Category Archives: Cloud News

Why are Companies Steering Clear of Managed Services?

Managed services has become quite a huge industry in the past few years as talk about how huge the benefits are quickly spread around. More and more businesses joined in and were quite happy with the results, knowing that they were getting the same service they’re looking for at a much cheaper cost.

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What do managed service providers do? They basically take over some of a business’s regular functions, tasks, and responsibilities especially when it comes to IT-related processes. How does it help? Because you have someone else doing some of the basic stuff for you, your team is left with more time to focus on the more serious projects. This also means that you won’t have to hire as much people – someone else can do the tasks that they’re supposed to be taking care of.

Despite the huge success that manages services has shown however, more companies have been shying away from the idea, and for a lot of good reasons. Here are some of them:

ROI calculation is harder. Although one of the top reasons why businesses outsource their IT functions is the fact that it could actually be more cost-effective for them, companies are finding that they are having a hard time proving this. Although their overhead expenses are relatively lower, it is actually harder to compute for ROI when taking this route, which means that they are not entirely sure if the cost savings are worth the investment.

Security risks are high.This has always been one of the reasons why people are wary of managed service providers, and it still proves to be a top threat to this day. After all, allowing third parties to do the job for you would mean letting them into your system and giving them access to information that you wouldn’t normally share to outsiders. This ushers in the risk of information and resources to be mishandled.

Control over staff or operations is compromised.Because you have people who are not exactly in your payroll doing the job for you, there is also a huge risk that you lose control of how they do the job altogether. Especially if you’re the type of manager or business owner who like getting into the smallest details of the job, having someone else managing the people working on the project means that you will not be able to do so any more.

There is less need for it.The huge advantages that come with using cloud solutions has made it harder for managed service providers to stay on top. This is because cloud services give business owners and managers more control over their own projects as compared to signing up for managed services. So the same level of efficiency is acquired, with almost the same costs.

Seeing how long manages services have been around and how much experience businesses have had with it, it is safe to say that these businesses are starting to move onto better options knowing that outsourcing their functions also has its own set of flaws. These flaws may have been something that others can overlook, but for those who have chosen to keep everything in-house, the risks are just too great for them to handle.

What are the Specifics on Cheaper Cloud Computing from Google?

Even in multinational companies, it’s an unusual scenario to have all the departments be in a hurry and running on deadlines all the time. A successful company has its own work rhythm. This may mean one or two departments require different business tools like a cloud computing resource to execute high-risk and urgent tasks. At the same time, another one or two departments are waiting for the pressing tasks to be done so they can execute the next steps. This process is executed steadily up until the work is done. With this rhythm, you can see that it’s not all the time that a department needs a cloud computing service to finish a project. For these kinds of instances, Google has presented a cheaper way to use the cloud for low-priority tasks.

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What is Preemptible Virtual Machine?

The Preemptible Virtual Machine is a cloud platform introduced by Google just a couple of months ago. It is a service that enables computing resources at a lower cost, which is perfect for tasks that aren’t flagged as “urgent” or “hot,” and are thus considered interruptible. Google has computed that the new cloud platform can help a company save up to 70 percent compared to the pre-set Computer Engine setting. It is a cheap option, as budget-friendly as $0.01 per instance per hour. This is significantly lower compared to the majority of inexpensive Virtual Machines that charge between $0.03 and $0.11 on an hourly basis.

What is the catch?

The cheaper option can easily lure companies that use cloud services, no doubt. But one factor to take into consideration with the Preemptible VM is its catch – the machine may just abruptly stop working even when you’re actively using it. It may also stop with close to nothing of a warning when it reaches its peak periods.

What is Google saying about this drawback?

Google doesn’t see it as a particular cloud service drawback. In fact, the company points out that the service (in beta) is suitable for productivity tasks that are tolerant to faults, and that are easy to distribute to various Virtual Machines. Even critical workloads, such as data analysis, genomics, modeling, and simulation, which require computational prowess, can be run intermittently using the VMs.

What processes are implemented by Google to offer this cloud service?

To present this cloud computing resource to the buying public, the search engine giant will make use of the free capacity right in its data center. When there is a demand on these spaces and Google requires more cloud resources, then the virtual machines connected with the Preemptible Virtual Machine are brought back. This is where the interruption on the current processing happens. As a warning, Google will flash a warning with a 30-second window to save that, by computation, should be enough to save the interrupted task. The upside to this is that the VM can go on working straight for more than a day.

This new cloud service feature of Google is somewhat a direct completion with the leaders in cloud computing, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.

