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Electrifying the cloud in Small Business

Businesses are flocking to the cloud. cloud computing technology From start-ups looking to require advantage of the agility and savings offered by the rapidly expanding world of public cloud services to multinational corporations implementing their own private infrastructures supported the principles and technologies of cloud computing, there’s little question that we’ve entered a replacement era of business computing.

This may all appear to be a comparatively recent development, but the truth is that cloud computing has been within the works for many years. While a lesson could seem irrelevant when talking about something that’s moving forward with such force, the knowledge will show us where it’s headed within the future.

Looking Back to Electrification

Today it's going to seem as if the electrification of the planet occurred overnight, but in fact, it took decades for energy to become a publicly available utility. Even up into the first 20th century, businesses that relied upon electricity often had no choice but to get their own.

As efficiency improved, distribution systems were eventually ready to carry electricity from large power plants to paying customers; however, even these were relatively primitive throughout the 1920s. Power was only available during the hours of peak demand and was mostly used for lighting up a couple of hours of the first morning and late evening.

As the means of generating power improved and its distribution systems were refined, the worth of electricity fell. After decades of generating their own power, businesses finally found it more economical to buy power from the grid than to run their own, isolated systems.

Electrifying the Cloud

The development of cloud computing is strikingly almost like the expansion of electrification. Businesses began implementing this sort of technology by creating and maintaining their own network infrastructures. The software used within these networks was either developed in-house or licensed – for no small fee – from third-party developers.

The development of such networks led to the principles upon which contemporary cloud computing is predicated, and therefore the beginnings of centralized computing resources accessible by relatively simple clients emerged as early because of the 1950s. Indeed, the thought of a worldwide – then dubbed ‘intergalactic’ – network of computers was first introduced by a person by the name of J.C.R. Licklider in – get this – 1969.

Cloud computing – the particular practice of delivering software via the web – didn’t become a reality until Salesforce.com made it so in 1997. Amazon became the primary to supply commercial cloud services in 2002, and therefore the practice became truly mainstream when Microsoft and Google jumped on board in 2008.

The Utility of the Network

Just as companies with large sites of operation still find it beneficial to take care of their own power plants, many also find it economically and strategically advantageous to adopt commercially-available cloud computing infrastructures to be used in their own private networks. These, of course, are referred to as private clouds.

Due to the improved efficiency and capability of public networks, it's not necessary to require care of a personal infrastructure to take advantage of centralized resources in remote locations. This so-called “maturation” of the cloud has created an environment during which subscription-based services are accessible anywhere one features a laptop and an online connection.

This new realm of accessibility has created the perfect virtual landscape for a completely new industry – an industry on which companies are expected to spend over $106 Billion in 2015. They’re spending by the truckload for a few excellent reasons – the utilization of cloud services has immense advantages over the old ways of doing things.

Clear Skies within the way forward for the Cloud

If your business hasn’t yet taken a step into the cloud, there’s never been a far better time to explore the chances that this exciting new realm of business computing has got to offer. From secure remote data storage to the improved management of dental practices, compete with people who exist already, the competition will still reduce costs and drive innovation within the cloud.

If that isn’t incentive enough, it’s a within the park|certainty|pushover|simple task"> walk in the park that your company’s competition features a keen eye on the competitive edge that’s available in the cloud. Indeed, present-day start-ups are employing strategies based wholly upon the utilization of cloud services to leapfrog the technological growing pains that have historically plagued burgeoning businesses.

There’s never been a far better time to explore the chances of the cloud. the longer term offers limitless potential for this new realm of computing, and people who start now are going to be well prepared to catch subsequent waves towards the longer term of business.

Schroedinger’s Backup – will your recovery work?

Theoretical physics doesn’t often cross over with Cloud computing. However, within the world of recovery and business continuity, it’s very relevant.

Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger created a famous thought experiment in 1935, where he imagined a cat is placed in a sealed box alongside a radioactive element and a flask of deadly poison. The element would decay over time, but the prospect of this happening at any given moment was a probability of 50/50.

If the element does decay, the vial of poison would break and kill the cat. the prospect that the cat was alive or dead was, therefore, equal too. The important lesson from this was that it had been impossible to understand whether Puss had survived his brush with death unless you opened the box; before this, it might be impossible to inform.

