How Cloud Technology Has Transformed Data Storage

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We regularly hear (and say) buzzwords like big data, AI, Internet of Things (IoT)—but the modern day individual might not realize just how much data they use and collect every day.

Think about how many apps you use for to-do lists and messaging programs, your daily exchange of videos and pictures, or all of your work and personal devices.

Even tech professionals might not stop to think about the staggering amount of data in the world. According to recent reports by the IDC, the global datasphere stands at 33 zettabytes (ZB), which is expected to grow to 175ZB by 2025. To put that in visual terms, David Reinsel, senior vice president at IDC, explains that if you stored that on Blu-ray discs, the stack would reach the moon, 23 times over. According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index, by 2021, 94 percent of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centers, meaning all but 6 percent of our data will be on the cloud.

As we create, save and access an enormous amount of data every day, we take for granted just how far cloud technologies have changed both personal and professional data storage. Let’s dive into the evolution of everyday data storage in the face of the cloud, and how it has changed our lives as we know it.

Evolved and Improved Personal Storage

For the vast majority of us, the days of buying external storage, or bulking up local systems for storage are far behind us. The amount we’re willing to pay regulates our level of storage, (typically via subscription). Many of us also hedge our bets across multiple accounts and cloud storage services for free-tier access. The impacts have radically changed data storage for consumers, but not necessarily reduced the risks of data loss, orphaned data, or service disruption when a given cloud provider changes their policies for storing your information (Google+ being the most recent example of policy change).

Services such as Apple’s iCloud also span mobile and desktop platforms, offering a somewhat consolidated landing zone for the data we create between our various devices. Of course, as with any multi-device storage system, some kinks still need to be worked out.

The main result of the evolution of personal cloud usage is that 2.7 billion people walk around with devices in their pockets where they can quickly access: conversations threads from five years ago, thousands of high-res pictures, work databases, or see the person ringing their doorbell. – Read more

 

Why Supply Chain Companies Should Invest in the Cloud in 2019

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If there’s one thing keeping the supply chain industry up at night, it’s data security. Panelists from Johnson & Johnson and other industry leaders highlighted data worries during the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals’ Edge 2018 conference, emphasizing that in 2019, cybersecurity must be the top priority in our field.

Cybersecurity threats have loomed for several years, and high-profile data breaches in other industries hint at the risks we face in our own. Verizon reported in 2018 that more than 2,200 breaches were reported around the world. If global brands such as Amazon, Facebook, Under Armour, and Delta Air Lines can be hacked, every company is vulnerable.

Risk Mitigation Is Priority No. 1

The Internet of Things is a more prevalent reality every day, so we need to invest in risk mitigation now. Connected devices can drive efficiency and transparency, but they also leave enterprises vulnerable to breaches unless the proper protocols are in place. This is doubly true for supply chain vendors because cybercriminals often view our industry as an easy entry point for hacks. Case in point: The hackers behind the infamous Target breach used HVAC vendors to infiltrate the company. A 2018 CrowdStrike report revealed that two-thirds of the organizations surveyed experienced supply chain attacks within the previous 12 months. Troublingly, just 37 percent of those based in the U.S., the U.K., and Singapore said they had vetted their suppliers for security risks.

It’s clear that supply chain partners must prioritize cybersecurity in their processes and partner relationships. Fortunately, cloud-secure processing systems already provide assistance in this regard, offering advanced solutions for digital business models. Supply chain management will see substantial advances in the IoT, artificial intelligence, and robotics in the coming years. Embracing these technologies will be essential to stay competitive, but security will be vital as well. Cloud-secure processing systems can provide the needed infrastructure for fast, safe digital processes.

Why We Must Look to the Cloud

Some decision makers are reluctant to embrace the cloud. They worry that transitioning to the cloud will decrease visibility into their supply chain functions, leave them more vulnerable to breaches, and cause strain among their IT departments. However, the key security concerns with a cloud system aren’t about the infrastructure; they’re about roles and permissions.

Diligence in determining who can access different levels of data will reduce the risk of breaches while allowing the company to leverage the benefits of the cloud. Importantly, cloud companies are often better equipped than IT departments to manage security infrastructures. The IT team will likely be more productive when it doesn’t have to worry about an area it might not be as experienced in as a cloud vendor. A cloud solution could ultimately make the company more secure and more productive. – Read more

12 Ways to Streamline Communications With SaaS Vendors

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Communicating with SaaS vendors is important: Without sharing information or getting updates, you’re far less likely to get the most out of using their services.

