Category: Cloud Biz News

Cloud computing is huge, but it is used a lot more widely within certain industries than in others. Continue reading to learn about just five of the many industries around the world that are influenced by cloud computing most.

Cloud computing in healthcare

1. The Healthcare Industry

When it comes to keeping track of private patient files and preventing their destruction during a natural disaster, fire, flood, theft etc., the cloud is highly valuable. So it is no wonder that healthcare professionals across all sectors are now embracing the use of cloud computing to collect information about their patients and share that information with other professionals whenever necessary. Students who are attending a school like Boston University for a degree in health communication, such as their online masters of science in health communication, will end up learning about how to use the cloud to not only maintain patient records, but also maintain information that can be used to promote a healthcare company.

2. Marketing Companies

Many businesses are taking advantage of cloud computing capabilities because the cloud lets employees share information easily even when they are located in different parts of the world. If you are working on an assignment at your desk but you need to finish it later, you can upload it to the cloud and retrieve it easily while you are on the go and when you get home. But marketing professionals, in particular, are really taking advantage of the cloud in order to lower their costs of doing business with clients. The cloud allows them to benefit from enhanced security of sensitive data, and they also enjoy multi-device support when they work.

3. Education

Education is huge, and it goes beyond your standard k-12 curriculum. Today, people are taking courses online all over the world, thanks to the cloud. Educational demands can be met, whether employees need to be trained or college students need to earn credits. The cloud allows for open discussions and collaborations, as well as easier registration for courses and the sharing of student information like grades. This is why it is now possible to get just about any degree, such as an online communications masters degree, without having to go to class.

Watching video streaming on smartphone

4. Entertainment

The entertainment industry is also taking advantage of cloud technology by now making it easier than ever for people to find the TV shows and movies that they are looking for while they are online. There are many streaming services that are available, and people can watch entertaining programs on their devices while they are on the go as well.

5. Startup Businesses

Cloud computing can be a really affordable option when it comes to getting a startup off the ground and up and running. Again, businesspeople can use the cloud to upload important files and documents to work on wherever they are, and they can also use the cloud for collaboration, which is especially important when a business is just starting off.

So many industries use cloud computing every single day in order to improve the way that they operate and generate higher profits.

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When cloud computing was first introduced to the masses, companies rejoiced, consumers became curious and industry leaders looked to how this technology could be harnessed to expand their industries. What wasn’t anticipated was how much the cloud would influence education.

Today, students are studying engineering online, prepping for the SAT via their laptops and having video tutoring sessions with teachers on the other side of the continent. Cloud computing has already changed how this generation of students studies, and it’s widely thought that future students will be further influenced as the cloud continues to take shape.

Learning in the cloud

Expanding Online Learning

While students have been using computers to load encyclopedias via disc, and word processors to type up their research papers for years now, most source materials came from outside sources. In other words, computers and technology aided student learning, but it was nowhere near what is now capable of.

Online learning is at the forefront of education, with students completing their masters of engineering online and even earning their PHDs via home computers. With the cloud, online learning has expanded exponentially, enabling students to find all of their source materials in a convenient central location.

Making Education More Affordable

Cloud computing now makes it possible for educators to give their students access to proprietary information at the click of a button. Instead of ordering the latest books and scholarly articles via the mail, materials can be uploaded to the cloud and shared on a selective basis. Students are able to save money on external hard drives and USB sticks by saving their work via the cloud as well.

When schools are no longer required to spend a large part of their budgets on reference materials, they are more free to expand extracurricular activities, hire more educators and invest in students that have the most needs individually.

Connecting Students and Teachers Remotely

Teachers have been taking advantage of the interactive portion of cloud computing in an effort to work with students collaboratively. What would it be like if a student was able to submit their homework to the cloud and receive feedback nearly instantly? With the cloud, this is not only possible, it’s a much more regular occurrence.

Students learning in a cloud education system

Educators that have been adopting cloud computing at lower grade levels have reported improvement both in student effort and results. Time is a major factor in education, and cloud computing has made it much easier for teachers to provide timely feedback, notice problems quicker and employ solutions more effectively.  Interestingly, this is also the case for higher education – proving that the cloud disrupts education at all levels.

Remotely storing documents is a great way to keep them safe in case a computer crashes or becomes compromised. Cloud computing has made it so that students are able to go back in their records and see how much they have progressed during the course of their educational careers.

