In a pretty short space of time, businesses have become spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing cloud infrastructure and platform providers – but the two undoubted leaders and most commonly-encountered options are Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure. Which one is right for you, and does the choice really matter?Read More
Have you ever bought a new television only to find out months later that it has a feature that you didn’t even know about?
The TV turned on and you were able to binge watch your favourite show, so what does it matter? Well little did you know you can order pizza from your TV and it’s delivered fresh – wish you knew that now.
Microsoft Office 365 is very similar to this, most people only have a few uses for it; email, word and excel (we’re happy with that). As it is always the case , there’s more to it, and today we take the time to review some additional features that you probably haven’t even heard about, and explain how they can change the way you work.
Is a hosted application or service the same thing as a cloud one? It may seem that way, but simply put, it just isn’t. However, this is a commonly-made mistake. Let’s have a look at the differences between these two methods of delivering applications or services.
Starting with cloud solutions, the general point is usually this: If it is in someone else’s data centre, then it is a cloud solution.
Except, there is more to it than that. While this is necessary, it isn’t sufficient to earn the ‘cloud’ name. Indeed, just being in someone else’s data centre is far more likely to make it a hosted service. That’s because this is precisely what is meant by ‘hosting’. Just like when you host a guest, so too an application or service in someone else’s data centre is a ‘guest’ which is just looked after by that host.
There are other qualities which make a solution ‘cloud’ rather than hosted. It starts with that service being hosted in a remote data centre, and the list keeps going. Additional factors include:
Data security should be everyone’s concern, but when it comes to senior executives, the responsibility goes up a few notches. And it’s not just the CEO and the CIO who need to be abreast of it, but also the CFO – the person in charge of the finances.
Security breaches are commonplace. While the high-profile ones will make headlines, there are millions of far smaller ones which don’t – but that doesn’t mean they haven’t happened. The problem is growing, too, as the number of records exposed in data breaches rose by 97 percent in 2015. It’s not hard to see why: hackers make money by targeting information, with whole companies set up for this purpose.
So, as a CFO, what do you need to consider when it comes to information security? Here are our top five things you need to know:
Typically, the first thing most assume when dealing with cloud services is that there will be a cost saving. The next is that the costs will be variable, and they are. What ‘they’ don’t tell you is that by using Amazon Web Services (AWS), it is possible to get lost in the cloud and end up with a bill much bigger than anticipated. Here’s how that can happen.
Let's start by considering a trully uknown - AWS Cost Accounting
Pricing for AWS is completely transparent. The price for each service is clearly labelled online and publicly available. Amazon’s list prices are the same for all customers, and the only discounts come in the form of volume discounts based on usage, or Reserved Instances (RIs).
So if that's so transparent, how is it an unknown? The devil is in the details
You will by now have heard the term 'Cloud Computing' a lot. You probably have found that the term 'cloud computing' used for completely different and apparently contradictory circumstances. Google, Uber and Amazon are all 'cloud' but very different services. Didn't Amazon once sell books? AWS, Evernote, Uber, AirBnB, Office 365, Google - all cloud, all quite distinct.
But then even though IT created this notion of cloud computing they took it further and created even more clouds. No, these aren’t cumulus, stratus or cirrus. They are instead the public cloud, the hybrid cloud and the private cloud.
Before getting into these definitions, take a look at this previous blog for more detail on "What is cloud"
Let's start: Public Cloud
A public cloud is based on a standard cloud computing model, where a service provider (think Microsoft or Amazon) makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public over the Internet. Public cloud services may be free or offered on a pay-per-usage model.
What about private cloud?
A few weeks ago, we blogged about why your business should consider moving to Office 365 and the benefits of Microsoft’s cloud productivity applications. As always, it’s worth giving thought to the reasons for moving to Office 365 (and the reasons for making any change to business services should be good ones!)
With Office 365, those reasons are very good – but there are conditions which must be fulfilled before you do it. Check out these 5 points which will determine if your business is ready to take the leap:
1. Internet Connectivity
New Zealand is in the midst of the National UFB (Ultra Fast Broadband) Network roll-out. If you’re in an area which is connected – great. However, not every business has inexpensive access to business grade internet.
As a cloud service, Office 365 depends on good internet connectivity is essential. Don’t fall into the trap of switching only to discover your connection isn’t up to it. That could deliver a poor experience, leaving your staff wondering why the switch was made in the first place.
Despite advances in the resilience of IT systems, there remains a grim reality of failures which have the rather unpleasant habit of striking at the least convenient of times. Even short periods of outages can wreak havoc; after all, our dependence on IT has never been higher. But outside of annoyance, what does downtime actually cost?
Factors to consider are:Read More
The world is changing as technology grows ever more mobile. Cellphones have gone from bulky, large pieces of hardware to smaller, more compact specimens; always useful, they’ve also evolved from ‘just’ making calls, to revolutionary tools for doing business over the internet. For owners of any business, the opportunity presented by these connected devices cannot be ignored, as they deliver efficiencies, convenience and productivity benefits which can substantially boost personal and company performance .
Doing that depends on more than the smartphone, though – it comes down to the apps you’re using. Here’s our pick of three particularly useful apps which can give your company that little bit of extra oomph:Read More
So do you use the cloud? Most people’s first reaction is no.
But let's ask you another question... Do you make use of Internet Banking or do you Dropbox? Yes? Then you are in the cloud!
Owing to its widespread use, online banking serves as a great example to explain the evolution of cloud computing and the progression most of us make towards using the cloud as a de facto standard for service consumption. Let’s take a closer look.Read More