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Business Cloud Computing: Introductory Guide (promotional eBook)

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Challenge: Positon company as a thought leader in business cloud computing. …

Challenge: Positon company as a thought leader in business cloud computing.
Solution: Write a series of blog articles and informational eBook to educate readers on the classic problems, misperceptions and solutions of cloud computing.

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  • 1. 99 East River Drive7th FloorEast Hartford, CT 06108 FREE EBOOK: BUSINESS CLOUD COMPUTING AN INTRODUCTORY GUIDE
  • 2. CONTENTSWHAT’S DIFFERENT NOW? .................................................................................................................3WHY IS CLOUD COMPUTING FOR BUSINESS BECOMING SO POPULAR?................................................4THERE ARE THREE PRIME TARGETS FOR BUSINESS CLOUD COMPUTING: .............................................5WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS OF CLOUD COMPUTING FOR BUSINESS? ............................................6WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS OF CLOUD COMPUTING FOR BUSINESS? ................................................8HOW DO YOU KNOW IF COMPUTING IS RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS? .................................................9PART 1 CONDENSED: ........................................................................................................................ 11BUSINESS CLOUD COMPUTING PT 2:3 PROBLEMS CLOUD SOLVES ..................................................... 12BUSINESS CLOUD COMPUTING PT 3: 3 MYTHS (AND TRUTHS) ........................................................... 15BUSINESS CLOUD COMPUTING PT 4: CHOOSING A SERVICE PROVIDER .............................................. 18NEED HELP DETERMINING YOUR CLOUD-BASED NEEDS? ................................................................... 20SUMMARY ....................................................................................................................................... 23 2 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 3. The cloud is a new invention. True or false?Answer: False.The cloud has been here since the Internet started becoming popular in the early ’90s.According to Wikipedia.org, Cloud computing is the delivery of computing asa service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and informationare provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) overa network (typically the Internet).WHAT’S DIFFERENT NOW?Today, people are using the Internet to perform tasks they traditionally would haveperformed on equipment located locally in their offices.For example, you used to have to have an email server in your office. Now you canhave a Microsoft Exchange server hosted in the cloud. It’s a service. You pay a smallfee per month, per mailbox, versus buying the hardware and putting it in your office.REMEMBER COMPUSERVE AND AOL?If you remember when the Internet became popular in the early ’90s, you hadCompuServe or you had AOL. They offered hosted email. It was an email service—theoretically, cloud-based email. While it wasn’t your own personal server somewhere, itwas using the Internet to perform email tasks. 3 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 4. Since we’ve had the Internet, people have used it to do things that they couldn’t do ontheir own computers or on computers in their own offices. Now it’s just become more ofa business tool, with widely expanded types of functions.REMEMBER BACKING UP YOUR DATA ON TAPES?You used to have to back up all your files from your server onto tapes every day. Thenyou would take or send the tapes off-site—hide them in your home office safe, put themin a bunker in the side of a mountain somewhere, etc.Now there are services that allow you to back up all your data to a server in the cloud.It’s a way to get your data off-site instantly. You don’t pay, say, $5,000 or $10,000 forthe backup hardware, and you don’t need to manage the backups locally. But when youuse the cloud, you pay a monthly service fee for backing up your data.WE HAVE TWO PIECES OF CLOUD COMPUTING SO FAR: 1. You’re not bringing equipment into your office. The physical infrastructure is on the Internet somewhere. 2. Instead of paying up front for it, you’re paying monthly subscription fees.WHY IS CLOUD COMPUTING FOR BUSINESS BECOMING SO POPULAR?For two main reasons: 1. In large part, the cloud is becoming popular because of extensive marketing. People are talking about the cloud, so people feel like they need to be in the cloud. 4 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 5. 