Archive for the ‘cloud computing’ Category
If you can get the milk for free…why buy the cow? Contractual commitment. Does anyone really love it? Why would they? You’re locked into something or someone long term (well unless you’re Kim Kardashian). It could be costly. What if you don’t get what you need? What you paid for? By the way…what ARE you paying for? It could end badly…then what?
I too have had my own aversions to contractual relationships so I understand the hesitations. However, partnering with an information technology firm that provides “Managed Services” can be an ideal situation. Allow me to make my case and yes, I’m going to use different analogies so prepare yourself.
Let’s be honest, most of us can’t get through lunch without checking our email, text messages, etc., let alone…gasp…being “down” for a day. Consumers have changed throughout the years along with the evolution of technology. They need things to work NOW and having a network down in business is costly. In this economy businesses can’t afford to have paid employees standing around idle waiting for the “all systems go.”
Free Milk. In the good ol’ days. When you had a problem, you could just call the local IT house and they would drop everything to rush out and put out the fire with no commitment or obligation for you to use them in the future. Today, IT companies are more like your Primary Care Physician who is trying to prevent the fire in the first place (but are fully capable of smothering you should you spontaneously combust) and they can best help you by regularly seeing you over the long term. If your IT provider hasn’t changed the way they do business yet, they soon will.
This means that IT companies are moving from handling service in a reactionary model, to a proactive model, in which we keep things running smoothly by monitoring your network 24/7/365. Depending on the level of care you choose, updates are performed automatically and we are alerted by the monitoring system we put in place before your equipment fails – giving us time to do something about it. Then, when things do go wrong, you receive priority treatment. No waiting until your “IT guy” can “get to it.” It’s better for your budget, your schedule and your sanity while allowing service providers to remain open and ready to serve without adding to your overhead.
You might think that going with a hosted server will save you the trouble in committing to a technology firm. This sounds good on the surface, but you still have a network to maintain even if your server is hosted elsewhere. Hardware, such as in individual workstations, software applications and anything else attached to your network (cameras, telephones, etc.) still need to play together nicely. Additionally, you will still need to maintain constant Internet connectivity on your end to stay attached to the cloud. If you hadn’t already seen it, my last blog entitled “Up in the Clouds” explained the cloud and the hidden costs involved. You might want to read it for more things to be aware of so that you make a fully informed cloud decision.
Our advice? Don’t be afraid to make a commitment and hop on board the Managed Services ship with a service provider that you trust, then sit back and enjoy the free sailing, well okay, reasonably priced value-packed cruise! That is, after you’ve done your homework, carefully compared plans (apples to apples) and found the best fit for your business.
Copyright © 2012 Help Me!!® Tech Team, a division of HELP ME!!® Computers, LLC
The Hidden Costs of Cloud Computing
There is so much buzz these days about cloud computing. You hear it everywhere, television commercials, business meetings, articles and newsletters so maybe by now you are thinking that you might need to inquire about it.
The first thing to know is that the cloud isn’t really all that new. For example, if you go to Facebook, bank on-line, or use Google or Yahoo for your email, then you are already on “the cloud.” Simply said, the data in the cloud isn’t stored on your computer, it is stored on the Facebook, Google, Yahoo and your banking institutions server. You do not have control of this data…they do.
Some people don’t care where their data is stored, who sees it, or what happens to it…some do. For example, if you are in a profession where the data is particularly sensitive, such as medical or the legal profession there are real consequences to a security breach.
The cloud doesn’t have to be an all or nothing equation. For your business for example, you might gain some real benefit from using a software application that is on the cloud. But just because it is on the cloud (or accessed through the internet) doesn’t mean that you can’t be the one hosting it on your own server. This is the best of both worlds. It combines the beauty that is “the cloud” with its ease of use and access of information but the control some need to maintain by running it off of your own server.
Things you should know about “cloud” computing when contemplating if you should jump on the cloud bandwagon yourself:
- Internet Connection. For the cloud to work, your internet connection must be maintained at all times. In other words, if your internet is down…your cloud is down. This may not be that big of a deal for you but if all of your data is on that cloud and your internet is down for more than a few minutes, it might turn into a more complicated situation for you or your business.
