- Posted on 5. October 2012 20:12
While the increasing popularity of Cloud computing spreads throughout the corporate space, the platform still encompasses some confusing elements for professionals and consumers alike. As a Cloud service provider, we feel it’s important for our readers to recognize that Cloud doesn’t have to be so confusing, and that it’s actually a tremendously helpful tool when presented in straightforward terms. Our new series, ‘Cloud Simplified’ seeks to remove the veil of confusion and show you how to leverage the cloud with quick and easy tips. Today, we’ll look at some easy ways to keep your Cloud Data safe:
1) Loose Lips Sink Ships
We’ve all heard this warning at some point in our lives, designed to relate the consequences of sharing secrets. Perhaps one of the most important rules of Cloud data security is to be vigilant about keeping credentials (and other sensitive data) secret and only sharing these details with appropriate parties. There are many security breaches at that could happen at no fault of your own regardless of your best efforts, but this one falls squarely on you, so be mindful always!
2) Good Credentials
The username / password combination for private, secure access has been around a long time because it’s simple and effective. Usually the only time accounts or assets are breached when protected by passwords is because they’re not secure enough or the attacker found out what the credentials were (see #1). So the best way to leverage your password protection is to choose complex, impossible-to-guess passwords and use different credentials for every service or site.
3) One More Question
Security is so important on Cloud based services that it’s often best to include one additional personalized barrier to entry: The Security Question. You probably already use security questions on your banking website, Paypal or even Facebook. Make sure your Cloud systems are configured with a solid security question that’s easy for you, but impossible to guess for anyone else. Especially avoid ‘multiple choice’ type questions such as birthdays and other occasions. Sure, 365 possible answers seems like a lot, but in the realm of hacking and cracking, that’s a very limited number.
4) Multi-Factor Authentication
While passwords and security questions are good measures for protecting your Cloud services and data, sensitive material should be secured with additional defenses. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) puts into place one more ‘lock on the door’. Once you’ve entered your login information and answered your security question, an MFA system would then send you a code to your email or phone which you must enter at the prompt in order to gain access. This prevents attackers from getting in even if they’ve managed to crack your password and security question.
5) Beware of Your Surroundings
One of the greatest things about the Cloud is that you can access it from virtually anywhere there’s an internet connection. But this can also present a vulnerability risk. Your home and office probably have secure networks and you’ve got extra protective measures and privacy protocols in place. But what about when you’re on the go? Using public computers and unsecured wi-fi to connect to your secure Cloud services can be dangerous. This is especially true for applications where you’re using the Cloud for file sharing or as an FTP Replacement. You also run the additional risk of others around you in public watching your actions. Just be constantly vigilant if you must access your Cloud assets while off site.
6) “At Least There’s a Backup”
In the unfortunate event that, despite all your best efforts, there’s still a breach, you will want to still be able to speak those very words. Once your Cloud data and services are in place and secure, your next step is to back up everything on there. If some heinous hacker pokes through to your systems and steals everything, losses that weren’t backed up could prove incredibly costly. Even if you’re storing everything on a hard drive that sits unplugged collecting dust in a locked computer closet at the office, still…”At least there’s a backup.”
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 29. September 2012 01:18
For today’s technologically infused enterprise space, the project manager’s role is growing exponentially and the mounting list of IT projects needs a more enhanced tool set. For this reason, many business leaders are looking to cloud based SaaS (Software as a Service) resources to add to their arsenals.
Because of the hugely diverse array of SaaS project management tools out there, and because every business is unique and requires different needs in terms of SaaS resources, we won’t focus on the variety of tools available, but rather the elements you should consider when shopping for the right tool for your business. We’ve highlighted a few factors below that CEOs and CIOs should consider when the time comes to put these assets into play.
While many project managers consider price to be the primary concern with Cloud platforms or software, security is perhaps the leading factor that should be considered. After all, you’ve worked hard to keep your network and sensitive data secure, how regrettable would it be to employ a new, helpful resource only to see it become the single point of vulnerability? This is an especially important question for file transfer software.
Because your data will likely be in the hands of a third party with a SaaS program (or at least in a third-party location), this area is especially sensitive. Ensure that the cloud provider has top-notch security and privacy measures in place. You’ll want to look at the tool from a security officer and compliance perspective. In addition to checking out the SaaS security measures, ensure the proper backup protocols are in place, and what contingency plans there are in the event of a breach on the provider side.
