Cloud-Based File Storage Programs Enhance Business Collaboration, Safety and Simplicity

 

It’s become quite clear to us how valuable collaboration is to the health of a business in today’s marketplace. Today’s businesses cannot afford to have staff waiting around, in order to get access to the tools they need, so they can do the job.

As businesses grow from small teams to larger organizations, there is a growing need to communicate and collaborate effectively. The problem that central data storage solves is that it gives everyone on the team the ability to immediately retrieve, backup and share mission-critical files in real-time. Salespeople no longer need to wait around for support staff to send them follow-up files for customer contact. Managers can instantly access subordinate data in order to make sure that work is getting accomplished. In sum, everyone can get what they need, when they need it, wherever they are, without having to wait on other people.

 

When evaluating cloud-based data storage services, two primary concerns for businesses are security and ease-of-use. One of the pioneers of cloud-based data storage, Dropbox.com, is clearly a simple-to-use solution, yet they lack in security. According to Business Insider, “Nearly 7 million Dropbox usernames and passwords have been hacked, apparently via third-party services that hackers were able to strip the login information from.”  This security breach has huge implications for other off-the-shelf data solutions in that they lack the foundational feature of data storage technology; it must keep your company data safe

 

The second key factor is to examine a solution’s simplicity and ease-of-use. With many providers data storage can be set up at a secure physical location and a central file repository can work well within the confines of an office. Unfortunately, this falls short for the “71 percent of businesses who require technology that enables their staff to work anywhere, at any time.” Solutions that are cloud-based and work independently of employee location are clearly superior.

 

At Prime, we have a number of excellent data storage solutions available for business users. Feel free to reach out to us and let’s get the conversation started.

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Got Cloud Voice? Don’t Let Your Competitor Beat You to It

Why cloud voice

It’s no secret that the business world isn’t what it used to be. Simply put, the old age of operating within the normal hours of 8-5pm is an outdated paradigm. The traditional workforce is no longer the norm and remote workforces continue to grow in number because of the drastic reduction in overhead and increases in employee satisfaction. While this level of flexibility was unavailable in years prior, expanded capacities offered by the latest in technology have made this new working environment possible. This new environment is also enabling businesses to keep their customers happier than ever before. Companies leveraging the latest technologies, like cloud voice, are able to keep their customers happy 24/7, which is leaving their competition in the dust. The business leaders who have shifted their mindsets in order to take advantage of these new opportunities are being rewarded handsomely.

One problem that virtually every company faces is the need for quick responses. This is especially true of inbound customer calls. In the past, when a customer would call-in and seek immediate support, companies would typically juggle the phone call between departments, until the customer was frustrated and then eventually transfer the call out to a manager’s cell phone, where they would usually have to leave a voice mail and wait for a call back. As you can expect, it didn’t take businesses long to realize that this way of conducting business was completely unacceptable and damaging relationships.

Companies have solved this problem with Cloud Voice phone systems. Since these systems operate “in the cloud” they are no longer tied to a single physical location and can accommodate the flexible workforce better than ever before. Best of all, the corporate experience is maintained all the way through and calls are handled with more elegance and professionalism than ever before. From the customer’s perspective, it’s as if these two were sitting right next to each other, collaborating on the issue at hand and resolving it as quickly as possible. The bottom line here is that when customers feel important and valued, they will continue to do business with any company. This is a rarity in today’s marketplace and technology is transcending these limitations better than ever before and this is making it much tougher for outdated companies to compete.

Also, today’s leading companies utilize cloud voice in order to assign “Find Me Anywhere” numbers to staff, which are essentially single numbers that will call the office phone, then cycle to their cell phone, then cycle to other staff members, so that customers can reach the exact department they need, without being stuck on-hold for long periods of time. These numbers can also be configured to all ring simultaneously, so anyone that can solve that exact customer problem can handle it immediately. Reduced wait times and instant connections with the right person are huge advantages for today’s organizations over their competitors. Imagine if your customers never had to wait on-hold again and that they got their problems resolved in only one-step. This is another way in which Cloud Voice is creating competitive advantages.

