Why Go to the Cloud? Reasons You May Not Have Known About

 

By now, you’ve heard from a hundred different sources that moving your operations to the cloud will save you money. But have you heard that it will help you develop products and provide services faster? And help you go green? Or that it produces measurable benefits that pay for themselves?

Speed

Today’s chameleon economy and advancing technology make speed in business a competitive advantage that can be a deal breaker in many industries. Gaming is just one of those industries, and Kuma Games knows that speed is the defining quality of online games to attract and keep users.They use a cloud solution to deliver immersive 3-D gaming experiences to users all over the globe. If they couldn’t scale the way the cloud enables them to, they’d lose their customer base and drop back a few levels in their own game.

Environmentally-Friendly

If aging servers require replacement in your company’s near future but part of your vision and mission is going green, cloud operations will get you there and help you avoid a large capital investment. Cloud computing lets your business reduce its carbon footprint by only using the server space you need when you need it. With no server equipment, companies can cut their energy use and reduce emissions by 90 percent according to the Carbon Disclosure Project. You are not using energy to power, cool, and maintain equipment when you use cloud resources.

Measurable

Cloud computing produces value, benefit, costs, and return on investment that is measurable and pays for themselves according to IT Business Edge. An example of this is comparing the cost of buying new servers that depreciate quickly over their total useful life to the monthly maintenance costs of cloud services with no depreciation. Another way cloud services are measurable, as Glassdoor, MapMyFitness, and Bitlancer know first hand from their moves to the cloud producing almost immediate measurable increases in network utilization and performance.

If you want to know about all the benefits of moving operations to the cloud, talk to us. Call today and we’ll explain the benefits of using the cloud beyond cost savings.

Are You Ready for Cloud Services?

Do you know all the passwords to your business systems and services? Do you know if they’re secure? Are you able to check on any transaction on your business systems at any time, or perform a thorough audit at will? Who is responsible for backup in your organization, and how are they doing it? If you don’t have the answers to these questions without scrambling, you are probably ready for cloud services.

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Big Benefits

Kiplinger reporter John Miley says big savings in energy and software costs are just two of the benefits of moving systems to the cloud. Access from anywhere with any device means direct improvements in productivity and mobility. You may already be transacting business in the cloud if your accounting department sends payments online or your employees use Google Docs for project work. And at some point, you may need to move to the cloud to stay competitive.

Do More from Anywhere

Sharon Gaudin, reporting for ComputerWorld, says cloud computing lets small business owners get their work done from almost anywhere, while they’re doing things like waiting for theirs kids at tennis practice. Especially email and social media access. Financial data and access may not seem like such a great thing to work on while waiting in line at the grocery store or stopping for coffee on the way in to the office in the morning. If you have any questions about cloud computing, GoupOne can help you look at your existing systems and computing compared to cloud services.

GroupOne Cloud Services

GroupOne’s cloud services, CloudOne, help you manage your email, file sync and share, secure transactions, passwords and security, phone service, operational efficiency, website hosting, and more. We put the power back into your hands and let you control passwords, access, email, and anything else you need to, and we keep everything up to date with automatic back ups and security management. GroupOne’s cloud solutions like OneMail, OnePass, and OneFilter make it happen for you.

If you’re not sure about moving to the cloud, talk to us. We’ll help you understand it compared to your current systems and operations.

The Value in Managed IT Services

Pedro Pereira, writing for Channel Insider, discusses the compelling statistics about managed IT services. Because cost savings are one of the main selling points for these services, it’s worth taking a look at what companies using them have to say about it.

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Periera cites Computing Technology Industry Association’s poll of 400 IT and business professionals that found that almost half of organizations that use managed IT services say they’ve reduced their IT budgets by 25 percent by using managed services.

Additionally, 13 percent of respondents estimated their savings to be 50 percent or more and 50 percent said managed IT services save them 1 to 24 percent on IT costs. With 96 percent of respondents saying managed services save them money, it’s hard not to use cost savings as a strong selling point.

But cost savings isn’t the only benefit of managed IT services.  Sharply reduced downtime with remote monitoring and better security of systems maintained in the cloud and not subject to the same risk of physical damage and loss as on-site equipment are just a few of the value-added benefits.

