Within enterprise, cloud computing has quickly reached a level of maturity and acceptance that few could have predicted a couple of years ago. Most CIOs have now considered investing in some form of cloud service, with the primary drivers being the flexibility, potential cost savings and efficiency improvements that the cloud offers. The discussion of how to best deliver a cloud strategy now sits at board-level.
Boards rightly demand cost savings, innovation and efficiency, but for a large enterprise-scale organisation this is easier said than done; legacy infrastructure, skills and data governance all require meticulous planning, which makes implementation complex and risky for the business and CIO alike.
Hybrid IT involves using a combination of in-house and cloud-based IT resources, and there is a compelling case for it. Hybrid IT is not just a stop-gap on the journey to cloud, but the best solution for the majority of businesses today.
The most important question to ask is which workloads should move to the cloud. Many organisations will start out with a “cloud first” strategy, but are surprised to find that the effort of migrating applications or systems – that work perfectly well in their current location – can drastically outweigh the benefits.
Migration to the cloud can be very complex and requires specialist skills, knowledge and planning. Often companies will need help to rebuild confidence in the cloud following failed cloud migration projects.
In business, where the goal should always be to deliver business value, a managed hybrid IT approach offers efficiencies and agility that outweigh both an “all-in” cloud approach or staying on legacy infrastructure.
Operational efficienciesThe hybrid approach is primarily about allowing businesses to focus on what they do best: creating value and driving revenue. Most businesses do not want to spend time, money and effort on owning and managing infrastructure.
For large enterprises, there is a distinct advantage in avoiding the steep financial and labour costs associated with any significant cloud migration, not to mention the risk associated with moving.
Hybrid IT allows companies to continue maximising the return on their investment in functional legacy systems, while simultaneously migrating functions better optimised for the cloud. Mission critical systems warrant special consideration, and here hybrid IT enables organisations to assign business critical systems to infrastructure that’s tailor-made for resilience.
There’s no single recipe for operational efficiency, but taking a step back from technology to analyse the true cost and value of an application migration will help companies find the right mix of hybrid infrastructure.
Done well, it’s an environment that stitches together disparate systems and offers the optimal balance of predictable performance and reduced cost with clearly understood and managed risk.
Monitoring in a hybrid environment Control is one of the more challenging aspects of making the best use of cloud services. Transferring elements of infrastructure and applications to the cloud should not mean offloading responsibility and control of service delivery and business data, intentionally or otherwise.
Companies routinely monitor their owned environments for availability and screen for suspicious activity. To do so they maintain detailed event logs as standard practice – and that’s exactly the sort of monitoring and control that should be extended to their public cloud environments.
Most cloud platforms provide a cloud management console that simplifies the monitoring process, but given the varied nature of hybrid IT infrastructure it is important to check that these tools encompass the entire infrastructure effectively – a so-called single pane of glass.
It’s important to keep track of data in a hybrid environment. Black holes can easily creep into data management and it can be challenging to understand where data is held, especially if duplicated across systems.
There needs to be a clear policy for storing confidential or personal data in the cloud, therefore translating and extending company practice across all infrastructure is an essential prerequisite for any hybrid IT deployment.
Securing hybrid IT
One of the most common questions we are asked is how an existing security practice can be transferred to a hybrid environment. Most enterprises will have employed information security and compliance teams to build a security framework around IT operations, and these teams need reassurance that the hosted policies they have spent a considerable period of time defining will remain in place within hybrid IT deployments.
Where possible, businesses should look to ensure that existing policies can be retained while understanding what is different in the new environment. This means that new tools and processes can be put in place to comply with and extend current policies. By working from a common set of security services across legacy and cloud systems, processes such as identity management, security monitoring and public key infrastructure management can be delivered consistently across a hybrid environment.
