We hear a lot of about Cloud Computing these days, and that technology looks to be a big part of the future of technology. Not that it’s a good fit for every company, or that it’s delivered on all the anticipated benefits, but increasingly, the cloud is a viable solution for a variety of applications.
How a business GETS to its data and applications on the cloud is not as a hot a topic, but it is a vital part of the equation. What’s in the cloud is of no use if a company can’t access it.
With cloud computing, a company’s demands on the internet connection is very different. Two very important factors to consider are bandwidth and redundancy.
Barely a decade ago, a T1 line (1.544 Mbps) cost over $1000 per month. But the extensive buildout of fiber connections in metro areas has brought those costs down considerably. Even home internet connections get multi-megabit connections for about $100/month.
When planning a foray into cloud computing, some careful consideration needs to go into determining the bandwidth required to deliver an optimal user experience. Not so long ago, a company’s internet bandwidth was used primarily for email and web browsing. When even a small office is using their internet connection for applications, email, phones (VoIP) and web browsing, it’s a whole different story.
Therefore, the costs of the necessary bandwidth will need to be factored into the business’ cloud strategy.
No matter how much bandwidth your internet connection has, if it’s down, you have NO bandwidth. Some internet connections are more reliable than others, but even a 99.999% (Five 9s!) uptime means 8.76 hours of downtime in a year. Can your business be prepared to have NO access to your cloud-based resources for a full workday?
If a business is going to go to a cloud-dependent model, then it would be wise to have an alternate route to the cloud. This could be 100% redundancy – an equivalent circuit from another provider (ideally, coming into the building via a different cable vault), or it can be a circuit designed to be just adequate to keep the business running until the main circuit is restored.
Don’t forget to factor in the costs for the extra circuit, and don’t forget to test the failover mechanism!
Depending on where in the cloud your computing assets are, you may not need to go through the Internet at all. Your bandwidth may be more reliable if the data and voice traffic go over a dedicated circuit. The prices on these have dropped considerably, too, so it bears looking into.
The bottom line is, the cloud holds a lot of promise, but before implementing any new technology, all the pros and cons and costs must be weighed to ensure the results will be favorable for the business. Clare Computer Solutions can provide a Cloud Readiness Assessment for your business and help you consider all the options when planning a cloud strategy.
The post Fast and Reliable Internet Access Vital for Cloud Services appeared first on IT Consulting & Planning Blog | San Ramon, All East Bay.
Most companies, once they reach a threshold of a dozen employees or so, will require an Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to facilitate the handling of information, and communication within the company, and with the company’s customers and suppliers.
To remain running at optimal levels, and to keep up with the rapid pace of change in technology, this IT infrastructure needs to be managed. For many companies, this simply means having someone on staff (or a service provider on call) to provide user support and make repairs and updates to the network as the need arises.
As the company grows however, its dependence on the IT infrastructure grows and so does the cost to the business for every minute the technology isn’t working right.
Integrating Technology Into the Business Plan
At some point, a company’s technology needs to be part of the strategic business plan. A company will have growth goals for the next year, or 3 years, or 5. If a company grows, its IT infrastructure needs to grow to meet the anticipated needs of what the company will become if it meets its goals.
It’s impossible to know exactly what technology will be available years in advance, so short term planning for technology needs to be done with an eye towards a refresh cycle and expandability. There needs to be cogent plan for disaster recovery, business continuity and training to ensure the business runs smoothly even as it grows.
In addition, the company will need to translate these plans into a budget for implementing technology in phases along the way. The implementations will need to take place with a minimum of disruption to the company’s day-to-day operations.
Clearly, this management skill set is outside the capabilities and experience of many in-house IT staffs who were hired to support the network on an ad hoc basis. This is where a CIO is needed, to provide a vital strategic link between the company’s management and the IT Department (be it large or small).
CIOs Can Be Rented, Rather Than Hired
Large enterprises will have a CIO as part of their management team. Smaller enterprises may find it tough to justify the expense for a full time CIO on staff, but they can benefit from the skills a CIO brings. The answer is to partner with an IT consulting firm that can offer CIO-Level services as part of their support contract.
This is a much deeper partnership than a “break-fix” arrangement and provides much greater value. Having a CIO gives peace of mind and brings expertise to your organization to help with future planning. Does your current IT service provider provide these services? Clare Computer Solutions’ NetCentral combines CIO-level services with comprehensive IT infrastructure support.
The post How a CIO Benefits Your Company (and Why You Can Afford It) appeared first on IT Consulting & Planning Blog | San Ramon, All East Bay.
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