Takeaway

Although remote learning and cloud computing cannot replace the classroom experience, it can enhance the tools that educators use to help their students advance and feel empowered while learning. Cloud computing will continue to change the way that students tackle the learning experience, aiding them in every way as they work to reach their goals.

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Over the past few years the role of cloud companies has become extremely important. This is because dozens of companies, big and small have starting using the services of cloud companies when it comes to storing of huge amounts of data and retrieving the same as and when required.

Before getting to know more about the various high performing cloud computing companies in 2016, it would be better to have some brief idea about cloud computing from the layman’s point of view. Put in plain and simple words when we talk about cloud companies we are referring to those service providers who help customers to store data and also use software which could be residing outside their computing system.

Easy accessibility from any part of the world, at any point of time is perhaps the biggest advantage as far as cloud computing is concerned. It certainly helps lower the IT infrastructure cost apart from improving the efficiency and productivity of various organizations which avail this facility. Hence there has been a big growth in the number of new entrants into the cloud computing business while existing ones have consolidated their presence.

Here is a look at some top companies which have done well in the field of cloud computing services, cloud technologies, and everything else in between.

Amazon.com

Amazon box and a cat
photo credit: Jeffrey / Flickr

Amazon is known as being one of the biggest online retailers. However, if one looks at their growth as reported in reputed online outlets like CMC Markets it would be obvious that they are also making their presence felt strongly in the cloud computation business. They are offering their services under the nomenclature Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The revenues of AWS have grown tremendously and have touched $5 billion mark in 2015 and 2016 looks even more promising. This has resulted in smart rallying of AWS stock prices and the long term outlook is also extremely promising.

The earnings for the year 2016 should show a growth of around 35% which is far higher than the market average of 18%.

Salesforce.com Inc

Salesforce logo
photo credit: Guillaume Maichrzik Muteba / Flickr

This is a corporation which is headquartered in San Francisco and it has become a reputed player in the field of Customer Relationship Management or CRM. They play a big role when it comes to providing end to end solutions in sales for automation, managing of critical operations, customer support and service just to name a few.

The earnings have grown in 2015 by 26% and the current year estimates also look quite encouraging.

Facebook Inc.

Facebook(let)
photo credit: FACEBOOK(LET) / Flickr

Facebook started operations in July 2004 and it has been a powerful driver of growth in the field of cloud computation and storage of data and information. Whether it is fostering and developing social networks, posting of pictures, exchange of messages, listening to music, interact with likeminded people Facebook is the place to be in.

The company has been able to post quite impressive results. It has shown a revenue growth of 27% which is far ahead of the market average. It certainly is a stock worth buying.

Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft
photo credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr

Microsoft is better known as a broad spectrum technology service provider. Though software is the biggest driver of growth over the past many decades, online services and consultation, certification and training also are areas where it has growth quite satisfactorily. Its earnings are quite vibrant and the growth story continues to be robust. All this is reflected in the stock growth rate which has been quite impressive and is expected to remain so for the next few years too.

They are strengthening their online presence quite strongly and the results will be evident in the next few months.

Rackspace Hosting Inc

Rackspace:Solve
photo credit: Garrett Heath / Flickr

Rackspace is the leader in the world as far as web hosting is concerned. They have entered into agreement with AWS – Amazon Web Services which will certainly go a long way in improving their earnings in the year 2016.

The 2015 growth of around 20% is also quite impressive when compared to the market average. Hence there are reasons to believe that the share growth will also get reflected shortly and the process already has started. Hence when all the above factors are taken into account, Rackspace Hosting Inc is a name to watch out in the area of cloud computation and cloud storage.

These are just a few and there are quite a few other companies and incorporations which also will come into the limelight as far as providing of cloud based services are concerned.

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Virtually every business relies heavily on their internet connection. They use the web to reach their customers, and most firms now keep all of their data on local severs, or in the cloud. Therefore, they are heavily dependent on having a fast and reliable internet connection, and Wi-Fi network.

Broadband cables

Choose the right provider

The most important step is choosing the right type of provider. You need a firm that specialises in providing broadband for companies rather than for private individuals.

Your needs are very different from those of a homeowner, so it is very important to use a provider whose focus is business broadband. Only they have the necessary expertise to provide you with the fast, reliable connection that a modern business needs.