How does this apply to Cloud and disaster recovery (DR)? for several traditional implementations, recovery is simply as dicey a proposition as for Schroedinger’s famous feline. Previously, testing backup and recovery programs were hard to justify, supported the time required for systems to be down during the recovery test process. There was always the potential situation where the backup process wouldn't actually work, resulting in both lost revenue and (potentially) loss of career. Better then to go away things as they're and trust the plan, some might say.

It’s understandable that folks may have this mindset. If the plan isn't tested, then things, as they stand, can continue and everything remains operational. However, it'd also fail, and it might be impossible to inform beforehand if the recovery would succeed. Without testing, it's impossible to tell; a case of “Schroedinger’s Backup”, if you'll.

However, this lack of testing results in false hope and fragile IT remaining in situ. While the business could also be happy in ignorance, any incident could lead to big problems within the future. The longer that operations continue, the larger the difficulty will get.

Today, using Cloud can help remove the uncertainty around recovery by making testing simpler. Helping companies test their backup and recovery processes are often an excellent opportunity to prove the worth that Cloud can deliver, also as ensuring that each one the efforts around business continuity planning are worthwhile investments.

For companies that are already using Cloud for recovery, testing the implementation is often as simple as beginning new instances and ensuring that the method works effectively. the assembly systems should be ready to keep it up running while the test is administered because the test is often run on new Cloud infrastructure.

For those organizations that want to seem at how they will test their current approach, there's some more work involved. Replicating data from the prevailing backup systems over to a Cloud instance would be required; this Cloud instance could then be fired up to point out that the backup systems are working properly. While there could be longer required to hold out the initial replication, the result's an equivalent.

Testing Cloud recovery programs as standard can actually be an excellent differentiation point for DRaaS providers because it shows that the provider knows exactly how their recovery procedures will add practice. It also ensures that the Cloud service keeps up with all the changes that are happening across IT, both within customers and within the industry as an entire.

While testing won't be high on the agenda for the CIO, it’s an important prerequisite for IT teams that need to make certain that their infrastructure is being protected which recovery systems are working properly. Using the Cloud to hold out this testing makes sure that there are not any excuses for not doing this.

Continuum is Empowering Small Business IT within the UK

LeadingEdge, a U.K.-based IT services and support provider founded in 2000, ensures that tiny and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have the technology infrastructure and tools they have to achieve success, which systems operate effectively and efficiently a day. so as to deliver those results, the corporate relies on software, support, and services from Continuum.

The partnership between Continuum and LeadingEdge is extremely, very strong,” says Dean Parry, head at LeadingEdge. “And it’s only growing stronger. The way they’re getting involved in our business and helping us has allowed us to maneuver forward at a really rapid rate.”

LeadingEdge leverages Continuum’s Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) platform – a SaaS-based portal that permits MSPs to simply monitor, troubleshoot, and maintain desktops, servers, mobile devices, and other client endpoints. The software intelligently captures device and network information, employing a proprietary alerting system that will eliminate up to 80 percent of erroneous tickets and false alerts. Having Continuum RMM allows us to be a proactive team, instead of a reactive one,” says Parry. “The portal helps us massively, giving us the power to travel anywhere within the world and support our clients without actually having to be in our offices.”

Furthermore, the platform is directly supported by nearly 600 technicians at Continuum’s state-of-the-art Network Operations Centre (NOC). These certified experts act as an immediate extension of LeadingEdge’s workforce, by providing 24x7x365 monitoring, issue remediation, and a spread of related support and services.

The NOC has skills and expertise that our engineers don’t have, and that we feel very comfortable and assured when pushing issues to them,” says Parry. “Working with the NOC on a day-to-day-basis allows us to urge under the hood with our clients. We don’t need to worry about backend services, because Continuum is taking care of them. that provides us time to drill down into our clients’ needs.”

It’s a model that has not only helped LeadingEdge expand their technical skillset and knowledgebase but has also allowed the corporate to grow and onboard new clients without hiring new technical staff.

Working with the NOC means we don’t need to employ tens or many people to seem after our everyday IT tasks,” says Parry. “We’ve actually lowered the quantity of stuff we've .”

Frontline Support from Continuum’s Help Desk

While Continuum’s NOC provides backend monitoring and support, they don’t interact directly with LeadingEdge’s clients. That task is reserved for Continuum’s Help Desk – a frontline support centre that gives 24x7x365 desktop troubleshooting and related services to finish users via phone, email, or web-based chat.

