THE CLOUD AND YOUR BUSINESS

Cloud Servers

THE CLOUD AND HOW IT AFFECTS YOUR BUSINESS

The cloud is a widespread name among many people and businesses, but very few have a precise definition of what it is. What is the cloud? What is cloud computing? When do you interact with cloud computing? What are the benefits of using the cloud in your business? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself to fully utilize the cloud in your business.

Did you ever know that when you are using social media to interact online or any online data storage, that you are using the cloud? Well, you may not realize it, but the cloud is used in almost every online activity you carry out.

This blog will enlighten you on what the cloud is and what it can do for your business as an entrepreneur or a large corporate organization. It is one of the best tech evolutions that will lighten the work involved in your business once you realize its potential.

What is the cloud?

For you to have a clear understanding of what the cloud is, you should first know that it’s not a tangible thing! Rather, it’s a network of servers with each server having its own unique function. Some servers use processing power to run applications while other servers perform specific actions to deliver services. A good example is Adobe, which moved all its services to the cloud. People interested in Adobe Creative services no longer need to download the software. All they need is an internet connection and login details to access Adobe services from the cloud. Just as defined earlier, other servers in the Adobe network are responsible for storing your creative work in the Adobe realm.

A good example of cloud usage is when you take a photo with your smartphone. The photo is stored on your smartphone. However, when you upload this photo to Facebook or Instagram, you are uploading it to the cloud.

So, now you should be able to define what the cloud is. Some servers provide online services like Adobe does while others offer storage without using your device’s storage like Instagram.

What will you get by utilizing the cloud in your business?

Now that we know what the cloud is and what it does let’s look into the benefits that one can get by working in the cloud. Moving to the cloud as a business will save you a lot financially. With the cloud, you don’t have to buy expensive hardware and software nor employ an expensive IT staff to run your business; all you need is to pay a small monthly fee to access all the IT services you need for your business. This model enables enterprises to scale up or down as they require.

Working in the cloud as a business is efficient and cost-effective. If you need more resources as you expand your business, you can quickly and easily scale up in the cloud. Same goes for when you need to downscale your resources.

Listed below are some of the benefits you will get with cloud computing.

  • Business continuity – Power failures or other crises like natural disasters will not affect your data since it’s stored in the cloud.
  • Collaboration efficiency – Collaborating in a cloud environment gives your business the ability to communicate and share more efficiently with other businesses and customers.
  • Flexibility of work practices – It ensures that you or your employees can access your data from any location.
  • Access to automatic updates – Your business will always be equipped with the latest technology thus ensuring your business efficiency is always at its optimum.

The cloud is here and it’s revolutionizing how we work and conduct businesses. It’s the perfect time for you to jump in.

Security of the Cloud

Cloud Security

Cloud Computing Security
Security is critical for cloud computing. It ensures that your data is privately secured. So, what does cloud computing security mean? Cloud computing security is a set of procedures, standards and processes curated to provide information security assurance in a cloud computing environment. It also addresses both logical and physical security matters across all the different service models of the platform, infrastructure, and software. Cloud computing security also discusses how these services are delivered, i.e., public, private or with a hybrid delivery model.

Cloud security contains a wide range of security measures that run from the end-user to the cloud provider. The end user is primarily concerned with the provider’s security policy, how and where their data is stored and who has access to their data. On the other hand, a cloud provider has the big task of ensuring the safety and privacy of their client’s data. Cloud computing security issues range from the physical security of the entire infrastructure and access control mechanism of his/her cloud assets all the way to execution and maintenance of the security policy. Cloud security is crucial because most businesses are afraid their competitors will get their hands on their data. This blog attempts to enlighten you on how safe your data is with the right cloud computing company.

Measures taken by the best cloud computing platforms to protect your data.
A good cloud security system is most efficient if the right measures are put into use. A good cloud computing company will ensure that it covers all issues that may arise with security management. It ensures that there are controls put in place to protect any weaknesses in the system to ensure that there will be no affects in case of an attack. A good company will employ one or more of these four categories of security measures:

  • Deterrent controls – These are a set of commands applied to reduce attacks on a cloud system. They simply warn hackers that they will face the consequences if they proceed.
  • Preventive controls – These controls strengthen the security systems against any potential hackers by reducing, if not eliminating, any vulnerabilities that may occur against the system. It makes it much less likely that unauthorized users could log into the system.
  • Detective controls – These are controls that are intended to detect and immediately react to any threats that may occur. In case of an attack, detective controls will signal the preventive controls or the corrective controls notifying them that the system is under attack in order for them to take action against the threat.
  • Corrective controls – These types of controls reduce the effect of an attack by limiting the damage. They usually come into effect during or after an incident of attack. They are responsible for restoring system backups to reconstruct an infected system.

