Despite stay-at-home orders and general social distancing policies currently making the workday that we are used to impossible to sustain, many businesses have found that cloud services have helped them to adjust. Let’s review what cloud services are available right now, and how exactly they can help many businesses operate.
Automation Concepts & Technologies Blog
As technology has developed, the tools available for businesses to use have gained considerable benefits. One particularly paradigm-shifting advancement, the cloud, has allowed businesses access to better solutions than ever before, and with the bonus of making them easier to manage. Let’s go over a few such solutions that many businesses are now embracing.
For the past decade, cloud computing has grown fairly rapidly, but as a new decade, and a pesky virus has people (and businesses) leaning on hosted computing solutions more now than ever, it seems like a good time to review the types of cloud options that are available, and how they provide value to businesses just like yours.
Thanks to the coronavirus, many office workers are working from home to avoid the spread of the virus. For many, this can feel like a nice change of scenery, while others might have a tinge of additional anxiety from it. Regardless of where you stand, working remotely can be both effective and productive, if done right.
We are all in the cloud. The concept of cloud computing and cloud storage has revolutionized the way businesses handle data storage and software distribution. We have helped many of our clients utilize cloud-based services, and these days, most of us are connected to this entity labeled as “the cloud” in one way or another. The question is, how can we tell if our data is safe?
Technology is trending, there’s no doubt about that, but if you are a decision maker at a small business, technology solutions aren’t typically developed for your business in mind. As a result, it can often be difficult for the SMB to get tools that are scalable enough to make sense for them, while also getting powerful options that will actually work to improve some part of the business. This month, we’ll take a look at three trending technologies that small businesses are starting to use regularly.
Green technologies just a short time ago had a reputation for being costly, rather than cost-saving. However, business owners are starting to see a multitude of benefits for going green, from cost savings to increased customer appreciation for environmental conservation.
Thanks to the increasing capabilities of modern computing networks, businesses have been able to experience enhanced productivity. One such capability, cloud computing, has allowed businesses to reach outside of their physical location to conduct their operations. Here, we’ll review some of cloud computing’s other benefits.
Cloud computing has revolutionized the way business is done, but most businesses don’t always feel comfortable storing data and hosting critical infrastructure in the cloud. Every business has to determine what kind of computing infrastructure is right for them. Many businesses today have decided to spread their technology investments around as they attempt to find solutions for all types of operational needs.
The cloud has helped many businesses push beyond their limits, but is your organization taking advantage of it? Depending on the needs of your specific business, the cloud can benefit your organization in ways you could never dream of just 20 years ago. We’ll go through some of the best ways the cloud can help your organization.
Hosted solutions are used in modern business practices for a variety of reasons, but by far the most common reason is because the business doesn’t necessarily have the staff or resources to take care of the solution in-house. The process of implementation will vary by business, but we can walk you through the process nonetheless, including building the solution, renting the solution, and buying the hosting space.
Cloud computing is a major player in the way that businesses are approaching their daily operations. This might bring into question whether or not your organization is actually using the cloud in the first place, but one thing is certain--if you haven’t implemented the cloud yet, it’s difficult to not do so, especially considering how great it can be for your company.
Technology helps businesses of all kinds keep their operations running soundly, but depending on the way that it’s managed, it could have detrimental effects on your company. For example, if you have all kinds of solutions hosted on specific servers or workstations, you’re keeping them from being accessed by devices that aren’t connected to that specific network. Wouldn’t it be better if everything was centralized so that all of it could be accessed at a glance?
You should work toward centralization of your company’s IT assets as swiftly as possible, as it can provide your organization with enhanced accessibility and flexibility. If your business’ assets are all located in the same place, you might be surprised at how many possibilities are opened up, including the ability to access data anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Most businesses think of centralization as hosting company assets in one location where they can be accessed at any given point. For a lot of companies, this means implementing cloud computing of some sort. This includes taking your assets and moving them into a virtual environment, where they can be accessed by anyone who needs them. Examples of cloud computing include the following:
- Constant accessibility: If you host applications in the cloud, you’re allowing for simplified access by approved individuals. This also means that you’ll be able to access these solutions on any connected device, providing on-the-go access for your busier employees.
- User-based access: Your employees have different roles and responsibilities, and with these come varying degrees of data security clearance. You need to limit access to specific data depending on the user’s role. This keeps your employees from accessing data that they’re not supposed to.
- Security: If all of your data is located in the same place, it becomes easier to protect. This security also needs to extend to any devices that have access to this data. If you can control security, your business can utilize centralized IT assets with minimal risk.
If your business wants to take full advantage of centralized IT, we recommend reaching out to Automation Concepts & Technologies at (508) 622-5100. We can consult you on any number of technology topics and help you maintain your infrastructure.
The cloud has been a major game-changer for business technology, but perhaps its most important contribution has been to the backup and disaster recovery process. Businesses no longer have to suffer due to unforeseen circumstances such as hardware failure or hacking attacks. Instead, a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solution, also known as BDR, can provide a considerable failsafe for your organization.
