A Small Business’s Guide to the Different Types of Cloud Services

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Cloud services can enable more efficient use of resources in nearly every aspect of business, from the underlying technical infrastructure that supports the entire operation to mobile applications that make life easier for marketing.

 

It’s impossible to talk about optimizing business today without making cloud computing a big part of the conversation. This makes the cloud big business: Worldwide spend on public cloud services and infrastructure is expected to reach $266 billion in 2021, according to IDC. The cloud can enable more efficient use of resources in nearly every aspect of business, from the underlying technical infrastructure that supports the entire operation to snazzy mobile applications that make life easier for marketing.

Large enterprises have been leveraging the benefits of cloud computing for years. Now that the cloud is becoming commoditized and more easily accessible, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) want to realize those same returns. It can be hard, however, to read through the hype to understand exactly what the cloud is, what it can do for your business, and how you can implement a strategy around it.

What is the cloud, anyway?
With traditional IT infrastructure, an organization’s data and processes are all housed in an internal network. All of its data is stored either in a server that the business owns and that usually resides on its own premises, or in a server at a data center that is offsite and managed by a third party, but still local and dedicated only to that organization. Any applications, such as a CRM, accounting platforms, or office applications like word processing and email, are stored in these local servers, and the business’s processes all run on this network. It’s a closed, private, proprietary loop.

Cloud computing uses the internet to open that loop so users can house data, provide processing power, and run applications on a server where they essentially rent rather than own space. Programs live in the cloud, which is really just another giant server farm somewhere that’s connected to local users through the net, like AWS or Microsoft Azure. That means organizations don’t have to manage their own storage and power, can access applications from anywhere and at any time, and only pay for what they use. – Read more

Launching SaaS Software Onto A Different Region Of The World

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There are a lot of really innovative products right now on the market in the SaaS space; products often fueled by startups full of new ideas in a time when concepts like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, social media integration with marketing and more are in their heyday.

If you have an innovative product that is doing well, you may be tempted to expand onto new markets and geolocations. However, just because a product is successful in one region of the world or where it was launched from doesn’t mean this success will translate worldwide.

Users or potential customers have different habits worldwide. In some places of the world, there is more or less capital for investment. Thus, companies – whether enterprises, SMBs or startups – may be more or less inclined to invest in new product ideas for their workflows depending on their capital and revenue they generate. Some regions of the world may also be more tied to the traditional client-server model of computing rather than the cloud, due to slower high-speed Internet adoption or simply the fact that corporate habits die hard.

It seems more and more cities worldwide — including ones from places like Minsk, Belarus – are becoming hot tickets for startup growth and innovation in product ideas. However, many countries are still stuck in the corporate culture and rely on Microsoft Office for almost all their workflow needs. Innovation in software and adoption of SaaS offerings is also not going to be easy in such places.

However, the big hurdle I’ve noticed from personal experience working with a recent Polish-based startup trying to move strongly west — into English-speaking territories of U.S. And the U.K – is impatience and not studying the market ahead of time. A market like the U.S., for instance, has a lot of competitive offerings in the SaaS space in all sorts of apps and financial software offerings. A country like Poland may not. – Read more

The Right Culture: The Invisible, Pervasive Force That’s Key To Cloud Success

My Post (41).jpgAs companies look to move from on-premises applications to modern cloud ones, a central but often-overlooked factor can limit the migration’s success: an outdated culture.

Companies whose decision-making is strictly hierarchical—or, at the other extreme, overly dependent on building consensus—will have a difficult time adapting to the cloud, says Beth Boettcher, Oracle senior vice president of applications consulting. Slow-moving cultures in particular can run into long, or even stalled, cloud implementations, she says.

“From the outset, company leaders need to think about how the culture of their organization must operate differently during the deployment and implementation of cloud—and thereafter,” Boettcher says. “This culture change needs to come from the top.”

Setting Goals and Letting Go

Boettcher asks company leaders considering a move to the cloud what they’re trying to accomplish. Typically, the answer is that they want to reduce complexity, reduce maintenance costs so they can free up resources for more innovative work, and improve the user experience.