With proper planning and the appropriate measures in place, hybrid IT should be as secure, if not more secure, than a traditional legacy approach. The additional transparency and scrutiny that comes with hybrid IT means that any security issues can be quickly and efficiently resolved. Hybrid IT is a best of breed approach, and that encompasses security too. By Paul Morris
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Tips to Help Your Computer Live Longer
Computers are a part of daily life, we use them for business, school, and various other reasons. Many of us, our livelihood depends on having a working computer and when breakdowns happen, it can be a major inconvenience. We all try our best to take good care of our computers to keep them running well but there are things that we may not know we are doing that can significantly shorten the life of the computer. So what are some things you can do to give your computer a little more life and what are some things we do that destroy our computers?
Using a computer can be tricky and sometimes we do things that shorten the life of our computers. Here are some things users do that can kill that ever present and very important part of our day-to-day lives:
Don’t Skip the Antivirus Software:
Whether using a paid or free antivirus software, always have some form of protection on your computer, regardless of computer brand. Some Mac users operate under the idea that Macs don’t get viruses. Unfortunately this isn’t true, sure there are fewer Mac viruses, but they do exist. Always have a good antivirus installed on your computer and be sure to run and update the program regularly. It doesn’t do any good if your antivirus software never runs a scan or if it is never updated.
Unplug the Power Cord:
This one is more for laptop users. When you are moving your computer, be sure to disconnect the power cable from the computer. The power plug on your laptop often is connected directly to the motherboard of the computer. If the connection gets bumped and damaged you will be left with two options. First, replace the motherboard (which is an extremely pricey repair, sometimes more expensive than buying new) or find someone who does soldering work. The latter is not always ideal as the soldering doesn’t always hold. So best bet, just unplug the power cord from the computer when moving it around.
Power Off Correctly:
Sometimes the computer freezes or locks up. The first reaction when we can’t get this cleared is to just pull the plug or pull out the battery to shut off the computer. By cutting off the power to your computer this way, damage can be caused to the hardware like the power supply or motherboard. If your computer freezes and completing a proper shutdown isn’t possible you should instead do a “hard shut down.” To do a hard shut down, simply press and hold the power button on your computer until it shuts down completely.
Using All Your RAM:
Maxing out on RAM can cause issues with the processes on your computer causing it to slow down or run poorly. Think of the computer’s RAM like the counter space in your kitchen. If your counters are cluttered with various pieces of equipment, then there’s no room to work. Everything you open and run (i.e. word, multiple windows on your internet browser, various other programs) is like adding another piece of equipment to your counter. This issue is easily fixed though. You can look into upgrading your RAM or consider reducing the amount of multitasking to optimize your system.
Remember to Dust:
Keeping your computer completely free of dust is not possible, however, cleaning it up on a regular basis is necessary and will help keep your computer running better. Layered dust and dirt can trap in heat which will eventually cause damage to the computer. Enough dust in the computer can cause both the fan and the heat sink to stop working properly. Both of these parts are crucial to keeping the machine cool. If either of these parts stop working your computer will overheat destroying various components like the CPU (the brain of your computer). If these parts overheat, not only will it cause damage, but your computer has now become a fire hazard as well! By completing regular cleaning, dusting out of the internal components you can reduce wear and tear on the fans and promote better cooling. Before you decide to dust out your computer, be sure you know how to do this without damaging any of your hardware. If you are unsure, seek out the assistance of your local computer repair store.
Along the same line of thought as the last paragraph. Running your computer when your fan has stopped working is a really bad idea. Those fans area line of defense from overheating and potential fire! If your computer’s fan begins to run loud or suddenly stops working get it checked out right away. Don’t keep running your computer until it shuts down, it will damage components in the computer including the processor, the motherboard, and the hard drive!
Clear Off the Keyboard:
This is an easy way to damage your laptop screen. Many users will set something down on the keyboard just for a few moments. Something as simple as a flash drive or a pen but we forget that the item is on the keyboard. When you shut the laptop, CRACK! Now you have a broken screen. Leaving things on the keyboard makes your computer vulnerable to damage. Perhaps you don’t forget you have something on the keyboard but a pet or a child can come along and bump the top closed unexpectedly and goodbye screen. Best practice, keep your laptop keyboard clear at all times.