CIO Magazine’s article “Why You Should (Eventually) Fire Your CIO” explains that managed IT services are going to take the place of the CIO position altogether by enabling faster internal business and technical innovation with smaller teams of functional experts incurring smaller costs and requiring little to no central management.

Information technology research and advisory company Gartner predicts that changes in technology will cause more companies to seek managed IT services. Gartner says they’ll have to do it to keep up with rapid changes and developments in the digital business environment.

Jessica Adams, writing for Whitehat Virtual Blog, says the reasons to consider managed IT services include less downtime, proactive prevention rather than reactive, and heightened security necessary for increasing mobile access to sensitive data. She explains that using manage IT services keeps businesses closer to cutting edge IT management at lower costs than trying to do it in-house, which has the added benefit of also improving customer service.

If you want those kinds of benefits for your business, managed IT services can make them happen. Contact us at GroupOne IT and we’ll be happy to discuss how we provide managed IT services and how they will benefit your business.

What’s the Future of IT?

With the new iPhone 6 recently released and all the kerfluffle about Bendgate, we started thinking about the Future of IT. Greg Satell, DigitalTonto, has given it some thought as well. Here’s what he says is coming at IT soon:

  • No-touch interfaces – Apple’s Siri and Google Glass are just warm ups for the no-touch interfaces that are coming in the next ten years. Wearables, living services, the Internet of Things, smart materials, embedded tech – coming soon, very soon.
  • Native content – Original programming to grab unique eyeball time is where Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and HBO are all headed.
  • Massively online – Gaming, learning, and even politics are heading online, massively online, with MOOCs (massively online open courses), Ask Me Anything on Reddit, Code Academy, and multi-player games like World of Warcraft leading the charge.
  • The Web of things – Smart phones have put almost everything in touch with computers, soon to make computing something done everywhere anytime and not just at a desk in the office thanks to Near Field Communication and energy harvesting.
  • Consumer driven supercomputing – The next phase of computing combines natural language processing, Big Data, and cloud accessibility and has Google, Microsoft, and IBM falling all over themselves to get there first.

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Satell brings up the incredible disappearing computer, gradually (but picking up speed) fading into the Web of Things and no-touch interfaces. The future of IT looks like it will be more intuitive, less intrusive, more online and more in the cloud than ever. GroupOne’s ready. Are you?

 

Hardware Gets Social with Tindie, Cell Phones, and Kickstarter

Most people, even if they aren’t techies, have heard of open source software that is used, shared, and changed freely by all and available for modification without limit. Open source refers to something that can be modified freely because it is publicly accessible. Thanks to Emile Petrone and Tindie, open source now also applies to hardware.

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Need a touchless gesture controller for your latest tech project? What about a light intensity sensor? Go to the markets on Tindie and you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, all for sale by market members as open source hardware. And if you’re the kind of geek/nerd/scientist/entrepreneur who likes to make those things, Tindie is the marketplace for you.

Petrone cut his tech entrepreneur teeth at places like Yelp, SimpleGeo, a location-based service to help companies understand their mobile users, acquired by Urban Airship, a similar business. He’s not new to startups either, having founded Housefed, an online reservation service for hosting and attending events with home-cooked meals.

Petrone got the idea for the open source electronics components markets now in 50 countries around the world from an inquiry he put out on Reddit about interest in a market. Tindie’s timeline starts with April 7, 2012, reached 1,000 products listed on July 11, 2013, and was invited to the first White House Maker Faire June 18th, 2014. He thinks it took off because of dropping cell phone prices and the rise of crowdfunders like Kickstarter, and social media probably has something to do with it as well.

Peterone’s customers include hobbyists, Google, libraries, and NASA, and envisions that kind of opportunity for everyone. Petrone made sure Tindie is easy to use so even unfunded indie hardware has a viable place in the market, where makers and marketers can snatch stuff like Tapster, a phone touchscreen tester, or little_simon, a throwback to the 78 Milton Bradley electronic lightshow game. So if you’ve ever had an idea for a handy gadget or dreamt of inventing the next cool hot electronic toy, Tindie might help you make it happen.

Pens Get Smart But Will They Last Forever?

