Cloud Solves: Limited Access

It’s safe to say that all businesses run into periodic problems and some of these can stagger a business’ growth. Problems including limited access, misplaced IT focus, extremely high costs, poor security, outdated technology, and more can all be hitches for a business. A solution is needed – and fortunately, a solution exists. Cloud computing can solve these common problems. Let’s look deeper at limited access as an example.

blogMobility and the constant connection to information have made a huge impact on consumers’ lives. It only makes sense that these efficiencies transfer over to the business world too. 2/3 of organizations today report faster access to technology with cloud computing. Cloud computing’s ubiquitous availability is the reason that limited access is not even a subject for businesses that have made the switch.

With the cloud, you can connect to data and peers in real time, anywhere, any time. The world becomes your office, as businesses and their users no longer have to be tied down to one place. All applications and data are available to authorized users by simple access to the Internet, which isn’t too tough to find these days. As long as you have a device like a smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc., you stay connected and accessibility becomes limitless. According to CIO Magazine, 52% of CIOs plan to increase their spending on enterprise mobility management. Having mobility capabilities increases productivity, and 69% say productivity is the top benefit of cloud computing. Going virtual hands you the opportunity to be more flexible and productive. Cloud computing enables a constant connection to your data and coworkers, allowing it to solve the problems of limited access and poor communication within a business.

With boosted mobility in the cloud, communication becomes just as easy as accessing data. No matter how far away, numerous parties can access the same files in separate locations and in real time, ensuring that communication is ongoing. Accessibility and improved communication lead to great collaboration. 82% say cloud-based collaboration allows for faster executions, which is always something a business strives for. 3/4 see improved service availability too, creating a more innovative, connected and knowledgeable business team.

So, does your business seek a solution for limited access, poor communication or collaboration? Cloud is the answer. Learn more on our Managed Cloud Services page!

Cloud Computing: The Change, The Impact

Cloud computing is changing the way we live and do business. It is quickly being seen as a key to business success. It has impacted the way businesses are run and supplied. Benefits from cost efficiency to security are prevalent with cloud computing, but what about the impact and change it has on day-to-day life?

Social

Social media has impacted how people interact in today’s world. Without knowing it, people use cloud-based communication methods on a day-by-day, hour-by-hour base. Via the Internet, people can easily communicate, check their emails, tell the world about their day, stream videos/movies, and more. The social impact of cloud computing opens up long-distance relationships by enabling simple communication between friends, family, coworkers, partners and others who may live on the opposite side of the world. Reaching people is just easier and faster. Global platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more have helped news travel faster, and businesses can take advantage of these by acting in real time with their audience.

Online Storage

Cloud computing has influenced the way people store their valuable data, photos, music, and much more. Common online software resources like ShareFile, Flickr, and many more make that possible. Instead of relying on a personal flash drive that can go missing at any moment, cloud storage is accessible at any time as long as you have the Internet.

Education

Registering for classes online? Emailing a professor? Taking digital notes? Accessing homework or a syllabus through a Web portal? Anyone doing these activities is an active cloud user. Cloud computing has enabled educational institutions to prosper through the adoption of trends like BYOD. It has impacted the way students take their notes, enroll in classes, and participate in group activities by accessing data anywhere, anytime. Teachers use cloud computing in their role as well, with the ability to upload resources to be accessible to students, track grades and activities online, and access email and data from anywhere.

Health

Healthcare organizations use cloud-based methods as well. Cloud offers the ability to keep patients’ documents in a secure, organized, virtual space, rather than in piles of paper work that get cluttered and easily lost. Cloud computing has impacted the way patients create appointments by eliminating excessive time and paperwork. Scheduling appointments, making referrals, or completing patient history are all made easier through the cloud. Doctors use cloud computing solutions to manage their patients’ data and securely share it with patients or other medical professionals to check status and follow-ups.

The cloud is extremely prevalent, even for those that haven’t realized it. Cloud computing is part of how we live our daily lives, and is key to our daily routines. If it’s that ingrained already, imagine the impact it can have if strategically implemented in your organization. Learn more on our Managed Cloud Services page!

Moving Healthcare into the Cloud

Many industries today are becoming more aware of the benefits that the cloud computing world provides. Cloud computing has become an important source of both reliability and a competitive advantage. It is an especially great option for an industry like healthcare.

