Managed Cloud Computing & Hosting
This resource brings you up to speed on cloud computing & hosting solutions, how they work, and why it is the future of modern work.
Cloud Computing is Here to Stay
Phrases like “the cloud is the future of technology”, “the cloud is revolutionary,” and “the cloud will change the way companies run forever” are often thrown around in today’s business world, and for good reason. Cloud computing is perhaps the biggest shift the IT industry has experienced since the introduction of the internet and will create a massive impact in the sector for the foreseeable future.
A recent study from the SMB Group, a technology industry research, analysis and consulting firm based in the US, reported that 92% of small companies now make use of at least one cloud business solution, with 87% using at least one cloud infrastructure solution — these are big numbers. The report also shows that these numbers are expected to rise as more business owners and decision-makers turn to the cloud to support their business model and growth.
“With cloud computing, small businesses can get access to the same types of IT services that were previously only available to large enterprises, for an affordable, predictable monthly price.”
What is the Cloud & Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing defined
Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about cloud computing, but what does it really mean? In layman’s terms, cloud computing is simply a method of storing and accessing data and programs over the internet, as opposed to using the hard drive on your computer for the same purpose. It is a way to utilize a network of computers to store and process information in order to optimize performance.
“Instead of backing up data on site, small businesses can sign up for online backup and disaster recovery services that store and save all their crucial data in a secured and remote location, recoverable at a moment’s notice.”
Why businesses are moving to the cloud
In the past, if you wanted to take your files with you, you would have had to save them to a USB flash drive, external hard drive, or compact disk. But if something were to happen to your portable storage, all your precious data would be at risk of being damaged beyond recovery, or even lost entirely. Saving files to the cloud, however, allows you to access them from wherever, whenever, and from any device that has an internet connection. The cloud makes it possible for you to easily share documents with coworkers or friends, too, allowing for more efficient collaboration.
What Does the Cloud Look Like?
How is your data stored in the cloud?
When you transition your data to the cloud, it has nothing to do with the white, fluffy clouds floating in the sky. What it does mean, is that your data is being stored on a physical server in a secure Data Centre — usually more than one — in some far-flung place. This network of servers, most likely maintained by a cloud storage service provider, uses computing power to store data, run applications and deliver services via the internet.
Some cloud hosting examples
Cloud computing is everywhere, and it is deeply embedded into our personal and business lives in ways we might not have even considered. It is highly likely that you’ve already used one, if not many, cloud computing services. Here are just a few:
Google offers a myriad of widely used and popular digital tools, such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. With Google Drive, you can collaborate with colleagues, and share and sync files online with ease.
Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) from Microsoft gives your business users the ability to share, view and edit documents online in real-time, allowing for more productivity, flexibility, and efficiency in the workplace.
Cloud hosting/computing can be as simple as using web-based applications to send emails. Using a cloud-hosted email solution gives you the opportunity to access your emails from any place in the world.
With cloud computing, backing up files has never been easier. Instead of saving backups to physical storage devices, users are able to secure their data in well-protected offsite servers, all of which are accessible and restorable via the internet.
Why You Should Care About the Cloud
If you’re like most business owners, you simply don’t have the time, budget, or expertise necessary to buy, deploy, and manage the computing infrastructure needed to run business applications on your own. Cloud computing is the 21st-century solution to all these complexities. As a user, you can access all the latest, most advanced programs and web-based applications you need to run your business smoothly.
Still doubt the true power of cloud computing? Honestly consider these compelling benefits, and you might change your mind.
“Cloud computing has leveled the playing field for small businesses to compete against their larger competitors, in terms of IT infrastructure.”
The days when work was confined to a four-wall office with locked doors are long gone. The number of companies that allow their employees to telecommute is on the rise every year, thanks to developments in cloud computing. Here are some ways you can use the cloud to enable a mobile workforce:
Email access has never been easier, since messages are stored on servers rather than on a local computer, and are accessible from any device that has an internet connection.
Store files in the cloud
There’s no need to bring files stored on USB sticks with you. As long as you have access to the internet, your most important business files are just a few clicks away.
Through the use of web-based applications that run within browsers, employees are able to share, edit, and sync documents from anywhere, and at any time.
Ditch the traditional method of taking notes on paper. With advanced note-taking applications, your files will always be up-to-date, sharable, and accessible on any device.
Working remotely opens up new possibilities for small businesses and countless benefits that are often overlooked by business owners. For one, allowing your staff to work from a location of their choice can enhance productivity by cutting down on travel time and commuting problems for a start.
Employees can work on the move and make use of the many cloud-based business applications in development. And the cloud’s ability to enhance collaboration and communication is invaluable to a company, both internally and externally.
Scalable user management
One of the key benefits of using the cloud is its scalability. For organizations that have ever-changing computing capacity needs, the cloud offers the ability to seamlessly add or remove user accounts, storage, and memory capacity. For example, if you need to add 10 new users to a system, the cloud has the necessary resources to be able to expand quickly to those users. Reducing the number of users is just as simple.
