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3Pointer:  Are You Cloud Ready?

March, 2014


3POINTS ASKS: ARE YOU CLOUD READY?

Give yourself two points for each “yes” and one point for each “no.” Tally your score, and see where you fall. 15-20: Cloud Mover and Shaker. Get set to elevate your business to new heights. 9-14: Cloud Thinker. Explore “what-if” scenarios. Under 9: Cloud Student. You don’t need a total cloud solution, but keep it in your line of site.
 

1.  Is bandwidth important to your business?

FACT: On-premise infrastructure (the physical technology in your office) today runs at 100 to 1000 Mbps. In the cloud, you need about 1.54 Mbps transfer speed per user. So, a 3 Mbps circuit will give you a couple solutions in the cloud while a 10 to 20 Mbps circuit will give you a lot in the cloud. Bottomline: the cloud offers scalability.

2.  Do you use a single Internet connection?

FACT: Two redundant Internet connections enhance data security and prevent downtime when one fails.

3.  Is your firewall set-up for circuit failover?

FACT: When a firewall goes down, everything hosted in your office stops. Email access may be denied. Client communication is restricted.  Your secondary internet immediately kicks when you have the right firewall system and configuration in place.

4.  Are you looking to upgrade your applications?

FACT: Think of software as a client service. This is completely different from the way we all started out purchasing and using software. Case in point: Salesforce and other 3rd party software packages have hosted cloud options for running your business. Here, you don’t have to worry about updates or backing up because both are automatic.

5.  Is it important to access email from any location?

FACT: Email in the cloud allows users to access mail anywhere from any device. Email has evolved into an application. Added benefit: pay only for what you use.  Microsoft Office 365 is a great solution to check out if you are looking to move your email out of your closet and into the cloud.

6.  Are you limited to a physical, onsite phone system?

FACT:  According to global analyst firm, Ovum, VoIP will account for nearly 100% of voice communication by 2015. VoIP means Voice over Internet Protocol. Basically, you talk over the public Internet instead of a landline. A phone system hosted in the cloud stores data in a server accessible via the Internet. Think Skype, GoToMeeting.com, or ShoreTel.

7.  Do you need better system backup?

FACT: When it comes to backup, expect the unexpected. Moving backups to the cloud is an essential security measure for many reasons: natural disasters, onsite contamination, and fire. Recovery and restore options in the cloud oftentimes minimize downtime and save your business from imploding.

8.  Is a virtual work environment important to your team?

FACT:  Cloud technology allows users to access, edit, share and create documents from anywhere. Same goes for phones, meetings – just about anything you need in order to get the job done. It’s an era of mobility. That’s why companies are adopting BYOD or bring-your-own-device best practices and tapping top talent from a state or even country away. All this leads to greater virtualization.

9. Do you wish software updates kept up with your business?

FACT: Technology evolves. Service as a Software, a term referencing software applications in the cloud, means that updates are seamless and immediate. You always have the latest version. As developers continue to refine their products, your business benefits.

10.  Do you want to improve cash flow?

FACT: With the cloud, technology moves from capital expenditures to operating expenditures, lowering your total cost of ownership and impacting cash flow.


U2, Biometric Hand Scanners, and Your Cloud Future

Let’s look at three quick examples. Back in the eighties (cue the U2 music), you may have installed a space-hogging, expensive server or state-of-the-art phone system or pricey accounting software. The cloud displaces the server with a pay-as-you-go pricing model. And the telecommunications closet with multi-colored spaghetti wires? Empty. A cloud-based phone system sends voicemails to your inbox, integrates with your CRM software for brilliant reports, and finds you instantly so you never miss a call. As for the accounting software, when developers add features, you do too.

Of course, one question we often here is: how secure is the cloud? Let’s take a tour. Behind the cloud are data centers equipped with generators, barometric hand scanners, redundant Internet connectivity, a fire suppression system, and natural gas or diesel generators. When you think about it, it’s a lot more secure than the typical server room or telecommunications closet down the hall.

Lastly, if you like the quiz featured in our blog, you’ll love what 3Points has coming up: Watch for a cloud readiness score added to the audit process later this year.

 

 



Product Focus: Mobile Device Management

December, 2013

By Mike Magnesen - 3Points Tech Team

 

We’re all going mobile. With that, policy setting and security are big concerns for small businesses. Mobile Device Management (MDM) from 3Points is coming soon.  This service will allow you to set-up, monitor, secure and manage iOS and Android-compatible devices under one central location. It’s enterprise-level monitoring for small business. And that’s exciting! A lot of what we do, say, create, access and share is put on these devices.

For now, MDM refers to phones (although we are testing other devices). To start, there are two choices for a small business owner: own and distribute the phones or adopt a BYOD or bring-your-own-device policy.

Here’s a quick look at what you will be able to do with 3Points Mobile Device Management when we launch this new service:

  • Pull the latest assets from the device
  • Lock the device remotely, regardless of where the mobile device is located 

  • Set a new passcode to an Android device (helpful when a user forgets their passcode)

  • Remove current passcode on a device (helpful when a user forgets, similar to Android, but mostly for iOS to get into the device so we can push a new forced passcode prompt)

  • Wipe the device remotely if an employee loses their phone so that sensitive company information cannot be taken or tampered with (what if the device had all your sales information on it in a Salesforce1 app?)

  • Choose to exclude or not monitor certain devices 

  • Mark an Android device as lost (allows us to choose, per client, whether that wipes the client device or locks it).  

  • The main client contact has access to a portal that contains their company mobile devices. You’ll see: Device name, phone number, IP address, manufacturer, phone carrier, warranty information, software version (iOS or Android), and geo-tracking with a quick link to Google Maps showing the exact location of the device real-time.

  • Set up monitors on one or more devices, monitoring questions like: Has there been a jailbreak (breaking into an electronic device and modifying how it runs) to an iOS phone? or Has the SIM card been tampered with? or Is the device available to check-in with our system.  


Some real-world examples where MDM makes a difference:

  • A new employee’s phone can be quickly outfitted with WiFi, exchange mail, apps -- everything they need to do the job.

  • Any business with employees who move around (like plumbers, landscapers or electricians) can identify routes and provide verification through geo-tracking features.

  • Stolen phones or lost phones with critical sales data can be wiped clean or even found.


There are also some great opportunities on the horizon for MDM that we'll be offering a bit down the road like geo-location on iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, etc.) as well as historical tracking (currently it's just real-time), the ability to add or delete apps, and integration with CRM applications. As the user experience with mobile devices evolves, the 3Points Tech Team looks forward to rolling out our MDM offering during the second half of 2014.

Interested in test driving Mobile Device Management? Contact our sales department during the second half of 2014 for more details.  They can be reached at 708-546-4950 or at sales@3points.com


 

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