Take Care With Your Computer:
Computers can be delicate and it is important your computer is put in a place that is safe for its health. Be sure you are allowing plenty of breathing room for your computer. Both desktop and laptops need room to breathe. Also, avoid placing them in a precarious position where it can easily be knocked over. Laptops, never toss them, even onto a soft surface like your couch or bed, set them down gently.
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The right computer can make a tremendous difference in your company's productivity.
A powerful and reliable business computer can be your most important productivity tool. There are many options for a computer — some less expensive than others. But without properly researching and choosing a high-quality device, applications will run slowly, your computer may crash and your employees’ productivity and efficiency can suffer. As you look for a business computer, here are a few features and specifications you should consider.
Processor The processor is critical to your computer’s performance. The processor is what allows you to run and utilize multiple applications simultaneously. Not all processors are created equal. First look at the number of cores. A single core’s job is to send all the data to the processor. If the processor features multiple cores, each core is responsible for different computing tasks, instead of handling the entire system. This allows for a faster and more smooth computer experience. Additionally, a processor’s cache is memory available for the processor’s temporary storage. The more cache that is available, the more files the processor can quickly retrieve. Also, consider the processor’s frequency. This is the speed of the processor, measured in hertz. This is a good indicator of how quickly and how well the processor can perform.
Hard Drive Storage Your hard drive is where all your files and documents are permanently stored. The amount of storage will vary by model, but ideally look for a computer with no smaller than 500GB of storage space. Many new business computers offer at least 1TB of hard drive storage, allowing you to store hundreds of documents, images and video files.
You may also want to consider a solid state drive, instead of a traditional hard drive. They have no moving parts so they tend to last longer.
RAM Random Access Memory, or RAM, is where your computer stores files for quick access. For example, the more applications you use simultaneously, the more RAM you will use. When most of your RAM is utilized, your computer will slow down significantly. Just like with hard drive storage, the amount of RAM will vary by model but look for business computers with at least 2GB of RAM to ensure optimal productivity throughout your work day.
Resolution If you are going to conduct frequent video conferences or you work in a field dealing with graphics and other multimedia, you need a display with a high resolution. The higher the resolution, the sharper and more detailed images that will be presented. If you rarely work with images or video, the resolution of the computer should not be a high priority.
Ports and ConnectivityThe more ports and connectivity options featured on your device, the more you can use all your accessories. Popular options include USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI ports, along with an optical drive. But optical drives are becoming more rare. If you don't absolutely need to use DVDs, it might be worth skipping this option. USB Type-C ports are very new and would be a good way to future proof your purchase, but make sure it's not your only port. Also, consider computers with Bluetooth capabilities for easier connectivity with other Bluetooth-enabled devices such as your smartphones, tablets or even headphones.
Warranty The warranty on your computer is important to cover any technical issues that may arise with your device. Many manufacturer warranties cover the parts of the computer and any servicing that needs to be completed. Most business computers are only covered for one year but several of the best models are covered for three or more years.
Overall, your goal is to find a computing device that can handle all the work you do in your industry. Each model will vary and it is up to you to find a device that is reliable, powerful and capable of all your desired asks.
By Courtnie Erickson
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As organizations become more comfortable with the overall security of cloud computing, many are now embracing the cloud for greater speed to market and increased flexibility. The cloud has proven to be a cost-effective anytime means of consuming and managing technology.
Today, more companies are taking advantage of cloud-based opportunities to scale up and down as needed. Growth potential has made the cloud a go-to business strategy. Cloud solutions can remove obstacles and lower barriers to entry, especially for businesses with limited resources.
Unprecedented Cost ControlOne of the most appealing aspects of the cloud is that it offers pay-as-you-go opportunities, turning intimidating CAPEX outlays into more manageable OPEX budget items. The cloud can also serve as a useful hedge against unforeseen costs by capturing, monitoring and making control usage information transparent for accurate billing.
