Category Archives: SaaS

Cloud Storage And Accounting: A New Way To Account For Your Business

Cloud Storage and Accounting: A New Way to Account for Your Business

When a company purchases accounting software, it is typically installed on one or two computers and stored within an in-house network where individuals can access integral business and financial information. Unfortunately, if the network goes down or the software crashes, this information is lost, and users must rely on the backup – if they were diligent enough to establish one. Over the past few years, more accounting companies have turned to cloud services to host their accounting software. Instead of installing a software program on your computer, you can utilize a cloud service and access your company’s financial information online.

Multiple User Capability
With online accounting hosted through a cloud service, you don’t have to worry about updating or backing up to a network drive, and an unlimited number of users can be granted access to your company’s accounting and financial information. With a cloud service accounting program, you are provided with a username and password, which can be shared with integral members of your company for all-over access.

High Accessibility
Cloud computing accounting software is accessible from anywhere and at any time. Instead of being at the office, you can access your company’s accounting books and ledgers from a mobile device, smart pad or even a home computer by logging in through the cloud service site. Bookkeepers and accountants can also have access anytime and anywhere, and they can be provided with a special username and password that allows them as much or as little access as you see fit. With this level of accessibility, the time you spend traveling to and from your office to update your books is cut significantly, which provides you with extraordinary flexibility to run your business from wherever you are.

Safety
Like most cloud services, cloud computing accounting software is safe and backed by multiple servers and virus protection. In fact, the security offered by cloud computing accounting software companies is far better than the security a company can purchase for their in-house network, which means financial information is more secure on a cloud service.

Pricing
Investing in cloud storage accounting software is significantly cheaper than purchasing a hard disk and installing it in the office. Not only will you save the cost of additional storage and network set-up, but you will also save on the initial accounting software package price, which can be close to $200. That being said, you will have to pay a service fee and storage fee, typically billed monthly, for the cloud computing accounting software, which can add up over time.

Cloud storage and accounting have created a new way to account for your business. Upload receipts from your phone, account for an expense while on vacation or even print out a ledger from your accountant’s office – the possibilities with cloud storage accounting are endless.

By KoriLynn Johnston

Consumer Cloud: Problem In The Business Model

Consumer Cloud: Problem In The Business Model

Consumer Cloud: Problem in the Business Model

Today, consumers behaviour is quite different from what it used to be a few years ago, especially when the concern at hand is technology, and that too cloud technology. Having been dependent on cloud technology for more than a few years in line, consumers have opted to be at the mercy of their providers more than ever before.

Consumers are therefore more bent on accepting their human resource and security practices more blindly than they used to do a few years ago. The problem has been largely attributed to the increased dependence on cloud as a service or software as a service as we commonly know it. There are a couple of important facts about this phenomena which are important to know and are marked in this article.

Why give up the entire control?

Why should you be giving up entire control of your cloud computing accounts? Recent hacks into really secured systems suggest that it is not impossible to breach into very tightly secured iAccounts of big service providers as well. Cloud providers like Amazon, Google, Apple etc. have all been victims of these security breaches in the past.

The problem at hand is that consumers have practically left the entire control of their accounts in the hands of the cloud service provider. So whenever there is a breach, you end up losing control not only over your account, but possible all the devices connected to your cloud including laptops, PDAs, mobile phones etc. This implies that it is not just your software, you practically end up losing control even on your hardware devices that these days very commonly run on cloud.

Confessions from various cloud providers make us believe that there are numerous attempts per day to hack into the consumer accounts. Though the services providers are smart enough to bypass such attacks, the possibility of these cannot be completely negated. There are times when the hacker with the play of some numbers is able to convince the customer relationship management team of the provider that it is his account. The problem thus is not in how securely built the technology systems are. The problem actually is what loopholes exist in the existing business model and HR practices of the service provider that you are utilising the services of.

What Next?

Though loopholes will continue to exist, it doesn’t really mean that you quit on using the cloud technology as a whole. What you’ve got to do at this moment is keeping full trust over your providers, and utilising the cloud services to the best possible extent. It also pays in not getting frustrated and irritated when you are asked several questions while you call up the CRM team, as this what is being tried to keep your account safe and secure. Should that be a hack call, imagine how much loss it could have caused to you and your business. Cloud service providers are trying hard to put everything at point. However it is perhaps important to modify the existing business model and HR practices to foray into making an end to such breaches.

By Kaamil Nakhasi

——————————————————————–

Popular Reading

Free eBook

“2012 Essential Checklist for Backup and Recovery”

In this new eBook, Greg Shields, Microsoft MVP and VMware vExpert, reveals the essential checklist of 10 capabilities any company’s backup and recovery approach needs to include. Find out if your recovery solution can deliver all ten of these key capabilities and when to consider an upgrade to your backup and recovery approach.