The small business broadband package that is available from woav.co.uk is a great example of the type of service you need to be looking for. This UK based company offers a range of different packages that they adapt and tailor to meet the needs of any size, or type of, firm. They provide true round the clock support, which is essential for most businesses.  Another example would be the services offered by big brands, such as Verizon Wireless. Their Fios’ Fibre Optic network isn’t only offering fast internet access for businesses, but also TV with more than 13,000 on-demand Titles.

Keep your hardware up to date

It is very important to keep all of the hardware that you use up to date. That includes your routers. Doing this will ensure that everything works efficiently, and help to keep your data secure.

Update your browsers

It is also important to use the latest browsers. Make sure that all of your employees update any browsers that they use, and do so across all of their devices.

Test your speed regularly

Usually the loss of broadband speed is something that happens over time. Therefore, it makes sense to check your internet speed using something like Speedtest.net on a regular basis. Just click here for access. That way if it your connection speed starts to deteriorate you can spot the issue early and get it sorted out before it begins to have a negative effect on your business.

Secure your network

If you have not already done so, put a good password on your network. Doing so will make sure that other people, outside your company, are not using up your bandwidth.

Restrict programmes that open on start up

Certain programmes use a lot of bandwidth even when they are just running in the background. If you are not going to be using them all the time, it does not make sense to have them open, or on standby.

Stopping any non-essential programmes from starting up when you turn on your devices is a good way to ensure that you do not waste any bandwidth.

Cut out interference

One of the simplest steps you can take to improve your broadband signal is to have an iPlate fitted to your phone socket where your router plugs in. This reduces interference and ensures the signal that goes to your router is as clean, and therefore as strong, as possible.

Talk to your provider

You also need to remember to talk to your provider. They are there to help, and will give you advice about how to improve your broadband connection.

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If your work in any way involves a website or web based system, you have almost certainly encountered a CMS, or content management system. Whether you have experienced a CMS for managing your own personal blog, like the back office area of WordPress, or you’ve used an enterprise level SAP content management systems like Weaveability SAP CMS, the concept of a back end area where new content can be added, content can be categorised and managed, and other functions can be carried out without the use of any coding, is probably not new to you.

Cloud CMS - WordPress

CMS use has become completely mainstream, to the point where it is quite easy to forget that not so long ago these platforms were not so commonly used, and managing content was vastly more difficult (and usually required in house web developers). As we head into a cloud CMS utopia where content can be managed effortlessly and your CMS can even stream directly to other sites (something Facebook is beginning to do this year with its new Instant Articles service), it is nice to look back at some of the now simple tasks that used to present a real headache to site owners:

Localised Site Versions

These days, if you want to have versions of your site that are displayed for different local audiences, perhaps with different languages and currencies, it is quite easy to organise this in your CMS. You can make sure content is consistent between your different versions, queue content for translation, and all kinds of other things that make having localisation that actually works cohesively simple.

Before CMS platforms were in wider use, you would have had to develop your own ways of doing this, or simply have had separate sites, which you’d manage separately, leading to inconsistencies over time. You may not even have bothered with having different versions of your site for countries who spoke the same language, assuming that people in the UK could just put up with US English and dollar currency references. Now, you can easily manage localisation so non language-based localisations like these become far more ‘worth it’.

Web Developer Handover

When a site is fully developed, if it sits on a CMS, it can then be easily handed over to a content team who don’t need to have even the basic CSS and HTML skills the developers would have had to have used to change content in ‘the old days’. Not only can content be added but new static pages and whole new sections of the site can be added easily by non technical users.

Ease of Collaboration

If you have a large team, collaborating to produce and publish content using a CMS is very easy, thanks to inherent QA processes and tools. This means people all over the world can be working on your content, as well as people you may have outsourced content creation to – in the cloud. And, as long as you’ve set up their access right properly and have sound approval and moderation processes, this will work effortlessly.

Cloud CMS use has definitely changed how businesses run their websites, intranets and online services, and while this is no secret, it can be interesting to remember just how difficult things like these used to be to manage or do!

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Paying by card has become the norm for the majority of UK consumers. Gone are the days when the affluent and the eager-to-buy would carry around wallets filled with notes, and ladies would shop with handbags weighed down with an abundance of excess coins.

