Take Advantage Of Network Security – An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

In the minutes, hours and days that follow a widespread, widely publicized data breach, most companies scramble, amping up their security measures in an effort to overcompensate for their lack of proactive preparation. A Forrester Research study revealed that more than 45 percent of businesses opt to increase security and audit requirements after an attack occurs. But as our grandmothers always say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Basically, Grandma was trying to say that a proactive approach to security—versus a reactive one—helps to ensure that your business is protected without having to learn the hard way.

While a lax data security plan may be the most detrimental of business strategies, a close second is taking a “one and done” approach. In reality, true data and network protection requires constant effort —it’s not a checklist to be completed, filed away and forgotten. System security, as a whole, is a moving target with new threats and vulnerabilities popping every day and from all angles. Which means one security solution may become outdated just as quickly as it was implemented. Without dedicated resources and the training required to implement and monitor advanced security solutions, organizations are basically sitting ducks, putting their corporate assets at greater risk.

Network Security

So where do you start? System protection begins with a thorough risk vulnerability assessment—and trust me, there are plenty of vulnerabilities to look for. For example, consider the impact of Bring-Your-Own Device (BYOD), with its myriad of points at which employees may unknowingly compromise corporate network security. Or take into account the rising threat and increased variety of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. From organized crime rings to hacktivists to foreign government hacking attempts, the complexities and motives are changing by the day.

By identifying the most vulnerable points within your current system and workflow, you can then start to draft a strategy and analyze potential solutions. Creating a customized security plan, one that’s tailored to addressing those vulnerabilities head-on, is foundational to a solid strategy. Your plan may include simple items, such as creating and implementing a formal BYOD policy. Or you may need more comprehensive protection, enhancing your network and cloud security through a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or bringing in a variety of tactical solutions, such as firewalls, antivirus, OS hardening, intrusion detection and web filtering as applicable. A complete security solution should protect your data and applications from all angles — network, cloud and employee communication—to mitigate any threat to your data.

Part of a successful security plan, however, is allocating enough staff and resources to support that plan. The best-protected systems are those that are constantly managed by a dedicated IT team. If, in your risk assessment efforts, you find that you’re lacking resources to provide ongoing support and monitoring, a Managed Network Security Solution may be the answer.

Our Managed Network Security Solutions provide not only security, but also the team that can support your security mission. We offer 24 x 7 x 365 management and monitoring, going beyond protecting PC desktops with custom, comprehensive real-time protection against attacks, defending and protecting your entire office-computing environment against the latest generation of Internet threats.

Take the first step toward achieving system security and contact a Prime representative today. Remember that ounce of protection? When we’re talking about data security, it’s worth WAY more than a pound of cure.

10 IT Security Questions Every Business Should Ask

In this face-paced, ever-changing, technological world, small and growing businesses must be prepared, now more than ever, to not only address the danger of cyber-security threats, but also to have the in-house expertise to implement information security programs that handle these types of issues. This means going far beyond simply having anti-virus software and creating strong passwords.

While this can sound overwhelming, every organization that intends to stay on top of and serious about security should take this into consideration. To help you get started, we outline 10 simple questions to ask yourself when establishing a strong foundation for information security programs:

1. Has responsibility and accountability been assigned for IT security and data privacy? As a business, there should always be someone in place who is designated (and qualified) as the IT Security Officer (ISO).

2. Have you identified, and do you understand, all regulations and standards that apply to you? A sampling of standards includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sarbanes Oxley (SOX)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA),
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)

3. Do you have documented information security policies and procedures? Doing so will help you define goals for the organization in regards to information security, as well as provide an outline for how your organization will meet these goals.

4. When looking to prevent security breaches and fraud, how do you monitor the systems you have in place? If you haven’t already done so, start implementing network intrusion detection systems that regularly review system logs and activities. This will allow you to investigate any suspicious activity before it becomes a big problem.

5. If a security or data breach were to take place, do you have a response plan in place? Data and security breaches often blindside people and organizations, and make it difficult to respond in an efficient matter. Having a detailed, emergency plan in place will not only allow you to act quickly and with confidence, but will also provide a blueprint for how to manage:

  • Containment
  • Investigation
  • Legal actions
  • Public relations

6. Do you have a patch management strategy, and if so, what does it look like? A thorough and comprehensive patch management process allows businesses to protect themselves from newly discovered threats – both internally and externally. It is important to note that in order for this to be effective, all software and systems should be covered.

