Tag Archives: Cloud

Are You Ready to Migrate Away from Windows Server 2003?

21 Apr 15
lverbik
, , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments

Last fall we wrote a post about planning for Windows Server 2003 end of life.  In that post, we recommended migrating to new server hardware and upgrading to the current version of Windows Server which is Server 2012 R2.  Well, now just a few months remain until Windows Server 2003 reaches the end and we thought it was worth another mention.  As of July 14th, 2015, security updates will no longer be released, new applications and programs will no longer support the OS, and systems will fall out of compliance.

You may be asking…”What steps can I take to prepare?”  Well, you can start with these 3 actions:

Step 1: Make an Applications List

The first thing you’ll want to do is assess the installed applications. For instance, do you have programs that currently run on a 32-bit Windows Server 2003 installation? Some of those programs may have issues when moving to a 64-bit environment such as Server 2012.  Identify items that will be affected and document them. Now is the time to think about updating legacy applications and solutions.  It may also be useful to create a list of users for each application.  Finding applications that no longer have active users potentially simplifies the migration plan.

Some applications such as an exchange server may be easily moved to a cloud solution such as Office 365.

Step 2: Determine Risks

Many things can go wrong during a server migration.  Consider the costs if a critical system would become unavailable.  During this phase of planning, get to know your backups and determine what could go wrong.  You don’t want to find out that one key application no longer works post-migration and have no backup in place.

Step 3: Make a Rollback Plan

As its name implies, a rollback plan lets you roll back or revert any changes you made so everything goes back to the original state—before you made any changes. It is important to have a rollback plan just in case something does go wrong. If downtime during the migration becomes unacceptably long, you should have a plan to revert back to Server 2003 and get everything back to normal.

An execution plan is the final step in the process and you need a strong team of IT professionals by your side to make sure your plan is solid.   Techno Advantage stands ready to guide you through the whole migration process from purchasing the equipment to implementation.  Don’t wait!  If you haven’t started thinking about this…you need a plan.

Read more about Windows Server 2003 End of Life on our blog.  CLICK HERE

Which Tech Tools Do You Need?

07 Apr 15
lverbik
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments

There are two things that most business owners need: more time and more money. With the right technology in place, you can get both — and ultimately improve your bottom line. Here are 5 tech tools that can help your company grow.
Cloud-based phone system (VOIP)
Rather than investing in an expensive business phone system, why not have your incoming calls go right to your smartphone? Web-based phone systems allow callers to reach you on any device through call routing. Look for services that offer professional greetings, automated menus, voicemail to email, and local business phone numbers.
Communications hub
With so many ways to communicate nowadays, it can be difficult to keep track of where specific conversations are happening. A unified cloud communications solution will keep everything in one place. Emails, instant messages and contacts all appear in the same app interface for maximum organization and efficiency.
Online payment networks
Paper checks are the old-school way of processing business to business payments, and yet many businesses still use checks, wasting money on postage and supplies. Online payment networks offer a secure, affordable way to send, and accept money directly to and from your bank account. Because these types of payments don’t involve credit cards, you’ll save on hefty transaction and service fees, too.
Screen capture software
A picture (or video) is worth a thousand words, especially in this visual age we live in. With a good screen capture software, you can save images and videos right from your desktop. Whether you need the whole screen or just a specific segment, you can save the content you need with one click. Most operating systems have a built-in screen capture tool, but there are more specialized tools out there that allow you to edit and customize before sending.
Web conferencing service
Web conferencing is the communication tool of the future for businesses with remote workers and clients who want to reduce travel expenses. These tools enable real-time meeting collaboration, sales presentations, training sessions and more. To get the most out of your Web conferencing services, find ones that go beyond basic audio and video calls and offer extras like desktop access and webinar capabilities.
Does your business need to update its technological tools? You may be hesitant to make a switch, especially if you’ve become accustomed to your current system, but if you don’t have up-to-date solutions that can make your operations more efficient, you may be wasting ever important time and money.
Though you may recognize the need for a technology update, selecting the right tech solutions for your business isn’t always an easy task.

Let Techno Advantage be your local Indianapolis area resource for all things business technology.

We’re ready to serve you! CONTACT US

Looking Forward into New Technology in 2015

28 Dec 14
lverbik
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments

Technology changes quickly. Just when you think you have the latest technology solution for your business, something newer and better is being touted as the “next big thing.” As 2014 draws to an end, we wanted to share 4 trends that are expected to affect small business technology in 2015.