Anytime, Anywhere AvailabilityThe cloud is empowering workforces and leveling playing fields for businesses by delivering secure remote access to data and infrastructures. In the office, on the go or at home, employees can be more productive with access to information that’s updated by the minute. With cloud, companies keep their resources more secure.
By Stephen Braat
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Today computers are the main backbones of every business. Therefore it is crucially important for businesses to know how to keep their computers in shape. This is a key to ensure their business processes run continuously without any interruption. Here are a few simple but expert tips you can benefit from to keep your computers working for so long in a good way without frequent faults. These are actually regular computer maintenance tips that will keep up their performance and speed.
Uninstall the programs that you do not use
Often, we come across some needs to install a program based on an arising situation. Once their purpose is solved or not solved, it becomes just an overload and a burden to keep them on your computer. Ask the users in your office to uninstall the unused programs in a regular timeline. They can do this by visiting the control panel and check if there are any unnecessary programs installed. Ask them to perform scan functions to see how frequently they have been used. If they were not used for two months or more, it is a strong reason to delete them and free up your computer from that extra burden. However, if the users are not sure about a particular program, it is best to leave it as it is as it could be a system file and deleting it might lead your computer to crash.
Clear temporary files
Every computer is featured to store some quick information about the sites visited by the user for the purpose of quick access later on. This is a useful mechanism a computer has to ensure loading of pages. However, the temporary files added to the computer over a long time makes it run slower and also delay the loading time of every program. So, ask your employees to go to the C drive and delete those temporary files from time to time.
Delete the earlier system restores
Computers by default maintain a snapshot of the recent contents of computers in regular intervals. By removing all the earlier restore points than the most recent one, you can free up enough space. Ask the users to make use of the disc clean up function to do this.
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THE FUTURE OF PASSWORDSSecurity is a constant concern in an interconnected world. While connectivity has given us the ability to conduct transactions and store information online, keeping that data secure hasn’t been easy. Most of us simply use passwords, but those are hackable and not as secure as we may hope. Also, because they often need to be updated, we can easily forget our passwords, making them both a liability and a hassle.
A team of scientists led by Cheung Yiu-ming from the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) has presented a brilliant and novel solution to this problem. It’s the first technology of its kind in the world, and it could spell the end of typed passwords.
Their idea is a lip-reading software that has you speak directly to your device. All you need to do is say or mouth your password to the camera of your laptop or smartphone. The recognition software will grant you access once it reads your lips. “This system verifies a person’s identity by simultaneously matching the password content with the underlying behavioral characteristics of lip movement,” according to a write-up on HKBU’s website.
BETTER BIOMETRICSMany modern devices now have provisions for some form of biometric security, the most common of which is fingerprint authentication. These indeed work, but they aren’t as foolproof as they seem. Fingerprints, though unique, can be “stolen” — all it takes is someone accessing a copy that could fool a fingerprint scanner. Because you can never change your fingerprint, it can never again be used as a form of security.
Lip movement is more secure. “The dynamic characteristics of lip motions are resistant to mimicry, so a lip password can be used singly for speaker verification, as it is able to detect and reject a wrong password uttered by the user or the correct password spoken by an imposter,” according to the HKBU announcement.
Furthermore, Cheung’s software combines lip motion reading with traditional voice-based authentication. “The same password spoken by two persons is different, and a learning system can distinguish them,” he explained. It short, it’s a more secure and ideal form of biometric authentication.
This software could have applications beyond your smartphone. It could also prove useful for financial transactions, such as those that take place at ATMs. The software may be available soon, as it’s already received a U.S. patent in 2015, so start thinking now about what you want to say to unlock your devices.
References: Business Insider, HKBU
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The clock is ticking for users holding out on Windows 7 and 8. For starters, Microsoft is blocking Windows 7 and 8 updates for Intel's seventh generation Core i3, i5 and i7 (Kaby Lake), AMD's Ryzen (Bristol Ridge) and Qualcomm's 8996 processors. The low-level Vulkan API will also not be supporting multiple GPUs on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and users will need to update to Windows 10 in order to support SLI or CrossFire with Vulkan.