 There’s nothing more old school than pen and paper, but old school meets high tech when it comes to reimagining writing instruments. The Ivy Guide is a high tech translator tool that turns any pen into a translator and even recharges with a USB port. Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign developed a pen that writes with silver nanoparticle ink and draws functional circuitry. The Scribble Pen puts 16 million different colors at the user’s disposal with a color sensor and microprocessor.

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“Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky” and now the 4.Ever Pininfarina Cambiano inkless pen. Made by the same Italian car design firm  based in Cambiano, Italy that designs for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, and Fiat, the aluminum and wooden writing instrument lets users write, sketch, and doodle without ink or lead by simply oxidizing paper with the patented metallic alloy ethergraf instead of laying liquid on it.

The pen tip was invented by the Italian stationery company Napkin and the body was designed by Pininfarina. The $120 price tag is for being completely handmade in Italy by master craftsmen at Pininfarina. The pen comes with a notebook of stone paper made from stone powder, decorated with original sketches of the Cambiano concept car.

The inkless pen makes markings that are permanent and smudge proof and eco-friendly. But will the pen let users write forever? How will we know? If you believe a Google engineer, we might last forever ourselves…and Pininfarina has made sure we’ll have a working writing instrument with us. “You can’t take it with you” suddenly rings hollow when there’s a pen like this.

CloudOne – Find Your Wings

Years of experience with growth has led GroupOne to believe that thorny, tangled problems – the kinds of problems that seem almost insoluble – usually just require a bold solution. Sometimes it takes a wise outside advisor to point in the right direction.

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Many organizations find themselves outgrowing their hardware, and /or the physical space the hardware requires. Maybe operations have outpaced the architecture. Maybe business continuity has become such an issue that the existing back-up and disaster recovery plan just isn’t adequate. Even if you could launch a giant new infrastructure project, where would you fit it? Who in your organization could you spare to learn all of the new intricacies? Sometimes all of these problems and more happen all at once.

CloudOne, the cloud services package from GroupOne, is the right decision for many organizations who have outgrown the nest of their early IT infrastructure. For many other ventures, right at the point where they begin to think seriously about virtualization, they might as well consider a cloud-based solution that grows with them and provides instant data coordination and immediate recovery.

Additionally, CloudOne, as part of a package of managed service, will address a number of challenges all growing organizations face – which also happen to be challenges all organizations that want to grow ought to be ready for:

  • Ease of implementation and management saves labor. Losing time for infrastructure upgrades is an old-business problem. Hit the ground running faster than when you jumped.
  • Unity and consistency in a virtualized operations environment for users in multiple locations with mobile capabilities is the future. Will you wait for your next upgrade to get there?
  • Easier integration of personal devices helps new people join your organization and empowers existing team members to work with greater flexibilty.
  • Reliable service at a low monthly rate that allows your staff to focus on what you hired them for is what managed IT is all about.

The big bold idea is just this: many organizations that start out nimble and light expect to grow into giant clunky infrastructure requirements, as if “arriving” necessarily meant a warehouse full of servers and an army of IT specialists to go with them; many established enterprises are so wed to their hardware that they assume upgrading means replacing each component with a more impressive next-generation incarnation – but what if an acknowledged expert in managed IT solutions could show you a simpler, cleaner, more efficient way to do business that would allow you gain greater operational flexibility and personal peace of mind, and the only thing you’d be asked to trade in is your old way of doing things?

At GroupOne, when a client outgrows the nest, we don’t build them a bigger nest. We give them wings.

Dell Leading Social Innovation for EveryOne

GroupOne is proud to partner with Dell, the third leading manufacturer of PCs in the world. Not only is Dell a major computer manufacturer and a top seller of desktop and laptop computers, it’s a major leader in social innovation.

For seven years, the Dell Social Innovation Challenge has highlighted and supported entrepreneurs whose goals and ideas focused on solving urgent problems across the world. Over the years, Dell has supported social entrepreneurs from more than 100 countries to create a global impact with over 90 ventures like Daniel Paffenholz’s affordable and eco-friendly waste management services in Nairobi, Manoj Sinha’s  affordable, eco-friendly Husk Power Systems in India, and Emma Clippinger’s and Emily Morell’s Gardens for Health for people with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda.

