Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Five Reasons SMBs Fear The Cloud

Five Reasons SMBs Fear The Cloud

Five Reasons SMBs Fear the Cloud

Fear of the cloud has been around since the Cloud began. SMBs were traditionally afraid of security issues, while large companies fretted about increasing the complexity of their IT infrastructure.

What many budding start-up companies don’t realise is Cloud Computing helps place them on a level playing field with big businesses. This new technology allows SMBs to cut IT costs, scale up and down easier and collaborate more effectively. However, ComScore reported roughly 40 per cent of SMBs are still not using cloud service providers due to fears surrounding cloud computing.

Let’s discuss five reasons why SMBs fear the Cloud:

  1. I don’t know what Cloud Computing is

SMBs fear the cloud for the same reason you fear trying the new burger at McDonalds. You’ve no clue what it’s going to be like, and by the time you realise it’s terrible, it’s already too late. Most people aren’t big risk-takers when it comes to new technology, especially where their business is concerned.

A lack of education regarding what Cloud Computing is, and how it works is why many SMBs are afraid of this service. Basically, it’s a fear of the unknown. Most aren’t even aware they utilise the cloud in daily life, such as social media, online productivity tools like Google Apps and personal devices like mobile phones and tablets. What it comes down to, is that SMBs don’t know enough about the cloud to invest in it.

  1. It’s not cost effective

The primary reason cloud computing gives SMBs a foothold in the league of big businesses is because it converts capital expenses to lower operating costs and provides instant scalability. This is especially significant with SMBs because they are constantly striving to grow and expand, and can upgrade computer power and data storage quickly, without additional staff, labour and hardware costs.

However, not all cloud solutions are cheaper than on-premise solutions, so it’s important to choose the correct type of cloud, private, public or hybrid to avoid spending more than necessary. For example, a public cloud is an inexpensive setup, and allows businesses to pay for what they use. But if you need your resources quite consistently, shared resources through a private cloud could be a cheaper alternative.

  1. My data will not be secure

This SMB fear is perhaps the least unfounded of the five. The fear stems from the fact anything adrift on the Internet is at risk of a security breach from data-stealing malware. Also, accessing confidential information from personal devices puts your data in peril if they haven’t been configured with correct security settings. Outsourcing IT also means fault tolerance and redundancy is not under your business’s control. Although you should keep in mind information kept in data centres is probably more risk of being lost than data that’s been replicated and geographically distributed to other devices for safe-keeping.

Nonetheless, most SMBs can’t afford the enterprise level firewalls and security systems service providers can deliver. Not only this, if vendors are getting business, they’re probably pretty good at protecting data. You can expect their authentication, authorisation and access control to be pretty rock solid, since there would otherwise be painful consequences for their reputation.

  1. My system will run slower

Your system’s performance depends on several factors. Some SMBs fear migrating to the cloud will make data storage, application access and other processes more complex. While it’s true the cloud can increase a company’s architectural complexity, this depends on your company’s needs and requirements.

Previously, IT departments only had to manage a few software applications and data security. The adoption of cloud-developed applications necessitates higher computer power and more changes to your system, which would ultimately give your business a more complex IT infrastructure.

However, the speed of your system and applications is contingent on Internet connection, the types of applications and other factors. By using the cloud, you’re effectively putting the Internet between your business and its storage, and whether you can expect your performance to improve, suffers or stay the same should be discussed with your vendor.

  1. The Cloud Service Provider might fail

There have been a few instances in the past where major cloud service providers, such as Amazon have failed and put fear in SMB owners who can’t afford any downtime when they are trying to grow.

What’s worth noting is Amazon obviously doesn’t use geographical redundancy, but gives you the option of building it in. Also, you’re in an equally troublesome position if your data center fails. Using the cloud allows SMBs to have a failsafe set up somewhere else to ensure reliable service continues without interruption.

Why do SMBs fear cloud computing?

Ultimately, SMBs fear cloud computing because of a lack of education. They don’t know what it is, how it works or what it does. And if you don’t know what something does, how can you make an informed decision?

Whether cloud computing is advantageous for you depends on your business’s current state, and your thoroughness in forecasting its future. Obviously, cloud computing is not for everyone, but if you’re deciding whether your SMB should migrate to cloud computing you need to look at three things. What your present requirements are, where your business is headed and the terms in the service agreement from your chosen vendor.

gordon tanBy Gordon Tan

At 31 years old, Gordon Tan is the Managing Director of one of Australia’s fastest growing IT Support Companies R & G Technologies which employs over 30 staff. Having started the company 10 years ago he is passionate about educating others on how to grow successful and sustainable businesses.