A superior customer experience is only one reason why more organizations are embracing this technology at an increasing rate. A significant reason that companies are utilizing this technology is because there is no risk. Prime Telecommunications, has created an innovative program to get this type of technology in the hands of business owners without making them invest in equipment which has required large, up-front, capital outlays in the past. Business owners can get access to all equipment and services without any substantial expense as cloud voice can now be acquired on a month-to-month agreement, which incentivizes performance and satisfaction across the board.

Since the barriers to entry for cloud voice are lower than they have ever been, it’s no surprise that this is gaining widespread adoption. Businesses need to be aware of these solutions and need to take advantage of these opportunities to get a leg up on their competitors as soon as possible, before they’re beat to the punch.

 

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Cloud Collaboration is the New Normal

CollaborationCollaboration in business used to be about face-to-face communication, involving brainstorming, notepads, extensive meetings and a single-office environment. Today, it’s all about creating similar engagement and teamwork, but without the limitation of a single location or physical closeness. This step forward is possible and popular thanks to cloud collaboration tools.

Cloud Collaboration Defined

Cloud collaboration is already extremely popular in both the consumer and business worlds. Its power lies in allowing people to work together on documents, or other data types, simultaneously. Current cloud collaboration tools include cloud word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software, as well as file sharing. The magic of cloud collaboration is that it allows people to share and edit projects at the same time. Many cloud collaboration applications also include communication tools, like chat, accessibility tools to limit who can view and edit the document, and the ability to see who else is working on the project.

It works like this:

  1. One user, from any device and any location, creates a project.
  2. This user can then extend access to others, sharing the ability to make live changes to this project.
  3. These changes are saved and synced, offering every user the same live view. And even if you make the changes offline, they will sync up as soon as you go online again!

Business Benefits of Cloud Collaboration

Email was previously the most popular way for businesses to share documents among employees. The downsides of this method included restrictions on file sizes and the fact that multiple people couldn’t work on something at the same time. Additionally, it’s easy to lose the latest version of a file when edits are constantly being sent back and forth. Ultimately, this method is unproductive.

Cloud collaboration tools, on the other hand, increase employee efficiency and productivity. They empower employees to more effectively and freely interact with each other, enhancing team communication. These applications also improve teamwork and innovation, as ideas are exchanged more easily.

Cloud collaboration tools also maintain one of the most popular benefits of cloud computing: anywhere, anytime access. These tools promote on-the-go productivity and remove the geographical barrier that used to accompany collaboration in business. This means that an employee from one side of the globe can successfully work on a project with an employee on the other side of the globe.

When it comes to the IT team, there are sometimes worries about implementing new technology. However, cloud collaboration software actually requires less maintenance than in-house options, allowing an IT team to focus their attention on more lucrative business endeavors. And since the applications are hosted externally in a provider’s data center, businesses will most likely experience higher availability and better support. A business can also quit worrying about file loss, as these documents and projects will be securely backed up and protected in the cloud environment.

We’re living in a mobile world, so it’s important to have mobile business solutions. Cloud collaboration tools provide this mobility, maximizing employees’ time, no matter where they are. It’s easy and productive to collaborate with coworkers at any time, in any location. A business will enjoy the increased productivity and efficiency, while employees will appreciate the freedom and ease.

8 Signs You Should Invest in the Cloud

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The word “cloud” may have bounced in and out of conversations at your office, but you’re still not 100% sure it’s for you. You’re waiting for some sort of sign that it’s worth your time. Luckily, we have eight. If any of these sound like your business, it might be time to invest in the cloud.

You’re looking to upgrade your software.

With cloud software, the upgrades are automatic. You don’t need to repurchase the latest version every time you want to update. You pay for your business applications on a subscription basis – think of how you’d pay for a magazine – and updates are included! And when you want to add new software, you don’t need one of your IT guys running around installing it on every single device. Instead, it’s accessible through the cloud and can be ready to go in minutes, rather than hours or days. And if you realize you don’t need a certain application anymore, you can simply cancel the subscription and be left with no waste!

You’re in need of a hardware refresh.

