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Over 90% of Businesses Use Cloud Computing, and for Good Reason

Over 90% of Businesses Use Cloud Computing, and for Good Reason

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.

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Consider a Switch to VoIP this Year

Consider a Switch to VoIP this Year

The telephone, as a technology, has been around for quite a while, more or less serving businesses for that entire time. Of course, we’ve seen quite a few advancements in telephony over the years, which has helped it to remain a cornerstone of modern business communications to this day in the form of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

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How Software as a Service Fits Into Your Business’ Technology Plans

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.

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Demystifying the Cloud for Business Computing

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.
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How to Move to the Cloud in a Hurry

After all, by leveraging the cloud, a company can take advantage of up-to-date and reliable solutions and resources with no added maintenance needs, and the cloud’s flexibility is extremely well-known. Whether your employees are working in the office or from home, the cloud allows them to access and collaborate upon the same documents with the same resources.

Here, we’ll go over the steps you need to take to adopt these capabilities in a hurry, with the help of an MSP like Coleman Technologies.

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The Cloud Can Contribute to Company Collaboration

Communication Solutions

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.

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Make Sure Your Use of the Cloud is Secure

Potential Issues with Cloud Services

It is important to remember that, if you want to avoid managing an entire private cloud infrastructure in-house, you will more than likely be signing up for a public cloud service. With this setup, you are entrusting your business’ data to an external cloud provider who will manage and protect it on your behalf. This is a great option that many businesses use to great success, but there are a few downsides that you need to take into consideration.

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Are You Properly Managing Your Cloud Services?

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.

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Cloud Services Are the Rideshare of Business Computing

How the Cloud is Like a Rideshare

Cost Efficiency

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. 

Reduced Maintenance

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. 

Productivity

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.

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Are Cloud Servers an Option?

The Decision

It may seem pretty simple, but there really are a lot of variables to consider. How important is uptime to your business? How much capital are you willing to spend? What are you using the server for? These questions (and more) need to be addressed before you decide which way to go with your IT.

Benefits of an In-House Server

The physical server option brings with it some substantial benefits. Firstly, it gives you physical control over your infrastructure, and therefore keeps all data in one central location. It also provides a way for administrators to eliminate third-party access of server resources. Secondly, you have several networking options. It is the only time that the Internet is not necessary, as all inhouse servers can use wired or wireless networking to transmit data over internal network. For the small business, an in-house server can be the most cost effective. 

Detriments of an In-House Server

The biggest detriment of the in-house server is the upfront capital outlay. In order to have an effective IT infrastructure set up, your company will need to fork over thousands of dollars to purchase the hardware. Then, once it’s set up and working, you will need to pay to maintain it, so without a structured IT department or a managed IT service agreement, you won’t have any uptime guarantees. 

Benefits of a Cloud Server

Hosted solutions can be right for your business, but first you have to understand what exactly you are gaining. Firstly, unlike in-house servers, you don’t have to have a pile of cash dedicated to build a cloud server. Moreover, when your business grows, you won’t have to worry too much about scaling the hardware, you can just purchase all the computing that your organization requires. 

Most cloud servers come with all the support that is needed as well as full redundancy, a consideration that has to be made no matter what type of infrastructure you choose to implement.

Detriments of a Cloud Server

The main detriment of the cloud server is that, over time, it will be more expensive than in-house servers.  Another potential deal-break for some organizations is that if they\ absolutely demand to have control over their hardware, most cloud platforms will not abide. Storage costs can also be substantial, especially for businesses that have a lot of media.

Of course, with the technology as it is today, companies can start with a reliable in-house computing structure and expand into the cloud for more productivity-fueled endeavors. One thing is for sure, to keep your business’ data safe, you need to have solid and consistent management of your servers. 

If your business needs some expert help selecting the computing construct that will help you run your business effectively, don’t hesitate to reach out the IT technicians at Coleman Technologies at (604) 513-9428. 

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Tip of the Week: Cloud Decisions for the SMB

Countless Options

The cloud provides a myriad of options for any-sized business. In the cloud, you can host applications, communications, storage, and even full-platform infrastructure. With so many options available, your business can get the computing power and tools it needs, when needed. 

