Tag Archives: Cloud

Getting Smarter with Cloud Computing

Complete automation is a myth. Absolute agility is a dream. But, the cloud makes it possible to automate those routine processes and activities that would otherwise consume considerable amount of time and deprive the organisation of the precious time that can be spent innovating, communicating, and building up their business.

The first step towards smarter computing is to spell out your rules and policies. These are triggers and frames for intelligent process definitions. For instance, if you want only certain section of your employees to have access to a specified set of data, it is important to have a user management policy. Each employee who can be authorised for access must be given a user id and password that allows access to the data set. The authentication server database must contain the information that is required for authenticating and permitting such employees to access the information. Any other person attempting to access the information will then be automatically rejected and denied access to the data set. Once the policy is in place and the rules of access have been spelled out, the system will take care of the process intelligently.

The cloud allows enmeshing of heterogeneous systems into a single system to increase enterprise reach and improve the agility of the business. This may involve transfer of data and information between these systems across time zones over the Internet. Security during the process of data transfer, and security at the point of data use become a major concern. Cloud service providers use encryption and user management protocols in innovative ways to ensure security of the information passing through the network. Data is encrypted at source and remains encrypted at rest. Only authorised users, who are authenticated by the authentication server, are given access to decrypted information. All others attempting to listen in will be unable to access the decrypted information in any manner. Attempts to listen in also generates alerts that can be tracked to the source.

Organisations that have migrated to the cloud can let go their tight hold on the amount of server / storage resources consumed by individual users. Users will consume only as much resources as they need for the present. The scalability of the cloud precludes the need to provision for and hoard resources against possible future needs. Moreover, users cannot store duplicate pieces of information, indiscriminately consuming space. The backup and recovery software automatically detects duplicate pieces of information and eliminates them during the data transfer to storage repositories.

Interesting? It seems smart! Smart organisations get smarter with cloud computing!

Render Faster Service over the Cloud

Your customer is the reason why your business exists. Without the customer, your business may not have started or created products or found markets. So, rendering faster service to your customers online and offline makes a lot of sense. Making your business available and accessible to them is to your advantage.

The advent of the cloud and cloud based technologies, has transformed the world of business. It has changed the expectations of your customers and created new paradigms, markets, and marketing systems. Customers are comfortable shopping online and offline and expect to see your company’s presence online. They expect you to service their online orders with the same commitment with which you service their offline orders.

Let us look at some of the ways in which the cloud has changed the way we do business.

The cloud enables rapid deployment of customer online portals and makes for a faster return on investment. Your adventure into the cloud will result in a significant increase in revenue with higher conversion rates, opportunities for sell, and cross sell as customers visit your portal, browse the information you provide, and define their needs or make their purchases. You will gain the trust of your customers with every successful sale and every opportunity to interact with them. Your customers will become your product champions and opinion leaders on discussion forums and social media sites.

Since, cloud portals require minimal capital investments, you can do more with less. You will find that you can provide enhanced customer experience with colourful displays of your products, in-depth analysis of features or reviews from satisfied customers, who have used your products and/or services and benefited from it. Your customers can email you or chat with a live person at the drop of a hat. Your customers will feel engaged with your products and your services and your business at large. All this for a small outlay and some organised effort.

You can make your business completely flexible and agile. Your websites and portals will be accessible 24 x 7 x 365 to customers from their homes or offices or on the go. Customers can write to you, interact with your experts or place an order for a product from anywhere, any time and with whatever device they have at hand. This will keep your business humming round the clock.

Integration Myths—Are you the Victim?

Are you a victim of misinformation? Have you ignored integration because you believed any or all of the myths that surround the concept of cloud integration? Stop now and have a re-look at what you believe to be true. You may be wrong about the importance of integration.

Myth #1 – Integration is a quick fix solution. Not true. It is quick but not temporary. It delivers recurring value and continuously drives down costs. The reality is that integration puts in place a set of solutions that permits the organisation advantage itself on disruptive technologies. Efficient integration supported by best practices—such as use of application specific APIs or standards, data formats or facilitation of data format management, transformation, logic management and monitoring—help make integration the foundation upon which you can build a successful business. It makes information more accessible at granular levels and increases productivity. Costs are driven down as custom applications are replaced with standardised applications and costs of supporting these processes are brought down. Use of Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to support business applications and processes further reduces costs.

