Cloud Business Apps

Data Location & Privacy

If you watched Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) on June 2, 2014 you surely heard presenters Tim Cook and Craig Federighi repeat the word “Continuity” several times. Continuity is a feature set that Apple has developed. (more…)

As technology advances and mobile devices become more and more prominent in the workplace, Mobile Device Management has become a major consideration for businesses of all sizes. With an increased demand for MDM solutions has come an influx of cloud-based SaaS applications, implementing an over-the-air method of connecting multiple mobile devices, moving away from the previously used but less comprehensive EAS (Emergency Alert System). With the increased popularity of corporate mobile devices as well as BYOD (bring your own device) being used by businesses of all sizes, companies need a way to connect, control and protect these devices. The main features most users are looking out for are security, protection and access control; mobile application enablement; data control and synchronization; common configuration settings and policy management; and monitoring and reporting functions. (more…)

Intralinks VIA Review – Share Large Files Securely

By Stephanie Faris, 16 September 2013

Anyone who has ever tried to share large files with someone knows that finding a venue can be tricky. Most e-mail programs have size limits and FTP solutions can be complicated to navigate. Intralinks VIA is a SaaS solution that allows users to exchange and store files securely with the ability to access all content via a mobile device. This Intralinks VIA review will examine the app's features and benefits to determine how it stacks up against competitors like Dropbox. The file-sharing service says it provides the most secure way to share files across multiple devices. We'll see how Intralinks VIA compares to free solutions in both security and features. (more…)

Cloud Computing Is Inexpensive, Safe And Green

By Stephanie Watson, 7 August 2012

When people find out that I work from home using Internet technology to do everything from meeting with clients (Skype), to final delivery of end projects (Dropbox) and that I leverage the cloud from start to finish because it saves me time, money, energy and effort, they are usually shocked. They'll say things like, "What do you mean you don't meet clients in person?" and, "What do you mean you don't have that software on your computer?" I've been doing this since the mid 1990's, with wonderful results, but it has only been lately that others have jumped on the cloud business apps bandwagon. This makes my job a bit easier in convincing a client to use cloud-based systems. I don't have to explain near as much about how it all works. Unfortunately, there are still holdouts. If you're still waiting in the wings and are worried about the expense, safety and security of the cloud, read the following to learn more. Let me know what you think! (more…)

Oh yes, Big Data is the IT Buzzword of 2012! But what is actually Big Data? What does it have to do with cloud computing and is it something small businesses should be aware of? This article attempts to clarify all these questions and gives insights into expert opinions on Big Data. (more…)

Cloud computing has "unique attributes that require risk assessment in areas such as data integrity, recovery, privacy  and an evaluation of legal issues," Gartner says. Now that businesses  are increasingly tapping into the cloud, they need to pay close attention to these risks more than ever. In line with such concern we had an interview with Nicole Black, a lawyer and legal technology author. In this post, Nicole introduces us to the world of legal technology and addresses the topic of data safety in the cloud. (more…)

When you are choosing an application for your business, it is important to get transparent and easy-to-understand information about the privacy practices of the provider and to know how your corporate data will be handled. Small businesses should have privacy concerns when moving to the cloud and it is our role in, as well as our partners to remove these concerns. Client privacy, confidentiality and security are central to us. (more…)

In the online environment most people spend a large amount of their time emailing. In essence, it should make our lives easier but with all the emails, websites, business, shopping etc. some individuals may feel that email has complicated life to the extent that we lose track of what we do. Some people use task management tools, such as AtTask or ProWorkflow or Zoho Projects, but an additional way to utilize time effectively and to make your life more organized and manageable is to have more than one email address. For those of you still using one email address for all aspects of your online communication, here are 9 reasons why you need to have multiple email addresses, and why it will simplify your life instead of complicating it. (more…)

SMBs are turning to cloud applications in greater numbers than ever before. After all, cloud computing applications can lower IT costs, increase productivity and even offer a more secure solution for storing mission-critical work product. Cloud computing has truly been a blessing for the SMB market as it has opened up doors to applications that were once only used by the enterprise market with deeper pockets and larger IT departments. (more…)

What is Systems Management, and Why Should You Care?

