Category: Cloud and Managed Services

Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

 

“The cloud” has become a popular buzzword in recent years, even if the average user doesn’t have a clear grasp of what the concept is. This form of storage has become a popular way for people to store their music, movies and other media. For businesses, the cloud presents a way to store data securely online. Cloud computing offers significant benefits over regular storage and makes data available to everyone who needs it while keeping your information secure.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is when entities share a network of remotely accessible servers. The servers are hosted on the Internet, allowing businesses to manage data “in the cloud” instead of on a local server. It’s a shared space in which devices in the network can access data from anywhere.

Although cloud computing has only picked up major traction in the last two decades or so, the idea has existed since the 1960s. The noted computer scientist John McCarthy introduced the concept when he envisioned technology that would allow computing to be sold as a utility like electricity or water. He suggested that each subscriber would only need to pay for the capacity they actually used and that some users could offer services to other users.

What is cloud computing and storage

While McCarthy’s vision looked like a pipe dream at the time, he was describing a phenomenon that’s taken the digital world by storm — Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Specifically, he was describing the basis of cloud computing. Today, 77 percent of businesses have one or more applications or part of their infrastructure in the cloud. What is the purpose of cloud computing for businesses? To save money and increase efficiency.

What Are the Top Benefits of Cloud Computing?

There’s a reason cloud computing has become so common among companies the world over — it just makes financial sense. The benefits of cloud computing are more varied and powerful than you might realize, so let’s take a deep dive into what this technology can do for you. These are the top 10 reasons to move your business to the cloud.

1. Reduce Infrastructure Costs

In-house data storage costs companies a significant amount of money. There’s the up-front price tag of purchasing each new server as well as the cost of installing them. Either your IT team has to take time out of their busy schedules to perform the installation, or you have to pay the vendor to do it. Then you need to ensure the equipment is maintained properly and backed up regularly.

Even when you invest in the best equipment, something can always go wrong due to human error. If your team is the one responsible for installation and maintenance, and they make a mistake, there’s no one to turn to for support. With cloud computing, the headache associated with maintaining in-house systems disappears as you have the support of your service provider. Because the cost of infrastructure is included in your plan and split among all the service provider’s clients, you save money.

According to the Global Cloud Services Market report, organizations that deploy cloud computing services save more than 35 percent on operating costs each year.

2. Impact to Personnel

Maintaining an in-house IT team big enough to manage local servers can quickly lead to a ballooning budget. The time spent recruiting and the money spent training are all with the hopes that you’re developing a highly effective and dedicated employee — but that’s not always the case. Some employees will underperform, and others may decide to leave the organization. Turnover in the IT field costs companies 150 percent of an employee’s salary.

Your in-house team also comes with the added cost of benefits, which cloud service can help reduce. With your service provider taking care of maintenance and backups, you can refocus your in-house team or avoid the cost of expanding it in the future.

3. Consolidate Your Data

With cloud storage, data is distributed amongst bi-costal data centers. Syncing technology makes it possible to link up and update data quickly, but storing data in the cloud makes syncing unnecessary. When all your data is stored in the cloud, you know exactly where every piece of information is at any given time.

4. Defend Against Disaster

Data loss can spell disaster for a company of any size. Data breaches cost an average of $3.86 million worldwide, and an average of $7.91 million for companies in the United States. Cloud-based storage is much more secure than operating an on-site data center. Organizations that store their data on the premises see 51 percent more security incidents than those that use cloud storage.

The enterprise-level security built into cloud storage services far outpaces what most small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) can afford on-site. One of the advantages of storing data in the cloud is that there isn’t one single point of failure. Your data gets backed up to several servers, so if one of them fails, your organization’s information remains safe and secure.

A single point of failure is what led to the infamous Equifax and Verizon data breaches, and many companies have taken steps to avoid this fatal flaw in storage security. Cloud storage is one way organizations can eliminate this danger.

Cloud computing helps you defend against disaster

5. Maximize Uptime

The financial impact of unplanned downtime cannot be understated. For every minute of unplanned downtime due to a data center outage, a company loses $5,600 on average. That’s $300,000 in just one hour. While employees might enjoy the extra time spent in the break room, the productivity lost during that time is money you won’t get back. Unplanned downtime can also heavily damage a company’s reputation if it affects customers.