2. The second reason the cloud is a viable solution for many business applications—not all, but a lot—is that it’s a responsible business decision. People should evaluate: Do I buy my own server, or do I use a cloud-based solution? Do I buy that $20,000 CRM software and install it on my own machine, or do I use a cloud-based version? Something even as simple as QuickBooks now offers a cloud-based version where you can just subscribe to it—it’s all done in the cloud.You can do the math on where that pays off over time, and it all depends upon thebusiness you’re in. But if a business is trying to keep cash close at hand, then it shouldconsider these other options (which are viable in a lot of cases).Based upon what the business plan calls for, it might—or might not—be the rightbusiness solution for you.THERE ARE THREE PRIME TARGETS FOR BUSINESS CLOUD COMPUTING: 1. Start-ups 2. Remote offices 3. Rapidly growing businesses1. Start-ups are a great match for the cloud because they’re trying to conserve theircash. A start-up business doesn’t know what kind of success it’s going to have. Let’ssay a business invests $20,000 in equipment and finds out in six months that it didn’twork. Using the cloud, a business can invest, say, $1,000 a month, and be out only$6,000 versus $20,000.A business may not know how big its workforce is going to be. You can do all themarket research in the world, but it’s all about who buys, who decides to buy, whathappens to the Dow next week. With the cloud, you don’t have to worry aboutcontinually upgrading an infrastructure.2. Remote offices are the second type of business well-suited for the cloud. The cloudworks well for remote workers who are either mobile and on the road or working fromtheir homes, because even though they’re not in the same physical space, they want toaccess the same applications that all their coworkers use. Instead of workers having to 5 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 6. access data through a physical office with hardware, they could access it in the cloud.This can give all workers easier access to the types of applications they’re using.3. Rapidly growing businesses are the third prime target for the cloud. Rapidlygrowing businesses don’t know how to size what they have, because they don’t knowwhat kind of growth they’re going to be experiencing. So instead of trying to buy theright size of server today and having to continually add to it next year or the year after,they might buy something in the cloud that’s a very scalable solution. Then they candouble, triple, quadruple their footprint with the click of a button.WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS OF CLOUD COMPUTING FOR BUSINESS? 1. Sharing data and applications easily 2. Backing up data automatically 3. Reducing support and maintenance costs1. Sharing data and applications easilyThe biggest benefit of using the cloud is the ease of sharing data and applications witha workforce that is not located in a central office.If, for example, your main application running your business—most companies haveone—is located on a server in your office, people in the field would have to come intothe office over a bandwidth that most likely is business grade but is limited to whateverthe building can provide.If your data or applications are located in a big data center in the cloud, these datacenters have huge Internet pipelines and lots of bandwidth. You are still limited bywherever your staff is located (for example, at Starbucks or at home), but they are onlylimited on one side of the transaction. If your data and applications are in your office,people are limited two ways: by the pipeline where they are and by your pipeline.For the most part, those data centers stay up and running. Do they ever have outages?Absolutely, but nowhere near as often as somebody’s home DSL, an office cablemodem or even dedicated T-1s. 6 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 7. If you’re going to share data and applications with people who are in various locations,it’s easy to share information from a big server and a big data center with big Internetpipelines.2. Backing up data automaticallyThe second benefit when using the cloud is automated data backup services allowingregular data backups.Tape backup is still widely used, but magnetic media deteriorates over time. There areproblems with the magnetic backups. If the backup didn’t work because the tape wasgetting old, that could cause significant problems.A managed service like ForeSite can monitor your situation and can help catch potentialissues early on.There is a wide range of automated data backup services available for consumer-typeproducts. Take Mosey, for instance; for a few dollars a month, all your home picturescan be backed up to the cloud.On the other end of the scale, there are full disaster-recovery solutions. In the event thatsomething happens in your office, you can get your data backed up day to day in caseyou delete a file. Or imagine a water pipe bursts in the office and all the servers godown. Some of these servers can flip a switch so that your data is immediately availablein some sort of a cloud server that people can remotely access, even if it wasn’t thereoriginally—even if it was originally in your office.People are combining not only data backup but data backup with disaster recovery, highavailability of applications and infrastructure. All this used to be something that onlylarge corporations could afford, but it is becoming more accessible for a standardbusiness. The prices have come down quite a bit. Bandwidth has gotten larger andcheaper, so more businesses are able to back up their data. 7 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 8. 