Tag Archives: Cloud Services

Getting the Best Results from Your Cloud Budget

 

While moving to the cloud can be a cash-saving step–in the sense of shifting capital expense for infrastructure to an operational expense–the issue of managing cloud spending remains. Read on to learn more about aligning your company’s cloud spending to overall business goals.

 

Align Cloud Spending to Business Goals

 

According to a CompTIA whitepaper, companies often first migrate an existing system to the cloud, and then learn about things like integration and data security in the process. But what if your business is considering or reconsidering how to better plan its technology spend, with the use of cloud taking center stage? Cloud computing, with its benefits, can  introduce complexity into management of Cloud use and resource consumption. 

 

Your organization might want to re-evaluate its strategy with cloud, looking at the bigger picture of your goals and strategies and how your cloud consumption fits within them. For example, an organization might not need to keep cloud workspace running around the clock when employees only work eight hour shifts. And what if your company is considering new technology initiatives, extra cloud spending might be necessary to support digital transformation. There are ways to monitor and manage your cloud consumption, so that you know you’re spending where it will do the most good.

 

Monitor Your Cloud Consumption to Spend Effectively

 

In other words, the issue may not be spending more for the cloud, but spending more effectively. One way to do this is monitor how much cloud resources your company is using–overall and for specific applications. According to Gartner, “cost in the cloud is tied directly to ongoing consumption, so managing utilization is inextricable from managing expenses.” Simply monitoring cloud usage can include detecting and evaluating unusual spending, projecting future costs based on previous trends, and redirecting spending toward mission-critical applications while removing apps you no longer use. Businesses may be in the position of defining their goals, since cost management may have not been a consideration upon migration to the cloud. Cloud service expense management (CSEM) tools are available to track your company’s cloud usage, with the goal of better cloud budgeting.

 

Effective use of cloud computing, aligned with overall cloud and business strategies, can help you direct cloud consumption most effectively. For help with your cloud strategy, contact us today.

Choosing the Best Cloud Service Model for Your Business

No question about it, cloud computing is here to stay. Considering migrating to the cloud is just the beginning, however. Three models to consider–IaaS, PaaS and SaaS–offer varying levels of shared responsibility between provider and customer. Read on to learn more about the three models, and to get an idea which is the best for your business.

Cloud Service Models–Benefits and Responsibilities

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, requires the cloud service provider to establish the network and its connections. With this model, a company can have their provider maintain and operate the infrastructure; the client will still need to keep their operating system current, configure their platform to meet requirements, and control how information is handled and stored. A company using IaaS will have more flexibility, but will need more technical and security expertise and assistance. Moreover, the company needs to take on administrative roles for system level security.

The Platform as a Service (PaaS) model provides hosting and tools on which applications can be developed, and the provider is responsible for furnishing a user interface. The client is responsible for controlling administrative access to certain portions of computing resources, and also oversight of applications built on the platform. Also, the client needs to keep the platform current with operating system patches, and implement a cloud security strategy to protect their applications.

If a company chooses Software as a Service (SaaS), they will have more responsibility for maintaining user security and may take on some administrative roles for the application. While the provider handles the infrastructure, keeps the software applications up to date and provides hardware and software tools over the Internet, many security considerations remain with the customer. Your company will need to train employees in awareness about keeping the network secure, implementing a strong password policy and possibly a zero-trust environment where each log-in to the network is verified.

Whichever model your company chooses will depend on your budget, level of staffing and ability to take on certain responsibilities for maintaining a strong, healthy network. For more guidance in choosing the most appropriate model, contact us today.

Cloud for Small and Medium Businesses

Benefits of Cloud for Small and Medium Business

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) look to get more from their technology spending. The cloud, or Internet-based computing, is an effective way to allocate your technology spend, with its flexible and cost-effective self-service model. Read on to learn more about the benefits of cloud computing for SMBs.

 

What the Cloud Can do for Your Business

 

In short, cloud computing is an internet-based model for delivering computing resources. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), important aspects of cloud computing include broad network access, resource pooling, and rapid elasticity. Broad network access means that there is connectivity between servers and storage (“backend” infrastructure) and laptops or smartphones (“frontend” clients). The access can extend to a wide range of frontend devices including smart phones, lap-tops, and desktop computers. This enables workers to access applications and other office productivity tools via the internet so they can work wherever they are. 

 

Why the Cloud is Cost Effective

Resource pooling involves a provider serving a number of clients while the service appears infinite and immediately available. Rapid elasticity, perhaps one of the most important traits of cloud computing, allows clients to use more resources (or less) as needed–for busy times of year, or special projects, for instance. This means only pay for what’s used. What’s more, measured service facilitates SMBs tracking usage and not buying more resources than they need. Companies can have the provider maintain and operate infrastructure, transforming capital expense to operating expense.

 

Cloud Service Platforms and Models 

 

As already mentioned, rapid elasticity is a reason many companies decide to adopt the cloud. According to an article by CompTIA, 44% of firms cite rapid elasticity as a key benefit. Cloud can be more cost-effective, since companies are billed for what they actually use. Whatever a company’s reason for adoption, it will need to consider options for platforms and models. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) has access as its key feature, rather than ownership. Companies can build their own applications and use cloud resources for compute power and for data storage. Software as a Service can free a company from part or all of the infrastructure responsibility, and focus on getting the most from applications that are paid for on a subscription plan. Businesses have the option of using public cloud with its rapid elasticity, or private cloud if dealing with sensitive data and/or industry regulations. A single application can be configured across a multi cloud environment (a mixture of public and private cloud).

 

Cloud computing affords many benefits as well as posing questions. For guidance in considering cloud’s benefits and how they apply to you, contact us today.

3 Technology Trends Driving Business Outcomes

Technology TrendsMany businesses turn to technology to find ways to reduce costs and overhead. Technology trends–Software as a Service, Internet of Things, Software Defined Wide Area Networking, marketing automation, and Cloud-based communications and collaboration–are top of mind with business owners who prioritize improving staff productivity and capability, and reaching new customer segments. Here are three technology trends to take advantage of to drive business outcomes.

Software as a Service

One of the more popular ways to access Cloud Computing is Software as a Service. To start reducing costs and improving employee productivity, first consider your Communications & Collaborations applications(email, chat, instant messaging, voice, audio, web and video conferencing). In addition, applications including marketing automation and call center applications are available as Cloud services to help businesses grow their top line by reaching new customers.

Software Defined Wide Area Networking

Companies are adopting Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) as an alternative to more expensive wide area networking infrastructure. SD-WAN can optimize performance of multiple providers of business-class Internet to match costly alternatives. This saves money while improving performance between your locations and ensuring consistent access to Cloud Services.

Internet of Things

Enhancements to the Internet, combined with low-cost sensors, and wireless connectivity allow businesses to connect, monitor and automate a wide range of devices. Smart metering can track consumption of energy, water and gas, provide insights into usage, and remotely control a wide range of equipment and machinery. Not only does IoT save costs, the data collected from these devices can also be used gain insights that improve business outcomes.

Many technologies are at our fingertips to help businesses maintain competitive advantage through lowering costs, increasing productivity, and driving new sources of revenue. To make the most of these significant technology trends, the pieces of the technology puzzle need to come together. Contact your Technology advisor to see how you can use these technology trends to drive business outcomes.