Microsoft’s main argument is that this lack of updates will help them to focus on the deep integration between Windows and new silicon generations. Windows 7 was designed nearly a decade ago before the introduction of x86/x64 SOCs. Windows 7 is unable to run on any modern silicon without device drivers and firmware emulating Windows 7’s expectations for interrupt processing, bus support, and power states. According to Microsoft, “redesigning Windows 7 subsystems to embrace new generations of silicon would introduce churn into the Windows 7 code base” and break the company's commitment to security and stability.
This lack of support has many Windows users riled up, especially since Microsoft has employed some rather aggressive practices in the past to push Windows 10 migrations and updates. Many already on Windows 10 have also expressed concerns about the operating system switching background updates on, even on metered connections, or other less than optimal scenarios considerate of the end user.
What is Microsoft’s timeline? Windows 7 is in “extended support” until January 14th, 2020, while Windows 8 support ends in January 10th, 2023. Intel Skylake (6th gen Core) devices on the supported list will hang onto Windows 7 and 8 until July 17th, 2017. According to Microsoft, “After July 2017, the most critical Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 security updates will be addressed for these configurations, and will be released if the update does not risk the reliability or compatibility of the Windows 7/8.1 platform on other devices.” Support for Windows Vista will come to an end on April 11th, because, in Redmond's words “your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.” Overall, Microsoft encourages users to update to Windows 10 before support ends for its previous generation operating systems. Unfortunately, for many that haven't made the jump to Windows 10 yet, time is running out and Microsoft may well be forcing the issue sooner rather than later.
by Brittany Goetting
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Like cars, computers also need regular maintenance. Every business heavily depends on computers for the day to day running of most business processes. Therefore it is essential to keep them running in good shape and avoid them getting faulty during a crucial unexpected hour. Here is a checklist every business must have ready to ensure the proper working of computers. Educate the users of computers in your office regarding this and ask them to perform those regular tasks form time to time so that the computers stay in good shape.
Hardware maintenance checklist:
Clean the computer and accessories: Dust and dirt are big enemies for the health of computers as they are for human health. Keyboards, CPUs and other computer accessories have enough crevices to give room for dust collection. Air compressor can help suck those dust particles from the computer parts.
Clean the monitor: It is always best to educate people not to touch the monitor with their fingers to leave oil and dirt and those nasty smudges. Though stains and smudges are a minor problem on the monitors, they always turn into major problems if left uncared. They must only be cleaned with the proper kit meant for LCD displays. There are also disposable wipes to clean the monitor screens.
Organize the cords: Every new computer peripheral adds up to the existing cords. Shut down the system, remove all those plugs, remove the unused cords, group the different cords depending on which direction they run and bind them together. Cable housing, twist tie, reusable Velcro ties are all good options for this purpose.
Software maintenance checklist:
Perform a full system scan for viruses and spyware: software maintenance is a complicated process. Run the conventional virus protection and spyware detection software. Virus protection scan must be run once in every two or four weeks.
Uninstall unused programs: Over a period computers gather several software installs depending on the need. At regular intervals check the control panel to see what programs are installed that you do not use. Uninstall them from your system to speed it up.
Check for updates on all programs: It is always advisable to go for the latest versions foal l the programs you use. From time to time, check for regular updates online from trusted sources and install those patches for upgrading each program. New updates always come with added security features and enhanced performance features and so can speed up your computer.
Upgrade or reinstall the operating system: Installations, updates, uninstalls and other functions bring some changes on the Operating System. Also viruses, data corruption and spyware can also inflict degradation on the computer performance. Reinstalling the OS or upgrading it for a recent one is a good solution to speed up the computer.
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Nine years after Verizon promised to make its high-speed Fios internet service available to every household in New York City, the city sued the company on Monday, saying it had failed to keep that pledge.