3. Reducing support and maintenance costsOne of the biggest benefits of cloud computing is reduced costs for support on andmaintenance of the physical hardware and software. If you put your Exchange emailapplication in the cloud, you don’t have to pay a company to come in and do updates onthe server (and update the latest patches and fix all the things that happen to thesoftware and the hardware).Remember: The reality is that those support and maintenance costs are built into thesubscription cost.WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS OF CLOUD COMPUTING FOR BUSINESS?While cloud computing as a way to store data and applications for a business soundslike a dream, it does have two drawbacks to consider: 1. 100% reliance on an Internet connection 2. Subscription-based, recurring expenses 3. Leaving the cloud involves migration costs1. 100% reliance on an Internet connectionIf people in an office lose their Internet connection, they can’t work and they can’t get totheir applications.If all business is done in the cloud, you’re 100% reliant upon your data connection;whether you’re in the office or in the field, your laptop must access a wirelessconnection. Business doesn’t get done without access to the Internet.2. Subscription-based, recurring expensesThe second issue is monthly (or ongoing) fees that you must continually pay. The feesare regularly occurring. It’s not like you can buy it one year and not have to pay for it forthe next five years—you’re always paying for it.It comes down to doing some math. You’ve got to figure out what works for yourbusiness. Cloud services are monthly bills, so when you need to cut costs and you can’tdecide what to cut, you’re still going to pay that monthly bill. You can’t cut that. It is whatit is—you’re tied to it. And getting out of it is a big project. 8 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 9. 3. Leaving the cloud involves migration costsThe problem with leaving the cloud is bringing your data back into the office. If youdecide you want to bring your data into the office, it’s a big project to migrate it.If you’re doing that because now you’ve decided you want to cut costs, you still have tospend money for the migration project.If you decide to buy a server, note that servers typically have a four-to-five-yearlifespan. Let’s say you were going to replace it in year four, but times were a little tough.You could extend the warranty for an extra year or two and replace it in year five,maybe year six. At some point you’re risking things, because technology is changing sofast. But you can do that. You can buy a warranty extension and delay that project. Youcan’t do that with monthly subscription fees; even if times are tough, you’ve got to payyour monthly bill.HOW DO YOU KNOW IF COMPUTING IS RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?The first thing to understand is that it’s not all or nothing. You don’t have to doeverything in the cloud.It might make sense to look at your CRM application because you’re going to do anupgrade of that application and get the Web-based version of it next time instead ofbuying the upgrade for the local version. But you might keep your email in-house.You might decide you want to do backup in the cloud because you’ve outgrown yourbackup hardware and it’s time to replace it. Or maybe it’s time to replace all your tapes,which doesn’t sound expensive but can be. Or you’re having too many backup issuesand the hardware is starting to fail. Maybe it’s time to change that one thing. 9 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 10. An organization has to look at each application and decide if that app is right for thecloud. It may be right, or it may not be right.IT COMES DOWN TO DOING A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS ON EACH APPLICATION • What do you expect your usage to be? • What do you expect your growth or shrinkage of that application is going to be? • What do you expect the longevity of using that particular application or service will be? • Is it something that’s being “end-of-lifed,” or do you think there’s something new coming around the corner? • You may not want to go to a cloud-based version of the same thing you’re using today if you think there’s another thing coming out next week that might be a better solution.LOOK AT EACH SENARIOS INDIVIDUALLY AND DO A BUSINESS ANALYSISLook at the following factors and figure out if it makes sense: 1. The one-time costs 2. The long-term costs 3. The monthly costsLook at the criticality of each application to your business and look at who uses it. If it’sa CRM application heavily used by a mobile sales force (rather than internal accountexecutives or customer service reps), it might make a lot more sense to use the cloud.Look at each application and try to determine what the best thing is for your business.Again, it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition.HERE ARE TWO EXAMPLES.Example #1: ForeSite TechnologiesWe have an infrastructure today. We have servers, we have software and we own allthis equipment.If we’re going to go and do our upgrade, we have a decision to make about whetherwe’re going to go to the cloud or continue to do things locally, depending upon whatkind of service it is. 10 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 11. If you don’t have that infrastructure, it’s an easier decision. You don’t have the legacyapplications or legacy infrastructure to deal with—you’re starting fresh.You may decide that if you have rapid growth and