Myth #2 – Integration in the cloud is time consuming. Not true. Cloud computing relies more on standardisation and modelling than on premise custom made applications. The logic and configuration do not have to be developed anew. They are available and ready to deploy. This makes it faster to adopt and easier to adapt. The learning curve is shorter and less steep. Development time schedules can be rearranged for alternate focus. The integration process itself can be timed and budgeted accurately.

Myth #3 – Integration requires expertise. Not true. The on premise hardware and software can be quickly and easily integrated with cloud services. The setup is uncomplicated, user friendly, and a number of set up wizards are available to guide the user through the process of setup. The configurations are platform independent and do not demand special attention to underlying hardware resources. The integration platform comes with fault tolerance and failover mechanisms. Additional resources or features can be added on the fly and provisioning can be managed with ease by Administrators or invoked instantly. In other words, there is greater visibility into the health of the integration platform.

Myth #4 – Integration does not have a direct impact on the business. Not true. Integration is all about expanding the reach of the business efficiently and effectively. Customers, suppliers and mobile workforces can reach out into your databases for needed information and initiate faster communications. Customers can have more information on command and orders can be processed faster.

Cloud Collaboration: How Important is it to you?

If you run a business in which nothing gets done without collaboration and communication, this article will be of immense value to you. The cloud has transformed the way in which businesses collaborate. Collaboration tools no longer mere “assistive” products. They have become the lifeline of organisations. Wiki’s, emails, and newsfeeds have expanded to embrace mobile and broadband technologies that nullify distances between groups of people and bring them together here and now. Teams of workers can now, collaborate, communicate, discuss, and innovate together in “virtual communities”, identify the challenges, work around problems and arrive at solutions interactively, whatever the time or zone in which they are residing.

A Forbes report on cloud based collaboration tools lists out four advantages of collaboration in the cloud:

1. Accelerate business results
2. Revolutionise communication across time and geographical boundaries
3. Improve the efficiency of business processes
4. Enable innovation

The reported survey indicated that organisations that were more familiar with cloud collaboration tools were more likely to hold a “positive view of their value”. The survey divided the respondents into leaders, followers, early majority, late majority, and laggards, according to their responses to an initial set of questions. Further, questionnaires revealed that the “perceived value of cloud collaboration tools” varied between the categories in proportion to their exposure to and use of the cloud collaboration tools. In other words, the greatest impact of cloud based collaboration tools on their business was felt by those who had used them more.

Cloud based collaboration business benefits listed out by some of the “leaders” in this survey include:

1. End of faceless communication. Even where databases are scattered and accessible at only one end of the communication channel, videoconferencing has made it possible to make the engagement more meaningful.
2. Prioritisation of tasks has been made possible with document management tools, and communication tools that come packaged with cloud collaboration. For the first time, important tasks can be highlighted and brought to the attention of those who need to know and act immediately. Linearity of communication can be by-passed.
3. Collaboration tools provide more than literal communication. Employees can now update profiles to inform their colleagues of their area of expertise or tag important issues so that they get the attention they need, when it is needed.
4. Duplication of effort within the business is considerably reduced, and employee productivity improves with easier access to information.
5. Problem solving and innovation becomes a reality.
6. Allows greater communication with customers and suppliers.
7. Supports business scalability.
8. Enables new products and services.
9. Reduces operational costs.

So, if you have not given a thought to cloud based collaboration till date, it is time to sit down and think again and plan accordingly. Find out how important it is to you, and to your business!

Poised for Breakout—Hosted Unified Communications

There have been many aggressive changes in technology over the last one decade. The changes have been driven by changes in network technologies and communication technologies. Networks have moved from ATM and Frame Relay to MPLS and VPLS and communication has moved from traditional POTS to long distance services→Cetrex→SIP trunking and so on. The advance seems unstoppable. Hosted UC (Unified Communications) is the next big revolution that is on the cards.