The leading causes of unplanned downtime are system failure and human error, both of which can be avoided. According to one survey, 61 percent of SMBs experienced fewer instances of downtime and decreased length of the downtime that did occur after they moved to the cloud.

6. Enhance Collaboration

Businesses today are thriving thanks to the ability to collaborate digitally. The benefits of remote work for companies are so compelling that 56 percent of startups outsource some of their work. Employees love it too, with 57 percent of workers in the computers and IT industry doing some of their work from home. Organizations are also more likely than ever to have employees working in all corners of the map, making the ability to collaborate crucial.

Cloud computing allows multiple employees to view and make changes to files and documents in real time, providing a much more efficient way for workers to collaborate on projects. Accessing documents in the cloud helps ensure everyone is working from the correct version of a document and that obsolete versions don’t get passed between local sources.

7. Stay Scalable

One of the challenges of growth is remaining scalable, so how can cloud computing benefit your company when it comes to expansion? This solution allows you to pay only for the amount of storage your business needs. If you find your organization is growing quickly enough to create the need for more storage, you have two options.

You can opt to buy and install more equipment as well as hire the people you’ll need to maintain it. With the planning and training time involved, you can expect to have your increased capacity up and running within a couple of weeks to a month or more.

Cloud computing helps you stay scalable

Or, you could call up your cloud storage services provider and have them increase your capacity in a matter of minutes. Increasing cloud also comes with a predictable cost, eliminating the risk associated with investing in additional storage infrastructure. With a greater ability to increase or decrease your storage capacity as needed, your organization becomes more agile and competitive no matter your industry.

8. Increase Automation

A significant portion of maintaining in-house data storage is performing regular backups. The IT team has to take time to create backups and schedule them around daily operations. Cloud computing services go a long way toward automating these routine backups so your team can get back to doing the work that drives your business forward.

9. Save on Space

Servers and all their associated equipment take up significant square footage and expanding an in-house system often requires careful planning to secure the right amount of space. Larger ventures may have some excess space to grow into, but small businesses are often fighting to make the most of every square inch. Cloud computing can free up your office for more workspace or amenities while eliminating the need to plan for future equipment expansion. With cloud, you do not have to worry about the installation of dedicated breakers, high voltage lines, special HVAC systems or even backup generators.

10. Enhance Compliance

The hundreds of regulations that govern different types of data are complex to understand, time-consuming to apply and laborious to maintain. Why not let a cloud storage service provider do the heavy lifting when it comes to compliance? A good provider operates in full compliance with all applicable regulations so you don’t have to worry about incurring violations.

What Are the Disadvantages of Cloud Computing?

The advantages of storing data in the cloud are hard to ignore, but what are the disadvantages of online storage? These are the top five concerns companies have about transitioning to the cloud.

what are the disadvantages of cloud storage

1. Understanding the Costs

Though cloud can help reduce costs in some areas, it is important to make sure that when you move to Cloud it truly makes sense. It is important to put a proper plan in place and look at all systems within the organization. The key is to do an analysis of the systems and group them into two categories. These two categories are systems that should be moved to cloud and which systems should remain on-premise. Once this is determined, you can set a budget for the initiative.

2. Moving From Cloud to On-Premise

Moving from on-premise servers to Cloud data centers is usually an easy process for your organization. Though this is the case, moving to another Cloud supplier or back to an on-premise server is not as easy. This process can actually get quite expensive and the terms can often favor the Cloud supplier. Before deciding to enter into a contract with a supplier, make sure to ask the question and understand the process for moving workloads out of the Cloud supplier data center. It is critical to cover the timelines, fines, and process.

3. Limited Control

Because the infrastructure of the cloud is owned and managed by the service provider, businesses may worry about not having enough control over the service. This is where the provider’s end-user license agreement (EULA) can help you out. It explains what limits the provider can place on your use of the deployment. All legitimate cloud comuting providers allow your organization to exert control over your applications and data, even if it doesn’t allow you to alter the infrastructure in any way.

