By Justin Culver
- Posted on 5. September 2014 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 15. August 2014 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. August 2014 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 Justin Culver
- Posted on 25. July 2014 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. July 2014 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 21. July 2012 02:06
The world’s paper consumption comes at the cost of cutting down about 4 billion trees each year. The United States uses about 28% of its lumber for paper, equating to about 71 million tons annually. With sobering statistics like these, plus a gathering storm of environmental woes, businesses and eco-activist organizations are ambitiously pursuing measures by which to reduce such impacts.
While many enterprises, especially those with higher-than-average paper consumption, have begun to implement ‘paperless policies’ as part of sustainability efforts, evidence is mounting that indicates simple digitization might not be enough.
One recent report has shown that, despite a positive rise in digital documents over paper, workplace printers are still spitting out reams of it unnecessarily. For example, the report shows that 77% of electronically transmitted PDF invoices end up in hard copy form.
The take-away for business owners is that, while electronic document management is an essential tool both for streamlining process flows and bolstering sustainability policies, it must be supplemented by awareness, training and a breakaway from the habits driving our need for printed paperwork.
Perhaps those most affected by the plague of paper perpetuation make up the vast majority of the building industry in the U.S. In addition to the forms and documentation common to almost every business, firms in the building space also manage tons of paperwork and files, from drawings and plans to important emails and proposals.
With the advent of Cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) tools (such as our own eTransmittal application) available to Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) firms, paperless policies are becoming easier to implement.
Vendors and solutions developers are offering more solutions with greater diversity aimed at supporting these industries, as well as other high-consumption commercial environments and their sustainability efforts. Still, the paper-piling pandemic remains a process problem, only partially mitigated through digitizing our documentation.
Implementing tools that reduce an organization’s carbon footprint and/or eliminate waste and paper consumption are typically offering greater additional benefits, such as enabling a contractor to send larger files more quickly or keep track of projects with ease. If your firm is investing in these types of tools, just remember that if you truly want to optimize the utility and versatility of these advanced assets, there’s still no fail-safe keeping those documents from ending up in the printer tray.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 7. July 2012 02:42
We can safely agree that Cloud computing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. On the contrary, the trend will grow swiftly as new adopters enter the fray on a daily basis. The boon of benefits surrounding Cloud platforms is simply too attractive to ignore. Among the perks are increased flexibility, lower costs and improved efficiency.
However, as e-tailer giant Amazon has recently exhibited – not once, but twice – in the past few weeks, the Cloud is not quiet yet failure-proof by any means. For an enterprise operating in the Cloud, the importance of stability extends not just throughout the business, but well into many of their clients’ businesses as well.
With so much riding on the solvency of the platform, Cloud failures are, in many perspectives, unacceptable. This is especially true considering that one of the Cloud’s biggest selling points is resilience and redundancy. Sadly, there has been plenty of downtime in the Cloud over the years.
How much downtime specifically? The International Working Group on Cloud Computing Resiliency has the answer. The IWGCR published a report last month detailing the severity of Cloud failures over the past 5 years.
Since 2007, 13 of the most prominent Cloud platforms have endured an estimated 568 hours of downtime according to the report. The estimated price tag for all of that downtime collectively sits at about $71.7 million. That’s a drain of a little over $2,000 per minute!
Few CEOs would willingly jump into a platform with such grossly detrimental downtime, which is abysmal compared to the typically desired 99.999% uptime expectations. The sobering data from the IWGCR report represents a decided and desperate need for quickly actionable solutions.
The problem isn’t an absence of solutions, but rather a minor disconnect between a new architecture (The Cloud) and a time-tested resource by which many of the Cloud failures could have been prevented: A managed IT services partnership.
As more enterprises build more sophisticated Cloud systems, capable of more than the early-adopter applications such as secure file sharing, the stakes go up and the need for IT support grows exponentially.
Most CIOs are well aware of the maintenance, management and contingency planning required to run a successful and stable Cloud infrastructure. Furthermore; the larger the system is, the greater the need for IT management.
In response to the increased demand for Cloud support, many IT providers are developing strategies to aid companies – both in the migration process and beyond – to bolster a platform unexpectedly plagued by what amounts to unacceptable downtime. Smart CEOs will take advantage of the safety net, as the savings from outsourcing IT is sure to outweigh the $35-per-second losses attributed to the Cloud’s poor track record thus far.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 24. June 2012 02:13
How Contractors are netting huge rewards by putting their money where the Cloud is
Back in February, our feature article, “The Secret to Pushing Green Building into the Mainstream” focused on concepts that could improve the adoption rate of Sustainability measures among A/E/C (Architecture/Engineering/Construction) firms. Only a few months have passed, and the trend is catching on like wildfire.