This factor is pretty straightforward, as all businesses usually know how to shop with a price – or more importantly, a budget – in mind. But the tricky part of shopping for SaaS products is the widely varying pricing structures. Because cloud-based tools don’t use the standard boxed software + license model, instead offering a service-based tool, you’ll be hard pressed to find any cut-and-dry pricing. The key concern in terms of cost when shopping for SaaS tools is to be laser focused on the compatibility of the software with your architecture and finding a precise match between your needs and the offerings and features of the program and the provider.
The features of the SaaS product lie at the very core of the entire endeavor of implementing project management software. Ultimately, the features will be the ‘proof in the pudding’ for any PM who is looking forward to a more productive (and hopefully easier) road ahead. Again, your primary focus is compatibility and how well the PM software syncs up with your needs and the company’s existing architecture.
Be vigilant about uncovering at features that competitors might overlook, such as collaborative benefits and channels for marketing your services and products more effectively. Most importantly, for service-level features relying on the provider, ensure they have a consequence for failing to deliver features as promised.
Interface / Usability
While features, price and security are all significant concerns when shopping for SaaS project management tools, nothing else about the software will matter if the interface is broken, incompatible or simply hard to use. Demo versions and free trials exist for this very reason, and they benefit both parties. The SaaS provider gets to show off their product and bring the selling points home in a practical environment while gaining a stronger rapport with a potential client. Better yet, you get to see how well it works. Take every opportunity to try out a software you’re interested in before you buy.
If possible, make sure that as many staffers at the office get a chance to take the tool for a spin (or at least those will most likely be using it). Do some comparative testing along the way. While one SaaS platform may stand out in terms of usability, there’s no way to know if there’s a far better tool unless you shop around and try out several of them.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 15. September 2012 01:11
Studies have shown in recent months that the majority of consumers don’t really entirely understand Cloud computing. In fact, 9 out of 10 American consumers claim not to use Cloud computing, yet all of them had used the Cloud in some form or another in the past year without knowing it.
The caveat, then, is whether this knowledge gap transcends to the business leadership in the corporate space.
If we look at the present state of the corporate Cloud environment, it seems that the trends point to more of a misunderstanding than a lack of knowledge.
While the Cloud represents unprecedented accessibility, scalability and utility, the vast majority of business owners still opt against it for an increasingly popular reason: Cost.
This reluctance toward Cloud adoption due to financial concerns is therefore a puzzling matter, as it would most likely actually prove more cost effective.
Here at eTransmittal, we provide a Cloud-based service, or rather Software as a Service (SaaS) with very clear benefits to businesses as both an online collaboration tool and an FTP Replacement option for file sharing.
We ourselves use the Cloud for our operational purposes and we’ve enjoyed the cost-savings and efficiency benefits. But even our own testimonial aside, still many more Cloud-savvy companies are raving about the new tech trend. Granted, the Cloud may not be right for everyone, but we might be so bold as to append a big “Yet” to that statement.
The focus in this scenario should be squarely on the small business, as they stand to gain the most from leveraging Cloud computing. While still very much a generic term, the Cloud represents a fresh, flexible technology that truly levels the playing feel in today’s corporate space.
Small businesses who adopt Cloud computing technologies can overcome barriers and operate with a level of efficiency that empowers them to keep pace with their larger counterparts.
Whether or not business leaders in our ever-evolving technological economy are getting a good grasp on Cloud computing won’t be an issue for much longer. Like any other widespread technological advent, the Cloud will become more approachable as the early adopters revel in their successes.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 8. September 2012 01:32
Over the past couple of years, Cloud computing has taken a clear and definitive foothold in the corporate space. The trend has hastened in 2012, although the precedent of widespread adoption may have been a bit short-lived.
As the previously swiftly growing trend begins to wane, analysts are discovering that businesses, especially those at the enterprise level, are taking the pace a bit slower now. There are a handful of reasons for the more cautious approach, but among those reasons, three in particular seem to stand out.
Whether you're eyeing the Cloud as an FTP Replacement for your file sharing or an ultra-accessible collaboration tool, we’ll explain what those barriers are and how you can overcome them to stay on track toward your ambitions to leverage the benefits of the Cloud.
The first issue that comes up at the forefront with business owners is security. The sensitivity and importance of a company’s data is often placed at the highest regard, and rightly so. But the fears associated with poor security in the Cloud, including news-worthy scares of isolated incidents of breaches and hacking, are largely unfounded. On the contrary, a company is usually better off in terms of security with a Cloud-based system.
