Considering Cloud? Tips to Ease Migration to the Cloud

According to IDC, the combined public/private Cloud security market will more than double over the next few years. Cloud adoption is changing the way enterprises use applications. Increased adoption of hosted email, Unified Communications (UC), and Voice over IP (VoIP) may increase bandwidth and change the way employees access the Internet. Many companies are moving away from routing network traffic to a centralized data center for the Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) locations, in favor of increasing traffic directly to the Internet and bypassing the data center altogether. With all of these changes, the traditional Wide area network (WAN) relying on carrier MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) network capacity may prove costly and inefficient to keep up with today’s demands. Here are some tips to consider to ease your migration to the Cloud: Where to Begin Your Migration to the Cloud If you haven’t already begun your migration, consider starting with Email, File Sharing and collaboration. These popular Cloud Services offer enhanced or new functionality to your business with immediate productivity benefits. Voice and Call center services can offer savings with reduced operation costs. There are also many benefits from Cloud Backup and disaster recovery services. In some cases, these services may be available with turnkey bundles supporting a range of applications. Many companies also benefit by migrating other enterprise applications including CRM, ERP, and other mission-critical applications to the Cloud. Network considerations include device consolidation, multi-path optimization, and network performance monitoring for better awareness and control. Taking these steps can save you money, and avoid costly delays from loss of employee productivity due to insufficient network bandwidth reliability and availability....

Cloud Computing Defined

The demand for Cloud Services continues to climb. Recent forecasts from International Data Corporation (IDC) predict worldwide spending on public Cloud services will grow at a 19.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) – from nearly $70 billion in 2015 to more than $141 billion in 2019. This report cited Software as a Service (SaaS) as the leading consumption model for Cloud Services. In addition, Telecommunications is expected to be the fastest-growing vertical industry with a worldwide CAGR of 22.2% over the forecast period of 2014-2019. To avoid the hype associated with fast-growing technologies, it is important to gain a fundamental understanding of what defines Cloud Computing. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides guidance to help understand Cloud Computing. According to NIST, there are five characteristics for an offering to be considered a Cloud service: Cloud Services are Rapid Elastic A Cloud Service should automatically scale resources as needed. This provides businesses agility by growing as the need for additional capacity arises. This elasticity avoids the need for a business to build in excess capacity for unpredictable workloads, a capacity that may go unused at off-peak times. On-Demand Self-Service In addition to rapid elasticity access, Cloud Services should be simple so any user can quickly provision additional resources when needed. Removing the friction to ordering, provisioning, and configuring Cloud Services when needed empowers the workforce and avoids unnecessary downtime, while improving employee productivity. Broad Network Access Business Class Broadband networks provide affordable access to Cloud Services. Access across the Public Internet allows a common interface for multiple devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones. This provides employees the...

Are Public Cloud Services Right for Your Business?

Every day more companies realize the cloud offers them brand new ways to solve their business problems. Public Cloud services are available for a wide range of solutions, including Communications and Collaboration, CRM, Contact Center, Email, File Sharing, Network Management, Cloud Storage, and more. What to Expect from Public Cloud Services According to a 2015 Whitepaper on Cloud Definitions by IDC, “Public Cloud services are shared among unrelated enterprises and consumers; open to a largely unrestricted universe of potential users; and designed for a market, not a single enterprise.” Public Cloud Services offer an affordable alternative to Private Cloud Services dedicated to a single company or extended enterprise. According to the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Cloud Services include the following characteristics:   Shared, Standard Services – Build for Multitenancy, among or within the enterprise Solutions Packaged – A “turnkey” offering, pre-integrates required resources Self-service – Provisioning and management typically via a Web portal Elastic, Resource Scaling – Dynamic, rapid and fine-grained Ubiquitous (authorized) Network Access – Typically accessible via the Internet Standard UI Technologies – Browser, RIA clients, underlying technologies Published Service Interface/API – Web services other common internet APIs Considerations for Public vs. Private Cloud Private Cloud Solutions provide a company dedicated resources and additional access to the Cloud Infrastructure. This capability could be important for regulatory compliance or high availability solutions. Private Cloud tradeoff includes Cost versus Control over Public Cloud Services. Data residency may also be a factor in your decision for Public Cloud Services versus Private Cloud Services. With all these variables that will likely change over time, it is important to...

The Internet of Things (IoT) You Should Care About

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that describes everyday objects that have network connectivity, allowing them to send, receive and act on data. One day, everything that can be connected will be connected. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) the number of “things” connected to the Internet will reach 50.1 billion by 2020. As the Internet of Things makes its way into our lives, what do you need to know to take full advantage? Internet of Things (IoT) in the Workplace Devices connecting to the Internet can provide a number of benefits and savings to business.  Smart controllers can regulate heating, cooling, lighting and more. This technology may cut energy costs and save you money. Hospitals can keep better track of pharmaceuticals, avoiding shortages while minimizing inventory. The Internet of Things can even collect data from mobile devices to see if online shoppers make it into your store to check prices or buy. With all of this data being collected and acted upon, it raises a number of issues around security, privacy and connectivity. Internet of Things is Built on the Cloud Windows powered desktops and laptops, while Android and IOS powered tablets and smartphones. It is expected that the Internet of Things will run on the Cloud. Cloud Services will deliver functionality, collect data, and eventually connect machines to other machines to analyze and take action on data collected by Internet of Things. Your business will need robust connectivity and a secure network to take full advantage of the Internet of Things. Securing Internet of Things Articles have already emerged about zombie refrigerators attacking...

Tackling Cloud Security

Security is always top of mind with businesses migrating to the Cloud. Cloud Services are rapidly being adopted by most businesses today. According to IDC, the worldwide public cloud services market reached $45.7 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% through 2018. Cloud Security is an important consideration for businesses migrating to the Cloud. So, what are the top security concerns businesses face? Top Cloud Security Concerns CompTIA’s Ninth Annual Information Security Trends study identified system downtime/business interruptions, exposure or loss of data during file transfers to the cloud, and concerns over encryption of data (either transactional or at rest) as the top three issues identified by business owners and IT Professionals. In addition, respondents raised concern over complying with legal/regulatory requirements. What can a business owner do to migrate securely to the Cloud? Cloud Security and Compliance Most experts agree, start by understanding your Cloud Security requirements. If you have regulatory requirements, a Private Cloud solution may make it easier to comply with standards including HIPAA and PCI. However, this doesn’t mean you are more secure. Beyond encryption, having a solid strategy for using the technology in your organization is a key factor in Cloud Security. Employees: Key to Tackling Cloud Security Your employees may be your biggest threat to Cloud Security. Without the proper training, your employees may access your company’s Cloud Services from unsecure devices. This could cause security breaches and data leaks of privacy information. What’s more, it is important to control the adoption of Cloud Services within your business to help mitigate Cloud Security...
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