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Dell’s Social Innovation Challenge has recently evolved into VerbU, an innovation machine that supports university students and new graduates across the world with social entrepreneurship competitions. By partnering with global companies, foundations, and governments, VerbU expands the original social innovation challenge that provided valuable opportunities for young entrepreneurs to win funding and get global exposure to encourage other organizations to sponsor social entrepreneurship support systems and competitions.

Social entrepreneurs can browse VerbU to see what their peer entrepreneurs are working on and get inspiration and new ideas from the incredible range of projects on VerbU’s website, as well as collaboration and mentoring support. VerbU’s members are a truly globally diverse group including members from the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Bangladesh, China, Kenya, Nigeria.

VerbU’s The Big C Competition, in collaboration with Livestrong, is an accelerator program focused on changing the way the world fights cancer by creating innovative solutions to improve the daily lives of those facing cancer.

From mobile games to help people manage cancer and other health conditions to digital peer support for children surviving cancer to patented smart pill bottles for improved medication adherence, VerbU’s innovators are working to improve the lives and outcomes for cancer sufferers the world over.

At GroupOne, we feel good that the technology and security Dell produces also supports and promotes social entrepreneurship, and you should too.

Why Use Hosted Services?

When your IT needs have outgrown your equipment and the staff to manage it, it’s time to consider hosted services. GroupOne’s hosted services include application hosting, hosted exchange, hosted SharePointe for collaboration, small business server hosting, and private cloud administration. We deal with the IT management, maintenance, and equipment that keeps your business running so you can deal with running your business.

With hosted services, you can take advantage of Microsoft and other technologies that take your business operations to a more efficient and competitive level, improving security, communication, and computing power in the most cost-effective way.

Network World’s Zeus Kerravala cites several solid reasons for using hosted solutions, including centralized management and administration of IT systems and services, fast extension of services to remote employees, implementation of BYOD (bring your own device), and the cost-effectiveness of subscription services.

  • Implementation and management tasks are greatly reduced with hosted solutions, saving significant labor hours and improving accuracy and quality.

  • With mobile and remote employees in multiple locations, hosted solutions provide a more unified and consistent user and management computing environment with faster access at lower costs than on-site equipment.

  • The increasing use of personal devices at work has made the IT responsibility of controlling equipment and software extremely challenging. Moving communications to the cloud with hosted services creates greater flexibility for both IT management and user productivity.

  • The cost benefits of using hosted services include no upfront capital outlay, known monthly costs for services, and more efficient use of IT staffing.

Call GroupOne (916) 817-8877 to discuss hosted solutions or IT consulting for your business needs. We can help you understand how hosted services could save you time and money and improve IT efficiencies in your business.

Innovations from Our Partner Microsoft

At GroupOne, we know the power of partnering with the best, and we’re proud to say that one of our partners is Microsoft. Microsoft continues to innovate and push the technology envelope.

Corporate vice president for Microsoft’s device partnerships Nick Parker gave the keynote presentation at Computex 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan recently. He presented more than 40 new Windows devices, including a 7-inch Toshiba tablet and the HP Pro X2 612, a 2-in-1 designed for business with 4G capabilities in the works.

Microsoft plans to innovate with Windows utilizing device partners to develop new devices and utilities through technology to fully participate in cloud services. Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows marketing Tony Prophet joined Parker to discuss the latest Microsoft momentum including 2 billion Skype minutes per day, 48 million Xbox Live members, and 18 percent share of the U.S. search for Bing, as well as Kabam’s lineup of hit games soon to be seen on Windows tablets and phones.

microsoft-innovations

Microsoft knows the future of technology innovation is tied to the cloud and has expansive and ongoing plans to participate in the cloud services industry. Microsoft speakers at Computex talked about things like 40 Windows for devices smaller than nine inches, the Windows 8.1 update, Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows universal apps to bring more Windows capabilities across a broader array of hardware and ecosystems for increased customer value and affordability.

The new devices introduced at Computex are the result of Microsoft’s device partner strategy with BLU, InFocus Corporation, Yezz, and prestigio, and collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies Inc. You can expect great things from Microsoft and its work with tech companies, and you can expect great things from GroupOne because we partner with the best.