The best tool for overcoming security fears related to the Cloud is education and awareness. Your CIO or IT department management will play a key role in assessing the security threats associated with moving data to the Cloud. Learning about the systems, the way data is stored and moved, and gleaning a clear understanding of the security measures in place will put these fears to rest.
Establish policies early on to address any vulnerabilities that seem to stand out. Furthermore, it’s best to abandon the myth that having data in close proximity makes it any more secure. In actuality, the Cloud servers at your local datacenter are much better equipped to protect your digital assets than in your local office.
Another prominent obstacle that seems to loom over any efforts to pursue Cloud computing is the cost. Not only does the Cloud hardware and services seem expensive, but the technology changes, infrastructure overhaul, IT personnel, software cost and maintenance costs seem to crash together in a nightmarish scenario with an outrageous price tag. In truth, however, the costs are minimal and the returns are great.
If your firm is concerned about the costs, the best method might be to outsource your technology. Partnering with an IT services provider will put all of the needed assets in one accessible place, on the shoulders of the tech vendor. Furthermore, they have the expertise and experience not only to complete the Cloud migration without a hitch, but to transform your technologies from a cost center into a revenue generating asset. You’ll spend less overall and they will assist in reducing your IT spend. In the long run, your returns will overshadow the initial expense, and you’ll be free to focus on the core business.
The final primary reason that businesses have been reluctant to make the jump to the Cloud is the knowledge gap. Executives worry that the staff and users of the Cloud services within the firm won’t adapt quickly enough or the learning curve will prove too counterproductive. They may have these concerns even for themselves if they aren’t as technologically savvy. Extra training, new procedures and the fear of a deluge of errors and mistakes are enough to put the brakes on a move to the Cloud.
But there’s no reason to abandon a Cloud-bound journey on the basis of such a knowledge gap. The solution to this barrier is two-fold: First, it is imperative to plan carefully for which Cloud services are needed and provide the most value. Don’t adopt anything that isn’t necessary. By keeping the selection of Cloud services precise and goal-oriented with the benefits in mind, you’ll reduce unnecessary headaches and make the transition easier on everyone.
Secondly, most Cloud service providers offer extensive, in-depth training services, learning resources and expert support. Tap into those offerings right away, and find out ahead of time how much support is available. In this manner, you don’t have to sacrifice a robust Cloud service for the sake of usability. You can get exactly what you need, even if it’s complex, and the knowledge gap can still be quickly closed.
By Clay Adams
- Posted on 1. September 2012 01:18
While the boundary between IT and the Cloud continues to blur, they are nevertheless complimentary to one another. Granted, the Cloud is becoming more influential in shaping the role of IT services in business, properly applied technology into a new Cloud environment can yield huge rewards for the enterprise that deploys these assets wisely. Cloud computing represents alternatives as well, acting as an email and FTP Replacement for document sharing, for example.
The shifting role of IT is becoming more visible as the corporate space adapts to Cloud computing technologies. It has slowly pulled away from ‘ownership’ and now falls more into a ‘management’ status. In other words, technology systems aren’t static operational resources anymore – they play a much larger role in acquisitions and growth, especially within the cloud.
No longer does a system administrator simply own and govern the IT infrastructure. Instead, the role is a managerial one, with many technology assets being leveraged for diverse internal support and external services. CIOs are now able to bolster IT as a value-add component of the business rather than a cost center, and that role has come to be expected of them. Furthermore, IT pros have a more dynamic position, tasked with strategically advising the business and blazing trails into new territories.
Because of the tremendous leaps ahead in automation and accessibility with the Cloud, technology professionals are liberated from time-sapping tasks that were previously performed manually. Instead, these IT admins can now focus on managing and building an array of versatile cloud services. The role of the tech leadership within the business space is changing much like the role of IT itself.
The assumption that IT personnel are being replaced by automation is a fallacy. These people are more important than ever, having been freed up to reach their full potential and serve as a crucial conduit between the Cloud, the company and its users. That’s not to say that these administrators no longer perform administrative functions. They are simply shifting the admin scope to a Cloud-minded role, responsible for governing the services and assets from a different angle and with more flexibility.
Adapting to new Cloud technologies and new infrastructures can indeed require an IT overhaul for most companies. The good news is that the migration process is less of a headache when the CIO and the executive leadership have a good understanding of shifting roles of IT personnel and the technology itself.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 25. August 2012 03:14
Some business professionals aren’t yet convinced whether they should move to the Cloud, or if it represents any value. However, the cost savings and accessibility benefits are drawing more and more small businesses and corporate executives to the technology.
