Tag Archives: software as a service

Cloud Migration

Cloud Adoption and Software as a Service (SaaS)

Most businesses today have adopted some form of  Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) to run their business. According to a recent article by Forrester Research,“SaaS Improves Business Results Due To Greater Innovation and Agility — And Is Increasingly The Foundation for Business Opportunities.” Rather than investing up front in costly infrastructure, implementation and configuration, Cloud Computing using Software as a Service provides an economical and turnkey approach to access the latest technology at an affordable price. Here are some examples.

Cloud Computing to Improve the Customer Experience

Call Center, Chat, Unified Communications, VoiP and other customer-facing technologies can be rapidly deployed within your business using the SaaS model. Cloud Computing provides flexible deployment options based on your needs and an economical subscription approach instead of an upfront Capital Expense (CAPEX). Make sure your network and infrastructure is ready to handle the additional load that comes with increased Voice and Data traffic associated with these solutions.

Cloud Backup to Protect Your Business

Another popular use of Cloud Technology is for data protection in the form of Cloud Backup. Using Cloud Backup rather than antiquated tape or on-premise storage gives added protection and rapid recovery when things go wrong. What’s more, many Cloud suppliers of SaaS solutions include backup capability within their application so you won’t need to worry about business disruption in the case of a failure.

Hosted Business Applications

There is an ever-widening range of business applications including CRM, Accounting, HR, Email and more. You may be using these SaaS applications in your business and taking advantage of working anywhere and on any device (mobile, tablet and/or desktop). In many cases the subscription policies associated with these applications are flexible. Because you will rely on these systems for productivity, you will need to ensure you have reliable broadband network access to avoid loss of productivity due to slow connections.

If you are considering deploying more Cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technologies in your business, contact your technology service provider and ask about a Cloud Readiness Assessment of your business today!

Disaster Recovery and Data Protection –Now More Than Ever

Disaster Recovery PlanRecent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, along with major earthquakes in Mexico, remind us how vulnerable we can be to disasters, and underscore the importance of data protection. As businesses depend on access to a range of systems–including call center, communications and collaboration application, customer management, and more–having a solid data protection plan can help you in a disaster recovery scenario. Now more than ever, a range of options exist to help maintain business continuity. Here are a few options to consider.


Review Your Data Protection Plan

Key to your data protection plan is identification of mission-critical systems. The most important systems should be redundant, with the ability for failover in the event of a disaster. Your data centers and failover options should be geographically dispersed and on different network backbones. This can minimize downtime and get you back up and running sooner. Having your data backup available in Cloud Storage can help you recover other important files and application data if you lose access to your on-premise systems.

SD-WAN for Business Continuity

Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) can also provide you a highly reliable and redundant network. Having the ability to switch Wide Area Networks using SD-WAN as an alternative to more costly MPLS solutions can ensure connectivity during a natural disaster. What’s more, Software-Defined Wide Area Networking can save you money in the long run by giving you the flexibility of a multi-carrier solution.

Software as a Service for Disaster Recovery

More businesses are turning to the Cloud for a range of applications–hosted email, Voice over IP (VoIP), Call Center, and others–to keep communications flowing during a disaster. Using Software as a Service (SaaS) for these important communications and collaborations applications keeps your employees, customers and business partners connected even when you are unable to gain physical access to your facilities. Having these applications in the Cloud can help you ensure everyone on your team is present and accounted for.

Don’t wait until a disaster strikes to review your data protection and disaster recovery plans.  Contact your technology advisor today if you are unsure how well you will weather the storm.

Technology Trends for 2017

Technology Outlook 2017It’s that time of year when many businesses are setting goals and budgets for next year. This is a good time to reflect on the impact technology can have on your business. While Cloud Computing adoption remains strong, companies will increase migration from Public to Private Cloud and even migrate back “on premise.” Cloud adoption, digital transformation and streaming media will increase the demand for bulletproof networking. New technologies including SD-WAN will hit mainstream in 2017 to improve network performance in support of business requirements. Cyber threats will continue to keep business owners up at night with increased intrusions from ransomware and unplanned downtime from DDoS attacks. Here are a few takeaways to consider for your 2017 plan.