7.  Do you perform initial and periodic security checks on new vendors?
In order to stay ensured that your data is being adequately protected by your vendors, it’s always a good idea to review the security controls they have in place. If gaps are found, you can then take action to correct them before damage is done.

8. Have you identified and protected all sensitive data? 
As a business, always identify any and all sensitive or confidential data, make note of where it is stored, and look into the adequacy of the processes protecting the data.

9. Have all high-risk technology systems been identified? Utilize a basic IT risk assessment and focus your resources on high-risk areas to help you evaluate your security control efforts.

10. Do your employees receive adequate security training? Unfortunately, some of the most common security breaches are a result of employees accidentally divulging sensitive information. Continual security awareness training and testing will not only protect your systems, but also help your employees identify and avoid attackers utilizing social engineering techniques.

Stop Buying Technology…The Wrong Way!

There are a few things in life that will remain constant till the end of time.  They include death, taxes, and the ever-changing world of technology.  As soon as we make a technological purchase today it unfortunately becomes outdated tomorrow.  Ignoring your company for a moment just think about the last time you bought a car.  The moment it was driven off the lot the value dropped instantly by a few thousand dollars.  This same scenario occurs in every technological purchase made by a company.  As a result, more and more owners and chief financial officers are being slapped in the face with a basic business 101 concept – why buy a depreciating asset.

The method of buying technology on a lease agreement is not new or even earth shattering.  Historically, both business communications providers and equipment manufacturers have offered leasing options.  However, within the last year or so, subtle changes by a select group of providers across the country have made leasing versus buying the right decision for any business.  These changes have eliminated technology’s two greatest risks – obsolescence and price (also known as outright ownership).

Voice and data communications is the heart and life-blood of every company and having the latest technology has a major impact on an organization’s efficiency, profitability, and competitiveness.  As a result, Prime Telecommunications launched the Prime Simple IP – Current Technology Assurance Plan (C-TAP) with the assistance of Technology Assurance Group (TAG), an organization of independently owned North American business communications providers with combined revenue of over $400 million in voice and data products and applications.

C-TAP ensures that the communications environments are refreshed with the latest advancements and value added solutions, thereby eliminating technology’s obsolescence.  For instance, updates (also known as refresh) to a company’s voice and data system can occur anytime after 24 months with no change in their monthly payment.  Additionally, both labor charges and software upgrades are waived.  If a product was purchased the old fashioned way from say Cisco or Avaya the business owner would get hit with thousands of dollars in software upgrade expenses.  A program like C-TAP prevents this type of situation.

Here’s a simple example that illustrates how C-TAP works. Companies are losing significant amounts of money on a daily basis because they don’t have sufficient technology to effectively manage their organizations.  For example, many businesses do not have data back up, message on hold, or unified messaging while others are utilizing antiquated desktop PCs.  Under C-TAP, companies that could not afford this technology before can now simply add it with no change in their monthly commitment.

Furthermore, C-TAP focuses on the cost of technology rather than its price, thus eliminating the second risk.  This is a mind set change for owners and many business communications providers not engaged in a program of this sort.  Because of C-TAP, companies are able to transfer technology costs from a capital expense to a fixed monthly expense absorbed by an organization’s operating budget.  This enhances the financial health from both tax and budgeting standpoints.

Programs like C-TAP have changed the way technology is purchased now and forever.  It has successfully eliminated the traditional risks associated with technology –  obsolescence and price.  By taking control of the purchase process in this manner, the owner is finally experiencing a true win for their business because they now have the means that will increase profitability, while giving them a competitive advantage in their marketplace.

Microsoft Ending Support for Windows Server 2003 Operating System

NCCIC / US-CERT

National Cyber Awareness System:

11/10/2014 07:19 AM EST
Original release date: November 10, 2014

Systems Affected

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 operating system

Overview

Microsoft is ending support for the Windows Server 2003 operating system on July 14, 2015.[1] After this date, this product will no longer receive:

  • Security patches that help protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software
  • Assisted technical support from Microsoft
  • Software and content updates

Description

All software products have a lifecycle. End of support refers to the date when Microsoft will no longer provide automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance.[2] As of July 2014, there were 12 million physical servers worldwide still running Windows Server 2003.[3]

Impact

Computer systems running unsupported software are exposed to an elevated risk to cybersecurity dangers, such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss.