But each of those ambitions must be part of a larger strategic and cultural shift, she says. Cloud applications let employees access more information and, via data analytics, more insights. But employees must be empowered to act on those insights. – Read more

Hostway & Hosting Merge for More Managed Cloud Muscle

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Hostway and Hosting, two hybrid cloud managed service providers, are merging to beef up their joint international services for enterprises, the two companies said Tuesday.

The combined company will provide support to IT organizations that are changing their roles, Emil Sayegh, CEO of the combined organization and previously CEO of Hostway, tells Light Reading. “The IT department is becoming more of a broker for vendors than doing a lot of the work themselves. We complement them nicely in helping with that digital transformation.” CIOs are brought in to reduce cost and risk, but their real role is increasing business agility — launching products faster and improving communications. “The problem is that they never get to that true mission, which is improving agility. Hostway takes on operational responsibility to free IT to innovate,” he says.

The two companies have similar cultures and complementary expertise, Sayegh says. For example, Hostway had strong expertise in Microsoft Azure while Hosting.com was strong in Amazon Web Services Inc. Combined, the two companies have 14 data centers in five countries on three continents. – Read more

How To Avoid Common Cloud Security Mistakes

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In a world where data breaches dominate the headlines, I find myself in a lot of conversations on the topic of cloud security.

People often assume these hacks are pulled off by brilliant programmers exploiting obscure vulnerabilities. Some CIOs I’ve worked with as the founder of a cloud and DevOps automation company have even held back on leveraging public cloud services due to these concerns.

The truth is, I’ve found that cloud security issues are typically less dramatic than most people think. For example, security issues could be related to simple misconfigurations due to human error.

The public cloud is secure. Vendors like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and IBM have many cloud security experts maintaining and supporting their platforms. (Full disclosure: I’m a former employee of Amazon and Microsoft, and my company is a Microsoft Certified Partner.)

I believe leaders need to recognize that cloud security is a shared responsibility between both the provider and the customer. IT teams should take ownership of their role in supporting cloud resources and make sure they’re following vendor-recommended security best practices.

Here are some of the most common cloud security mistakes I’ve seen repeated consistently by customers in the real world that should be avoided at all costs — and what you can do instead. – Read more

Cloud Migration and Strategies: How it can Benefit your Business

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What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration is a process where companies can move applications, data, and other components that are hosted on different servers inside the organisation to a cloud-based infrastructure.

Some of the leading cloud providers are:

  • Amazon AWS
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform

The cloud providers do more than just provide the hardware. They offer a variety of applications and services that can be used for a number of functions. Some of the cloud migration services are:

  • Continuous integration
  • Data analytics
  • Artificial intelligence

Most cloud-neutral products can easily integrate with most leading cloud-based solutions. Cloud adoption has grown to become one of the most important strategic initiatives, and this is especially true for modern software companies. Cloud migration promises companies increased agility and velocity. This is why so many companies are currently working hard to migrate all of their infrastructure and applications to many different public cloud platforms. – Read more

2019 Trends: The First Cloud Era Is Over, Now The Real Fun Begins

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Fast approaching its third decade of commercial availability, the internet and its offspring are hurtling us into the next era. Sure, we’ve had fun surfing the internet, sharing on social media and working from home. But much of these initial digital years have revolved around doing the same stuff, except it was online. Indicators from a variety of researchers and pioneering companies are revealing something entirely different in store. Whether it’s called the third platform (IDC), intelligent digital mesh (Gartner), the Fourth Industrial Revolution (World Economic Forum), or any number of monikers by other smart people in various organizations, this next digital era is shaping up as truly revolutionary.

Billions of devices demand governance

Remember when the internet was supposed to be open and free, unfettered by rules of pretty much any kind? As information sharing online has become the communication norm, legal mandates are emerging. For example, social platforms in EU countries will likely have to adhere to tougher electronic evidence regulations for sharing content with law enforcement authorities. Calls for governance are increasing because, let’s face it, with billions of data devices and data points, the internet is all grown up. Before you wax nostalgic for those unbridled, anything is possible early days, take a gander at what trend watchers are saying about the opportunities.