In a complaint filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the city contends that Verizon is in breach of a 2008 franchise agreement. That contract called for Verizon to build a citywide Fios network by the end of 2014. But, the city says, Verizon has failed to make its service available to at least “tens of thousands” of prospective customers and has refused to accept service requests from many others.
For two years, city officials have been pressing the company to satisfy its obligations, in the hope of avoiding litigation. But the two sides reached an impasse this winter, and on Monday the contentious tone of the standoff became public.
“Verizon must face the consequences for breaking the trust of 8.5 million New Yorkers,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. He added that, “It’s 2017 and we’re done waiting. No corporation — no matter how large or powerful — can break a promise to New Yorkers and get away with it.”
Verizon responded sharply. A company spokesman, Raymond McConville, said in an email that “on a day where the city is preparing for the biggest blizzard of the season, it’s sad that the mayor’s focus is on pursuing a frivolous lawsuit.” Verizon also hinted that it might choose not to renew its city franchise in three years.
Verizon said the de Blasio administration was interpreting the contract differently from the way the previous administration, that of Michael R. Bloomberg, had. “The de Blasio administration is disingenuously attempting to rewrite the terms of an agreement made with its predecessor and is acting in its own political self-interests that are completely at odds with what’s best for New Yorkers,” the company said in a statement. “We plan to vigorously fight the city’s allegations.”
Verizon does not dispute that large numbers of New York residents have been frustrated by their inability to receive the company’s heavily promoted Fios internet and television services. But the company lays much of the blame on landlords who have not granted Verizon access to run cable across their property.
Verizon says it has already met its obligation to run fiber-optic cable past every home in the city. It argues that the contract did not call for it to connect that cable to every house and apartment building in the city.
In a letter sent last week to Anne M. Roest, the commissioner of the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, the company said it had spent “more than $3.7 billion to install thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable” and other equipment across the city. “As a result, we now pass all households in the city and can provide service to over 2.2 million households within seven to 14 days of receiving a service request,” said the letter, signed by Craig L. Silliman, Verizon’s general counsel.
Verizon also noted that it employed 4,000 people in the city and said that it planned to spend an additional $1 billion over four years. But, Mr. Silliman wrote, “the city’s intransigence does not create a favorable environment” for negotiations of a franchise renewal, which could begin as soon as next summer.
Some city residents have been complaining for years about their inability to persuade Verizon to provide high-speed internet service to their homes, said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, a good-government advocacy group. “People continue to be very frustrated because it appears that Verizon is motivated by what will be most profitable for them — what buildings to wire and what buildings to ignore,” Ms. Lerner said.
She said that city officials had clearly tried to avoid taking Verizon to court, but that they had given up trying to persuade the company to complete the network.
“This really is about undertaking an ambitious obligation and then deciding halfway through that it’s not worth it,” Ms. Lerner said. “We are very happy to see the city holding the vendor’s feet to the fire. This is absolutely what should be done.”
By PATRICK McGEEHAN
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On-demand IT has reached a tipping point and organisations of all sizes and sectors are using cloud computing services to run and develop their businesses.
1. Overcoming legacy concerns to leave the internal data centre
Okta CIO Mark Settle runs his organisation, an identity management specialist, using about 140 cloud-based applications. "I have no data centre to worry about," he says. "It makes the budgeting cycle so much easier. You basically look at your list of SaaS subscription fees and project what the future costs will be like. It can be done in as little as 90 minutes."
Settle recognises that this shift from capital to operational expenditure will have a fundamental impact on the role of the IT leader. "It's the future and it's also a very different approach from the one I've taken in any of my previous businesses," he says, looking back on a career that has included seven CIO positions.
Settle believes the cloud is now a business-as-normal activity. "Almost all executives are looking to go cloud first now -- there's very few people writing software and buying new servers to run those applications in a data centre," he says. However, he also appreciates that key challenges remain, particularly regarding legacy applications.
"On the infrastructure side, the cloud has moved from something used for testing and development to a platform for production services. People are becoming increasingly confident moving systems to the cloud and getting their stuff out of the internal data centre," says Settle.