User Tip: When trying to determine which cloud platforms are right for you, you may find the cost/benefit analysis won’t give you the definitive answer you are looking for. Your best bet is to prioritize which information systems would work best hosted onsite and which one brings the most value hosted in the cloud. The best decision for your business’ bottom line may not be the best decision. 

Productivity Improves

One of the most important aspects of cloud computing is the possibility that it provides a modern business. With all of the options the cloud presents, a business can pick and choose how to leverage them to produce increased productivity. Of course, the computing platform itself isn’t going to produce more, but with the data and application accessibility and the collaborative options the cloud provides a business, they are able to get more done, faster.

User Tip: Cloud computing may provide the ability for your team to collaborate better, but it isn’t going to produce anything on its own. One tip to ensure for efficient collaboration and enhanced teamwork using cloud interfaces is to assign one person to manage the files and data inside your cloud solution so that everyone knows who to go to if they need answers. Running a project is a lot like running a basketball team, one person has to run point.

Monetary Benefits

Implementing cloud computing can absolutely help save a business money off the bat. A shift to the cloud works to eliminate huge capital costs. Say you need a server. If you bought, powered, and supported the hardware yourself, you are looking at a bill that’s likely in the five-to-six-figure range. If you choose a cloud, you can fire up a new server for a monthly fee that gives you a lot of the same computing power your business commands, without the waste of computing resources and the upfront expense you would see by running your own hardware.

User Tip: The cloud may help you transfer cost, but if you jump in with both feet it can get pricey quick. That’s why it is important to migrate your processes, data, and infrastructure to the cloud in small, incremental steps. It keeps operational costs down and keeps your IT administrator sane. 

At Coleman Technologies, we understand the value of cloud computing, but we also recognize that the cloud isn’t right for every situation. If you would like to meet with our knowledgeable consultants about a shift to the cloud, call us at (604) 513-9428 today.

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VoIP Can Present Some Unexpected Value

Voice over IP is a service that utilizes something that you already pay for to eliminate the costs of telephone providers from your budget. VoIP uses your internet connection to make and receive calls, so in a way your business is saving money and consolidating its infrastructure.  VoIP is also customizable to make sure that it suits the specific needs of your business. Here are some of the major benefits that you can expect to reap from utilizing a VoIP solution.

Cost Savings

Telephone providers tend to bundle services together as a way to increase billing and increase usage of services. You might get your telephone service from a local provider that also bundles cable channels and other services you have no interest in. To avoid this, you can use an Internet provider for your phone service to consolidate costs and make managing your infrastructure easier.

Scalability to Suit Your Organization

New employees in your office always create a certain sense of excitement, but they also mean that you’re investing time and resources into accommodating them with services, including giving them a phone terminal and extension. Now, you may remember running cables and reorganizing your business to make this happen, but with VoIP, it’s as easy as creating an account and giving them a handset or headphones. It certainly makes implementing a telephone more flexible.

More Features and Dynamic Services

VoIP is a very dynamic communication solution, giving you access to multiple services like messaging, voice chat, conference calling, and so much more, all to supplement your voice chat system and give you a ton of control over your services.

Coleman Technologies can help you implement the best VoIP solution on the market. To learn more, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.

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Even Amazon Can Be Hacked

“Unknown Hack”

On May 8, 2019, almost a year to the day after the first transaction was made, an Amazon spokesperson claimed that the company had completed investigating the compromised accounts, and had been the victim of an “extensive” fraud. The extent of the fraud was large enough where two banking companies, Barclays and Prepay Technologies (who is a partial subsidiary of Mastercard) are caught up in the crime.

Ultimately, Amazon neglected to disclose the true scope of the hack, but a report by Bloomberg indicated that over one billion dollars were dispersed to merchants in 2018 via Amazon Capital Services U.K. While there is currently no figure provided by the company, if large portions of that money was subverted, it could rank as one of the largest hacks in the history of online commerce, and certainly the biggest fraud that has involved Amazon

Amazon, which has a business model built to be largely automated, has done a remarkable job of keeping personally identifiable information from being hacked over the years, but in today’s threat-persistent culture, even the most secure companies can have situations happen to them that jeopardize their ability to complete financial and information transactions, regardless of how much they invest in cybersecurity.