Download this eBook today!

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud: Magical

The Lighter Side Of The Cloud: Magical



cloud_108

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.

Negotiating Tips On Software-As-A-Service Contracts

Software-As-A-Service Contracts

More often than not, people don’t ask questions. However, when it comes to negotiating a SaaS contract, it pays if a customer asks. In general, a client mustn’t be ashamed to ask even the simplest question. With the increasing popularity of cloud computing, IT administrators and Chief Information Officers will often find themselves dealing SaaS solutions providers. According to Gartner, it expects SaaS revenues from around the world to reach $14.5 billion for 2012. By 2015, it expects the revenues to hit $22.1 billion. With the present move towards the cloud, customers must be wary about security and performance concerns. They must also consider establishing vendor management systems because of the expected proliferation of Software-as-a-Service providers.

Even before a customer initiates talks with a supplier, he must ask himself some questions so that he may be able to have a solid grip on the goals and needs of his company so that he can identify important matters to discuss with a SaaS supplier. In “Contracting for Cloud Services”, a book written by Thomas Trappler, he said that there are two basic questions that a customer must ask a potential cloud computing supplier: How business critical will the cloud service be to the business operations? How sensitive is the data that they will be moving to the cloud?

When the customer discovers that standard contract of the Software-as-a-Service provider doesn’t meet his organization’s needs, he must make it a point to discuss further his needs and ask the supplier to tailor fit the cloud computing service according to the business’s requirements. In some cases, the provider may not be able to meet all the customer’s needs. On the other hand, the THINKstrategies managing director, Jeffrey Kaplan, believes that service level agreement and contract negotiation really depends on the nature of the cloud computing application. Some SaaS available in the market today don’t even allow negotiating because a customer will just need to sign up online and pay for the services through credit card.

Small and medium-sized companies have limited negotiating powers. The only thing that they can negotiate is the price. SMBs would often find themselves giving up some of the functions or features in exchange to a cheaper price. In general, SaaS suppliers don’t really change the basic contract. What the customer can do is to scrutinize various SaaS contracts from many suppliers in order to decide which among the contracts best matches his business’s requirements. A customer must also exercise due diligence when dealing with small SaaS suppliers because such vendors may be acquired by a much larger company in the future and may, thus, change its cloud computing product direction.

A customer must also find out how the SaaS supplier will be able to link its product with existing business systems. The service provider must also be able to provide data migration and export/import tools in case the customer decides to switch suppliers in the future. After the terms of the SaaS contract are accepted, the vendor and customer must then discuss vendor and contract management. Aside from establishing and/or identifying staff resources to ensure that the supplier fulfills his contractual obligations, the customer must also ensure that a contract management system is established. In most cases, the purchasing and IT departments are tasked with the supplier selection and appraisal process while the legal department often evaluates broker negotiations and terms.

By Glenn Blake

The Cloud Build Up: Findings From Gartner’s Cloud Hype Cycle 2012

The Cloud Build Up: Findings From Gartner’s Cloud Hype Cycle 2012

Ventures today are on the verge of modifying their overall cloud-purchase conduct. The said has been prompted primarily by the diverse range of available operational options offered by the cloud technology providers including pace of implementation, associated finances and requirement-adaptation dynamics. Conversely, ventures still are distant from entirely giving up their conventional models and applications in favour of making space for the cloud; a recent study conducted by Gartner reveals.

hype cycle

The findings pour out of the eagerly awaited cloud technology analysis – the Gartner Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing, 2012. The report indicates that the most favorable of the results are demonstrated by companies that concentrate their (fiscal and human) energies on one particular cloud approach and making the most out of it to step up on the performance. Establishing a tactical framework of general objectives to start off with and then consequently working out towards the exact pre-crafted achievables significantly augments the chance of extracting success out of cloud-based policies. Businesses that think of the cloud as a mere cost cutting remedy are bound to wobble along their transitional journey, to an extent that would knock them off the course.

The Hype Cycle clearly describes that although the cloud upsurge might have reached the steepest levels in years, the cloudwashing phenomenon continues to haunt cloud-endorsers, serving further as a source of perplexity and puffed up expectations. This leads to an inevitable slow down of the cloud sales cycle in the long run. Among the cloud service providers, the ones that are living up to their promise of delivering timely, flexible, budget-friendly cloud solutions are beginning to surpass those that make use of cloudwashing as their frontline selling policy.