In the cloud, the hardware becomes the provider’s job. When you want to be working on state-of-the-art hardware, but just don’t have the bucks to spend, cloud computing is the answer. You’re not the one who invests in and maintains the hardware – the provider is! You simply get the benefit of real-time, flexible storage and modern equipment that you don’t have to manage yourself. This frees up both time and money.

You want a data backup plan.

The cloud is able to protect data both virtually and physically, with a dedicated team in place that’s available around the clock. Despite some concerns about cloud security, it has proven itself over and over in recent years. Cloud providers are paid to keep client data safe. Support and backup become their primary focus, when it couldn’t always be yours. With the cloud, businesses avoid losing data in accidents. Redundant, geographically diverse data centers keep data up and running no matter what. It’s the best backup plan, protecting a business even if its primary location or one of the data centers is damaged.

You’re looking to cut down on CapEx.

Then you’re looking in the right place. Cloud moves much of CapEx to OpEx, thanks to the pay-as-you-go model. Businesses end up paying for what they need, as they need it, rather than spending a lot upfront for resources they might not even end up using. With the cloud, many costs shift to the provider, including costs of infrastructure and maintenance, so it’s easier for organizations to decrease spending.

You want your employees to have greater flexibility.

They should have immense flexibility, especially in today’s modern, mobile business world. The cloud provides employees with anytime, anywhere access to company data and apps, on any device. This includes laptops, smartphones and tablets. The user simply connects to the company workspace using their login, and they’re good to go. When employees can work remotely, opportunities open up for a business. It’s easier to expand geographically, that’s for sure. Users have an easier time computing, connecting and responding with this flexibility too. The cloud creates seamless access across multiple devices, which employees and businesses will certainly appreciate.

You’re interested in implementing BYOD.

BYOD not only adds flexibility, but it can cut down on costs. The “Bring Your Own Device” trend puts the responsibility into the employees hands. Rather than a business purchasing devices and updating them regularly, it’s up to the users. This can be empowering, as employees can use devices they’re comfortable with, and know that they have a choice in how they work.

You want to focus your IT resources in new or different areas.

IT was traditionally more of a maintenance role, but with the cloud, many of those responsibilities move to the provider. Instead, IT personnel can transition into leaders and strategists, leading your business towards innovation. They can focus more on ever-changing technology, delivering business value, focusing on growth and the competitive landscape, identifying problems and solutions, and choosing which new tools to implement.

You’re rapidly growing.

Scalability is a key benefit of the cloud. It’s always one of the first things you hear about, and that’s because it accommodates ever-changing business demands. If your business is rapidly growing, it gets really expensive and complicated to continue updating resources. With the cloud, when you need more resources, you get them instantly. There’s virtually unlimited space in the cloud, making it easy to get more when you need it, and then scale back down again as things calm down.

Why Enterprises Should Love the Cloud

Individuals and small businesses have been quick to board the cloud computing train. Enterprises, on the other hand, have lagged a bit behind. This is due to many reasons, one major one being security concerns. However, it seems that big businesses are finally finding their way to the cloud. A recent study by IDG found that 69% of enterprises have applications or infrastructure running in the cloud already. Furthermore, by the end of 2015, 24% of IT budgets will be allocated to cloud solutions.

Avoid major costs.

Businesses of all sizes inevitably end up facing the moment of needing to centralize or upgrade technology. This leads to major costs, including those of purchasing new hardware and software, installation and maintenance. The switch to the cloud not only saves the IT team time and stress, but also a lot of money, as the cloud vendor takes on the responsibilities of purchasing, installing, managing and maintaining the infrastructure powering your cloud solution.

Renting cloud applications will probably end up being cheaper than purchasing these programs outright – especially when you’re getting the latest updates along with your subscription. Energy costs will also go down because the big businesses won’t be powering huge server rooms. This leads to possibly millions saved in electricity costs. And by having the flexibility to choose which features and services you want in the cloud, enterprises avoid costs that don’t apply to their needs, because ultimately, it’s up to them!

Ubiquity is key.

