iis

Verify the new image has been created:

C:\Users\Administrator>docker images
REPOSITORY          TAG                 IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
configured-iis      latest              4d08b0a5561e        44 seconds ago      10.5 GB
microsoft/iis       latest              9e66ceefdc5a        2 weeks ago         10.4 GB

The container we just created can now be deployed for future use:

docker run -d --name web01 -p 80:80 configured-iis

Now stop the new container and delete it:

C:\Users\Administrator>docker stop web01
C:\Users\Administrator>docker rm web01

Finishing Up

The above was just a basic tutorial.  You can also do interesting things like automating the build of container images using DockerFiles, pushing the images to a centralized repository, and creating redundancy and automatic failover by having multiple nodes setup in a Docker Swarm. Enjoy!

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