The cloud computing landscape has witnessed remarkable advancements, offering businesses and individuals a wide array of advanced cloud options. These cutting-edge technologies have revolutionized the way we store, access, and process data, empowering organizations to achieve unparalleled scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. This week, we will delve into some of the most prominent advanced cloud options available today, highlighting their key features and benefits.
Coleman Technologies Blog
We have not been shy about expounding upon the benefits of the cloud for businesses, as these benefits are both considerable and accessible. That being said, not even the cloud is completely perfect, and there are security errors that can easily be made.
Let’s go through these security errors to see if any sound familiar to your situation.
Cloud storage is more affordable than ever, but so are large-capacity hard disk drives. The question becomes which is better for your business? Let’s take a look at some of the considerations and how each presents pros and cons for a business, depending on their business model.
Most businesses who utilize the cloud report that they have managed to cut costs while still getting the resources they need to perform to spec. Businesses can use the cloud for processing and storing data, as well as application deployment, making it a very dynamic solution to a business’ needs. However, you cannot make decisions based on cost alone. Here are some other factors to consider.
Cloud computing is a major growth industry as businesses and individuals look to use the computing strategy to either save money or get resources that they would typically not be able to commit to. With cloud computing becoming more and more integrated into business each year, it stands to reason that the once Wild West of cloud computing would start to see a lot more regulation. This week, we’ll take a look at how the cloud is regulated and what to expect out of cloud regulation down the road.
Keeping a business running is no easy feat, with dozens of moving parts and considerations to maintain at any given time. Arguably, this has never been more true than it is now, when you combine current inflation and labor shortages with the technological options businesses now have. In short, it can be exceptionally confusing…and challenging in terms of budgeting it out.
Software makes or breaks businesses, so your software strategy should be implemented with sound logic in mind. One of the ways you can make the most out of your limited resources and budget is to consider cloud-hosted Software as a Service offerings. With SaaS, you can implement better software that is more accessible, flexible, and manageable than the traditional method of hosting.
Do your employees have a hard time with the technology that you’ve provided them? Are your digitization efforts lagging behind? Are the systems your business is using coming up on their end of support date? Old technology can cause major problems for a business. In this week’s blog, we go through some of the signs that you may need to upgrade your business’ technology.
So, you want to utilize cloud computing for your business. Making that decision is a good start, but now you need to figure out how the cloud will help accomplish the goals you’ve set for your business. You need to develop a cloud strategy.
Fortunately, we can help.
The following story and events are true, however, to protect the families of the innocent, all names have been changed. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or businesses, is purely coincidental. Enjoy and happy Halloween!
It’s the cloud.
Specifically, software-as-a-service (SaaS).
What is SaaS?
In order to understand SaaS, you definitely need to have a cursory understanding of the concept of cloud computing. Basically—for you that don’t know—cloud computing is the use of servers hosted in data centers to provide your business (or individuals) the computing they need through the Internet. It’s as simple as that. Companies create data centers where any business can get the processing, the data storage, the services, and the software utilities they need. Software-as-a-service represents the last part of that. Basically, if you need a piece of software, you can now get it in the cloud.
Efficiency is far from the only benefit that comes from using electronic record storage or document management platforms. Without the prohibitive costs associated with printing paper copies of your records, you’ll be able to do more while still having access to all your business’ important documents. Let’s consider how much money can be saved when you aren’t printing every document you want to file away.
Defining Cloud Deployments
Businesses have the option to use three different cloud deployments:
- Private Cloud — Space in a cloud infrastructure is owned and utilized by a single business.
- Public Cloud — Space in a shared cloud infrastructure is utilized by multiple businesses and users.
- Hybrid Cloud — Space is utilized in both a public cloud environment and in a business’ privately-owned cloud space.
Research In Action surveyed 468 CIOs about their company’s cloud usage and the costs they understand. A majority said that their company’s cloud computing investments were some of the largest technology expenses on their company’s budget. Fewer CIOs consider the hidden costs of the technology, as most of them trust their vendors to make the determinations needed to keep their business’ cloud platforms viable and available. Many of them admitted to monitoring the fluctuations in cost, but feel as though the technology provides the best value possible.
Many, many solutions devoted to keeping people in touch and in the loop are now commonly hosted in, and delivered through, the cloud. This method only makes sense, as it enables your team to fully collaborate whenever an Internet connection is available. Take extra steps to foster these habits in your organization at every possible opportunity.