Cloud computing companies that employ these control measures are hard to attack and provide premium services so that you can rest assured that your data is safe. Different firms have different policies for their customers. Listed below are security and privacy rights that you should consider when signing up for a cloud company:

  • Identity management -They should have identity management systems that control access to your data.
  • Physical security – It should have an excellent protection system to guard the firm against any physical threats.
  • Privacy – Providers should ensure that critical data such as credit card numbers are highly encrypted.
  • Strict personnel security -They should have stringent and robust screening tests and measures to ensure that the personnel can’t expose the customers’ data.
  • Confidentiality – It should provide a confidentiality document that forbids the firm from sharing customers’ data.

What is the Cloud?

CLOUD COMPUTING
Almost every person around the world uses the internet. The internet has affected our societies globally and made it easy for humanity to interact and conduct business. However, very few people are familiar with the terms used in the technology behind the internet. Some people may shy away from asking because the meaning of some of these names seems evident while others couldn’t care less knowing what these terms mean – the non-tech people. In this digital era that we live in, it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with current world trends because you never know how it could impact you.

Most technology companies are not clearly explaining these terms to their customers. This article will cover the most commonly used words out there that are associated with the internet but that puzzle many people.

The Cloud.
What comes to your mind when tech companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple say that they store your data in the cloud or that you can work in the cloud? Most of us think that it’s the fuzzy clouds above us. Luckily, cloud computing has nothing to do with the clouds in the sky. Your data is not stored in the clouds. It is stored somewhere on the ground by huge warehouses located all over the world that house hub computers that store your data. Servers wirelessly interconnect these computers. Now that we have defined what “the cloud” is let’s look into the meat of cloud computing.

How was cloud computing invented?
Cloud computing has only entered the computing world in the last ten years or so, but the idea behind its creation has been around for decades. Simply said, cloud computing is a process of sharing resources to improve performance. It means using a network of computers to store and process information, instead of using one computer.

Back in the days of the early computers, computer mainframes the size of an average room, were used by individuals to log on to a Dumb terminal to use the mainframe’s computing power. These terminals were useless without the mainframe. They did not have any processing power. This analogy of sharing processing power is comparable to how cloud computing works on the internet. Cloud computing has diversified into having a global infrastructure of data centers to provide tremendous processing power instead of relying on one mainframe.

The first revolution in cloud computing was brought forth by Steve Jobs, one of the core founders of the Apple Electronics in the year 1996. One could store their files in the cloud and access them from any device. The technology proved that you could upload a file, access it from another machine, make changes to the data, and upload it back and still be able to access it from any device.

As you can see, the idea of cloud computing revolves around one feature: storage.

The future of cloud computing
About ten years ago, computer manufacturers got persistent in making robust computers with high-speed internet connections. As time went by smart phones with the same features were introduced and today we have smart phones with high processing power comparable to a laptop. These high internet speeds have brought about devices’ presence online. Engineers are currently working on devices that don’t need hard drives for storage, and all one needs is to connect online to access their files and run their software. This means that we won’t need to worry much about the hardware specifications of a computer since the network and cloud computing will do all the work.

Added Features vs. Target Solutions Software

There are many factors to take into consideration when making a decision on the best software solution that fits your business needs. These include your business processes, your budget, ROI, the functionality of the software and so on.

Even if a particular software with an added features solution is given to you free of charge, it is worthless if it cannot address your business challenges. Also, businesses should not focus on all of the added features to a system because it is highly unlikely that such features would be put into use. Instead, focus should be placed on features that are directly applicable to their business operations. Moreover, in the long run, it could cost such business in terms of the need to retrain staff, change your business processes in order to adapt to the software, and so on.

Added Features Software Solutions
Added features solutions can be termed as software solutions targeted toward a large audience to address specific business needs. These software solutions are aimed at a large market audience vs. a specific company or industry.

Mostly, the added features of the software tend to be more generic and complex, which may possibly be feature-rich but contain a lot of things that would not be used by your company. While it seems like a good idea to have software solutions with a robust set of features, it ends up being overwhelming because the customer is paying for things they don’t need or use.

