Cloud computing simply means storing and accessing data and programmes over the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is basically a network of servers, each with a different function. Some deliver services, others store data. As you can imagine, there are plenty of business advantages to working in the cloud.
When you back your information up in the cloud, it’s safe and sound. You can access it from anywhere with an internet connection, and you don’t need as much potentially expensive storage resource on the premises. Here’s how we’ll help you back up vital data safely, securely and accessibly.
Off-site data storage
Off-site data storage is vital. Not so long ago data backups were carried out and stored on-site. Now the cloud has taken over, offering an essential addition to traditional data storage and backup protocols. When you back your data up in the cloud, away from your physical premises, it’s safe and sound, ready to be used to restore your website, systems and databases if something goes wrong.
Online backup means the same thing as cloud backup – it’s an additional way to keep your business data extra safe and secure, accessible through the internet and safe from physical harm. Together with regular on-site backups, it means you have everything you need to rebuild your business if a disaster happens.
The cloud is your first stop for more than backups. It’s also perfect for storage, freeing up resources at your end and providing excellent levels of security, privacy and data safety.
Dropbox for business
Dropbox for business is a secure, cloud-based file sharing and storage solution, really easy to use. It’s an excellent way to store, synchronise and share files safely and securely, and also provides heaps of admin tools to protect your business.
Created to help teams work together better and get more done through simple file sharing, Dropbox for business works with the apps you already use, whether it’s Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. It also comes with support for Windows, Android, iOS, Mac and Linux, and you can use it on any device. When you all use the same tool to communicate, business life is a whole lot easier, more productive, efficient and effective.
Microsoft provides an excellent suite of cloud-based products and services.
Microsoft Azure is a fast-growing state-of-the-art collection of integrated cloud services including excellent analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage and web. It’s designed to help businesses move faster, achieve more and spend less.
Azure supports a huge range of operating systems, programme languages, frameworks, tools, databases and devices, those developers and IT professionals like us rely on, trust and use every day. Azure’s tools, templates and managed services mean it’s easier to build and manage everything from enterprise, mobile, Web and Internet of Things apps faster, using the proven tech you’re familiar with.
Hosted Sharepoint is perfect for cloud-based document storage and collaboration. Unlike most tools it provides enterprise grade collaboration and revision control. You can check and edit SharePoint documents, and each has its own comments section for project management excellence at document level.
You can access it via your browser, but it’s also accessible direct through the Microsoft Office applications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. This makes it as simple to share things as it is on your local hard drive. Documents can be searched by teams and non team members, and you can stash standard templates in the cloud, with every stored document available online and offline.
Office 365 is a monthly or annual subscription-based plan giving you access to all the usual Office applications plus a suite of extra cloud-based productivity services. They include Skype for Business web conferencing, Exchange Online hosted email and more online storage via OneDrive for Business and Skype minutes for home. Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll also get the desktop version of the latest Office applications.
Full installed applications include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and, for PC, Publisher and Access, installable across multiple devices, and 365 is fully compatible as far back as the desktop version of Office 2007 and 2008 for Mac.
Sharepoint 2010 is a Microsoft collaboration platform that integrates with Office and Active Directory. You use it to develop and build websites quickly, even if you don’t know a thing about coding. The sites can then be used to manage a host of cool collaboration tools including libraries, discussion boards, task lists, calendars, blogs, wikis and surveys.
The great thing is, SharePoint 2010 makes collaboration secure, with users changing the permissions on content to share with the right people. It means you can monitor, audit and control content in a structured, logical way, according to your content lifecycle. And everything’s remarkably easy to search.
If you want the flexibility to store versions of every piece of content based on its configuration, do accurate version-tracking and restore earlier versions at will, get insightful reports and rule-based alerts, it’s perfect… and we’ll set everything up for you.
UK Data centres
A data centre is simply a lot of networked servers. It’s a dedicated site where businesses store and operate business IT infrastructure, their servers and the storage equipment used to run application software, process and store data and content. The temperature and humidity are carefully controlled and there’s an internal power supply and backup power on tap. Safety and security are paramount, with sprinkler systems and fire alarms, water detection systems and strict security controls.
You can create an in-house data centre, but it can be expensive. Or you can host your IT infrastructure off-site in a dedicated UK data centre with the resources you need to take your business forwards. We recommend every business finds a good, solid, reliable and trustworthy UK data centre to keep running smoothly and efficiently whatever happens, come hell or high water!
A cloud server is simply a server in the cloud, somewhere safe, secure and easily accessible to store your digital collateral off-site and away from your premises.
Fully managed private cloud
A fully managed private cloud is a dedicated server space only you can access. It gives you full control of your data without the potential regulatory and compliance issues you get with shared clouds. And at the same time you get a flexible hosting environment.
The best fully managed private cloud services come with all sorts of benefits. You enjoy personal service and guaranteed up-time, a virtual desktop infrastructure, virtual private server, hosted exchange, disaster recovery, business continuity, storage, processing power and a suite of essential infrastructure resources.
Private Cloud services are perfect for data-sensitive organisations, an for any business wanting to make the best job of data security. Your own cloud environment means you can be certain you’re safe and secure, and have the resources you need to thrive.