How the Cloud Helps Businesses Communicate
Having a strong communications strategy for your business can go a long way. With the options that are now available through the cloud, your business can significantly cut your communications costs by utilizing technologies like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video conferencing. Today, there are complete communication platforms that integrate all necessary communications into one easy-to-control solution.
This comprehensive platform, called Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS), combines your business telecommunications and messaging with your web and video conferencing and collaboration. UCaaS gives your business the technology it needs along with the following options:
- Disaster recovery
- Managed support
- Thorough analytics
- Management software integration
- Regulatory support
- Global service delivery
- Available support
Below are some of the technologies a UCaaS platform offers:
A powerful and feature-rich telephone system is one of the most important parts of a business’ communications platform. A VoIP system uses your organization’s bandwidth to deliver reliable voice services at a substantial cost reduction. Each VoIP platform can offer a whole cache of features, including:
- Call Management/Auto Attendant
- Call Queue
- Call Routing/Screening/Transferring
- Call forwarding/Voicemail
- Call Park/Presence/Pulling
- Call Recording
- Custom In-Call Music
- Custom ringtones
- Do Not Disturb
- Three-way calling
- SIP Trunking
- Find/Follow Me
- Voicemail services
Aside from these features, a hosted VoIP platform offers users the ability to use the system on their own mobile phones through the use of a mobile app, effectively making any smartphone a work phone.
Text and Instant Messaging
The UCaaS also integrates a lot of other useful messaging features. Many people would rather get a text than a call, and with a UCaaS, your organization’s messaging will integrate with other software to provide a useful collaborative option.
Today, having a video conferencing solution is a must. With more people working outside of the office, and with businesses outsourcing work to remote contractors, having a solution to run meetings over the Internet is extremely useful.
Collaboration is the name of the game in the information age and a UCaaS can provide a solution for secure file transfer and document sharing.
With integrations with CRMs and other management platforms a UCaaS can make your business be more efficient and productive. To talk to one of our IT professionals about the possibility of integrating a unified communication solution into your business, give us a call at (604) 513-9428 today.
To do so, we’ll be discussing the concept of cloud security, which is pretty much what it sounds like: security concerning the data, infrastructures, and applications that are hosted in the cloud. In many ways, these considerations aren’t all too different than the ones that would be involved with your local IT. When really boiled down, any security you have implemented should meet a few benchmarks:
- Assurance that data/solutions are safe
- You have a transparent view of your security’s status
- Instant alerts to unusual events and issues
- These events and issues can be followed back to their source and addressed
Of course, we don’t mean to say that everything is identical between the security of your local infrastructure and a cloud system. We just wanted to establish this as the foundation of any security you implement.
Demystifying Cloud Security
By its nature, cloud computing can be intimidating, especially when you start to consider how it has impacted the business technology landscape. Fortunately, many of the security considerations that cloud now demands aren’t necessarily huge leaps from what your security should be normally. Let’s walk through a few differences between traditional security and what is required in the cloud.
Different Perimeters to Protect
Consider how data can be protected when it is localized. You can effectively prevent a lot of threats just by preventing access to the area where your data is stored. The cloud makes this significantly more difficult by being so very connected.
However, if you know this moving forward, you can adjust your security to meet these needs. One effective way to do so is to make sure that all data to be stored in the cloud is encrypted, and that access to the cloud itself is protected with multi-factor authentication requirements with the appropriate best practices baked in.
More Advanced Threats
Unfortunately, not even cloud providers are immune to attacks. The development of Advanced Persistent Threats (which you may see referred to as APTs) and other means of breaching data make it difficult to be sure that your data is truly safe. While the jury is still out on how these threats can be overcome, you need to accept the responsibility of keeping up with the practices that can help in the meantime.
As the cloud relies on software to deliver hosted data, there is an assortment of potential variables that need to be addressed. Therefore, the cloud needs to have security controls in place to address these variables as they present themselves. This is the case whether data is being transported at the time, or if it is filed away.
Coleman Technologies can assist you with your data security needs, as well as assist you with whatever cloud implementation you decide to put into place. To learn more, reach out to us by calling (604) 513-9428.