Cloud storage, for example, is especially attractive to smaller businesses by leveling the playing field with access to the same assets, data storage space and network capabilities only previously found in the enterprise space, but without the tremendous price tag associated with it. That’s not even including the huge amount of investment it would take to employ and manage a technology team to maintain the infrastructure. Let’s take a look at a few more of the reasons every small business should consider Cloud computing.
Storage & Accessibility
Cloud storage, sometimes considered in the same term as ‘cloud computing’ is actually a web-based service that lets people access and store data at a server hosted on the worldwide web. The data held there is governed by the user, and they manage, update and download their own resources. A benefit of Cloud storage is that it’s not tied to a single machine and doesn’t require extra devices or applications, the storage location is accessible from anywhere on the web.
With Cloud computing, a user can perform a vast array of tasks on the web, from almost anywhere else on any web-ready device. Resources are updated in real time and data can be moved quickly. It’s likely that you might already utilize cloud services without realizing it. Big brands such as Amazon, Intuit and Google are already well vested into Cloud technology. The versatility and accessibility afforded through Cloud technology has not gone unnoticed in the titan tech arena, nor should it at the small business level.
If you want the best the Cloud has to offer, such as document management tools and collaborative business resources, you’ll likely want to pay for a full or premium version of the service. However, many more Cloud services exist that can handle a variety of tasks and daily conveniences through free and ‘lite’ versions. Those free services are bound to grow in number and quality and setting up an infrastructure that’s ‘Cloud ready’ will enable your business to continually take advantage of free cloud services as they emerge and evolve.
Internal Operations Made Easy
Previously many small businesses would either outsource functions such as human resources and accounting, or weigh down a single staffer with the time-sapping tasks. But the Cloud is providing new, innovative and cost-effective solutions. Cloud-based recruiting and accounting tools, along with management resources and software to tackle internal operational tasks are available at an affordable cost, and because the software don’t require licensing, you simply pay for the resource as a service, otherwise known as Software as a Service (SaaS). If your small business hasn’t already tapped into the Cloud and all it has to offer, consider this your wake up call. Not only does it empower a small company to leverage enterprise-level technology, it grows with the company, so you aren’t fighting logistical and architectural obstacles while you grow. It’s almost as if the Cloud was made for small business, and it’s time you found out why for yourself.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 18. August 2012 01:33
Massachusetts, or ‘Taxachussetts’ as it’s affectionately known in some circles, has recently released a ruling regarding the imposing of sales tax on Cloud computing services. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue typically applies a sales tax of 6.25% on most goods and property sold within the state. This encompasses pre-written software as well, no matter how the user gets the software.
Cloud services, on the other hand, don’t actually involve the licensing of software to a customer. Instead, users typically either leverage their own applications or log into a web-based portal serviced by the Cloud provider. In other cases, all parties use an open source platform. In these cases, as determined by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the Cloud services aren’t taxable.
Because the Cloud services in question use the customer’s own software, or otherwise open source resources and there is no tangible asset changing hands, the Cloud product isn’t taxable in Massachusetts. This represents a crucial distinction regarding how sales tax applies to Cloud computing.
However, if the Cloud service provider requires the customer to purchase licensed software or proprietary applications sold by the Cloud vendor, sales taxes can be assessed on the services when sold to users in the state. This is applicable even if the software incurs separate charges or there is sub-licensing involved. The reasoning lies in the fact that the user actually acquires the software in one form or another, similar to a download of traditional pre-written software.
Many Cloud providers have adopted popular terms for their offerings, such as “Software as a Service” (SaaS) and other similar titles. While descriptive in a sense, these terms have no bearing regarding the taxability of their services according to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. They further determined that taxability cannot be discerned by examining whether customers download or otherwise install software applications on their own machines.
While these findings only affect vendors and users in the state of Massachusetts, they establish a precedent that could significantly impact deliberations of a similar scope elsewhere across the country.
The take-away for cloud computing services vendors hinges on the sale of pre-written software to customers. If the service requires users to download and install (and pay for) a proprietary software application, sales tax will likely come into play. But again, we’re talking only about Massachusetts at this point.