The Cloud

Cloud computing is becoming more and more attractive due to its affordable computing capability, storage and apps available on-demand and to everyone in an organization. Businesses buy only the capacity they need and receive updates with minimal hassle. However, this tool also comes with many questions: What’s the right cloud structure? Should we host our own cloud? Should we invest in the infrastructure? In many cases, a cloud solution may be more affordable, but there are some concerns about control and security. There can also be questions about migrating across competing ecosystems, such as Microsoft Office and Google apps. Read our other posts about the Cloud here:

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Since most individuals only want to accommodate one smartphone at a time, these devices ushered in the era of BYOD. Saying no to personal devices can be a productivity buster that can be tough to enforce. However, there are still many issues with which many small businesses are wrestling. These include making sure that a phone or tablet isn’t an easy access point to disrupting the network while keeping employees data safe and separate.

Device Crossover

Once, the roles of devices were clearly defined–the desktop for stationary productivity and more demanding processing tasks, laptops for mobile productivity, and smartphone for nomadic connectivity. However, the entrance of new operating systems such as iOS and Chrome OS have made choosing the right equipment a lot more difficult; this issue is of course interwoven with that of BYOD. Small businesses can now tap into low-cost Chromebooks as well as Windows notebooks and even affordable two-in-ones that can work as a laptop or tablet.

Security Management

It seems that every day we hear about data breaches at large companies such as Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase and, most recently and infamously, Sony Pictures. The bread and butter of antivirus is still important, but even small businesses must be concerned with the integrity of customer data. There are lots of options in the marketplace that can help with this. We want to help you and your business stay secure. Check out these previous posts about security:

 

While there may be many questions around where small business IT will go in 2015, it seems clear that there are more choices than ever to best match a small business’s needs.

Techno Advantage is here to help you explore the technology solutions that are right for you. CONTACT US

 

The Team at Techno Advantage Wishes You A Productive, Safe and Prosperous New Year!

The Cloud Explained Part III – A Marketing Tool

07 Oct 14
lverbik
, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments

Now that cloud computing technology has already gone past the infancy stages, many industries are realizing the benefits it provides, and are adopting and integrating the technology to fit their businesses. One major sector that stands to benefit a lot from the cloud is marketing, as it has the ability to change the ways in which they reach and engage their audience, particularly with regard to distributing and storing mission-critical data.the benefits it provides, and are adopting and integrating the technology to fit their businesses. One major sector that stands to benefit a lot from the cloud is marketing, as it has the ability to change the ways in which they reach and engage their audience, particularly with regard to distributing and storing mission-critical data.

The most recent technology forecasts released by Forbes, Cisco, Forrester, and Gartner all reveal that there is widespread adoption of cloud computing going on worldwide. The forecasts have been unanimous in their predictions, with over one third of digital content in the world estimated to be stored in the cloud by 2016.

As for storage, it is estimated that the average data storage consumed per household will grow from 464 gigabytes in 2011 to 3.3 terabytes in 2016. Not every household will have large enough storage devices to accommodate that much data, so majority of it will be hosted on the cloud. This will result in an increase in spending towards the cloud, with the studies estimating that the global market for cloud computing will see an increase from $40.7B in 2011 to more than $241 billion in 2020.

According to Forrester’s research, majority of users in 2020 will be abandoning installed programs in favor of web-based applications. The move is not purely motivated by personal preferences as the companies themselves are pushing for migration to the cloud due to the cost savings.

One of the key effects of the cloud that will benefit digital marketing is that it has provided marketers with more venues from which to approach potential customers.  It has also allowed more individuals to become potential customers. For instance, a person who is watching TV and texting on the couch used to be out of reach of digital marketers. Now, the cloud has made it possible for the same person to access his data through his phone and his TV without even leaving the couch. There’s no need for complicated user interfaces or servers. The person is also more likely to access the Internet simply because it is now possible, making him more accessible to digital marketers.

Here are 3 reasons why marketers are migrating to the cloud:

  1. Multi-device support – with the cloud, marketers no longer need to worry about hard drives or other local storages as their files can be accessed and shared over the Internet using any internet-capable device they have on hand.
  2. Security – Security is no longer an issue with the cloud, as large and established companies have started entering the market, bringing with them their expertise and skills with regard to safeguarding the security of their customers. Additionally, marketers, no longer have to worry about losing data to a hard drive crash or acts of god, as cloud service providers have off-site backups, which means it’s almost impossible to lose data completely.
  3. Low Cost – the real crowning jewel of cloud computing technology is its cost efficiency. There’s no need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on setting up an infrastructure as a web enabled device and internet access is all that’s needed to get a cloud based system up and running.  as a web enabled device and internet access is all that’s needed to get a cloud based system up and running.

