Positive Changes Cloud Computing Brings to a Company’s IT Infrastructure Over the years, IT departments and their managers (CIOs and CTOs) have usually been engaged in two main directions: firstly, the purchase of hardware and software, their deployment, support, and security of corporate systems, secondly, infrastructure planning that meets the growing needs of the business. Today, the transfer of the infrastructure to the cloud (IaaS) involves the consolidation of tasks under the responsibility of an external service provider, while the internal IT staff begins to think strategically, considering the technology as a tool for business. All this translates into a number of advantages for both the company itself and for its technical staff. 1) Business spends resources on truly necessary things. With cloud computing, there is no need to allocate substantial resources on support and consumables anymore, which gives businesses a competitive advantage. For example, if competitors are still purchasing servers and pay to store and support them, your company can spend its budget solely on the development, which allows you to quickly get ahead of your rivals. 2) Everything works faster. Cloud technologies dramatically accelerate many business processes. For example, the traditional model requires you to purchase servers, wait for delivery, install equipment, configure it, and only then move on to application deployment. While in the case of IaaS you don’t need to waste your precious time on that. A few clicks of a mouse make everything happen. In addition, due to massive volumes of data IaaS-specific service providers offer better quality services than conventional media or even large companies. Such a provider has the resources to hire the best talent, pays great attention to security (the trust of customers is a critical thing in this business) and provides efficient use of existing infrastructure. 3) Market becomes a better place. When a company changes its approach to the infrastructure and begins to treat it not as a compilation of various elements, but as a service that is one of the foundations of their business, it allows focusing on the more important things. The growing number of such companies increases the total maturity of the market - its members act on the basis of their strategic needs, and not short-term objectives. As a result, end-users receive better services and reliable products. 5 Current Trends in Cloud Computing: The cloud penetrates many areas of life and business - private users use them to back-up their files and companies use these technologies to optimize their infrastructure and the cost of it. Here’s a selection of current trends in cloud computing you need to know. According to data presented in the report by the Global Industry Analysts, the global market of cloud services in 2017 will reach $127 billion. In addition, Centaur Partners predict that SaaS market will grow to $32.8 billion by 2016, for comparison - in 2011, this number was $13.5 billion.IaaS model has become one of the most popular ways to deploy the infrastructure of the organization. According to Gartner, the cost of global companies in the IaaS will grow by 30% by the end of 2015. According to another research by Ovum, more than 80% of enterprises will use IaaS clouds by 2016. All this leads to increasing competition among service providers, so Gartner advises companies to carefully choose cloud providers.According to a recent study, 93% of all respondents say that their companies use cloud computing, and 88% of the companies use public cloud services. However, most large companies prefer Hybrid cloud model, which combines public and private models. According to the same study, 55% of all enterprises plan to deploy a hybrid infrastructure. Moreover, companies that are already using some specific model are going to increase the number of its clouds.Money and time are among the main issues that motivate organizations to use cloud-based products and services. The economy of funds is a key factor in the decision to start using clouds, which attract a growing part of IT budgets. Goldman Sachs analysts predict that by 2018 clouds will cover an average of 11% of all corporate IT budgets. The main drivers of the market will be IaaS and PaaS.Technology that manages to include social, mobile, and analytical aspects of the cloud called SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) continues to grow. As of now, 53% of the companies plan to increase budgeting on such services. 5 Main Advantages Of Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is not a new concept these days and is being adopted by more and more businesses, both large and small. Some have committed to a total IT overhaul, whereas others have merely dipped an exploratory toe in the water by testing out cloud services for non-critical functions only. Many have then chosen to embark on a wider range of hosted services either in addition to or instead of their existing infrastructure. Here are five of the main advantages of sourcing IT services through cloud providers. Lower capital expenditure The ability to source services on an ‘as and when’ required basis enables businesses to use an investment model based on operational expenditure. The requirement to commit to large-scale capital projects is removed saving thousands on purchasing servers and software licences which may only have a short lifespan. It’s the cloud service provider’s responsibility for maintaining the infrastructure and businesses are merely consumers of IT services, rather than the owners of the actual hardware. Easier maintenance and upgrades The cloud service provider is responsible for software, server and network management so in-house IT technical staff are free to concentrate on other work. It’s no longer necessary for them to be tied up just keeping the company’s users operational. Cloud providers employ teams of experts to work specifically on providing continuity of service for their customers. Upgrades are provided at the vendor-end rather than in-house and this saves money and time for users. The provider invests in new software which is made available to customers who then select just what they need; advanced applications, upgrades and new tools are then available at no extra cost. Greater flexibility and mobility Remote access to cloud services means that employees can work from any location, provided they have a good internet connection with the required bandwidth. Files, data, documents