The word on the street is that the cloud is either the future of business and personal computing, or an epidemic of security breaches waiting to happen. What you hope the cloud will offer you is unlimited accessibility, lower costs and perfect security. But if you are considering the cloud alternative, there are some things you want to consider.
If your applications are only a couple of years old, you probably won’t have that much difficulty moving them into the cloud. However, some legacy apps might be better left in the environments where they are currently hosted. To get the best of both worlds, a hybrid environment of both private and public cloud may be the solution. But either way, the transition should be done over time. It’s not an overnight migration.
Then there is the issue of security to deal with. There has been some negative coverage concerning cloud security, but the reality is that Target and the Heartbleed bug (Jennifer Lawrence) were related to the internet in general not the cloud. Keep in mind, any data that is accessible online is susceptible to hacking and figuring out passwords and security answers. Remember on-site servers issues include fires, floods and power outages. Cloud providers have a lot more resources devoted to security. But ultimately, it’s up to you to set multifactor authentication standards for passwords.
The cloud can provide a set of tools to help you achieve your goals. Are you looking for more flexible mobile access? Do you need highly scalable server capacity, or looking for more seamless integration between your various software services? Thus to know if the cloud is right for your organization, you need to have some goals in mind.
Whether it is to save money or enhance security, you need a game plan. You need to know not just what milestones you hope to reach but what steps you’ll take to get there. Look at the business side of the equation, like how will this change impact the day-to-day operation, or how much down time we should anticipate. Another would be how does this move position you with regard to future transitions and upgrades? Knowing what the cloud can and can’t do and separating the real from imagined risks is the good first step.
You may have heard that the Cloud is the “be all to end all” in technology that magically makes every product and service better. Buyer beware. As with any technology, it’s important to weigh potential costs and benefits before making the jump.
There are many sound options for choosing Cloud Technology. For instance, instead of purchasing separate software for each employee to load onto their device, the cloud will allow that same software to operate on their mobile device, PC’s or notebooks with perpetual upgrades included. Plus, they can access their email in the cloud. However, you still need to administer the process. Adding users and configuring licenses still need to be done, so the cloud may not be the “buy it and forget it” answer you were looking for. Another variable to consider is the tradeoff between Opex and Capx. Purchased software is a capital expense, but utilizing a cloud environment will contribute to your operating expense. Your CFO will need to sign off on this variable.
The Cloud is still a great choice for many solutions. For instance, if your main office were to burn to the ground you could replicate your data within a few hours with remote access from anywhere in the world. That’s a powerful solution that the cloud offers.
But what is good for one company might not work as easily for another. Depending on your circumstances, compliance issues may need to be taken into account. Or in some cases increased ISP speeds may be required to accomplish your goal. These added expenses need to be factored into the decision making process.
In conclusion the cloud has some great advantages when deployed in a thoughtful, planned manner. But, one must look beyond the promise of “faster, cheaper, better”. Be sure to review your business needs, and examine the right solution mix for your business before you jump into the cloud.
Lots of businesses are moving their business files to the cloud. But before you make the jump, realize that it is a serious decision that could have a big impact on your business. So here are seven things you’ll have to consider on cloud options.
Some of your employees have likely been exploring their own options for cloud storage. Thus, if you’re looking to gain their buy-in, you’re going to need to find a solution that works at least as well as whatever they’ve already chosen for themselves.
Whatever you choose, that system needs to be able to handle all of the needs your company has. It needs to be a real solution for every storage problem your organization may encounter.
Integration is another key factor. Finding a cloud solution that adapts to the rest of your environment makes it easier for everyone using the system and will increase the likelihood that you’ll see the kind of adoption you’re looking for.
It must be easy to use. If not, people are not going to use it. No matter what technical advantages a new system can offer, it needs to be simple to use on a day to day basis.
From controlling and monitoring who has access to which files, to making sure that everything is operating as expected, your ability to manage a cloud solution is important to its success.
A cloud solution needs to offer security options that allow you to keep your data safe and give you the option to keep it secure in the event of changes to your team members.
Finally, making sure that a cloud solution is able to comply with the standards you need to do business is a critical aspect of your search for the right storage option.
Obviously, the specific needs of your company will play a big part in the decision you make on cloud based technologies. Keeping these seven big ideas in mind can put you on the right track toward choosing the solution that will work best for you.
Most of us don’t remember, but back in the day, factories were powered by their own power generators. These generators had to be maintained at a great cost to keep them running. Then along came Edison, who helped create the electric power plant, which improved reliability and quality of power. Businesses could now access their power by simply plugging into a wall socket. We now take power for granted and in-factory power generators have become a thing of the past.