Cloud Startup: RealtimeBoard

Cloud Startup: RealtimeBoard

Cloud Startup: RealtimeBoard

realtime-logo

RealtimeBoard: Collaborative Virtuoso for Offices on One Visual Cloud Platform

Zeroing down to a profile, SWOT analysis, staffing roles, specific images, and most importantly, any ongoing projects, all in one dashboard, requires a lot of tech resources. This is why there is now a cloud collaborative platform, RealtimeBoard. With its base in Russia, the design of the cloud startup is to create an open visual plane where each staff member can augment what others are doing by attaching files, generating infographics, analyzing works through standard methodologies like the SWOT analysis, and even engaging in creativity, including generating random sentences, to tackle a big data problem.

What is Whiteboard?

According to the 13-member team, RealtimeBoard is bespoke of both its web appellation and board surname. In the former sense, it allows users to ‘discuss web-site or product interfaces,’ while in the latter context, it lets the peculiar nature of the internal cream of an organization to collaborate through ‘screen shots, markup…and mini-charts.’

The management itself is an epiphany of coordination par excellence, so to say. The top team consists of founders of other tech companies who needed an app that could allow them expedite and visualize concepts on a single platform, before they could then invite other stakeholders to chip in to the big picture. The lower echelons of management consist of designers who love their art if the meticulous interface of their whiteboard is anything to go by, as well as, aptly, entrepreneurs.

The Shopping Round: Synchronization

Needless to say, undertaking projects of similar scope as those of online whiteboard would require vast cloud space and window-shopping for applications for display and file attachment. The answer from this team is that of using easily compatible web resources, including Google Overdrive, PDF, and its own RealtimeBoard, the latter to encapsulate the former two in one space. In theory, when one has incorporated all those maps from Google Maps, brought in the treasure-trove of private content via a browser, used the RealtimeBoard dashboard to allocate them visible presence, and then used all design or attachment prowess to bring in images, one finally has an orderly mishmash of exactly the entire organization’s contribution to an ongoing project. It is possible to add various signatures and presentations using the good old PDF. Then one can trust on the Software as a Service (SaaS) environment to allow convenient temporary storage for all apps in use in the visual project. Needless to say, it is real-time.

How It Compares With File-Sharing Technologies

Because many of this online whiteboard’s applications rely on sharing content, albeit on a single board, it can compare with giants in the niche like Dropbox. For example, it is possible to embed not only online and PC-composite content for others to view on the other extension, but, just like Dropbox, vector content, including pictures, is also attachable. One can use standard images from the RealtimeBoard interface to augment what one has already. Most vector images include those of popular apps like in the social media, only that it offers one the ability to extend the applications to convenient sizes. Thus, the major innovation here is the fact that, sharing can be visual in a centralized place for all, unlike in cases where each user of a file views it from his or her end, singly.

Solving Complex Odds

How many companies wish they could clearly illustrate their paradigm diagram of the organization without using time-tasking academic analyses? This is where RealtimeBoard steps in by bringing in simplified images including Fishbone and Venn diagram. The former works as a way of tabling links and then undertaking analysis of the possible hitches that will beset a project, the academic way. The latter is for organizing otherwise complicated explanations, like the structure of an organization, by presenting them in a few overlapping circles, each with a meaning. There is also an extra tool: that of taking random big data, to solve organizational matters. One has just to take random words and then arrange them logically on the board before trying to decipher possible meaning from them. Zany or not, it eventually works, according to the team.

Pricing

Just like one would expect of a cloud startup racing up the ladder to the top, pricing is critical and has to bear dual approaches if it were to work. This is why there is the Free and Pro plans. The former allows users a trio of independent boards, as well as, endless shared boards. One can also use the free version to store as much as a hundred files with 100 megabytes of space. Like the uncharged version, the Pro one enables countless members to collaborate, but has a 3-gigabyte storage allowance. There are also backup plans and contacting help via electronic mail all days of a week. Additionally, independent and shared boards are accessible in an unlimited premise.

Thus, RealtimeBoard appears like it might be the next big thing in visual presentations for companies. This allows a hundred thousand persons to see a singe board simultaneously. It has this one strength on its side: innovativeness and a nose for synchronizing existing applications that can help perpetuate its agenda.

