5 Mistakes Most Businesses Make with the Cloud

Guest Author: This week’s blog was brought to us by William Hayles – Will is a technical writer and blogger for Outscale, a leading cloud hosting provider in the USA and France.

Cloud Mistakes

The cloud’s awesome, but only if it’s properly implemented. Ask yourself: have you used it effectively, or have you committed one of these common mistakes? Is your organization using the cloud effectively?

As the services and platforms that comprise cloud computing become more widespread, more and more businesses are looking at it as a viable option. And really, why shouldn’t they be? In the right hands, it’s an incredibly powerful technology, allowing for better collaboration, faster development/deployment, and reduced costs all across the board.

Of course, like any technology, the cloud’s only effective if you use it properly. Improperly implemented, a cloud computing solution could actually end up increasing your overall spending, to say nothing of the potential for a data breach associated with an unsecured cloud network.

Today, we’re going to go over a few of the most common mistakes made by first-time cloud adopters – and more importantly, how your organization can avoid making them.

Failure To Understand The Cloud (And Your Needs)

By and large, the most frequent – and most significant – error on the part of cloud adopters is a simple lack of understanding. Perhaps thanks to the culture of buzzwords that’s grown up around the tech industry, many businesses see the cloud in only the vaguest sense. This leads them to adopt a cloud model that’s ill-suited for their needs, since they see the cloud as a single service.

The truth is, “cloud computing” is a lot more complex than one might expect. It’s a catch-all term, one that covers a wide spectrum of different services. It’s thus important that you know the different types of cloud models available to you, as well as which one best suits your organization’s needs – including capacity.

Thinking Exclusively In The Short-Term

Far too many professionals think only in the short-term – what action can make them the greatest profit in the shortest possible time? Approaching the cloud with such a stance is asking for failure. You can’t simply focus on what the cloud can do for you in the immediate future; to properly implement a cloud service model into an organization requires careful planning and a long-term roadmap

Not Implementing Proper Security

One of the most common arguments against the cloud is that it’s inherently less secure than more traditional computing models. In unskilled hands, this argument’s actually true. Before settling on a cloud service provider, make sure you understand what areas of security they’re responsible for – and which fall under your purview.

“Security is an afterthought in a lot of scenarios for companies because traditional applications have been hosted behind a firewall,” explained Riverbed Technology’s Technical Director Steve Riley at a recent ITEXPO West Panel.  “But it no longer can be an afterthought; it has to be part of the deployment and design.”

Taking On Way Too Much At Once

Cloud computing is incredible, as is its potential to improve your organization. Seeing how much money it can save – and how efficient it can make your business – means it can be tempting to try to replace your business’s infrastructure overnight. Don’t do it.

Especially if your business maintains a large network of legacy infrastructure, the cloud is something that needs to be adopted gradually. Start slow. Test out small-scale changes first before you implement anything too huge.

Making Foolish Assumptions

There are two assumptions you should never make about the cloud:

  1. That it will instantly solve all your problems
  2. That your entire organization will be on-board with the idea the second you pitch it.

Before you try to add a cloud to your business, you need to make sure you’ve actually got a clear idea in mind of what problems you want to address with it. It’s also vital that you discuss the matter with your IT department – not everyone is going to like the idea of a large-scale switch.

“Many existing enterprise organizations, both within their current IT team and across other departments, may not perceive the value of a move to the cloud,” writes Ken Christensen of Datalink.  “Be prepared for the culture to push back against the notion of the cloud. In some cases, you may even face active opposition.”

In order to effectively pitch the idea, Christensen advises that you be both specific and measurable. You need to give some clear, concrete demonstration of the value cloud computing holds to your business. Otherwise, you may as well scrap the idea altogether.

Get Your Head In The Cloud

Like any tool, the cloud’s only functional if you know how to use it. It’s not something you can implement halfway, nor can you utilize it without fully understanding what it does. If you try to use the cloud knowing your organization’s requirements and culture – as well as the underlying technology – then you’re simply asking for trouble.

So, I ask again – is your organization using the cloud effectively? Hopefully now you know the answer.

Canadian Cloud Adoption Slow, But Picking Up Speed

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Cloud computing has dominated the industry in recent years, with almost every provider under the sun offering some variation of the service. Cloud’s ability to cut operational costs and improve flexibility is a great benefit to businesses, yet a recent study found that several Canadian executives are uninformed about cloud technology – despite it’s popularity.

In fact, only 10% of the C-level employees polled during the study said they were familiar with the cloud, and of that small group, only 45% could correctly define what the cloud is. This lack of education and understanding is having an impact on the implementation of cloud, putting Canada’s adoption rate 10% behind that of US companies – so what can be done to close this gap? Identifying the concerns of Canadian business leaders is the first step.

The three perceived barriers to cloud adoption by Canadian companies are:

  1. Security: With so many stories on large businesses falling victim to data security breaches, it’s no wonder why companies are proceeding with caution. Approximately 45% of study respondents believe storing information in the cloud is unsafe, with heavy hitters like Target and Home Depot cited as cautionary examples.
  2. Education: A study conducted by IDC found that several Canadian businesses believed there were regulations in place that inhibit their ability to use the cloud.
  3. Technology: Canadian business are still purchasing traditional hosting and outsourcing services, which can impede their adoption of cloud.

