SMBs Struggle With Data Protection’s Rising Complexity

A survey of 401 global small and midsize businesses (SMBs) conducted by IDC on behalf of data protection specialist Acronis found that IT organizations are struggling with backup and recovery, thanks to the rise of virtualization and cloud computing. Backup and recovery becomes more problematic with each new platform added. Most IT organizations now routinely run multiple types of hypervisors in and out of the cloud, but these platforms are increasing the cost and complexity of backing up and recovering data, the study found. In addition, the cost of downtime is on the rise and expectations for both recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives are tightening. The result is increasing pressure on IT organizations to seek outside assistance from solution providers in the channel. Here’s a look at a few key takeaways from the research:

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The Need For Speed And The Cloud

Need For Speed cloud computing 300x187 The Need For Speed And The CloudThere can be a tendency to think too simplistically about the benefits of moving applications to the cloud. Traditional logic centres around the cost savings that companies can make out of the shift from on-premise deployments but there is another, more important element of the cloud that should be given more credence – speed. The need for speed amongst enterprise organisations is critical, and, with growing understanding and competence, enterprise organisations are harnessing the potential of operating mission-critical applications in the cloud.

More Than Meets The Eye

When thinking of speed and the cloud, raw compute power tends to immediately spring to mind. The cloud can provide an environment where existing applications can run up to seven times faster than they would on-premise, giving enterprises the chance to work in real-time, completing tasks in minutes that would otherwise have taken hours. But in fact this is one of the least important benefits of speed that cloud can bring, there are more types of speed in cloud computing that large businesses can take advantage of.

There is an increasing level of knowledge around cloud that means that the key question is no longer “should we follow the cloud model?” but “how can cloud computing best serve the business’ needs”. What are the significant improvements to business performance? This is where the other layers of speed come into play. The speed of deployment is the first key factor to consider. New and existing applications can be

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Sunny Forecast For Clouds

cloud computing forecast Sunny Forecast For CloudsImprovements in hardware, software, and networking have combined with the secular trend toward outsourcing to usher in the era of cloud computing. The economies of scale offered by remote data centers managed by third parties allow enterprises to offload or outsource some or all of their computing and storage workloads. Cloud adoption is particularly cost-effective for smaller and midsize users that lack the capital, manpower, or expertise to build and maintain their own data centers.

Startup costs for a data center include real estate, power, software licenses, servers, specialized infrastructure (racks, HVAC, raised floors, fire suppression, and so on), networking equipment, IT professionals, and recurring maintenance and upgrade costs that would start at tens of thousands of dollars for a small on-site data center to tens of millions and higher for a large facility. Users that periodically experience extremely high computing workloads also find it effective to use cloud services for those peak loads (retailers during holiday times, for example), rather than building and maintaining IT infrastructure that would lie dormant for long periods. Finally, the third parties that build and maintain cloud data centers have purchasing power, scale, and expertise that are unavailable to most users. As a result, these third parties can pass along some of the cost savings from their equipment and staffing spending to their customers. Increased competition among the third-party data center providers has resulted in price wars among the major vendors even as their services and

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Key Skills IT Pros Need For Cloud Computing

cloud computing IT skills 300x217 Key Skills IT Pros Need For Cloud Computing 1. Business and financial skills

The intersection of business and technology is always an overarching concern, but it is especially so when it comes to cloud-based computing.

2. Technical skills

With the cloud, organizations can streamline their IT resources, offloading much of day-to-day systems and application management. But that doesn’t mean IT abdicates all responsibility. There’s a need for language skills to build applications that can run quickly on the Internet.

3. Enterprise architecture and business needs analysis

Cloud computing requires that IT pros cross disciplines, especially where service-oriented architecture comes into play.

4. Project management skills

Organizations must not let the flexibility of the cloud lead to missed deadlines or amorphous goals. That could negate the cloud cost advantage.

5. Contract and vendor negotiation skills

To deal with service-level agreements—and the problems involved when those SLAs are breached—IT pros need experience with contract and vendor negotiations.