Hosted UC is expected to bring in greater flexibility to an already flexible cloud. The Hosted Unified Communications technology eliminates the need for PBX (Private Branch Exchange) systems and the costs of maintaining them. The on premise PBX is abstract to Tier 3 data centres. Wide area networks like MPLS, VPLS and Layer 2 are used to connect the different hosted services or cross connect them in ways never attempted before.

A user friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface) built into the cloud offering will make communication simple and extremely redundant. End users can operate a whole gamut of telephony services using a single interface. Data collected over telephone lines will integrate and feed the databases existing on the data management system and be instantly available to business leaders for analytics and decision making. As a result, the phone will cease to be a mere communication device, but becomes a powerful adjunct to enterprise computing.

The above discussion naturally raises questions about advantages enterprises see in hosted UC vis-à-vis on premise UC. Perceived benefits of hosted UC include cost, installation, maintenance, disaster recovery options and much more; the top factor being the reduction of capital expenditure and installation costs.

The process of migrating from on premise UC to Hosted UC is also fairly simple. IT teams have to merely add new UC features to the existing communication systems, and deploy them on the cloud service already in place. There are no special hosted infrastructures to be purchased, installed or commissioned. The existing hardware of the data centre with the IP address can be used, and landline connectivity can be provided in the cloud on a per user basis. Software updates and maintenance problems can be shunted out to the cloud service vendor. Redundancy and disaster recovery can be made the responsibility of the service vendor.

So, hosted UC is poised for breakout into the cloud. Convergence is on the cards.

Actionable Network Intelligence for Cloud Computing — The Need of the Hour

What are the factors that are forcing the direction of cloud and network technology development?

First, there is an explosive growth in the mobile / computing device market. Enterprises are being forced to adopt BYOD (Bring your own device) policies. The outcome—variety in the nature and types of devices that are used to connect to the enterprise network, a demand for an intelligent network management system that will ensure reliability, security, and availability 24 x 7 x 365! In other words, there is an urgent and overwhelming need to create network “connections” that are thought-through constructs and not a set of pipes put together anyhow. The protocols must address core issues, recognising the complex and dynamic nature of the relationships between the network and the device connecting to it. Network management must keep pace with the current developments and synchronise IP address management concepts to provide the necessary network intelligence and control.

Second, the infrastructure is a moving target. Virtualisation has resulted in continuous movement of virtual environments between data centres and networks. As a result, there is an overwhelming need to keep track of when, where, and how virtual servers and devices are being stored at any given point in time, and how they can be accessed. Therefore, implementation of an automated network infrastructure is a business imperative. Businesses can no longer afford to be bogged down with IP address conflicts and network configuration errors or lack of visibility into address usage. IP address management will have to be integrated with self service portals to prevent bottlenecks in provisioning for virtual and physical devices in the cloud.

It is no secret that connectivity is the key to business competitiveness in the modern world. The network must provide the actionable intelligence that businesses need to survive and grow in the increasingly global world that is battered by big data and unquenchable hunger for information. Businesses that are slow to adapt are doomed to fade away and die. Commonsense dictates that enterprise IT system developers focus their energies on the development of solutions that facilitate smarter ways of connecting system resources, mobile devices, applications, virtual environments and clouds together, and infuse it all with a unified sense of purpose. The felt need is to build an integrated IT system, a mobile security system, resolve address management issues, and encourage automation / self service while preserving scalability, reliability, security, and at the same time reducing costs, enhancing delivery, and optimising user experience.

Our Customers

  • ATOS
  • Age UK
  • Alliance Pharma
  • Liverpool Football Club
  • CSC
  • Centrica
  • Citizens Advice
  • City of London
  • Fujitsu
  • Government Offices
  • HCL
  • LK Bennett
  • Lambretta Clothing
  • Leicester City
  • Lloyds Register
  • Logica
  • Meadowvale
  • National Farmers Union
  • Network Rail
  • PKR

Sales question? Need support? Start a chat session with one of our experts!

For support, call the 24-hour hotline:

UK: 0800 999 3600
US: 800-220-7013

Or, if you've been given a screen sharing code:

Existing customer?

Click below to login to our secure enterprise Portal and view the real-time status of your data protection.

Login to Portal