Archive for the ‘Cloud Computing’ Category

5 Ways VDI Can Help Your Company to Cut Costs

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has been around for many years but has become increasingly popular in recent times. One of the main drawbacks that kept organizations from adopting VDI in the past has been costly. However, today it is much more affordable to adopt VDI. What’s more desktop virtualization can help organizations to cut operational costs. In this article, we’ll be looking at ways that VDI can help your organization reduce expenditure.

1. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

The BYOD trend is more popular than ever today. In the traditional office setting, management has to provide devices for everyone in an organization so that they can access the files and apps they need to work via a secure platform. But this meant spending a lot of money – not just to acquire the devices but to maintain and upgrade them when they become obsolete. 

VDI makes all of this redundant. The fact that you can get access to your work desktop from any device without compromising on security is revolutionary. After all, everyone has a device today. By allowing workers to bring their devices to work, organizations do not only get to save money, but also workers can be more productive since they do not have to spend time getting used to their new work computer. There is also the added advantage that workers can pick up and do their job at any time and any place.

2. Easier Outsourcing

Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever to outsource work to remote workers. If you are considering hiring remote workers, security is one of the things that may cross your mind. In the past, some organizations solved these issues by purchasing devices, setting them up, and mailing them to their remote employees. Imagine you hire a person on another continent. Not only would you have to pay a steep mailing fee, but a lot of time would be wasted in the whole process.

With VDI, outsourcing is a straightforward process. You can have your remote workers access your company’s virtual desktop with any device. The best part is that this wouldn’t create any security loopholes and you can determine the level of access that each person has on your VDI platform. With easier outsourcing, your organization can be more efficient and therefore more productive.

3. IT Staff Working Hours

Another way that VDI can help organizations cut costs is by reducing your IT staff working hours. Usually, IT workers do not have to only maintain your server but also every device in your workplace. This involves setting them up, keeping them updated, dealing with hardware issues, and much more. This may mean you need a large IT department (depending on the size of your organization), and keep them well paid.

VDI eliminates the need for all of this. No doubt you’d still need a good IT team. However, the team can be much smaller, and their job would mainly be to maintain your data center and troubleshoot any potential issues that your workers may encounter while connecting to the virtual desktop. All the necessary updates can be done right from the main computer in the data center, and it will apply to all the virtual desktops on the server.

4. Lower Electricity Bill

You may be surprised to know that opting for VDI can reduce your organization’s power consumption and thereby allow you to save money. This is a hotly debated subject, so it helps if we look at a scenario. If you have an organization with 100 computers that are connected to the internet, each one of them will require electricity to function as well as run your internet infrastructure and even your internal server. However, if you adopt VDI, you do not need physical computers stationed at your office. Hypothetically, if you adopt the BYOD strategy, of course, your workers will still need to connect their computers to a power source while they are at work. Still, there will be several hours daily (maybe even up to 12 hours or more) where your power consumption will be drastically reduced, and this translates to a lower electricity bill.

Now, the main thing that will consume power if you migrate to VDI is your server. This is a necessity. But there are ways to even avoid that. By hosting your virtual desktop on the cloud, you can reduce your company’s power consumption to the lowest level.

5. Spend Less on Data Management and Security

Every year, companies spend thousands of dollars on data management and security. If your organization is looking to cut cost on data management and security, VDI is the way to go. Instead of maintaining a massive data center and a lot of drives and other hardware which do not only take space but consume power, you can move to VDI and host your server in the cloud. A virtual desktop system will not only make your work more flexible but also reduce costs and provide better security for your data. You do not have to deal with lost or corrupted files anymore. What’s more, your workers will have no accessibility issues.

VDI does not only protect your organization from losing data but also prevents unauthorized access. With all your data in one place, it is easier to set up the best security protocols and avoid any hacking. Also, if you choose to host your server on the cloud, hardware damage would have no effect on your data. This is the ultimate security. What’s more, you can even rely on tools like FileCloud to provide an extra layer of security for your files like encryption, ransomware protection, two-factor authentication (2FA), and more.

Conclusion

Every organization wants to cut costs, and as you can see from the points highlighted above, VDI can go a long way to help lower expenditure. There are many other ways that VDI can allow companies to save money.

Just about every organization can benefit from VDI, and if you are thinking of going virtual, FileCloud is a good option. We are the number one file platform for VDI. We provide all the tools that you need to make the most of your virtual desktop.

The Difference and Similarities between VDI and Cloud Storage Platforms

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is undoubtedly part of the next wave in business technology. It has the potential to transform how we work and boost productivity tremendously. While many companies have already adopted VDI, it is still new to some people. If you just started exploring VDI for your business, one question that may come to mind is ‘what is the difference between VDI and cloud storage platforms?’ This is an important question as knowing the similarities and differences between VDI and cloud storage platforms would allow you to appreciate the perks of desktop virtualization.

Before we go any further, it is crucial that we have a working definition of VDI. As you can probably guess from the words “virtual desktop infrastructure,” VDI involves making a desktop (with all the associated computing power) available virtually to a select group of users who can access it from anywhere. On the other hand, cloud storage involves hosting files on a virtual hard drive, which you can also access from anywhere.With this basic understanding of how VDI platforms work, let’s look at some basic differences between a file collaboration platform for VDI like FileCloud and a typical cloud storage platform like Dropbox.

Similarities between VDI and Cloud Storage Platforms

Storage and Synchronization: One fundamental similarity between VDI and cloud storage platforms is that they both allow you to store files virtually. Also, when these files are changed for any reason, the new version is synched to everyone that is connected.