83% of IT executives in healthcare organizations report they are using cloud services today. Healthcare organizations are known for storing massive amounts of data, and storing such critical data can be a lot easier with a cloud solution in place. It can provide a simpler way to collect and coordinate the medical data and workflow that is necessary, and facilitate safe storage and transfer of information between medical professionals and their patients.

A report conducted by MarketsandMarkets has predicted that the healthcare cloud computing market will produce $9.48 billion by 2020.

Moving Healthcare into the Cloud

According to a report conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 61% say cloud computing will be a decisive factor five years from now. More than half of organizations will be making the transition to the cloud, thus making it crucial for healthcare providers to have a strong understanding of what it can provide.

There is a new era evolving within the healthcare industry that involves the adoption of electronic healthcare records (EHR), which replace all the clutter that comes with using traditional methods of storage and documentation. Supporting EHR, the cloud helps unburden hospital IT departments. The ability to analyze and track information in the cloud helps improve treatments, boost performance, reduce costs, discover trends and more. The cloud serves as a new solution for the healthcare industry to help manage data and streamline processes.

Another positive impact of the cloud is the ability to create more efficient healthcare services and improve the doctor-patient relationship. Information that is geared towards a patient’s diagnosis and treatments can be made securely available from the touch of a button on any device, like a phone, tablet, computer, etc. 53% of healthcare employees use three or more devices for work already. Doctors can stay connected and collaborate accordingly with their colleagues and patients easily, freeing up their time to focus more on providing quality healthcare than on filling out paper work or transferring files. Daily tasks like setting appointments, making referrals, or completing patient history can be completed anywhere at any time in the cloud.

Moving forward, cloud solutions offer the healthcare industry the tranquility of easily managing all critical data in real time. Cloud computing offers infrastructures that allow the healthcare industry to expand computing resources at a low cost, while bringing down the barriers against innovation and modernization.

Privacy and Security

In the healthcare industry, security is of the utmost importance and at times can cause healthcare providers to take a huge step back when considering the cloud. However, with the right cloud provider, security shouldn’t be a cloud barrier. Solutions like ours include:

  • Client-side encryption of data
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Data loss prevention tools
  • Full credential limited access to data centers
  • Biometric scanning systems
  • Exterior security systems
  • Around-the-clock interior and exterior surveillance monitor access
  • Redundant HVAC systems

Legislation

Guidelines are a given when dealing with protected health information. The Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a U.S. law that healthcare organizations must abide by. It protects patient privacy by mandating and enforcing strict privacy and security rules on how medical information is being collected, used, and disclosed. Cloud solutions can help make it easier to meet HIPAA requirements, especially when you work off of HIPAA-compliant infrastructure like ours.

Cloud computing offers numerous significant benefits to the healthcare industry, providing a great opportunity to improve and grow services for patients and employees while adding great operational efficiency. Head to our Industries page to learn more about how cloud can impact healthcare and other major industries!

How Can Cloud Increase Business Value?

Cloud computing is a resource that meets the needs of companies with growing employee bases and departments. It can be used as an exceptional technological tool to measure company value, if the company takes advantage of the value provided. With the ups and downs of the world’s economy, affordable and reliable technology is more and more necessary. Cloud computing fills that void.

If used strategically, cloud computing can provide true business value. Let’s review how:

Fuel Top-line Growth

Value can be seen through the increase of business agility, reach, and scalability. Agility can be difficult to quantify, but it is a real win when it comes to cloud computing. It can facilitate exactly what your business wants/needs – how much CPU, what type of application configuration is required, and how you want to distribute these. Cloud computing also drives business growth and value by helping businesses develop rapidly, transition into a new market, integrate applications, and much more. Agility provides great value to those that are competing in an environment of uncertain high-growth markets. Increased innovation creates great value to businesses alongside improved communication and collaboration. According to IBM, leading companies are 73% more likely to rapidly innovate products and services via the cloud. Having agility can improve business services at an increasing speed, reducing delivery time from months to just weeks.