Employee mobility is a huge driver to cloud adoption. Cloud allows data and programs to be available on any device, in any location, as long as the employee has their authorized login information and Internet access. This is huge! 73% of enterprises are already seeing improved business performance since implementing cloud-based apps and strategies. When employees can be as productive away from the office as they are in it, efficiency will increase substantially. And for large businesses that have multiple locations, possibly globally, this ability is key. It allows your users to remain collaborative and connected, no matter where they are. Better yet, cloud technology is easy for users to get a hang of, so they can get started right away.

Handle limitless data.

Cloud offers enterprises the ability to handle limitless amounts of data quickly and efficiently. If your business needs to expand quickly, cloud allows you to add the resources you need then and there. Companies can meet the needs and expectations of clients and employees, while adding competitive advantage and capitalizing on various business opportunities.

With the scalability of cloud computing, large businesses can meet demands in peak times, like holidays or during large projects. With traditional computing, there’s always the risk of not having enough capacity to meet these demands, or purchasing too much and not fully utilizing it. With the cloud, it’s much more flexible and accurate. You get the capacity you need, exactly when you need it. And when you want to scale back again, it’s easy.

Security is reliable.

Yes, this has been a huge obstacle for big businesses, but many are finally beginning to see that cloud security is reliable. The concern is understandable, as enterprises have to worry about company and customer data, as well as compliance with industry regulations.

However, let’s be clear: cloud security is not inherently less than the existing security of enterprises today. Cloud providers tend to have greater access to the necessary resources to provide great security, and they employ experts in the field. Client security is their top concern, as their business relies on it. They conduct continuous monitoring and auditing, and are able to address irregular activity right away without interrupting your daily operations. It’s on the enterprise to check that all criteria is met when it comes to security before moving to the cloud, and that relies on researching and choosing a reputable cloud vendor.

Take advantage of big data.

Big data allows businesses to conduct advanced analysis on their databases. Cloud computing and big data offer businesses the opportunity to crunch large amounts of data, and therefore react faster to any changes in the market. This quick response is possible within a reliable and secure cloud model.

Cloud computing allows businesses to store huge amounts of data, but it also provides the ability to sift through and analyze it all. This gives enterprises a competitive advantage and the chance to gain the intelligence needed to grow, innovate and create realistic business goals.

Implementing cloud computing into your large company doesn’t have to mean conducting a complete overhaul. The point of cloud technology is that you can apply it where it works best for you, whether you’re a big or small company.Most enterprises will begin with small steps and then pick up speed as they gain greater confidence in cloud computing.

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Don’t Make these 5 Cloud Migration Mistakes

Don’t Make These 5 Cloud Migration Mistakes

The cloud has many benefits that countless businesses are taking advantage of today. But this convenience and efficiency doesn’t happen with a snap of your fingers. A smooth and smart cloud migration takes preparation. Here are five mistakes to avoid when moving to the cloud:

1. Assuming All Clouds Are Equal

Just as your business brings its a unique set of goals and requirements for moving to the cloud, each cloud provider has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. You can’t assume that a solution working for another business will automatically work for yours. There’s a wide array of providers and cloud services, so you need to choose the best one to fulfill your needs. You will go about the transition differently than the company next door.

Additionally, there are different cloud options, and you need to know which one(s) you want. Does your business need a private, public or hybrid cloud environment? Are you a small or large organization? Do you need IaaS, PaaS or SaaS? Different workloads mean different clouds! It’s definitely worth your business’ time to evaluate the options and make the most informed choice. The decision to move to the cloud isn’t just a yes or no one. It’s all about the “how,” “when,” and “which.”

2. Not Doing Your Homework

Yes, you have to do some work first!

Businesses commonly think that the first step to the cloud is searching outside the organization for a provider, but this skips a crucial personal evaluation.

Instead, you should first look inside your organization to identify your own needs, current environment and spending, usage, and hopes or expectations for the cloud. Only then can you move on and thoroughly research and identify providers that suit your business.

The perfect provider is one that lines up with your needs and goals. To determine this, reach out to multiple providers and be prepared to ask questions. What exact security measures do they have in place? Can they meet your compliance needs? How involved are they? What’s their specialty? The answers to these types of questions are key.

3. Moving Too Fast

It’s okay to start small! In fact, we recommend it.