- Internet (data) Bandwidth. Specifically, synchronous bandwidth. For your data to reach the cloud you must have sufficient bandwidth availability through your internet provider. This isn’t cheap. Really not cheap and it is a vital part of making the cloud work for you. Before moving over to a cloud hosted anything you must find out how much bandwidth you need to make it happen. This will depend on the amount of data that you or your business uses. So you must consider how you and your employees use the internet (video streaming, music, etc.), your VOIP phone system (if not on a separate phone line), security cameras, etc. This clogs up your bandwidth super highway and drags down the speed and ability to drive your data to the cloud (not to mention use your phones, access the internet, etc.).
- Cloud Server Down = bad. If the cloud server is down, your data can not be reached until they are back up. Again, this could be mere seconds or days depending on the situation and it is out of your control (a scary thought for some business owners).
- Security. Who is hosting the cloud? Wherever it is hosted is where your data resides. Who will see it? How long will they store it? How secure is their location? Do they store it in multiple servers in various locations (redundancy) just in case the building burns down? Can the data be intercepted while in transit to the cloud? Yes, it should be encrypted, but because there are more people and businesses using the same cloud – there are more potential victims swimming in the same pool. Making you a much more enticing target.
- Rent not Own. Imagine that you rented a storage unit for your most valuable stuff for a really good price. You saved lots of money because you didn’t have to buy a house big enough to fit it all in plus, they gave you a really good deal. You had it there for years and years and luckily nobody stole any of it. So now, you’ve decided that you want to cancel your lease for whatever reason. But now the storage company won’t give you back your stuff. Fine. Since you’ve complained enough they’ll give it back to you but shred to pieces. If you ever end a contract with a company hosting your cloud data, you might be able to save it or get it back from them but it will be in their format – that you no longer have access to thereby rendering your data unreadable and useless. If you have been using a hosted cloud software application to run your business, what is the cost of not having access to all of that data (that has now multiplied significantly)? Again, some people don’t mind this…some do. Which are you?
The bottom line is that if you are considering moving to the way of the cloud, for your software applications or even your server, really give it some thought. Be aware of the hidden costs involved to truly know if it is in fact a great money saving deal. Also, if you are considering moving your server to a hosting center, read your contract to be fully informed as to what will happen to your data and server if you ever change your mind. Weigh the benefits and the risks and talk to your trusted advisors.
Copyright © 2011 Help Me!!® Tech Team, a division of HELP ME!!® Computers, LLC
Ahhh…don’t you just love a good pirate? After all…some pirates can are pretty sexy and what women doesn’t have a “special appreciation” for a bad boy occasionally? I can think of at least one that I wouldn’t mind sailing away with myself…and you’ll be sure to find me at the movie theater this spring when his new movie comes out! Remember these (not so subtle) words that greeted our beloved Captain Jack in the first movie? “Pirates…Ye be warned!” This message was displayed on a crudely made sign and placed on some hanging skeleton’s (nice touch) just to make a point. Well…don’t say I didn’t warn ‘ye.
This is a topic that we have educated our clients on for years. Pirated intellectual property (and yes, it should concern YOU).
Today we have instant access to so much over the internet and we…well…kind of forget that a lot of the “sharing” that goes on is illegal. Of course, most of us are law abiding, God fearing, tax paying, hard working citizens and we certainly wouldn’t consider ourselves thieves. But, there are some pretty upset people working for the entertainment and software industries that would beg to differ with you…and they are eager to make an example of you. Luckily no lynchings will be involved but it’s sure to take a few years off your life (and savings) non-the-less.
So even if you look like Johnny Depp (and if you do, please feel free to call me) you’ll have to follow the rules like the rest of us. If not, you just might get a surprise knock on your door…and it won’t be the Publishers Clearing House people. Oh they will have something for you alright. A hefty fine and/or some jail time. Not the kind of visit I’d like! <insert inappropriate Johnny Depp joke here>
Our advice? These rules apply to everyone. If you are responsible for others (i.e. business owners or parents) make sure everyone is educated on them (employers should have a usage policy). You are ultimately liable for their actions.
