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A blog for owners & managers of litigation support businesses by experts on using technology to improve your profitability, efficiency and effectiveness in a unique marketplace.

Before you buy another server…

server room

Consider switching to RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud. Whether you purchased RB8/MR8 years ago or subscribe to RB8/MR8 now, you can reduce your overhead while increasing your system’s reliability, eliminating hassles, and streamlining your office.

‘What is RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud?’

RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud is the same system you use now, but instead of having it on your own in-house server, it’s on Microsoft Azure’s Cloud Services. This network of remote servers hosted on the Internet stores, manages, and processes your data in an environment that is always up and always on — no more worries about server crashes. In fact, Microsoft guarantees 99.95% uptime.

More than 66% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Azure, including 3M, GE Healthcare, Mazda, McKesson, and NBC Sports. In addition to superior uptime, Microsoft has dedicated resources and processes to guarantee the security and privacy of data on Azure, including HIPAA certification and following international standards for privacy controls in the cloud.

‘The monthly subscription sounds expensive…’

Like RB8 Subscribe/MR8 Subscribe, RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud is available by subscription only. It is more expensive than the Subscribe version because it includes:

  • Server hardware and software
  • Better-than-backup solution
  • 100GB of repository storage (additional storage available as needed)

If you subscribe, switching to RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud means that you no longer have to pay these third-party expenses or for the IT staff that handles these areas. You will reduce your overhead costs, eliminate back-up errors, and have better security, easier updates and less downtime.

If you purchased your system, switching to RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud gives you the same benefits, plus you get the advantages of a subscription: add or subtract user licenses on a monthly basis, standard support is included, and upgrades — not just updates — are included. The monthly cost might seem too high, but if you do the math, you will probably find moving to the Cloud version will be cheaper.

Benefits

Never buy another server

Your in-house server should be replaced every 3–5 years, because most in-house servers start to lose their ability to adapt to increasing workloads after four years. You also need to keep your SQL Server software up to date, as well as any other required third-party software. In addition to the expense of new server hardware and software, every time you replace your in-house server, you must also pay us to move your RB8 Server software.

With RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud, your RB/MR Server resides on Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform, so you never have to buy your own in-house server again. All of these expenses — including the IT expense involved in this major project — are eliminated.

Reduce overhead costs

Eliminating new server hardware and software purchases is only the beginning of cost savings. Switching to the Cloud version saves you money in three areas over time:

  • Direct costs, such as on-going expenses for electricity to power your server, HVAC to maintain the proper environment in the server room, even the server room itself or other dedicated spaces, such as for your file repository. Bonus for RB8/MR8 purchase clients: with the ability to add or cancel user licenses monthly, you no longer have to worry about being stuck with unused CALs; and standard support and product upgrades are included.
  • Indirect costs, such as IT staff to maintain all of that third-party hardware, troubleshooting its problems, fixing software bugs and coordinating with OMTI Support.
  • Hidden costs, such as low productivity due to server downtime or remote connection problems.

And if you think that instead of RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud, you will host your system yourself on a third-party cloud, then we definitely recommend crunching the numbers before making that commitment. To duplicate our set-up of two secure machines, each running their own copy of SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition, plus RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud would cost you over $80,000/year.

If you decided to go smaller, it still adds up: going to a reputable cloud hosting service, such as Rackspace, also means installing your own SQL Server and RB8 Subscribe/MR8 Subscribe. The Rackspace cost alone can easily total over $20,000/year. Want security with that? Add 25% to your monthly Rackspace expense.

RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud includes all of that and starts at $3,000/year. Additional users and repository storage are extra, but the difference is only $20/month/user extra (compared to the Subscribe version) and $50/month/500GB of additional storage space.

Upgrades, not just updates, are included

Like the Subscribe version, RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud includes upgrades as well as updates. Instead of having to come up with a large lump sum at once to upgrade, the next version is included in your monthly subscription. Standard support is also included in the Cloud version.

The next upgrade will not be available for purchase, so if you want the next upgrade, you will have to subscribe.

Eliminate backup errors

No matter what back-up solution you have now, it cannot be better than Microsoft SQL Server’s AlwaysOn Availability Groups. In fact, we have many horror stories of clients losing important job, case, and client data because their back-up system failed. RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud can save your business with its better-than-backup solution.