Faster doesn’t mean better. There’s a difference between proactivity and rushing. In fact, moving too fast will likely result in unpreparedness. Take time to consider what makes the most sense in the cloud and be prepared from the get-go.

You can take a test drive by moving a non-critical application to the cloud that will still make a positive business impact, like a collaborative tool. Once you’re comfortable, confident and more experienced, it’s easy to repeat and eventually you can start taking bigger steps.

This calculated pace allows you to learn more about the cloud as you go, and drives consistent, positive change across your business.

4. Thinking It’s All or Nothing

Just as you don’t have to migrate all at once, you also don’t have to move all functionality to the cloud. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Some applications will make sense in the cloud while others might not be worth it. Always weigh the pros and cons of moving tools and resources into the cloud. Choose whatever makes sense for YOUR organization, and then you can develop the perfect cloud solution.

It’s helpful to prioritize the applications and tools that need to be moved, while considering if the move maintains cost efficiency, usability and security.

5. Not Doing Your Part

The relationship between a business and its cloud provider is an important one. While the provider obviously shoulders the majority of the responsibility, your organization still has to do its part.

You should have an internal team that develops your cloud strategy and ensures you are using the cloud in the best way possible for your business. It’s also important to communicate with your team and educate your employees on why the cloud move is happening. You might initially face resistance, but by demonstrating the benefits of the migration, the team will be more willing to learn about the new cloud services. Involve your employees in each step and keep them informed – this ensures a smooth transition and builds trust.

Additionally, security is up to both parties. The provider will certainly have hefty security measures in place, but you can take steps on your end as well. Make sure your users are creating secure passwords and you have policies in place in regards to personal device usage and data access. Setting these expectations will help keep your information safe.

Cloud For Non Profits

Cloud for non ProfitsThe cloud comes with many benefits such as ease and convenience for organizations with little-to-no IT staff, cost efficiency, and the reduction in CapEx due to the eliminated need to purchase hardware. Non-profit companies can realize many of these benefits by moving their infrastructure and computing from on-site to off-site, eliminating a lot of the responsibility, hassle, and cost from managing in-house hardware.

According to Nonprofit Technology Network1’s survey,over 90% of respondents use some kind of cloud-based software, and 80% use more than one cloud solution for non-critical applications. But the benefits of cloud computing technology can expand beyond that.

Why the cloud?

So how can cloud computing address the issues and obstacles that organizations have to deal with? There are multiple ways.

Cloud computing leads to improved efficiency, which is useful for any type of organization. Additionally, moving to the cloud can reduce costs by eliminating the refresh cycle of hardware as well as management and monitoring. The cloud can help increase visibility, and allows organizations to benefit from the latest advancements in technology, especially when it comes to security, compliance and data privacy.

Cloud computing has already been proven as a valuable resource for organizations, but of course, it takes some preliminary research to get the best solution. Choosing a great provider is key, as is defining organizational strengths and weaknesses. Cloud computing can address the specific needs of a nonprofit, due to its wide range of benefits and customizable nature. What’s better than fixing your exact problems while saving money and re-focusing your team?

Now, let’s delve deeper into the benefits of cloud computing.


Mobility

The cloud allows organizations to benefit from flexibility and accessibility, but this is especially beneficial for nonprofits. These organizations have people working everywhere – there are constant off-site projects happening, remote writers or participants, and board members who are constantly on the road. With cloud computing, it’s easy to access data from any location, at any time, using any computing device. That means 24x7x365 access to necessary information. Better yet, it’s easy to collaborate and share data with users, regardless of location. These organizations have to be flexible, and with the cloud, they can be. This will improve efficiency and allow for real-time communication, action and insight.

Cost Savings

With cloud computing, nonprofit organizations can eliminate hardware, software and IT costs, lowering their Total Cost of Ownership and moving their focus to more important things. Things like older hardware that may be closer to replacement time can have it’s life extended since the cloud operates independently from the physical hardware. The cloud provider handles the equipment, installation, maintenance, upgrades and time commitment of the necessary computing resources. The nonprofit, on the other hand, simply pays to use these resources via a pay-as-you-go plan. This means a nonprofit organization can use the resources it needs, when it needs them, while scaling back whenever necessary.

