Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining: Business Benefits of Cloud Computing

Moving to the Cloud is a strategic, business-driven decision. Cloud Computing can offer a range of solutions to help drive business performance. Many businesses are migrating to Cloud Computing already. To ensure you get the most from your investment, you need to be able to determine how cloud solutions can help your business grow revenue, scale, accommodate teleworkers, let you move faster than your competition, and help you make your technology infrastructure costs more predictable.  Read on to gain an understanding of the many business benefits of Cloud Computing. Cloud Computing Saves on Upfront Costs Many popular Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions are available on a subscription basis.  You won’t be paying for hardware, systems software, database or other upfront costs.  In most cases these recurring subscription fees move your capital expense to an operating expense.  However, you will need to plan for customization, migration and integration services to make Cloud Services that are robust and dynamic. Cloud Computing Provides a Faster Time to Market You won’t be waiting on hardware to deliver for your new Cloud Service.  In many cases you can deploy new Cloud Services on demand.  Additionally, your Cloud Service Provider (CSP) is responsible for keeping the systems up to date with the latest updates and upgrades.  SaaS providers can upgrade features and functionality during regularly planned maintenance windows. This keeps your systems up to date with the latest functionality and capability. The Predictable Cost of Cloud Computing Monthly subscription services provide business owners a predictable IT expense.  License policies based on number of users, usage and other predictable factors...

Is Your Network Ready for the Cloud?

Moving to the Cloud requires a fast, reliable network to ensure high availability to Cloud applications and their data. Critical systems including Cloud backup, SaaS, VDI, VoIP and other critical systems need consistent broadband access to ensure employee productivity, compliance and keep customer service levels high. This begs the question, is your network ready for the Cloud? Network Assessment for Cloud Readiness When moving to the Cloud it is important to understand where you may have points of failure on your network before they happen.  Consider starting with a Network Assessment. By simulating peak loads for voice and data on your network, you can identify weaknesses in a controlled environment. By proactively monitoring your network, you can ping to measure packet loss, latency and uptime; also, you can identify bottlenecks for failure, allowing you to fix problems before they happen. Avoiding unnecessary downtime and/or data loss improves employee productivity and helps ensure compliance. Maintain Network Security and Compliance for Consistent Computing Access Malicious attacks, including cyber threats and unauthorized access to your network, will not only expose you to loss of critical data.  They may also degrade your network performance. Unauthorized network use by employees may also consume bandwidth that slows down your network. Unauthorized video streaming and access to unauthorized websites contribute to a slow network. Upgrade or Improve Network Performance There are many options to create an affordable wide area network. Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is an emerging option to create secure, reliable access to your Public or Private Cloud Services. This new technology, which provides centralized management and policy-based enforcement, makes it faster to...

Migrating to the Cloud – How to Avoid Turbulence

Migrating to the Cloud can be bumpy if you are not prepared. Chances are you have already started migrating to the Cloud. Without realizing it, you may be accessing the Cloud by using mobile and web based applications and services that store and share your data from the Cloud. According to International Data Corporation, (IDC) public IT Cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) spending will reach $127 billion in 2018. The Cloud will outpace the total IT market at a rate of more than five times. With this shift, companies are migrating to the Cloud at a rapid pace, so it is important to plan your Cloud migration to avoid any unnecessary turbulence. Low Hanging Fruit for Cloud Migration Many applications lend themselves to Cloud migration. Communications and collaboration applications including Email, Voice and Web conferencing are great places to start your Cloud Migration. The Cloud can offer a secure, reliable and affordable alternative to maintaining these systems on premise. Along with providing additional capability, such as, File Sync and Sharing, previously unavailable from premise based solutions. Many companies have started their Cloud migrations with these subscription services to gain quick benefits from Cloud Computing. Planning Your Cloud Migration Moving your applications and their data to the Cloud, along with reliable data protection and online backup, should be carefully planned. First, determine which applications are candidates for Cloud Computing. When moving files, applications and back ups for data protection to the Cloud, consider your data volumes and network bandwidth. When this business infrastructure is in the Cloud you will need reliable connectivity to access critical information. Maintaining Security in...

Technology Outlook for 2016

What drivers will shape 2016 technology trends? Businesses using customer facing technology for competitive advantage will fuel demand for Cloud Computing, in particular, Software as a Service.  The Internet of Everything will amplify the number of connected devices in our world leading to additional needs for data protection and CyberSecurity defense. Mobile computing and Cloud Computing adoption will increase the adoption of fast, affordable and secure broadband networking. Here is the short list of what to expect from the biggest trends in technology for 2016. Cloud Computing Adoption Remains Strong Cloud Computing adoption is expected to continue throughout 2016. Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are expected to lead the way. Migration to Cloud based email, sales and customer management applications and other SaaS solutions will drive Cloud growth in 2016. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will continue to grow, however demand will be driven by backup and disaster recovery, single sign on, file sync and sharing, application hosting and other core IT services.  With this increased demand for Cloud Solutions, migration and integration services are expected to also be in high demand. Greater Need for Fast, Affordable and Secure Broadband Mobile Computing and Cloud Computing will put additional demands on network infrastructure. With the additional need for SaaS applications, remote backup and file sync and sharing applications, companies will upgrade business Internet technology for fast and affordable broadband options. Companies will pay particular consideration to available, reliability and security as they adopt broadband network technologies. Internet of Things (IoT):  More Devices, More Security Tablets, Laptops, desktops and smartphones are expected to continue to grow. Now Smart Devices or...

Is Your Business PCI Compliant?

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a common sense standard based on good IT Security policy. The objective is to protect customer credit card information from compromise. With the holiday season upon us, eCommerce and credit card processing activities will ramp through the end of the year. Trillions of dollars are transacted via credit card every year. So what can you do to ensure your business is PCI compliant? PCI Compliance Assessment Determine if your company policies and procedures ensure PCI compliance. In addition to technology considerations, your employees should be trained on how to protect credit card information. If credit cards are taken over the phone, never write down card numbers. If employees are entering credit card information into an order processing system or payment authorization gateway, ensure the data is encrypted when stored. If your business uses a Cloud Based service, check to ensure they are PCI compliant too. PCI Compliance and Network Security Another consideration for PCI Compliance is your network security. In addition to a firewall, you should lock down any unsecure WiFi access. Unauthorized access to your network could leave your business open to exposure of malware, virus and man in the middle threats in which credit card information can be accessed without your knowledge. Network Monitoring for PCI Compliance PCI Compliance is not a one time effort. To stay compliant you should periodically review your policies and monitor your systems. Periodic network monitoring can detect any unauthorized access, network security violations and any other deficiencies that require immediate remediation. Maintaining PCI compliance for your business helps you avoid costly security...
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