Cloud-Hosted Tools Your Business Should Consider

hands on laptop keyboard with cloud concept graphic overlaid

The cloud has provided organizations with countless ways to innovate and improve operations. Still, for those who are just now jumping on this great opportunity, you might have some questions about how to get the most out of the cloud or how even to get started. Let’s discuss some of the major benefits of cloud-hosted tools, as well as why it’s critical to consider them in the years to come.

This is especially important right now, while the world is reeling from a global pandemic. So how can cloud-hosted tools help your organization navigate this territory and optimize operations, despite the circumstances? Let’s find out.

Data Storage

Business professionals often run into a situation where important files are located on one of their devices but not on the others. Even if files are stored on an in-house network, that doesn’t necessarily help you out of the office. The answer to this dilemma is surprisingly simple: implement a cloud-based data storage system.

Cloud-based data storage allows your organization to access data on any connected device, provided the accounts have been outfitted with appropriate permissions. You can work on any file, anytime, from anywhere. When it comes time to travel or work remotely, a cloud-based data storage system means that you will never have access issues again. Since hosting on-premise can be expensive and time-consuming, we recommend hosting your data in the cloud.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

If your business is not prepared to handle data loss scenarios, your future is most certainly in jeopardy. Data stored across different devices can be difficult to keep track of, but if it’s all housed in the same location, i.e., the cloud, it becomes easier to back up and recover in the event of a disaster. While tape may have been the gold standard for a long time, it was prone to several inconsistencies that make it pale compared to the cloud, such as the possibility of user error, risk of natural disasters, and the sheer amount of physical space the tapes can take up.

An automated data backup system that does not rely on anyone setting tapes is the ideal solution, and it’s thanks to the cloud that it is possible. Backups stored in the cloud provide more redundancy than tape, so you will never have to worry about whether or not the data is available. In addition, you can know with confidence that a copy of your data exists for you to recover in the event of an emergency.

Cloud-Hosted Tools

Why limit what the cloud can do for your business to just your data and backup? Instead, imagine what you can accomplish by using the cloud in more creative ways, such as hosting your business’ email or productivity suite on it. Hosting these solutions in the cloud allows for easy access on any approved device, meaning that you are truly freed from the constraints of the office.

You can also apply this principle to hardware solutions to an extent. For example, if you have certain legacy software that only runs on a specific instance of a server operating system, you might normally require an individual server unit for that software alone. Instead of running more hardware, you can instead use a virtual machine with partitioning through the cloud, allowing you to host-specific instances of an operating system in a virtual environment, saving you the headache and frustration of maintaining yet another server unit.

Get Started with the Cloud!

Don’t wait any longer to get started with cloud-based technology. AE Technology Group can help you with the entire process, from conceptualization to implementation. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Cloud Words – IaaS, SaaS, PaaS – What Do All These Mean?

iaas saas paas what do all these cloud words mean

Many industries have a wide array of acronyms they employ in order to define certain industry-specific concepts, products, and services, and the field of information technology is no exception. While technology experts are typically well-versed in the meaning of the various cloud words, for the average layperson, they can present a definite challenge.

Of course, in order to determine which technology services will deliver the best results for a business, it’s important to understand all the various options available. In this post, we will discuss three acronyms used to define cloud services, specifically, IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS, to bring about a clear understanding of what these services have to offer to a variety of corporate settings.

Defining IaaS

IaaS is an acronym for “infrastructure as a service”

Companies who decide to select this type of service often do so because they don’t want to invest in substantial amounts of hardware in order to support their various software packages and apps. Instead, they invest in cloud services such as virtualization and server space to meet their needs. Buying hardware does mean more accessibility and control, however it also comes with a hefty price tag that smaller companies often find off-putting.

While IaaS provides the benefit of reduced costs and the time involved in maintaining hardware,  business owners are still responsible for maintaining their software. This means they either must have some degree of technological expertise to manage this on their own, or they need a dedicated IT person or perhaps a team to provide software support.

Defining SaaS

SaaS stands for “software as a service”

SaaS allows smaller companies to take advantage of pre-built cloud-based apps that have a defined purpose.  Rather than creating a custom software package to perform a task, smaller companies can simply incorporate third-party apps such as Dropbox for their file sharing requirements, or they can use Shopify if they need an eCommerce site platform. While outsourcing certain tasks does have certain advantages in that it may allow companies to get a certain project up and running faster, and they won’t be responsible for maintaining third party applications, there are some downsides.

Employing third-party software apps means a business will have little to no opportunity to customize the app to suit their specific needs.  They also have no control over third-party apps, which lessens their degree of control over potential security issues as well.  In addition, integration may be challenging with SaaS, since third party software may not work with a company’s current overall platform, or a new platform if they decide to change at some point in the future.

PaaS

Last but not least, PaaS stands for “platform as a service”

If a company wants customized software to meet their needs, PaaS  can provide them with the cloud-based tools they need to build their own customized software. With PaaS, developers are given access to a vast library of pre-built elements, so they don’t need to code every process from scratch. Developing, testing, and deploying all happen in one environment, making it generally faster and easier to pump out software applications.

A downside to PaaS is that it is not a good option for companies who work with confidential data, which they may be required to keep on-site by law. Also, for businesses who already have some existing frameworks they would like to keep, this may present a significant challenge when trying to integrate them into a new PaaS platform.  