Security, safety, and ease of use have all conspired to help bank and credit cards take the place of cash, and this is a change that retailers have had to get on board with. Stores with no more than an old-fashioned till are a feature of the past, and no retailer will decline to accept this popular method of payment.

However, most of us will recall the days when cards were still viewed with suspicion, shops and eateries declining to accept them as payment, either through distrust or a lack of suitable technology.

Now, contactless is the new kid on the block, and here’s why your business had best upgrade in time for 2016…

Contactless payment using smart watch

What is Contactless?

Contactless technology has been around for quite a while now, yet many business owners remain ignorant of its particular nuances. It is no more than a method of paying for goods and services, either through cards, stickers, key fobs, watches, or mobile phones.

These devices are imbued with an antenna that can be touched against contactless terminals, to instantly transfer money from the buyer to the vendor. Although they cannot usually be used for purchases over £30, financial information is safely and securely transmitted via the cloud, helping to encourage quick and easy payments, with no risk to either party.

The Benefits of Contactless Technology

Although it could be argued that contactless technology is of more use to consumers than it is to retailers, it is still well worth your while to invest in it, with improved customer satisfaction being beneficial on its own merits.

However, this is not the cloud-based technology’s only selling point. The main aim and advantage of contactless technology is to make transactions easier, simplifying and speeding up the process for all involved. Sales can be made in an instant, with no time spent typing in PIN numbers or counting out money. As a result, queues are smaller, staff members find their job roles easier, and customers receive a quicker and more efficient service.

There is the added advantage of a paper trail. Although many consumers choose to pay for smaller purchases in cash – generally to avoid the rigmarole of typing in their PIN number – swiping a contactless device is easier yet, and thus even minor purchases are tracked and recorded by your bank, making accounting a much simpler task.

Perhaps most important of all, however, is the point that we mentioned above: improved customer satisfaction. Research has shown that customers prefer to shop at premises offering contactless technology, thanks to their reduced queues, quicker serving times, and simple payment process. Indeed, they will specifically search out those shops and suppliers who offer this payment method, helping to boost their income and popularity by the simple installation of the right machinery.

Can you really afford not to invest in contactless technology? Get your 2016 off to the right start and step into the future now.

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Editor’s note: Considering many factors, including flexibility, scalability and security, there is a growing trend for businesses to opt for hybrid cloud solutions. Why is that? What’s the benefit of going hybrid? This article from Business U.S. Cellular can answer those for you.

America’s Backbone Weekly: Go the Distance

The Benefits of Hybrid IT Solutions

By Nick Pell for America’s Backbone Weekly

If cloud computing was the big buzz term of the last several years, the new catchphrase is “hybrid cloud solutions.” But more than a buzzword, this is the latest development in data storage for your business.

A hybrid cloud system uses a mixture of on-premises, private cloud and public cloud services to store and manage your data. This allows workloads to move between private and public clouds as computing needs and costs change, giving you greater flexibility and more data deployment options.

Your company might, for example, use a public cloud service for your archives while keeping more current and operational data on site. Then you can benefit from the cost-effectiveness of a cloud-based service while avoiding some of the potential security risks that come with third-party data storage.

Some firms, such as those in procurement for the defense industry say, just can’t store their data off-site due to regulatory or other legal requirements. This makes a full transition to the cloud impractical. However, putting non-sensitive, non-regulated data into the cloud could free up local servers at a fraction of the price.

Trouble can arise when companies rely entirely on one solution to the exclusion of the other. For example, you might have a lot of old data stored on legacy devices that are no longer up to date. Or your company might have been so taken with the cloud storage craze that you moved everything you could off site and onto a cloud-based storage system. The trick now is integrating both worlds: getting what you can out of cloud-based storage while keeping what you need on site. You might still keep a majority of your data either on site or in the cloud. Hybrid IT is basically the science of figuring out what this balance should be, how to best execute it and how to seamlessly integrate both sides of the equation.

For older companies who currently face high costs for storage space for old, physical legacy data storage, a hybrid cloud system is a no-brainer. You need to store all that data somewhere, but buying more physical, on-site storage for data you seldom use isn’t efficient. At the same time you need to access some data regularly. With a hybrid cloud storage system you can keep that newer data local, while backing it up in the cloud — alongside all your migrated legacy data. Voila. You’ve just freed up tons of physical space while revolutionizing the way your company keeps data, boosting your productivity in the process.