a localized workforce, then movinglocal might make sense at some point based upon your size of growth. But as a start-up, you might want to conserve that start-up cash. You don’t know how things will turnout, so you might spend your money on marketing to get your big boost as opposed tospending it on hardware and software.Example #2: Infrastructure overhaulAnother time to think about going to the cloud is when you’re going through aninfrastructure overhaul.If you’re going to do a whole refresh of your technology, you might look at movingeverything to the cloud because at that point you decide you don’t want to invest in allthat hardware and software again. You just want somebody else to own it, and you canuse it and pay the subscription to it.PART 1 CONDENSED: • The cloud is nothing new; it’s been around for many years. • Instead of buying and keeping equipment in your office, you can use a cloud service to perform tasks you’d typically do in the office. • Instead of keeping up with hardware fees year to year, you pay monthly subscription fees. • Start-ups, remote offices and rapidly growing businesses are prime targets for cloud computing. • The three main benefits of cloud computing for businesses are: 1. Sharing data and applications easily 2. Backing up data automatically 3. Reducing support and maintenance costs • The two main drawbacks of cloud computing for businesses are: 1. 100% reliance on an Internet connection 2. Subscription-based, reoccurring expenses 3. Leaving the cloud involves migration costs 11 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 12. BUSINESS CLOUD COMPUTING PT 2:3 PROBLEMS CLOUD SOLVESIn part two, we’ll look at three classic problems the cloud solves for many businesses.Three business problems the cloud solvesWhen dealing with customers, ForeSite sees three problems the cloud solves for manybusinesses. Cloud computing can help: 1. Reduce costs 2. Improve efficiencies 3. Handle unpredictable growthLet’s see how each one of these factors plays out in a business.1) REDUCE COSTSEverybody wants us to try to drive down costs, especially in the greatest recessionsince the Great Depression or this potential double dip. People are careful in how theyspend their money; they’re not only trying to drive down costs, they’re trying to defercash usage.One of the biggest benefits cloud computing offers businesses is reduced support andmaintenance costs on the physical hardware and software. If you put your Exchangeemail application in the cloud, you don’t have to pay a company to come in and takecare of updates on the server, update the latest patches and all the other things thathappen to the software and the hardware.The reality is that those support and maintenance costs are built into the subscriptioncost. Reducing costs for a business is one problem the cloud helps solve. 12 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 13. 2) IMPROVE EFFICIENCIESThe second thing that’s happening now is that people are trying to automate processesthat can help them create efficiencies in their businesses. Sometimes this reduces theneed to hire additional staff or it can allow companies to free up their current staff forother purposes.Let’s say you’re a bookkeeping companyAnd let’s say you have bookkeepers working for you at your clients’ locations all thetime. You could have your bookkeepers fill Excel spreadsheets and send their time in toyou, which you then type into QuickBooks and cut their paychecks.Or ForeSite can create a web-based system where your bookkeepers can enter theirtime online through the web-based system and have it feed directly into QuickBooks.This system eliminates double entry. You instantly have the information to do youraccounting and your payroll.Then there is the third problem that the cloud solves, unpredictable growth.3) HANDLE UNPREDICTABLE GROWTHBusinesses aren’t sure how big they’re going to be. They could be the size they aretoday, they could shrink or they could grow. Sometimes small changes in a businessclimate can create a rapid change in business size.When talking about creating a technology infrastructure, you need to put in a server.The server needs to be so big and have so many processors and memory. And it needsto handle the applications you deal with on a daily basis.But how many users will you have?If you don’t know how many users you’re going to have, it’s difficult to size thatequipment. Let’s say you’re a small organization. If you’re going to make a majorinvestment, you can probably install a server—hardware and labor—for around $10,000- $12,000, possibly more. 13 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 14. If that’s not going to be enough after a year because you don’t know where your growthpattern is headed, you’re going to be real hesitant to say, “Oh, I only want to do thatwhen maybe I want to do the $20,000 one.” Well, now you’re twenty thousand dollarsout of your initial start-up cash.If you don’t know which direction the business climate is headed, then you don’t know ifyou’re going to cut ten people or add ten people. It could make a difference in the sizeof the infrastructure you put in place.THE BOTTOM LINEWhen you put three triggers together—costs, efficiencies and growth—the cloud offersseveral attractive business solutions. 