Infographic: The Strategic CFOs Guide to Cloud Technology

The world in which many Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) operate is changing. Increasingly modern organizations are turning to their CFO for strategic leadership and insight on how best to position themselves on a competitive footing. Accordingly, the CFO of today needs a tool-set capable of supporting them in this new role.

Cloud technology offers a fantastic platform for any strategist looking for an agile and robust set of tools capable of driving their company forward into the future.

Below is an infographic which will help you start to approach the cloud from a leadership position, and begin to leverage IT as the strategic asset it can be.

5 Reasons You Need a VPN Policy

The security of your business is heavily dependent on the ability of employees and executives alike to stay safe wherever they go. They need to make sure their online activities remain unimpeded and that public networks don’t become a data leak risk. Such a leak could damage your company’s reputation and set your business back months.

One of the main tools used to help businesses overcome these obstacles is a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is a service that can connect a user to an offsite secure server using an encrypted connection. The encryption allows people to keep themselves safe from hackers on public networks (or any unsafe network). The server hides their IP address, allowing them to keep their activities anonymous and get access to restricted or blocked websites.

teamwork

All of these things are great, but VPNs can also cause confusion if not used uniformly or correctly. A “bring your own VPN” policy can prove disastrous for several reasons. Your business needs a standard policy, and here are the five main benefits of instating one:

You Can Better Manage the Configurations

Sometimes VPNs need to be managed to work best for the company. If you have a universal VPN policy or even a universally proscribed VPN for employees (in which case it would be recommended to provide access with company funds to facilitate control), then you can know that everyone has settings acceptable to the interests of the company by making those mandatory settings clear. No one will feel as though another has an unfair advantage as well.

You can use these to limit access to certain websites or regions, or simply help people who don’t know better maximize their speed and access. This kind of plan is absolutely essential if you plan on setting up your own VPN server at your company (although this should only really be done by large organizations), as messing around too much can make things more difficult for other users. It might be worth it to include a “tips and tricks” section next to them.

Uniform Universal Access

Any business should know what their employees are capable of not only in their skillsets but in the tools they are using. If you don’t have a general VPN for the company and everyone is just using their own, you might find that someone’s tool isn’t up to par with what the company needs. In the worst case scenario, someone might download a VPN application that is malware in disguise, not checking up on the service first. This could lead to a massive data breach in addition to dropped communications at a potentially crucial moment.

If your company decides upon a singular (and well-reviewed) VPN to work with and provides access or subscriptions to all relevant employees, then it will be easier to work with those remote and travelling employees knowing that they all are getting the same level of access. Chance and circumstance will be removed from the equation, and your IT specialists will be thanking you for months.

Exact Knowledge of Security

If you have a strong VPN policy that is regularly enforced, you can work under the assumption that all employees using a VPN will have a set level of security wherever they go. This allows you to send and receive sensitive information with much less risk, because unfortunately not all VPNs are created equal.

You don’t want some employees vulnerable to cyberattacks and cyberespionage while others are fine. They might feel emboldened in their security practices by the fact that they use a VPN. In your policies you need to reiterate that danger doesn’t go away entirely due to VPN use, and by having company-wide policies, you can focus on what dangers still prevail. A VPN policy will remind people that it’s not a panacea, but it should always be used.

Rules and Guidelines

People use VPNs for different reasons. Some of those reasons are strictly security related, and others are related to torrenting or pirating files. Most people wouldn’t think to download the latest box office hit on their VPN at the office, but such things do happen, and you need to be prepared for any situation.

If you have a VPN policy, then your company can clearly spell out what VPNs are to be used for and what is acceptable online behavior. Some of it can relate to already existing technology guidelines, but even those should be reiterated in your VPN policy (it won’t do any harm). No one will be able to say they didn’t know better, and clear action can be taken if these rules are broken.

Usage Control and Easier Management

Something you will want to take into consideration is who you allow to use a VPN. If your company is providing VPNs and has strict rules surrounding them, you should only allow employees to use them, not friends and family members. They might have good intentions but later cause a data breach or other critical issue down the line.