Phishing Attacks

Just because this article mentions a major fraud involving the world’s largest online retailer in no way means that hackers have moved on from trying to hack small businesses. Small businesses face the majority of hacking attacks, mainly because they have the least amount of security to thwart. In fact, if Amazon can fall victim to phishing attacks, it’s not a stretch to believe that your company is susceptible. With millions of phishing messages sent every day, many of which target small businesses, having a strategy to educate your staff is extremely important.

The best way to go about doing that is to be proactive. Getting your staff to understand that they are on the front lines of a never-ending cyberwar and what they need to learn in order to keep themselves, and your organization free from the serious risks that come from falling victim of phishing attacks. Some things you can prioritize:

  • Annual education and training - Have a comprehensive plan in place to educate new and current staff that is updated and required annually.
  • Having strong passwords - Since phishing is a form of social engineering, the hackers on the other end of the phishing attack are simply looking for access. Having strong passwords will keep them out much longer than weak ones. 
  • Avoid shadow IT - Make it clear that all software has to pass through IT first, before it is downloaded onto a workstation. It may seem inefficient at first, but the company will be better off vetting a software solution before it gains access to your organization’s network.
  • Provide cloud storage - When people are constantly on the move and have a lot of responsibilities, they will often upload their work into their personal cloud-based file storage. This can be risky behavior, even if the employee’s motives are solid. Keep your company’s data hosted on its own infrastructure.

With these four tips you can go a long way toward protecting your business, and your staff, from the detrimental characteristics of a phishing attack.

If you need help with your organization’s cybersecurity, or if you simply want some help outlining a strategy to use, contact the IT professionals at Coleman Technologies today at (604) 513-9428.

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Cloud Services Can Help You Build a Better Business

Uses for the Cloud

No matter what your business needs, there is likely a cloud solution for it. Hosted VoIP and email are great communication tools. Infrastructure and Platform as a Service solutions empower organizations to leverage more flexible computing power. Software as a Service and hosted storage are available for all of your organization’s needs.

In the end, you can get just as much done with cloud infrastructure as you can with onsite hardware.

The cloud allows for functionality and redundancy, no matter what the industry is or the kind of workforce it contains. These services can be utilized as needed and deployed quickly.

The Drawbacks

Cloud computing isn’t perfect. Businesses can create a private cloud system that can create large costs for their bottom line while also maintaining the control, management, and accessibility… but again, a lot of thought needs to be invested into this kind of solution. Environments that are hosted outside of a service provider can be difficult to control, since your organization doesn’t have control over the hardware it’s hosted on.

A major drawback of cloud computing can actually be the cost. Since the IT infrastructure used to run the solutions is managed by the service provider, the price is adjusted accordingly. If your business needs a certain number of cloud licenses, you could see the cost of your solution rise. Plus, if you don’t cancel accounts when employees leave, you could be paying more for services that aren’t being utilized.

Furthermore, imagine if your organization has teams assembled that need to use three or four cloud-based applications to complete a project. Think about all of the money that’s spent just providing access to the appropriate software solutions. If it’s not properly managed, your return on investment could be put in jeopardy.

Coleman Technologies can help you keep track of your cloud-based resources, whether you’re just hitting the cloud environment, or you have an established presence in the cloud. To learn more about how we can help you manage cloud applications, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.

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Determining Your Organization’s Cloud Needs

Public vs Private

The public cloud is typically used by businesses that don’t have the infrastructure, or the budget to acquire said infrastructure, for hosting cloud-based applications or services. Public cloud solutions are those which are hosted by the provider and accessed remotely through an Internet browser, mobile client, and associated account. They are particularly valuable for businesses that don’t have the means to reliably host their own solutions.

