Why do you need backup for Salesforce and other SaaS apps?

My Post (36).pngOrganizations using cloud-based SaaS applications are focused way too much on usage of these platforms and, instead, need to also be thinking about productivity in terms of backups.

Cloud-based application platforms, like Salesforce, Office 365 and Box, are now integral parts of modern-day business operations. With the digital transformation in full swing, customers, partners, vendors and employees expect that operations and data will be available pretty much always.

But, for some odd reason, IT has lost its collective mind. We would never think of putting up a new application and not backing it up. But when we move to the cloud and put our organization’s most critical data up there — in Salesforce or otherwise — many don’t give a second thought to backups. But why? If Salesforce was on premises, wouldn’t you be backing it up every day? Of course you would.

There are a number of reasons you need backup for Salesforce and other SaaS providers:

  • They aren’t responsible. Most SaaS vendors subscribe to a shared responsibility model. In short, they are responsible for the service, but you are responsible for your data. Salesforce, for example, says it outright. The vendor offers the most basic backup for Salesforce.
  • In-application functionality is limited. Some platforms have deleted item retention times, data archiving or legal holds, but these are generally per-record copies. None of these are as effective as good, old-fashioned backups that are in your control. Salesforce offers some manual and on-demand export options, but none of them are of the same caliber as traditional backups.
  • Data is at risk of loss. Microsoft Azure, for example, has suffered multiple outages in recent years. While most outages are merely a loss of service, as more organizations rely on SaaS vendors, the likelihood of it happening to a customer increases by the day. Even Salesforce keeps a copy of your data for disaster recovery (DR) as a “last resort” (its words), acknowledging it is possible for your data to be lost.
  • You need to meet the 3-2-1 backup rule. In some cases, there is only one copy in production. (Replication for service availability doesn’t count.) To meet the rule, you need two additional copies, at least one additional medium and one copy that’s off-site — that is, not in the SaaS vendor’s hands. At best, Salesforce only maintains two copies — one in production and one for its admittedly expensive DR services.

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With SaaS sales, is it better to have an annual price or a monthly price, billed annually?

My Post - 2019-06-28T111113.682.pngIt is better for a very long time to let the customer buy how they are most comfortable buying.

This removes friction from the sales process, leading to a higher and faster close rate.

Let’s take a look at Zoom. Zoom is growing > 100% at $500m in ARR, in an already well established space. It may be the most successful SMB-focused app of our current generation.

Zoom does not play games. Zoom lets small groups pay monthly if they want, and easily. No hiding the monthly option, no pricing confusion:

In fact 26% of Zoom’s customers still pay monthly, even at $500m+ in ARR:

More here: 5 Interesting Learnings From Zoom. As It IPOs. | SaaStr

Small business and individuals often prefer to pay monthly, even at a significantly higher price (e.g., often 20%+ higher). Certainly not always, but often. The money is often literally, or figuratively, out of their own pocket. Few of us like to pay rent annually, even if it were cheaper. – Read more

Avoid runaway cloud migration costs

My Post (99)Find a smart, cost-effective path to the cloud

The shift of on-premises workloads to the cloud entails countless variables, options and decisions, and no two initiatives will be alike. One certainty, though, is that an organization will face cloud migration costs when it begins that transition.

The extent of those costs will depend on how well a business prepares itself. The process involves a clear-eyed look at which workloads are good candidates for a cloud provider’s servers. Some will be, and some will not. Certain legacy applications will be a poor fit for the cloud. And even where it is possible to move most workloads, replicating in the cloud what you’re doing on premises will be a costly blunder.

One of the key drivers of cloud adoption, after all, is the notion that a business will spend less when it pays a service provider to handle servers and deliver unlimited capacity. That may or may not end up being the case, but it is possible to head off trouble by getting the migration phase right.

That means moving the right applications in ways to make sure your cloud migration costs don’t get out of hand, writes IT instructor Brian Kirsch in this handbook. In his tip, he recommends ways to handle the movement of data to the cloud. The transfer itself, he notes, can be a costly and time-consuming process. In addition, a business will need to address staff training, which comes at a cost. Kirsch also dispels some false assumptions about how the adoption of cloud services changes both the size and responsibilities of the operations team.