Security

In a TechSoup survey of nonprofits, 45% of respondents cited data security as a major concern about cloud computing.Just like any other organization, nonprofits need to make sure they’re secure! Nonprofits face increased compliance and privacy requirements, so security is top of mind. With the cloud, organizations have availability to enterprise-level hardware and security without the expense of purchasing it all. By consuming their “piece of the pie” an orgnaization is able to experience high-level security within some of the best data centers in the country. Thanks to the cloud, organizations of all sizes and all backgrounds can experience the benefits of top notch security, backups and disaster recovery, regardless of budget.

Nonprofit organizations don’t always have availability to resources when it comes to IT and data security. Cloud providers can become that resource. They invest a lot in computing and security expertise and resources, allowing nonprofits to benefit from higher levels of security than they ever could have previously been able to access.

Rather than using a few resources, or picking and choosing what’s absolutely essential, nonprofits can have it all. They can access everything they need for at budget-friendly prices. The cloud vendor simply helps incorporate the latest standards and controls.

Focus

Thanks to the scalability, reduced costs, security and mobility that the cloud provides, nonprofit organizations have a chance to re-focus and strengthen their efforts. With cloud computing, nonprofits can better manage outreach and fundraising and focus both their attention and resources on their causes, advocacy and extremely important work.

According to Blackbaud, the majority of nonprofits are already using the cloud for common tasks like file storage and email, but only about 15% are using it as a greater resource than that. Few nonprofits currently use the cloud for accounting, fundraising database resources or mission-critical applications. And it’s time to change that! The cloud model allows nonprofits, along with other organizations, to take advantage of the greatest IT services and resources without needing sophisticated technology knowledge or huge budgets. Instead, nonprofits are able to focus on their mission, while the provider handles the rest. 

4 Top IT Decisions that Business Owners/CEOs Will Have to Make in 2015

In today’s business environment, owners need to assess the advancement in all technological areas, but paying special attention to these four areas will yield exponential benefits in the next calendar year. Here are the four decisions that need to be made:

Is It Time for Me to Downsize My In-House IT Department? IT departments have long served as a vital support structure for ensuring that all business operations run smoothly. However, as more software and hardware applications migrate to “the cloud” and the number of managed services providers grows, businesses need to start taking a hard look at whether or not it is fiscally responsible for them to pay for full-time IT staff. Advancements have made it possible for remote technicians to fix computer problems off-site and run constant monitoring, management and data optimization software to improve the efficiencies of a company’s network. In many cases, entire teams are used to ensure optimum network performance, something that a single employee cannot hope to deliver consistently. As the playing field has leveled, more sophisticated tools have been developed, making this job even more competitive. In fact, many large organizations are beginning to outsource key areas of their IT operations entirely, and it is not long before outsourced IT departments are commonplace.

Downnsize IT Department

How Can I Secure My Network From Threats? With cybercrimes on the rise, more and more businesses are beginning to take proper precautions to prevent company downtime or data loss. Spyware, malware, data backup and anti-virus protection are all vital to the economic well-being of any stable business. In emergency or negligence situations, critical data loss can set teams back for weeks and put a giant damper on productivity. Many businesses are reexamining their Acceptable Internet Usage Policies (AUPs), to make sure that employees are only visiting work-related sites when at the office. These types of threats are usually found on dangerous websites, which can be eliminated entirely with simple site filtering tools that restrict access to unnecessarily volatile sites. Many companies see this need, especially in the case where businesses derive funding from institutional and private investors. These organizations are often required to spend a significant portion of their yearly budget on security enhancing technologies to make sure that all sensitive information remains perpetually protected.

Network Security

Big Capital Expenditures or Small Cloud Transition Costs? With servers and telephony shifting from the standard on-premise solution of old, to more software-centric and remote operation, many businesses are choosing to invest heavily in the transition to the cloud. The biggest driving factor behind this decision is that from a financial standpoint, most businesses want to upgrade their technology, but don’t want to create a large amount of capital expenditures, which constrain financial resources. Technologies with rental programs, or lowered total cost structures are increasingly popular because of their minimal impact on a budget. With plenty of equipment nearly obsolete, many businesses are investigating technologies which leverage a fixed-cost of ownership in their cost structure. This helps businesses avoid big capital expenditures, keeping them lean and mean for the next year.