What exactly is illegal?
As a general rule of thumb all music, movies, photos, software and even website content is protected by copyright. It does not have to be labeled “copyright” to be considered such and protected under copyright laws. Unless the author specifically says “go ahead and share.” Unauthorized downloading, uploading and/or distribution (sharing) is actionable as copyright infringement, even if not done for profit. Further, claiming “ignorance” may not save you as a defense.
How does someone typically get caught?
Every time you log onto the internet you are assigned an IP address from your internet provider. This IP address is how you can be tracked down. Contrary to popular belief you are NOT anonymous on the internet. Private companies (such as movie, music industry, etc.) can petition your internet provider for information about downloads and find offenders.
Individuals can turn in offenders for a reward (money talks…friends walk).
Updates. When your programs update they link up to the manufacturer (i.e., Microsoft, etc.) where they have several “ways” to verify that your software is genuine.
What can I do to keep it legal and stay out of trouble?
Photos, text content, graphics, creative, etc. Always give credit where credit is due. Site links when sharing information from other websites. Remember photos, logos, specialized fonts and graphics are protected by copyright too. If someone else created it – it is not yours. Most often you can find ones to use on free sites or just pay for the rights to use them. Typically we are talking really small usage fees (even as low as a single dollar).
Software. Don’t let your friends do you any “favors” by installing programs or a new operating system onto your computer. If it is legitimate you will have a genuine license sticker adhered to your system or an actual disk from the manufacturer. If downloading yourself, look for terms such as “shareware,” “freeware,” “trial” (usually in terms of software programs) these are okay to use. Software companies work long and hard to put out a good product. Don’t rip them off by “sharing” it. Besides, you get some perks for paying to use it in way of support and full functionality of the product that you won’t get in those borrowed copies. Be sure to read the license agreement to see how many of YOUR computers you can put it on. How do they find you out? When your system asks you to run updates you will be connected to the manufacturer.
Music. When purchasing music to download read the terms and conditions. Don’t assume that you can copy it to multiple devices within the same household. Make sure kids stay away from sites like Limewire, Kazaa and BearShare where they can engage in peer-to-peer sharing. Again, while it is not illegal to share files it IS illegal to share copyrighted material. These are the types of sites where kids (and their parents) can get into serious trouble because they might start innocent enough but before they know it hundreds or thousands of people have “borrowed” their downloaded music. This is what makes the record companies REALLY unhappy and you could be fined EACH TIME someone has downloaded that piece of music from your kids (or your) computer via the peer-to-peer. You may then get a letter in the mail from your internet provider telling you that the IP address assigned to use has engaged in illegal distribution of copyrighted material over the internet.
Movies. Many people use torrent (or download) sites such as Pirate Bay and Demonoid to engage in “sharing.” The production companies are allowed to monitor these sites and again, with the help of your IP address you can be caught. Movies are so cheap to rent now with the help of Blockbuster, Netflix, Red Box, PPV, etc. it’s not worth it.
Remember there are millions of dollars lost to pirating in these industries each year and they take it very seriously. Sure, lots of people do it but it doesn’t make it right and in the wise words of Mama’s everywhere… “IF anyone’s going to get caught, it’s probably going to be you!” So, just how lucky ARE you?
Copyright © 2011 Help Me!!® Tech Team, a division of HELP ME!!® Computers, LLC
- Mobile Devices & Your Network
- Can I just ignore a virus and save some money?
- fix my PC
- The Case for Managed Services
- Is a blog a blog or not really a blog?
- THIS works…now THAT doesn’t
- Up in the Clouds
- Gone Phishing
- The Validity of On-Line Reviews
- Sink that Pirate Ship!
- Resolutions…shoulda woulda coulda
- Always Use Protection
- Back to School…and not a moment too soon
- Break the chains that bind you!
- Remote Repairs…Proceed with Caution
- Got junk in your trunk?
- Buy Cheap…Buy Twice
- Fact or Crap?
- Could not connect to Twitter