Hosted server environments are ideal for businesses wanting the full range of easy-to-access security, safety, infrastructure and resources to themselves, with no sharing. When you have your own dedicated hosted server, your data is ring-fenced and impregnable. You can either manage your own environment or find expert support to fully manage your private cloud for you.
You don’t need hardware to send cloud email. There’s no software. All you need is a browser or email client. You can set up email addresses for your domain, so they look professional, and you do it all via your own cloud-based server.
Hosted email and web filtering services
Hosted email and web filtering services operate their own email servers. It’s all about delivering a premium service, important to every business. Using a professional email hosting service means the hosted email provider manages everything. You can access messages anywhere via webmail, smartphone or your email client. And there’s no in-house email servers to maintain and manage.
What about web filtering? A web filter programme screens incoming website pages to check how much of it should be displayed. It checks the origin and content of each page against a set of rules you create yourself. The programme breaks down and analyses online traffic to pinpoint page elements you don’t want in your internal network. With quality web filtering software in place you’ll protect your business’s security, steer clear of potential legal trouble from inappropriate content and prevent employees from wasting time online.
Hosted Exchange is where a host provides a Microsoft e-mail box and space on a server, for clients to host their data. The host organisation manages the client data on the server, on the client’s behalf.
A managed email service takes responsibility for building a customised email delivery plan tailored to your needs. It’ll pro-actively manage your email campaigns and make recommendations based on your own email performance benchmarks.
The best managed email services come with premium spam protection, a top class uptime guarantee – ideally 100% – and 24/7 support every day of the year. It’s a good move if you want to improve service levels and user features without the cost and hassle of managing email services yourself, freeing your time to focus on growing your business. The best services deliver easy access to email via iPhone, Blackberry and Android mobile devices as well as desktop and laptop, and ideally your data will be kept safe in UK-based data centres.
Cloud computing security involves a set of control-based technologies and policies designed to comply with laws and regulations, and properly protect information, data, data applications and infrastructure.
The cloud is a shared resource, so secure identity management, privacy and access control are vital. Proper security in the cloud is a priority for organisations storing and backing up their data on the cloud.
Every good cloud computing provider will have addressed these concerns, putting them in place using a mix of data security, privacy and compliance with all the relevant regulations. They’ll also have a formal business continuity plan plus a solid backup plan in case there’s a security breach.
- Deterrent controls reduce attacks, letting potential attackers know the consequences of trying to meddle with the cloud
- Preventive controls strengthen the cloud system by cutting down on removing any vulnerabilities, using things like strong user authentication and identification
- Detective controls spot and deal with attacks, monitoring system and network security and detecting attacks so they can be prevented
- Corrective controls limit the damage caused by an attack, restoring system backups during or afterwards and rebuilding compromised systems
A cloud desktop is the same as a regular desktop, just in the cloud. And it comes with all sorts of benefits.
A hosted desktop is simply a desktop set within the larger cloud-computing sphere, a subset of the cloud. It can give you a high tech, efficient and ultra-secure IT infrastructure at a fraction of the cost of a traditional set up at your premises.
It’s perfect if you want to minimise data loss, delegate day-to-day IT management and maintenance, and improve infrastructure security cheaply. A hosted desktop solution gives you simple, browser-based access to all your data, software and files via any internet-enabled device, from anywhere, for better productivity and faster business growth.
Remote desktops are programmes or operating system features designed to let you connect to a computer in another location, see its desktop and use it just like a local machine. It means you can access your own desktop, and the apps, data and information it contains, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. As you can imagine it’s perfect for working from home.
A virtual desktop is simply a user’s interface – their icons, wallpaper, windows, folders, toolbars, widgets and so on – presented in a virtual environment, stored on a remote server instead of on a local PC. Thanks to desktop virtualisation software, the physical machine is kept separate from the software and the operating system is safely isolated.
Employees have full access to their business desktop from multiple devices, through any internet connection, from any device, anywhere. It cuts the cost of provisioning new desktops as well as slashing management and support costs. And there’s no need to install, update and patch applications, back up files or do virus scans on individual computers.
Working from home
While the long-promised dramatic home-working revolution hasn’t happened, increasing numbers of people are working from home these days. They might work part of the week from their home office, or all of it, but whatever the score is they need to be properly equipped for the job, able to access the exact same systems, software and information they access through their desktop at work.
Remote working can mean all sorts of things, from working at home part of the time, full-time or just occasionally to working from home because there’s an emergency at your premises. It can mean working from your local coffee shop, something plenty of people do, particularly in the digital media sector. Or from your holiday home, timeshare, hotel, whatever.
There are benefits for everyone concerned. When a proportion of your workforce work outside your premises, whether it’s a sales team constantly on the move or fellow members of your digital, virtual organisation, you spend less on premises, less on energy, less on a wide range of fixed and variable business costs. People who are temperamentally suited to working alone are happier than they are in an office environment and more productive as a result.
To make it work seamlessly and get the best out of everyone, you need a rock solid remote computer system that links everyone up, wherever they happen to be.