A policy will allow you to manage potential issues such as these with little difficulty, and having a pre-selected VPN and policies means that you or someone else can spend less time learning about different VPNs and more time focusing on a single one to optimize. You will be better able to know about potential activity and potential problems, letting human concerns take the forefront.

phoneBlue

VPN guidelines aren’t too difficult to come up with, and in the long run, they will save any business a good deal of time and resources. Implemented correctly, employees won’t have any problems adjusting to them and the company will be safe with a full array of useful information available at all times.

Do you think there are any other reasons that a company should have VPN guidelines? Do you have recommendations of your own that you would like to share with your fellow readers? Any stories regarding a “bring your own VPN” policy that didn’t work out? The sharing of information makes us all improve, so please leave a comment below and continue the conversation about this important tool.

By Cassie Phillips
SecureThoughts.com

The Benefit of a VPN

The news is filled with how internet service providers have the ability to track our web surfing habits and the numerous data breaches that occur – it is no secret that online privacy is nearly non-existent.  Private browsing features can temporarily cover up your browsing history, but they do not completely protect your online activities. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the easiest ways to protect your employees and your corporate data.

A VPN is a network created between your employee and what they access.  It is a group of servers connected via the internet.  Essentially, your corporate data is encrypted and no one else can view, control, influence or change your activity.

Security and privacy are the main reasons why you would want a VPN. For example, if one of your road warriors is connected to a public Wi-Fi network — like the ones in local cafes and airports — using a VPN encrypts the information they are sending or accessing online. This means things like credit card details, login credentials, private conversations, or other sensitive documents can’t be intercepted by a third party.

Some advantages of using a VPN:

  1. Enhanced security. When you connect to your network through a VPN, your data is kept secure and encrypted – making it difficult for a potential hacker to do damage.
  2. Remote access. The ability to access information from home or while your employees are traveling, will increase productivity while remaining secure.
  3. Access to geo-restricted websites.  If your employees travel overseas, they may experience some US websites that are blocked in that region.  By connecting to a VPN located in the US, your employee will gain access to the site(s) they need.
  4. File sharing.  A VPN will allow you to share files for a long period of time.  While your employees are working on group projects with multiple people accessing data, it allows your employees to accomplish that task securely.
  5. Increased performance. Bandwidth and efficiency of the network can be generally increased once a VPN solution is implemented.
  6. Online anonymity. The advantage of a VPN service is that it allows you to access both web applications and websites in complete anonymity.

If your employees are working remotely, a VPN is a vital component of cybersecurity.  Consult with one of our experts today.

To inquire about Bryley’s full array of Managed Cloud Services and Managed IT Services, please contact us by phone at 978.562.6077 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We are here for you.

Safer Internet Day

Tuesday, February 6th is Safer Internet Day.  Being observed on the first Tuesday in February, what started out as a campaign to raise awareness about Internet safety is now celebrated in over 100 countries worldwide.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many of us will go online for gifts such as flowers, candy, cute stuffed animals, a book, perhaps a gift card to a store or restaurant – whatever the choice may be, will you be shopping securely?  Online shopping is very convenient.

You can click here and there and order whatever product you desire and have it delivered to your front door.  You can compare pricing, look for deals, compare products, and it all can be done quickly and in the convenience of your own home, any time, night or day.  The downfall?  Wherever there is money and users to be found, there are malicious hackers roaming around.

Use familiar web sites.  You need to be aware of the safer online shops, like Amazon.  One tactic favored by malicious hackers is to set up their own fake shopping websites. Fake websites can either infect you the moment you arrive on them by way of malicious code. However, the most dangerous aspect you should be concerned about is the checkout process. Completing a checkout process will give cybercriminals your most important information: credit card data (including security number), name, and address. This opens you up to credit card fraud or social engineering attacks.