Accessibility: Whether you are using a VDI or a cloud storage platform, you can access your files from anywhere and with just about any device provided you have an internet connection.

These are the most significant similarities between VDI and cloud storage. However, there are some others such as the ability to share files easily, back up your data and even retrieve accidentally deleted files.

Difference between VDI and Cloud Storage Platforms

Availability of Desktop Tools: The main difference between VDI and cloud storage platforms is the availability of your desktop tools. If a cloud storage platform is essentially a virtual hard drive, then VDI can be described as a virtual computer. With VDI, you have access to the same desktop that you have at your work computer – including the apps and processing power. This means you can work anywhere with the same security and access that you get when working at the office. You can run the same apps as well as liaise with your colleagues and clients easily.

Security: VDI is far more secure than cloud storage. While cloud storage platforms have security measures in place, the recent spate of hacking incidents proves that they are not 100 percent secure. However, with file collaboration platforms for VDI like FileCloud, protecting your data is the number one priority. FileCloud encrypts your data while in storage and in-transit. We also have other security measures in place including ransomware protection and two-factor authentication (2FA).

Control: The fact is that with VDI, you have considerably more control over your data than with cloud storage – especially if you choose to self-host. With self-hosting, your data never leaves your premises. Also, your staff would control the operation of your data center, and everything associated with it – the VDI software creates a virtual desktop that your workers can access from anywhere. This should not downplay the advantages of using cloud storage or cloud-hosting. However, the fact is large companies who do not want to cede even the slightest control over their data would feel more comfortable using a self-hosted VDI platform.

The Difference between a Self-Hosted and Cloud-Hosted VDI Platform

While VDI and cloud storage are very much different, they can sometimes overlap – to a certain extent. To understand this, we must differentiate between the two main ways of setting up a VDI platform.

Self-Hosted Server VDI: The first method involves creating a data center with a physical computer (which acts as a server) where you install the VDI software (hypervisor). With this method, your data is hosted on the computer in your data center which all remain on your premises. Self-hosting gives you complete control over your data and infrastructure. However, it may be a bit expensive for some small businesses. With self-hosting, you’ll need to purchase a powerful computer to act as your server. Also, you’ll need a good IT team to maintain the server, and upgrade it whenever it is necessary. While running a data center may seem like an easy task, it can be capital intensive. For example, if there is a power interruption at your data center, your server would go down. This means all your workers won’t be able to access their virtual desktop until power is restored – this is the reason why most servers have backup power systems.

Cloud-Hosted Server VDI: Another way to get your VDI platform up and running is to integrate it with cloud storage and computing infrastructure. This is usually called Desktop as a service (DaaS). The only difference between a self-hosted and cloud-hosted VDI platform is that with the latter, your storage and computing infrastructure are all cloud-based. This is more suited to some companies as it takes away the burden of running your own data center. Cloud-hosted VDI platforms are a blend of cloud computing and VDI.

Now, you know the difference between cloud storage and VDI. You also know what a cloud-hosted VDI platform is. If you want enterprise-level online file storage and sharing, VDI is your best bet. It comes with the added advantage of giving your workers a complete desktop with all the tools they need to do their work. The choice between self-hosting or cloud-hosting for your VDI platform depends on many variables. Generally, small companies may want to go for a cloud-hosted file sharing VDI platform as it takes away the cost of having an in-house data center and an IT team. On the other hand, some medium and large companies may want to go for a self-hosted VDI platform as it keeps everything in-house. FileCloud allows you to either self-host or run your VDI on our server. We also give you the option of running our VDI software on a third-party cloud infrastructure.

Key Factors for Making Your VDI Project a Success in 2019

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is critical to making the working environment digital. By now, everyone knows the benefits of adopting VDI. Allied Market Research has predicted that the VDI market would grow by about 18 percent annually from 2017 to 2023. More and more companies – including small and medium-sized ones – are opting for VDI to cut cost and boost efficiency.

Thanks to advancements in technology, the transition to VDI is easier than ever, and not as expensive as it was a couple of years ago. Nonetheless, there are some key factors to consider making the process as smooth as possible.

5 Factors to Consider Ensuring Success of VDI Project

1. Have a Clearly Defined Goal: When companies look to adopt VDI, one of the first and most important things to do is define the goal of the project. This means setting a target in terms of how many users would have access to the platform as well as what these people would be using the network for. Defining your VDI goal is essential to scale your hardware and network requirements. This is where most companies fail. If you hear that a company’s transition to VDI was unable to live up to expectations, there is a pretty good chance that they underestimated their hardware and network requirements during the testing phase.

As far as VDI is concerned, it is best to overstretch rather than underestimate. So, if your IT team predicts how much bandwidth is needed to support the number of staff in your organization, use that as a yardstick, not a limit. You must ensure that your network can support higher bandwidth. Often, IT staff fail to consider everything that workers may do on a network. This can result in a slow network and ultimately affect your adoption of VDI. If you will be using a self-hosted network, this also applies to storage. Planning will help to prevent a lot of unwanted surprises and hidden operational costs coming to haunt you down the road.

2. Don’t Underestimate the Testing Phase: The journey to adopting VDI usually involves a testing phase. For most companies, only those at the top of the echelon partake in the test. I mean, it makes sense because these are the people who will ultimately decide whether the VDI transition is worth it. However, it is a big mistake which could later result in network and user experience issues. The fact is that not everyone in a company can participate in the testing phase – unless it is a very small company. At the same time, allowing only a few members of the organization partake in the testing can be dangerous. The key is to find the middle ground. Most experts suggest that a representative from each department in a company takes part in the VDI testing phase. This way, there is an understanding of how the transition would affect each department. Also, these representatives would be able to guide their colleagues through the onboarding process.