What are your thoughts about the Preemptible Virtual Machine of Google? Share your two cents below.

What Salesforce Communities Can Bring to Your Brand

Salesforce brings their service to a whole new level as they incorporate big data analytics into their CRM. Through the new Community Cloud, users can have an experience similar to what LinkedIn does – they can create communities for their companies, but only for their own partners, customers, employees, and other people who are important to their network.

Salesforce Communities

How does Salesforce Communities benefit its users?

Time-Saving. Salesforce Communities gives you a melting pot that connects all the people who play a huge role in your business. This means that you save time as community members are able to interact, ask questions, and find the answers they need without having to go through a tedious route. Their access to your knowledge base would also allow you to make resource-sharing more efficient.

Practical. There is a huge chance that questions being coursed through your customer service hotline are simple ones that can be saved into a single knowledge base. Through the community, you can give your loyal clients access to this database and save up on costs that go towards maintaining a huge customer service team.

Brainstorming. With a number of different minds meeting together in a single community, it is finally easier to collaborate and come up with awesome ideas that could change your products forever. You can get ideas not only from your own team, but from suppliers, business partners, and even customers, allowing you to explore opportunities that your team may not have considered before.

Loyalty. Because you have a chance to connect with every single customer through Salesforce Communities, this also means that you can strengthen their loyalty to your brand by making them feel that their voices have a venue to be heard. Remember that it’s one thing to get them to buy your product for the first time, but it’s an entirely different process to make them loyal and keep them coming back for more.

Based on research done by the Salesforce team, digital communities have the ability to resolve problems 48% faster than the traditional routes, and could help increase employee engagement by 48% as well. Sales can also increase by up to 43%, and 45% of customers are also more satisfied when they become part of the brand’s community.

Salesforce Communities comes with number of different features that would prove to be very beneficial for any kind of business.

Targeted Recommendations. This allows community managers to bring content straight to specific groups or individuals.

Lightning Community Builder and Templates. This lets you personalize your communities and add distinct branding to it without having to ask for the help of a graphic designer or a web developer.

Salesforce Connect. You can now share any of your files stored and created on your Google Drive to any of your community members.

With Salesforce Communities, the brand has definitely become more than just a regular CRM. And with Salesforce’s recent partnership with Microsoft, there would definitely be more announcements of bigger features and functions in the near future.

China’s E-Commerce Giant Alibaba Enters the US Cloud Computing Scene

It looks like the major cloud players in the US are looking at tougher competition ahead as Alibaba, the Chinese ecommerce giant, expresses plans of jumping into the US cloud computing scene. This is something that they plan to accomplish by partnering up with domestic companies, effectively gaining familiarity on US soil.

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Building Relevant Partnerships

The first major problem that Alibaba would have to face is their lack of local infrastructure, something that they have easily found a solution to. The Chinese giant has started building business relationships with relevant players to effectively put their forces into their place as they get ready to take on a global market. Some of the companies that Aliyun Computing, Alibaba’s cloud computing division has reportedly partnered up with so far are Singaporean telecoms giant Singtel, US data center company Equinix, and Intel, another tech giant.

Tougher Competition for Big Four

Considering the big names that they have started shaking hands with, it does seem that the big four should be getting ready to toughen up for a potential showdown. So far, the four biggest players in the US cloud computing scene are Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google, and IBM. Seeing how calculated each move that Alibaba makes is, there is no doubt at all that the new player is planning to come into the picture strong and aggressive.

This move is not at all surprising, considering the huge growth that the cloud computing market has been seeing in the past few years. In North America alone, it is expected that there will be a compound annual growth rate of 26% from 2013 all the way to 2018. And although the Chinese cloud market is expected to be worth $2 billion by 2018, its Northern American counterpart will be worth $75 billion by then. This means that now is the best time to invest in the industry for you to fully enjoy its benefits in 3 years.

Alibaba’s Edge

Of course, the number of players in the field remain small considering the huge costs. It is a known fact that very few providers have the amount of resources needed to even attempt to enter the scene, let alone try to dominate and be at equal footing with the four giants ruling it. Alibaba’s stable footing in the Asia Pacific region proves to be a useful resource in this regard, considering that it was worth $200 billion in mid-2014 and has continued to grow since then.

At present, Amazon AWS is the leader among the players, with a market share that’s greater than the numbers of its major competitors combined. Seeing how well Alibaba is trying to position itself in the market however, Amazon could somehow experience some changes in the way it rules in terms of numbers.