etc can all be accessed, meaning that the working environment can effectively be replicated anywhere. Continuity of business A further benefit of this remote working capability is that of disaster recovery. Should there be a fire, theft or flood and the office premises be irreparably damaged, operational continuity would not be compromised and work could continue uninterrupted remotely. This also applies in the event of heavy snowfall or problems with public transport meaning that workers are unable to make it into the office. With access to everything they need remotely, workers would be able to log on as usual and continue as they would on a normal working day, as long as the necessary access codes and passwords were available to them. Improved IT security Concerns surrounding security were notable inhibitors of service adoption in the early days of the cloud but as cloud computing has developed, and a clearer understanding of how it works has been gained, many of these fears have been allayed. In fact, cloud computing actually improves company security. Providers spend a vast amount of money on securing their data centre infrastructure and work hard to ensure that their customers’ data is safe. They benefit from economies of scale and can therefore afford to spend money on the latest preventative approaches and solutions, whereas individual businesses are not generally able to do so to the same degree. In conclusion: There are many advantages to using a cloud service provider and with increased security and safety measures being put in place, it is surely just a matter of time before every business migrates much of its IT requirements to the cloud. 5 Reasons Why Cloud-Based Data Protection isn't Always a Good Idea: In the past few years, the cloud has been used for data protection. Despite its huge popularity, this kind of protection might not be the best solution for your business and/or personal data. Here are some of the reasons why may not be the ideal decision. Data Security Security breaches are common and cloud storage brings about this potential threat in a big way. It is a frequent reason for choosing not to store data in the cloud. When data is stored in the cloud, that data appears outside of your data center. In this way, you cannot necessarily directly control your information and the way you want to protect it. Your data is vulnerable and prone to outside threats and security breaches. Cost-efficiency and Pricing Ongoing cost is something that you must consider before you choose cloud-based data protection. How does pricing work? Normally, the price is based upon the amount of space you need. In addition, the I/O load that you produce plays a role in pricing too. You need to cover these costs every month. If an organization makes a file copy to the cloud, then the organization has to pay for the space used by that copied file. The cloud provider will charge you that same space usage each month. This is not necessarily a cost-effective solution for everyone. Privacy Having your data protected and hidden from the eyes of others is crucial when you are running a business. Some businesses choose not to have cloud-based data protection because they want privacy. Can you be absolutely sure that the provider you hire will not read or use your data? A few incidents of such data abuse have been documented. Cloud storage providers have previously used their clients’ data for emails and used their addresses for advertising and marketing purposes. Recovery Time Another disadvantage of using cloud-based data protection is its inability to quickly recover from a crash. The fact is, that many providers offer instant and efficient recovery for their clients. A hybrid cloud approach is very popular among many organizations, and this approach has a tool on-site for recovery, with data duplicated to the cloud. If the cloud has to be used to make restorations, then the entire process of recovery can be slowed, due to bandwidth limitations. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket Having your data protected through the cloud is not a great idea if the cloud provider you're considering can cause failure of all your data. Normally, backup hardware is used for data protection. But what if cloud provider decides to shut down? Be savvy and never put all of your eggs in one basket. If you opt for cloud-based data protection, then the cloud can be diversified solution, if you use multiple cloud locations to store your valuable data. A Cost Benefit Analysis of Cloud Computing in Developing Nations: Developing nations are those which have not reached a high degree of industrialization and have little capital resources. Their business entities face stiff competition from developed nations who have branded and high-quality goods and services to sell. Use of advanced information and communication systems provide business enterprises the edge to stay ahead of their competitors. Cloud computing seems to be a viable option to overcome the basic problems, but a cost-benefits analysis needs to be done by every enterprise before opting for it. No standard formula is available of cost-benefit analysis. The generally accepted benefits and costs are as follows. Benefits of Cloud Computing It is essential that the management of the business identifies the features which it truly requires in cloud computing and subsequent to implementation, ensure that it is used properly by its trained personnel. Under such circumstances, the enterprise can look forward to the following benefits to accrue. * Capital costs are minimized since there is no need to spend big money on hardware, software or licensing fees by the business enterprise. * Spending on technology infrastructure is reduced. Easy access to information is maintained with minimal upfront spending. Payments can be made on weekly, quarterly or yearly basis. * Work processes can be streamlined to get more work done in less time with fewer people. * Personnel training costs are low since it takes fewer people to do more work on a cloud, with a minimal learning curve on hardware and software issues. * Licensing new software is minimized since the enterprise can stretch and grow without the need to buy expensive software licenses or programs. The cloud computing service provider will be maintaining all the new software available in the market. * Ongoing projects can be managed more effectively even if these are stretched out geographically since they can be monitored