More Choices for Cloud Computing

In a recent study by the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA), 43% of those using Public Cloud are expected to migrate to another Public Cloud Provider. For example, companies using Hosted Exchange may find themselves adopting Office 365 or Google for Work to keep current on the latest version of these communications and collaborations applications. The CompTIA “Trends in Cloud Computing” research also revealed 21% of Cloud usage will move from Public Cloud to Private Clouds. This scenario is driven by the need for compliance with industry regulations, including HIPAA regulations for health care and SOX compliance for Financial Services, among other business requirements.

Digital Transformation Will Emerge as Competitive Advantage for Business of All Sizes

Businesses will adopt new strategies for reaching new customers and servicing existing customers in 2017. These new strategies will fuel the need for digital transformation. Reaching new buyers through digital channels, along with automating customer service, order or fulfillment, and linking supply chains, will drive this digital transformation in support of new business strategies. Cloud Contact Center, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Marketing Automation, eCommerce, and other customer-facing technologies will emerge as transformation enablers. Other technologies helping with administrative functions (including workforce recruitment and development) will help companies maintain competitive advantage and manage their growth.

Resolve to Bulletproof Your Network in 2017

In 2017 Business Networks will become a strategic advantage. Access to Cloud infrastructure, connecting remote offices, reliance on VoIP, Cloud Call Center and video streaming will all drive demand for high-performance networking. Technologies allowing wide area networking optimization, known as Software Defined Networks or SD-WAN, will become mainstream technology in 2017. Through simplified management and reliance on business class Internet, network performance is expected to increase while related costs are expected to decrease.

Security will Continue to Keep Business Owners Up at Night

The Gartner Group predicts demand for Security related to the Internet of Things (IoT) will be driven by 11 billion connected devices. Similar to adoption of mobile devices in the workplace, connecting “things” will create the need for additional security and proactive management. Additionally, Cyber Threats from malware and phishing schemes will continue, as will additional threats and downtime from Ransomware and DDoS attacks in 2017. Keeping your network running will be more complex and more important for the foreseeable future.

As you adjust your strategy to accommodate the rapidly changing business environment, consider how technology can influence your outcome in 2017. If you feel you need help with your 2017 technology plan, contact your technology advisor today.

Is Your Head in the Cloud?

Are you ready to embrace the benefits of the Cloud? Whether your company is ready to acquire new software-as-a-service (SaaS) capabilities or in need of infrastructure upgrades via infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Cloud has now reached new heights in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) world. According to current research by International Data Corporation (IDC), fifty percent of all companies are using at least one public SaaS offering, with a further 20% planning to implement such a service within the year. Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and (IaaS) are less used today, but there is interest and growth in that direction.

Top Reasons for Moving to the Cloud

According to the same report by IDC, here are the top five reasons that your business should be moving to the Cloud:

  1. Get access to the newest functionality faster.

  2. Improve utilization.

  3. Reduce the cost of overall IT spending.

  4. Improve staff productivity.

  5. Give business units more direct control over sourcing IT solutions.

Bottom Line On Cloud

There is no denying that the Cloud is here to stay and all indications are that the sooner you start to incorporate it into your technology portfolio the better. The fact is your competitors are getting the message and there is competitive risk at stake. Because the hallmark of Cloud is flexibility and agility, it can be relatively low risk to try it out.  The ‘pay as you play’ Cloud subscription model means there is little financial investment to get started. This all adds up to low barrier to entry.

There are many economic reasons for moving to the Cloud and there are also compelling practical considerations and strategic opportunities. So get your head in the Cloud and talk to your service provider today.