To better clarify, one source reports that “Massachusetts can impose the obligation on a vendor only if the vendor has sufficient physical presence with Massachusetts. It is often a challenge to determine whether a vendor has this physical presence, and the determination is based on the ‘facts and circumstances.’ If the vendor does not have sufficient physical presence in Massachusetts, the vendor does not have an obligation to collect the tax, but the customer has an obligation to self-assess the tax and pay the tax to Massachusetts. “
The struggle over how to apply sales tax in these digital realms has been an ongoing battle between the state revenue department and internet-based vendors for quite a while. Ambiguity within the downloadable product space means an uphill battle for Massachusetts lawmakers. The fog on that battlefield has thickened more and more as packaged software drifts away from brick-and-mortar store shelves and further into the Cloud.
For Massachusetts, or any other state for that matter, the loss in revenue from taxes on software could prove significant enough to more closely define taxability on digital services. Most revenue departments will be on the lookout for ways to replace tax revenue losses from the transformation of software into service. Cloud vendors and software developers for Cloud-based services should take note and prepare accordingly for the coming storm.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 11. August 2012 01:33
Cloud Computing Plays Key Role in NASA Mars Rover ‘Curiosity’ Mission
Despite a couple of headline-grabbing setbacks at its EC2 Compute Cloud facility earlier this summer, e-tailer giant Amazon is now garnering attention on an out-of-this-world scale…literally.
In what proponents are calling a huge win for Cloud computing globally, Amazon’s web services have been leveraged for NASA’s recent Mars Rover mission. The Cloud plays host to metadata and images captured for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), after the Mars Rover, Curiosity, collects them on the surface of the Red Planet.
JPL Data Services manager, Khawaja Shams, sees the advent as a milestone toward the federal government migrating to the cloud. With such huge amounts of data processing on such a broad scale, JPL could become the very pioneer to blaze that trail.
"At this point, JPL's data centers are filled to capacity, so we're looking for ways to cost effectively expand the computational horsepower that we have at our disposal," says Shams. "Cloud computing is giving us that opportunity."
As an example, Shams pointed to the mars.jpl.nasa.gov website operated using Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Cloud. The site enables JPL to grab media such as pictures and video and distribute them to the public swiftly.
Because of the flexibility, accessibility and improved efficiency afforded by the Cloud, JPL was able to build a scalable web infrastructure in just a few weeks rather than a handful of months.
Cloud-based systems have become increasingly popular in the corporate space for many of the same reasons it has proved beneficial in the Mars Rover missions, yet the enterprise level and government entities remain elusive targets for Cloud providers. However, the success of the platform in NASA’s operations is reflecting well the advantages touted by vendors seeking high-level opportunities.
The advantage of being able to send large files quickly and easily fits well with the project. "With unrelenting goals to get the data out to the public, NASA/JPL prepared to service hundreds of gigabits/second of traffic for hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers," Amazon said.
The Mars Rover mission will continue automating the image analysis of photos taken on the planet’s surface, allowing for more of a time cushion for identification of any possible hazardous areas or points of interest as Curiosity makes its rounds.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 4. August 2012 01:45
Corporate migration to Cloud platforms is in full swing and many IT professionals are touting the advent of a new era in collaboration and computing. Consumer-focused services, most commonly those pertaining to online file storage and file sharing, have preceded the influx of business-oriented Cloud infrastructures almost as though they were a test market of sorts.
But making the jump from the typical business Cloud platform to the Enterprise level could prove a much larger leap, and evidence pointing to that challenge continues to surface. The next move is learning lessons from Cloud failures and overcoming the obstacles. Let’s take a look at some of the recent occurrences from which we can glean insight from the missteps of the pioneers in the front of the pack.
Dropbox Security Breach
This week, the consumer-focused Cloud service Dropbox lit up headlines across the web after enduring a significant security breach. Dropbox and a large swath of its users were subsequently hit with a massive spam attack. News reports indicate that an internal employee’s account was hacked, most likely using a stolen password.
The culprit allegedly stole a project document containing user email addresses from the compromised employee’s account. Thereafter, the hacker went to work spamming the users with a deluge of gambling website ads. After further investigation, technicians discovered that many of the affected users were using their Dropbox credentials on other websites – a common, albeit risky, practice that security proponents staunchly discourage.
The setback for Dropbox is especially disheartening for the company, as the firm’s focus has been largely aimed at the Enterprise space. Having successfully staked a claim to the file sharing market in the consumer realm, Dropbox has held strong confidence in its pursuit of the sought-after Enterprise space. Naysayers are coming out of the woodwork in droves with just the opposite message in mind.
Amazon and Netflix Outage
Back in late June, we posted the news story about Amazon’s EC2 Compute Cloud failures and the Netflix outage. Amazon’s EC2 system in Virginia went offline due to power outages caused by severe storms in the area. The outage knocked the Netflix service offline, frustrating the movie-streaming masses for a short time.