These factors will challenge an organization, especially one that has run an on-premises IT infrastructure for a long time. With a well-planned transition, though, it is possible to contain cloud migration costs and begin your cloud journey the right way. – Read more

6 Common Cloud Migration Challenges (And How to Overcome Them)

My Post (98)Is your business considering moving to the cloud?

Cloud computing has exploded over the past decade as the number of cloud providers and solutions continues to increase. Studies consistently find that businesses are adopting the cloud into their infrastructure at a feverish rate. Before your enterprise makes the jump, however, you need to develop a strategy for migrating to the cloud. That includes figuring out how to overcome the challenges associated with cloud migration.

Successfully migrating to the cloud requires a lot of attention from your enterprise. If your business isn’t prepared to deal with the challenges of cloud migration, then it could be costly and dangerous for you and your data. However, knowing about these challenges and how to deal with them before you start your cloud journey will give you a big advantage. Below, we’ve listed six common cloud migration challenges that businesses face – and how you can overcome them.

Planning a cloud migration strategy

IT professionals know that you can’t just blindly adopt a new technology into your infrastructure without a solid strategy in place. The cloud is no exception to this rule; planning out your migration before you make the jump to the cloud is an essential part of the process. This doesn’t just include choosing the right cloud provider for your business, however. You need to factor in cost analysis, projected downtime, employee training, and an estimated time to complete the migration. That last part is a key element because fully migrating to the cloud can take a long time (potentially up to several months) depending on the size of your business and how much data you’re moving to the cloud.

Breaking down your cloud migration into stages

The worst thing you could possibly do when it comes to cloud migration is try to move everything onto the cloud at once. While businesses are eager to migrate their data to the cloud, they need to know which data should be moved over first. A good general practice is to start migrating non-essential or redundant data first. Because you’ll still be testing the waters when you start the migration process, it’s possible that your staff might make an error that could erase, corrupt, or unsecure your data. You don’t want to risk that happening to your business-critical or sensitive data, especially if you need to maintain compliance.

The financial cost of cloud migration

Moving to the cloud can be costly, especially if you don’t project the potential financial impact beforehand. While the cloud is often cost-effective in the long term, cloud migration might be expensive upfront depending on how much data you plan to move. This financial cost shouldn’t just factor in the cost of using the cloud solutions, however. You also need to consider the cost of training employees on the new technology and the cost of rewriting or replacing data to be compatible with the cloud architecture. – Read more

Debunk 10 common public cloud myths

My Post (97).pngA range of public cloud misconceptions — including those related to security and cost — give enterprise adopters the wrong idea.

Read on to dispel the myths and get the truth.

Despite the fact that cloud — and its associated management tools — has been around for years, some enterprises are still getting used to the concept. As with most unfamiliar things, misconceptions and rumors spread quickly, which creates problems when developers or IT professionals talk about the possibility of a migration.

Read through 10 of the most common public cloud myths to gain a clearer understanding of what to expect — and sift the truth from the lies.

1. On-prem is always cheaper

If a customer believes the cloud is always more expensive, it’s clear they haven’t done a full total cost of ownership analysis, said Sean Feeney, cloud engineering practice director at Nerdery, an IT consultancy. It’s also likely they have limited visibility and accountability of their own data center and application costs.

“This misconception is sometimes spread by business leaders who have gotten stuck in the cloud migration bubble and, with shortsighted financial targets or other internal pressures, attempted to change or reverse course midstream,” Feeney said.

This myth can also account for some of hybrid cloud’s popularity as a way to test the public cloud waters. If a company is midway through a migration to the public cloud, pushback from executives concerned about costs can stall the migration — thus, a hybrid cloud strategy is born.

2. Cloud is always cheaper

On the other end of the cost spectrum, there’s another misconception that cloud is always less expensive than on-premises deployments.

Some assume the cloud is always cheaper because of the lack of data center hardware and maintenance. This is similar to saying that renting a home is always cheaper than buying one. Sometimes, renting is less costly. But if the buyer plans to stay in the rented home a long time, owning is the better financial decision.

“A lot of people misunderstand cloud pricing. They assume that, because it’s new and really popular, it must be cheap,” said Mike Lloyd, CTO of RedSeal, a security risk scoring platform. Public cloud can be expensive when users buy a fixed amount of computing power for a long period of time. The cloud is best for users who are uncertain about what they will need in the long-term — just like renting a home. – Read more

ERP Modernization: How the Cloud Delivers Scalability, Security and Innovation

My Post (96).pngAs government officials prepare to upgrade their SAP environments to the latest version, the reasons to move ERP to the cloud are very compelling.