By John Omwamba

Benefits Of Virtualized Cloud Based IP-TV Services

Benefits Of Virtualized Cloud Based IP-TV Services

Benefits of Virtualized Cloud Based IP-TV Services

TV streaming off the Cloud is going to be huge, in fact, it already is without us noticing. Cloud powered solutions have literally detached the utility of software with the condition of buying expensive hardware and extra resources. Cloud based streaming and data fragmentation technology has enabled millions to enjoy the remote resource power of computing without the need of buying expensive hardware technologies. Cloud based IP TV is one of the benchmark phenomenon in the domain of computing which is revealing the real benefit of Cloud for the general masses.TV

Again, the power of virtualization is behind the live IP TV Cloud based systems in which users can enjoy their favorite TV channels without physical installation of cables, devices or subscription for the Pay TV or cable operators. Cloud TV also brings the advanced user interfaces to cable and IPTV set-top boxes and depletes the need for developing different UI guides for different devices. Cloud IP TV is based on “TV as a service” technology which is working at the back end allowing the cable operators to deliver their user interfaces to QAM and IP set-tops, Internet-connected TVs, gaming devices and specialized streaming boxes. Cloud TV is based on ““write-once deploy-everywhere” protocol which argues the abolishment of the machines level dependencies. Platforms like Cloud TV, ARRIS and Ziggo are providing Cloud based TV services for the millions of users across the globe. The video on demand and remote resource deployment features of Cloud based IP TV technology is compelling the pay TV providers to migrate to the Cloud based platforms in order to refine the performance and media delivery.

Cloud based virtualization provides the best solution for satisfying the voracious appetite of the end users for the stream based media services. Cloud based IP TV works on the principal of on demand delivery and real time scheduling in which there is a pool for all the resources including compute, network and storage, which are allocated from Cloud service providers. A work model of each resource is designed within the Cloud servers to analyze the incoming request and manage the resources according to the user needs. The a predictable influx of LiveTV ICC requests can maneuver the streaming media, for example, the fragmentation and upload/download of packets never continue with a same speed rather it can change according to the available bandwidth and thus the resources are allocated in some other capacities. Cloud based IP TV is likely to experience a great boost as web based CloudTV H5 and in browser support for channel streaming is going to be implemented soon by the Cloud TV platforms like ActionVideo, Switched Media and Funai Electric.

By Salman UI Haq

If You Think Cloud, Think Small

If you think cloud, think small.

For years, the cloud industry has been suffering from megalomania. Big Data. Enterprise 2.0. Network as a Service. Sure, Fortune 1000 companies are flush with cash and have big tech departments who understand how to extract value from the cloud, but the experience shows that the ‘small cloud’ model can be just as profitable and provide necessary growth.

My company, Bitrix24, is a SMB 2.0 company, meaning we provide Enterprise 2.0-like services that are both in high demand from small businesses but appropriately priced for them. Despite the fact that our niche (enterprise social networking) is hypercompetitive and packed with billion dollar players: Jive Software, Yammer, TIBCO, SalesForce Chatter, Citrix and others; our Android app is more popular than either Tibbr or Jive, gets half as many downloads as Podio and is about 1/10 the size of Yammer and Chatter, quite an accomplishment for a solution that is barely one year old and entirely self-financed.

Google Apps, Analytics and Mail is another great example of SMB 2.0 thinking in action. Unlike ‘Big Data’, that starts with exabytes of data that only large companies possess, Google found a way to provide useful and actionable analysis to any web shop owner who may only get 100 visitors a day. Now, your average small business owner may claim that he or she doesn’t use any cloud services, but when Google Docs, Gmail or Hangout come up, chances are you’ll get a ‘yes’.

Of course, ‘small cloud’ is not without its challenges. First, you have to come up with something that’s genuinely useful to a small business, freelancer or a solo entrepreneur. Not only useful, but new or better than other solutions on the market, too. Second, your customer acquisition costs have to be very, very low, as you can’t pay for high-rolling sales reps, as your average contract is hundreds of dollars, not thousands or millions.

Naturally, you shouldn’t expect that small businesses will flock to your cloud, just because you offered it. But there are a few tricks that can speed up the process. First, freemium is a must. Humans are a risk-averse species, so being able to try the service before committing to a purchase helps a lot. Second, you need to put data owners in full control of their data – usually this means ability to export valuable data any time. There are just too many examples of cloud services that unexpectedly went out of business, taking all the data with them.