Today, we support clients around the globe, 24×7 – without having to stress about a problem at two within the morning in London,” says Parry. “Help Desk technicians are very professional and take hold of things. We haven’t had any problems.”

Continuum’s Help Desk is staffed with quite 100 technicians who provide support to quite 35,000 end users. The service is additionally completely white-labeled, helping Continuum’s MSP partners to take care of a seamless brand experience with their customers.

Network Assessments: A Foot within the Door

LeadingEdge also leverages Continuum’s Network Assessment Tool, an answer powered by RapidFire Tools, when meeting with potential clients. The tool scans entire IT environments to capture device and network information, identify potential risks or security threats, and more – and generates a series of reports which will be custom-branded and used as a part of a proposal from LeadingEdge.

Before we engage with a customer, we always perform an IT audit using the Network Assessment Tool,” says Parry. “That gives us an entire picture of their infrastructure, patching levels, antivirus levels, and more – and we’re then ready to put together a way more detailed proposal for the customer.”

Trusted, Local Support from Continuum’s UK Team

In addition to receiving support from Continuum’s NOC and Help Desk, LeadingEdge also appreciates that Continuum has established an area presence within the UK to supply personalized account support and one-on-one time when the corporate needs it. We’ve mostly been handling U.S. support since partnering with Continuum, but the corporate recently found out an office within the UK. It’s really given us confidence and luxury to understand that we will contact an area account manager within the UK and meet face-to-face – they assist us immediately. It’s been brilliant for us.”

Getting what you buy – avoiding Cloud migration challenges

The vision for cloud computing has always been around the twin benefits of cutting costs and improving flexibility for the business.

However – like numerous things during this life – the gap between the perfect implementation of cloud and real-world circumstances has meant that a lot of companies have faced challenges in delivering on all that promise. At now, it’s worth watching the way to plan ahead and stop problems from affecting what would rather be successful projects.

The Cloud Industry Forum released research in June 2015 that stated only 10 percent of companies felt that their cloud implementations had gone as smoothly as possible and will not are improved. information technology management of these surveyed, the most important initial challenges after signing on the line and deciding to “go cloud” were issues around the complexity of the migration and difficulties around the sovereignty of knowledge held within the cloud.

Now, these issues should be put into context – many IT projects that don’t involve cloud computing solutions have their equal share of problems that come up after the ink is dry on the contract. Indeed, you simply need to check out a number of the issues that come up publicly sector IT projects as evidence that things aren't simple which unexpected costs can happen.

However, these hurdles have a much bigger impact on the perception of the cloud. After all, traditional it's known to be complex and to need insight and experience; the perception is that the cloud should remove all of those issues as a part of the rationale to shift over. Take this element away, and the cloud can get categorized as simply paying for “other people’s computers”.

So what should your response be?

Migration planning is important for avoiding what Donald Rumsfeld called the “Unknown unknowns” – those problems that can’t be anticipated before them arising. The more comprehensive the design stage, the more likely it's that problems won’t come up.

As a part of this, it’s worth watching the following:

What are your dependencies? As a part of any move to the cloud, there'll be steps where data could also be persisted both internal and external systems. During this migration, it’s worth understanding where other IT systems or business processes are going to be connected during each stage. this may help with project planning and important path analysis, but also provide back-up support within the event of something going wrong.

How are you migrating?

There are multiple alternative ways to urge data into the cloud, varying from fresh implementations of knowledge through to in-place migrations which will be administered while systems remain online. Discussing the migration process and what potential windows of downtime might come up will assist you set expectations within the business.

Is the business informed?

Any significant IT project should have a communications plan for the business also because of the technical plans. it's always worth over-communicating on the status of any planned migration in order that the business knows what is going to be the impact of the move. If there are any problems that may occur thanks to downtime, then you'll collaborate on the way to reduce those downtime windows with smarter tools or through alterations to the project timeline.

Looking ahead during this way can assist you to make sure that any move to the cloud isn't suffering from downtime or poor user experience during the shift over. virtual technology whilst IT becomes more complex under the covers, the migration process is often made seamless with the proper processes, people, and tools in situ. this mix can make sure that investment in the cloud can start a return immediately.