Another thing to keep in mind is not to rush the migration to VDI. Mass migration is always a bad idea. Instead, it should be done systematically. This could involve moving small batches of users to the platform and analyzing its performance before migrating more users.

3. Always Prioritize User Experience: The primary goal of adopting VDI is to enhance user experience and in the process boosting workplace productivity. Therefore, it is counterproductive if users are faced with a lot of problems while migrating to VDI. Users would naturally have high expectations for VDI, and you must work to meet these expectations. This means preventing lags on the network, ensuring a seamless transition from device-to-device and more.

For the most part, user experience doesn’t only involve your network capacity, but also how users are trained and educated about the VDI platform. For most people who aren’t tech savvy, VDI may seem like a complex, new idea. However, they must be educated that it is not very different from most client-server platforms – only much better.

One way to provide excellent user experience is to ensure the VDI platform can support the same applications that your users employ for their work. Also, they must be able to access the network with their devices. File collaboration platforms for VDI like FileCloud support most end-point devices. FileCloud also provides a range of tools to promote collaboration over its network. This goes a long way to improve user experience.

4. Don’t Hesitate to Get Help From VDI Experts: While most companies would love their in-house IT team to handle everything technology-related, this is not always the case. It pays to open the door for VDI experts to assist your in-house team through the process. This does not only limit the possibilities of errors during the deployment and transition to VDI, but it also eliminates the possibility of unnecessary delays. You cannot go wrong with consulting a VDI expert. Apart from helping with the technical aspects of VDI technology, the VDI expert could also help educate your users about the new network and also highlight potential issues that you may have to deal with down the road. FileCloud provides full support to clients during the VDI and file collaboration solution implementation phase. It is also a good idea to have members of your IT team undertake a training course in VDI. That way, they’d be in a better position to guide your company through the entire process of adopting VDI with or without the assistance of external VDI experts.

Conclusion

These are some of the main considerations to guarantee success when implementing VDI, but there are many other things to keep in mind including:

• Assessing the possible security implications of opting for VDI.

• Taking the time to test the network before migrating your users.

• Choosing the right tools to troubleshoot and maintain your VDI network.

• Evaluating how the transition to VDI will affect the process of managing employees in your workplace.

There is no question that VDI has the potential to redefine the working environment completely. However, taking the time to look into all the factors listed above can go a long way to guarantee a successful transition, cut out unforeseen costs, reduce the complexity of the process and prevent a lot of issues that may spring up.

It is 2019, and this is the best time to migrate to VDI if you haven’t done so already.

Author : Rahul Sharma

Choosing The Right Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Vendor

Enterprises are moving their data and applications to the cloud with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) usage rising steadily over the past couple of years. According to research firm IDC, more than half of organizations currently utilize some form of hybrid cloud configuration. IDC predicts that the cloud software market will grow to $151.6 billion by 2020 with five year CAGR of 18.6 percent – surpassing the growth of conventional software. This trend is largely being driven by the rising number of services and applications being delivered from the cloud. Cloud solutions are sometimes so fluid that end-users and IT teams assume it ‘simply works’, leaving crucial issues like data security entirely up to the provider.

Though cloud-based applications may be ‘safer’, they are not unassailable. You should be completely responsible for your SaaS-based data, including every aspect of its security. Backing up your SaaS data provides the continued benefits of the cloud while retaining a secure copy that is shut off from the SaaS environment. Regrettably, for IT decision-makers, the cloud-to-cloud market is somewhat immature and fragmented. Given the stark contrast between cloud computing environments, backup solutions similarly vary quite widely in capabilities. However, there are a couple of available options in the market and choosing the right one is an uphill task. Here are a couple of things to consider.

Backup and Restore Capabilities

Not all backup solutions are created equal. Since SaaS applications are offered via API or a website, the available backup procedures tend to vary, this creates a significant challenge for Backup as a Service (BaaS) providers. The ideal cloud-to-cloud backup solution should include a simplified and automated way to securely back-up your system data (including audit logs and metadata) from one cloud to another. It is also important to review the vendor’s disaster recovery capabilities before-hand. Ensure the solution offers granular recovery capabilities and robust search and browse features that can facilitate faster, self-service recovery/restore – as opposed to waiting for IT to respond, end-users can efficiently perform the recovery on their own.

Backup Frequency

While most SaaS backup solutions allow you to back-up your data at the click, not all of the offer it as an automated service. Ensure this option is available for your data security and ease so that your business operations and pace of growth remain unaffected. Some services will only offer preset options such as weekly, monthly or daily, others may enable you to custom set the intervals. Your business requirements should match the vendor’s available options. The cloud-to-cloud backup solution should also be capable of sending out notifications or alerts for failed backups. Though automation frees up your time and guarantees round the clock protection, the ability to force a manual backup will prove to be convenient when making extensive changes.

Security and Compliance

Data security remains one of the most critical aspects of a modern enterprise. So understanding the safeguards built into storing your backups is crucial. Go for a SaaS backup provider that provides robust encryption coupled with strict privacy policies to protect your sensitive data. The cloud-to-cloud backup solution should also be fully compliant with any regulations that may require you to meet specific standards in securing your data. Regulatory requirements can become an issue when cross-border data flows are involved. An organization can be held responsible for a data breach even if they aren’t aware wherein, the cloud their data is stored. Regulatory requirement that governs the timing of a permanent deletion of backed up data should also be put into consideration. Ensure the vendor can support your organization’s specific data-retention requirements.