Finally, offering pricing flexibility helps. Consider different scenarios of product use and put the client in charge of deciding how much to pay. Offering ‘unlimited’ plan with a reasonable price helps too, as many folks still think that cloud and Saas simply a shrewd marketing ploy to keep charging forever.

Though challenging, a ‘small cloud’ approach can be incredibly rewarding. Those who ‘get it’, like FreshBooks or WaveAccounting, get millions of users within a span of few years. And those who don’t – well, that’s another story.

By Dmitry Valyanov

Dmitry Valyanov is CEO of Bitrix24 – world’s fastest growing social intranet and Productivity 2.0 platform created specifically for small businesses. Over 85,000 companies have signed up with Bitrix24 since its launch in 2012.

The Advantages Of Using Cloud Storage Solutions

The Advantages Of Using Cloud Storage Solutions

Cloud Storage Solutions

If you need to back up the files that you have in your computer, you may want to make use of the power of the internet to store and back up your data. With cloud storage service providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Mega, it is now easier than ever to have a digital storage on the internet. Although you still have the option to use traditional means of backing up files using CDs, hard drives and flash disks, there are several conveniences offered by cloud storage solution that you may want to benefit from.

Storage

Here are several advantages to using cloud storage solutions:

  • You Get Storage Space that Grows with You Needs

Unlike with directly using hardware for storing your data, the capacity of your cloud storage can be easily adjusted depending on your needs. You can choose a storage allocation according to the amount and type of files that you intend to store online. If you only need to store some of your PDF documents, you only need a small storage space which may not even necessitate you paying for the service. This is because most cloud service storage providers offer free storage space for their users. If you will be storing bigger files such as videos and photos, however, you may have to upgrade your account so you can get bigger storage allocation. The best thing about cloud storage service is that it can accommodate you regardless of the amount of space that you need. You can easily upgrade your storage account anytime you have outgrown the basic storage allocation that you have. This saves you from the hassles and costs of upgrading your hardware systems to accommodate your changing and growing demands for digital storage.

  • Save Money

One reason people are switching to cloud services is that they can save money when they avail of services that are powered by the internet. The VoIP PBX service offered by RingCentral, for example, is cost effective because it taps the power of the internet to connect calls. The same goes true with cloud storage. You get to save money when you use the internet to save copies of your data. There are several ways cloud storage services help you save money. One is that it eliminates the need for you to use hardware for storing your data. You no longer have to purchase, maintain and upgrade computer systems, hard drives, and CDs just so you can have your data backed up. Another way cloud storage solution can help you save money is that you can use the service for free. As long as you do not need more than the free storage space allowance allocated to you by your provider, you can use cloud storage services for free.  The free storage space is often enough for most individual users. Users of Google Drive can store thousands of documents and PDF files with their free 15 GB allowance. Users of Mega.co.nz, on the other hand, can save several photo albums and even movie length videos in their cloud storage account with their 50 GB of free storage space.

  • You can Easily Access Your Files Whenever You Need Them

Say goodbye to the unwanted consequences of leaving your USB drive behind. With cloud storage services, it is now easier for you to access your files even if you do not have your laptop or USB drive with you.  As long as you have an internet connection, you can access and even edit the files that you have stored on the cloud using any computer, smartphone or mobile computing device.

By Michelle Simpson

Michelle is a full-time professional editor that focuses on online writing services, specialized in the field of technology like RingCentral phone service providers, business and current trends in the industry.

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – CIO

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – CIO



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By David Fletcher

Are you looking to supercharge your Newsletter, Powerpoint presentation, Social media campaign or Website? Our universally recognized tech related comics can help you. Contact us for information on our commercial licensing rates.

Cloud Paging: The Technology Behind Cloud Game Streaming And Live Streaming

Cloud Paging: The Technology Behind Cloud Game Streaming And Live Streaming

Cloud initially started off as a cost-effect and convenient way to get small and medium business up and running on the web but with the exponential growth both within SME and large enterprises, other domains within computing have also started to integrate Cloud within their own equations. First it was PaaS and IaaS then SaaS and now we’ve seen phenomenal growth and adoption of GaaS which is short for Gaming as a Service. It is one of the most useful and powerful Cloud services which are being used for online Cloud based interactive gaming and there are numerous consoles that are being launched based on this technology. For the gaming console leaders in the computing industry, it’s practically impossible to resist the augmented usability of the Cloud managed libraries of content with stream-anywhere capability. ‘Any device gaming’ and ‘click to play’ experiences have equipped the users to stream and play the games anywhere using the Cloud just like they stream the HD media on different web outlets like Netflix, YouTube, Pandora and Spotify.