What are some key things to be aware of as you’re shopping?  Sticking with popular brands is as good as any advice when shopping online. Not only do you know what you’re getting by way of quality and price, but you also feel more confident that these well-established names have in place robust security measures. Their efforts can be quite remarkable, as researchers at Google and the University of San Diego found last year.1

 A few things to be aware of: 

  • Leery URL’s such as “coach-at-awesome-price.com” or “the-bestonlineshoppingintheworld.com”
  • A strange selection of brands – as an example, the website claims to be specialized in clothes but also sells car parts or construction materials
  • Strange contact information. If the email for customer service is “amazonsupport@gmail.com” instead of “support@amazon.com” then you should be suspicious that online shop is fake
  • Are prices ridiculously low?  An online shop that has an iPhone 7 at $75 is most likely trying to scam you

The old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” rings true in this case, and it’s best to steer clear of these sites.

Use Secure Connections.  Wi-Fi has some serious limitations in terms of security. Unsecured connections allow hackers to intercept your traffic and see everything you are doing on an online shop.  This includes checkout information, passwords, emails, addresses, etc.

Before You Buy Online…

  • If the connection is open and doesn’t have a password, don’t use it.
  • If the router is in an exposed location, allowing people to tamper with it, it can be hacked by a cybercriminal. Stay away.
  • If you are in a densely-crowded bar with dozens of devices connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot, this can be a prime target for an enterprising cybercriminal who wants to blend in and go unnoticed. Continue to socialize, don’t shop.

Access secure shopping sites that protect your information. If you want to purchase from a website, make sure it has SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. The site should start with https:// and you should notice the lock symbol is in the address bar at the top.

Update your browser, antivirus and operating system.  One of the more frequent causes of malware is unpatched software.  Online shoppers are most at risk due to the sensitive information involved. At a minimum, make sure you have an updated browser when you are purchasing online. This will help secure your cookies and cache, while preventing a data leakage.  You’ll probably fuss over having to constantly update your software because it can be a time consuming operation, but remember the benefits.

Always be aware of your bank statement.  Malicious hackers are typically looking for credit card data, and online shops are the best place for them to get their hands on such information.  Often times, companies get hacked and their information falls into the hands of cybercriminals.

For this reason, it’s a good habit to review your bank account and check up on any suspicious activity.

“Don’t wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. Make sure you don’t see any fraudulent charges, even originating from sites like PayPal. If you do see something wrong, pick up the phone to address the matter quickly. In the case of credit cards, pay the bill only once you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems.”2

Using a credit card vs. a debit card is safer.  Credit cards have additional legal defenses built in that make them safer to purchase online compared to debit cards.  With credit cards, you aren’t liable if you are a victim of a fraudulent transaction, so long as you report the fraud in a timely manner. Secondly, credit cards give you leverage when it comes to disputing transactions with a seller. If you pay with a debit card, you can’t get your money back unless the seller agrees to it. With credit cards, the money you paid for a product isn’t counted against you until due process is complete, debit card holders however can only get their money back after this step.  Ultimately, banks are much more protective of credit cards since it’s their money on the line, not yours.

Additional tips for safety:

  • Never let someone see your credit card number – it may seem obvious, but never keep your PIN number in the same spot as your credit card
  • Destroy and delete any statements you have read
  • Notify your credit card issuer of any address change. Doing so will prevent them from sending sensitive files to the previous address
  • Keep confirmation numbers and emails for any online purchases you may have done
  • Immediately call your credit card company and close your account if you have lost or misplaced a credit card

Use antivirus protection.  The most frequent tip on how to be safe online is to use a good antivirus tool. It will keep you safe against known malware.  ”Before you begin shopping, outfit your phone or tablet with mobile security software. Look for a product that scans apps for viruses and spyware, blocks shady websites, provides lost-device protection and offers automatic updates.”3

Do not purchase from spam or phishing emails.  A phishing email with a fake offer for a desirable product is a hard thing to resist for many shoppers, so they make an impulsive decision and click on the “Order Product” or “Buy Now”, and that’s when the malware attack starts.  A phishing email is not like a standard email. The cybercriminal simply wants your click, and nothing else. The Unsubscribe button won’t stop the email spam.  The best solution in these cases is for you to simply mark the email as spam, this will remove the mail from your inbox and block the sender from sending more spam.

Keep a record of your transactions.  If you are a frequent online shopper, it may be difficult to remember from which site you bought a certain product.  So, write it down: what you bought, when and from what website.  Compare your spending details with the banking records from your online banking account, keep track of which websites you use for shopping and buying stuff online.