Today the same revolution is happening in IT. It’s called Cloud Computing. Businesses no longer have to buy, build and manage costly computer facilities on site. Cloud Computing has proven to be more secure, reliable, scalable and affordable than traditional on site IT. This is why more business apps are deployed in the cloud.
Now a business can access all the cloud computing infrastructure it requires as a service for all its users, wherever they are, on whatever device they use. This is called Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS. Business apps remain the same, but they run on a more reliable cloud infrastructure. The apps can be migrated to the cloud as existing in house infrastructure reaches the end of its life. IaaS is the power station at the core of all models.
PaaS or Platform as a Service, builds on IaaS as a platform to make it easier to collaborate and deliver software. Just create your database and deploy the app.
SaaS or Software as a Service is fully serviced software running on fully serviced infrastructure. Gone are the upfront investments for new business application packages.
The Cloud can be all three models with IaaS at the core. So are you ready to make the switch to the Cloud? Just select which method best fits your business needs. This may be the right time to switch.
What are Methods of Paying for Cloud Service?
Last time I mentioned a method of paying for cloud service on a monthly subscription basis. This pay as you go model is like paying for a utility. The more you use, the more you pay and vice a versa. In my last blog, the version described was software as a service or SaaS. That’s where you access off the shelf apps over the internet and use their software. They will also send you the latest updates as needed and you don’t have to worry about purchasing licenses or doing any installations. This is a consumer mode of cloud computing. It’s accessible from any computer which is great if you do any collaborative work. However, generic apps will not always suffice for business use.
Let’s look at two other versions. One where someone “hosts” your service and another where you “build” your own apps on a supplier’s platform.
If your organization needs to control its infrastructure, it may want to utilize the IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service method. This is where a vendor will host your environment on their cloud. You can run your existing apps on the cloud provider’s hardware, while reducing your capital expenses as you exchange your physical servers for virtual machines. It’s like renting their VM’s (virtual machines). Examples of this service are Rackspace Hosting and Amazon EC2.
The next method is PaaS or Platform as a Service. This is for developers who want to build an environment where their programs and apps run on a vendor’s pre-existing platform. Just create your database and deploy the app. It’s very quick to deploy and usually at a low cost. The only disadvantage is that apps built on one vendor’s platform can’t be moved to another. Examples of this are Google App Engine and MS Azure.
So you see, all three method run and store data on line, but differ in levels of user flexibility and control. In each case you pay for what you need. That’s where the (aaS), as a service comes in. So why buy a car when you can just take a taxi to get to your destination? Save money and just select the model that works best for you and your organization.
Want to be free to innovate, react quickly, to seize the moment? But you want a simple approach to technology that doesn’t chain you down with big PC and software investments. Then, like many growing businesses, you should consider switching to hosted desktops and hosted applications.
Hosted services unchain desktops by putting them in a data center where they can be accessed by any device. This will give your business and employees greater flexibility and your employees can be more productive. The can now have easy log in access to any of the apps they need, at any time, in the office, out in the field or at home. It comes with an uncompromised user experience that seamlessly moves with them and changes to fit the device they prefer to use.
Your company is safer. Even if a device is lost or damaged or stolen, you and your employees can rest easy, because the data and applications don’t rest on the hardware. Just pick up a new device, log in once and you’re back in business.
Your business can be more flexible. Scale up or down more easily to fit any business need, from seasonal upswings, to reorganizations to adding contractors or employees with the click of a button. Plus a simple subscription model means that you’re monthly expenses are predictable without the capital expense and time it would take to build everything yourself.
Desktop tech support is far simpler. Applications are uploaded automatically. And because they stay in the data center, business continuity and security are baked right into the solution.
Put it all together and your company just got a lot lighter, leaner and faster. With hosted desktops and applications, you can react quickly. You can simplify technology. You can give employees freedom to use any devise they want all while having peace of mind knowing that your company’s data is secure and under control. Are you ready to migrate your desktop to the cloud? If so, than DaaS, desktop as a service is right for you.
These days businesses need to cut costs and drive sales. But to get ahead of the competition they need business apps. But apps can be expensive. Not too long ago, in order to grow your business, you had to bite the bullet and deal with the complexities of the IT world which including: Data Centers, Power Consumption, Cooling, Servers, and Storage. Plus factor in a team of experts to develop and test these apps, with the fear that any new version or upgrade could possible bring down the whole system. Now there is a better way to run your business. It’s called Cloud Computing.