A couple of weeks prior to that event, the EC2 went down for about 7 hours – a near eternity in the perspective of ultra-speed ‘internet time’. Given the big scale brand that is Amazon, and the outspoken trumpeting of its Compute Cloud in previous months, the setback added insult to injury.
If only an isolated singular incident had occurred, the blowback wouldn’t put such a blemish on Enterprise Cloud concepts, but the fact that the outage was repeated sparks a concern.
Looking at these two big-brand blunders, many IT pros would declare the Cloud unfit for Enterprise use or in any manner that widens the service scope to massive scales. But every technology advancement has its pitfalls and failures. The take-away for anyone in the Cloud, whether vendor, consumer or business owner, is to learn from the mistakes and take a more proactive approach.
We recently published an article outlining the effectiveness of Managed Service Providers as a ‘fail-safe’ of sorts for common Cloud breakdowns. Preventative measures and hands-on maintenance under the supervision of technology professionals are key components to the contingency plan. Careful planning and documentation can further allay any emergent events.
Amazon’s lesson was squarely focused on redundancy. Most of us can agree that we aren’t likely to see another power outage cause such a crippling effect to Amazon’s EC2. That’s because they have taken preventative measures to insure against a similar crisis in the future. The luxury for those of us following the trail they blaze is that we enjoy the lesson without the consequence of the misstep.
The lesson Dropbox is learning is much different, and in many eyes more impactful because of the security concerns. Nevertheless, it’s a lesson just the same and avoiding similar occurrences in the future will come from reinforcing vulnerabilities found during the ‘learning process’. Given the significance of hot button issues like privacy, confidentiality and security these days, Cloud service providers will react with their own preventative measures gleaned from Dropbox’s disaster.
The enterprise space is still a viable target for the Cloud. The new technology provides more security and versatility, acting as an FTP replacement, an unprecedented collaborative tool and an infrastructure of accessibility to rival any before it. But at this point, for those of us still watching and learning, we could end up only having ourselves to blame for future failures if we don’t take advantage of the lessons unfolding at the front lines.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 28. July 2012 02:09
While businesses can reap a great multitude of benefits from adopting Cloud platforms, one advantage in particular stands out in the minds of IT leaders: Accessibility. According to a recent survey conducted by CSC and TNS, out of more than 3,500 technology pros, 46% agreed that the benefit of accessibility sets the Cloud apart from other architectures.
While some experts contend there are greater benefits and the findings may surprise some, the appeal of accessibility is easy to see. It allows greater flexibility and streamlined operations for everyone involved, both on the user side and the support side.
Another important factor, ever-present on the minds of business owners, is cost savings. However, despite the positive returns available through Cloud computing and the savings touted by Cloud vendors, only 10% of survey respondents said that the cost savings was the greatest benefit.
While most agree that the bottom line is usually considered as a top priority, the adoption process for new technologies changes the rules. When a company implements a new integrated technology such as Cloud computing, factors like accessibility become imperative advantages.
Traditional programs and software applications are typically installed on local systems, running on your workstation PC or on the local network. In order to utilize those tools, users must be physically present at the site where the software is installed. However, cloud applications run on web-accessible servers and are usually available through website portals and similar online channels. Many such Cloud-based services are even available via mobile devices and smart phones. This places Cloud applications at a tremendously higher level of accessibility than traditional software tools.
The great advantage of accessibility is actually two-fold in terms of the remote-access capability, as this benefits both users as well as the IT crews who are likely working on the platform itself or offering support. These benefits are quite clear, but accessibility isn’t the only factor to consider – what about other equally important concerns such as security…or even usability?
These issues are certainly important, albeit secondary to the crucial nature of accessibility. But the benefits of added security and streamlined usability are rooted more in the Cloud solutions and services offerings, and not so much in the actual architecture of Cloud computing as accessibility is.
Cloud computing has become swiftly and increasingly popular in recent months, driven by vendors offering solutions for an array of tasks including document management, online collaboration and services representing viable FTP replacement options. Discerning the level of security and usability offered with these services will require a closer look at those respective vendors.
The IT industry respondents in the survey mentioned earlier in our article have actually conveyed some sound advice in the numbers. Business owners should consider factors such as accessibility and cost savings first and foremost during a migration to Cloud computing. Security and usability, however, should deserve special focus when shopping for the tools and applications by which your business will leverage the new technology going forward.