What’s Your Cloud Budget?

Most companies rely on Cloud Computing for their business. Popular Software as a Service (SaaS) applications including Voice over IP (VoIP), Hosted Email, Sales Force Automation (SFA), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can all be rapidly deployed by a technology Advisor. In fact, a recent survey by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) confirms 80% of companies adopted some sort of Cloud solution for their business. Proper planning allows companies to get the most from their technology investment; so what’s your Cloud Budget? What do Companies Spend on Software as a Service? Leading technology research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) suggests nearly one dollar out of of every six is spent on packaged software; one dollar out of every five dollars is spent on applications that will be consumed via the SaaS model, a popular paradigm for Cloud Computing. This information could be useful in planning your technology budgets to see if your Cloud budget is in line with industry spending trends. Infrastructure as a Service Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), including Cloud Backup, website hosting and other application hosting services, are also available as Cloud Services. Industry research firm Gartner predicts the highest growth will come from Cloud system infrastructure services (IaaS) which is expected to grow by 36.8% in 2017. Companies turn to IaaS as a way to stay nimble and to fix technology spending. The Cloud Service model is utility based, only charging you for what you consume. What’s more, Cloud Computing may be considered an Operating Expense (OPEX) rather than a Capital Expense (CAPEX) because there is minimal upfront investment in equipment and contracting terms...

Migrating to the Cloud with Confidence

More and more companies are migrating to Cloud Computing to gain competitive advantage and reduce capital expense. According to CompTIA’s 9th annual Security Trends study, companies reported over 80% net usage of Cloud Computing. Over 59% reported moderate or heavy usage. What’s more, the survey found that 68% reported confidence in Cloud providers’ ability to provide a Secure Cloud Environment. An additional 17% responded they were very confident in the security of their Cloud environment. Let’s explore what drives confidence in the Cloud. How to Assess Cloud Provider Security There are many variables to consider when evaluating security of a Cloud Provider. According to the study, many companies evaluate their Cloud provider based on encryption–when moving data to the Cloud, it should be encrypted at rest and in transit. In addition, companies should consider the disaster recovery plans of their Cloud Provider. Some Cloud Providers adopt industry standards including SAS 70 to provide consistent, compliant cloud security. Industry standards are often used to evaluate a Cloud Provider. Identity and access management are also criteria for evaluating a Cloud Provider. Many companies also consider geographical location(s) of the Cloud Provider’s data center.   Consider your Compliance Requirements Many industries have specific requirements regarding handling data. For example, PCI provides guidelines for how companies handle credit card information. Healthcare, Financial Services and Governments (or companies doing business with Government) also have compliance requirements for handling data. Understanding your requirements is key to ensuring you migrate to the Cloud with confidence. Some data may require implementation of a private cloud environment. Also, a Private Cloud has additional security benefits, being a Cloud...

Is Your Network Ready for Cloud Backup?

Ransomware, Privacy Breach, Compliance requirements and Business Continuity make the case to protect your company’s data. Cloud backup and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaas) require reliable network access to ensure your IT assets are backed up and available for rapid recovery. Today’s networks also support a range of applications including Hosted Email, SaaS, VDI, VoIP and Call Center Solutions. Your network needs to be in top shape to accommodate these demands. Here are some tips to determine if your network is ready for Cloud Backup. Assess Your Network for Cloud Backup Readiness When adding Cloud Backup, it is important to understand possible points of failure on your network before they happen. Consider starting with a Network Assessment to stress your network in a controlled environment, in order to determine your backup window. Database and file information on a regular backup schedule may impact your network performance if not properly optimized. Make sure your initial backup and incremental backups run smoothly by simulating peak loads for voice and data on your network. In addition, test your backup and recovery scenarios to identify weaknesses in a controlled environment. Proactive network monitoring can identify potential packet loss and latency that can impact connection speed and uptime. This testing is critical to avoid failed backup and recovery.   Proactively Monitor Your Network for Security and Compliance In addition to network usage, Malware and other unauthorized network access can slow your network performance and disrupt your backup and recovery. Your backup may fail when you need it most. Worse, remediating malware during a recovery scenario may delay your ability to bring critical systems...

Rethinking Wide Area Networking

There is a shift in how businesses use technology. New applications, including Voice over IP VoIP phone systems, Cloud Based Email, File Sync & Sharing all require solid network infrastructure. According to a recent report from the Enterprise Strategy Group, Demonstrating SD-WAN Business Value: Rethinking WAN for a Modern Age, distributed organizations with multiple Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) locations may need to reduce unnecessary deployment and management of network infrastructure. Elements of infrastructure, such as head-end devices or appliances at branches, can be replaced with simple appliances supported by Cloud-based services. Here is a highlight of ESG’s findings: Simplify your Wide Area Network Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology can act as an enabler for Hybrid WAN technology by combining multiple transports, such as MPLS networks and business-class broadband networking. Managing your network can be streamlined by centralizing policy management, monitoring, and systems for troubleshooting. What’s more, reducing dependency on specific network suppliers and transport mechanisms results in the flexibility to find lower-cost alternates without compromising service levels. Minimize Operational Expense By using a zero-touch deployment model, companies can reduce truck rolls by remotely managing installation, configuration updates, and troubleshooting. Like Software as a Service (SaaS) works for application deployment, SD-WAN can remove the complexity of managing a Wide Area Network (WAN) for Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) environments. Reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of Your Wide Area Network Implementing SD-WAN technology is expected to save costs related to bandwidth by providing more flexible networking options. In addition, by reducing the operating expense of service delivery related to installation, configuration, operations, and management additional costs will be...

Considerations for Cloud Migration

The market for Cloud Computing is maturing. According to Trends in Cloud Computing, a recent research report by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), 90 percent claim using some form of Cloud Computing. In fact, the report provides insights that 43 percent of the Companies using Cloud Computing are migrating from one Public Cloud Provider to another for a variety of reasons including security, cost and open standards. Here are a few considerations for Cloud migration gleaned from the report. Cloud Application Usage Many companies turn to the Cloud for applications including business productivity, Email, Analytics/BI, and Collaboration Applications. Other applications of Cloud technology include Virtual Desktop, CRM, Call Center and Voice Applications. When you migrate to Cloud from “on- premise” applications your business will gain a variety of benefits, provided you consider network security and performance in your planning. Without these migration considerations you may not achieve the full benefit of your Cloud Migration.   Benefiting from Cloud Computing Cloud Services offer a range of benefits. Cloud Computing may offer the ability to cut costs, reducing capital expenditures and operating complexity. In some cases, cloud offers simplicity or speed of deployment. You may also benefit from modernizing your legacy IT environments. Some companies turn to the Cloud for new software licensing and upgrade models, favoring the predictable pricing of Cloud subscription models over the up-front costs of a “on-premise” deployment. Cloud Computing can also offer your business new capabilities and features not available in on-premise versions of your favorite applications. Many companies report that Cloud solutions are simply a better option. Challenges of Cloud Migration The majority of...
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