  • Enable innovation of new services
  • Differentiate with new technologies
  • Enhance business resiliency by improving data center/application uptime

Improve Bottom-Line Economics

With cloud computing you pay only for what you consume, when you need to consume it – that’s the pay-as-you go model. By reducing total cost with cloud solutions, resources can be utilized more efficiently. Cloud solutions replace on-premises applications, which increases your reach and scalability and increases value. By eliminating expensive maintenance issues, which would normally cost the IT department time and money, cloud offers great efficiency and true value to a company.

  • Improve resource life cycle management
  • Eliminate constant, expensive upgrades
  • Pay as you go
  • Experience TCO reductions greater than 50%

Bring Forth Collaboration

Cloud computing also provides the ability to reach your customers at any time. A reliable solution transfers all data securely into the cloud and can be accessed by any authorized client, partner, or employee. Barriers between once-separate departments are broken down, which allows for sharing of expertise and business information. This level of collaboration effectively leads to a dynamic workforce.

With a strategic, focused approach to cloud computing, it can power transformation within the digital and business worlds, and increase business value.  

A Sustainable World With Cloud Computing

Sustainability and cloud computing are coherently trending together!

Cloud computing is advancing our economy forward in many ways, including its inherent sustainability. The cloud’s “green” quality comes from moving hardware and software into a virtual environment. So instead of relying on local servers, the work is transferred through the Internet to store, manage, and process the data. Research conducted by Google shared that businesses can save more than 65% on energy costs by moving to the cloud!

Sustainability continues to be an added benefit of cloud computing for companies and their IT departments. Businesses of all sizes are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and are putting in place long-term strategies to reduce it. With more sustainable services, like cloud-based solutions, they can. Research conducted by Global E-sustainability Initiative states that if 80% of world enterprise adopted cloud computing and powered down local servers, we would see around a 4.5 megaton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy and resource efficiencies come more naturally from cloud infrastructures. With the cloud, businesses can save energy by reducing the amount of physical resources they rely on, which can ultimately save energy, money, time, and waste.

Having the ability to reduce hardware helps companies also reduce costs and remove any sort of maintenance and management they were previously dealing with. Carbon Disclosure Project found that cloud computing can help companies realize $12.3 billion in energy savings. Placing critical data in a secure, remote location rather than in-house offers the ability to reduce computing management time and expenses with greater flexibility and effective energy savings. According to Pike Research, due to the continued adoption of cloud computing, data center energy consumption will decrease by 31% from 2010 to 2020.

Another benefit that comes from adopting this sustainable solution are the additional benefits that cloud can offer, like the ability to interact and collaborate easily through mobile devices, allowing a tremendous increase in productivity. Studies by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Northwestern University have found that if 86 million U.S. workers were moved to the cloud, they could save enough electricity annually to power a great city like Los Angles for a year! Allowing employees to work productively in the cloud, with tools like file sharing, word processing and CRM software, can cut down IT energy consumption significantly.

Although sustainability might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cloud computing, it’s a valuable side effect. Taking a closer look at the technology will expose many of its eco-friendly benefits, like reducing your carbon footprint, energy usage, spending, time, and waste. This is all a result of moving to a virtual platform, shared resources, efficient equipment, digital operations and a pay-as-you-go model. If you want to boost your sustainability initiative, cloud computing is the perfect step.

The Role of IT in the Cloud

Cloud computing continues to grow. The power it holds is creating new opportunities for businesses of all sizes to innovate and transform. Cloud computing not only redefines a company, but it is also redefining what IT can bring to the table. In this day and age companies are seeking out a more strategic and influential IT professional who operates with speed and efficiency in a proactive matter. According to Cisco, cloud will represent nearly 30% of all IT spending by 2020.

IT leaders are looking to cloud computing in order to pivot the way business processes and outcomes are delivered. It’s no longer in your best interests to simply look to IT to manage and troubleshoot technology. Instead, increase productivity by shifting IT’s focus to advancing revenue and innovation through technology like the cloud. Transforming IT from reactive to proactive has greater value not only for the IT department, but for a business overall.

The cost efficiency that comes with cloud computing is changing the IT department into a profit center, rather than a cost center. The need to purchase new hardware and software, and deal with installation and maintenance is no longer a requirement, nor is waiting around for trouble tickets to be resolved. IT personnel can grow into leaders and strategists instead of repairmen. They have the opportunity to achieve this by strategically analyzing business requirements, recommending new services and investments, managing overall policies, and more.