However, too often time is lost when interacting with these vendors. All that’s truly necessary in communication is to obtain good information and the service — without being drowned in extra information. So how can you find the right balance? To find out, we asked entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council the following:

“What is the best way to streamline communications with your SaaS vendors, so that you’re getting good information and service, but not inundated with extra information?”

Tips on Communicating with SaaS Vendors

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Use Shared Channels in Slack

“Helping everyone communicate within Slack has significantly streamlined internal, outsourced and external communication (customers). We use Slack to contact internal and outsourced partners. We email external (customers). This helps make sure email inboxes don’t clutter up important customer (sales and customer service) conversations that directly impact revenue.” ~ Josh Harcus, Hüify

2. Hit That Unsubscribe Button

“Frequent emails from SaaS vendors can end up cluttering your inbox. The best way forward is to unsubscribe from the promotional emails and talk directly to the SaaS vendors regarding your mail preferences. This not only clears up your inbox, it establishes a direct communication channel with your SaaS vendors, leading to more efficiency in your communication.” ~ Rahul Varshneya, Arkenea

3. Turn Off Most of Your Notifications

“When I sign up for a new website, I turn off most of the notifications immediately. There are only a few kinds of notifications I want to know about: when another person requires a direct response from me, when I’m getting charged and when something catastrophic happens. Just because an app’s designer wants to make sure I log in regularly doesn’t mean I agree.” ~ Thursday Bram, The Responsible Communication Style Guide – Read more

Finding security in the cloud

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When choosing a cloud security provider, enterprises will need to consider the level of data privacy and data security risk involved

Cloud computing services, where software and services are delivered over the internet instead of locally installed servers, are rapidly going mainstream.

All you need to know about the modern day restaurant POS system

My Post - 2019-03-19T114950.092.jpgAll you need to know about the modern day restaurant POS system

Good restaurant technology has multiple benefits. It enhances customer experience, reduces operational costs and helps in bring in more orders and revenue for your restaurant.

A POS is an indispensable piece of technology at your restaurant. Why? It takes care of multiple functions and links to crucial units of your business.

In this article, we will take you through the following

  • Functions of a modern day POS
  • Benefits of a cloud POS

Let’s get started with the functions of a modern day POS.

1.Takes care of the essential operations: Ticketing, billing & invoicing

When your staff takes in a customer order, it punches in the customer details in the restaurant POS. it then forwards the same to the kitchen (by printing Kitchen Order Tickets or making use of Kitchen Display systems). Meanwhile, a bill is generated through the POS and the customer is given a payment invoice, confirming the transaction.
The POS speeds up the operational processes at the restaurant thereby increasing overall efficiency.

2.Manages all your data

As all customer data gets punched into your POS, it becomes one big repository of all your customer data. A POS system allows you to segment this data in a multiple ways. Also if you have multiple outlets data management becomes a lot easier as it helps centralize your data across all your locations.

3.Does the Tax computations

Your POS system is capable of handling all the tax calculations. The computations needs minimal staff involvement, all he must do is feed in the order items and the POS system does the rest.

4.Conducts data analysis & reporting

Being a data warehouse, POS systems provide you analytics and insights on your data, helping you evaluate the performances of your outlets, your online delivery channels, individual menu items and so on. Once you set-up a few reporting modules, you’ll get periodic reports triggered to you. This will allow you to quickly see what’s working, what’s not. You could run the insights by your management and fix a few action points or pain areas which need to be looked at. In short, it lets you make more informed decisions.

5. Keeps track of the inventory

Does your restaurant frequently run out of the key raw materials?

POS keeps track of how you are faring with regards to the inventory numbers. It notifies you about the stock levels, alerts you in case of any shortfalls and so on. This increase your productivity and reduces the number of dissatisfied customer.

6. Links easily with your Loyalty programs

To run any business successfully, it is important to keep your customers engaged and happy. Building a loyal customer base is often a result of good customer experiences. Loyal customers not only bring you more business but become your brand advocates, help you promote your restaurant. To make customers more loyal, that is to make them make repeat visits to your outlet, you need to reward them as frequently as they eat at your restaurant. Good loyalty schemes act as great incentives for them to keep coming back to you.