3 Things You Need to Know about Broadband Internet

Broadband Internet is all about speed and reliability. In a nutshell, “broadband” refers to a very fast  and persistent connection to the Internet. For business – Cloud computing, web conferencing and hosted voice solutions – having a broadband connection is essential. Here are 3 things you need to know about how broadband Internet that can improve your business:

Broadband Internet is Fast

 In business, time is money. Broadband indicates a high-speed Internet transmission, using 256 Kbps and above. Compared to dial-up, broadband is permanently connected to the Internet and boasts speeds up to 160 times faster.  Faster connection time means your cloud backups go quicker, VoIP connections are clearer, Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are snappier.  If you are considering running Cloud applications in your business Broadband Internet is a must have.

Broadband Internet is More Affordable Than You Think

There is a variety of Broadband Internet solutions to meet most budgets.  Broadband includes several high-speed transmission technologies such as: DSL, Cable Modem, Fiber, Ethernet over Copper, MPLS for wide area networking and more.  The bottom line is these solutions offer high speed data and voice transmission for the same or less than older Internet connectivity options.  Your company may  get better service levels with cost savings by selecting the solution that best meets your needs.

With Broadband, Network Security is Important

With Broadband Internet, your company is  permanently connected to the Internet, exposing your systems to potential risk of hacking and data breach. So, installing a firewall and keeping it up to date is essential for Broadband Internet deployments.  If you recently upgraded to a Broadband solution make sure your network security is up to date.

When researching broadband packages for your business, Broadband Internet can include add-ons for: support for wide area networking, network security, technical support, and higher-level network performance to support Cloud Computing. Spend the time to think about which features your business would benefit from to choose the best and cost effective broadband package for your business.

Bright Outlook for Cloud Computing

According to CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2014, cloud computing is even more on the rise since last year. As Generation Y (20-34 years old) infiltrates the work force and members of the Baby Boomer generation reach retirement age, there have been noticeable changes to how technology is used in the workplace. With this shift comes an inevitable increase in cloud computing: “Companies are relying on cloud computing for business processes such as storage (59%), business continuity/disaster recovery (48%), and security (44%)” (CompTIA: IT Industry Outlook 2014). The three models for cloud systems – Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – have all steadily increased year after year, especially among medium-sized businesses. All data points suggest cloud computing is a popular option for business of any size. Are you up to speed on adopting the cloud into your business?

How to Leverage Cloud Computing

These three main cloud solutions – Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – can leverage your IT business substantially. SaaS provides a way to deliver software and technical services that would otherwise be very costly. Most small businesses can adopt cloud computing into their company only using SaaS services. PaaS allows businesses to create custom apps, databases, and other business services all integrated into one platform. IaaS allows businesses to purchase infrastructure from providers as virtual resources. Which model best fits your business?

Advantage of Cloud Computing

There are multiple advantages to adopting cloud computing into your IT business, the biggest benefit being the ability to cut costs. Benefits are more widely experienced when companies have gained considerable experience with the cloud model. Other benefits include: modernization of legacy IT, reduced capital expenditures, adding new capabilities or features, and a better model for licensing/upgrades. Have you considered the advantage your company would gain by moving to the cloud or gaining more maturity with its cloud computing?

Avoiding Pitfalls to Cloud Computing Migration

It seems a majority of companies are adopting Cloud Computing as a significant portion of their IT infrastructure.  According the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) 4th Annual Trends in Cloud Computing, sixty percent of companies surveyed, reported they rely on Cloud Computing for at least thirty percent of their IT infrastructure.

Transitioning to Cloud Computing?  Here’s How to Avoid the Turbulence.

There are number of implementation challenges to cloud computing deployment.  As a result, it is important that your cloud computing deployments are carefully planned and part of a holistic information technology roadmap.

According to CompTIA, integration with existing technologies, changes required to IT policy and the learning curve of the cloud model top the list.  Less than half of those surveyed cited, cost overruns, justifying the  return on investment and transitioning from legacy systems as issues.  In fact,  the majority of business reported performance and availability levels were as expected from their cloud provider.