Hold on to your receipts and destroy them when you no longer need them.  Keep the receipt for your purchase, just in case you need to confirm it again, as well as for warranty and return issues.  If you want to get rid of receipt, make sure to destroy it completely, so that any possible identity thief won’t be able to find any information about you.

Don’t give out more private information than you need to.  ”In order to shop online you need to provide two types of information: payment information, such as credit card data, and shipping location, which is usually your home or work address. Be suspicious of online shops that ask for information such as: date of birth, social security number or any other similar information. They don’t need it in order to sell you things.”4

Don’t keep too much information on your smartphone.  These days, everybody stores a lot of important personal information on their phone, and most of us rarely take the time to secure them.  These devices are now much less about calling people, and more about photos, social media, etc.  Increasingly, people shop online using their smartphone, but this carries its own risks. Fake online shops can infect your smartphone with malware, and then have access to information such as phone numbers, notes, photos, and even app contents.  Be careful what information you store on your smartphone.

“Safer Internet Day is a great reminder that Internet security is something that needs constant vigilance. It’s also a great reminder that a lot of bad things can happen on the Internet if you don’t properly take precautions against them. With that in mind, be sure to have a safe and happy Safer Internet Day.”5

References:

1 https://www.welivesecurity.com – ESET Security Forum
2 https://www.pcmag.com
3 http://www.trendmicro.co.uk/home/internet-safety-for-kids/smart-mobile-tips-for-online-shopping/ – TrendMicro
4
https://bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/
5 http://www.holidayscalendar.com/event/safer-internet-day/

https://staysafeonline.org – Powered by National Cyber Security Alliance
https://www.americanbar.org – American Bar Association
https://www.foxnews.com
https://www.usatoday.com

 

 

Have You Considered Moving to Remote Desktop Services (RDS)?

These days, many organizations are looking for ways to help their remote workers and road warriors stay connected.  One solution that works for many is implementing RDS, or a Remote Desktop Services server, which enables workers to access the network anywhere from any device that is VPN compatible as if they were sitting in the office.

What are the benefits?

  • Implementation process and cost savings. Once the initial cost and time of setting up the server is made, it becomes cost effective to move to an RDS environment. “The enormous cost savings that is gained from a Remote Desktop Services server implementation is in the reduced time it takes to do the implementation and even more so in the time saved with ongoing maintenance and management of your company’s end-user desktop infrastructure.”1 Unlike a traditional environment, once the devices are configured on the server level once, individuals can easily add another user with the same configuration. This allows the initial setup cost to be divided amongst the number of users, opposite of a PC-based environment, where setting up a machine must be done separately.
  • Software Updates/Management. Since all users are connected to the same server, updates only need to be performed once to ensure that everyone has access to the latest versions. This drastically reduces costs, time, and potential for mistakes or inconsistency.
  • Scalable. Once the server is setup, it is simple to add a new user.
  • Enhanced Security. With an RDS, no data is stored at the local level of the machine. RDS prevents users from installing unauthorized software, further protecting the data.  With this enhanced security, organizations are able to save on purchasing expensive laptops with encryption and can purchase significantly cheaper laptops or “dummy” computers as all the processing is done through the server.
  • Increased Mobility. Unlike with a standard VPN, users on an RDS are able to end a session on one device and pick it up at the same point on another. For example, if you are holding a meeting in a conference room, you can log into RDS and take notes.  Upon completion of the meeting, you can close out of the session and pick it back up at the same point on your laptop or other device.
  • Disaster Recovery. In the event of the office burning down or inaccessibility, as long as employees have a compatible VPN device, they can work like nothing happened if the RDS server is being hosted at another location.

Before you commit to what to think about when considering moving to RDS? Is this solution right for your business?