So, working with the cloud can lead to better marketing, more options, more security and best of all – more money!
Talk to the pros at Techno Advantage today to learn more about cloud computing solutions for your business.

The Cloud Explained Part II – Public vs Private

22 Sep 14
lverbik
, , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments

Cloud computing comes in three major forms: public clouds, private clouds, and hybrids clouds. Depending on the type of data you’re working with, you’ll want to compare public, private, and hybrid clouds in terms of the different levels of security and management required.

Private cloud

Private cloud is operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party.  It can be hosted either internally or externally.  Undertaking a private cloud project requires a significant level of engagement and requires the organization to reevaluate decisions about existing resources. When done right, it can improve your business, but every step in the project raises security issues that must be addressed to prevent serious vulnerabilities. Self-run data centers can be expensive and have a significant physical footprint, requiring space, hardware, and environmental controls. These assets have to be refreshed periodically, resulting in additional expense.

On the other hand, there are compelling reasons why enterprises may choose a private cloud.  A private cloud can be customized to fit their unique requirements and security can be optimized to address legal compliance issues such as HIPAA.

Public cloud

A cloud is called a “public cloud” when the services are rendered over a network that is open for public use. Public cloud services may be free or offered on a pay-per-usage model.  Technically there may be little or no difference between public and private cloud architecture, however, the security consideration may be substantially different.   Generally, public cloud service providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft and Google own and operate the infrastructure at their data center and access is generally via the Internet.  A few drawbacks of the public cloud are that you sacrifice a degree of security and you have no control over hardware performance.

Hybrid cloud

Gartner, Inc. defines a hybrid cloud service as a cloud computing service that is composed of some combination of private, public and community cloud services, from different service providers.   It allows one to extend either the capacity or the capability of a cloud service, by aggregation, integration or customization with another cloud service.

For example, an organization may store sensitive client data in-house on a private cloud application, but interconnect that application to a business intelligence application provided on a public cloud as a software service.

If security and privacy issues are a concern for your business, and you don’t want to build your own private cloud, a hybrid cloud system, your own gated community within the public cloud universe may be an option.

Stay tuned to the Techno Advantage blog for more helpful articles on cloud computing.

Have questions?  Contact a Techno Advantage team member today!

The Cloud Explained – A Blog Series

08 Sep 14
lverbik
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
No Comments

Have you ever wondered….just what is cloud computing anyway?

According to Wikipedia, cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet). Clouds can be classified as public, private or hybrid.

Cloud computing, or in simpler shorthand just “the cloud”, focuses on maximizing the effectiveness of shared resources.  Cloud resources are usually not only shared by multiple users but are also dynamically reallocated based on demand.  This approach should maximize the use of computing power thus reducing environmental damage as well since less power, air conditioning, rackspace, etc. are required for a variety of functions. With cloud computing, multiple users can access a single server to retrieve and update their data without purchasing licenses for different applications.

Fans of cloud computing claim that it allows companies to avoid upfront infrastructure costs, and focus on projects that differentiate their businesses instead of on infrastructure.  Cloud computing allows enterprises to get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance.

 

Is a move to the cloud right for you?  The term “moving to cloud” refers to an organization moving away from a traditional capital expenditure (CAPEX) model in which you buy the dedicated hardware and depreciate it over a period of time to the operational expenditure (OPEX) model which uses a shared cloud infrastructure and you pay as you use it.  Follow this link to learn more about the differences between CAPEX vs OPEX. http://www.diffen.com/difference/Capex_vs_Opex

The cloud can also help to protect your data as a back-up solution.  Each day, we create vast amounts of digital content—photos, videos, music, and documents—all of which is just a hard drive crash away from obliteration. Other data-ending events threaten, as well: You could be the victim of a fire or flood, or you may just delete data unintentionally.  But a cloud based backup service offers the advantage of securely storing your files at off-site server locations. This way, your data stays intact and available even if your local disks are stolen or your premises are hit by damage.

Did you know that Techno Advantage offers cloud back-up solutions?  Contact a Techno Pro today for more information.  Keep watching the blog for more great information on cloud computing.

 

Share your thoughts on cloud computing with us.  Love it, not sure, scared to death…we want to hear from you!