By Christophe Primault, 29 March 2011

Systems management is an umbrella term that refers to the centralized management of a company’s information technology assets, and it's one that encompasses many different tasks required to monitor and manage IT systems and resolve IT problems. Systems management solutions can help small business owners address many requirements including (but not limited to) the following: Monitoring and management of network, server, storage, printers and client devices (desktop, laptop and mobile devices), including notification of impending or actual failures, capacity issues and other systems and network events Hardware asset inventory and configuration management, including firmware, operating systems and related license management Application software usage and management Software asset inventory, versioning and patching, and license management Security management, including anti-virus and malware management tools, including virus definition updates. Automated backup and restore, to backup up systems data in a central data repository Service desk problem management, which provides an automated process to generate and track trouble tickets and resolve problems Systems Management: Why Should You Care? As businesses grow, so do IT requirements. In many companies, it’s tough to find a facet of the business that doesn’t depend on IT. As dependence on IT to run the business grows, it becomes vitally important to efficiently manage and safeguard IT and data assets. System management solutions -- such as service desk management, single sign-on authentication and patch management -- can help keep systems up and running, and maximize IT and employee productivity. They can also help your IT team efficiently roll out new software solutions, or upgrade existing ones. In a nutshell, effective systems management solutions help IT organizations move beyond fire-drill mode to provide the business with proactive guidance and support. System management solutions also help companies protect against the fallout from downtime and threats, whether caused by system malfunctions, lost or stolen mobile devices, network sabotage, power outages, security breaches, identity theft, human error and natural and man-made disasters. Should any of these events occur, they can result in lasting financial loss, brand damage, legal liabilities and other extremely unpleasant consequences. Consider these sobering facts: • In a survey by Kroll Ontrack Inc., 74 percent of respondents experienced a data loss incident in the last two years. And 32 percent of organizations take "several days" to recover from a data loss -- another 16 percent never recovered. • Symantec’s 2009 SMB Disaster Preparedness Survey indicates that the average SMB has experienced three disruptions to computer or technology resources within the past 12 months; 26 percent reported losing important data. These firms estimate that these outages cost them about $15,000 per day. Many small businesses fail to perform regular data back-ups, and even if they do, tools and procedures can fail due to malfunctioning hardware and storage media, corrupted data, or because backup software isn’t reset to include new files or applications. Whatever the reason, costs to replace the data and restore employee productivity can be enormous. Businesses also face stiff penalties if they can’t store, retrieve, monitor and transmit data in accordance with regulatory requirements. Systems Management: What to Consider Criteria such as company size, number of devices, complexity of IT infrastructure, IT resources and expertise all come into play when considering centralized systems management.  For instance, in a small business with just a handful of PCs, centralized systems management may require more of an investment in time and dollars than it would take to just manage each device individually. But as companies grow, a lack of centralized system management can become a pain point and true vulnerability. However, the sheer number and assortment of products and approaches available can be confusing, and the cost of traditional enterprise system management solutions can send small businesses into sticker shock. Driven by the need for a quick fix, businesses can end up with several disparate point products that don’t work together. This can create both short-term gaps and integration and scalability problems over time. Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all solution or short-cut to a short-list. But small businesses can avoid these potential pitfalls by taking action on these tips: • Assess gaps, bottlenecks and vulnerabilities in your IT environment • Look for vendors and solutions that can address immediate pain points, but also provide incremental capabilities that your company may need over time • Seek out vendors with solutions designed to meet the needs of SMBs, such as Dell KACE, HP Insight Manager, IBM Service Manager for Smart Business, Kaseya and Spiceworks • Evaluate managed service provider (MSP) offerings. Major vendors, such as Dell and IBM, as well as many regional and local service providers offer managed infrastructure services that can be a great fit for companies with limited or non-existent IT staff. MSPs can often provide a level technical expertise, trouble-shooting and proactive 24/7 support that surpass the capabilities of most internal SMB IT shops By investing time upfront to consider business priorities, IT requirements and constraints, and evaluating the pros and cons of different approaches and offerings, small business owners can find a systems management solution or an MSP that will support the business now, and in the future. Original post by Laurie McCabe from the SMB-Group