When a provider presents you with a service level agreement (SLA), it helps to make sure you understand every word of it. This will help you confirm what you can and can’t do with the service.

If your contract includes placing your own equipment in a Cloud supplier’s data center (i.e. CoLo), it is important to understand the proximity of the data center to your office. Make sure to get the full list of details on the ability to access the equipment in the event it requires maintenance.

4. Vendor Lock-In

One of the disadvantages of cloud computing can come in the form of vendor mismatches. Organizations might run into complications when migrating services to a different vendor with a different platform. If this process isn’t handled correctly, data can be exposed to unnecessary vulnerabilities. A good cloud services provider has the expertise to migrate your data between vendors safely.

5. Slower Backups and Restores

Because moving data to the cloud involves some significant communication latency, backups can end up taking longer than they would with an in-house system. Even for larger, full backups, this isn’t usually an issue. The longest backups can run in the background without disrupting networks, and the subsequent smaller backups take less time.

If you need to restore a whole server, it might take longer. Individual files and folders, however, probably won’t be impacted. Differences in speed are negligible with the right provider.

6. Internet Reliance

One minor drawback to cloud computing is the fact that it’s completely reliant on the Internet. If your Internet connection goes down, you won’t have access to data stored in the cloud for the duration of the outage. However, an Internet interruption won’t destroy or compromise your data stored in the cloud. Since your business needs the Internet to perform nearly every function, cloud computing is really no different than any other web-based tool.

7. Internet Use

If you’re running backups during working hours when people are heavily using the Internet, a large backup to the cloud has the potential to increase congestion and reduce your Internet performance. This issue primarily affects small businesses without the resources to invest in the highest Internet bandwidth and speeds. However, a good provider will work with you to avoid this issue through scheduling or automation.

Manage Data Better With Morefield Communications

The pros and cons of cloud computing lean much more heavily toward benefits than disadvantages. Cloud is a managed service that can help companies of any size save time and improve their bottom line. But not every provider can offer the same level of benefit. Morefield Communications provides IT solutions and services with passion and precision unmatched in the industry. We’re proud to set ourselves apart on three specific levels:

  • Experience: Morefield has more than 70 years of experience in communications and information technology. Our extensive history goes beyond experience to expertise.
  • Service: We do everything in our power to provide a stellar experience for every customer. Our team leverages expert knowledge to answer all your questions, big and small, and strives to make you feel like you’re part of our extended family.
  • Transparency: We believe the best business relationships are built on honesty and forthright communication. You can always expect integrity from Morefield Communications.

Morefield is a cloud solutions leader

If your business is considering the transition to cloud computing or another form of system management, you likely have a lot of questions. Contact Morefield to learn more about the benefits of cloud computing and the services that can fuel your company’s future growth.

Work with Morefield Communications

Benefits of Managed Services

What Are the Benefits of Managed Services?

Technology makes modern-day business possible by increasing efficiency and generating useful insights through data. Your networks house your information and make it possible to get more work done than ever before. As one of your most valuable assets, your network deserves the utmost care and attention when it comes to upkeep.

Many businesses assume that the only option for network management is to delegate it to the in-house IT team, but that’s far from the truth. Managed IT and technology services provide expert support and service for your network, so you can focus on what your business does best. The business benefits of managed services in combination with the money you can save make it a smart solution for companies of any size.

What Are Managed Services?

Every business uses technology as a means to compete in their field and maximize efficiency. Businesses rely on networks and IT more than ever, and the funds needed to maintain an in-house team keep rising. For many small businesses, this often means sacrificing the quantity or quality of network maintenance efforts to conserve limited resources.

Managed services are a way to outsource maintenance and repairs to experts. A top-notch managed services provider (MSP) performs multiple functions for your company, such as:

  • Network Administration
  • Data Backup
  • Network Security
  • Communications
  • IT Support

what is a managed service provider

These services take the pressure off your internal IT team, freeing them up to assist your employees and perform daily tasks with better efficiency and focus.

What Are the Benefits of Managed Services vs. Break-Fix Services?