Loyalty points is an effective method to gain more regular customers and to convert potential customers.

Loyalty point schemes are easily integrated to your POS system. As orders are placed you can give updates to your customers about the status of their loyalty points. If they are placing orders online, their loyalty points status displays automatically on the dashboard. Also you can keep a regular check of all your loyal customers and check on their visit statistically and reach out to them personally for your exclusive promotions.

7. Links to your restaurant’s CRM

When customer data gets synced on your POS, it is the starting point for all your post-meal communication. Good communications, post an eating out experience, is what keeps customers in touch with your brand. Obviously the likelihood of them coming back goes up this way. To better your customer communications, you can segment your data into neat buckets based on –

a. Type of order (favourite items)
b. Frequency of orders
c. Time of order
(You can make more segregations as per your discretion)

Sending well targeted communications will help get traffic back to your platform. This would ultimately result in more business.

8. Control theft and pilferage

Many restaurateurs would unanimously agree that thefts and pilferages are common across their restaurants. Mostly, they aren’t even able to track what happens.

The POS can help you control recurring thefts/pilferages through:

  • Set-up real-time reporting and analysis
  • Maintain Tight control on the inventory
  • Monitor system usage
  • Set up work schedules among your staff and track their work

Clearly, the modern day restaurant POS links to all the critical components of your business.

When you go looking for a POS, it’ll be very useful to have the above checklist of functions handy and you can test the same as you prepare to make this important purchase. In addition to this, you may have to choose between a cloud POS and an on-premise (legacy) POS.
In the next section we will introduce the key differences between the two POS systems.

 

A cloud POS gives significant benefits to a restaurant.

1.Safer data storage and high data security

A cloud POS system is hosted on reliable servers (remote servers such as Rackspace, AWS). In other words, A Cloud Server is actually a virtual server, running on a physical server in another location – off-site. Besides this, a cloud POS system is equipped with SSL encryptions to protect it from virus, malware and other security breaches.What this does is it minimizes the risks of data loss or data theft. A legacy POS on the other hand is hosted on local servers where data security is a big concern.

2. Operates from anywhere

With the restaurant POS you always stay connected to your business. As long as you have an active internet connection, you can login to your POS and check up on your day to day operations. In the on premise set-up, you must be physically present at the outlet to oversee your business. This obviously is inconvenient and the cloud POS helps overcome this.

3. Works across devices & operating systems

Cloud POS can work on your PC, mobile or tablet. It can run on multiple operating systems as well. This makes it very convenient for the user to install and use the software with ease. Legacy POS systems usually work on-prem only.

4. Easy monthly payments and say goodbye to bulky hardware

The last thing any restaurant owner wants is to invest too much money on something they are not familiar with. You can easily purchase a POS system on easy monthly instalments and discontinue it whenever you feel dissatisfied. Added to this, you do not have to worry about bulky hardware at your restaurant – you can use your POS on a laptop or a mobile. No need to invest in heavy artillery infrastructure like in the case of the on-premise POS.

5. Constant software updates

A cloud POS never gets obsolete. It is constantly auto-upgraded to keep the software as technologically sound as possible. You must be familiar with the updates that happen on your mobile device. The POS software updates take place in a similar manner. In legacy POS systems on the other hand, the software runs the risk of becoming outdated quickly and then you’d have to buy a new one.

A cloud POS is definitely superior to its legacy counterpart. While you go looking for the right POS for your restaurant, we would advise you to do your own research, drill down on the features you want from your POS and then finalise one for your restaurant.

We hope you found this read useful. Do let us know your take in the comments section below.

6 Upselling Lessons for a Successful SaaS Company

My Post - 2019-03-15T185613.536.jpgIt seems like everything is offered ‘as a service’ these days: platform, infrastructure, recovery, storage, database, security, management, and more. There are so many, they had to create an all-encompassing term – XaaS, or Anything-as-a-Service – to represent them all.

The XaaS industry is booming, and it’s the software-as-a-service(SaaS) companies under that umbrella that are growing faster than any other type.

And with good reason: most businesses, from SMBs to enterprise-level companies – use at least a few of them. Customer resource management, accounting, invoicing, data management, human resources, resource planning, marketing, email, project management, and many more crucial cogs in the business machine are offered under the SaaS model. – Read more

7 Tips for Financial Execs Transitioning to the Cloud

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If you are actively searching for best practices and tips to move to the cloud, here are 7 tips.