The ‘Secret’ article highlighted the importance of support-based vendors and contractors promoting value in their green-minded offerings. As it turns out, A/E/C firms are quickly discovering that value (and then some) as they internalize green practices – and not without the help of at least one eco-friendly ally in the building industry: ABC Green.
Both the ambitious efforts of ABC and the swiftly growing community of A/E/C businesses pursuing ABC’s Green Contractor Certification program serve to reinforce proof of promising progress resultant from establishing value in green practices.
It appears as though the barrier of justifying investments in sustainability products and policies is rapidly dissipating. Perhaps the most significant evidence to such a claim is the fact that contractors are committing to the cause like never before, by implementing intensive internal sustainability overhauls.
The requirements for companies wishing to net ABC’s prestigious Green Contractor Certificate represent a direct influence within the applicant’s own internal operations – it’s no longer about applying green standards just at the jobsite, and rightly so.
While the program isn’t a newborn (it was established in 2009), we are now entering a period of maturity for the early adopters, as the initial application covers a three-year period. The vastly superior advantages of infusing sustainability measures into the core business, rather than only serving them ‘ala carte’ on projects are now becoming strikingly apparent to those initial applicants such as Oklahoma-based Flintco Constructive Solutions.
We exemplified this type of low-hanging fruit in the form of implementing green-minded measures in our February article by pointing out the bevy of benefits relating to online document management and archiving, including our very own Software as a Service product, eTransmittal.
But there is growing consensus to those benefits elsewhere. Not only does ABC list such requisites for their Green Contractor Certificate as establishing “a policy for archiving documents electronically”, but companies like Flintco are heralding the money- and time-saving returns of implementing cloud-based document management.
An article published this month in Construction Executive magazine entitled “Green From the Inside Out” featured details surrounding Flintco’s three-year venture to internalize their sustainability efforts in line with the ABC Green Contractor Certification requisites.
Cited as one of Flintco’s “biggest operational game-changers resulting from certification” was their new policy governing electronic document storage and submittals. According to the article, the company “no longer runs projects with paper-based documentation, instead relying on digital solutions for three-quarters of its work.”
The list of benefits Flintco touts simply from switching to electronic document management represents an astounding return on investment. Among the rewards realized over the certification period: Postage and shipping cost savings in the hundreds of thousands, flexibility to accelerate project schedules, and the re-positioning of personnel away from paper creation and storage and over to more valuable roles such as quality assurance.
While specific case studies like Flintco carry significant weight, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps one of the most important, albeit subtle, take-aways from such a story isn’t just an encouragement to implement electronic document management, but a rally cry to implement it now. With six-figure savings on the horizon in as little as three years, we doubt too many contractors will be waiting much longer.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 16. June 2012 00:54
IT departments might just want to install revolving doors on their conference rooms across the country as the towering tide of technological tools continues to swell. With no shortage of new devices, services and myriad other digital delights on the horizon, it’s hard to be too selective in pinpointing those that would prove most beneficial for your business.
These five top tech tools, representing our own ‘highlight reel’ of sorts, are perhaps the most significant stand-outs in the realm of new business gadgetry:
Popularity and adoption rates for the virtual environment affectionately known as “The Cloud” are steadily growing. Standing out as a pinnacle of utility in the enterprise space, The Cloud represents a cost-savings opportunity while providing tremendous scalability, flexibility and efficiency. Many SaaS (software as a service) products, secure file sharing tools, web applications and other online services are rooted in the Cloud. Accessibility from anywhere and collaborative benefits are also among the perks enjoyed by those migrating to cloud computing.
The advent of the iPad is perhaps the most notable milestone ushering in the Tablet computing era. Since then, many competitors have entered the market and we’re seeing more and more sophisticated versions of iPads and the other dreamy digital devices that still manage to possess that sharpness and ‘wow’ factor that bolstered their impressiveness at first launch. Incredible versatility, coupled with portability and ease of use are the strong-suits of this device.
Where would all our tablets and smartphones be today without App stores? We’re all familiar with the massive and diverse array of applications, ranging from games to photo editing software and millions more. With such a swift and streamlined integration to our favorite touchscreen devices, App shops have also become a buzzing bazaar for business. The enterprise-level tools available on App stores are becoming more and more sophisticated and approachable, not to mention cost-efficient as fierce competition keeps prices consistently low.
While App stores themselves are key components of today’s technology tools (along with the wares being peddled therein), the mobile computing space is a much bigger animal. More so today than ever, businesses are seeking mobile integration for applications, software tools, online services and their own IT architecture. Implementing this type of versatility with assets that were previously just fine in a stationary PC computing environment is quickly becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
The process of collecting and analyzing data has changed little at the base level throughout the history of modern business, but the escalation in our ability to glean actionable info from this type of analysis has increased exponentially in the past few years. While many powerful new analytical tools exist that can peer into the heart of almost any campaign, tracking report or gobs of marketing research, perhaps the most important advent is integration with business platforms. Analytical tools that are specifically tailored to certain enterprise services and applications are now frequently built directly into the software itself. This melding of marketing mechanics creates an entirely new competitive atmosphere that balances every business’ strengths in market visibility…or at least those early adopters of the new technology.