On the other hand, a private cloud solution is used by small businesses that have a means of affording and maintaining the solution. This means administering maintenance to the software and hardware associated with the system, as well as monitoring it for security purposes. Basically, when you go with a private cloud solution, it’s much more involved than a simple public cloud system, so you should be prepared to deal with plenty of issues that wouldn’t be an issue if the solution was hosted elsewhere.

What to Consider

When considering the implementation of a private cloud infrastructure, be sure to consider the following:

  • Security: You’ll have more control over your solution if you host it privately onsite, but you’ll also need to adequately protect it.
  • Access: Will employees have access to your organization’s cloud solution while out of the office? Hint: They better, otherwise there isn’t a reason to have a cloud. Since your cloud-based applications are stored on your in-house infrastructure, you’ll need to make sure accounts are set up properly and protected.
  • Management: Managing a cloud solution is no joke, and since you’re hosting it on your own private server, it comes with all the annoyances and benefits. You can customize your cloud solution to suit your needs, so be sure to understand what you need beforehand so you can leverage it to the best of your ability.
  • Maintenance: Taking care of a cloud solution is also a major responsibility, so expect any in-house IT technicians to have a lot more on their plate than they already do.

Coleman Technologies can help you mitigate the issues of a private cloud infrastructure by hosting your private cloud on our own servers, thereby removing the burden it places on your organization. To learn more about this cloud strategy, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.

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Private Cloud Challenges

Costs
A lot of business owners don’t realize that creating cloud platforms has been completely possible for a long time. It wasn’t until public cloud offerings like SaaS or IaaS were made available that the business world really turned an eye toward these virtualized computing constructs. The reason was, of course cost. As cost goes down, options get more viable. One problem that businesses that have jumped into public cloud computing with both feet have found is that they haven't properly accounted for the risk inherent in hosting their business’ data and infrastructure with someone else. These risks can significantly reduce (or in some cases decimate) the ROI of a cloud computing initiative.

One of the major risks, loss of data security, has driven many organizations toward a more private cloud strategy. Building a private cloud can be complicated as it involves calculating both fixed and recurring costs over a pertinent time frame. Since with a private cloud platform, an organization will be responsible for the hardware systems, management, and control, variables such as usage (forecasted/actual), system and data redundancy, and the general specifications of the machines used to run the virtualized infrastructure have to be taken into account.

So, while it’s true that public cloud costs are also difficult to determine, when settling in on a private cloud solution, you need to dot your i’s and cross your t’s at every turn to ensure that you are properly forecasting what the private cloud will cost your company in both migration and operation.

Integration
Chances are your business already uses several public cloud applications, and some of those applications function better, and more cost-effectively, if left there. You see, if you utilize public cloud resources to host non-critical infrastructure or applications, you will likely want to consider setting up a hybrid cloud system, where your private cloud and your public cloud resources are integrated.

This hybrid cloud platform will absolutely have its difficulties, but once it is up and running, your business’ computing will be accessible through one single access portal. If you so choose to reinforce this strategy with secure access control systems you can do that, but know that it requires a lot of effort to include security provisions and configurations to allow workloads to be run anywhere.

Time
One big problem many businesses have when deciding to move a portion of their IT out of the public cloud and into their own private cloud is just the time it will take to get this finished. These virtualized computing environments are more robust than ever and can facilitate a lot of organizational flexibility, but operational issues and hardware management of on-premise hardware is time consuming and costly.

Not only does your IT admin (and team) need time to configure and migrate all relevant data, they will be on the hook for all the maintenance and management of the virtual machines and the underlying hardware, making it problematic for small IT teams.

At Coleman Technologies, we know how important collaborative work environments are, we also know how crucial data security is. As a result, we are in a great position to help you. Our technicians can work with you to find the right balance between public and private cloud resources, while having the technical expertise to help manage and maintain any computing environment or infrastructure. If you would like more information about hosted solutions, whether they be on the web or in your server room, our technicians can help. Call us today at (604) 513-9428.

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Here Is Some IT That Works for Professional Services

Today, we’ll be discussing some of the best IT solutions for professional services.