There are additional significant findings originating from the report. Summing it up, cloud based email is projected to have an in-enterprise adaption rate of up to 10% by the end of the year 2014. The figure has gone done by an exact half as opposed to the estimates of 20% in the previous Hype Cycle findings. This symbolizes unpretentious rise, as the embracing rate of this particular category hovered between 5 to 6% in the year 2011. The study also establishes private cloud as being the prime area of interest, with more than 75% of the participants chalking out a strategy in the said area. Software-as-a-Service is also securing firm ground in expansion plans of businesses. Gartner is convinced that more than 50% of companies will incorporate SaaS application components in their technical operations. Platform-as-a-Service remains the most widely misunderstood facet of cloud computing.

In a nutshell, Gartner’s Cloud Computing Hype Cycle is a vivid indicative of the fact that cloud-based initiatives, when inline with surgically-tailored thorough business mapping, bring about the most significant of returns (both tangible and abstract) to a venture.

The cloud band wagon is rolling big – and it’s about time corporations do their math and hop onboard.

By Humayun Shahid

Music Industry Grows Thanks To The Cloud

Music Industry Grows Thanks To The Cloud

It is widely known that when it comes to trying to solve the music piracy problem, the music industry closed the gate after the horse bolted. For years CDs and tapes (remember those?) were overpriced, and then re-released with one extra track. In my youth I spent my pocket money on music. A CD single was about £4.99 for one or two songs, and an album never less than £9.99 but usually £14.99- £19.99. Not small change then, especially for young people who were not always earning yet.

Not that it is any better now. The recession has knocked the stuffing out of people and businesses alike. Thankfully people are still going to concerts and there is another glimmer of hope thanks to the ever more amazing Cloud. The Cloud is a win-win for the music industry and the figures are backing this up: the global sales of the digital music industry have grown by 5.3%. Cloud services also grew by 4.6% between 2009-10.

The growth of cloud based music services is incredibly good news for the music industry as cloud music stops piracy because they only operate through licensed services. This means all of their music is copyrighted.

Even better for the consumer is that there is a free version of Spotify, one of the most popular cloud music services. As long as the consumer does not mind adverts they can listen to music to their hearts content. Although this depends in which country they are in.

Spotify may be the most popular cloud music service in Europe but it is not available in every European country (including Greece) and even if it was there is also a problem with licensing. Just because you can listen to a song in the United Kingdom does not mean you would be able to listen to it in Germany, as Spotify may not have a license for that song in certain countries. This may mean you cannot listen to your entire music collection in other countries.

Then there is another negative: splitting the revenue. Artists may not be getting a fair deal.

Helen Smith, Independent labels’ association Impala executive chair, said: “While new services such as digital music lockers are welcome developments which will help boost the online market, they also raise fundamental questions. Digital music lockers should be based on a simple licensing models and the monetisation of these services should deliver fair value to artists and labels.”

“This is essential to the development of new cloud-based services and also includes the need to ensure that services negotiate terms with Small and medium enterprises’ rights holders on similar terms and at the same time as with the major rights owners,”

By Catherine Balavage

The Converged Cloud – Is This What Businesses Are Looking For

The Converged Cloud – Is This What Businesses Are Looking For?

In a business environment different workloads are reserved to be in different places because they have diverse preferences and requirements. Keeping this menace in mind, HP alleges that its converged cloud solution lets enterprises envision and approach multiple clouds in a systematic and easy way.

Converged clouds empower customers and give them the capability to go back and actually look at the value of the services they try to deliver, rather than to be down into the infrastructure and understand where they are putting what. Digging in deeper, when a service claims that it lets consumers put things where they want to put them, it actually asserts that it is reducing friction between the different ongoing processes.

Let’s suppose that a business has a whole bunch of applications, a portion of which are really core to the way a business operates and to the value a company brings to its customers. These are the applications that the business categorically wants to keep close to home; probably first in a private and eventually in a managed cloud. Conversely, there also exist a whole lot of other applications which an enterprise certainly needs to have for running its business, but they do not differentiate the company from anyone else. A company does not want to bother getting involved with these applications; they may be put in a public cloud or in a managed cloud which is mostly handled by others. These applications fall under the set which one wants to run the fastest and the cheapest.

Once an enterprise has decided that an application is core and it has to run it in its private cloud, it needs to guess the capacity that it is going to need, when it is successful with its innovative product. Realistically speaking, in the practical world, a business would never want to be pinned down by the fact that IT cannot ramp up new service fast enough. So even if it is a private cloud environment, a business will want to burst out, for example to a managed cloud, so that the business can continue operating.

At the end of the day, by positioning appropriate services to their apt place, IT becomes the negotiator of services to a business in a cloud gamut, rather than just being the one who keeps the servers running. Originating from the notion that one size does not fit all, the HP converged cloud does sound like it is the next big thing for organizations all over the world. Let us wait and see how efficiently it can make the lives of corporates easier.