The next step is to address those perceived barriers:

  1. Security: Canadian companies need to look for cloud partners who are taking security seriously and investing in a variety of tools that have been designed to protect data. For example, do you feel safer putting your money in the bank or stuffing it under your mattress? Cloud providers have made investments to ensure their customer’s data is secure, much like banks invest in keeping your money safe.
  2. Education: IDC found that 66% of Canadian cloud users believe they surpass their peers in revenue growth, and 64% find themselves at a competitive advantage.
  3. Technology: Businesses could spend 8-12 weeks to get a server installed and configured, while cloud solutions may only take 8-12 minutes. Small and medium businesses in Canada have been the primary adopters of cloud so far, since they typically don’t have a reliance on legacy hardware – making the transition to cloud easier.

For Canadian businesses to level the global playing field, it’s important that they get serious about cloud adoption. The number of cloud providers in Canada is increasing, signifying that businesses are slowly but surely turning to cloud technologies. However, it’s important that companies do their research and partner with a provider who truly understand the cloud and can put any CIO’s mind at ease.

Want to learn more about cloud? Click here.

Infographic: Cyber Crime 2013 – The Year of the Mega Breach

The year 2013 yielded record breaking data breaches and cyber crime numbers in the business community. Upon reviewing multiple reports generated by industry heavy hitters, like IBM and Symantec, we’ve created an infographic of some of their key findings.

Cyber Crime 2013

 

Business will need to take an active role in securing their company and customer data in 2014. Poor protective measures are putting an increasing number of companies at risk and the potential implications of losing data is huge. Educating staff, improving malware solutions, and routinely backing up your data are some of the steps your company can take towards increasing security and preventing loss.

Blog/Infographic Author: Vanessa Hartung

 

TeraGo Networks Attends iTech Summit

This year, TeraGo Networks was pleased to participate as a sponsor as well as an exhibitor in the 2012 iTech Summit, which is Canada’s largest conference dedicated to IT infrastructure technology, services, and education. This was a great opportunity for us to speak with IT Professionals about the concerns, pain points and opportunities they face in their business today.  This type of ongoing dialogue helps us to ensure that the products and services we offer are always meeting the needs of the marketplace.  We were also able to network with other professionals and discuss the latest technological innovations.

Members of our account executive team were present at the show to provide attendees and other show vendors with information specific to TeraGo Networks. Meeting with prospects in person is one of the best ways to assess their current needs and determine which one of our services can best contribute to the success of their business.  Introducing ourselves to fellow vendors is a great way to build partnerships and provide our customers with innovative technologies. Below is a short video of our visit to the Toronto based iTech Summit trade show on May 17, 2012.

In late October, we will also be attending the iTech Summit trade shows being held in Western Canada. Participating in multiple shows across the country also provides us with the opportunity to discuss the specific needs and requirements that are explicit to each individual region. If you missed us in Montreal and Toronto, then be sure to visit us at the Edmonton or Vancouver iTech Summit trade shows.

For event details, please visit the iTech website by clicking here.

To obtain more information about how TeraGo Networks can help your business, please click here. We look forward to meeting you at the next trade show!

Canada’s Digital Divide Isn’t just about YouTube

TeraGo Networks Broadband is not a Canadian human right.

While the above statement is true for some people, (who would prefer the government spend its money on more “important” matters), we must look deeper at the ramifications of not closing the gap between broadband in rural and urban Canada.

We can easily concede that a teens inability to upload a video of him and his friends skateboarding in Barry’s Bay Ontario does not present a critical issue facing Canadians today. Imagine though if that same teen hurts his head on the sidewalk, and the hospital in Barry’s Bay is unable to upload the X-Rays to a specialist in Toronto.

Companies have for years been the lynch pin of rural communities. They( companies and residents) exist only to support each other. While the ILEC’s discusst being able to cover all people with broadband, they have yet to address the need of businesses. True Symmetrical Broadband. Not getting business grade broadband out to these companies, will make giving residences wireless and satellite  internet will become moot, because nobody will be there once the companies ability to use and compete with modern technology is gone.

Soon we will be in a Canada, where 2 high school students of identical grades will attend UofT together. One of these students grew up in downtown Vancouver with access to a rich broadband network and access to all kinds of applications and emerging technologies in his high school. The other in huntsville Ontario, where the dial-up internet in his school makes even “Twitter” foreign. These 2 students were not afforded the same tools to learn, and will not start on equal footing once they enter post secondary School.

So while broadband is not a human right. Last time I checked, Healthcare, Education and a companies ability to compete on a equal playing field were all pretty important. The government needs to recognize the different standards of bandwidth required and ensure that our institutions have what they need to advance.

Attached is our response to the welcome, and needed government consultation paper on the digital economy in Canada.

TeraGo Networks Digital Economy Submission

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