By Justin Culver
- Posted on 25. May 2012 22:56
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) has long garnered mass popularity as a simple and ‘free’ file sharing tool, making it one of the most approachable resources in a business toolbox. But the illusion that FTP is free belies a much greater, more deceptive long-term cost.
It’s a cost that, over time, will devour a company’s bottom line.
This article represents a huge wake-up call…an undeniable break-through that will change the way you think about FTP as a ‘free’ tool for your everyday business needs.
Forget everything you know about FTP and discover the true costs in our break-down below. Most FTP clients are indeed free to download…but a business can’t run with just the client.
This list represents the typical FTP infrastructure for a business, with approximate costs for each item:
Hardware - $2500 (or more)
While the price will vary depending on the processor on the server and other factors such as hard disk space, a reliable and capable FTP server won’t be cheap. Plan on extra costs such as server operating system software and other oft-forgotten necessities.
Software - $500
There is no shortage of FTP software out there, and some of them are even “free” (although remember there’s no such thing when it comes to FTP). But you won’t just need a client, you’ll need FTP server software, which range widely in price from $200 to $2,000. On average, a solid, cost-effective program can be had for around $500.
Bandwidth/Hosting - $1300 initial, $900 per month
The costs of hardware might actually be pretty easy to swallow in comparison to the rest of the expenses, which will continually sap away your budget. These items are also dynamic resources which might not work how you’d like them to all the time – which means, in the event of problems, you’re tacking on more lost productivity and more evaporating money.
In the case of bandwidth and hosting, plan on forking over around $1,300 just for setup, configuring, backups and other services (especially if you employ a datacenter and your servers end up off-site). After that, you’re probably paying just shy of $1,000 to keep things humming along each month. Bear in mind these costs don’t take into account any issues encountered along the way or any additional services you might need.
Setup & Configuration (1 Day / $600)
Another widely variable cost that you’ll endure is the dreaded set-up and configuration phase. You’ll likely have a couple of in-house techs tackle this tall task, in which case you’re looking at a time and payroll cost of around $600 and a solid day’s work. If you can do all this stuff yourself, bravo! Just calculate how much a full day of your time is worth and use that cost for your projections.
This setup will involve installing and configuring your server OS, setting up security protocols as well as configuring backups, FTP software, permissions, firewalls, IP addresses and the network. Plan for the possibility of additional time (and money) to deal with any necessary patches, troubleshooting or upgrades.
Ongoing Maintenance - $1,800 (or more) per month
The maintenance costs for upkeep on your FTP infrastructure will include any handling by your IT staff as well as any technical support you might get from your datacenter or webhost. On average, the cost runs about $1,800 per month. If your firm is like the many others that use FTP on a daily basis for all necessary file sharing and document management, be sure to budget toward the high end on this item as your users (and your server) will need lots of attention from IT team members.
Emergencies, Breakdowns and Setbacks - $1,100 (or more) per month
Because FTP is not designed to handle the type of work that most companies push through it, the infrastructure is prone to a huge variety of problems. Whether permissions are constantly needing updates, files get lost or overwritten, your hardware fails or you end up draining all your bandwidth too quickly, the end result is the same: You’re forking over more money to patch things up – and this doesn’t even account for the lost revenues endured during the outage.
This list encompasses the base costs typical in most FTP environments in the corporate space. While there are tons of variables and hidden costs not mentioned here, just the base numbers are sobering enough. Now that we have our estimates, let’s add it all up and see how much FTP really costs:
Bandwidth……...……..$1300 + $900/Mo.
Setup & Config….….$600
Crises & Setbacks..$1100/Mo.
The grand total is..................... $4,900 initially, plus $3,800 monthly.
So after a full year, your “free” FTP systems will have cost you about $50,500!!
The best take-away you can get from all this number-crunching is the abandonment of the myth of so-called ‘free FTP’ (‘free’ being most likely the only appealing factor that drew you towards it in the first place). There’s no further reason to use FTP now that the true costs are exposed. Instead, switch to a cloud based FTP Replacement solution that’s designed for the tasks at hand.
If you upgrade to a more optimal tool, you might find that ‘missing’ money or swiftly-draining payroll hours are quickly and significantly mitigated. By ditching FTP, it is entirely possible that you’ll see massive boosts to your bottom line simply by switching to a more effective solution.