What is The Cloud and is it right for you?

Earlier this year we sponsored a Lunch-n-Learn about Cloud solutions, and we had a great turnout.  A few of the key items addressed were: security, file storage,accessing your data, internet bandwidth requirements, hosted email, backing up your Cloud data and printing.  I am not going to address all of these topics in this post, but they will all be covered within future posts.

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First, a quick word about security and Internet Bandwidth.  There are thousands of Cloud options out there and many companies are entering the Cloud hosting space. When selecting a Cloud hosting company, it is absolutely critical that you choose a partner that is trustworthy.  This may be a challenge for some.

The biggest concern is the financial health of the company (who is funding them, how strong is their balance sheet, do they really understand security?).  Every Cloud vendor has a great story to tell, but you need to look deeper.  I suggest staying with top tier companies.  These are the companies that you know will be there tomorrow and are financially strong.

When considering security issues, remember that keeping your data hosted locally on your servers also presents risk.  Moving your data to the Cloud will not fix bad security practices that you already may have!  Make sure your current security practices are adequate for your type of organization.  If a network assessment would be helpful for your organization, give us a call and schedule an appointment, we are here to help.

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As you begin to consider moving functions from your network environment to the Cloud, the speed and stability of your Internet access will become more critical.  In order for any Cloud service to perform well, you must understand the transport (Internet) requirements to make your Cloud solution successful.  It is amazing to find how many organizations have jumped into a Cloud solution, only to find they absolutely hate the Cloud!  The reason for so many failed Cloud solution implementations is due to the lack of understanding about the transport requirements.

File storage in the cloud. 

One of the key things to consider for storing files in the Cloud is how are you going to access those files? The Microsoft eco-system offers three options: SharePoint, OneDrive and the Azure platform.

SharePoint is a collaboration tool.  It lets you arrange and share files through libraries and folders.  It is not designed for users to access files like they typically do on a network with mapped folders.  Mapped folders are the icons on your desktop that allow you to access files on your file server.  SharePoint is primarily accessed using the Office 365 application suite, e.g. MS Word, multiple users can access the same file and edit it with live updates being displayed on each user’s desktop.  SharePoint is a great collaboration tool, and easily lets you share files with users that are outside of your organization.  Security for accessing your files is via secure TLS protocols.

OneDrive comes as a part of the desktop application suite.  Individual users are provided with a file share in which to keep their files.  This file share is replicated from the desktop to Microsoft’s Cloud.  Users with multiple devices will have all their files synced to all their devices so they can work on these files anywhere.  OneDrive and sections of the user’s storage can be shared with others.  One Drive can be managed via Active Directory, limiting what an individual can access.  OneDrive is like Box and DropBox.  Access to your OneDrive files are local on your computer and are synced to the Cloud via secure protocols.

Azure is Microsoft’s virtual Cloud server environment.  In the Azure platform, you can quickly create servers.  Azure lets you build your virtual network in the Cloud, including a firewall.

Choosing the right platform is critical in easing the transition onto The Cloud. Quanexus is always here to help when you have questions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and one of our experts will be happy to help.

Posted by Jack Gerbs in Recent Posts