Application Subscription Autonomy

A cloud-to-cloud backup vendor should have tools in place to handle the potential unavailability of the source SaaS application itself. For example, if an organization opted to cancel its G Suite subscription after using it for several years. Retaining that invaluable G Suite data will be a prime concern, so a good BaaS vendor should offer a path to data recovery, even if the source cloud subscription has been cancelled. Be sure to inquire about independent access when accessing vendors.

Cost Benefits

Regardless of the features or services, the cost will always be a constraining factor when selecting a BaaS provider. Remember the best solution for you is the one that fits your budget. On the other hand, expensive doesn’t always translate to quality, especially if you are paying for services that you aren’t fully utilizing. Analyze your data storage requirements for both now and in the future so that you can select a cost-effective backup solution. Each cloud-to-cloud backup provider has their own pricing model that is typically based on a per-user, per month/year, per-application basis. Don’t forget to make inquiries regarding hidden charges tied to things like software updates, customer support, or bandwidth, if any.

Having a backup of your SaaS data provides peace of mind and guarantees business continuity in the event of data loss. There are multiple cloud-to-cloud backup providers out there, it is therefore important spend time analyzing each of their pricing models and feature sets, to ensure they are capable of meeting all your backup needs.

Author: Gabriel Lando

The Importance of Backing Up SaaS Data

Mobility has become a staple in today’s workplace. However, it presents a flurry of challenges for IT. Spreading data across cloud services, devices and varied network connections significantly complicate efforts to govern and protect enterprise data. Organizations have to protect any data stored on mobile devices or in the cloud while also addressing mounting legal and compliance requirements. Data backup is one of the foremost services offered by cloud vendors, and it remains the most prolific way to utilize cloud storage. The purpose of online backup is simple and direct: to safeguard information – whether personal or business – from the looming risk of loss associated with hacking, user error, or any other kind of disaster.

As Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions approach mainstream use, organizations have to pay closer attention to data protection. Data is the lifeblood of the modern enterprise. A whopping 60 percent of organizations that lose critical data completely shut down within six months of the loss. Data loss is typically a major concern for SaaS customers since the backup policies of SaaS vendors can’t guarantee the complete and speedy restoration of lost data. Data can be jeopardized by sync issues, hacking, user error, or malicious insiders. Data loss and the concerns surrounding it can easily be quelled by coupling SaaS applications with a complete backup and recovery solution.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Moving enterprise data and applications to the cloud poses potential risks. It involves handing over control of a large part of an organization’s capabilities to store and protect data to an external entity. While SaaS applications typically have a form of built-in data backup, most organizations don’t realize that some of the disaster recovery and high availability capabilities touted by SaaS vendors potentially fall short in preventing data loss. In fact, SaaS vendors usually state that clients are responsible for protecting their own data in their SLAs. Adopting an additional backup tool offers greater control and flexibility to protect your data against threats such as malicious attacks, data corruption or user errors. For enterprises that rely on the cloud, the question isn’t whether or not cloud services will fail, but how the enterprise will cope in the event it does.

A Highly Scalable Cost Effective Solution

In a small-scale scenario, users can copy files between, for example, G Suite and Office 365 to a local volume, or an external drive. But this process is manual, unreliable and will struggle to scale in the long run. For larger applications and files, this is seldom practical. Cloud solutions are scalable, so backup data sets can grow with ease in the storage. While the initial upfront cost of implementing a cloud to cloud back up solution may be high, its yearly or monthly payment plans may appeal to most smaller operations. Capital expenditures for additional hardware are not needed and once it’s set up, data is automatically saved as it streams in. Eliminating the need to proactively track, label and save information.

Added Layer of Protection Against Ransomware

SaaS applications are not unsusceptible to the threat of ransomware. It is assumed that SaaS vendors have more complex information security systems but ransomware is proving to be a vicious animal.  Most strains of ransomware typically target productivity apps like Excel and Word regardless of where they are hosted, be it in the cloud or locally. Ransomware can easily spread to G suite via the G Drive sync tool or to Office 365 through ActiveSync and OneDrive. Cloud-to-cloud backup offers an indispensable layer of protection. It ensures that you are able to recover data in the event of a ransomware attack, minimizing downtime and business disruption.

Restore your Data with Ease

Most SaaS application providers perform a stellar job of securing your data from contretemps that are within their control, however, if you get hacked or accidentally delete data, their ability to restore your data so you can resume normal business operations is limited. Promptly getting back up and running could make all the difference when data goes missing or something goes wrong for whatever reason. A SaaS backup provides multiple levels of redundancy, ensuring that if data is deleted or lost (typically via deletion or user error), backups are easily located. The more levels of data you have stored the better, since each level guarantees that your data is protected against loss, allowing you to quickly access the backed-up version of your data if it ever gets lost.

Organizations are adopting SaaS applications and cloud-based infrastructure in droves, though few are adequately equipped to secure and restore the data within their SaaS infrastructure. SaaS vendors are usually quick to mention that their data has been safely backed up across several data centers, protecting customer data from the recurrent downtime culprits. But that is where the protection ends. In situations where data is lost due to accidental deletion, user error, data corruption, malicious attack or third party application errors, organizations are left in the wind to fend for their own and recover data they had entrusted to a cloud service provider. These issues can be mitigated by adopting a cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution offered by a third party.