It’s not cost effective to store all your data on-site. Even if your data is stored on the latest and greatest hardware, it’s still taking up both digital and physical space in your environment. On-site data costs simply can’t compete in terms of price and scalability with cloud computing. You could save potentially tens of thousands every year by moving what you can off site and into the cloud.

Anything you can back up should be backed up in the cloud. Data loss is a real threat, and not just due to hardware failure. For example, if you have two copies of sensitive customer information on site and your office floods—you now have zero copies. If you store information in the cloud your office can flood 100 times and you’ll still have all your information waiting off-site. But what if the servers your data is stored on get damaged as well? It is extremely rare, but server farms are not immune from disasters – natural or otherwise. Triple redundancy is obviously safer again than “only” storing your data locally and in one cloud option.

While cloud storage companies offer top-notch security, due to reporting and regulatory requirements — or even just your own in-house policies — it might make more sense to have some of that information stored on-site where you have greater control over it. A hybrid IT system allows you to choose which data you let another company protect for you off site.

There are few reasons not to use hybrid IT. Every company has data they need to keep on site for a variety of reasons. And every company has a lot of other data that is more securely managed, more cheaply, off site. Hybrid IT systems are the next evolution in local and cloud storage, and when implemented smartly, offer the advantages of both local and cloud storage with none of the drawbacks.

Nicholas Pell is a freelance small business and personal finance writer based in
Southern California. His work has appeared on
MainStreet, Business Insider, WiseBread and Fox Business, amongst
others.

To read more articles like this, visit America’s Backbone.

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Financial Institutions set to gather to discuss security implications and cost saving potential of cloud migration

Banking in the cloud

Cloud based platforms and services have long been utilized by organisations of all sizes across all spectrums of the business world, but typically financial institutions have been slow adopters due to concerns around data security, regulation and the cost and impact of migration from legacy systems. However, in recent years a number of leading financial institutions have incorporated cloud into their IT strategies, recognizing the sizeable cost efficiencies and enhanced service delivery on offer.

Many more are set to follow. A recent survey conducted by the Cloud Security Alliance suggested that 61% of respondent banks were actively pursuing a cloud strategy.

According to FinTech Connect Cloud Lead, Diaz Ayub, “cloud adoption is increasing exponentially across the financial sector and it is likely that almost all financial institutions with a strong digital footprint will have a cloud strategy in place within the next five years”.

Concerns regarding data security and residency still exist at present but these will continue to dissipate in the face of the clear, tangible benefits that cloud migration offers. In a recent interview with the organisers of Cloud Banking Europe, Anthony Thomson of Atom Bank states “The benefits to the banking sector are absolutely clear in terms of reduced cost, better infrastructure, (and) more investment in development.”

The challenge for the financial industry is not due to a lack of appetite to move to cloud banking software or infrastructure, it’s the ability to successfully migrate data from legacy systems. Cloud Banking Europe, taking place at London’s QEII Centre on April 14-15 is the World’s first significant event highlighting success stories from major financial institutions on their cloud IT strategies. Sponsored by global technology giants including HP, Fujitsu, NTT and Sungard AS, the conference features contributions from innovative financial institutions such as BBVA, TSB, RBS, Atom Bank and ABN AMRO. Hundreds of participants are attending from across the UK and European financial sector.

Cloud Banking World Series Europe 2015

The event not only details the tangible business benefits that the cloud offers, but also clearly presents the realities of what it takes to move away from legacy systems. Ayub explains “This landmark event combines technical discussions on data security policies, perspectives from leading regulators, product demos from cloud innovators and crucially, strategic presentations on how to navigate the pathway to cloud migration.”

Find our more about Cloud Banking Europe at www.cloudbankingworldseries.com/europe
Join the Cloud Banking Community on Linkedin www.cloudbankingworldseries.com/LI

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Are you a cloud professionals or simply a cloud enthusiast like me? You need to stay updated with the latest trends in cloud computing.

Cloud Expo Europe

One of the best way to track the trend is by attending cloud expos and conferences. If you are planning to attend one, here are 5 cloud conference you should consider attending in 2015:

1. Cloud World Forum 2015

When/where: 24-25 June 2015 – Olympia Grand, London, UK

Cloud World Forum, EMEA’s largest content-led expo, is the meet-up place for decision makers and professionals to discuss the future of the cloud, as well as to showcase the latest cloud tech solutions.