We’re Here to Help

When it comes to cloud-based platforms and services, there truly isn’t one right or wrong solution. The beauty of having the options such as PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS, is that it allows companies to choose the best solution to meet their specific needs.

If you would like more information on how to select the right cloud-based services for your unique setting, please contact us.

Moving to the Cloud? Nail Down The Contract First

moving to the cloud nail down the contract first
Move to the Cloud Nail Down the Contract

Cloud computing has several advantages for small and medium-sized businesses. It allows easier access to company applications and software while on-the-go. It also frees up small companies to focus on growing their business, rather than getting bogged down maintaining their own technology resources. However, just because a business decides to hire an outside provider to manage their cloud resources, it doesn’t mean they are off the hook when it comes to protecting their most valuable asset — their corporate data.

When interviewing various cloud providers, there are several key points to consider before signing on the dotted line.

Physical Attacks

Just as any in-house servers would be vulnerable to fire, flood, power outages, or a natural disaster, so would the servers of any cloud provider managing a company’s cloud data. Since an organization’s data is the lifeblood of their company, it is critically important to feel comfortable with a potential cloud provider’s plan for protecting data in the case of these types of occurrences.

Security

Of course, it’s no secret that threats to external hackers and data breaches must be addressed, but there are internal threats as well. Just as it is important for companies to limit who is able to access what data within their own group of employees, so it is with any cloud provider they might hire as well. When interviewing potential providers, it’s important for both parties to clearly understand which provider employees will be given access to the client’s data.

A small business should feel comfortable that their cloud provider has strong measures in place to prevent unauthorized access, whether the access is attempted either internally or externally. If a breach or data loss does occur, there must be a clear understanding of what steps the provider will take to recover and correct the situation.

Costs and Flexibility

Of course, it’s very important to have a clear understanding of all the set-up costs associated with transitioning to a cloud provider, as well as long-term billing expectations. Another important factor to consider is whether a cloud provider uses any proprietary technology to service their clients. If they do, it could be difficult to transition to another provider if a small business decides their current provider is not a good fit.

For additional tips about signing a contract with a cloud provider, please contact us.

Cloud Computing – The Future of Disaster Recovery

cloud computing the future of disaster recovery
Cloud Computing

Disasters happen. Whether they be natural or man-made – hurricanes that flood your company’s headquarters or viruses that contaminate your IT department’s servers – the consequences can be devastating.

Studies have shown that 43% of companies that cannot retrieve their data due to a disaster strike never reopen and that 29% of these companies close within two years.

How can your business protect itself in the face of these inevitable calamities? Look to the clouds! Cloud computing offers cost-effective solutions to help your business recover lost data and resume normal operations effectively and efficiently.

Despite its lofty nomenclature, cloud computing is really a down-to-earth concept. In simple terms, cloud computing means relying on the Internet – rather than on hardware – to store the information and programs that are vital to your business. This system allows you to access integral data remotely – an especially handy benefit if, say, your hard drives are corrupted.

Cloud computing, therefore, is essential to disaster recovery. A cloud-based system allows you to make a virtual copy of your company’s server – including the operating system, data, software, and other information contained therein. Because it stores this virtual copy on the Internet, no hardware is required. And if no hardware is required, none can be compromised.

When it comes to disaster recovery, cloud computing can save your business more than just time and money – it can flat out save your business. Even if your headquarters had been located in Pompeii on the day that Vesuvius erupted, cloud computing would have made it possible for you to restart your business (hopefully in a volcano-free zone) with a minimal outlay of money, time, and effort.

Disasters happen. But when they do, cloud computing allows your business to look to the sky and keep its feet on the ground.

The Best Business Benefits of Cloud IT Solutions

the best business benefits of cloud it solutions
Migrating to cloud IT solutions can make your business safer, more future-proof, and more productive. Here are the best business benefits of the service:

Business Continuity

What happens to your business if you get hit by a snow storm in the winter or a hurricane in the summer? With cloud IT solutions, the answer is: not much.

Off-site backups are a great thing. They insure your business against physical harm in case something ever happens to your office. You can more or less remove business downtime from the equation.

Modern Security to Protect Against Modern Hackers

You need current technology to protect your business against current attacks. With cloud IT solutions, you’ll protect your business against data breach now and in the coming years. As the attacks become more sophisticated, so will the technology behind your service.

Flexibility Moving Forward

Who knows how much storage you’ll need in a few years? Alternatively, many businesses experience busy seasons in the summer or winter. With cloud IT solutions, you can always scale your plan up or down so you’re paying for just the right amount of storage. As your needs change, you can update your plan.

Mobile Employees

If your employees spend a lot of time out of the office, then you can let them access their files with cloud IT solutions. This also opens the door to who you can hire, since employees will essentially be able to work from home.

Collaboration

By storing your files and data on the cloud, you can make it easier for employees to collaborate. In general, the more employees work together, the bigger the projects they can complete. Cloud IT solutions make collaboration easy and practical.

Environmentally Friendly

Forget about buying traditional servers that take up lots of physical space. You can reduce your carbon footprint by getting cloud IT solutions and losing your servers. Prospective customers will appreciate your decision to protect the environment.

Cost Savings

Economies of scale make cloud IT solutions relatively cost-effective. This is the same reason why car manufacturers can produce affordable vehicles while it would cost a fortune to put one together yourself. Let the cloud services provider focus on IT while you invest in your core operations.

For more information about the benefits of cloud IT solutions, contact us today.