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What’s Our Policy Regarding Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD)? Networks are the backbone of any business. However, when employees bring their own devices onto the network, they can often disrupt the infrastructure and slow the overall speed of the network drastically. Furthermore, these devices can pose as security threats when they are not properly configured to run in concert with all of the other technology endpoints on the existing network. It’s a complex web and network design is an intricate process, which is absolutely essential to get right. Some businesses refuse to let people bring their own devices onto the network, yet the vast majority of businesses allow employees to bring their own mobile devices onto the network, as long as they are properly configured by a leading technology specialist. That way, employees can utilize the tools they feel most comfortable with, without derailing anyone else’s performance on the network.

Bring your Own Device

 

Want to know more? Need help in talking out your decisions? Give us a call at 847 329 8600 and let’s begin the discussion.

5 Ways to Convince Your CIO to Move to the Cloud

CIO-priorities

Chief Information Officer.

The meaning of that title has changed pretty drastically since the introduction of cloud computing. Traditionally the CIO focused on purchasing hardware and software, overseeing implementation, maintenance and security, and simply making sure everything worked.

Then came the cloud and an absolute reliance on technology in the business world. Suddenly, everything has to be better and faster, but also cheaper. The CIO has turned into a leader and strategist, instead of simply a maintenance person. This role includes keeping up with ever-changing technology, delivering business value, focusing on growth and the competitive landscape, identifying problems and solutions and choosing new tools to implement. Though the role has changed, it will continue to be valuable and demanding.

But some CIOs still haven’t moved to the cloud, despite it’s impact on the role. There are many reasons to make the move, and the CIO and business will ultimately benefit. Here are five convincing reasons to move to the cloud:

1. Spend Less and Get More

With a utility-based payment model, the cloud has proven to be extremely cost effective. The technology reduces operational costs overall, while also saving in countless other areas. Organizations will reduce IT spending, as well as spending on purchasing and maintaining expensive hardware. And since the cloud provider manages upgrades and maintenance, the IT team is free to tackle other important projects. While these savings occur, businesses simply pay a monthly fee, based on their usage of the cloud services. The cloud makes computing and IT resources much more affordable, allowing businesses of all sizes to experience the latest technology. Seven in 10 respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the cloud environment had delivered significant efficiencies and cost savings – and it’s this fact that is driving cloud adoption today.

2. You Can’t Use What You Don’t Know

But lowered costs isn’t the only reason to move to the cloud, though it’s one of the most well-known. With the cloud, CIOs are able to access and use valuable business insights, thanks to advanced analytic capabilities. Today, organizations can truly utilize data for business strategy and reporting. You can better manage your own growing data while accessing new sources of data to gain amazing insight. With these insights, businesses can meet their goals, develop strategies and grow significantly.

3. See Productivity on All Levels

With cloud computing, productivity improves in your employees as well as in your hardware.

Users are able to remotely access their files and documents from anywhere, at anytime, using any computing device. And that means they can work freely, no matter where they are. They will be more productive while having greater capabilities for collaboration. This also trickles down to customers, who will experience better customer service when your employees can quickly respond to problems.

More specifically, the IT department will be able to switch gears. Instead of focusing on the constant tasks of updating software and licenses, dealing with security breaches, and maintaining equipment, they can turn their focus to innovation and business improvement. The cloud provider will handle automatic updates and behind-the-scenes management.

In terms of hardware, you’ll simply get more use out of what you already have while experiencing great reliability. It’s rare for on-site servers to operate at more than about 20% of their capacity, and that means that a lot of resources go to waste. With the cloud, you use virtual machines that increase this efficiency, allowing servers to operate at higher capacity. This leads to better hardware performance, cost savings and productivity. Additionally, cloud computing better handles all types of failures and creates true reliability. With redundancy, the cloud maintains your data, even if you lose access to a certain machine or a data center experiences downtime.