"However, it's also a fallacy to think that large, global enterprises are going to completely abandon their data centres. I think there'll always be legacy applications that need to be maintained in-house, be that for cost reasons or a desire not to disrupt how systems work currently. The hope has to be that cutting-edge work around containerisation will help some of the doubters to deal with their legacy concerns."
2. Using on-demand IT for almost everything
The future of the cloud, says CIO consultant Andrew Abboud, is very closely related to preconceived notions of on-demand IT. "Let's get this straight," he says. "Executives around the business don't talk about the cloud -- they're not interested in the technology per se, they just want to solve the business challenges they face."
CIOs must help ensure the hype surrounding the IT industry does not get in the way. "As technologists, we get hung up on buzzwords when we should be focused on the opportunities," says Abboud. "Every organisation is different and every business must understand how the cloud will deliver benefits."
Once the CIO has helped the rest of the business to establish the context of implementation, the key debate is simply how far an organisation can push its use of on-demand IT. "We're seeing a move towards online services across business and, in the future, the key question concerns saturation -- in most cases, why wouldn't you use the cloud for everything?"
Abboud recognises concerns persist, such as around information security and the porting of legacy applications. But he is hopeful such challenges can be overcome effectively. "If you accept the logic that an external cloud provider is going to be more secure than an internal data centre, then you should really push as much of your business to the cloud as possible," says Abboud.
"Legacy applications can be a problem, especially in the finance sector. But every industry must bite the bullet and transform eventually. CIOs need to appreciate that the Cobol specialists will die out -- you have to deal with change now."
3. Boosting real-time marketing and sales communications
Experienced CMO Sarah Speake says cloud computing is a welcome addition to the marketeer's digital kit bag. Analysts spend a great deal of time investigating the role of CIOs and CMOs in an age of decentralised purchasing. Speake says the next frontier for the cloud involves CMOs helping their departments to make the most of on-demand capability.
"We should take collective responsibility for up-skilling our teams sufficiently to navigate cloud-based apps and tools appropriately to drive speed, efficiency and transparency," she says. Speake, who is an experienced CMO who has held senior marketing positions at ITV and Google, says cloud-based systems can help marketers move away from dangerous assumptions.
"For all too long, we shared key documents, like Excel spreadsheets, internally via email, never knowing whether the one we were inputting into or scrutinising to drive in-depth customer segmentation was the most current or not," she says. "Accuracy was an unknown quantity, so our responsibilities in driving additional leads and revenues to the bottom line were often hard to prove."
Speake says cloud computing can provide further boosts for marketeers, such as through real-time access to customer relationship management data or via integrated marketing automation and communication. Once again, she says CMOs -- rather than CIOs -- can help people across the business to make the most of cloud-based services.
"In part, our role is to help our sales friends continuously assess customer prioritisation, depending on short- and long-term revenue potential," she says. "Equally, we will need to revise our own marketing communications to ensure we're driving leads or maintaining existing customers depending on our organisational business model."
4. Enabling education and development from any location
Matt Britland, director of ICT at Lady Eleanor Holles School, says his school uses Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office 365. Both implementations are managed internally by the school. He says sensitive data relating to the school is not stored in the cloud. However, the technology is already playing a key role in education -- and that part will only grow in coming years.
"The cloud allows our students to work from any location as long as they have an internet-connected device," says Britland. "The cloud has to be part of the future of education because it enables learning to happen everywhere."
He is currently running a cloud-based project that allows pupils to work in teams and collaborate on the same project. The school's use of cloud-based productivity apps is also extended to staff. Britland says the right preparations are crucial.
"It can be a challenge explaining the software and its benefits to people who are new to the cloud," he says. "You have to put the right training in place and I've been running training courses. Most education professionals, however, are keen to learn and explore new opportunities." http://www.zdnet.com/article/cloud-computing-is-the-new-normal-is-it-time-to-use-it-for-everything/
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