A tectonic shift — or, we could rename it a techtonic shift — is spreading rapidly across the globe as organizations move to the cloud. The transformation comes from not only the need to use software based in the cloud, but also from companies rethinking their corporate strategies and positioning in terms of their internal data, content, systems, privacy, security and even culture. Financial executives often find themselves in these type of digital transformation projects for their financial expertise as well as for their overarching business analysis, objectivity, compliance knowledge and high-level view of an organization. Fueled by market research data, Gartner estimates that more than $1.3 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud by 2022. Much of this spend will lead to company goals of improved efficiency, cash flow and overall cost savings.

Despite statistics, scores of small, medium and enterprise companies are not yet on the cutting edge of digital transformation and haven’t yet made the move to the cloud. If you fall into this bucket of companies you’re not alone, yet. If you are actively searching for best practices and tips to move to the cloud, please read on.

1. Select Executive Sponsorship

Your first order of business is to nominate your project champion or executive sponsor to lead the cloud transition project. This person must have the power to make decisions and be technically savvy enough to talk and understand “cloud speak.” They must also have the ear and respect of the entire executive team to keep all constituents informed throughout the organization’s shift to the cloud. Your executive sponsor will be able to consider different needs for business units, global ramifications and long-term goals. Similarly, this person will understand the existing infrastructure and the current technology stack, including ERP, CRM, RPA, line of business systems and repositories. Ultimately, this person will sign off on the type of cloud platform and any related vendors with financial implications and business objectives at the forefront. – Read more

With microservices, SaaS startups are giving large vendors a run for their money

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When Alibaba Cloud wanted to beef up its backend platforms, the company did not reach out to large enterprise technology giants.

Instead, it engaged the services of To The New, an up-and-coming SaaS-based integrated solutions provider based in Mumbai.

Similarly, when a large American retail giant needed to build an end-to-end order management system with multiple channels, it could have opted for a singular solution from the leading system management providers. Instead, the company zeroed in on an in-built all-in-one solution from Cybage, an outsourced product development company which is headquartered in Pune.

The dawn of the digital transformation era at enterprises has signalled the arrival of new-age technology firms which are not focussed on a singular specialisation, but instead have mastered the art of integrating several small solutions into a single customisable entity using the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

A Gartner research report has estimated that SaaS will be the largest revenue generator for the cloud, with an estimated growth of 17.8% to reach $85.1 billion this year.

These digital transformation providers promise dynamic and innovative solutions at a lower time-to-market as compared to the IBMs and the Accentures of the industry.

Among their prominent skill-sets is working on integrated offerings in a bid to make clients understand that they do not have to source ten different singular solutions to hit the target return on investment (ROI). – Read more

Cloud Security Should Reduce Friction for Users

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Organizations need to protect both SaaS and IaaS environments, a McAfee expert says.

What is Cloud computing and why does it matter to business?

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Cloud computing refers to the provision of IT infrastructure, operating software, middleware and applications hosted within a datacentre and accessed by the end user via the Internet.

So what is Cloud computing in business and what are the main trends?

Cloud computing is typically sold using three service models:

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): a model for renting out IT hardware, such as servers, data centre space or networking components, to IT systems administrators or network architects, saving them the cost of buying and building their own in-house data centre.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS): a model for providing IT platforms to allow app developers to create, run and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app.
  • Software as a service (SaaS): a model for licensing and delivering centrally hosted software via the Internet on a subscription basis to corporations and consumers.

Why does Cloud computing matter to business?

Cloud computing makes it easier, cheaper and faster to run state-of-the-art IT architectures in any type of company, large or small. The key benefits are:

  • Cost: Significant cost savings are likely across a company’s IT budget.
  • Cash flow: The billing is typically metered on usage, so IT expenditure shifts from one-off, upfront capital expenditure to monthly operating expenses, offering a cash flow advantage.
  • Flexibility: Businesses can rent IT equipment and applications as needed, rather than buying hardware and software assets outright.
  • Scalability: Computing capabilities like storage, processing power or network bandwidth can be scaled-up almost instantly and scaled-down again depending on demand and users are unlikely to ever be short of capacity.
  • Ubiquitous access: IT resources can be accessed by any authorised users on any authorised devices from any authorised location using an Internet connection.

Read more