You no longer have to back up data or repository files. Your data is duplicated on multiple servers in real time. If the active server should go down, another server takes over with no loss of data. This is better than your backup system which only saves data up to a certain time — anything entered since the last backup is lost. Microsoft SQL Server’s AlwaysOn Availability also eliminates the downtime involved in restoring data from the backup.

Your repository files are equally secure. Copies of each file are stored on servers in different locations. Azure Geo-Redundant Storage replicates each file three times in one region, then replicates it again three times in a secondary region hundreds of miles away. For example, if your files are stored in the western United States, they are also duplicated to servers in the eastern U.S.

Better security

Who do you think can protect your data better? Your individual court reporting agency, or a multinational technology company that has dedicated substantial resources and made a public commitment to guarantee the security and privacy of data on its cloud services?

RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud is on Microsoft Azure’s Cloud Services, which offers us enterprise-grade SLAs on services, 24/7 tech support, and round-the-clock service health monitoring. Microsoft knows that many companies are wary of working from the cloud, so they are a leader in cloud security and data privacy. They were the first cloud provider recognized by the European Union’s data protection authorities for their commitment to EU privacy laws, and the first major cloud provider to adopt the new international cloud privacy standard, ISO 27018.

This makes RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud more secure than an in-house system in many ways. One way is open port security: If you’re trying to log in remotely without a secure connection, you do not need to keep the well-known default SQL port open; nor do you need to keep any custom ports open for RB/MR Repository downloads.

Same system

You don’t have to worry about a learning curve with RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud, or missing features. Your system is the same program whether you are running a purchased version, the Subscribe version or the Cloud version.

To be precise, there are two differences between the Cloud version and other versions:

  • If you have RB Web/MR Web, pages load faster because your system’s SQL Server resides next to the Web Server in the cloud so information is relayed quicker.
  • If you create your own custom reports, they will not work with the Cloud version due to security issues with directly connecting to databases in the cloud. Instead, if you need custom reports from your system, we can write them for you.

Easier updates

You don’t have to worry about system updates because the Cloud version will always be the latest. You don’t have to install (or re-install) Server updates anymore; you only need to install automatic workstation updates, which is done through a simple wizard on your desktop PC or laptop.

Less downtime

Server crashes are a serious cause of downtime, which translates to lost productivity and possibly lost business. Because when your site is down, your data is unavailable. RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud removes that threat by putting your system’s Server on Azure’s Cloud Services. Microsoft guarantees 99.95% uptime on Azure, which works out to at most 44 minutes of downtime/month.

Another downtime cause can be network connection problems. If your network connections are not stable, your remote users might encounter problems logging into your system. RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud solves this problem because it’s just an internet connection, not a connection to an in-house network.

On top of server and network issues, if you have to wait for a technician to help you deal with any of this — for example, you don’t have access to your server, so you can’t connect us remotely to fix a problem — you can experience some significant downtime before IT shows up and resolves things. With RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud, you are no longer maintaining a server, so you don’t have to wait for a tech anymore.

Faster page loads & downloads

If you offer your clients and resources RB Web/MR Web access to your office, they will notice your pages load faster when you switch to RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud. This improved performance is because your system’s SQL Server resides next to the Web Server in the cloud so information is relayed quicker.

And if your clients have any problem downloading files from your RB Web/MR Web, they can get the fastest downloads possible — depending on their internet connection speed — when you switch to RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud.

Don’t wait until your server is old & about to die

Switch to RB8 Cloud/MR8 Cloud and enjoy a server-free office, no back-up duties, almost 100% uptime & better security, while providing better service to your clients.

Have more questions?

Read the FAQs for RB8 Cloud or MR8 Cloud. Or contact OMTI Sales.

* The RB line of products, including RB8 Cloud, is designed for court reporting agencies and similar businesses, like videographers and interpreting agencies. The MR line of products, including MR8 Cloud, is designed for records retrieval companies and process servers.

by . Posted in Best Practices, Disaster preparedness, Going green, Increasing productivity, MR Web, MR8, MR8 Cloud, RB Web, RB8 Cloud, Remote-izing your office, ReporterBase, Saving money, Saving time, Security.

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