Cloud computing has firmly established itself as the option that businesses will ultimately need to adopt in order to remain competitively efficient. For these kinds of services, a small to medium-sized business should take Microsoft Azure into serious consideration.
Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. Blog
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.
Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP, has grown more popular with businesses in recent years, and it’s hard not to see why. The sheer amount of benefits that it provides to businesses--small organizations in particular--make your traditional telephone system look outdated and inefficient. We’ll discuss some of the greatest benefits today.
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.
Cloud computing can be used for many things, and nowhere is this more true than in the business environment. Organizations of all shapes and sizes use the cloud to keep operations moving forward. Some have even moved their entire human resources and payroll departments into the cloud. We’ll help you decide if this is the right approach for 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.
Microsoft Office 365 is effectively the Swiss Army knife of business solutions, in that whatever you may need at any given point, you have it. This is true in both the variety of Microsoft’s solutions that are available through Office 365, and the fact that it can be delivered via the cloud.
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, Inc. at (508) 622-5100. We can consult you on any number of technology topics and help you maintain your infrastructure.
Virtualization can change a lot for your business. Since you can use multiple types of solutions to expand the way your operations work, virtualization is the perfect strategy to improve your business. But what is virtualization, exactly?
We won't deny that we push the benefits of cloud pretty hard, but we aren't afraid to consider the possibility that the cloud may not be the best fit for your needs. If this is truly the case, it may just be that an onsite approach will work best for your needs.
To help you determine this, we’ll go into detail on two key considerations that a cloud solution and an on-site infrastructure share: cost and control.
Money can start wars, change hearts, and (more pertinent to our concerns) make or break a business. Due to the power that money has over your business, you will want to make sure that it is spent wisely.
In this concern, an outsourced cloud provider has the advantage over trying to maintain an in-house infrastructure. This is simply because trying to maintain and update your setup independently will be extraordinarily expensive. Consider the amount of computing power your business requires, and imagine how much it would take, financially, to maintain these in-house. Not only can an in-house device be expensive itself, but powering it and keeping it in full working order make that financial obligation even more pressing.
On the other hand, an outsourced provider will only charge a flat monthly rate (barring a few exceptions) that is easy to predict and budget out. Compared to operating a server in-house, these prices are considerably lower, and allow you to invest your savings into improvements elsewhere in your business.
It only makes sense that you want to have some sort of control over your infrastructure--after all, your business functions are dependent on it, so the prospect of relinquishing direct control is understandably nerve-wracking for many. If this is your biggest concern, maintaining an in-house architecture would be your best bet. Doing so allows you a hands-on perspective of your IT and its management.
This feature essentially boils down to trust, and whether you are willing to entrust your business essentials to a third party or would prefer to keep a close eye on them.
The Best of Both Worlds
If both of these options sound like the best path, reach out to Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc.. We can examine your needs and design an IT plan to suit them. Give us a call at (508) 622-5100 to get started.
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, Inc.. 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.
The cloud has taken the computing world by storm. You’d be hard-pressed to find a technology that didn’t tie back to the cloud in some way. This is especially true when you consider the needs of the SMB, and how the cloud can provide for those needs.
But why would you want to trust your computing infrastructure to some other company? We’ve actually seen this paradigm shift before. Around one hundred years ago, many businesses used to have to generate their own electricity. There wasn’t a power grid to simply plug into. Could you imagine having to manage and maintain your own generator for all of your electrical consumption? We’re seeing the same thing with cloud computing. Businesses now have the opportunity to “plug-in” and use computing resources without needing to purchase and maintain in-house hardware.
While many associate the cloud with data storage, the cloud is actually capable of much more. Of course, that isn’t to say that the cloud doesn’t provide powerful and flexible storage solutions. With the ability to access data from anywhere, and with many hosted utilities including software, communications, and security solutions, the cloud presents a valuable option to any business’ computing infrastructure.
Businesses need to ascertain what kind of computing issues they can solve by leveraging the cloud. Do you need extra storage? Are you looking to enhance your organization’s communications? Do you need solutions to build a more collaborative or cooperative offering? Are you searching for a solution to improve operational efficiency or reduce your computing costs? There are many cloud-based solutions you can choose from to enhance your organization’s computing power and provide ubiquitous and secure delivery of those solutions to the people within your organization that needs them most.