Though “cost” itself is somewhat superficial; the initial cost of purchase is just one of the possible price considerations for software with added features. This is because upgrades, cost of training staff, hosting or licensing fees, software support, and installation licenses can all influence the inflation of budget needs to considerably higher levels. Eventually, a low entry purchase becomes the most costly solution, exceeding the costs of target solutions without any of the advantages.

Also, most added features solutions may not be a perfect fit for your business. The fact that your processes may require adjustments as well as retraining staff so as to adapt to the software is one of the hidden costs. Then there’s the likelihood that the process and functionality of the software itself will not match your business strategy.

Target Solutions
On the other hand, target solutions software is developed as a completely integrated solution that fits your business processes perfectly and gives you the desired functionality. Although they usually require an upfront cost, the overall costs are lower and ensure the greatest ROI. It will also cause the least or minimal interruptions to your business model. As long as the likely risks are known to you and you are well able to navigate them, it is oftentimes the best solution.

An added features solution may work for your business operations today, however, it cannot be modified easily and is not designed to accommodate any future changes to your business model. Also, if the cost of developing a target solution software is initially on the high side, you can start small and increase functionality with time. This would help to distribute cost but get you the total functionality sooner.

Having target solutions software will eliminate the need for heavy retraining of staff or constantly adjusting your usual work processes. This will help you save time and money.
In addition, you will have an edge over your competitors, because your custom software is aligned with your processes while simultaneously enhancing customer experience and satisfaction.
In general, it is important to understand your business’s needs, evaluate your options and how they will impact on the process flow of your business and ensure that the solution is a good fit.

Software as a Service – The Popular Choice


SaaS provides convenient and secure access to technologies via the internet. This is becoming an increasingly more popular service for businesses because it provides cost-efficient, highly adaptable and accessible software. SaaS is changing the way we operate businesses and distribute software. Game-changing software services offer more benefits than any traditionally acquired solutions. It is becoming clear to many industries that these are low cost and low maintenance solutions on demand that businesses of different variations and sizes can use with minimal investment.

  • 3-way Cost Efficiency: There are no up-front costs; instead SaaS distribution models operate on a subscription basis. No need to invest in IT infrastructures to accommodate the new solution. Software service providers maintain IT infrastructures as well as the people needed to operate the software on the provider’s end. SaaS operates via subscription, no special IT infrastructure, and additional manpower brings more savings to clients than traditionally acquired solutions.
  • Low Maintenance Required: Upgrading a solution and updating existing SaaS is done via the cloud and is usually the responsibility of service providers. There’s no need to download and install updates and upgrades. Service providers also maintain the availability of software, making it easier for clients to adjust as their user base expands or contracts and eliminates the need to invest in additional hardware or software.
  • Flexibility: Smoother integration as SaaS providers’ multi-client architectures can scale up and down on demand by clients. They also provide customized solutions to meet the specific needs of customers. Many providers also offer an Application Program Interface to let customers’ incorporate the solutions with pre-existing Enterprise Resource Planning or other productivity systems.
  • Accessibility: SaaS solutions’ availability is versatile, from computers to other devices such as notepads and smartphones. These are accessible anywhere and at any time. People’s familiarity with the Internet makes solutions easier to find and adapt to the software interface.
  • Scalability: SaaS providers can support multiple clients with only one version of their services with a multi-tenant architecture that allows for businesses to grow without the need to add or replace their existing IT infrastructure and hardware.

Upscaling and downscaling the scope of services is also easy and efficient. Clients only pay for the services used so this saves both money and time. In the long run, the IT budget is kept consistent and lower than on-premise software. SaaS simplifies operations at less investment and cost.

Software as a Service – The Innovation

 

Data Pioneers

Through the year 2020, cloud-based big data technology spending will grow 4.5x faster than on-premise solution spending, according to IDC. Because the growth of data we are seeing in size, accessibility and application, the storage, management and analysis of big data are important now more than ever before.  The proliferation of cloud services has addressed these areas to optimize the ability for businesses to gain insight about their company’s data and performance. Cloud and software services are changing the way businesses work by moving towards the automation of tasks that save hours of time and yield greater productivity. The development of software advancements and technologies is far from stagnant, allowing for innovation to

Keys to SaaS Innovation

The Need for Speed

Network administrators find a balance between corporate mandates for speed and agility with security, eliminating total cost of ownership (TCO), and 24/7 uptime. Although this proved difficult in years past, the emerging technologies in Wireless WAN (WWAN) offer simplified network management and balance between the three. According to IBM, whether your goal is  “mobilizing your employees, embedding intelligence into your products, or connecting your ecosystem of suppliers to real-time information, the ability to design and release ideas with speed is critical.”