Author : Gabriel Lando

Why FileCloud is Ideal for Accessing and Sharing Files in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

It is clear that virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is part of the next frontier of business solutions. The ability for workers to access files from anywhere and on any device can go a long way to boost productivity and reduce costs. While cloud storage platforms and server networks may provide something similar, VDI offers more features.

Now, the big question is, how do you leverage VDI to optimize your business without compromising on security, accessibility, control, and cost? The answer is FileCloud. The fact is that no other File Collaboration platform for VDI offers as much versatility as FileCloud. We give you full control over our software to manage your data. The result is unprecedented adaptability and next-level solutions.

Why Choose FileCloud?

Flexibility: At FileCloud, we understand that one size does not fit all. For example, the file sharing requirements for the VDI setup that a huge finance firm may require is bound to be very different from what will suit a small law firm.  While the former may opt for hosting FileCloud on-premises to create an in-house cloud sharing platform, the latter may choose to allow FileCloud host their data or run FileCloud on third-party cloud platforms like Amazon WorkStation to cut cost. This is why we allow you to select the right file sharing with your VDI model that will suit your business. From choosing whether to self-host to picking the pricing structure that best suits you, everything is in your hands.

Accessibility and Security: Most enterprise solutions make users choose between accessibility or security. At FileCloud, we understand that both accessibility and security are highly important and one cannot be sacrificed for the other. Therefore, FileCloud is compatible with virtually all end-point devices whether you are running Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS or Android. FileCloud support Word, PDF, Excel, PowerPoint, and more so you can preview files before downloading them regardless of the format. When working on FileCloud, your documents are automatically synced across different platforms. You even have offline access to your data.

We provide full encryption of files – both during transit and while in storage as well as antivirus and ransomware protection. In recent years, some of the top enterprise cloud data storage platforms have been compromised by hackers. However, the high level of security on our file sharing platform for VDI ensures that you will never be a victim of data breach.

When using FileCloud, there is no hassle when uploading large files. We give you tools to prevent data loss like backing up and restoring files, remotely wiping out data or restricting access and also restoring files that may have been deleted accidentally. What’s more, updating apps can be done directly from the data center rather than individually on each device. This is not only more simple, but also less cumbersome for your IT staff.

Seamless Collaboration: Collaboration is the lifeblood of every business, and we understand this at FileCloud. Therefore, we provide a range of tools to support seamless collaboration. For example, you can lock files to prevent changes and also track file activity to keep track of changes. You can also automate processes using a simple ‘If this then that (IFTTT)’ model. There are no limitations to the potential for collaboration when using FileCloud.

If you want to host your desktop remotely without going through the trouble of setting up a remote desktop service (RDS) or if you want to make your remote desktop available to multiple users at the same time, VDI is your best option. With FileCloud, you can customize the desktop applications that each user has access to. Everyone does not have access to the same desktop. This means you can limit the apps available based on each person’s role in your organization.

FileCloud the #1 file collaboration platform for VDI does not only limit IT admin overhead cost but can also boost productivity. Imagine there is a severe snowstorm and most of your workers can’t make it to the office. Nonetheless, you have a deadline that can’t be extended. With FileCloud, productivity is guaranteed because bad weather or emergency trips will not prevent your workers from performing their duties. Your workers have to pick up any device, access your work desktop, and pick up where they left off.

FileCloud also gives a new definition to the bring your own device (BYOD) policy. With VDI, you can reduce cost by allowing users to bring their own devices to work without compromising on security or having them go through the process of installing new software.

Full Control: FileCloud gives you complete control over your data. You can choose to integrate with your existing servers. You also get to choose which users have admin privileges as well as the ability to manage connected devices, access analytics information and full audit logs of the files in your network. This means you never have to worry about employees getting access to restricted data. You can also keep track of the activities of your employees by checking usage trends to ensure that everyone is performing their role in the organization.

Customization: The customization options that FileCloud offers are unmatched. We offer multi-language support. What’s more, you can customize everything about the FileCloud platform including the domain name, login pages, messages, and more. This means you can enjoy the best VDI service, file sharing solution in the world and at the same time boost your brand visibility.  That’s not all the customization options that we offer. If you are on a slow network, you can adjust the sync rate to match your bandwidth.

Conclusion

If an organization is akin to the body of a living being, then FileCloud is like the brain. With our file platform for VDI, you can coordinate the functions in different aspects of your organization, ensuring that each worker has the tools needed to do his/her job.

FileCloud is easily the number one File Collaboration VDI platform in the world. We do not only give you better prices, but also a lot of features that you will not find on any other File Collaboration platform.

The future of your organization rests on the File Collaboration VDI platform that you choose. If your migration to VDI is fraught with challenges, it can make you rue the decision. This is why you must work with a trusted File platform for VDI. Choose FileCloud for the best VDI and File sharing experience. Author: Rahul Sharma

Are You Aware of the Unintended Consequences of SaaS?

Remember the good ol’ days when software had to be downloaded and accessed on-premises? Well, the advent of SaaS changed all that and made life easier for everybody involved. Scalable, easy to install, and most importantly, cheap, Software as a Service (SaaS) has a host of benefits, including the ability to optimize the individual business functions efficiently so that departments can now procure and use the desired systems. However, everything has a good side and a bad side, and this applies to SaaS as well. Everywhere you look now, there’s data present and every system possesses its own dataset that is stored in multiple formats. So, it is getting harder to combine and rely on data.