You no longer have to run the apps yourself. Now apps run on a shared Data Center in the Cloud. All you do is plug in, like a utility. It’s fast to get started and costs less than the old traditional IT infrastructure. There are no servers or storage to worry about, no tech-team to run the apps and no upgrade concerns. For any app in the Cloud, you just log in, customize it and start using it. It’s that simple. That’s the power of the Cloud.
Cloud Computing has changed how both the consumer and businesses think about apps. Now your business can be up and running in hours instead of days or weeks, with less cost. Now you don’t have to pay for people, products and facilities to run those apps. Cloud apps are more scalable, secure and reliable than the vast majority of apps out there. One app can be shared by many users, however, these apps are flexible enough for everyone to customize for their business needs. It’s like a large office building where each business shares the infrastructure and building services, but each business gets to customize its own office space. These apps are elastic and can be scaled up or down depending on needs. And performance upgrades are done for you, so you get new versions with new features in a secure environment automatically.
The main differentiating factor is how you pay for the Cloud applications. It’s usually on a monthly subscription basis that we call software as a service (SaaS). That way it won’t eat up all your resources, which will allow you to focus on employing more apps to help your bottom line. Ride in the taxi and get rid of that limo. Or if you’re thirsty, just buy a glass of milk and forget about buying the cow. I’m sure you have better use for those found dollars you’re saving.
So now we know the Cloud is a network of over 50 million servers sharing information over fiber optic networks running 200,000 times faster than the speed of your home internet connection. But how do businesses make use of the Cloud?
Actually, the sky is the limit when it comes to the capabilities of the Cloud. Business savvy companies are using it for much more than email and message applications. They leverage the Cloud for multiple purposes, like: IT Management, HR, Supply Chain & Logistics, Sales & Marketing, Customer Service, Office Tools & Productivity, Finance & Accounting and Business Intelligence.
Do you think the Cloud has a silver lining? I believe the results speak for themselves. Businesses that use the Cloud get better insight and visibility as they can share data seamlessly across different applications. This can also reduce their operating and application costs. By facilitating employee mobility and remote access, businesses improve collaboration and integration. Finally, productivity and agility are enhanced as the organization operates more efficiently which in turn increases productivity.
Are you ready to get your head in the Clouds yet? All you need is the right network infrastructure, with reliable high speed connectivity with symmetric upload and download speed. What are you waiting for?
Remember the old days when you had to install software onto your computer’s hard drive? Everything worked great until your computer got a virus or crashed and you needed a new hard drive. Everything you had stored was lost forever and you had to start from scratch recreating lost files, some of which could not be duplicated.
Now all your music, photos and docs can be stored on line in the cloud. It’s really stored on internet servers instead of on your home computer. It’s like having an extra hard drive that you can access anytime from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. Now you can take your files anywhere thanks to cloud based application called web apps, which run inside your internet browser. Google Docs is a web app you may have tried. It’s free and does not require any installation. It allows you to create spreadsheets, documents and presentations. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access, from anywhere whatever you created.
Now you can take your music, photos and video anywhere you go. You can access that information from any computer or mobile devise. You can even share them with your friends. Since it’s all stored in the cloud, you will never have to worry about a computer malfunction. By storing your files in the cloud, you are protected against accidents, viruses and more. Cloud based storage, like Carbonite and Mozy, automatically back up your data and have the most recent versions stored and ready to recover. So if something happens to your computer, just transfer your files to another computer or storage device.
So what are you waiting for? Why not make your life easier and more manageable. Whether it’s to check emails when you travel, or listen to your favorite tunes, or view your photos or use web apps to work in different locations, the cloud has something to offer you.
Employees need proper computer hardware and software to do their jobs. An Employer may need to purchase a separate work station for each employee. They may also need to purchase special software and software licenses to run their business. For each new hire, new software or software licenses may need to be purchased for each new user. These additions can become very expensive over time. But there is now an alternative.
Instead of installing a suite of software on each computer, now you can load just one application that allows users to log into a web-based service which hosts all the programs that user will need for their job. Remote machines owned by another company will run everything from email, to word processing, to complex data analysis programs. It’s called Cloud Computing.
In Cloud Computing there is a work-load shift from the in-house computer to the virtual computer. Local computers don’t have to do the heavy lifting when it comes to local applications. A network of computers, which makes up the cloud, handles them instead. The need for additional hardware and software on the user’s side decreases. You just need to run through a cloud computing interface software, like a web browser. The cloud network takes care of the rest. You can even access the cloud remotely as the software and storage no longer exist on your computer. It is now on the servers cloud computer.
If you like the concept of doing more with less, cloud computing can save you money on operating costs and increase business productivity. Now that is a winning solution. The next time you want to save some money, look to the clouds.