Break-fix services ruled the market for decades. When businesses experienced a problem with a server, they would call up an IT expert and try to explain the issue. If they were lucky, a solution could be found quickly. If they weren’t, they would be stuck with expensive repairs and downtime. This type of reactive service is known as the break-fix approach.

Managed services, on the other hand, offer constant and consistent monitoring of your systems with the goal of preventing failures wherever possible. Remote monitoring means your service provider can always see what’s going on and fix it directly.

The pros and cons of managed services make it clear that partnering with an MSP is the best way to simplify your IT management affordably. These are the top 10 financial and business benefits of managed services.

1. Predictable Low Cost

Can managed services cut down cost? The answer is yes. It can also make your IT expenses more predictable. With managed services, your costs are neatly packaged into a set amount paid on an annual or monthly basis. An in-house IT team, on the other hand, comes with many more frequent and unexpected expenses that can quickly drain your budget.

Networks come with a lot of equipment that needs to be maintained and sometimes repaired or replaced. MSPs provide maintenance as well as repairs as part of the contract, so a fix that might cost you thousands of dollars out of pocket is absorbed by the provider. This model shields your budget from extreme fluctuation, improving the stability of your business overall.

Small businesses benefit immensely from managed services because the up-front cost to start is so much lower. When a business starts from scratch, the initial costs of hiring and training a team while simultaneously paying for the servers and other equipment necessary can be financially overwhelming.

2. Scalability

The price tag associated with maintaining an in-house IT team is a big one, and that’s why you often see teams that are understaffed, overworked and unable to get everything done due to a lack of time and resources. That doesn’t work on a daily basis, and it definitely doesn’t fly when your company is trying to expand.

Training even one additional employee for your IT department costs thousands of dollars, and there is never a guarantee that they’ll even stay with the company. An MSP absorbs the cost of training, and you’ll never have to worry about your IT experts jumping ship.

Scaling networks takes significant coordination, manpower and new equipment. It’s a huge cost for any company, and it often takes an IT team’s focus off other important functions like security. Managed services can help you expand or upgrade systems when you need to, without having to hire and train employees you won’t necessarily need later on.

MSPs help your business stay flexible when it comes to resources and can accommodate swift changes an in-house team might not be able to respond to efficiently.

3. Minimized Downtime

Downtime most often crops up due to equipment issues. Servers can fail, and computers can malfunction. Electrical disruptions can occur as well. These issues are usually mitigated by implementing redundant equipment that allows systems to switch to a backup when there is a failure.

Unintentional human error accounts for a significant chunk of downtime, and there’s not much you can do to avoid it. Employing strong safeguards in critical systems is the best way to reduce the potential risk.

Managed services can minimize your network downtime

System attacks can also take out your networks and data. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime. Up to two-thirds of attacks are targeted at small businesses, and small businesses are the least likely to have protections in place that would minimize downtime in the event of a cyber attack.

Reducing the risk of downtime is a multi-faceted task that an in-house team may not have the bandwidth or experience to tackle effectively. Managed services can cut down costs associated with downtime by preventing it from happening in the first place.

4. A Preventive Approach

When something breaks, you fix it. With networks and data, however, the cost of repairs can put a big dent in your company’s budget. Depending on the size of your business, the cost of a security breach can run into the millions of dollars.

Rather than rushing to call in experts after a disaster has occurred, it’s smarter to take a preventive approach by partnering with a managed services provider. They monitor your systems for problems and can resolve issues before they transform into full-fledged catastrophes. The cost savings associated with this approach are one of the top reasons to use managed services.

5. Proven Experts

Hiring an IT team is expensive and time-consuming, and you can’t know for sure how good they are until they’re faced with a serious network issue. Some may pass the test with flying colors. Others may not be able to resolve the problem in a timely manner or at all, costing your company money you can’t afford to waste.

Even when your IT staff is competent and comfortable with your systems, you may find they are not well-equipped to operate or maintain new equipment and systems as you add them. The most common issue is that even the most well-trained employees don’t have the knowledge and experience of an MSP’s large team.