Fusing one or more dissimilar dataset into a trusted, unified dataset is difficult, not to mention time-consuming. But it is not impossible. You just have to watch out for these five challenges and figure out ways to avoid them. Find more details below:

 

  1. Duplicate Data

 

 

Believe it or not, but the removal of duplicate data takes a long time and consumes a lot of your valuable business resources. However, this process is a must unless you want to risk the onset of inaccuracy in your consolidated dataset. For example, without duplicate data removal, you might be dealing with contacts or accounts that have not been consolidated into specific records.

You need a two-pronged approach if you’re going to tackle the duplicate data problem. First, you must begin the de-duplication process within a certain silo to prevent applications from having more duplicate data inside them. Once that’s done and you’re ready to merge datasets, you have to connect similar records throughout all the systems in your organization. If you require duplicate cleanup work within a certain application, then you must load the non-duplicate data and flag any duplicates you find for cleanup within their systems of origin.

 

  1. Conflicting Data

 

 

A big advantage of SaaS systems is how several business processes and users contribute to a shared database to power the application. However, an unintended consequence of this method is how different apps end up with different data on the same clients. If your system shows records of a customer having two separate accounts, your analysis encounters some severe obstacles. Even a single update is capable of spangling various databases, tables, and even rows, with conflicts. And resolving these kinds of conflicts “by hand” is not only difficult but impractical as well.

Thankfully, there are two approaches – both automated – that can help you resolve conflicts existing in your data, viz. Last Modified and System of Record (SOR). While the latter focuses on the ranking of the system to find out which one is the winner in case of a conflict between two types of data, Last Modified involves using the most recently updated information across different systems for a specific field. It is possible to use a single approach to avoid any future data conflicts or a mixture of both, depending on the circumstances.

 

  1. Inconsistent Formats

 

 

While conflicts jeopardize the accuracy of your company data, inconsistent formats cause the values to conflict with one another. What this means is, even if the data is not wrong, one system might format the dates as YYYY-MM-DD and the other might use the DD-MM-YYYY format. So, even though both the details are technically correct, querying the same information can prove a hassle. From Booleans to states, phone numbers to capitalization, when you’re applying a certain standard to your data, you can update the formats for a countless number of fields.

The solution here is to standardize all your data into a single format and establish consistency. This will help improve the speed of the comparison processes as the databases will no longer have to verify the different formats against one another at a specific time.

Creating rules about which formats are going to be treated as the canonical standard for every type of entity helps make sense of the acronyms, abbreviations, order matching, and casing. Thanks to the removal of inconsistencies, improvements in data quality become noticeable, analysis becomes more reliable and querying speeds up.

 

  1. Critical Data on Related Objects

 

The relative objects tend to differ considerably when a SaaS solution is built and deployed in isolation. Related objects encompass a vast range of data associated with a specific contact, such as their opportunities, account, support tickets, departmental activities, and so on. However, a lot of the related data gets lost during data extraction, thereby causing problems with the completeness of consolidated datasets.

The best solution is to compare records on common identifiers between non-identifying and identifying fields. For matching a Contact record, for example, you must begin with an email address, since this common identifier offers the greatest probability for a singular match across different systems. There are multi-level de-duplicating keys that incorporate extra supporting data like company, address, and name. No matter what sort of common identifiers you use, related objects should always be mapped so you’re able to achieve a complete standard data schema for powering your analytics.

 

  1. Data in Source Apps Are Continuously Updated

 

 

Data constantly gets updated, which signifies that the consolidated data sets manufactured by your business might become obsolete if a part of the source data changes. It is difficult to keep data constantly updated. When connected data sources are no longer in sync, the data used to feed business intelligence tools, like dashboards, start outputting less reliable reports.

It’s tedious to query siloed systems for the latest data every time the data inputs are changed. It is better if you spend your time analyzing different datasets, finding insights, and sharing recommendations with others in your company. Use automated pipelines to join the dots between the data in apps and your central database to analyze, bridge the gaps between analytics and apps.

In such situations, data is going to be updated in almost real-time, anywhere from five minutes to 24 hours. This unified and consolidated data not only saves data prep time but also provides trusted data resources. This ensures that every customer record in your company is available in a centralized, trusted source, but at the same time allows separate SaaS apps to perform vital business functions.

 

Concluding Remarks

 

So, there you have it – the unintended consequences of SaaS and how to successfully overcome them. Thanks to these handy tips and tricks, you won’t have to worry about accessing your software online or mishandling of data.

How to Make the Best use of Cloud Services?

Not long ago, cloud computing’s use for organizations was primarily centred on storing data online. Of course, that’s just one of the several use cases that different cloud service models enable. Syncing data with a local system, using online productivity enhancement tools, making the cloud-stored data available for 3rd party apps, document management and collaboration – you name it, and there’s a cloud-based service for that. Too many times, companies make the mistake of being dazzled by the technology used to make cloud-based business use cases possible, rather than imagining how the use cases are so relevant for them. In this guide, we will help you understand how you can maximize the use of cloud services for your business.

 

 

Get Significantly More Storage Space

Let’s start with storage space. Using the cloud to store your data comes with significant operational, cost, and security advantages. There are 5-10 superb cloud storage solutions available for SMBs and enterprises. All of them offer a small amount of free upfront storage to get you started. That, however, might not be sufficient for you to truly experience the performance of the platform.

So, be smart and look for promotional offers. Some tips:

  • Subscribe to newsletters from cloud storage services so that news of any promotional offers jumps straight into your mailbox.
  • Dropbox offers anything like 15 to 25 GB storage for free if you purchase HP, Samsung, or Lenovo devices; this is just one example of similar promotional campaigns run by storage service providers.
  • Leverage the referral plans on offer, which get you free additional storage per person you refer to the platform.