For the modern business that can’t commit the kind of money to hosting on-site computing environments that they would typically need to ensure a secure and dynamic computing platform for their staff, utilizing Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc.’s expertise to find the cloud solution that is right for you is a great option. For more information about utility computing in the cloud and other hosted solutions, call us today at (508) 622-5100.
A connectivity to the cloud is a great opportunity that your organization can leverage to its advantage, but only if it’s done well. No two businesses will have the same exact configuration when it comes to cloud, as the needs and responsibilities that are accomplished through that cloud solution will change. This week’s tip is dedicated to helping you discover which cloud solution is right for you.
The cloud makes operations more efficient and can save you plenty of capital in the long run, which is why many organizations are turning to it to further improve the way they do business. Yet, businesses that haven’t moved to the cloud will face steep competition from those that have. If you’re still not sure whether the cloud is right for your business, consider the following advantages of cloud computing for SMBs.
So, you’re convinced that cloud computing is the new way to go for your company. That’s great, and it’s an easy choice to make, seeing as the cloud affords organizations benefits such as increased productivity, improved collaboration, anytime/anywhere access, and much more. Now that you’ve decided to go with the cloud, what’s your next move as far as making this a reality?
There’s no denying that your business’s productivity suite is one of its most valuable software solutions. Cloud services like Google Apps for Work and Microsoft Office 365 continue to be huge game-changers in the business environment, and it’s been found that their increasing popularity is thanks to the convenience of providing mobile access to important data and applications.
The cloud becomes more popular in the business environment with every passing day, and it’s so prevalent that you’d have trouble finding even a single business that doesn’t use it to some degree. However, we often find that the way that the cloud is explained to businesses is counter-productive and confusing. We’re here to help you understand the real trend behind cloud computing that’s driving cloud adoption: virtualization.
Virtualization is the act of taking a physical IT component, like a server or a desktop, and storing it in a virtual environment for access through an online interface. This is the interface through which users access applications or data storage clients. When you access information through the cloud, you’re basically accessing the virtual server where your data is stored through a software like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive.
Therefore, you can think of the cloud as a computer that’s hosted off-site and (hopefully) maintained by trained IT professionals. The main benefit of using cloud-based storage, especially that which is stored off-site, is that your business isn’t responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the hardware used to store your data. Of course, if you have an internal IT department, the option for a self-hosted cloud is available, but if you want to get the best return on investment for your cloud, you’re better off letting a managed service provider host and maintain your cloud solution.
Here’s where most business owners get held up on cloud adoption; they don’t know what their business needs, and get hung up on the details of implementing a cloud. The issue at hand here is that the cloud has so many variants that businesses don’t really know what they want or need from the cloud. While it’s recommended that you communicate with an IT professional to figure out your cloud strategy, you can make the decision easier by asking yourself a few key questions.
To make things simple, ask yourself how much control you want over your data, and whether you want to take care of your own technology solutions. If you want to maximize control over your data, a private cloud is the right choice for your business. If you’d rather get started quickly without focusing too much on customization and IT maintenance, the public cloud is a better option. What type of cloud solution you’ll implement is, more or less, largely dependant on these two factors. A hybrid cloud solution is good middle ground for a small business that wants to maximize control while maintaining a hands-off approach to management. Either way, the cloud you’ll implement will undoubtedly need to reflect your business’s specific needs.
Worse yet, talking about the “cloud” inevitably leads people to discuss cloud computing, rather than the actual act of virtualization. The fact remains that cloud computing is only a small part of virtualization. Instead of limiting your business’s scope to just cloud computing, you should consider the other savings that can come from virtualizing your networks, servers, and desktops. Doing so allows you to simplify your IT infrastructure and remove unnecessary costs. Since your technology will be handled by trained IT professionals, you can remain confident that it’s being maintained properly.
For all of your business’s cloud computing and virtualization needs, you only need to make one phone call. To learn more about how the cloud and virtualization can improve your business model, contact Automation Concepts & Technologies, Inc. at (508) 622-5100.
Email is a critical component of your business’s IT infrastructure, and without it, your organization’s operations could grind to a halt. As a valuable communications medium, email helps your team stay productive and up-to-speed on the latest initiatives. This is the main reason why you want your email to have minimal downtime, but managing and maintaining an email server on your own can be challenging and difficult, at best.