14 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 15. BUSINESS CLOUD COMPUTING PT 3: 3 MYTHS (AND TRUTHS)When it comes to cloud computing for business, there are a few big myths floatingaround that need to be cleared up.In this section, we’ll look at the three myths surrounding cloud computing for businessand the truths behind them.The three myths are: 1) Cloud computing is suitable for every business 2) Cloud computing is free 3) Cloud computing provides instant access to your dataMYTH #1: CLOUD COMPUTING IS SUITABLE FOR EVERY BUSINESSTruth: The cloud is right for some businesses (and sometimes only some parts ofbusinesses).The first thing you hear most often about the cloud is that it’s everybody’s answer toeverything—that the cloud is right for everybody and for every application—and franklyit’s just not true.ForeSite has found that the cloud is right for some businesses and sometimes for onlyparts of businesses.For example, if you have an application that’s going to be accessed by multiple peoplefrom multiple locations and by people on the road, that might be a great application topush up to the cloud. For applications that are accessed strictly by people in your office(and the majority of the workforce is in a central location), you may not get the paybackby pushing that application up to the cloud. 15 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 16. Additionally, if there are businesses that have a lot of legacy applications (some of thetraditionally larger businesses with applications that have been around for thirty or fortyyears on large mainframes), they most likely aren’t moving to the cloud.If people in those types of businesses want to start utilizing web-based applicationtechnology, they’re doing one of two things: 1) They’re either getting a new application and completely rewriting from scratch and migrating everything they have into a totally new space—not just moving their application out to the web. 2) Or they’re setting up some sort of a terminal server so people can remotely access these applications, but the applications themselves are still located in their offices on major mainframes. Or they may just be accessed over the web through these terminal servers or Citrix servers.MYTH #2: CLOUD COMPUTING IS FREETruth: The reality is that there are some free services available via the web in thecloud such as Google Apps and Google Mail.Most cloud services are provided and designed primarily for individual users, notcommercial users. If there is a commercial version, it is usually not free (even if theindividual user version is free). Some of the backup services might have a freeindividual user version so you can back up one gig of data to the cloud. But it’ssupposed to be for individual use, not for commercial use. And if you get beyond a gig,they start charging you.Marketing hype has people believing cloud services are free. Yes, there are freeservices out there, but most of them are not for business purposes. The free servicesfor businesses (for commercial use) often come loaded with disclaimers about theapplication provider’s limitations of liability with regard to the data, the uptime, theservice level agreement, etc. In short, they guarantee you nothing (or next to nothing).If it’s not intended for commercial use, they’re not going to guarantee you 100% uptimeor 99.99% uptime. And they’re not going to guarantee you that the server won’t blow upand you won’t lose your data. 16 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 17. So if you’re looking for commercial use, most free cloud options are not reallyapplicable.MYTH #3: CLOUD COMPUTING PROVIDES INSTANT ACCESS TO YOUR DATATruth: This is a semi-truth.The reality is: anything you’re trying to do with the cloud requires a reliable Internetconnection from wherever you are—in your office, in your home or in a Starbucks.The half untruth is: when you don’t have a reliable or secure Internet connection, basedupon the application, you have no access to your data. So it’s not even about slowaccess to your data or limited access to your data—you have no access to your data.You need to weigh how critical it is for your office or your business to be able to use thatdata or application. If it is ultra-critical, you’ve got to have multiple backup, redundantaccess lines to the Internet to make sure you have instant access.What if you can’t get online?In an office environment where the cloud is used heavily, we always recommend twomodes of access to the Internet.You might have a commercial-grade cable modem that is fairly high speed. But then wewould also recommend a different provider that can put in something like a DSL line.Even if you have a dedicated data line, such as a T-1 or a DS3, we recommend youhave a backup line from a different provider.Is your business ready for cloud computing?Find out in the next section, “Business Cloud Computing PT 4: Choosing a CloudService Provider.” 