Of course, this tactic works best when you need additional storage to evaluate the service; eventually, you will need to subscribe to enterprise plans.

Make Document Sharing Easier Than Ever

Arguably, one of the best benefits offered by cloud-based document management services is by transforming your files and folders into links. This also means that you don’t have to upload anything if you want to share it with anybody; just add the link to your message, and you’re ready, without any email size limitations.

Also, because cloud-based document management systems come with basic office document view and edit functionalities (Word documents, images, videos, presentations, worksheets, etc.), it becomes possible for anybody to access information on the move, on their mobiles, without having to use specific playback software.

Also, most cloud-based document management systems can be integrated with popular email services by using an app integration tool such as Zapier.

 

Quick Notes on IaaS and PaaS

It’s supposed to be obvious, so we’ll keep it short. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) brings a tremendous amount of infrastructure to the marketplace, available for organizations in a pay-per-use format. This reduces the cost of investment to own the infrastructure to a fraction and also eliminates most of the maintenance and upgrade costs.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a service model wherein the development capabilities of sophisticated platforms are made available for organizations, for them to deploy applications much quicker than ever, again in a pay-per-use format. The result – availability of ‘premium’ development platforms at affordable prices, to improve speed to market and sophistication of application developed by organizations.

 

Cloud Computing - In the Cloud

 

Hybrid Cloud: A Practical Answer to Difficult Cloud Procurement Questions

The public cloud brings the benefits of unchallenged affordability, while private cloud enables organizations to wield complete control over their data and applications. When an organization is not sure of the volume of cloud resources it needs for its application workloads, the hybrid approach helps. This is because enterprises can test their workloads, and hence avoid a situation where their initial investments could have been wasted because of over-estimation. Also, hybrid cloud proves to be invaluable for managing limited periods of peak load. The option of quickly provisioning more resources, as needed, on a pay as you need basis, means they’ll not have to struggle through the peak period.

 

Cloud for Disaster Recovery

Preparedness for disaster recovery is a key capability for any data-driven business. Cloud computing has massive benefits to offer here. Traditionally, disaster recovery is dependent on limited physical locations and fixed assets, with very rigid operational procedures, several constraints, and huge costs.

Instead, trust a cloud-based disaster recovery solution, where you get the advantage of several physical locations serving your data recovery needs, at a much lower cost as compared to traditional disaster recovery services. Also, a cloud-based disaster recovery solution provider will make sure that its application capabilities are constantly upgraded and secured, without you having to spend a penny!

 

Know What Not to Take To Cloud

To make your company’s cloud strategy an enabler of success and competitive edge, you’ve got to know what to move to the cloud model, when, and at what cost. Also, you need to resist the temptation to move certain applications to the cloud! Take, for instance, the case of a business that has already been using an ERP for 5+ years, and has majorly customized it to fit the unique business processes and requirements. Now, there are several factors that make it unsuitable for this company to discard its on-premise ERP in preference of a cloud-based ERP:

  • Cloud ERP market is yet to mature, and the solutions still need to time to come at par with industrial strength ERPs
  • The money spent on customizing the existing ERP will fail to return its value.
  • The cloud ERP, it’s a fair estimate, will not lend itself to large scale customizations of the kind already implemented in your on-premise ERP
  • The ‘ecosystem’ aspect of ERP software means you will need to evaluate the cloud movement in the context of all bolt-ons, interfaces, and related 3rd party apps.

 

Concluding Remarks

Cloud-based digital service models are, arguably, the best thing that happened to businesses in the past decade. However, companies need to be on their toes to make the most of these models. Be shrewd about leveraging the ‘freebies’, explore hybrid models, and know what not to change, and you’ll do alright.

 

 

Author : Rahul Sharma

Why US Government Organizations Should Move to Private Cloud

 

 

Since its inception, cloud computing has managed to transform the business landscape in unforeseen ways. While the private sector has been capitalizing on the multiple benefits of cloud computing for a while now; government organizations have also aggressively started to embrace the cloud. As it stands, the IT environment of most government organizations is typified by poor asset utilization, duplicative processes, a fragmented demand for resources, poorly managed environments, and prolonged delays in getting things done. The end result is an in-efficacious system that has a negative impact on the organization’s ability to serve the American public. The innovation, agility and cost benefits of a private cloud computing model can significantly enhance government service delivery. A move to the cloud for government organizations directly translates to public value, by improving operational efficiency and the response time to constituent needs.

 The Cloud First Initiative

In February 2011, the first Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, announced cloud first. The policy was presented as a crucial aspect of government reform efforts to achieve operational efficiencies by cutting the waste and help government agencies deliver constituent services in a more streamlined and faster way. Up to 2014, the adoption rate was slow. A 2014 report by the U.S Government Accountability Office showed that only 2% of IT spending went towards cloud computing that year. However, the tide has shifted in recent years. Agencies across the federal government have espoused cloud computing solutions and architectures to facilitate services to constituents and reduce the reliance on the large-scale, traditional IT infrastructure investments.

Currently, AWS reports that GovCloud, has grown 221% year-over-year since it was launched in 2011. Microsoft also claims that Microsoft Cloud for Government, which includes office 365 government, Dynamics CRM, and Azure Government. Has attracted over 5.2 million users. Despite its palpable success, Cloud First has had its share of critics, including those censorious of the trouble-prone launch of HealthCare.gov. Critics have blamed the perceived slow adoption on the lack of federal technical experience in cloud deployments. Below are some of the compelling reasons why government agencies should adopt a private cloud computing model.