Software as a Service
The cloud has brought about a revolution in the way professional service firms think about and manage their software applications. Software as a Service, or SaaS for short, is the delivery of software through the cloud for a monthly fee. SaaS is usually billed per user, and it includes solutions such as Office 365 and G Suite. Software developers have created solutions that can be deployed through the cloud, providing many industries with cloud-based software that is built specifically for their needs.

Mobile Solutions
Mobility can open up a lot of doors for any business. For a professional services firm, there is more to consider, though. Many of these professional service providers need to consider federal, state, and industry requirements that demand additional layers of security for sending and receiving data. Therefore, the benefit of adding mobility to an infrastructure needs to be approached with considerable caution, as data security must be prioritized.

One of the best solutions to this dilemma is a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN provides a layer of encryption around your communications between mobile devices and the central network infrastructure for your organization. This added security protects data while it’s in transit. It’s also a great solution for a business that wants to limit its use of paper records in favor of a more digital solution.

Document Management
Having access to information gives professionals the ability to stay connected to clients and other resources as needed, whether they are in the office or not. A document management system is the ideal way to digitally store and access files in a database; and trust us when we say it is much easier to find a document in a database compared to digging it out of a filing cabinet.

Professional technicians can scan an organization’s paper files through the use of a special software to deposit them inside a database in the form of PDF files. This database and a Relational database management system give an end user the ability to search the DMS for keywords found in the documents. All of this is accessible to users through an Internet connection, making it both accessible and convenient.

Through combining DMS with a VPN and SaaS offerings, professional services companies can achieve unprecedented security and data access. To learn more about how your organization can take advantage of these tools, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.

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Is Cloud-Hosted VoIP a Good Value?

It goes without saying that having a comprehensive communications strategy is critical for the functionality of your business. Many businesses use traditional phone systems, and they pay handsomely for them. VoIP is a great way to utilize the bandwidth you already pay for to facilitate a business phone solution.

A VoIP system works by transferring sounds into data packets and then transferring them in real-time over an Internet connection. The sound is simply unpacking the data packets. The reason so many small businesses are switching to a VoIP system is that it allows an organization to manage their telephone system cost more effectively.

Nowadays there are hosted VoIP options that present companies with a virtual call center of sorts. Essentially, instead of hosting a stand-alone server at your place of business, the telephone system is hosted in the cloud and accessed through a web client.

Before you can consider either VoIP platform, you’ll have to determine what type of control you need over the technology. If you are someone that wants to play with settings and configurations, hosting your own PBX phone server may be the way to go, but if you are someone that doesn’t mind spending a little more per month to have these systems managed for you, a cloud-based VoIP solution should be right for you.

Your average VoIP solution provides your business with a path to cut the often-substantial capital costs of buying, housing, and maintaining an onsite telephony server. Since the provider will absorb the costs of maintenance and the outward reliability of the platform, you can spend less time focusing on managing your telephone system and more time relying on it.

Since VoIP downtime is not an option for the average business, you’ll want to consult with Coleman Technologies IT professionals to help you find the right solution to fit your business’ needs. Our staff are experts at designing, implementing, and managing computing networks that work for the modern business, so relying on us to help you deploy the right communications platform makes a lot of sense.

For more information about hosted VoIP or any other communication used to improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction, call Coleman Technologies today at (604) 513-9428.

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What Cloud Applications Are You Using?

Applications
Applications, or “apps,” are pieces of software that can be used for specific purposes in the workplace--but you probably already knew that. If used properly, they can streamline specific processes within your organization. Some apps don’t use connectivity, but there are countless others that utilize it to connect all kinds of workers from the professional spectrum together. These kinds of connected apps are generally found in the cloud, and their wide range of use is one of the defining things about them.

The Cloud
You can think of the cloud like a big data center that gives you access to all sorts of software, processing, and storage options through your Internet connection. Computing resources tend to be made available to users through an “as a service” model, in which users secure access to it by paying a monthly fee rather than purchasing a license outright. Apps deployed through the cloud are slightly more expensive as a result, but the flexibility offered by being able to cancel at any time or add new users makes it a valuable opportunity to save money in the long run. Basically, it creates a situation where you transfer your capital costs of purchasing licenses to an operational cost.