Users may also encounter problems with software and hardware compatibility since new software applications and hardware devices may not be built for Windows Server 2003.

Organizations that are governed by regulatory obligations may find they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements while running Windows Server 2003.

Solution

Computers running the Windows Server 2003 operating system will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risks of viruses and other security threats. Negative consequences could include loss of confidentiality, integrity, and or availability of data, system resources and business assets.

The Microsoft “Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ” page offers additional details.[2]

Users have the option to upgrade to a currently supported operating system or other cloud-based services. There are software vendors and service providers in the marketplace who offer assistance in migrating from Windows Server 2003 to a currently supported operating system or SaaS (software as a service) / IaaS (infrastructure as a service) products and services.[4,5] US-CERT does not endorse or support any particular product or vendor.

References

Revision History

  • November 10, 2014: Initial Release

 

Our partnership with Rapidscale allows you to never have to worry about these types of announcements ever again.

CloudApps is the next generation application purchasing and licensing management platform for business. CloudApps connects businesses with the applications they want while eliminating licensing management and application upgrades. With CloudApps, the application purchasing process is automated from per user or per business purchasing to application approval workflow delivered on one bill.

Check out more at http://www.primetelecommunications.com/infrastructure-service/.

Phishing Campaign Linked with “Dyre” Banking Malware

NCCIC / US-CERT

Overview

Since mid-October 2014, a phishing campaign has targeted a wide variety of recipients while employing the Dyre/Dyreza banking malware. Elements of this phishing campaign vary from target to target including senders, attachments, exploits, themes, and payload(s).[1][2] Although this campaign uses various tactics, the actor’s intent is to entice recipients into opening attachments and downloading malware.

Description

The Dyre banking malware specifically targets sensitive user account credentials. The malware has the ability to capture user login information and send the captured data to malicious actors.[3](link is external) Phishing emails used in this campaign often contain a weaponized PDF attachment which attempts to exploit vulnerabilities found in unpatched versions of Adobe Reader.[4](link is external)[5](link is external) After successful exploitation, a user’s system will download Dyre banking malware. All of the major anti-virus vendors have successfully detected this malware prior to the release of this alert.[6](link is external)

Please note, the below listing of indicators does not represent all characteristics and indicators for this campaign.

Phishing Email Characteristics:

  • Subject: “Unpaid invoic” (Spelling errors in the subject line are a characteristic of this campaign)
  • Attachment: Invoice621785.pdf

System Level Indicators (upon successful exploitation):

  • Copies itself under C:\Windows\[RandomName].exe
  • Created a Service named “Google Update Service” by setting the following registry keys:
    • HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\googleupdate\ImagePath: “C:\WINDOWS\pfdOSwYjERDHrdV.exe”
    • HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\googleupdate\DisplayName: “Google Update Service”

Impact

A system infected with Dyre banking malware will attempt to harvest credentials for online services, including banking services.

Solution

Users and administrators are recommended to take the following preventive measures to protect their computer networks from phishing campaigns:

US-CERT collects phishing email messages and website locations so that we can help people avoid becoming victims of phishing scams.

You can report phishing to us by sending email to phishing-report@us-cert.gov(link sends e-mail).

References

Revisions

  • October 27, 2014: Initial Release

 

I Got 99 Problems, But My Infrastructure Ain’t One

Yes, Sommer Figone from Rapidscale just quoted a popular rap song, but I thought it fit nicely with the topic of cloud computing. After all, when you move to the cloud, you eliminate a bulk of the business problems you may currently be dealing with.

Here are ten problems you can solve simply by moving to the cloud:

99problems

10 Problems Solved by the Cloud

 

The Problem: IT Focus

With the cloud, your focus can be on running your business – NOT on running your IT. You won’t have to deal with additional hardware or timely installations. These types of responsibilities move to the cloud provider. Your IT team can move its attention to innovation and your entire business team can focus on their roles and the tasks they do best.