from anywhere and at any time. * Project costs can be maintained within the budget with the help of multiple configurable reports which can be generated on real time basis. Low investment costs and minimization of personnel cost are seen as the most important factors which influence business enterprises in developing countries to opt for cloud computing. The real costs of cloud computing Many types of cost elements have to be considered when moving over to cloud computing. There are some unexpected costs involved as well which may come as a surprise to business enterprises which have not fully understood the implications of migration to cloud computing. However, the businesses in developing nations should bear in mind of what types of costs came upon those in the developed nations which opted for cloud computing. The important ones are spelt out below. * Moving and storing data costs a lot. Network bandwidth cost is critical for moving data. Cloud service providers may charge extra for upload and download of data and other costs like internal labor. Storage of data is also costly, considering the fact that past data is also required along with real-time data and payment has to be made for storing past data continuously though it may not be getting used frequently. * Integrating apps of multiple vendors is a big cost burden since this will be a user specific requirement. * Testing and debugging of the software can be costly since all applications may not have been run in cloud computing before. * Performance issues may exist which may require modifications in the software of the ERP vendor which can get passed on to the business entity. * Rent, utilities and set up costs can also be expensive. * There will be a cost of employee turnover since many trained people may quit due to the lure of higher salaries in other places. Conclusion Cloud computing has now moved out of the hype stage and it has been seen that business entities opting for cloud computing are getting tangible benefits in the developing nations as well. Born in the Cloud - Next Generation of Cloud Computing in 2019 "Born in the cloud" is the newest category of cloud computing services that is set to have a major impact on businesses and the computing industry and could lead to the Next Generation of Cloud Computing.The private, public and hybrid categories of services have now a new sibling in the name of "born in the cloud".So, what is "born in the cloud"? Pure Cloud Among the most defining descriptions of “born in the cloud” providers is their being not legacy companies, i.e. this new category of cloud services represents a whole new generation of post-millennial service providers. While some pundits consider this a possible Achilles' heel for the “born in the cloud” generation since they may not be well-equipped for helping those firms that are still in need of migrating, others consider this new movement as holding the key to the future, noting that those old generation firms may be irrelevant in the near future. “Born in the Cloud” Criteria Not being hardware sellers and/or not providing legacy services may not actually constitute a true description of what “born in the cloud” is. Most analysts consider it as representing a special category of businesses who use a very distinct criteria characterized by: Creation of services that are specifically for cloud computing merits such as elasticity and scale-ability;Having stacks that are leveraged for both a seamless back- and front-end experience;Continuous creativity and innovation. Other experts consider agility a key ingredient of “born in the cloud” cloud services. This means that their providers need to be constantly active in software development, be focused on specific consumer results, and also have the ability to take advantage of open APIs and other tools for both their benefit and that of their clients. While “born in the cloud” companies may choose to sell their own services or those of others, what is important is if they can come up with a new sales strategy that will overcome traditional barriers with fee pricing, processing of transactions or the old conventional process where businesses have to talk to their customers. For instance, a firm known as Burstorm is reported to have developed their own database that is capable of selling products better than humans can. For “born in the cloud” companies, this level of innovation (coupled with their own concrete abilities for growth) is what qualifies them to be considered part of this super-exclusive next generation club; not necessarily just the importance of the Five Nines. “Born in the Cloud” as the Wave of the Future According to one article published by the global cloud firm EMC, “born in the cloud” is portrayed as representing a future of wearable computer technology, driverless cars, more agile applications, server-centric backups, wholly-new data center models, cloud-specific strategies of transiting data, cross-platform data indexing, etc. The author also proposes that rather than using an ever-increasing set of services whose constraints mostly come from its many information silos, businesses need a single "master key" for all their cloud services. According to Dan Miklovic who is a data analyst at LNS Research, cloud services can also be broken down into independent categories, namely: BITC services only exist for the cloud and are typically traded via subscription or as freeware;“Cloud-first-but-not-cloud-only services” are those that may have begun as on-premise software solutions but later were redesigned for the cloud;“Cloud-also services” are those that can be cloud-hosted but are not capable of utilizing cloud benefits like scalability, high security, rapid spin-up and quick upgrades. Miklovic advises that if you are looking for true cloud-based services, then go for either “born in the cloud” or “cloud-first-but-not-cloud-only” solutions. Avoid “cloud-also”. But if you think you may one day need to shift to on-premise solutions, then go for “cloud-first-but-not-cloud-only”. Finally, for the best security features, as well as for seamless continuous upgrades, “born in the cloud” is the best option. Cloud Digital Signage: 3 Key Points For Consideration Cloud digital signage is a dynamic, eye-catching method for conveying messages to customers. In essence, it is what used to be called Software as a Service (SaaS). The most usual options for this type of signage are corporate lobby information displays and digital menu