By Harris Smith

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

Cloud Infographic – Interesting Big Data Facts

Big Data Facts You Didn’t Know The term Big Data has been buzzing around tech circles for a few years now. Forrester has defined big data as “Technologies and techniques that make capturing value from data at an extreme scale economical.” The key word here is economical. If the costs of extracting, processing, and making use…

Infographic: IoT Programming Essential Job Skills

Infographic: IoT Programming Essential Job Skills

Learning To Code As many readers may or may not know we cover a fair number of topics surrounding new technologies such as Big data, Cloud computing , IoT and one of the most critical areas at the moment – Information Security. The trends continue to dictate that there is a huge shortage of unfilled…

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies (Updated: Originally Published Feb 9th, 2015) We have decided to put together a small list of some of our favorite cloud performance monitoring services. In this day and age it is extremely important to stay on top of critical issues as they arise. These services will accompany you in monitoring…

Protecting Your Web Applications In A Hybrid Cloud Environment

Protecting Your Web Applications In A Hybrid Cloud Environment

Protecting Your Web Applications It’s no secret that organizations are embracing the cloud and all the benefits that it entails. Whether its cost savings, increased flexibility or enhanced productivity – businesses around the world are leveraging the cloud to scale their business and better serve their customers. They are using a variety of cloud solutions…

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact The technology industry moves at a relentless pace, making it both exhilarating and unforgiving. For those at the forefront of innovation it is an incredibly exciting place to be, but what trends are we likely to see coming to the fore in 2016? Below are six predictions…

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation: Not Just For Large Enterprises Anymore

Digital Transformation Digital transformation is the acceleration of business activities, processes, and operational models to fully embrace the changes and opportunities of digital technologies. The concept is not new; we’ve been talking about it in one way or another for decades: paperless office, BYOD, user experience, consumerization of IT – all of these were stepping…

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, it is worth…

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills Cloud technology has completely changed the infrastructure and internal landscape of both small businesses and large corporations alike. No professionals in any industry understand this better than IT pros. In a cutthroat field like IT, candidates have to be multi-faceted and well-versed in the cloud universe. Employers want to know that…

Cloud Infographic: The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud

Cloud Infographic: The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud

The Explosive Growth Of The Cloud We’ve been covering cloud computing extensively over the past number of years on CloudTweaks and have truly enjoyed watching the adoption and growth of it. Many novices are still trying to wrap their mind around what the cloud it is and what it does, while others such as thought…

Cloud Infographic: Programming Languages To Build Your Cloud

Cloud Infographic: Programming Languages To Build Your Cloud

Programming Languages What programming languages are the building blocks to help develop and facilitate these present and future cloud platforms? Where can we learn and develop these skills in order to help us build our own careers? A couple of options would be to visit sites such as Stackoverflow which can provide you with a good source of information.…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

Cloud-Based or On-Premise ERP Deployment? Find Out

ERP Deployment You know how ERP deployment can improve processes within your supply chain, and the things to keep in mind when implementing an ERP system. But do you know if cloud-based or on-premise ERP deployment is better for your company or industry? While cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, it is worth…

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority Research has revealed that third parties cause 63 percent of all data breaches. From HVAC contractors, to IT consultants, to supply chain analysts and beyond, the threats posed by third parties are real and growing. Deloitte, in its Global Survey 2016 of third party risk, reported…

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Data Breaches: Incident Response Planning – Part 1

Incident Response Planning – Part 1 The topic of cybersecurity has become part of the boardroom agendas in the last couple of years, and not surprisingly — these days, it’s almost impossible to read news headlines without noticing yet another story about a data breach. As cybersecurity shifts from being a strictly IT issue to…

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Technology Influencer in Chief: 5 Steps to Success for Today’s CMOs

Success for Today’s CMOs Being a CMO is an exhilarating experience – it’s a lot like running a triathlon and then following it with a base jump. Not only do you play an active role in building a company and brand, but the decisions you make have direct impact on the company’s business outcomes for…

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap: What Is Your Core Strength?

The Security Gap You’re out of your mind if you think blocking access to file sharing services is filling a security gap. You’re out of your mind if you think making people jump through hoops like Citrix and VPNs to get at content is secure. You’re out of your mind if you think putting your…

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Are Cloud Solutions Secure Enough Out-of-the-box?

Out-of-the-box Cloud Solutions Although people may argue that data is not safe in the Cloud because using cloud infrastructure requires trusting another party to look after mission critical data, cloud services actually are more secure than legacy systems. In fact, a recent study on the state of cloud security in the enterprise market revealed that…

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…