What can a Business do to Avoid the Pitfalls When Transitioning to the Cloud?

Challenges of Cloud ComputingCloud Integration

There are a number of issues that can impact the success of your cloud computing deployment.  Software as a Service applications (SaaS) rely on Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for integration.  It is important to ensure your SaaS suppliers use common APIs so they can easily integrate with one another  Understanding your requirements is key to identifying when integration can become an issue.

IT Policies and Cloud Computing

Keeping your IT policies and procedures up to date is also an important component of a successful Cloud Computing Deployment.  Cloud Computing solutions can be rapidly deployed so it is easy for your IT Policies to become quickly obsolete.  Make sure you include time and budget to update your policies along with your cloud implementation.

Network Bandwidth and Cloud Computing

When companies adopt Cloud Computing as part of their IT infrastructure the servers their employees access are no longer on premise.  Connecting to your applications and their data can put additional strain on your networking infrastructure.  To avoid network bottlenecks it is important to asses your network readiness for cloud computing before you deploy.

Determine the Business Value of Cloud Computing

To ensure a successful transition to the Cloud, it is also important to have clearly defined business objectives related to your cloud deployment to ensure you maximize your return from your cloud computing investment.  Make sure you have aligned your business objectives with your technology investment.  Keeping the business objectives in mind will help you navigate the pitfalls of a cloud computing deployment.  Contact your Cloud Solution Provider to ensure your technology plans include a smooth transition to the cloud and avoid unexpected turbulence.

2013 Technology in Review

As always, a lot has changed in the Technology world in the past year. Systems are updating, while new technologies are becoming more prevalent. Windows XP, the operating system that 33 percent of personal computers rely on, is on the way out. Windows 8.1 has become the standard. Also, personal computers are leaving the scene. Small businesses are moving to the compact and portable Tablet. Business On the Go has never been easier. During the past year most companies adopted cloud computing.  While many advances have been made in these technological areas, Cyber security threats and related losses are reportedly on the rise.

Why You Should Care About Windows 8

Now that Windows 8 is on the market, it is important to consider the switch. Although it is difficult to change from Windows XP or Vista to 8, having the latest operating system is an important security issue. One option is to do a Clean Install of Windows 8. The other option is to replace XP machines with Windows 8 for potential tax incentives.

Mobile Computing Hits Main Street

Technology companies continue to release a wide array of Touch Devices and there popularity continues to increase. 2014 will be the first year that tablet sales surpass personal computer sales. This shift to touch devices in the workplace will lead to increased mobility, functionality, and profitability in the work place.

Cloud Computing Adoption on the Rise

A research report by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) 90 % of companies surveyed adopted cloud architectures as part of the IT infrastructure during 2013. In some cases, Cloud Computing deployments occur without assistants of IT Professionals putting security and compliance at risk.

Cyber Security and You

A 2013 study by Verizon indicates that Cyber attacks are on the rise. Cyber attacks are on the increase, in particular to companies with under 100 employees. Here are some things you can do to prepare: keep your network secure by updating O/S patches and maintain anti-virus/anti-malware definitions current, establish clear policies for acceptable use of mobile devices, mobile applications and data and train employees on cyber threats, including how to spot a threat and report a breach.

These landmark moments in technology will influence business in 2014. Touch technology and Windows 8 will allow business to be efficient and cost effective. Cloud computing growth is expected to continue.  There is no expectation that Cyber security threats will decrease in 2014 so maintain a strong defense.

Why Small Businesses Need Technology

Technology has become an integral part of most small businesses.  Email has replaced the fax machine.  An onslaught of mobile devices have replaced cash registers, binders and note pads.  Pencil and paper no longer keep up with the velocity of business today.  In order to attract new customers and deliver products and services at competitive prices, small business technology is the cornerstone to automation and profitability.