The Problem: High Costs

With traditional computing, businesses face high capital expenditure. With the cloud, you can avoid this. Experience minimal upfront spending and instead pay as you go, based on your usage and your business demand. You can avoid spending big money on hardware, software or licensing because the cloud provider takes care of these things – you simply get to use the resources provided to you.

The Problem: Limited Access

Mobility and constant connection are both natural parts of consumers’ lives today. Why not bring these things into the business world? You can take the cloud anywhere, and that means you can take your office anywhere. Applications and data are available to authorized users via the Internet, so as long as you have a device with Internet access you can remain in the loop. And when we say device, we mean everything from a PC, Mac, iPad, tablet, smartphone, etc. This is the easiest way to expand your workforce and make life easier for everyone. Your users won’t be tied to the office anymore. They can be dynamic workers and remain constantly connected to their information.

The Problem: Complicated Environment

Business computing used to be something only the IT team could understand. When systems changed, end users had to go through timely and costly training to figure out a complicated new environment. With the cloud, the transition is easy, and less personnel training is required. The end environment remains familiar and intuitive, so your users might not even be able to tell the difference. There is a minimal learning curve, and once they get going, your users will appreciate the efficiency of your new solution.

The Problem: Risky Security

Security is a constant topic of discussion in the cloud world and for good reason. No business wants to risk the security of their data – and with the cloud, you won’t. Instead, you can take control of your information. Your business information and applications are no longer stored directly on your office devices, meaning that if anything were to happen to these devices, your data wouldn’t be at risk. It’s all stored in one centralized location – your secure cloud. Cloud computing providers put countless measures in place, including encryption, firewalls, network and physical security. Considering the cloud is their business, a provider often offers better security than most businesses can afford to have on-site. The dedicated team ensures that only your authorized users can access business information, while prying eyes remain uninformed.

The Problem: Questionable Business Continuity

Today, business continuity is extremely important. Crises can strike out of nowhere, from natural disasters to power failures. That’s why the cloud ensures that business data is constantly backed up and protected in numerous geographically diverse and redundant data centers. No matter what happens, you’ll be able to access your data again quickly from temporary locations and temporary devices. This allows you to conduct business as usual and avoid the risk of going under.

The Problem: Rigidity and Inflexibility

Traditionally, businesses had to guess the capacity they needed. This resulted in one of two things: sitting on expensive and unused resources, or dealing with limited capacity. Neither of those are good options. With the cloud, you can experience amazing scalability of resources. Whether your needs change throughout the year based on seasons or holidays, or you’re experiencing major business growth, you can get the power and resources you need, as you need them. Scalability is the ability for the cloud to expand or contract based on your individual business needs – and this is a huge draw for most businesses. Access what you need, when you need it.

The Problem: Poor Communication

Businesses can no longer afford to have poor communication. The cloud makes it easy for employees to communicate and share information in new ways, even if they’re in separate locations. If numerous parties are working on a project across disperse locations, the cloud allows you to give all parties access to the same files. With easy collaboration and communication in place, you’ll find you have a more innovative, connected and knowledgeable business team.

The Problem: Out-of-Date Technology

The need to use out-of-date technology due to budget and resource limitations is, well, an out-of-date trend. When you work with a cloud provider, you receive automatic updates throughout the year, whether it’s for software, servers or computer processing power. This allows businesses to remain modern and regularly up-to-date with the latest technology

The Problem: Computing is Time Consuming

With the cloud, it’s easy to get new solutions up and running. New resources are truly a click away, as your cloud provider can set you up with whatever you need, instantly. This reduces the time it takes to get new resources to your users, and that results in greater productivity from your employees overall. As your costs and time consumption lower, your business efficiency will increase greatly.

