Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Your SLA: Forgotten secret to getting the most from your cloud provider

To get the most out of your managed or cloud service, you need to invest the time in negotiating a good service-level agreement.

The SLA is a key part of the contract between you and your provider, since it describes the levels of service being provided and the metrics used to ensure your provider delivers full value. And the right SLA with the right service provider can mitigate cloud risks and help your business flourish.

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Maximizing cloud computing for small business — securely

This Wednesday — October 12 — I’ll be participating in the Small Business Technology Tour that’s coming to Salt Lake City, UT, where I’ll be talking about how cloud computing can boost small business productivity and help keep your operations secure.

I’ll be joined by a couple of other experts, and together we’ll talk about the benefits of cloud computing for small businesses: why and how cloud computing can reduce your capital expenditures, help you spend less on IT operations, provide you access to the deep resources and skills of a reliable cloud services provider, and improve your IT security, privacy, and availability.

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2 tricks that can deliver the right service provider treats

It’s a 21st-century truth that even small businesses need complex information technology infrastructures to thrive. Which is why so many enterprises, both large and small, depend on the expertise of independent providers of managed and cloud services.

But using managed and cloud services can be risky, too. How reliable is the service? Where’s your data? And what about security?

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On the menu: Networking, dinner, and the scoop about cloud computing

Cloud Computing has been defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

No wonder the Sacramento chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI), the leading organization for senior-level financial executives, wants to hear about it.

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How cloud computing and VoIP make IT disruption avoidance easier — and less costly

Nobody stays in business long if their business-critical data and apps are lost. So pardon me if I sound like my replay button got stuck, but I’ll say it again: make sure your critical data and apps are replicated to a secure remote environment that’s always accessible from anywhere.

You’re at least halfway there if you’re using a cloud-based backup replication service — but, of course, you need to make sure you’re dealing with a provider with a secure, scalable, fail-safe environment and plenty of flexibility when it comes to service options.

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Beyond the commoditized cloud: 3 aspects of customization

While cloud computing services save you from much of the arcane complexity inherent in today’s information technology, this can go too far when a provider eschews customization to simply sell you a cast-in-concrete service package and then walk away.

So look for a cloud services provider you can trust to take the time to understand your objectives and what’s necessary to achieve them. Without sacrificing affordability, the right cloud services provider should be able to work seamlessly with your staff, systems, policies, and procedures to design, deploy, and support the exact service solution your business needs to compete and grow.

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Do you really know what kind of cloud works best for your business?

It’s easy — too easy — to get lost in the techno-babble about all those types of cloud computing. Once you’ve decided which IT capabilities you want to offload to a cloud, what matters most is whether the cloud service you choose can really handle business needs.

Which is why I prefer a simpler way to describe today’s cloud computing landscape: Consumer clouds versus business clouds.

Without sacrificing speed, business-focused cloud computing services can deliver a far more flexible and agile IT infrastructure that you pay for monthly, like a utility.

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4 ways cloud computing boosts your bottom line

Cloud computing is a tried-and-true approach that exploits the universality of a new(ish) delivery mechanism: The Internet.

When you implement cloud computing solutions, you will be able to…

  • Reduce capital expenditures. You pay a monthly fee that comes out of your operating budget, not CapEx.
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Liberate 35-50% of your legacy IT spend with cloud computing

Do you spend so much maintaining legacy IT operations that you can’t think about doing anything new? Well, think again: Reallocating part of your IT budget to cloud computing could liberate 35% to 50% of what you spend on legacy operations.

According to Gartner, Inc., a highly respected IT research firm, the “average” IT organization devotes almost two-thirds of its budget to day-to-day operations. Here’s another “average” from Gartner: In 2011, IT budgets will increase 1%.

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