6. Security and compliance

IT professionals dealing with the cloud must have a firm grasp of security protocols and the regulatory mandates related to their industries, both within and without the United States.

7. Data integration and analysis skills

IT pros may not be data scientists, but to take advantage of big data, they do need to help data scientists hook up big data, internal ERP, data warehouse and other data systems, and work with the business side to make effective use of big data.

8. Mobile app development and management

Organizations need to think about what kind of mobile experience they are offering to customers via the cloud

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Cloud Computing Requires IT To Evolve

IT department evolution 300x134 Cloud Computing Requires IT To EvolveThe “cloudification of services” means that IT has become the backbone for every other part of the enterprise, and the department needs to evolve in order to keep up with the pace of change.

That’s what Frank Slootman, president and CEO of ServiceNow, told the audience during his keynote at the platform-as-as-service IT solution provider’s Knowledge 14 conference, taking place at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco.

“We really think IT needs to start thinking differently about itself. Too many of us think of IT as another department like facilities, HR or a general services type department. We don’t see it that way,” he said, using the metaphor that IT needs to be strong enough to be the organization’s backbone as more move their services into the cloud.

“The influence of cloud – and the cloudification of services – the fact that enterprises as institutions have become completely cloudified and deliver themselves to their customers and through their core audiences as a cloud service, means that IT plays a very different role,” Slootman continued, arguing that IT needs to think of itself as the “modern day manufacturing”, with services rather than a physical product the item being created.

“We are the backbone that everything else rests on, it is the modern day manufacturing in many ways,” he added.

Slootman also used his keynote to discuss how the IT department is perceived, demonstrating the negative perception it has among some with an image of Chris O’Dowd as

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How Hosted Desktops Can Benefit Businesses

hosted desktops meshDESK 300x200 How Hosted Desktops Can Benefit Businesses Many businesses considering moving their IT to a privately cloud based system will be looking at Desktop as a Service (DaaS), often referred to as a Hosted Desktop Service, however, many still don’t fully understand the business benefits this can bring.

Cloud computing is something businesses can’t ignore as uptake accelerates around the world. In September 2012, analysts Gartner predicted that by 2016, the global cloud market will nearly double; and a paper last year entitled: ‘The Reality of Enterprise Cloud Migration in 2013’ from Virtustream, a cloud software provider stated that 69% of medium to large organizations are planning to migrate their business-critical applications into the cloud by the end of 2014. Many businesses considering moving their IT to a privately cloud based system, will be looking at Desktop as a Service (DaaS), often referred to as a Hosted Desktop Service, however many still don’t fully understand the business benefits this can bring.

Here is a roundup of the most compelling reasons for businesses to make the leap this year:

Mobility – Access the office from any location

The number one benefit of hosted desktops is that business users can log on to their own desktops and their entire suite of business software applications – from their CRM database to their accounting packages, as well as their emails, files and data – from any location, using any device.

Hurst Financial, a boutique firm of independent financial advisors based in Salisbury discovered this

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The Cloud Storage Battle

It’s a fact: more data is added via the Internet every second than the Internet had in its entirety twenty years ago. This accumulation of “Big Data” comes from many sources, including consumer and business files — including photos and images, spreadsheets, mobile application data, and more.

In the past, much of this data was stored in the memory of computers and mobile devices. Now, data is increasingly being stored “in the Cloud,” which allows it to be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection, and numerous companies are battling it out for this market. Let’s look at the numbers behind cloud storage, and particular for two hot companies in this market, Box and Dropbox — both of whom received additional funding in Jan 2014.

Cloud Storage by the Numbers

The “Cloud” is a generic term which collectively refers to a number of online services that make it possible to do computing remotely (aka Cloud Computing). Cloud storage is the component of Cloud Computing which allows for data to be saved and accessed remotely. Hard drives and flash drives are still used, just as for any computer or mobile device. Cloud storage is specifically designed for remote use via the Internet.
Benefits of Cloud Storage and Why We Need It

Accessibility is the key feature of Cloud storage.