Of course, in an industry like this, anything can happen. As long as the big four knows that new competition is coming, they are also preparing their own armies as they try to strengthen their defenses and secure their places on top.

How to Choose the Best Online Backup Provider

Everybody knows how convenient online backup truly is. Just the thought of not having to use external devices to your computers just to copy every piece of information there is enough to come to a conclusion that backing up your data online truly is a huge leap for information technology. Now, all that it takes is making the right choice when it comes to your online backup provider, and you’re all set.

Here are a few tips on how to choose the best online backup services for you:

Pric

As with anything else that you purchase, the price is always one of the first things you look at when it comes to choosing your service provider. Some people go for the service that asks for a higher price, thinking that this equates to higher quality. Some people go for the lower price, thinking that this would be better on their budget. But these are not always reliable. Always look at who’s going to give you more value for your money based on other things on this list.

Inclusions

What does each package include? Some packages give you specific amounts of data, while some could give you plans that are based on how many computers you are planning to backup. You can also check out unlimited packages. Take note of these as some packages may seem cheaper, but actually do not give you as much storage room as compared to more expensive ones.

Security

What type of security do they use to protect your data? Do they apply the usual encryptions, or do they have layer upon layer of added security that no online ninja could go through? Remember that added security is always a great investment, and this is no time for you to tighten your grip around that budget. Especially if the data you want them to handle is extremely sensitive, you’ll need state of the art security that no ordinary hacker can breach.

Reputation

Yes, they may have advertised that they’re the best online backup service around. But if they show a long history of security breaches and compromised data, then there’s definitely something wrong. Check out reviews for each of the providers you’re considering and ask people within your network for recommendations as well. Even the best advertising strategies will not really be as reliable as the experience that past clients have had.

Customer Service.

This is one of the most important things that you have to consider in choosing your provider. No matter how great the company is, if they disappear on you the moment you start encountering problems, then they’re definitely not worth your time. Find out what channels of communication they utilize and check if 24/7 support is included with your package. Try asking them a question or two while you’re still in the process of deciding and see how they respond.

Remember that your choice of online backup providers could make or break your business. Decide on who the best online backup service provider is once you have fully considered each of the items on this checklist.

What are the Benefits of the Best Online Backup for Business?

Nowadays, the majority of businesses – regardless of size, industry, and location – opt to back up their data through the web. Alongside the growth of this data-saving method is the increase on the demand for the best online backup for business. In this digital age, this clamor for online backup services is not surprising anymore. In fact, online backup providers promote this service in different ways to entice companies to use the program.

What Makes Online Backup Enticing to Businesses

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Though it’s not a 100% infallible solution, online backup is the best data saving service available for businesses. Particularly now when it’s becoming more challenging to save data the traditional way. Here are five reasons why companies are now looking for the best online backup for business.

Automatic Backup Approach

One of the primary reasons why companies neglect to back up their data regularly is that the process necessitates manual work and update. Consequently, one of the key benefits of online backup service is that it uses an automatic backup approach. The majority of web-based services provide a backup scheduler and systematized backups. The former enables the company to generate a schedule for backups to automatically come up. This is whether the backup process happens every hour, every day, every week or every month. The latter calls for a backup that just copies new data or changes to the files that have already been saved.

Off-site Safekeeping

Accidents happen. One catastrophic event, like flood or fire, can render all the traditional backups irrelevant. Keeping the backups in the same vicinity as the original data is rarely advisable. On the other hand, moving the backups to a different place poses security issues, too. The best solution to this predicament is an online backup because the service stores the files on secure and safe servers in a remote, off-site location.

Data Sharing

Online backup storage makes it painless to share data, even large files, with everyone in the office. This can actually improve office productivity. Rather than emailing each person one-by-one with large attachments, it’s easier to upload the needed files to an online storage. To share the files, an employee can just simply send the web link to whoever needs it.

Easy Data Management

The IT department of the company no longer needs to be concerned about updating the program on every computer the employees use. This is because the program is controlled and overseen remotely. The IT specialist only has to update the program on a single remote server. Once this is successfully done, every employee that uses the program will benefit from its latest version.

Limitless Scalability

As the needs of the company expand, the online backup service can also grow to handle these increased demands. For instance, an online backup service may start out with a specific amount of data storage. If the company requires more, all they need to do is choose a different plan. Moreover, this means that the company will never have to spend far more than what it needs at any given time.

With these benefits, it’s not a wonder why more and more companies choose to use online backup to save important data.

What other benefits do companies get from an online backup service? Share your thoughts below.