Learning how to Create Use Cases for Video Conferencing

I sat at my computer yesterday with my cloud video conferencing mentor, Dan Marchetto from Iocom. We were talking about the best ways to implement cloud video conferencing in organizations. It comes down to the “use case” more than the technology. A “use case” is just that- what are you going to do with the service once you get it. Think of it as a compelling “Why?” or “What are we seeking to do with the technology? What need does fulfill for us?”. Each organization has different needs- generally based upon industry. Therefore, you can look within your work flows specific to what you do and where you do it to look for efficiencies. I thought this was logical and fascinating. Being the web researcher I am, I immediately set to work to explore this further. I found a great paper from Frost and Sullivan from 2009 that describes this. Here is an excerpt from what they wrote: (five years later, still very relevant)

Use Cases for Videoconferencing

The best way to derive value from any technology is to use it in places where it will make the biggest difference within the organization. Videoconferencing is no exception. There are many key use cases for the technology— areas of business where using it will significantly reduce costs and/or increase productivity. Let’s look at a few of them in step two of our five-step process:

 

  • Training is a clear case where videoconferencing can save companies money, and their employees times and By using video to train everyone from salespeople to support staff to every employee who needs information on benefits and enrollment, companies can save money on travel and facilities costs for the attendees and trainers. They can also limit the time people spend in training to the event itself, meaning that a three-hour training session will take three hours, not 12 (or more, is flying is involved). That, of course, allows attendees to go back to their day jobs that much sooner. Using videoconferencing for training also allows benefits the trainers, who no longer need to fly around the country (or the globe) to teach. That ensures they can spend more time on prep and follow-up, and reach more people in the same amount of time. With videoconferencing, who gets trained doesn’t have to be determined by location and costs; now, everyone who could benefit from training can get it, without leaving the office.

 

  • Employee and recruiting interviews can be held via videoconferencing, allowing companies to reach out to more candidates, since location no longer Also, those candidates can speak with more people within the organization, without incurring travel costs for them or the interviewers.

 

  • Product development teams benefit from videoconferencing in two ways: The technology allows them to communicate and collaborate better, since video lets participants read body language and facial expressions; and it allows them to show team members parts, components, materials and other physical objects that relate to the particular product in development—something that would otherwise require an in-person

 

  • There’s a reason high-level managers and executives spend so much time traveling: Strategic planning and budget creation require open discussion and trust—two things that are best done when you can see the faces and body language of the people you are working But with videoconferencing, they can achieve the same level of intimacy without having to leave their offices, reducing the wear and tear that comes from extensive travel, freeing up time for more productive activities when they’re not in meetings and, of course, saving even more money on travel than the average employee.

 

  • The increasingly virtual workplace offers any number of benefits, but one thing gets lost in the translation: Team It’s tough for employees to develop deep and lasting relationships when they rarely see each other and communicate mainly via phone, e-mail and chat. But videoconferencing can change that, by making it possible for team members to see each other on a daily or weekly basis. Simply making that visual connection makes contact more personal—and that makes it easier for people to work together, because they feel like they actually know the people they are working with. That, in turn, makes it more likely that they will share information and skills, supporting each other throughout the work day and for the overall benefit of the business.

 

  • Finally, while some customer and partner engagements require a live, in-person meeting, many don’t—but they will benefit from the visual connection videoconferencing Just as employee relationships are deepened by videoconferencing, so, too, are those with customers and business partners.

The paper from Frost and Sullivan is a good read. If you want to download it- please click here.

 

If you are interested in actually trying this out, please click here and I will give you a 30 day free trial of Visimeet to develop your own use case with!

 

 

Iocom Graphic

Cloud: The Sophisticated Solution for SMBs

This is a re-post from Sommer Figone

Cloud computing can probably make the biggest impact in the SMB segment. Why? Because traditionally, these businesses haven’t been able to afford the same services and resources that large companies use, limiting their capabilities. It was often impossible to be even remotely competitive with a large organization, but luckily that has changed. Now, thanks to the cloud, businesses of all sizes can take advantage of world-class solutions, accessing infrastructure and software that was previously out of reach. Rather than focusing on balancing a budget, small businesses can focus on business strategy and development.

Drive Productivity and Innovation

The big driver behind cloud adoption is anywhere access. With cloud computing, all of your employees can access and work with business data and applications away from the office, including remote workers, board members, vendors or anyone else who needs access to your data. Better yet, your employees can work on the same files in real time, even if they are not physically together. This characteristic really boosts collaboration within the business and eliminates the hassle of sending emails back and forth filled with huge attachments. In addition to working from any location, your users can work using any device, as they simply use the Internet to access the company work space – this means smartphones, tablets and laptops are all fair game. The environment is familiar and easy to use, so no training is required. This mobility and flexibility will lead to innovation and greater productivity, and those things will drive your business. Small businesses that have employees working in various locations need the cloud. It’s the only way to go.