Most cloud vendors will propose that an organization’s IT is too expensive for what they would get out of it and that by using cloud services a business can cut down on its hardware and management costs. For the most part, this is true. Cloud services can bring flexibility and capital cost reduction, but it can also bring substantial waste if your cloud-based resources aren’t managed effectively.
We don’t want to give the impression that cloud services aren’t useful, they undoubtedly are, but you may be surprised to learn how much money is wasted by small and medium-sized businesses in the cloud. By routinely playing for recurring web service accounts may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but it only takes a couple accounts per month to add up to hundreds and thousands of dollars a year. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Many organizations that use hosted environments for development or deploy virtual machines for application distribution may initially find cost savings by moving to the cloud, but over time, see those savings dilapidated as larger-than-needed VMs are left running and other computing platforms chew up resources that are billed per CPU hour or per gigabyte.
So how do you go about creating a strategy that will give your staff the resources they need, while also not having to waste money on unused cloud resources? Here are a couple tips:
- Track all online service licenses and correlate them with the number of employees that need that software to complete their jobs.
- Have a system in place where employees can find solutions to help them, while providing you the ability to block this Shadow IT software if it poses any threat.
- Clean up old volumes, snapshots, and machine images.
- When you turn on resources in non-production environments, make sure to set it to the minimum size requirements.
- Use the Reserved Instances option for any production resources and manage them closely. You could save up to 75 percent off your cloud investments.
Use these five tips to control your cloud computing costs. Tracking your cloud services and eliminating any redundancies or unused resources will go a long way toward reducing your overall computing costs. For more information call Coleman Technologies today at (604) 513-9428.
How the Cloud is Like a Rideshare
Let’s say you are with three people and you need to get someplace and don’t have access to a car. You all could call an Uber or a taxi that would cost you $20 or so. If you are going to the same place, you could all share the cost of a ride for $7 each. You all get to the same place for a fraction of the cost.
This is a lot like how cloud services work. Since you are paying for access to storage, processing, or application deployment on an outside computer, you are just paying rent for the privilege. This means that you can get the computing resources your business needs at a substantial cost savings. This is because you are often not the only one using these resources.
Just like you pay less if you split your transportation costs, cloud service companies allow for substantial cost savings by virtualizing computing resources and making them available at attractive rates.
The combination of leasing these virtualized computing resources, while taking on a majority of the management of these resources, provides substantial value for businesses and individuals.
Let’s say that, to continue the rideshare metaphor, you decide to lease a car from a local dealership. One day the car breaks down. You’ve spent a premium amount of money trying to get a reliable ride to work, but if you don’t have access to your car, your investment isn’t cost effective. This is the same experience a business has that purchases hardware and has issues with it. Outsourcing the computing resources (or the management) ensures that you have continuous, reliable access to them.
Finally, just like ordering a shared ride, cloud services allow you maximize productivity. With cloud computing you can even work from anywhere with an Internet connection and utilize your time reliably. Turning to cloud computing resources is a great way to free yourself from the costs of purchasing expensive hardware, while giving you the resources your business needs to get where you want to go.
If you would like more information about cloud services and how they can improve your business, call the It experts at Coleman Technologies today at (604) 513-9428.
For context, it helps to know that Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud storage platform that just about any business could make use of, regardless of its size. After all, any size of business will have to remain organized.
Speaking of which, our first tip covers how OneDrive can make this organization super convenient for you.
OneDrive Files On-Demand
Files On-Demand gives your users the ability to effectively link their File Explorer to OneDrive, which enables them to work with files found in your OneDrive without downloading all of them to their device. Not only does this save real estate in the device’s storage, it allows work to continue offline through a simple proactive switch in a particular file’s settings.
Known Folder Move
OneDrive can also work as a simple backup option, although it certainly should not replace a comprehensive plan. Regardless, Known Folder Move allows users to have the contents of certain folders automatically synchronize with their OneDrive storage. This can be set up during the initial installation of OneDrive, or at any time you have need for it.
Integration with Microsoft Outlook
Consider what typically happens when you try to share some kind of Office document as an email attachment for someone to work on: you aren’t sending them access to your file, you’re simply sending them their own copy. OneDrive fixes that by enabling a user to share their files as though they were attachments, editing the permissions provided on the fly. As a result, the actual file is being collaborated on, really allowing work to be done.
What has been your experience using OneDrive? Share your impressions, as well as any other questions we can help with, in the comments!