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Cloud computing aka ‘The Cloud’ is all the rage right now with so many companies actively pushing their wares for both consumer and business alike. There is a fair bit of hype surrounding ‘the cloud’ and in some cases the advantages can be very real.
First we need to come up with a definition of Cloud Computing that will actually mean something to people who are not necessarily the most technically minded.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has this definition: “Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g.networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
It may be easier to consider “The Cloud” as a metaphor for the Internet as a whole. Cloud services can considered more like your electricity supply; a variable (elastic) supply. This ‘utility’ can consumed without any real concern for the underlying technology, providing you are connected to the grid (Internet).
Millions of people use cloud services daily. Email services such as Gmail from Google and Outlook.com (was hotmail) from Microsoft are cloud based services, as are online storage services like Dropbox and Apple’s iCloud.
There are of course plenty of business focused cloud services too; services like the CRM tools from Salesforce.com and email and web security services from Symantec Cloud (formerly MessageLabs), plus many more, including of course our very own suite of products at MiQuando.com.
As a small startup business, your focus should be on doing what you do well and managing your costs effectively (nice article on this from Lord Sugar). Using a ‘cloud’ based service may allow you to do what you know best, as for a low monthly fee, you can have the reliable and robust systems you need with your data safe and secure without the need to invest up front in expensive hardware and software.
So to summarise, if you are a small business in the startup, expansion or technology refresh phase you should at least consider ‘cloud based services’ as an alternative to your own physical server.
My recommendation would be to explore this with maybe a couple of local IT vendors, as there are some caveats and some questions that need to be asked of any vendor, but if you want or need to go it alone, make sure you at least have answers to the questions below:
What Service Level Agreements are offered for availability, depending on your requirements a minimum of 99.95% should be sought?
It’s all well and good your cloud service having 100% availability, but you need to access it, so check the same for your internet connectivity from your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
How secure is my data and where is it stored and backed up to?
How elastic is the service offering i.e. how quickly and easy is it to scale up or down?
What support is available at what times and can you actually talk to someone or is support only via email and web portals?
Of course, and determine the incremental increases/decreases for scaling up and down?
Make sure you have one and understand what you are buying into e.g. minimum terms
Understand how easy it is to migrate away from the service with all your data and what costs may be involved in that activity.
This article was first published on http://www.ingeniousbritain.biz/2012/09/cloudy-scattered-showers/
23rd October 2012
Exciting new opportunity for Complete Technology
Complete Technology has been selected to provide IT infrastructure support and maintenance services to a new Isle of Man startup - MiQuando. Complete Technology will work with MiQuando's development and hosting partners to provide a high availability server infrastructure, hosting MiQuando's Software as a Service (SaaS) offering which is expected to go live in summer 2012.
Complete Technology's David Cowley said "We are thrilled to win this business and work with MiQuando on what is an incredibly exciting proposition. Our experience in supporting & maintaining high availability infrastructure provides MiQuando with the skills and processes required to run a 24/7/365 business."
16th March 2012
Time to update your email and web security systems?
In today’s online world there are constant attempts to breach company and personal security and gain unlawful access to and/or damage to electronic data and systems, with thousands of complex and sophisticated techniques being deployed every hour of every day.
Commonly referred to as malware, these malicious pieces of software have varying goals; some purely to cause inconvenience, a form of electronic vandalism if you wish whilst others are a for profit venture, whether it be forcing advertisements onto your screen or accessing data to facilitate criminals stealing money from you via credit card or bank fraud or possibly even worse hosting illegal content such as child pornography on your computer system.
The easy targets are of course the most widely used applications of email and internet browsing. Current statistics for the UK shows that on average 1 in every 86 emails contain some form of malware, with the percentage of spam emails averaging 80% of all email over the last 6 months. Latest reports suggest that upwards of 1.5 million web sites are currently infected with some form of malware meaning your chances of coming across at least one of these in the next few months is somewhere in the region of 95%.
The latest information from Symantec concerning global threats is available by clicking here
Combatting these widespread and complex threats is a serious challenge to every business. The speed with which these increasingly sophisticated threats are spreading in the wild means keeping up to date with an on-premise solution is more difficult and time consuming than ever. Many of the security controls in place today are simply not up to the job.
Outsourcing of email and web security to a cloud based service provider should be the easiest and wisest decision you ever make in business. The low up-front investment, quick and easy implementation and highest levels of threat protection available, make cloud-based services a no brainer for businesses of any size.
If you would like to understand more on this topic or would like a demonstration of the benefits of Cloud based email and web security solutions, please contact us via telephone on +44 (0)1624 660555 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
3rd May 2011
Defining the cloud – knitting fog or painting by numbers?