Gain Security

While there is still skepticism surrounding the security of the cloud, it always depends on the provider you work with. In most cases, cloud providers aren’t willing to risk business and therefore have amazing security policies and procedures in place. After all, just imagine: if you heard that a provider caused a business a major security breach, you would never work with it. Cloud providers are businesses too – they don’t want to risk their reputations. The security gained from the cloud is almost always better than what a small business could have afforded in the first place. Cloud computing adds security through off-site back up, redundancy, encryption, firewalls and numerous other physical and network security measures. Better yet, a top-class cloud provider like us meets the majority of compliance requirements. The key is to have an in-depth discussion about security before moving to the cloud. Make sure the provider has everything you need. Check the Service Level Agreement. Test the solutions. This should all be available to you, and if it’s not, then you know to move on.

Balance Your Budget

With cloud computing, small businesses get to make IT someone else’s problem – specifically, the cloud provider. There’s no trade off. SMBs get access to sophisticated capabilities that are normally reserved for large companies, and they get this for low prices. Simply, cloud technology allows customers to work on a larger scale at a lower cost because it is a great technology equalizer. The operational IT work and most of the costs move to us, while the business simply pays for what it consumes. This model reduces upfront costs and allows businesses to receive the resources they need on-demand, for affordable prices. In the past, only large companies could afford hot new technology, but cloud computing is leveling the playing field. Technology is a major driver of competitive advantage and it shouldn’t be reserved for the big guys. Cloud computing makes sure that it isn’t. This is a game-changer for the SMB segment, as it allows SMBs access to enterprise-grade technology and resources.

4 in 5 SMBs will be fully adapted to the cloud by 2020. You may be a small business, but with the cloud, you can still think big.

 

Get your Free Cloud Guide

Get your Free Cloud Guide

Increased Security in the Cloud: What it Means for Business

Over the last several years, cloud services have become a viable solution for businesses wanting to innovate and transform operations. The much-discussed benefits of continuous availability, low maintenance, and increased scalability have caused the cloud to grow almost 300% over the past 6 years. However, as the cloud continues to expand, hesitations revolving around the issue of security linger—security is still cited as a leading inhibitor to cloud adoption.

We find that few disagree that cloud computing is a way of the future. However, we do sympathize with those who are still hesitant to making the switch—after all, making the transition to cloud storage can be a big decision for many businesses, especially when safety is a primary concern. In order to clear the name of cloud computing security, we have listed four concepts that prove cloud security is safer than ever.Cloud Computing Security Tips

1) Cloud providers have security expertise. 

Not to sing our own praises, but cloud storage is our passion—and something we take very seriously. In general, cloud providers offer a wide range of managed security services that utilize the latest technology. Our industry’s success is based on our ability to keep customers’ data secure. And keeping your stuff safe is our guarantee.

2) High security standards must be followed. 

Because of strict standards established by the Higher International Organization for Standardization (ISO), cloud security is extremely high. As aforementioned, cloud computing is a multibillion-dollar business, and business is based on keeping customers’ data secure. ISO standards are designed to ensure just that.

3) Human error is reduced.

It’s no secret that people make mistakes. Even the most meticulous workers forget, misplace, and overlook hardware and data. However, computers don’t make mistakes—nor do they have bad days. This overlooked concept translates to superior security in the cloud. In the past, if a worker misplaced or even lost a computer or thumb drive, a company was at risk of losing vital data. With cloud storage, your data can be safely accessed anywhere, even if that same forgetful worker misplaces his or her laptop.

4) More is, indeed, better.

Building off the idea of limited hardware, if you only have one something (be it a laptop, a desktop, or a smartphone), that one piece of equipment is at risk of getting lost or broken. This translates to data: if you only have one way to back up your data, what happens if that method falters? Cloud computing protects your data by utilizing many methods of storage.

While we aren’t here to say that cloud computing is entirely free of security risks, we do guarantee that with the right team and expertise to back your operations, your data is safer than before. If you’re resisting the transition to cloud computing because of security reasons, you should reevaluate the benefits and contact us.