  • What programs do you regularly use? If you use programs that use a large amount of memory, RDS may not work for you – speed will become an issue. Some programs that are not compatible with RDS are: CAD programs, Graphics Rendering programs, and any program that requires bolstered hardware.
  • What is the size of your largest files? If you are not at the physical site that hosts the RDS server, it will take a significant amount of time to upload a movie file for example.
  • How many users will be on the network? This ensures you can allocate the necessary resources to each user so they will not see a reduction in speed.
  • Will there be any printers added to the server? It is helpful to know which printers end users will be printing to from the RDS server if it is hosted in the cloud. If it is a large-scale printer (such as a large-format plotter printer) cloud based RDS may not be the best option.

 

Be sure to have a full list of programs that your organization uses to ensure they will work in an RDS environment.  A Hybrid solution may be a good option for these organizations.

Working with a Managed IT service provider can assist you in seeing if an RDS environment is right for your organization.  You are not alone in this process, Bryley can help. Contact us at 844.449.8770 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com to learn more. We’re here for you.

 

1 http://blog.hcd.net/terminal-services-remote-desktop-services-the-many-benefits/

Cloud Computing – A Green Solution

Moving to the cloud has benefits like simplicity, efficiency, easier management, etc. Cloud Computing has become the next wave of computing infrastructure and for many, the added benefit of having a “green” IT environment may be that extra incentive to move to the next generation of cloud computing and IT management.

The huge data centers that house the data require an abundance of electricity to run properly, which generates heat emissions. These emissions do add to the carbon footprint, but with the help of renewable energy, data centers are able to lower them, doing their best for both clients and the environment. While there is still a carbon footprint, the cloud has been proven to be more environmentally friendly.

Virtualization. With traditional computing, depending on the size of the organization, they can manage anywhere from a few servers to upwards of hundreds. This is inefficient as it leads to both wasted energy and physical equip­ment. Energy use is not customized to the needs of the organization, and the hardware used needs to be constantly replaced or updated, leaving behind a trail of physical excess. The cloud is a major improvement on traditional computing as it has redesigned the way busi­nesses operate. With the cloud, information is virtualized, eliminating the need for wasteful, in-house equipment. Busi­nesses can operate through this virtual location, drastically reducing energy usage and the need for excessive physical equipment.

The Option to Pay as You Go. Your monthly prices depend on your monthly usage. It’s a simple model and allows organizations to remain in control of their spending.

Multitenancy. Multitenancy allows many different organizations (public cloud), or many different units within the same organization (private cloud) to benefit from a common cloud-based infrastructure. When used in conjunction with automation software, multi-tenancy ensures fewer machines are required for operations.

“Automation Software. Cloud based infrastructure relies on automation to maximize energy and resources efficiency. Through automation software it is possible to provide and scale workload within shared data centers. IT specialists are able to push the limits of traditional utilization and consolidation limits. The higher the ratios the less physical hardware is required and this directly contributes to energy efficiency and resource optimization.”1

“Organizations Allow Telecommuting. Companies using internal, on-premises solutions have a hard time offering their staff remote working options because of the security risks that can arise when trying to connect to the enterprise network from an outside location. The cloud offers businesses the ability to secure their networks while still increasing accessibility and improving collaboration and productivity.”2

Cloud computing can be an important facet of an organization’s push to be greener and meeting critical IT operational goals.

Reduce cost. Consolidation means fewer servers, which in turn means lower cooling and space requirements, ultimately producing lower energy costs.

Comply with regulation. By tapping more efficient and therefore lower-emitting resources, cloud computing customers can reduce their carbon emissions and be better-positioned to meet regulatory standards.

Improve resiliency. Consolidation and improved utilization create more space, more power, and more cooling capacity within the same facility envelope. And tapping into public cloud providers offloads management of those resources from the customer to the service provider.

A cloud environment is one that is often created and always managed by a Managed Cloud Services Provider (MCSP) like Bryley Systems. MCSPs typically construct and then manage the overall infrastructure based on best practices and available resources; their overall cost tends to be less since they employ a variety of experts skilled in computer networks, cloud infrastructures, and cyber-security.

To inquire about Bryley’s full array of Managed Cloud Services and Managed IT Services, please contact us by phone at 844.449.8770 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We’re here for you.

