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Cloud computing is a great opportunity for small businesses to off-load some of the hassle and costs of IT management. Security issues related to having their business data ‘out’ on the internet seem to be the number one concern of small business owners. One approach could be to start cloud computing slowly; choose one or two of your business applications (Email, File Share) to replace and see how it goes. Hopefully, over time, you will become more comfortable with it, gain a deeper understanding and be able to leverage it to gain further advantages for your production environment.

Below are some of the advantages, and disadvantages to take into consideration:

Advantages:

Cost Savings

Moving your business to the could eliminates the cost of hardware and maintenance. Removing these capital expenditures and the associated service salaries from your technology expenses can translate into significant cost savings.

Simplified environment

All you will need within your office is a computer and an internet connection. Much of your server hardware will no longer be necessary, not only saving you physical space but eliminating the need for maintenance and employee attention.

Enhanced Security

Instead of having hardware within your office, cloud data is housed in one, or multiple, data centers, providing enterprise level security, which is cost prohibitive for most individual businesses. There is also no single point of failure in the cloud because your data is backed up to multiple servers. This means that if one server crashes, your data stays safe because it is stored in other locations. The potential risk of hardware malfunction minimizes because your data is safely stored in redundant locations.

Mobility

In today’s world of connectivity, we are able to work whenever and wherever. While waiting for a flight or meeting, employees can still work – and work efficiently. Before cloud services were prominent, working outside the office was problematic and time consuming. Remember having to save your files on your laptop and then returning to work and needing to transfer your updated files to ensure others have access it. Working from multiple devices now means you won’t have to worry about manually adding the latest file onto each device. Instead, the latest version of your document is stored in the cloud and will be easily accessible from any of your devices.

Scalability

With cloud storage, you pay for what you use, as you use it. You do not need to anticipate how much storage space you will need for the year and risk paying for unused space or running short. Deploying machines into scalability sets and availability groups is also more time and cost efficient than ever before.

Disadvantages:
Connectivity & Downtime

Cloud computing makes your small business dependent on the reliability of your Internet connection. When it’s offline, you’re offline. If your internet service suffers from frequent outages or slow speeds, cloud computing may not be suitable for your business.

Security

Cloud data is accessible from anywhere on the internet, meaning that if a data breach occurs via hacking, a disgruntled employee, or careless username/password security, your business data can be compromised.

Cost

At first glance, a cloud computing application may appear to be a lot cheaper than a particular software solution installed and run in-house, but you need to be sure you’re comparing them properly. There are a number of “Extra’s” involved with cloud solutions such as transfer of data, backup and even the storage type redundancy you decide to use, which must all be taken into account when cost planning your migration, and they can add up quickly or get away from you if not planned correctly.

One size DOESNT fit all

There is no custom configuration possible outside the machine types provided by may Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers pre-defined solutions. If these pre-defined solutions don’t fit your planned deployment, you need to make your deployment fit their solution and are unable to make their solution fit your needs. Finding a middle ground can lead to a poor performing application or paying for horsepower that you simply don’t need.

Support

Support for cloud services comes with a hefty price tag, and with a strict set of rules. It must be calculated in your planning that if the need arises, you may need to pay for higher levels of support.

 

While the cloud is not for everyone for everything, most companies, or even individuals, should be able to see some benefit to migrating at least some of their services to the cloud, and while One size doesn’t fit all, the sizes available will be able to fufil some of your needs!

Speak to us about introduce the cloud to your business through Microsoft Office365, Azure & Dynamics CRM!

ICT Project Management are ideally positioned to help our customers and partners with cloud services, including cloud-based file sharing decisions, configuration and management. Here are four ways we are helping our customers and partners with their cloud efforts.

1. It’s not as straightforward as it looks.

Misunderstanding licensing agreements often leads to administration problems. And administration problems often lead to frustrated providers, employers, and employees, resulting in an inefficient working environment.
Experienced MSPs such as ICT Project Management read the small print for customers and ensure everyone has the right expectations and a solid understanding of how to scale, migrate, and mitigate the cloud into your work environment. We help customers get it right the first time saving customers a lot of money and effort in the long run.

2. Proprietary systems versus open systems?

Deciding between a proprietary cloud system compared to an open one is usually a struggle for corporate decision makers. Our clients want to save money using an open system, but they occasionally cause unexpected budget expenditures. Open platforms usually require a lot of development efforts and security decisions.
We help ensure that customers chose the infrastructure that best fits its needs.

3. Orchestration

As Turner at Okta says, the cloud often “lacks the liquidity to give you a perfect internal market for your computing resources.”
In other words, there is not always a seamless transition (in terms of capacity, memory, storage and networking) from in-house applications to the cloud. Typically, clouds are structured around scale and elasticity but use cheaper commodity components.
ICT Project Management work around compatibility issues to keep cloud applications up and running, whether it means a complete restructuring of your applications to make them cloud ready or just a bit of rewriting.

4. Migration

There are many questions when it comes to configuring data to the cloud:
How might our customers integrate a hybrid cloud structure into current environments? How might one cloud provider communicate with another? Is it better to start from scratch or reengineer a service all together?