systems, which are now common-place in restaurants. Advertisements and announcement boards now also use these systems to ensure they reach the target markets smoothly and efficiently. This type of advertising platform is more dynamic when compared to options such as print, which is why more and more businesses are now turning to solutions such as this one. Digital signage has many advantages, including cost-cutting as a primary consideration, since it is possible to make changes to the messages quickly and easily without incurring any costs. The systems also offer unlimited possibilities for customization, and the free rein can be given to the imagination, in order to get value from every view received by the display. For best results when using these systems, consider these three key points: 1) Target Audience It is essential for every successful advertising or marketing plan to start with figuring out the target audience, and digital signage is no exception. When you know exactly who you are trying to target, you will find it easier to create the right message and convey it through the signs. Timing is also very important in conveying your message. 2) Types of Signage Your options here are either cloud-based or on-premise signage systems. The key point is to match the expectations of those you wish to target with your techniques. With the two types of signage, you have the other options of video walls, digital pillars and digital kiosks, among others. Check out the pros and cons of each of these in relation to your business goals and you should then find it easy to pick the right one for you. 3) Sign Location It’s all about “location, location, location, “ not just in real estate, but also with signage: you need to choose exactly the right location so that your signs get the maximum exposure, the maximum number of people to see and/or hear them. The best thing is to work with your target audience to ascertain the most effective location for your signs. It is important however to remember that the location can impact on the safety and security of the signage. For example, when working with systems outside, consider using outdoor enclosures to protect the technology from the elements, which can affect their functioning correctly. Obviously it is important to engage with your target audience, but you also need to make sure that the systems are well taken care of so that they will last. There are numerous cloud digital signage options, including free signage software, so it should definitely be possible to find one that exactly matches your business needs. Cloud service data security concept: computer, tablet, phone, hard drive connected to the cloud made of white paper clips and check-lock on it Lessons in Cloud computing with Virtualization Experts Is there anything common between an educational service, insurance company and grocery chain? Although this question appears to be the first in a series of queries constituting a puzzle, the answer means serious business. All these industries have started using the cloud. It's best to learn about cloud computing from the experts in virtualization. The recent times have seen cloud computing moving beyond corporate IT departments. Cloud, with its great potential, has managed to entice business leaders representing different industries. Any business with the goal of capitalizing on its scale, control, speed, and economics will be benefited by cloud computing. There has been a significant increase in the number of companies that have chosen to depend on cloud for managing their supply chains and marketing, selling, and developing products. According to statistics put up by the market research firm IDC, 85% of all new software developed today have their application in cloud computing. The cloud journey of an organization often is different from that of another. For instance, while the education publishing and assessment service provider Pearson adopted an enterprise-wide strategy for cloud computing, several other companies such as the food retailer Delhaize America showed faith in starting small and growing fast.. So, what exactly a business needs to do for extracting maximum benefits of cloud computing? IBM, as a part of its new study Cloud bound, has interviewed executives in charge of large enterprises in a variety of industries ranging from manufacturing to healthcare. These are enterprises that are either starting or have already made the transition to the world of cloud. The interview by IBM has helped is gathering feedbacks revealing some essential cloud computing dos and don’ts. These are cloud lessons from leaders. Read on to learn more about them. Security deserves maximum attention: For the majority of the stakeholders in a business, security is the primary concern. You should be ready to face more questions and internal scrutiny around data resiliency and residency. To manage the situation perfectly, request your cloud provider to organize confidence building programs such as security workshops. On the other hand, to ensure that all protocols are intact, carrying our regular security assessments and audits is extremely important. Businesses need time to adjust to cloud: To see cloud bringing in good results for a business, IT leaders and the company heads must be in sync when it comes to selecting and implementing solutions. These people should together set realistic goals; these should include the time within which they are looking to complete the migration, the kind of impact they want the change to have on operations, etc. These people must also make sure that all stakeholders get informed about these goals. There should be an integration plan: This is important in order to ensure that the company is adopting a perfect method for managing the hybrid IT setting that connects all its existing IT processes securely. Popularity of this hybrid model has increased significantly in the recent months. Seeing this rapid increase in the model’s popularity, Gartner had even predicted that by 2015, we will see as many as 70% of enterprises pursuing hybrid clouds. For the model to be beneficial for your company, you must devote resources and time to address common integration issues. The business model of a number of large companies is currently undergoing cloud-based transformation. Having a clear understanding of what is essential and what is feasible and staying focused on transparency, integration and security will make the journey to cloud much smoother for these businesses.