The Advantages of Cloud Storage

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Most people can think back to a time when they needed files or data only to find that they left what they needed in their home computer and have no way of accessing it. Those were the days of going on emergency trips home only to get the files or asking someone to bring the needed files in a USB or CD. Those were tough times but they are long over now that people can sync data across all devices with the use of cloud storage.

Indeed, being able to access data and files across all devices is one of the biggest advantages of cloud storage and it is one that everyone can use. From college students to soccer moms, the biggest advantages of cloud storage when it comes to syncing data across all devices are things that are worth knowing more of.

How Does It Work?

In order for you to take advantage of the advantages of cloud storage, you need to know how it works. Check out how it is done below:

• Download a cloud storage software. There are many cloud storage software you can download in the market and you just have to choose the one that fits your needs. There are paid cloud storage accounts and ones that are free. Download the one you like and take it from there.

• Install. The next step is to install the cloud storage software and it is very easy. Just follow the instructions and it will be installed in your computer.

• Create an account. You will need to log in to your account to begin using it. Follow the instructions for creating an account.

• Download a shortcut to all your devices. Now that you have the main account, the next step is to download the same thing across all the devices you use. You can often find software specially optimized to suit smart phones, tablets, etc.

• Save your files to the cloud. The last step is to save your files to the cloud and make sure they are properly synced to all the devices that you use. You will need an internet connection for this but it is a very easy process.

Once you have stored files in the cloud, any and all changes you make will be synched across all devices the moment they are connected to the internet. The beauty of cloud storage is that in the event that one device fails, you have the others to access your files. If you accidentally delete an important file, you can also restore it using your cloud storage software.

When choosing your cloud storage, make sure you really check what they have to offer in terms of space and security. As a modern person who values convenience and security, this is one technology that you are sure to love. So, how many devices do you use and are you syncing your files across all of them already? If not yet, do you plan to in the near future?

Cloud Storage Solutions or Traditional Backup – What’s Better?

One of the most common reasons people give for not using services like cloud storage solutions is that they already stored their data in an external hard drive which is the traditional back-up method. Although one is better than the other to some people, in reality, there is really no right or wrong with these back-up methods since they both have their own sets of pros and cons.
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Listed below are three important factors to help you decide which backup method is a better fit for your needs.

Cost

Comparing how much you’d ultimately shell out will help you figure out what storage fits your budget. It’s also important to know the features that you’re going to enjoy with the price of the storage so you’ll get your money’s worth. You can calculate the cost of the traditional means of backup through the external hard drive/s that you’re going to use. Alternatively, checking the various price ranges of cloud storage systems is a way for you to calculate an online storage method.

For the external hard drive, the bigger it is (in terms of GB), the pricier it’ll be. Same goes with the cloud storage, the more online storage you’ll acquire, the higher the price range is. The only thing that makes cloud storage a bit better in this department is that there’s also a lot of free cloud storage systems available online.

Backup Process

When it comes to this department, it looks like the traditional way of storing data edges a bit because of the speed associated with it. External backups don’t take that long, even if you’re copying or moving tons of data. At the most, it will only take a few hours.
On the other hand, the cloud storage system’s first back-up, referred to as the complete backup, can take days (or sometimes weeks, especially for business cloud storage solutions). The good thing about this is that you’ll still be able to use your device even while you’re backing up. The downside is that accessing your files can be a bit tricky. Another saving grace of cloud storage is that once the complete backup is done, subsequent backups won’t take that long again. In fact, the process will be just for mere minutes.

Accessibility

One of the features cloud storage providers are proud of is that once you store your files and data in the cloud, everything will be easy to access. You don’t even have to use only your computer to access your folders since remote access using other devices is possible. That’s all well and good. However, it can be a problem if the cloud storage user isn’t connected online. Granted that there are providers that give special offline access (though still limited), when it boils down to it, easy accessibility isn’t always that easy.

Alternatively, external hard drives give you accessibility in a way that if you have it with you, anytime, online or offline, you can still access your data. The operative word here though is ‘anytime.’ If you happen to forget to bring your hard drive, then easy access isn’t possible at all.

How about you, what type of backup method fits your needs better?

How Cloud Storage Works

Cloud storage is a business and digital term for data storage managed via hosted network services, which is typically online. A variety of cloud storage systems have been designed for both personal use and business application. This can be quite confusing to others, especially those who don’t use the internet often, but how cloud storage works is really simple to understand.

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Cloud Storage 101

You’ll find a huge selection of cloud storage systems. Some possess a distinct focus, like storing email messages or file documents. Others are designed to manage all kinds of electronic data. Some cloud storage systems operate small, while others are so huge that they need an entire warehouse to hold their physical storage equipment. The facilities used to house the systems are known as data centers.