Customization

Customization starts with the same question, “What is the need of the customer?” Every application is different, and so is every business.  Multi-faceted businesses span a variety of environments and can operate through multiple cloud services via one management system.

Cloud Optimization

The question about Big Data is no longer, “How do we obtain more data?” but rather, “What can we do with it?” In our fast-paced culture where trends rise and fall in days, access to information can allow managers and associates to be in-the-know about the performance of their business and employees (i.e. sales tracking). Corporate offices can examine data in real-time and make changes as needed to fuel success.

Platform as a Service

With applications at the forefront of innovation, many organizations are using Platform as a Service (PaaS) to create and deploy these applications quickly. This removes focus from infrastructure and ensures high availability and scalability when it comes to data processing. PaaS requires no infrastructure or software management, no patching or troubleshooting and time-to-value and autoscaling are instantaneous. This allows companies to have the realization that expertise in deployment and management of hardware and software infrastructure isn’t essential to running their businesses smoothly.

Challenges to Innovation

Since SaaS is relatively new, a major challenge for business and tech companies is working to a standard but also working quickly and with agility. IBM describes the balanced SaaS environment as hard to achieve because in “today’s hyper-fast and highly competitive environment does not wait for innovation, or tolerate less than expected user experiences..” -IBM

Developing new models for operation and governance are proven challenges to innovation too as integration with old technologies to cloud-based technologies occurs. There are financial challenges involved too as increasing the scale of business operations can decrease costs, but it could also lead to diseconomies of scale. (Read more: What Are Economies Of Scale?)

Read about other challenges here.

Software as a Service – The Big Picture

 

What is SaaS?

Performing day-to-day tasks in a growing business involves constant interaction with data and information. Old school integration involved large financial investments in software applications, a local server with multiple computers crowding the office space, wasted hours on installation and updates found on floppy disks, among other outdated tools that businesses no longer need.

Leading companies today have set the standard for a new means of data interaction. Thanks to Cloud applications (Google Apps, Salesforce, Slack, DocuSign, Dropbox, etc), the same storage, processing and access to software can occur almost instantly on servers located across the globe. The same data can be accessed instantly online via a simple connection to a software using nothing more than a web browser.  This is Software as a Service (SaaS), and it allows companies to enhance their business initiatives.

Why is SaaS the better model?

For some companies, Keeping Up with the “techie” Joneses is enough to make the jump to a cloud-based software application. For example, 78% of businesses currently consider a purchase of cloud-based solutions in the few years. For others, change in software and how the company works within it can be very daunting. Here are the key benefits to SaaS, and how it is changing the way companies do business.

  1. Accessibility – SaaS is designed to be available and approachable for those who use it. A company with offices in multiple timezones need a software that can be accessed in real time with live updates to initiate faster communication and interaction and ultimately improve decision making and collaboration between team members with ease.
  2. Scalability – When your company grows, your software can too. When your needs change, let the IT department make changes to accommodate them. New investments and additional software are not always the answer.
  3. Time to benefit – Instant deployment of software updates, downloaded online can cut the time formerly used on software downloaded via a local server. This significantly reduces time spent in installation and configuration and can reduce the impacts of an internal CRM Quick fixes, installations and resets will help your business run smoothly. Customers will benefit from better reaction time to IT issues. Faster time to market will enhance the experience and create customer loyalty.
  4. Reducing Data Center Costs – Companies with on-premise systems with infrastructure installation, maintenance costs and hardware and software upgrades that make the jump to SaaS platforms in their business can reduce their IT spending by 15 percent, according to data collected by Computer World.

The Flexible Solution

If business and market agility are goals for your company or organization, the adaptability, flexibility and balance are keys to that success. A study by IBM indicates that the implementation of cloud computing can provide significant competitive differentiation for companies. Between development and operations, the deployment of SaaS can benefit your accounting, invoicing, sales tracking, planning, performance monitoring, communications (including webmail and messaging), applications, content sharing, and even your customer relations management (CRM). With customizable subscription lengths, IT budget cuts and the potential to declutter your closet turned data center, the ease of Software as a Service is the business solution you have been searching for.