If You Are Considering Cloud Computing For Your Company – Don’t, Until You Read This…

cloudreportIf you are considering cloud computing or Office 365 to save money and simplify IT, it is extremely important that you get and read this special report, “5 Critical Facts Every Business Owner Must Know Before Moving Their Network To The Cloud”.

This report will discuss in simple, non-technical terms the pros and cons of cloud computing, data security, how to choose a cloud provider as well as 3 little known facts that most IT consultants don’t know or won’t tell you about cloud computing that could end up causing you MORE problems and costing you more money than you anticipated.

Even if you aren’t ready to move to the cloud yet, this report will give you the right information and questions to ask when the time comes.

Download your FREE copy today at www.cioservicesllc.com/cloudreport/  or call our office at 314-414-8400.


Microsoft vs Google: clash of the titans

boxing_gloveA question that comes up fairly regularly in the small business world is how to handle email. Most companies start out with a simple POP account, or maybe even a free address from Google, Yahoo, or MSN. It’s an easy way to get started, but at some point you need more – integration with smart phones, shared calendars, links with company software, better security, and more.

Many companies are opting for Google Apps over Microsoft Exchange. It can be a good option in the right circumstances, and in fact we used Google Apps ourselves for over a year. The web portal is easy to use, the search is lightening fast, and I still miss the unique way Google organizes conversations. Google’s built-in spam filtering is excellent, and because they operate “in the cloud,” they manage the servers so you don’t have to. The downside is that if you have trouble, you are dependent on them for support. If you use a free account, good luck – it may take a while.

Microsoft Exchange is still the powerhouse in the email game, and the level of sophistication is hard to beat. It will take more technical skill to maintain your own in-house Exchange server, but if you take that on, you have far more options available to you. You can set security nearly any way you like, you can track down deliverability issues (generally difficult or impossible with a hosted solution), and most software packages that require email and calendar integration work with Exchange by default. Use a spam filtering service to keep your inbox clean, and with most services that layers in the redundancy you’d have with a hosted solution, to prevent lost email if your server or internet connection goes down.

Our Own Email: What We’ve Done

Like many companies, we started with a basic POP account. As we grew, we used some Exchange features but moved to Google Apps as our primary solution. As we continued to grow, it lacked critical features we needed, including security, integration, and ability to easily manage email settings across the company. We moved back to Exchange, and it was absolutely the right solution for us. We are operating far more efficiently, and our software is completely integrated so we can schedule and communicate with our clients seamlessly from our ticketing system.

My favorite (and unexpected) benefit of our return to Exchange? The integration with my iPhone is superb, night and day from what it was with Google Apps. I no longer have to sync my phone because it pulls directly from our server. That means that if someone in the office adds an appointment to my calendar, it’s automatically there next time I check my phone. Email and contacts too.

Small business network support: the coming revolution

vmware_virtualizationIn technology, you get used to constant change. Every year, month, week, day…new technology, new products, new ideas. Whatever. It’s the norm.

But in the last few years, my piece of this world – in particular, small business network support – has gone through radical changes. Anyone in our trade who’s doing things the same way they’ve always done them is missing out on huge opportunities to increase efficiency and provide more stable, reliable services for their clients.

Sorry to say, any of you business owners out there who are comfortable with the status quo are also missing out. You may want to ask your tech how he keeps current on industry trends.

We’re working hard to stay ahead of the curve, by investing in tools, training, and infrastructure. I’m part of an industry mastermind group with colleagues from all over the country, where we continually evaluate and share the latest best practices. As a result, we’re making the most of these opportunities, and our clients see the benefits. We receive alerts to problems so we can be proactive and prevent serious issues, we can handle about 90% of the work remotely, our tools allow us to make network-wide updates in a fraction of the time others can manage, we have sophisticated systems to track client history…I could go on but you get the idea.

It’s nothing compared to what’s coming.

Cloud computing, virtualization, data center as a service…these trends stand to revolutionize the industry even further, providing network infrastructure as a utility that’s paid for on a usage basis. In many cases this will eliminate the normal investments in hardware and software. The business ROI is enormous.

Whether it’s computing power, help desk support, application software, or storage space, major players in the industry want to bring you these services on a subscription basis. When I say major players, I’m talking about the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

We’re seeing these services hit the mainstream already, although it will be a gradual transition over the next few years. The way you handle technology in your business will change radically as we all move ahead with these new choices.

We’re already looking towards the future to see how we can better serve our clients. So here’s my question to you: are you already falling behind, or are you ready for the coming revolution?