With the right cloud choices, CIOs can capitalize on technology and innovation through a robust platform that will help future-proof government agencies and deliver enhanced citizen services for years to come.

Government organizations often take a conservative approach when deciding what workloads to run in public clouds. General-purpose applications, such as email systems, are most likely to go offsite, while mission-critical platforms, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, generally stay in on-premises data centers. IT managers often feel more comfortable maintaining control over ERP modules for financial management, accounting, procurement and other services that are essential to government operations.

Attitudes on this approach are changing, however. Not only have IT managers become more confident regarding the reliability and security of public clouds, many believe leading cloud providers provide higher levels of monitoring, security, management and uptime than what’s possible when managing systems in house. This helps explain why many organizations in government and commercial industry are now moving mission-critical applications, including ERP systems, to public clouds. In fact, 83 percent of government IT decision-makers in the Center for Digital Government’s 2018 Digital States Survey said they plan to move systems and applications to the public cloud.

Government agencies that use SAP for their ERP applications now have a unique opportunity to future-proof their environments – all while moving to an innovative cloud platform.

LEADERS IN ERP AND CLOUD FORGE CLOSE TIES

SAP and Google recently created HANA Cloud for the Google Cloud Platform. This alliance provides a specialized environment to tap into the latest features offered in S/4HANA, along with Google Cloud’s ability to enhance IT agility and innovation. Following are four reasons to use SAP S/4HANA and Google Cloud to create a modern foundation for government ERP services.

1. ENHANCED SCALABILITY AND RELIABILITY

Google Cloud runs a virtualized architecture engineered to support SAP workloads. This enables government IT managers to quickly add compute, storage and network resources for new initiatives or respond to anticipated spikes in demand. Being able to provision virtual machines with 12 terabytes of memory, on demand, gives organizations tremendous flexibility to grow and scale when required. Google Cloud’s compute environment is also designed for high availability (HA) with live migration, an uptime rating of 99.99 percent, and availability zones and storage services to support HA deployments.

2. BETTER MANAGEMENT OF SECURITY, RISK AND COMPLIANCE TO KEEP PACE WITH EVOLVING REQUIREMENTS

Google Cloud automatically encrypts data when it’s at rest, which ensures sensitive government information is always protected. Other cloud services require agencies to manually encrypt data or turn on this feature, which creates risk of human error. In addition, the Google Cloud environment integrates SAP’s Data Custodian, a governance, risk and compliance system developed in partnership with Google. It provides visibility and managed support for an enterprise’s data in the public cloud. As a result, government security officials can see everyone who accesses ERP applications and data so administrators can intervene if there are any attempts by unauthorized personnel to access protected resources. HANA Cloud is also certified for a wide range of important government regulations, including FedRAMP, FIPS 140-2, ISO 27001, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, SOC 2 and SOC 3, and others. – Read more

SEO Basics for SaaS Companies

My Post (92).pngAs technologies and consumer needs advance and new players constantly enter the game, SaaS companies providing FaaS or cloud functions supporting business infrastructures are facing a more competitive market.

SEO is among the plenty of important marketing channels for modern-day businesses. It is essential in helping users discover new solutions to their existing problems.

This is done by understanding the various stages of the user “funnel”, and how you can engage with them at the various stages and introduce them to your solution.

Generating Brand Awareness & Leads

For a lot of SaaS and FaaS websites, the audience can vary greatly.

At one end of the spectrum, you will highly technical users who could be looking to decompose their monolithic structure and make use of microservices, or users who have a specific problem such as service uptime, and need a solution to remain stable. – Read more

Moving to the Cloud: What Small Businesses Should Know

My Post (78).pngIt’s time to stop fearing the cloud. But which workloads should SMBs move, and where?

Small businesses are moving to the cloud in dramatically increasing numbers. According to Gartner, the market for public cloud, which tends to be the best option for most small businesses, will increase by 17.3 percent this year to $206.2 billion.