  • You are not tied to a desk in order to access data entered on a computer.
  • Data can be created from one device (e.g., desktop or laptop) and accessed from another (e.g., smartphone or tablet)– with Cloud storage
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Key Cloud Computing Statistics

key cloud computing statistics 300x200 Key Cloud Computing StatisticsHere are some key cloud computing statistics that highlight the growth and adoption trends of this strategic technology:

Cloud spending

  • By 2015, end-user spending on cloud services could be more than $180 billion
  • By 2014, businesses in the United States will spend more than $13 billion on cloud computing and managed hosting services
  • It is predicted the global market for cloud equipment will reach $79.1 billion by 2018
  • 59 percent of all new spending on cloud computing services originates from North American enterprises, a trend projected to accelerate through 2016

Cloud adoption

  • Throughout the next five years, a 44 percent annual growth in workloads for the public cloud versus an 8.9 percent growth for ‘on premise’ computing workloads is expected
  • More than 60 percent of businesses utilize cloud for performing IT-related operations
  • 545 cloud services are in use by an organization on average

Cloud data

  • More than half of survey respondents say their organization currently transfers sensitive or confidential data to the cloud
  • There’s an estimated 1 Exabyte of data stored in the cloud

Cloud impacts

  • 82 percent of companies reportedly saved money by moving to the cloud
  • 80 percent of cloud adopters saw improvements within 6 months of moving to the cloud
  • 14 percent of companies downsized their IT after cloud adoption
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Key Questions For Cloud Plans

reach cloud computing goals 300x225 Key Questions For Cloud PlansIn his latest book, titled “Architecting the Cloud: Design Decisions for Cloud Computing Service Models,” Mike Kavis, a seasoned chief technology officer and IT architect, shows how cloud proponents can map out their cloud plans.

Mike identifies the six key questions that are essential to cloud architectural planning:

 

1) Identify the problem statement (why): “The single most important question to answer,” Kavis observes. While cloud is a no-brainer for startups, more established enterprises need to evaluate how cloud will benefit the business. Ultimately, a cloud-based solution may focus on one specific business problem where existing systems aren’t delivering satisfactory results. An enterprise may end up with numerous cloud models to address varying requirements.

2) Evaluate user characteristics (who): “Users may be people or systems,” says Kavis. “Identifying the actors helps discover what organizations interact with the overall system.”

3) Identify business and technical requirements (what): Such requirements “describe how the system, application, and service should function,” and include points such as what data the system must process, how the screens should operate, how the workflow operates, system outputs, who has access, and pertinent regulations.

4) Visualize the service consumer experience (where):
Just as building architects need to understand the laws and conditions of where they are building a house, cloud architects “need to become familiar with the laws and regulations that pertain to their business and their data.” Local and national data laws may affect how the cloud is built and managed. Another consideration:

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Cloud Computing In Plain English

cloud simple explanation Cloud Computing In Plain EnglishFor a concept that seems so surreal, cloud computing is surprisingly ubiquitous. It is almost impossible to surf the internet without interacting with it in one form or another. Webmail services such as Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Hotmail are a well-known example of cloud computing at work, as are streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. You’ve probably bumped into the concept at your workplace in the form of Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google Apps.

Do you watch TV? Well, cloud computing is very similar to the system used to deliver content to the svelte LCD in your living room. While your favorite show or sports program starts its life in the bowels of a media company, clouds begin by companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple building data centers to store and process huge amounts of data.

Television programs get to you via cable, satellite or over-the-air transmissions. Similarly, an Internet connection is needed to link you to the cloud. Sometimes, this is the same infrastructure that delivers TV programs to your living room. This makes it possible to access a service like YouTube on a compatible television.

To access TV programs, you need to buy a cable box, an antenna or satellite dish and a television. Similarly, you need an Internet-enabled device such as a smartphone or a laptop to visit the cloud. Please note that you may need to install an application and set up an account before accessing the system,

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