Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Cloud Computing best practice: Conduct a Cloud feasibility assessment

guy holding a piece of paper with a cloud and servers on it.

Not all IT activities are right for Cloud computing. What’s more, you may not have the basic elements you need (such as a sufficiently robust network environment) for Cloud computing. And the last thing you need is to learn those uncomfortable truths after you’ve committed to a Cloud project.

This is why conducting a Cloud feasibility assessment is so important. And unless you have Cloud computing expertise on staff, don’t try to do it alone.

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The Disruption Dirty Dozen: Asking the hard DR questions

Register button for Master Your Disaster

Regardless of their cause(s), your ability to minimize business disruptions depends on planning that’s based on a granular understanding of the risks posed to your business processes.

This planning begins with understanding who your key stakeholders are, how your organization conducts business, and what sorts of disruptions are likeliest at your locations (note that recent studies indicate power failures, hardware failures, and network failures account for more than 80% of IT-related disruptions).

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When was the last time you reviewed your DR plan?

Data Availability Graph small

Last year, disasters in the United States caused more than $60 billion in damage. And the future promises plenty more of the same, says a recent report from Swiss reinsurer Munich Re — especially in North America, where weather-related loss events have quintupled in the last 30 years.

Now add in concerns about inadequate backup of the data on employees’ smartphones and tablets, wayward virtual machines, cyberattacks and other security incidents …

The challenge: Protect your essential business resources
It all makes now a good time to take another look at your company’s business continuity/disaster recovery plan, which ought to be reviewed and updated at least annually to keep your risk assessment current.

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Cloud Computing best practice: Understand available Cloud capabilities

Various cloud icons - cloud in center surrounded by monitors, laptops, etc

I’ve posted before about Cloud computing best practices, and I’m doing it again now (and for the next several posts) for a couple of reasons:

  1. Cloud computing continues to (quickly) evolve, and while some Cloud best practices stay more or less constant, others must be adapted to keep pace,
  2. Cloud success depends on adhering to best practices — so there’s no such thing as talking too much about them or the order in which they should be applied.

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Why IT environments managed by service providers are more secure

Cloud with a lock and key to illustrate Cloud Security by Service Providers

For a while now, those of us who provide Cloud services have been saying that a properly run Cloud environment is inherently more secure than traditional on-premise IT environments.

Now a recent study from Alert Logic backs up that claim. The study compared security in traditional on-premise and service-provider-managed environments of 1,500 organizations with active investment in IT security.

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Details, details: A look at the hybrid Cloud SLA

Hybrid Cloud Computing

Reading a service-level agreement (SLA) may be as exciting as watching paint dry — but when it comes to creating a hybrid that fits your organization and truly meets its needs, bringing your full attention to your SLA can make all the difference.

So here’s my version of Hybrid Cloud101:

Expect to customize your hybrid cloud SLA. The whole point of a private cloud is to design and customize cloud capabilities to address your unique needs, and you need a Cloud services provider willing and able to do that in ways that precisely reflect your business requirements so you can achieve the flexibility, scalability, cost reductions, efficiencies, redundancy, and disaster recovery protections you need — without overspending on overcapacity.

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4 reasons for the hybrid Cloud of your dreams

Cloud computing written on a chalkboard

As you spend more and more time using Cloud-delivered services, applications, and data, odds are you’ll end up interested in a hybrid Cloud environment that can be deployed in ways that quite specifically meet your organization’s needs, both business-wise and budget-wise.

If your experience has been limited to public Clouds, you’ll need to tread carefully into the realm of hybrids because, by definition, hybrid Clouds are customized. Very quickly, you’ll come to understand that the success of your hybrid Cloud greatly depends on its customizer.

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Pay Attention to the Chain of Control

These days, you can buy Cloud services from just about anyone.

Some of these providers do it all themselves, from initial needs assessment through design, integration, customization, and implementation all the way to post-deployment support. Even if they provide capabilities via reselling products and services from others, they have deep technical knowledge of what they’ve provided and can stand by it.

So as a customer, your chain of control is unbroken — when you want help or information about your service, you’ll get what you need.

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Mobility and the Cloud: Untethered at Last

Laptops flying through the Cloud

Sleek new devices like the mini iPad and Windows Surface promise to add even more momentum to the already headlong rush into business mobility and BYOD that will, according to market researcher IDC, have more U.S. Internet users accessing the Internet through mobile devices by 2015 than through PCs or other wireline devices.

And it’s all made possible by Cloud computing infrastructure, without which business mobility would remain a hassled tangle of siloed applications, data, and communications services.

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Want to know what a disruptive technology in action looks like?

Guy looking at cloud shaped like an arrow.

A recent issue of InformationWeek pooled data from an assortment of that publication’s own surveys to offer some insight into the current state of Cloud use by IT shops. We also get a few hints about both the degree and direction of Cloud momentum and its power as a disruptive technology:

  • 11% of IT departments have a major Cloud implementation in place [Global CIO Survey, February 2012].
  • 20% have a formal company policy to evaluate Cloud options for any new services or systems; 27% prefer to use the Cloud [Cloud ROI Survey, November 2011].
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