IT departments can focus on establishing flexible infrastructures as well as endorsing the partners and services, like RapidScale’s cloud solutions, that are needed to guide a business to success. IT professionals become the leading advisers for how to effectively integrate new technology that leads to innovative and positive change.

Cloud computing is changing the IT role, but it’s not threatening it. Cloud computing demonstrates the value and demand for IT to be shifted to a more strategic role. It helps redefine the effectiveness of IT and better connect the department with its business counterparts. Through cloud computing, IT can achieve:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Increased revenue
  • The transition from reactive to proactive
  • Productivity
  • A strategic role
  • Improved customer experience

Modern IT professionals are guiding business transformation that is now a requirement for an organization to remain competitive. The role isn’t phasing out. Rather, it’s gaining great importance.

Cloud for the Enterprise Space

The power of the cloud is undeniable for business and technology leaders in the enterprise world. According to Forbes, 69% of enterprises are relying on cloud computing to launch business models. Enterprises can utilize the cloud for a competitive advantage with the opportunity to save money, innovate, experience speed and agility, and boost collaboration with business partners.

The cloud helps modernize and provides platforms that allow enterprises to better manage their critical data. The cloud continues to change the face of IT and a copious amount of enterprises are predicted to make a heavy cloud investment in coming years, as they are already taking the first steps.

The days of IT being so expensive are quickly fading out with the emergence of cloud computing. As the cloud matures, enterprises continue to see the opportunities to achieve cost savings. The traditional approach to infrastructure and software can get extremely expensive with all the updates, maintenance, hardware and more. Constantly having to toss out or repair hardware and software can be problematic and creates a setting of overly-complex enterprise-level infrastructures. This can be costly and difficult to manage from an engineering and financial standpoint.

Cloud computing can solve these complex problems in many ways – it leverages the “as a service” model for things like infrastructure and software, and has the ability to scale to the capacity that is needed at any given time.

Cloud computing’s costs are stable and predictable, giving great value to enterprise-level businesses. Rethinking the value to the end users of your business is also a great benefit achieved with cloud computing solutions. These solutions give enterprises the ability to be on their toes and view every angle of the business.

Enterprises are demanded to innovate as the market grows, but failure to move at the same pace as the cloud market can be catastrophic – will your enterprise stay in the past or will it innovate?

Visit our Industries page to learn more about how cloud can benefit enterprises.

Business Innovation in the Cloud

Cloud computing is widely recognized as a game changer in the technology world, and executives have changed how they approach technology because of it. The cloud delivers rapid ways to engage with customers and the pace of doing business becomes drastically faster. Having access to vast amounts of storage and computing power on demand drives innovation for businesses of all sizes. According to a survey conducted by IBM Institute for Business Value, 16% percent of businesses are using cloud as a tool to innovate.

A virtual platform enables businesses to rapidly develop and distribute, and ultimately experiment and innovate more. It creates a foundation of flexibility that taps into next-generation systems to operate email, social networking or collaboration with employees, partners and customers. Innovation begins when production is a creative use of critical data that companies collect internally and externally.

The cloud enables business models to transform quickly by introducing opportunities like Bring Your Own Device to the playing field. There’s a vast opportunity to connect anywhere at any time with any device. BYOD allows businesses to save money by giving employees the opportunity to use their own device to complete work regardless of their location. Mobile is a major opportunity for innovation, and it influences the connection between both customers and employees.

Another way that cloud computing encourages business innovation is that it offers a platform of tech experimentation that releases corporate IT budgets from being tied up in maintenance. Instead, they can be turned to more of the production aspects of a business. Businesses can save money and time, all at once.

The cloud tends to be initially adopted for efficiency and cost-saving purposes, but it also lays a foundation for innovative serendipity. It enables connections in order for businesses to collaborate and share knowledge. The cloud has emerged into a powerful source of innovation, and can be used for much more.

Private vs. Public Cloud

As many businesses already know, cloud computing offers many advantages, and it can really simplify infrastructure planning. However, there’s always been a debate over which cloud environment is best: private cloud or public cloud. Being aware of these cloud computing options and what they mean for a business make it much easier to decide which one is right for you.