The benefits of cloud computing for smaller organizations are clear. One is financial: Moving workloads from an on-premises data center to the cloud means shifting that portion of your IT spending from capital expenditures to operational expenditures. The lower up-front investment for OPEX, as well as the cost certainty of subscription pricing models, are advantages for cash-flow conscious SMBs.

Another advantage is simplified scalability. Instead of deploying new data center equipment as the business grows, it can simply pay for cloud services as it needs them. This also removes the need to anticipate future growth and avoids overprovisioning, as cloud infrastructure can be scaled up or down as needed. And for seasonal businesses with resource needs that change throughout the year, this kind of simple provisioning can be extremely valuable. – Read more

 

The five commandments of big data cloud migration

My Post (77).pngWith data cloud migration you can’t muscle your way in. Brute doesn’t work for moving and maintaining petabytes of data.

Brute force works for stuck lug nuts – less so for moving and maintaining petabytes of data. Joel Horwitz, SVP Marketing Strategy, WANdisco takes up the tale

The cloud is here to stay. Data cloud migration, however, is proving vexing. According to McAfee, 97% of organisations use public or private cloud services. Big data is starting to jump the on-prem/cloud gap too. IDG found that 41% of enterprises are already migrating storage/archive/backup/file servers to the cloud, and 21% plan to do so in the coming year.

These numbers are great news for cloud adoption rates and cloud big data vendors…unless you look at the cup as half-empty. Because then you see the 59% who are not migrating, or the 79% who do not plan to do so in the coming year. And you wonder, with all the benefits of housing big data near the apps that produce and consume data, why are so few enterprises jumping in head-first?

The answer, it turns out, is simple: it’s really hard. – Read more

Five Software Buying Strategies For Today’s Deskless Workforce

My Post (76).pngAround 80% of today’s workforce – especially within construction, manufacturing and agriculture – is deskless.

However, only 1% of software venture funding is currently being allocated to developing mobile technologies that cater to this growing population. But mobile software funding and development for on-site workers is on the rise; efficient, user-friendly technology is one of the most effective means of boosting employee satisfaction and retention rates, especially in the restaurant and food service industries, which experience 100% turnover each year.

Furthermore, the technological needs of small to large businesses are evolving and expanding so rapidly that it’s becoming much less feasible for many companies to buy and install one comprehensive piece of software. Most of today’s businesses require multiple niche pieces of software; this demand has lead to the rise of software as a service (SaaS) apps –subscription-based web applications that are each more affordable, customizable and integratable than traditional all-inclusive software programs.

But more SaaS applications do not necessarily mean increased productivity or profitability. In fact, excessively layering SaaS apps can easily cost more time and money than it saves. Today, the average company with fewer than 10 employees uses 26 SaaS apps, while the average company with 251-1,000 employee uses an average of 124 SaaS apps. SaaS app spending and subscriptions for all size companies are on the rise and expected to double between 2017 and 2020.

As the developer of a mobile maintenance management system that allows technicians to request and monitor work orders on-site, I’m dedicated to modernizing industrial work with technology that is specifically geared toward deskless end users. What that in mind, here are five strategies any business can use to purchase only the best software for optimizing its unique workflow and maximizing productivity and profitability.

1. Invest In Mobility

It’s important to purchase software that fits the environment of your end users. Unfortunately, deskless workers’ needs are easily neglected by software developers with little-to-no knowledge of the workflow they’re designing products for. Additionally, most software purchasing decisions are made by C-level employees who lack similar insight into the challenges of on-site work.

If you’re buying software for maintenance and manufacturing teams of workers who virtually never sit at a desk, don’t buy desktop software. Moreover, those working in high-risk, hands-on, fast-paced industrial environments may require software that is vastly different than software geared towards the desk-bound workforce. Therefore, it’s crucial that all software buying decisions are informed by the end users’ experience.

2. Prioritize Training

One of the most common mistakes companies make when implementing SaaS is neglecting to make sure there’s an entire team onboard to ensure that implementation is successful. Collaboration and early user feedback is crucial. Expect a learning curve, but don’t sit passively through the interim period, or else the adoption phase may never end.

A SaaS app is only as dynamic as the team behind it. Instead of a “set it and forget it” approach, team leaders should actively refine SaaS output by continually refining data input. A SaaS app that’s worth implementing into an already established workflow should add everyday value based on employees’ everyday use and familiarity. – Read more