 

References and Sources:

  1. https://www.etechcomputing.com/why-cloud-computing-is-green-computing/
  2. https://www.isgtech.com/4-green-benefits-of-cloud-computing/ (ISG Tech)

https://hbr.org/2011/03/cloud-computing-is-greener (Harvard Business Review)

http://mspmentor.net/infocenter-cloud-based-file-sharing/031814/going-green-eco-friendly-aspect-cloud-computing (MSPmentor)

http://www.itproportal.com/2014/04/10/how-the-cloud-supports-green-it-computing/ (IT ProPortal)

https://go.forrester.com/ (Forrester Research)

 

What we can learn from the GOP Data leak

It was recently discovered that a third part analytics firm, Deep Root, had left the GOP’s voting database open to the public.  As reported by UpGuard, a security firm, “The data repository, an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket, lacked any protection against access. As such, anyone with an internet connection could have accessed the Republican data operation used to power Donald Trump’s presidential victory, simply by navigating to a six-character Amazon subdomain: “dra-dw.”1 The database contained roughly 25 Terabytes of data about more than half of the US population’s information including personal identifying information such as birth dates, home addresses, and phone numbers as well as other demographic information like ethnicity and religion.

This leak is a wake-up call for companies to ensure that their data is protected.  There are several steps an organization can take to ensure their data is protected:

  • Password Protect your data. The main problem with the GOP’s database was that it was left unprotected.  Make sure you have a strong password and that it is changed regularly.
  • Institute two-factor authentication. This adds a layer of security as it is used confirm a user’s claimed identity by utilizing a combination of two different components, generally something you know with something you have (in this case the password with a code sent to your email or phone).
  • Have a regular review of your infrastructure. It can often be difficult to do on your own as you may not have all the knowledge and expertise or the bandwidth to conduct a proper evaluation. Do not be afraid to ask an MSP, such as Bryley, to conduct a network assessment and evaluate your infrastructure. They have expertise and breadth of knowledge that will prove valuable and can highlight what you are doing well and areas where you can improve.

If you would like to improve your cybersecurity plan, or to inquire about Bryley’s full array of our Managed Cloud Services and Managed IT Services, please contact us at 844.449.8770 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We’re here for you.

 

1 Hatmaker, Taylor. Techcrunch.Exposed GOP database demonstrates the risks of data-hungry political campaigns.” 19 June 2017.

O’Sullivan, Dan. UpGuard.The RNC Files: Inside the Largest US Voter Data Leak.” 19 June 2017.

What you need to know about the OneLogin Breach

OneLogin, a single sign-on service that allows users to access multiple sites and applications using just one password confirmed on June 1st that its systems had been breached and login information had been exposed. According to the firm, this breach affects “all customers served by our US data centre” and the hackers had “the ability to decrypt encrypted data”1. This is the second time within the past year that the firm had its security breached.1

So, how can you protect your data from a breach? One way is to have two-factor authentication, which is a method used to confirm a user’s claimed identity by utilizing a combination of two different components, generally something you know with something you have. For example, when you withdraw money from an ATM, only the correct combination of a PIN (something you know) with the bank card (something you have), will grant the transaction to take place.

One of the safest ways to ensure your data is protected is to encrypt it before placing it in the Cloud or with a single sign-on provider, such as OneLogin. Provided your encryption key has not been generated from a simple password, your data will be protected from any breach to your provider, as the provider does not have the password to gain access to your information.

It is vital that one stays vigilant when it comes to protecting your passwords and data. Even the most difficult password can be deciphered if given enough time. Therefore, it is important to regularly change your passwords and ensure they are strong. We have more information on the Do’s and Don’ts of Password management on our blog.

For more information on password and security, connect with Bryley’s cybersecurity experts by calling us at 844.449.8770 or emailing us at ITExperts@Bryley.com.

 

1 Fiveash, Kelly. Ars Technica. “OneLogin suffers breach – customer data said to be exposed, decrypted.” June 2017.

BBC News. “Password manager OneLogin hit by data breach.” June 2017

 

How and Why Is Cloud Computing Beneficial for Small and Medium Organizations?

Cloud computing is not just for large organizations. That’s a fact.