Let’s explore both private and public cloud:

Private Cloud

Private cloud, also known as an internal or enterprise cloud, places resources in one infrastructure. By definition, it is a single-tenant environment where the hardware, storage and network are dedicated to a single client or company. It leaves control in the hands of an organization to customize as needed, allowing an individual business to grow and scale. The ability to customize the compute, storage and networking options for a business’ IT requirements is something that can’t be as easily achieved with a public cloud model.

A private cloud model has two ways to host: on-site or in a service provider’s data center. With this solution, businesses can achieve a greater level of control and sense of security, making it ideal for those that have strict data regulations or are larger organizations. Private cloud is typically preferred by mid- and large-size enterprises, since it meets their security and compliance needs and leaves them entirely in control of their environment. However, this option tends to be more expensive, as new equipment, capacity and IT training may be necessary.

Public Cloud

Public cloud is defined as a multi-tenant environment, where instead of placing all your resources in one singular infrastructure, you buy a ‘server slice’ in a shared cloud computing environment. In other words, you have other tenants or clients as neighbors. A public cloud model is ideal for a small- to medium-sized business because it is managed by a third-party provider – meaning that there are no hardware or maintenance costs.

The majority of public cloud deployments are generally used for Web servers or development systems where security and compliance requirements of organizations and their customers is not an issue. The benefits include the speed in which you can deploy IT resources, and the utility billing that it offers. Unlike private cloud, public cloud offers lower costs with a pay-as-you-go approach. Public cloud offers availability and scalability, allowing businesses to make in-the-moment decisions based on their needs.

When determining which model is best suited for your organization, consider your environment. Which applications are you using? Do you have any compliance requirements? How much control do you need over your environment? Answering these types of organizational questions make it easier to choose the cloud model that fits your business needs.

The Big Solution for Small Business

Businesses of all sizes are realizing the benefits of cloud solutions and how they have the capability to improve efficiency, productivity, and functionality. Small and medium businesses (SMB) in particular play a huge role in the growth of the cloud market. According to Emergent Research, 78% of SMBs will be fully adapted to the cloud by 2020.

Cloud computing gives SMBs the opportunity to concentrate on their business strategy and development, rather than budget and management, offering a flexible and scalable platform.

Let’s review the benefits that cloud computing offers SMBs:

Reduced Costs

An important consideration for SMBs considering new technology solutions is cost. The cloud provides SMBs with significant savings by moving them over to the virtual world. Infrastructure is costly and can keep a business from growing, but the cloud allows SMBs to decrease power usage, IT and hardware requirements, installation, maintenance, labor and upgrade costs, and more. According to Cirrus Business, typically SMB cloud users spent at least 11% less on IT than non-cloud users.

Collaboration

One of the many benefits of the cloud for SMBs is the enhancement of collaboration. The cloud makes it easy to save, share, and access various files so employees can access the same master document, project or data 24×7, no matter where they are located. The ability to access files remotely allows SMB owners to manage and pave individual growth. Customer satisfaction is also increased by keeping customers informed at all times and employees effective and responsive throughout the day.

Security

The cloud enhances security for SMBs by eliminating the harmful results of hackers, viruses, and natural disasters that could occur. This protection comes from layers of network and physical government-grade security that weren’t previously accessible to small organizations. Losses due to failed technology, disasters or breaches can have massive effects on an SMB, even putting it out of business. Having a secure infrastructure in place in the cloud that allows you to operate 24×7 without a worry keeps an SMB up and running.

Productivity & Flexibility

Cloud solutions provide top-of-the-line servers and resources that offer great flexibility and productivity. Implementing virtual solutions hosted by a cloud provider increases productivity by offering users the ability to work securely on data in real time, from any location, on any computing device. This access to critical business data from any device is one of the most alluring cloud benefits. It makes it easier for SMBs to manage their business wherever and however they please, and ensures that users are no longer tied to one location. Increased mobility equals flexibility, and opting to implement things like BYOD really boosts productivity and can lead to further cost savings.

We deliver the most cost-effective solutions for the SMB market by leading your business down the path of innovation, growth and success. Learn more about our cloud solutions on the Managed Cloud Services page, and see how we approach the SMB segment on our Industries page!