4. Who says the cloud isn’t secure?

There is still much disagreement surrounding security in the cloud, but cloud providers are standing up to the challenges. While some people worry about the risk, many are finding they receive better security in the cloud than they traditionally had in-house. That’s because cloud vendors can stay up to date on the latest technology and devote more time and personnel to security. What’s more, the vendors are completely aware that this is a big obstacle, so they’ve focused on security substantially in recent years.

Problems that do arise with security tend to originate from the management of the service, rather than the virtual cloud location. In other terms, security isn’t a cloud-specific problem. It’s a human problem. The factor behind 95% of security breaches is human error. And that simply means organizations need to do their research before choosing a provider, because not all providers are equal. The cloud should majorly simplify security processes, and a great provider should have dozens of measures in place to protect data.

While security used to be a major factor hindering cloud adoption, today it’s a key factor for migrating. 94% of cloud adopters say it produces security benefits, and more than 50% of IT professionals rank security as a top reason for moving applications to the cloud. Those numbers certainly display the change of heart businesses are having in terms of security in the cloud.

And the fact is this: if your business doesn’t move to the cloud, your employees will. They will find easier ways to do things, whether that’s using an online service like Dropbox or Google Drive, or adding applications to their mobile devices. And honestly, it’s better if you know how your users are accessing their data. The only way to give them the freedom and flexibility they want while maintaining necessary control over confidential business information is to move to the cloud.

5. Meet All Business Demands

Maybe you’re in a business where content spikes naturally come or go. Or maybe you’re in a period of major business growth. Whatever the situation is, scalability is extremely valuable for any organization. To meet these business demands, you can either continue to buy more and more equipment that will soon be obsolete, or you can move to the cloud. Scalability, or elasticity, is the ability of a provider or an application to instantly and automatically provision compute capacity to meet spikes in demand. You can support business growth without making expensive or timely changes to your current setup. It’s quick and easy to get the resources you need – as described above, you simply pay for what you need, when you need it. The cloud provider ensures that overloading is never a concern, as its team will manage the servers within the data center.

Better protect data in event of natural disasters, power outages, employee errors or emergency situations

Nearly every business, especially in recent years, has become so inextricably reliant upon their data in order run their company. Simply put, data must be available to anyone who needs it and it must be available at the exact right time. Unfortunately, most companies still use an inferior form of data backup such as tape or external hard drives. Furthermore, lost or misplaced data creates unnecessary company downtime dragging operations to a screeching halt, which is out of the question for most of today’s businesses.

With nearly everyone depending on a strong IT infrastructure, it’s no wonder why businesses are scrambling to find the ideal form of data protection and backup. With plans ranging from manual disk backup to off-site backup to sophisticated cloud-based disaster recovery programs, the demand for this technology is clearly evident. The overarching goal of any disaster recovery program is to ensure that in the event of any natural disaster (earthquake, fire, flood, tornado) power outage or user error that a company’s data remains undamaged and is immediately retrievable. Prime Telecommunications’s cloud-based disaster recovery program, takes this technology one step further, in that it allows businesses to continue running smoothly, even during the midst of a disaster or employee error like deleting a crucial folder off the LAN. Essentially, for the first time, Prime Telecommunications’s customers can now shrug off a disaster, and continue running their business as normal.

Business owners have been quick to recognize the massive value associated with a disaster-proof business and the drastic reduction, if not elimination, of company downtime. This evolution in cloud-based disaster recovery has been heavily anticipated and Prime Telecommunications is proud to be among the few organizations leading the charge for this powerful technology. They are actively deploying their cloud-based disaster recovery program in the offices of many of their customers, across a multitude of industries.

At the end of the day, it’s about keeping our customers protected. When we can deliver a proactive, redundant, cloud-based program like this, we can keep our customers connected with their data so that they can keep running no matter what life throws at them. It’s such an overwhelming competitive advantage to eliminate company downtime and we’re absolutely thrilled to deliver this to our loyal customer base.

We believe that by providing our customers with competitive advantages, it gives them a leg up in their industry. Perhaps that’s why we’ve been fortunate to continue growing over the years, because of our outlook on ensuring mutual success.

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