Many small businesses are migrating to the cloud and experiencing benefits that were never possible before.  Cloud computing allows people access to a wide range of applications via the Internet.  Prior to the advent of cloud computing, software had to be downloaded and installed on physical computers or servers in brick and mortar offices. Those days are gone.

The cloud is becoming more popular because:

  • Cloud-based applications and services can be accessed anytime from anywhere. All you need is a device with an Internet connection.
  • The time, effort and cost of managing your systems goes away
  • The cloud is effectively infinite in size; you need not worry about running out of capacity

Here are some top reasons why organizations are choosing the cloud…

Work from Anywhere. If you have an Internet connection, you can work. Most cloud services are accessible from any device. Organizations can now offer more flexible work schedules to their employees, thereby increasing productivity.

Disaster Recovery. Organizations of all sizes should be investing in robust disaster recovery. For smaller, budget-conscious organizations, cloud-based disaster recovery is ideal. It saves time and money by eliminating high, up-front costs, and internal IT teams are no longer tasked with the complexity of maintaining a best-in-class disaster recovery system.

No Hardware Costs. Cloud computing eliminates the high cost of hardware. You “pay as you go” using a subscription-based model that’s easier to budget.

Security. When your data is stored in the cloud, you can access it anytime from anywhere. You can even remotely wipe data from lost or stolen laptops so it doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Automatic Software Updates. Servers are off-premise so you don’t have to worry about maintaining them. Software updates are performed as they’re released.

Flexibility. Cloud-based services are ideal for organizations with growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands. If your needs increase, it’s easy to scale up your cloud capacity. If you need to scale down, you can easily do that, too.

Collaboration. Employees can access, edit and share documents anytime from anywhere. Cloud-based file sharing apps are updated in real-time, giving everyone full visibility into current content. Prior to the cloud, workers had to send files back and forth as email attachments to be worked on by one user at a time. That method often led to conflicting document versions.

Greater visibility means improved collaboration, which ultimately translates into a better practices and a healthier bottom line. If you’re still relying on old methodologies, it’s time to move into the 21st century and explore new, reliable cloud-based options that will streamline the way you conduct your business.

For more information about cloud computing, or to inquire about Bryley’s full array of Managed IT Servicesand Managed Cloud Services, please contact us at 978.562.6077 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We’re here for you.

Brief Review of Cloud Trends in 2016 and Beyond

Cloud trends include1:

  • Options – Switching Public Cloud platforms and Private Cloud compliance
  • Familiarity – Greater understanding leads to refinement in selections
  • Growth – Cloud tends to be the primary engine for IT growth
  • Benefits – Reduction in costs leads all other benefits

Options

Approximately 43% of companies using Public Cloud services that were surveyed in CompTIA’s Trends in Cloud Computing2 switched to a different Public Cloud platform (i.e.: from Google G Suite to Microsoft Office 365). Of these, 46% noted that this secondary migration was more difficult than the initial migration to the Cloud.

The top Public Cloud implementations – email, web presence, and business productivity suites – were used by 51%, 46%, and 45% of the survey respondents, respectively.

Familiarity

Most Cloud-using organizations have a one-to-five year history with Cloud services; they have been through the process before, which simplifies the selection and procurement of new options.

Cloud options, Public, Private, and Hybrid, also are better understood, leading to greater refinement in the cloud-selection process. However, Private Cloud is likely the least-understood option, often being used to refer to a hosted datacenter solution, which is becoming the norm.

Growth

The Gartner Group forecast Cloud revenues of $204B in 2016, a 16.5% growth over 2015.3 Gartner’s 2017 forecast is continued, double-digit growth of 17.3%.

Benefits

Of the CompTIA respondents, over 40% of all organization types – large, medium, and small – cite “Ability to cut costs” as the primary motivation in Cloud computing. Small and medium organizations were also likely to emphasize “Reduce capital expenditures” as a primary motivator.

1Please see ClikCloud Technology Trends for 2017.

2See CompTIA Trends in Cloud Computing from September 2016.

3Visit Gartner Group Gartner says Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market Forecast to reach $204B in 2016 from January 25, 2016.