Cloud computing, mobility and consumerization of IT make it affordable for small businesses to deploy systems that were once reserved for large scale enterprise.  With ready access to small businesses technology, there is also more reliance on these core systems.  Small businesses are also targets of cyber attack because they may be perceived as more vulnerable and less vigilant.  Also, small businesses may be less resilient to business disruption related to systems failure.  Accordingly, Small Businesses should take every precaution to protect applications and their data.  They should also properly assess their risks and exposure to ensure they get the most from their small business IT Budgets.

What can small businesses do to make sure these systems support the ongoing operations with minimal interruption?

Small Business Technology Inventory

A good place to start is to take inventory of your systems and data.  It is good policy to document all of your IT assets including hardware, networking devices, application software and data so you can have a complete view of your IT Systems.  Make sure you include mobile devices, cloud computing or software as a service (SaaS) systems, as well as, custom applications and legacy systems.

Small Business Technology Risk Assessment

Once you have your IT Asset inventory, rank the importance of each of these critical systems.  Ask yourself: how long can your email be down, what about your account or order processing system, where do you keep your customer data and other information that is critical to your business?

Now that you know where your critical IT assets are, focus on where your risk and exposure may be.  You can ask what data may be vulnerable to cyber attack, is my network secure, are my critical systems running on obsolete hardware, which systems may be vulnerable to failure.  If possible, try and quantify the costs of any of these outages in terms of loss of revenue, cost of remediation, loss of employee productivity, loss of company reputation, legal fees and other costs.

By focusing your attention to the areas of greatest exposure, you can get a sense where you need to allocate your IT spending.  As many small business owners are planning out budgets for next year, now is a good time to perform an IT Risk Assessment.  If you need help with assessing where your small business technology exposure may be, contact your IT service and support professional.


Cloud Computing Trends 2013: CompTIA 4th Annual Research Report

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is expected to release their fourth Annual Cloud Computing Trends research study this week.  This cloud computing research is based on a survey of over 500 IT and Business Professionals collected in June 2013.

The Fourth Annual CompTIA Cloud Computing Trends report is expected to reveal cloud computing trends and  buying patterns, benefits and challenges related to cloud computing use by businesses.  In addition, over 400 IT firms were surveyed on how the cloud is changing the IT technology channel.  Here are some anticipated highlights of cloud computing trends:

Cloud Computing Trends:  Cloud is an Increasing Component of IT Architecture

According to the research, 90% of companies are using cloud computing architecture in their business.  The research indicates “as cloud components are becoming more prevalent in IT architectures, more companies are relying on cloud computing for business processes such as storage (59%), business continuity/disaster recovery (48%), and security (44%).  This strong usage and strong market indicators show that cloud computing is becoming a default part of the IT landscape.”

Top Benefits of Cloud Computing

As Cloud Computing becomes more mainstream a range of business benefits are reported.  While no single reason stands out, businesses report a broad range of benefits by adopting cloud computing technologies:

Benefits of Cloud Computing


Top Cloud Computing SolutionsCloud Computing Reaches Maturity

The research indicates that more than half of  those delivering, managing, integrating and supporting cloud computing solutions feel their cloud computing businesses are mature and strategic.


Integration Remains the Top Cloud Computing Challenge

According to the cloud computing study by CompTIA, integration remains at the top of the list for all companies.  Integration of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications with legacy systems using Application Program Interfaces  (APIs) was reported as a challenge almost half the time.  Additionally, changes to IT Policy (40%) and the learning curve for the cloud model (39%) are also reported as challenges of moving IT systems to Cloud Computing.

This research report indicates as more companies rely on cloud computing models, the better equipped channel partners are becoming to support the many challenges related to implementing cloud computing.  Insights suggest partnering with a company with mature cloud expertise will help avoid many of the challenges of moving to the cloud, while maximizing a company’s ability to reap the benefits of cloud computing.