Predicting possible roadblocks, questions, and outcomes when adopting the cloud into your company environment is important for deploying and getting the most out of your cloud service. At ICT Project Management we can help you with all of that while reducing risk of failure, cost, and time.

 

Make Life Easier with ICT Project Management and Office 365

With the need for greater mobility, agility and better data management increasingly driving the dynamic workplace, SMBs today are learning to appreciate the benefits cloud computing can bring to their businesses.  Yet, some SMBs still struggle to understand exactly what cloud computing can do for them.  Enter Microsoft Office 365, an all-inclusive productivity solution that delivers familiar Office applications coupled with powerful enterprise class communications and collaboration capabilities in a cloud-based subscription service you can easily use.

Give your business a productivity boost with the new Office

Today, you can acquire Office 365 Small Business Premium or Midsize Business through ICT Project Management, as a standalone solution or bundled with our managed service offering, and no matter which you choose, you’ll still receive the same support and service you’ve come to expect from ICT Project Management.

Office 365 for SMBs is a completely modernized platform designed to meet your constantly changing business needs. It delivers rich features and cloud service innovation that SMBs are adopting at an accelerated rate.

The Office 365 Control Panel offers oversight view of all system health and admin tools

office365panel

 

Benefits include:

  • Letting you take your personal office experience with you – across tablet, PC or phone – wherever you are and whenever you need to get work done.
  • Saving documents to the cloud by default. When you sign into Office 365, you get roaming settings and quick access to your documents in SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro and SharePoint online.
  • Scheduling a meeting, sending an email, starting an IM, as well as initiating voice and video calls right from your contact list.
  • Easily hosting more effective online meetings, with multiparty HD video conferencing, document sharing and real-time note taking with OneNote.
  • Connecting Lync and Skype services, so you can connect with millions of Skype users right inside of Office 365.
  • An enterprise-grade cloud solution with robust security, guaranteed reliability and compliant with world’s industry standards, including ISO-27001, EU Model clauses, HIPAA and FISMA.

Most importantly, with Microsoft Office 365 you get an always available secure and reliable cloud service from a trusted partner. We manage the billing and support for your subscription service so you have a one stop shop for all your support needs.

For more details on Office 365, check out www.office.com or email us at info@ict-pro.com.

We are delighted to announce our partnership with OpenDNS to provide their Umbrella DNS service for our Business WiFi Customers.

Like large enterprises, SMBs need a powerful, scalable solution that protects their workers, their devices and their networks from Internet-borne threats. Tens of thousands of SMBs rely on Umbrella today to do just that. Umbrella is unlike anything else because we use OpenDNS’s unique position running the world’s largest Internet security network to provide SMBs an Internet-wide layer of security that prevents malware infections and contains infected, botnet-controlled devices from phoning home. And because it’s delivered through the cloud, that protection is applied to all networks and locations.

Benefits

Umbrella provides its service through the cloud, which means there’s no hardware to purchase, install or maintain. All service updates are made in the cloud, eliminating the need to update software on end users’ devices or appliances. Umbrella’s ease-of-deployment and simplicity of management provides SMBs more time to focus on their core business rather than spending time on their Web filtering and security IT services.

Umbrella2

Fast Deployment and Management without Sizing or Install Guides Required

SMBs don’t have extensive IT resources to manage complex software or appliance-based security solutions. A cloud-delivered service that can be deployed in less than 30 minutes without any network environment changes,  Umbrella is designed to be as easy as possible to set up and manage. Just forward your external DNS to our Anycast IP addresses.

Umbrella delivers a powerful set of Web filtering features at a fraction of the complexity and costs of traditional on-premises solutions.  Ensure a productive work environment and easily enforce your organization’s acceptable use or compliance policy by selectively blocking access to undesirable domains. And because it’s Umbrella, the service will actually make your network faster, instead of clogging and slowing it down like appliance- or pure proxy-based solutions.

Many of you may have noticed outages or issues with several Google services yesterday, but none were hit as hard as Gmail. Google acknowledged yesterday on its app status dashboard that Gmail was experiencing complete outages or at least service delays for most of the day, and has taken to its official blog today to explain what happened.

According to its post, an extremely rare “dual network failure” knocked out separate redundant paths, taking down Gmail’s capacity starting at about 6am PST yesterday. Although engineers were made aware of the outage right as it happened, it took most of the day to clear up the issue and mail didn’t start flowing at a regular pace until about 4pm PST.

Google says that 71 percent of messages delivered during the period were unaffected, and across the other 29 percent that were hit by the outage the average delivery delay was a mere 2.6 seconds. Naturally some of us noticed delays much longer than this, and Google does say that roughly 1.5 percent of mail was delayed over two hours.

Just as we would expect, the Gmail team apologized profusely for the delays and downtime yesterday, saying that they want to ensure “that Gmail users get the experience they expect.” The plan is to make Gmail delivery more resilient, even in network failure situations by adding extra backup capacity and reviewing internal policies for dealing with a rare failure such as this.

Just in case you were worried, this small outage didn’t drop Gmail below its beloved 99.9 percent uptime

 


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