• Personal Use – The most rudimentary form of cloud storage enables users to upload personal files or folders from their computers or laptops to a main internet server. This permits users to create back-up copies of data files in the event their master copies are destroyed, misplaced or deleted. Users may download their data files from the cloud to other gadgets, and often also allow remote access to the data for others to share.

• Business Use – Businesses can make use of cloud storage systems as a commercially-supported online back-up solutions. Either all the time or at frequent intervals, software people operating inside the business network can safely move copies of data and database information to third-party cloud servers. In contrast to personal data use that’s commonly stored permanently, business data has a tendency to promptly grow outmoded, plus back-up systems entail retention plans that flush useless data after time restrictions have passed.

Bigger companies can additionally use these systems to duplicate considerable amounts of information between branch offices. Workers working at one location may create new documents and have them conveniently shared with peers in other locations (domestic or international). Business cloud storage systems usually come with configurable plans for caching data effectively across sites.

Varied Cloud System Services

Various providers market file hosting services over the internet. File transfer generally work over common net protocols. But the services differ in:

• Network bandwidth allocations
• Storage capacity
• Supported speed for network transfers
• Cost (some are free others are priced according to data use)
• Program interface

Choosing the Right Provider

How cloud storage works also depends greatly on the cloud storage provider. To make sure that your files and data are secure and safe, choosing the right provider is critical. Think of the following considerations before making any storage decision:

Reliability. Choosing a provider that won’t mishandle your data is a priority. Research plays a big part in ensuring that the provider you choose has no security issues, no downtimes (or at the very least, just a couple of incidents and minor glitches), and doesn’t corrupt your file. You can test the provider’s reliability with a trial account.

Price. Cloud storage vendors have different price schemes. The payment structure usually depends on the capacity of the storage that you’re going to avail. Make sure that you make comparisons before any purchase to get your money’s worth.

Ease of use. This is particularly important for cloud storage business use. The interface and responsiveness of the system can either boost the company’s productivity or cause a delay. Testing both is a good way of identifying if the system’s usability is what you want.

What other considerations do you think about when buying a cloud storage system? Share your thoughts below!

How to Use OneDrive

“How to use OneDrive” is one of the most frequently asked questions in Microsoft-centered discussion boards online. In Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, it’s possible to save your files and access them from any device like your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Formerly referred to as SkyDrive, OneDrive is a no-cost online storage space that is included in your MS account. It acts as an additional hard drive that’s available and easy to get to in whatever device you’re using. Once you understand how OneDrive works, you don’t need to send emails with attached documents to yourself or make sure that your multiple USB flash drives are with you all the time anymore. Instead, you can get into your files through the application.

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Apart from the name change, Microsoft likewise upped the free storage space, included browser features, updated better integration into Windows 8, made Windows Phone inclusions, and even incorporated support for iPad and iOS. Now even with the said changes, the fundamental fact you should know on how to use OneDrive is you need to sign in with an MS account to browse your OneDrive and synchronize your files and settings. If you login with a local account, you can just use the app to browse your computer. To look through your OneDrive files, you need to visit the OneDrive website.

Using OneDrive is painless and clear-cut. You have two choices when adding your files to the application. You can either copy the files or move them. When there’s new data to save, you can pick OneDrive as the place to store the files so you can easily get them from whatever device you’re using and share them with others with others. Plus, if you have a built-in camera on your computer, you can easily save copies of your pictures in your OneDrive from your camera roll.

Here are additional tips on how to use OneDrive:

• The files you save can’t be over 10 GB in size. In some cases, OneDrive will prohibit you to save a file because of its content. Review Microsoft’s code of conduct for more information about this.
• For work related files or for business purposes, Microsoft advocates the use of OneDrive for Business.

• As aforementioned, most devices running Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 are already set up with OneDrive. However, you can also install the application to Windows 7. During installation you will need to determine which folders to sync.

• On most computers with MS as an operating system, OneDrive is the advisable location that shows up when you save Microsoft Office files such as Word docs, PowerPoint, PDFs, Excel worksheets, and other documents. To ensure your computer is set up to save automatically, review your OneDrive settings.

Aside from online backup service and the more traditional ways of manually saving and storing data, OneDrive is another great option to ensure that you will always have copies of your files. And since it’s free, students and “average” PC users can take advantage of it. If you’re a longtime user of OneDrive, what do you think are the major benefits of this free Microsoft online storage?