Flexible plans and pricing
Many cloud service providers offer affordable, pay-as-you-go pricing models, which means you are free to upgrade or downgrade your plan whenever you need to. In effect, you’re no longer bound to systems that can only move in one direction but can instead benefit from technology that grows along with your business and adapts to your evolving requirements.
“One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is the ability to scale on demand to efficiently handle an influx of traffic and service requests.”
Backup and Disaster Recovery
Data loss dilemma
Can you afford to have your business operations halted for days, or even weeks, due to data loss or corruption? Could you withstand a disaster without a proper data backup plan in place? Clued-in business owners know better than anyone that failing to prepare for the loss of their data could cripple their company.
Cloud computing and business continuity
Many companies are now embracing a cloud-based solution to support their disaster recovery schemes, as there are many technical and security benefits. Cloud computing allows for quick data recovery, high availability, and customization, all at a much lower price point than those of most traditional disaster recovery methods.
Here are some of the key benefits you get from backup and disaster recovery in the cloud:
Better data protection
Cloud-based backups ensure that your valuable data is protected with best-in-class encryption and multiple layers of security.
Ease of use
Most cloud disaster recovery solutions have simple web-based management systems and user interfaces.
Deployment can be done in a matter of minutes with easy-to-use setup and configuration wizards.
Integration with existing IT
Most cloud solutions work seamlessly with existing storage devices, applications, and operating systems.
Security threats are on the rise
The number of cloud users increases every year, and there’s no sign of it slowing down. The cloud has become a reliable and trusted place for business users to store their documents and private data. But with all the news about cybersecurity breaches and information hacking, keeping your data safe has never been more important.
Cloud Computing’s powerful protection
Reputable cloud service providers have security measures that far exceed those of most small- and medium-sized businesses. These service providers often employ the best engineers and technicians and utilize optimized infrastructures for superior levels of cloud security.
“Cloud computing ensures maximum data security with strong encryption, secure authentication, and advanced admin control panel.”
Controlled & Reduced Costs
Lower IT expenses
The savings companies gain from implementing cloud computing can be significant. Investing five or six figures on hardware and software installation, management and maintenance cost in most cases, will eventually become a thing of the past. Cloud service providers build highly available/redundant infrastructures that most small and medium-sized companies would not be able to afford.
Infrastructure costs aren’t the only thing you can reduce when you opt for the cloud, either. Cloud computing consumes less electricity, does not require expensive real estate space in your office, or required dedicated A/C cooling and fire suppressant systems for your server room. All of this translates into overall savings in upfront expenditures, along with reduced energy costs and overall operating costs.
More reliability, less downtime
Most small- and medium-sized companies only need one or two servers, and if they’re being maintained onsite, all it takes is one issue to bring their entire business to a standstill. Even something as simple as installing a new hard drive could leave your employees twiddling their thumbs for half a day, or more. A malware infection would cause even more downtime and would be more likely because having fewer servers means easier work for cybercriminals.
In the cloud, there is no single point of failure. Cloud providers are structured in such a way that if one of the servers you use went down, another would assume the workload with zero interruption of service. In fact, most providers guarantee that on average their service will never go down for more than 90 seconds per day. Even multimillion-dollar companies have more downtime than that!
To review, cloud computing means lower short-term expenses for small businesses, thanks to the need for less hardware, software, support, electricity and human resources. And in the long term, you experience less downtime and fewer security exposures.
The cloud is here to stay, but the question is: Are you ready to take advantage of this groundbreaking technology? If the answer is an enthusiastic “yes,” get in touch with our tech experts today and we’ll be happy to show you how.
Virtual Cloud Desktops
Eliminate the huge expense of desktop computers
Purchasing, managing and maintaining desktop computers are expensive. It is not only the initial cost of the computer that is expensive but also the cost of deploying software updates and upgrades to each, managing the security on every computer and then having to replace them every 3 to 4 years. Virtual Cloud Desktops allows you to deliver a virtual Windows desktop to any device (inexpensive, long-lasting thin clients in the office), for much less money than the cost of desktop computer ownership.
Cloud computing and virtual desktops
Cloud technology makes desktops significantly more affordable because an operating system and all its associated applications and processing power can be delivered from the cloud via the internet. They allow you to support more users, maximize efficiency, and eliminate a huge portion of your IT expenses.
Here are some of the key benefits you get from virtual cloud desktops:
A complete computing experience
All you need is an internet connection and a barebones computer to enjoy robust processing power and all the computing resources your users need, right from the cloud.
Optimized, up-to-date, and centrally managed desktops increase security and minimize technical issues.
Ease of use
Support, upgrades, and maintenance are all taken care of by your service provider so you’ll always have the latest technology without management hassles.
Reduced investment costs
Computing workloads that are accessible over the internet minimize your reliance on expensive workstations, which will reduce your upfront investments in equipment that will only depreciate in value.
Discover what cloud computing and hosting can do for your organization
Curious how these methods can skyrocket your business’s productivity, and even save you money?
Call us today (416-860-7555) or contact us below, to talk with one of our seasoned consultants. We’re happy to answer your questions, provide recommendations, and audit your current IT network.