How the Cloud Saves you Money

We’ve all heard it before: cloud computing can save you so much money! The question, though, is exactly where are these savings occurring? When businesses work with a cloud provider, they will see many existing costs transfer over, becoming the provider’s responsibility instead. While some of the savings are pretty obvious, others might surprise you. Thanks to the cloud, businesses are able to focus on developing their business while at the same time cutting major costs – it’s the basic concept of getting more for less. Let’s take a look at how the cloud can save you money:

Fully Utilized Hardware

Top-tier equipment is expensive. It’s costly to pay for the technology needed for your employees and business to work successfully. Often, businesses purchase more hardware than they need in case a failure occurs. When you switch to the cloud, you can phase out equipment that you don’t really need. Instead of purchasing all of the equipment and resources yourself, the cloud provider deals with these costs and offers the infrastructure to businesses as a service. The vendor provides you with the necessary computing resources to run your cloud solution, lowering the costs of installation, maintenance, hardware, upgrades and support. Providers also deal with redundancy so you don’t have to duplicate equipment in-house. Most cloud providers have multiple geographically-diverse data centers that mirror company data and applications so failures won’t affect your operations.

With a public cloud solution, these costs can drop even further. When you share vendor infrastructure with other organizations (which is called multi-tenancy), everyone wins. The businesses see lower costs due to shared resources, and the cloud provider optimizes hardware use.

Unique Payment Model

Most cloud providers use a pay-as-you-go model. Businesses are charged based on what they use, whether that includes the amount of storage, number of email boxes or virtual server hours – essentially, businesses rent services from the provider. This method helps businesses keep costs low by eliminating unused resources, postponing unnecessary purchases and allowing you to test solutions or programs without needing to fully commit to them.

Reduced Capital Costs

Capital costs can practically be eliminated with the cloud. There’s no need for you to invest in costly infrastructure, so you don’t see huge upfront costs. The capital investment of servers, power, software and more becomes the cloud provider’s problem. You can acquire resources quickly and easily, and the cloud provides a scalable solution to businesses. Rather than investing in resources used minimally, you can get exactly what you need, when you need it. As your business needs change, your company can increase or decrease its cloud-use accordingly. This helps keep your budget in check, while ensuring you always have what you need to operate successfully.

 

Software Savings

Businesses can purchase applications directly through the Web, getting immediate access to the programs they need. Rather than waiting weeks or months for company-wide installation, your business can see cloud software deployment occur in a matter of hours. When your employees spend less time waiting, they can spend more time working. This boosted productivity will definitely show in your profits. The upfront cost of licensing and price of constant upgrades can be eliminated, as you experience per-user costs and automatic upgrades instead. And if you’re not happy with the software, you can cancel the service. This greatly reduces the financial risk of software that doesn’t work for your business.

 

Decreased Power and Space

Idle equipment wastes both energy and money. Due to better hardware utilization, the need for excessive power is cut. The cloud makes it easy to consolidate servers, saving space and cutting power costs for everyone involved. Additionally, this consolidation optimizes the cooling of data centers. The decrease of power and space saves businesses money on office real estate, equipment and electricity while cloud providers create a smaller footprint on the environment. This is both a money-saving and Earth-saving benefit.

 

Reduced Labor Costs

As equipment and support is moved to the cloud provider, the responsibilities of managing, repairing and replacing infrastructure move too. Additionally, many services and tasks can be automated with the cloud. As these needs are eliminated on your end, you can free up your IT staff to focus on business development and strategy instead, areas which will ultimately make more money for the company. If necessary, you can even reduce your staff size. This is especially beneficial for small start-ups, as they are able to keep their workforce light by using cloud computing.

 

Flexibility and Mobility

The cloud allows users to access their business data and applications from any location and computing device at any time. While this creates dozens of new ways for businesses to operate, it also helps with cost savings. Your business data is not stored on physical devices or networks – instead, it’s stored virtually in the cloud, making it accessible to your users at all times. This means you don’t need to invest in the fanciest, most expensive computers for your office just to work efficiently. All you need are devices that can access the Internet – even a smartphone can do that! This mobility simplifies your needs and lowers your costs. Users are able to use devices they already own, like tablets, mobile phones or laptops, to be productive away from the office. On the more extreme side, this can save your employees the commute to work and even eliminate the need for a physical office.