Business model transformation

Cloud computing has forever altered the business landscape, including companies like mine. SAP is full steam ahead bringing our customers the intelligent enterprise. Indeed, researchers can’t say enough positive things about the incredible opportunities for the cloud-based economy at-large. IDC predicted digitally-enhanced offerings, operations and relationship-driving will power almost $7 trillion in IT-related spending between 2019 through 2022. According to a recent World Economic Forum (WEF) study, even a moderately paced roll-out of automation technologies in the coming years will power an investment surge totaling up to $8 trillion in the United States alone. – Read more

Cloud computing ranks: The number one 2019 career skill

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2019 is the Year of the Pig, but will it also be the Year of the Cloud?

Social media giant LinkedIn released a blog about “The Skills Companies Need Most in 2019 – And How to Learn Them”. What’s the number one hard skill that companies are eager for in 2019? You guessed it: cloud computing.

Is this is the skill that will set you apart from the crowd in 2019?

In-demand skills

Have you made a New Year’s Resolution? We are already halfway in January, and surely some of us have already given up on our goals. (No shame in that!) However, if your resolution was to add an in-demand skillset to your resume, here’s a suggestion: learn about cloud computing.

From the LinkedIn report, let’s learn why cloud computing is in demand.

Data from 500+ members were looked at, and here are the top skills that were the hardest for companies to fill:  – Read more

Cloud ERP taking off but confusion persists around security and control topics

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Whether enthusiastically or begrudgingly adopted, cloud infrastructure and services are a significant part of the IT fabric at most organizations.

Nevertheless, as business leaders continue to rightfully fret over data security and potentially introducing new risks, it’s reasonable to conclude that critical systems like ERP might be some of the last to move. That’s not necessarily the case.

As other diginomica writers have detailed, there is a healthy and vibrant market in cloud ERP software and as a new independent survey from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) details, these vendors are vying for a growing customer base as more organizations plan cloud deployments.

Cloud ERP vendors pitch cloud benefits such as rapid access to new features, financial efficiency through avoided capital spending and lower operational overhead coupled with the ease of supporting globally distributed workers and business partners. However, the CSA survey suggests that business and IT executive worry about infrastructure and data security and the complexity of complying with a hodgepodge of global data protection regulations when using third-party infrastructure. The clash between cloud convenience and fiduciary and operational realities will significantly shape how the cloud ERP market evolves and grows.

While data from surveys like that conducted by CSA are useful in helping set vendor and buyer priorities, even more important are concrete guidelines for securely operating and using cloud ERP environments. Moving critical business systems to the cloud without such security and governance measures in place is a recipe for future financial and operational disaster. – Read more

Next-gen firewalls are here to protect the cloud

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It is important to choose the right cloud service provider to get the best network protection.

Firewalls are vital in protecting networks. They are an essential part of computer systems intended to prevent the unauthorized flow of data while permitting connections deemed safe or acceptable.

The term is unmistakably derived from the brick and mortar firewalls that are designed to prevent or reduce the proliferation of fire. In the age of computers and the internet, the term firewall means something way more sophisticated than a fireproof wall or partition. In the age of cloud computing, the digital firewall has also been upgraded so that it is now proverbially taller to protect the cloud.

Next-generation firewalls are expected to be significantly improved so that they can address threats that are aimed at cloud infrastructure. Companies specializing in cloud services like Aviatrix need to upgrade their defenses to cope with the ever-evolving cyber threats. Otherwise, they cannot assure customers of adequate protection, as malicious software and persistent network attacks continue to grow.

Virtual private cloud and transit VPC 

One of the best ways to secure cloud assets is the establishment of virtual private clouds. In this kind of setup, customers can set up a logically isolated section of their cloud environment wherein they can initiate and use resources in a virtual network they can custom define. This means that they maintain full control over the networking environment including the choice of IP address, route table, and gateway setup, as well as subnet creation. – Read more