Public, Private, Hybrid
There are several different ways that a cloud solution can be constructed. For example, most of the Software as a Service (SaaS) apps are offered as a public cloud solution, which means that the application and any processing or storage associated with it is on shared hardware. It’s made available through the browser or dedicated app, and for this purpose, its costs are generally lower than more private solutions.

In comparison, a private cloud that’s hosted in-house on a network or server unit is much more secure and customizable, as you’re controlling all of the maintenance and management of the system. For this specific reason, however, we recommend private cloud systems only for businesses that have the assets to take care of them; this includes those who outsource IT maintenance or those who have an in-house IT department who can provide the necessary management and oversight of the system.

For the best of both worlds, a hybrid approach can work. After all, some data is more sensitive than other data is, so anytime-anywhere access to it might not be in your business’ best interests. By combining the cost-effective public cloud model with the security of the private cloud, you can maintain adequate accessibility and data security.

Cloud Services
Just like there are many different types of clouds, there are many different cloud services, all for both businesses and individual users. There are generally three major categories that these cloud services are split into:

  • Software as a Service: Software delivery is the name of the game here, including communications (like telephone and email), productivity (Office 365), and even security.
  • Platform as a Service: Development is the main reason to go this route. This lets users create applications, collaborate on projects, and test new software without purchasing or paying for hardware.
  • Infrastructure as a Service: Virtualized environments that can be used for processing, storage, software, and so much more, are what a user gets from Infrastructure as a Service.

To learn more about how the cloud can help your business, reach out to Coleman Technologies at (604) 513-9428.

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SMB Human Resources and Payroll Find a Home in the Cloud

Human Resources may not be the meat and potatoes of any business, but it is exceedingly important. With all the mandates a business has to stay in compliance of, having people whose job it is to deal directly with the staff on behalf of the company makes a lot of sense. Since some SMBs don’t have a dedicated HR department, there are now platforms available that provide those services. But, let’s first start by outlining what kinds of tasks the average small business has to deal with, with a list.

The top six issues a HR department would have to deal with are:

  • Employee retention
  • Health and safety
  • Personnel
  • Payroll
  • Training and compliance
  • Employee management

Software developers have been creating dynamic human resources software, aiming to take the hassle out of a crucial part of your business. Some are pretty advanced, providing human resources directors useful automations that help them control many of the vast responsibilities placed on them. Some useful HR-related software you’ll see includes:

  • Human Resource Information System (HRIS)
  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
  • Onboarding
  • Benefits Administration
  • Time and Compensation Management
  • Training Management Performance, and Recognition Management
  • HR Analytics
  • Wellness Management

It seems overwhelming, but most of today’s most popular and utilized tools check most of the boxes as far as including a useful cache of tools that will allow them to manage any small or medium-sized human resources department competently.

While it once was popular to host all the applications a HR department would use on a single computer or on a very small network, today there are a few HR software vendors that provide a completely hosted solution. This means the software is hosted on secure servers that are managed by a provider, and accessible from anywhere there is an Internet connection.

Human Resources as a Service
Some small businesses have begun to completely outsource their human resources, with some success. HR as a service (HRaaS) basically eliminates the need to hire human resources staff, as the service provides resources that allow for a holistic approach to all the important tasks a human resources director would accomplish without the resounding costs associated with traditional human resources strategies.

Not only does a HRaaS platform eliminate a large section of the costs associated with human resources, it standardizes the approach to HR, eliminating the hiccups that often happen with the traditional method. A business will have their HRaaS platform customized for them and would be assigned a HR professional to help keep everything working properly.

Ultimately, it will be up to you to determine how to do human resources right. If your business is searching for a consultant to help you through hard business and technology decisions, reach out to the professional IT technicians at Coleman Technologies. Call (604) 513-9428 to get started building a more efficient business.

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When it comes to growth and advancement, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in British Columbia have been effectively leveraging Coleman Technologies’ affordable enterprise-level IT practices and solutions since 1999. The proof: Coleman Technol...

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