17 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 18. BUSINESS CLOUD COMPUTING PT 4: CHOOSING A SERVICE PROVIDERLet’s recap a few key concepts before moving ahead into the final section.While cloud computing solves several key challenges for many businesses, that doesn’tmean a business should immediately jump into the cloud.There are three key trigger points for when a business might consider using a cloud-based service: 1. Starting up a new business 2. Looking at a major infrastructure overhaul of your servers, desktops, etc. 3. Rapidly growing business making scaling physical infrastructure more difficult than scaling in the cloudThose are three times when a business traditionally receives ROI from the cloud. Theyare either not going to buy a lot more infrastructure to replace current infrastructure ornot going to buy infrastructure in the first place.IN GENERAL, ARE THERE BUSINESSES NOT WELL SUITED FOR THE CLOUD?While there are no hard and fast rules regarding who should or shouldn’t use cloudcomputing, less optimal organizations for using the cloud are large brick-and-mortarorganizations, in particular those that: • Have a centralized workforce • Use legacy data systems on AS400s • Use mainframe computers • Use large policy processing systemsThese businesses are typically very difficult to move into a cloud-based scenariobecause there is a lot of hardware and structure that can be difficult to access from thecloud. 18 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 19. DON’T MOVE TO THE CLOUD JUST BECAUSE IT’S THEREIf an organization isn’t going to benefit by moving to the cloud, it’s not a goodorganization for the cloud.Look at what the standard business case would be, like any other type of businessevaluation. If there’s not going to be ROI from moving to the cloud, don’t do it. Don’tmove to the cloud just because the cloud exists.This moves us into the final part of this e-book and raises the question:WHAT SHOULD A BUSINESS LOOK FOR IN A COMPANY PROVIDING CLOUDSUPPORT?When it comes to choosing a cloud application provider or data center, there are threechallenges businesses need to consider: 1. Security standards 2. Your business standards 3. Experience1) SECURITY STANDARDSIf an application is moving to the cloud, look at the security standards the data centerhas, based on the requirements of your business.Are you responsible for patient data, and do you have HIPAA requirements? Make surethe data center’s security standards are HIPAA compliant. Same thing if you’re in thefinancial industry. Make sure whatever type of data you’re going to be storing in thecloud is properly protected, based on your legal standards.2) YOUR BUSINESS STANDARDSMake sure you are protected properly for your own business standards. Consider thelevel of guaranteed uptime you need for your business. 19 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 20. Check the service level agreement for uptime. Do they guarantee “five nines” of uptime?Do they guarantee “two nines” of uptime? Is that enough? Start doing your “enough”calculations on what only 99 percent uptime is—it could mean you’ll be down for acouple of days straight. Is that going to be a big problem for your business?3) EXPERIENCELook at the experience the provider has in supporting the types of applications you areconsidering hosting.If you’re going to be using their hosted exchange service with support of the differenttypes of mobile devices you have, you want to be certain this is something they do.Finally, you want your service to be provided by the experts. You’re doing this to reduceyour downtime, reduce your overhead and reduce your involvement—you want it to beseamless. Make sure the service has experience hosting the types of applications youwant to rely on in the cloud.NEED HELP DETERMINING YOUR CLOUD-BASED NEEDS?Deciding whether your business is a fit for the cloud requires looking at everyapplication that may move to the cloud. If this is something you’re not comfortabledoing, ForeSite can help.We can help you understand which web-based versions are available for the types ofapplications you’re using and for the type of Internet access you have. We can also helpwith the types of redundancies that would be necessary for your business.Many businesses are rapidly changing. ForeSite can help determine whether using acloud-based version of your client information app may be the way to go (as opposed tomany people accessing information on your internal network). 20 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 21. It’s a matter of looking at each individual application and determining whether there’s abusiness benefit for moving that application to the cloud. Remember—it’s not an all-or-nothing scenario.WHAT DOES FORESITE DETERMINE WHEN WORKING WITH A BUSINESS?The following list is a partial snapshot of what ForeSite looks at when determining if anapplication is right for the cloud or not:1) Where are the users of the application located?Are they scattered all over?Or are they located in a central location?2) Is your user base growing or shrinking?Or is it remaining constant?What do you think your user base is going to look like over time?3) What kind of bandwidth requirements does your application have?If you decide you want to share data and there’s a lot of bandwidth necessary, can yourinfrastructure support that? We would evaluate whether your current infrastructure cansupport that app or not. Then you can compare this against the ROI of moving theapplication out to the cloud.4) What is the track record of the provider?Does the particular application you will be using over the cloud have a proven trackrecord of being used in the cloud?You don’t want to be a beta site. There’s nothing worse than trying to move an intricateapplication out into the cloud and having it be nothing but problems (like printing, forinstance) or trying to deal with different levels of remote access. 