I. Reduced Infrastructure Costs

By consolidating server footprints via virtualization and cloud efforts, govt agencies significantly reduce the cost of IT ownership. Agencies that operate in house IT gear have to deal with data center security on top of hardware, software and network maintenance. These are all resource intensive workloads that cloud vendors handle on behalf of their clients. The minute an agency offloads all of it, it free itself up to focus on the particular capabilities and features it has to offer. Private cloud computing solutions are typically bundled with asset management, threat and fraud prevention and detection, and monitoring programs. Adopting a private cloud model enables government agencies to become agile and responsive towards changing business conditions.

II. Big Data Consensus

The IDC reports that approximately 2.5 exabytes of data is produced on a daily basis. Government agencies have a ton of data and having a human look at all of if is virtually impossible. The old model of data distribution greatly diminishes that data’s value to end-users, and ultimately to the taxpayer. A private cloud computing model is the answer to big data analysis. Tools that utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing can be used to quickly and accurately examine terabytes of data for anomalies and patterns; thus helping federal officials to make informed decisions. Additionally, once data has been made available via the cloud, its is readily accessible, meaning resource requests that previously took months to processes can be handled in a short time.

III. Data Sovereignty and Regional Concerns

When it comes to the cloud, ownership of data assets leads to more questions. Erosion of information asset ownership is undoubtedly a potential concern when resources are moved to any external system –public cloud included. There is an inherent difference between being responsible for data as a custodian and having complete ownership of it. Despite the fact that legal data ownership stays with the originating data owner, a potential area of concern with a public cloud deployment is that the cloud vendor may acquire both roles. The EU has been at the forefront to clear up the confusion and on the 25th of May 2018 will introduce a directive that establishes new rules to aid its citizens retain full control over personal data.

Another area of concern includes the complex legal, technical and governance issues that surround hosting government data in varying jurisdictions. Governments are known to like concrete boarders; but the cloud is global, it transcends physical spaces and boarders. Since the services exist globally, and users can interact and share data remotely; what states or municipalities are responsible for the data? Whose laws apply or don’t apply to any given exchange?

US government agencies have to adopt cloud strategies aimed at retaining sovereignty over government data. For any government agency seeking flexible and scalable data center solutions, a private cloud deployment can tie a range of integrated and end-to-end solutions that leverage cloud capabilities together. With a private cloud, the complexity of legal and government regulations are taken out of the equation. The data is maintained by the govt agency employees and is made available via internally-managed technology platforms or SaaS solutions like FileCloud. The ownership or jurisdiction of the data is no longer in question.

IV. You Deployed it, Now Secure It

Security is typically the top concern for federal IT managers when it comes to the migration of applications and data into the cloud. Governments understand that information is power, data is a crucial asset. Federal agencies represent a huge chunk of the globes largest data repositories, ranging from tax, employment, weather, agriculture and surveillance data among others. A recent study by MeriTalk revealed that only one in five of the Federal IT professionals surveyed believe that the security offered by cloud providers is sufficient for federal data. However, the same study also concluded that 64 percent of federal IT managers are more likely to place their cloud-based applications in a private cloud.

Why private cloud? Control. A private cloud deployment meets the required, strict security needs with more resource control and data isolation. Government organizations have to send and receive sensitive information while ensuring it’s only accessible to authorized users. Additionally, that have to maintain control of each user’s read and write rights to said data. Public cloud solutions simply don’t fit the bill for most govt agencies because the deployed applications and data have to remain completely under agency control. Private cloud solutions enable govt agencies to leverage their existing security infrastructure, while staying in control of their data. Since the deployment functions within your existing framework, the need to reinvent govt processes or security policies is eliminated.

Fed RAMP (Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program) standardizes security services and streamlines assessments so that any cloud vendor being considered by federal agencies is only evaluated once at a federal level. Safeguarding the security and integrity of data falls upon individual government organizations. A private cloud model gives organizations better performance and security control over the physical infrastructure that underlies its virtual servers.

V. Cross Agency Collaboration

Government agencies require a digital terrain through which to comfortably and confidently collaborate across, irrespective of agency or department. For example, different agencies may need to share compliance data, regulatory documents, case information or disaster response plans. For optimal collaboration efficacy, these resources have to be accessible to the workers within their respective organizations, to outside contractors, and the general public, when needed. Government agencies can leverage the security infrastructures and on-premises directories of a private cloud. Ensuring that sensitive data remains within the control of the organization, and only authorized persons have access to it. A private gov-cloud allows government organizations to collaborate both internally and across extended ecosystems in a compliant, secure and audit-able manner.

VI. Citizen Service Delivery

Most local, state and federal government agencies offer a variety of citizen services. Cloud computing helps in the delivery of those services and subsequently improves the lives of citizens on all those level. For example, enabling constituents to monitor water and energy consumption encourages them to be more vigilant about their usage. Quick and transparent access to service requests such as loans and application improves awareness and inclusion. A private cloud computing model is an ideal way of empowering and informing citizens.

In Closing

Cloud computing delineates an amazing opportunity to drastically revolutionize how government organizations manage, processes and share information. Although addressing all the challenges associated with cloud adoption can seem ominous, especially if a government organization lacks the expertise in cloud migration and deployment. Nevertheless, its clear that government agencies wish to perpetuate high standards of privacy, security and cost management, in their pursuit to transform operations into a flexible, dynamic environment. The most ideal solution for them is a private cloud.

Author: Gabriel Lando