Cloud Computing: Are you Ready for the Cloud?

Cloud Computing: Are you Ready for the Cloud? Most technology analysts agree Cloud Computing is a fast growing area of technology and is being widely adopted by small, medium and large businesses. According to Gartner Research 2012 forecast Cloud Computing spending will grow from $39.2 billion in 2011 to $45.9 billion in 2012. Gartner expects spending on Cloud Computing and related Cloud Services to reach $207 billion by 2016. Another technology research firm, IDC reported in 2012, that they expect sales of cloud storage to reach $11.7 billion by 2015. In fact, the Computer Technology Industry Association, CompTIA reported in their July 2012 “Third Annual Trends in Cloud Computing“ that 93% of companies report using some form of cloud solution. So why are companies moving to the cloud? According to CompTIA, survey respondents reported the following top three reasons for moving to the Cloud; the desire to cut costs, to reduce capital expense and the cloud is simply a better solution than their current one. With all of these benefits, your business should get ready to take advantage of the cloud. Here are a few things to consider: Network Reliability and Internet Bandwidth Cloud Applications and Cloud Services require high availability of internet connectivity. If your network is outdated or you have limited internet bandwidth outages, these may cause you to lose access to your cloud services. In particular, mission critical applications may require high internet and bandwidth availability. Make sure your firewall, gateway, routers and wifi are in tip top shape. Check your internet bandwidth to ensure it can handle the requirements to access your cloud applications. Compliance...

What Has Your Backup Done For You Lately?

What Has Your Backup Done For You Lately? Businesses of all sizes rely on their data more than ever before. What’s more, businesses have more data to protect and backups to store than ever. Critical files, customer data, email archives and other application data run our world. It’s not a bad idea to backup that data to a local drive or tape. In the case of a true disaster, such as an earthquake or fire your local backup may not be enough. By using online or remote backup, you can store your data securely in an offsite location and have it available in a disaster recovery scenario. Also, with cloud computing, companies large and small, can now affordably backup data offsite. When you evaluate a remote backup solution here are a few things to consider: Is My Data Secure? When you think about moving your data backup offsite most business owners think about security first. While backup vendors take data security seriously, their approach may vary for how your data is protected. Data storage in a private cloud may add an additional physical layer of security by dedicating hardware to your individual needs. A private cloud solution may drive the cost up and may be more than you need. Public cloud storage may use a virtual environment to store your data, making it more affordable. However, a public cloud solution may not comply with your industry regulations for data security. It is important you understand your security needs and priorities to find the best remote backup solution for your business. How Long Does It Take To Recover? When you...

Data protection and security update LinkedIn

Data Protection and Password Security Update: LinkedIn On June 7, LinkedIn disclosed that “some LinkedIn member passwords were compromised.” Per LinkedIn disclosures on their blog http://blog.linkedin.com/2012/06/07/taking-steps-to-protect-our-members/ ”LinkedIn learned that approximately 6.5 million hashed LinkedIn passwords were posted on a hacker site. Most of the passwords on the list appear to remain hashed and hard to decode, but unfortunately a small subset of the hashed passwords was decoded and published.” They continued, “no email logins associated with the passwords have been published, nor have we received any verified reports of unauthorized access to any member’s account as a result of this event.” There are a few important lessons to pass along given the recent data protection disclosure by LinkedIn: Separate Company from Personal You or your employees may have a variety of social media accounts. It is a good data protection policy to use separate email and password combinations for personal use versus business use. Where possible, use a personal email and password combination to set up and access your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Discourage employees from using their business credentials on social networks. In the event that an email and password combination is compromised, there is a lower probability that your vital systems will be hacked if your company is not associated with the data leak on a social network. Data Protection Can Lower Exposure When it comes to data protection and backup, the first thoughts are rapid recovery from lost data. These same techniques also apply to hacked data. By having daily backups of your data companies can better pinpoint what data may have been compromised during...

Moving your IT to the Cloud? Here are some things to consider.

Moving your IT to the Cloud? It seems like everyone is doing it. According to a 2011 survey by IPED at least 50% of small businesses will adopt cloud computing within their business by the end of 2012. With all of the hype about cloud computing, here are some things to consider before you make the move. Let’s start off with what is Cloud Computing? The easiest way to explain the “Cloud” is think of it as using computer assets (software, servers, etc.) that are located somewhere off-site from your company’s location. Cloud computing is typically purchased on a subscription basis (i.e. a monthly service fee) avoiding some of the up front costs. Also, the Cloud may be a shared resource (i.e. Public Cloud) or dedicated resource (i.e. Private Cloud). The first thing your need to decide is: what do you want to gain by moving to the Cloud? Are you trying to avoiding making capital expenditures? Do you want to pay-as-you go for your IT infrastructure as an operating expense instead of a capital expense? Are you concerned about being able to recover from a backup in the event a disaster, such as, a fire, earthquake or hurricane that could destroys all your computers and data on site? If any of this appeals to you, then Cloud Computing might either augment or replace critical IT assets within your company today. However, these benefits do not come without risk. If you decide to replace your line of business application (e.g. Accounting Software) with a Cloud alternative commonly known as Software as a Service (SaaS) you won’t have to pay...

Proactive IT for Small and Medium Businesses

Let’s face it, most businesses rely on their IT Systems to run their daily operations. Whether it is email, eCommerce, accounting or other “line of business” applications, SMBs need the same up time and availability as a large business. Most of the time everything hums right along. When PC’s crash or the network crawls, business can come to a grinding halt. Being proactive with your IT Services can make all the difference in the world in getting up and running again. Here are some tips to ensure you get back up and running quickly: Start off by having all your ducks in a row. When things go wrong, make sure you know who to call. Don’t wait until things are broken to find an IT Service Provider or Computer Repair Company. Establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with a reputable IT Service Provider in advance. By having an agreed upon response time and rate schedule, you can ensure a rapid response to your problem that works by your schedule. In many cases you can pay by the hour or by the ticket. You may even be able to include unforeseen computer repairs as part of a fixed fee IT Managed Service Agreement. By having a service level agreement in place, you will save time and money when things go wrong. Also consider having both local and off-site backups of your data. When we thing about backup we typically think about a disaster, theft or other systems failure. Any way you look at it, backup is all about recovery. A local backup can help you find lost files or recover...
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