Cloud based gaming consoles let the users download and play games without the need of any costly hardware and on demand live downloading based on Cloud is probably the best feature of the latest Cloud gaming services which is being regarded as the perfect realization of the dream to “Cloudify everything”. So what’s the technology working behind this “fragmented downloading”? It’s called “Cloud paging”, a smart new technology that optimizes the in Cloud calculations that are offloaded from the end user machines and consoles for using the capacities of Cloud in order to achieve zero latency performance. Cloud paging is the implementation of the ideas that were focusing on transformation of native software delivery, deployment and provisioning. The Cloud paging uses the ability to pre-visualize the assets to be delivered in the scheduled priority queue and optimizes the calculation and scheduling algorithms in order to cope up the needs during the gaming session or any other Cloud based activity in which end user level interaction is to be inculcated. Cloud paging optimizes the delivery time of media delivery by 20 to 100 times.

It is important to note that unlike conventional Cloud computing practices, Cloud paging does not focus on calculating all the information on the remote servers rather it schedules and delivers the pre-visualized information one page at a time and then the rest of the processing is done in the end user machines in a transient way. This process depletes all the scheduling and performance loopholes and elevates the processing power of the end user level machine. The latency involved in the remote servers is also avoided using the native processing. Cloud paging is used by many state of the art Cloud based gaming services like ‘numecent’ and ‘Approxy’. The gaming service powered by numecent uses the Virtual MMU (Memory Manager Unit) and on machine sand box which is a small jukebox installed on the machines of the end user facilitates to offload that information on Cloud for processing which cannot be done by the user level machine.

Cloud paging technology is being perceived as a beginning to the electrifying boost of the Cloud based services targeting masses. The Cloud based non-linear assets live streaming and download is going to mark the end of the problems like native software installation known as DLL hell and digital downloads.

By Salma UI Haq

YouTube And New Media In The Classroom

YouTube And New Media In The Classroom

YouTube and New Media in The Classroom

One thing many of us may remember from our elementary, middle, or high school careers was the exhaustive process for bringing in a movie or video clip into the classroom. The teacher was forced to go retrieve a television cart with a VCR, spend long minutes finding a remote and configuring the thing while students were left to their own devices, and much of the time many videos desired for class instruction were unobtainable in the first place. Imagine the relief of teachers these days, then, as they continue to implement cloud video services like YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, and many others as a means of bringing students related video information and media to support classroom learning. From showing films alongside novels to invite student analysis and comparisons, to bringing in new media programs like TED Talks to enhance learning and provoke meaningful debate, cloud video services are quickly becoming not just an addition, but indeed the norm for teachers in their curriculum and instruction planning.

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The utilization of cloud video services in the classroom is really a no brainer when you consider it. Aside from student engagement and interest being spiked by a change in classroom routine and instruction, videos are usually an excellent way to present or review concepts in a different fashion. This kind of multimodal instruction has been demonstrated time and again by research to be perhaps the most effective form of both growing student development, and maintaining student retention. Aside from the ability to show videos, perhaps even more exciting is the ability for students to both utilize videos in presentations and classroom assessments, as well as the opportunity for students to work creatively in producing video media projects as an alternative to traditional oral or written assignments.

A further benefit of the cloud has been the growing number of companies and groups developing video media specifically geared toward utilizing the cloud to enhance classroom learning. Foremost among these has been TED, the lecture series group that has now decided to focus specifically on education as well. Recently, TED released TED Ed, a one-stop shop for educators chock full of TED Talks that are both meaningful and designed specifically for classroom instruction. Educators can post discussion questions, mark video annotations (just as they can on YouTube) to insert “lecture notes” into videos, and integrate the videos into instruction instead of simply replacing it.

Certainly, the potential for integration of cloud video services has yet to even be fully realized. As teachers and video services both continue to develop new and interesting ways to gear this technology toward classroom instruction, the potential for enhancing student development, classroom learning, and student retention continues to grow as well. Beyond that, with video media becoming a dominant form of communication in the 21st century, the introduction of this type of media to students during their early academic careers is also a logical next step toward ensuring their preparation for careers in the world today.

By Adam Hausman

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