An MSP can provide specialized services to fill in any gaps in your team’s expertise. It doesn’t make sense to have an employee learn a whole new skill set for a one-time project. An MSP gives you access to a team of experts with precise skills you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

6. Narrowed Business Focus

What are the advantages of managed services for your IT team? An MSP frees up your IT team for pursuits that are more crucial to your business. The common perception of IT professionals envisions them performing menial repairs and asking whether you’ve turned it off and on again. While this is true in some businesses, it’s definitely an ineffective use of IT resources.

If your internal team is swamped with helping users fix basic issues or dealing with equipment malfunctions, they don’t have the time or focus to work on projects that push your business forward.

Managed services can help by redesigning workflows, upgrading equipment and automating certain tasks. This takes the pressure of daily processes off your team so they can focus on innovation.

7. Data Compliance

Your company’s data is subject to a litany of regulations designed to keep information secure. Your team has to sift through the hundreds of current standards and regulations and figure out which ones apply to your company. They also have to ensure every one of those applicable rules is followed to the letter, all while performing their day-to-day work.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) are the most widely applicable standards businesses have to meet. The consequences for violating these and other standards are hefty fines and reputation damage that some businesses might not be able to overcome.

A managed services provider handles the complexities of compliance and auditing, so you don’t have to worry about violating data security regulations. They can also run reports and conduct audits that prove your organization is meeting all requirements. This can save your in-house team thousands of hours in the long run.

8. Reliable Relationships

MSP is a valuable business partner

The ongoing relationship with an MSP has several benefits. Managed services act as a partner for your in-house team and a bridge between you and technology vendors. They serve as a single point of contact for your business and become familiar with your company over time.

A trustworthy MSP is a valuable partner in helping your business grow, not just a service you call when something breaks. They have a vested interest in keeping your networks and systems healthy and delivering insights you can use to help your bottom line.

9. 24/7 Support

Managed IT services use remote monitoring technology to keep an eye on your systems day and night. Real-time alerts mean any problems that occur can be corrected before they have a noticeable impact on your business.

Without constant monitoring, it’s easy for a network issue to happen during off hours. If a system goes down in the middle of the night, it might take some time before anyone finds out. In some cases, the problem isn’t discovered until the next day — after significant damage has already been done. Remote monitoring allows your MSP to take instant corrective action as soon as they receive an alert.

10. New Technology

Technology itself is one of the biggest costs in IT. There’s always an equipment upgrade to be had, and it can be tough to discern which ones are right for your business. There are few things more frustrating than investing in new network infrastructure only to find it doesn’t meet your needs — or your team doesn’t know how to operate it correctly.

One of the major benefits of using managed services is the constant access to up-to-date technology. You’ll never have to worry about your systems being outdated or making an investment that doesn’t pan out. The cost of system upgrades is rolled right into your MSP fee.

 

Choosing the Right Managed Services Provider

managed service providers should have defined service level agreements

Like any service, outsourcing management only works if you select the right partner. Consider these factors when you’re deciding which MSP is right for your company:

  • Defined Service Level Agreements: Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Service level agreements should, too. A good MSP will have flexible options to ensure compliance and timely response times. A clearly-defined service level agreement benefits both parties by setting airtight expectations from the start.
  • Experience in Your Industry: Look for a managed services provider that knows your field. Keeping up with regulatory requirements takes experience, and a track-record of previous success is a good indicator that they have what it takes to successfully maintain your network.
  • Commitment to Growth: Why use managed services if they’re not focused on the future? Look for an innovative approach and a willingness to take on new challenges and new technology.
  • Exceptional Customer Service: Customer service is non-negotiable when it comes to selecting an MSP. These are the people you’ll be talking to if something goes wrong, so honesty and friendliness can be a defining feature. The right services provider has a dedicated team ready to anticipate your needs, going above and beyond every time.

Managed Services at Morefield

Managed services are a cost-effective way for small and medium-sized businesses to increase competitiveness. They allow you to benefit from the same quality of equipment, level of experience and support as you’d find in much larger corporations.

With over 70 years of technological experience and a passion for world-class service, Morefield Communications is your source for the best in system management. We use the latest and greatest technology to monitor your servers, routers, firewalls, workstations and more. Contact Morefield today to learn how our managed services take the headache out of IT and get the greatest ROI out of your network.

Work with an expert managed services provider

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