21 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 22. If your business is going to rely on the cloud, you want to make sure that it’s going towork consistently.5) Evaluate the current state of your network infrastructureWe would also look at the age of your servers. We’d look at your technology plan forreplacing certain items and determine if and where we might be able to get some ROIfor the business by phasing in different types of application movements.Regardless of where the app or the hardware lives, we are still the IT people whounderstand it, who fight with it when it’s down, who make sure that it’s doing what youneed for your business, who make sure that your users have what they need.Just because you moved into the cloud, you still have a business to run. You don’t havetime to be messing around with cloud-based issues.If you used cloud-based accounting software, you wouldn’t fire your CFO. Just becauseyou have cloud-based services doesn’t mean you eliminate the IT department. You stillhave IT needs; you just don’t necessarily have as much need for hardware or softwaresupport in your office.IF YOU DO MOVE TO THE CLOUD, HOW SAFE IS YOUR DATA?Being concerned about data safety is critical for any business using the cloud—after all,we’re talking about customer and company information. A business wants to have itsarms around the data and feel good knowing that it’s secure.With a reputable service provider, your data is as secure (if not more so) when hosted ina cloud-based scenario as it would be if it were hosted in your office (with you backingup data by taking tapes off-site in your briefcase).As long as you’re working with a reputable service provider and they have the rightsecurity standards, there’s no reason to be concerned that your data is less secure onthe Internet. The data will be stored on a secured server, and it will be accessed over asecure pipeline—as long as everything is configured properly. 22 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 23. Data isn’t at any greater risk of being compromised than it would be when you’reemailing. In fact, it should be even more secure than standard email because standardemail is plain (unencrypted) text.SUMMARYIf your business is considering moving its infrastructure to the cloud, remember to checkthe service provider’s security standards, confirm your own business standards andassess the provider’s experience hosting the types of applications you’re consideringmoving to the web Is your organization hesitating about moving specific applications to the cloud? Do you know if the cloud provides the ROI your business needs?ForeSite specializes in helping businesses understand the ins and outs of cloud-basedissues. FREE CLOUD APPLICATION FEASIBILITY REVIEWIf you’d like to learn more about the cloud and whether it’s suitable for your businessapplication needs, we’ll provide your organization with an initial review—free of charge.Call us at 860-528-1100 to learn more, request your review online. 23 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 24. About ForeSite TechnologiesHeadquartered in East Hartford, CT, ForeSite Technologies has been designingsolutions and troubleshooting problems for computers, networks and websites, since1997. We are committed to providing personalized customer service, working side-by-side with our clients and producing practical yet insightful solutions to fit a wide range ofbusiness needs, from traditional to creative. About The AuthorThomas Clifford is a content marketing writer and copywriter specializing in onlinebusiness-to-business copy.Tom helps professional service firms generate and nurture leads, educate customersand reduce buying process risks through helpful and valuable content. His approach tocommunicating business messages is simple: keep it “hype-free”.A conversational and informational tone-with just a sprinkling of sales copy whenneeded- is Tom’s signature style.Tom is a regular contributing writer for Content Marketing Institute, the world’s leadingcontent marketing resource. He graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans witha BA in communications. You can read more of Tom’s work at Content MarketingInstitute. Contact Tom. Connect with Tom on LinkedIn. Contact UsForeSite East Hartford Office99 East River Drive, 7th FloorEast Hartford, CT 06108P: (860) 528-1100F: (860) 528-2100ForeSite Worcester Office4 Ash StreetWorcester, MA 01608P: (508) 767-1110 24 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com
  • 25. The information in this e-book is intended for general education purposes only. It should not beconstrued as professional advice. Before making any changes to your IT infrastructure, youshould consult an IT professional. This information is the property of ForeSite Technologies, Inc.and should only be used for the intended purpose. It shall not be resold or repurposed for anyreason. Copyright 2011 ForeSite Technologies, Inc. 25 of 25 Technology Management ♦ Network Architecture and Installation ♦ Customized Application Development ♦ Web Design www.ForeSiteTech.com ♦ 99 East River Drive ♦ East Hartford, CT 06108 ♦ 860.528.1100 ♦ Fax: 860.528.2100 ♦ Sales@ForeSiteTech.com