An awful lot of people seem to be having difficulty understanding just quite what ‘the Cloud’ is, to such an extent that many senior IT managers are clamouring for standards to be developed.
Is this simply because they are so far divorced from day to day IT that they simply don’t understand and need someone else to define it for them, or is it really that complex?
I guess that from a buyer’s perspective it might be a little confusing and you might conceivably end up not being able to see the wood for the trees with all the marketing hype being created, but apply a little logical thought and all should be revealed.
The theory behind the cloud is that services are provided via a shared infrastructure that is scalable and built with a high degree of resilience and flexibility. To build such a delivery infrastructure is prohibited by cost and probably capability for the vast majority of organisations. However, by taking advantage of the cloud organisations can gain access to corporate quality IT for a fraction of the historic cost.
There are a number of cloud types being offered:
Then there are the different types of services being offered via any of the above clouds:
Based on the above, it really shouldn’t be too complicated to determine what flavour of ‘the cloud’ might fit your needs.
The questions that need to be asked of any vendor really come down to a few simple questions that must be asked and satisfactorily answered before anyone makes any serious steps towards cloud computing:
What is clear, is that the right cloud based solution can offer significant advantages, especially for the small to medium sized business. Gaining access to an enterprise class IT infrastructure and application environment with levels of resilience and robustness that could only be dreamed of previously is now realistically achievable at a lower price than the cost of putting a comparable physical infrastructure on-site.
If you would like to understand more on this topic or would like a demonstration of the potential cost savings of Cloud vs On-Premise solutions, please contact us via telephone on +44 (0)1624 660555 or send us an email to email@example.com
27th April 2011
What’s this ‘Cloud Computing’ all about?
Cloud computing aka 'The Cloud' is all the rage right now with all the major IT companies actively pushing there wares for both consumer and business alike. There is a fair bit of hype surrounding 'the cloud' and not without justification as the advantages are very real, especially for the small business, with lower costs and tangible benefits for many businesses when compared to on-premise hardware.
First off though, we need to come up with a definition of Cloud Computing that will actually mean something to people who are not the most technically minded. Without being disrespectful, this applies to the vast majority of leaders of small to medium sized businesses, who rightly so concentrate their efforts on their core business rather than some seemingly esoteric concepts with undefined benefits.
Many millions of individuals are users of cloud services and have been for many years with hosted email services and more recently offerings from Google, Amazon and Microsoft amongst the highest profile players. There are also a significant number of companies already using Cloud services such as Salesforce.com and there is some movement amongst organisations toward other cloud based services.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has this definition: “Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
In lay terms it may be easier to consider that Cloud is simply a metaphor for the Internet as a whole and cloud services can considered to be something more like your electricity supply, a variable (elastic) supply which can be consumed without any real concern for the underlying technology, providing you are connected to the grid.
If you take this concept further and apply to say a small startup business, the focus should be on doing what you do well and managing your costs effectively (nice article on this from Lord Sugar). Using a managed cloud based service will allow you to do what you know best, whilst for a low monthly fee you can have the highly reliable and robust systems you need with your data safe and secure negating the need to invest up front in expensive hardware and software licences and you may well not need that risky and noisy piece of tin to sit in your office.
So to summarise, if you are a small to medium business in the startup, expansion or technology refresh phase you need to consider the ‘cloud’ as a solution. It makes sense to utilise your local IT vendors expertise, which will ensure you get the right type of service for your business needs and are not left with an unreliable service with generic support only available on the end of a phone, plus there's always the added bonus of having one ‘throat to choke’ in times of need!
If you would like to know more about Complete Technology's Cloud based solutions for small business, please contact us via telephone on +44 (0)1624 660555 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
11th April 2011
Complete Technology celebrates 10th Anniversary.
The company started life supporting home and small business customers with technical support. Since then it has grown to be a leading provider of outsourced IT managed services providing technical support services to customers in the Isle of Man, UK, Europe, Middle East and the Far East.
Now employing 8 staff and working in conjunction with global partners, Complete Technology provides support for a broad spectrum of technologies from networking, telephony, physical servers, virtual servers and storage devices across platforms including Dell, HP, Sun and IBM midrange. During the last 10 years Complete Technology has developed into one of the most highly skilled and professional IT vendors in the Isle of Man.
Revenues have grown strongly year on year to the point where turnover is now just less than £750,000 per annum. The two directors of the company, Paul Harris and Nigel Jones continue to drive the company forward and have plans to launch new services in the coming months with the aim of driving continued growth and expansion.
Paul Harris commented “The last 10 years has been both a challenging and rewarding period. We are looking forward to the next 10 years of challenge and reward for all our staff and customers”
29th March 2011