3Pointer: Full-Cloud: Fact or Fiction?
Some small businesses are kicking technology to the curb. Sort of.
A movement is underfoot to dismiss space-hogging servers and temperamental desktops in favor of a full-cloud offering where everyday business systems are virtualized.
Here’s how full-cloud works. A thin client (basically a dummy terminal) or other device uses the Internet to connect you to your company’s entire IT infrastructure—servers, data, email, business tools and applications. Everything is stored in highly secure data centers, designed as fortresses even Chuck Norris couldn’t crack (more on this a bit later).
If all this sounds a bit like science fiction, it isn’t. 3Points has helped several companies make the leap to full-cloud. One in particular, Destra Capital Management, is featured in this issue. According to company president James Yount, he’s never looked back.
Let’s see how traditional technology compares with full-cloud...
Sound familiar? All your tech stuff is on-site, vulnerable to fire, power outages, natural disasters, negligence and theft. You purchased the equipment, which is an added line item on your P&L. As computers and servers sit in your office, problems that can’t be solved remotely demand a 3Points technician. As technology matures, equipment needs replacement. When software reaches end-of-life, there’s another version lined up just waiting for installation.
Now imagine a far less cost of ownership. With full-cloud, you don’t have to buy desktop computers or servers, so if anything happens to your office, your information isn’t there to lose. Instead, it’s sitting safely in two separate data centers, one on each coast, that are SAS 70 compliant with biometric hand scanners and backup generators fueled by natural gas. Cold air comes up through the floor. An intricate maze of pipes keeps the temperature crisp. Highly pressurized, clean water is on hand in case of fire. Robotic arms load and unload tapes in a tape library.
Below are five reasons why some small business leaders are embracing full-cloud computing.
Flexibility and Productivity
Going full-cloud centralizes your business infrastructure. Employees and clients with access rights can work at 3 a.m. just as easily as 3 p.m. on any device with an Internet connection. Cloud computing cultivates greater productivity.
Lower Cost of Ownership
Instead of owning equipment, you invest in what matters to you most. Since everything is in the cloud, the set-up on the ground calls for thin client technology. Thin clients don’t think, they connect. The actual “thinking” or processing is stored in the cloud. (Yes, the term “thin client” is borrowed from society’s obsession with physique. Fat client technology is a computer that handles more processes, thus it takes on more weight.)
Power outages and disasters can’t touch a full-cloud infrastructure. 3Points has fielded many calls from frantic business owners over the years because of building fires, theft, water damage, and even mold infestation. These issues are moot when you go full-cloud since all the important data is offsite.
With a full-cloud offering, you don’t need a technician schlepping into your office on a regular basis. There are no physical systems to maintain on-site. Customers pay a flat monthly fee to access end-to-end technology. The Network Operations Center (NOC) at 3Points addresses issues on demand.
Not For Everyone, But It Is For Many
Full-cloud is not for everyone. Big advocates include: professional services, accounting, nonprofit, investment and financial, trades like plumbing or electrical, transportation, and construction. Why? They impose less demand on the network, follow strict security protocol and are data-focused. Manufacturing companies with machinery like CNC machines or robotic technology connected to a main network typically don’t have enough bandwidth to go full-cloud. Same for verticals like bakeries, research facilities and laboratories—any establishment that uses a lot of equipment and data.
NEXT ISSUE: Learn more about the best bandwidth and devices for going full-cloud in the summer 2014 3Pointer.
Product Focus: Windows 10 is FREE from Microsoft
By Ryan Hertz, 3Points Tech Team
Nope, that’s not a typo. Microsoft Windows 10 will be offered free to those already running Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 (no one really knows what happened to version 9!). As for Windows 10’s availability, the 3Points Tech Team received an anonymous tip that puts the release date at right around August 2015.
Windows 10 boasts the best traits of its two older siblings. It has the traditional start menu on the left hand side found in Windows 7 and live tiles on the right for greater functionality thanks to Windows 8.1. All in all, Windows 10 is a nice fusion between mobile and desktop technologies.
I like the Multiple Desktop feature where you can compartmentalize tasks in individual workspaces—all running at the same time on your screen. Cool! You simply Add a Desktop using the Task View button at the bottom. So, I can write this column in a Word document with my email open in its little pane and my activities for the day in another square (just to keep me on schedule).
Taking its lead from Apple’s Siri, Cortana is your personal assistant in Windows 10 (Halo fans will recognize Jen Taylor’s voice and character name). For those who like to talk instead of type, Windows 10 has some neat voice activation options, too.
According to CNET, about 51% of desktop PC users have Windows 7 with 13% employing Windows 8 and 8.1. If you’re in these groups and are considering a new PC or operating system, you might as well wait for Windows 10. Personally, I love anything that’s free and Windows 10 is feature-loaded to boot. Plus, mainstream support ended for Windows 7 in mid-January, which means users now have to pay for support. (Developers do this so people gravitate toward the latest version on the market.)
Right now, Frank from the 3Points Tech Team is running a technical preview (a couple versions of the beta stages) of Windows 10. We’ll keep you posted on future findings.
Also, big news on the end-of-life for the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (not the desktop, just the operating system) … updates and support will cease July 14, 2015. XP users experienced this last year. Cybercriminals are waiting to launch virus and malware attacks when Windows Server 2003 users are most vulnerable. Please call us soon (we’re already booking into May) to replace your Windows Server 2003 operating system so your network is fully protected.
Ryan Hertz is a member of 3Points Tech Team, a group dedicated to research and development of new technology for small business.
Connect with him at: email@example.com or 708.546.4945.
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