Before the advent of the cloud, data backup was largely considered a manual task. Tape backup was the primary mode of ensuring your data wouldn’t be wiped away in the event of a disaster. This method, however, is a rather outdated concept that can become an inefficient hindrance. Tape backup requires a considerable time investment from your business’ employees, as it needs to be set manually at the end of each business day. Furthermore, since tape backup can take a long time and use up a lot of network resources, the number of times you can take a backup every day is limited.
Most businesses will opt to start to back up their data at the end of the day, after everyone has gone home and the network resources are no longer needed. This opens your business up to risk from neglect, intentional or otherwise. Plus, since you’re only taking one backup every day, you are potentially losing out on data that isn’t getting backed up. You could lose up to a whole day’s worth of data in the worst-case scenario.
Unlike a tape backup solution, a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery system allows for a quick and efficient data backup process. Instead of relying on employees and risking user error, these systems are automated. This automation is one of the major draws to a cloud-based backup solution, as it eliminates much of the risk and helps to keep your organization’s data protected in the event of a disaster.
Cloud-based BDR also makes data backup easier because it allows for more than one backup every single day. Tape backup is so intensive that it can only be performed once a day, but by taking “snapshots” of data that has changed since the last backup was performed, cloud-based BDR aids redundancy in a significant way. Since the backups are only happening on files that are either in-use or those that have been changed, they are less intensive, and can happen much more frequently. We’re talking about at least every fifteen minutes or so, which is practically negligible data loss in a disaster scenario.
Finally, the most important aspect of cloud-based BDR is, without a doubt, the ability to quickly recover in the event of a disaster. Tape backup solutions can take several hours (all of which is downtime) to restore. On the other hand, cloud-based BDR can happen almost instantaneously with minimal downtime. You can even restore data directly to the BDR device so that it can act as a temporary server in the event your computing infrastructure has been damaged or malfunctions.
Your business can’t afford to waste time or resources on downtime. To learn more about how you can implement cloud-based BDR, reach out to us at (508) 622-5100.
By now you’ve heard about the cloud and all that it can do for businesses, but not all cloud providers can claim equal levels of availability and overall quality as others. Therefore, one of the most critical considerations you have to make when rolling out a cloud service regards who will be managing your company’s cloud computing platform.
Are you still hesitant to adopt cloud computing for your company’s IT needs? For the cautious business owner, adopting new technologies isn’t a move that’s to be made lightly. However, cloud computing is much more than a passing fad. In recent years, the cloud has become such a reliable and efficient tool for businesses that it deserves your attention. Take for example these three misconceptions about the cloud.
Misconception 1: The Cloud Isn’t Secure
It’s understandable why business owners are hesitant to store their sensitive data in the cloud. After all, stories of hacks against major corporations appear in the headlines all too often. Although, it’s important to keep in mind that these sensational stories don’t accurately reflect the state of cloud security today. In fact, studies show that in some instances, the cloud is actually more secure than storing one’s data on-premise. This proved to be the case in a study by Schneider Electric where 40 percent of participants were found to be hosting their security applications in the cloud, and 45 percent of participants said they are likely to move their security application to a cloud platform.
That said, you should still exercise caution when selecting a cloud platform to host your company’s data. It’s prudent to perform your own analysis of costs, opportunity, and risk, as well as to be wary of exaggerated security claims by cloud providers. One way to go about this is to check with vendors for references. They will be able to tell you what cloud providers are reliable, and which ones tend to overpromise.
Misconception 2: The Cloud Costs Too Much
In the past, a move to the cloud may have been perceived by budget-minded business owners as too major of an expense to commit to. Today, the cloud computing market has become so varied that you’ll end up with several different estimates when you shop around with different cloud providers. Therefore, it’s worth it to be diligent when shopping for a cloud provider.
Then there are the cost benefits you should consider that extend beyond the initial price tag of cloud migration and the subsequent monthly fees. This includes opportunity costs such as time to market, disaster recovery savings, and customer satisfaction. Also, a business owner shouldn’t overlook finally being able to avoid paying for on-premise maintenance, remediation, hardware costs, application upgrades, and the list goes on.
Misconception 3: The Cloud Doesn’t Offer Enough Flexibility
If you’re hosting your data and applications in-house, then you know firsthand what it takes to make a modification like an enhancement to your hardware or software. Often times, such an IT initiative will be expensive and take considerable time to implement. Now imagine needing to make the same performance enhancement to an infrastructure that’s hosted in the cloud. With the cloud, when you need more computing resources from your provider, it’s as easy as making a phone call or submitting a ticket. The time and money saved by simply requesting your cloud provider make the adjustments on their end will free up resources for you and your IT staff that can be better invested elsewhere.
Do you still have reservations about the cloud? If so, then you owe it to yourself, and your bottom line, to discuss these roadblocks with the IT professionals at Automation Concepts & Technologies. You may be surprised to learn that the cloud can do exactly what you need it to do and more. To have a conversation about the cloud, call us today at (508) 622-5100.
Updating your company’s software is a big responsibility that shouldn’t be overlooked. When it comes down to it, applying security patches and updates are some of the best preventative measures you can take to ensure the safety of your company’s data. Do you have a plan in place to handle all of your technology updates, or are you going about it haphazardly?