The 7th annual Cloud World Forum will be held on 24-25 June 2015 at the Olympia Grand, London, United Kingdom.

2. IEEE CLOUD 2015

When/where: June 27 – July 2, 2015 – New York, USA

The IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing (CLOUD) is a popular International forum for cloud researchers and practitioners to meet and discuss the latest advances and practices of cloud computing.

The IEEE Cloud 2015 is the largest forums for cloud professionals.

3. CLOUD Expo 2015

When/where: June 9-11 2015, Javits Centre, NYC, USA

Discuss the cloud with cloud delegates and vendors from across the country. This is the first of two events in 2015.

The second CLOUD Expo 2015 event will be held on November 3-5 2015 at Santa Clara Convention Centre, Santa Clara, CA, USA.

4. CLOSER 2015

When/where: 20-22 May 2015 – Lisbon, Portugal

CLOSER 2015 is the 5th International Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science that focuses on the cloud trends, as well as issues of cloud infrastructure, operations and availability of services, worldwide.

5. Cloud Conf 2015

When/where: 19 March 2015 – Turin, Italy

Cloud Conf is one of the largest cloud computing events in European region. It’s the event where cloud developers, startup and IT managers meet to discuss the issue of cloud implementation and scalability.

For more conferences to choose, please visit our top cloud conferences page for dozens of cloud conferences to attend this year.

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At this point, I’m sure you have heard the term, “in the cloud.” Recently, cloud-based services have seen a spike in growth, branching primarily into the business sector. There is one cloud-based service in particular that is becoming a staple in the communication infrastructure of many businesses.

Cloud video conferencing
photo credit: Lora

That one cloud-based service is video conferencing.

Over the years, the business industry has adopted video conferencing as a viable and efficient means of communication-B2B and otherwise. There are a number of advantages that are apparent, but one of the foremost benefits of video conferencing is the reduced “face-to-face” time needed to travel and meet with prospective clients. Aside from that, adopting a cloud-based video conferencing can also trigger an increase in employee productivity, as well as create a portal for global communication.

Cloud-based video conferencing is a relatively new innovation so it still has some growing to do. At present, the most pressing issues associated with video conferencing is the overall cost to install, use, and maintain it.

As with most new technology though, the price of video conferencing systems and services will likely come down. Most cloud-based services didn’t even exist a few years ago. With new companies like Polycom releasing new cloud conferencing solutions and sparking a growing interest in Video Conferencing as a Service, or VCaaS, the competition is likely to drive demand and lower overall costs.

“Face-To-Face” is an Ancient Practice

Don’t get me wrong, the ideology of face-to-face contact is essential in certain business operations, but for the most part it can be foregone. Since most businesses have employed the use of social-media-based customer service, emailing internally, and even texting, communication can take place both internally and externally without ever needing to make physical contact.

Studies have shown that communicating with customers in person drastically increased sales and kept customers happy overall. However, a large part of the working community telecommutes (works remotely), so physical communication is a little hard to come by. With the implementation of a cloud-based video conferencing service, those in the telecommuting community can visually communicate, not only with customers, but also their fellow colleagues and upper management.

VCaaS is Taking Over the Cloud

The demand for video conferencing services is there and growing with each passing month, but the cost of such services are not dropping in due course with the demand. Businesses are trying to combine the best of both worlds-low cost and high benefit-to establish a completely new line of communication within their infrastructures. While the cost is not ideal currently, the rising growth in VCaaS will likely drive the cost down.

At this point, for a business to fully reap the benefits of video conferencing, the best way to do so is to take advantage of the cloud and everything it has to offer. A regular video conferencing solution can be had that isn’t cloud based, but to install it would mean setting up a complete infrastructure system which requires the hiring of a professional to install and maintain it. A cloud-based video conferencing solution, on the other hand, would eliminate most of that since the bulk of its infrastructure is based in the cloud (no wires).

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Cloud computing is being deployed by businesses and organizations across all sectors, and one of the sectors that can benefit greatly from this new technology is law enforcement.

crime

By adopting the Cloud, police departments will be able to perform many of their tasks more efficiently, which can lead to better success in thwarting and capturing criminals.

Here is a look at some of the ways that law enforcement agencies are using the Cloud to make America a safer place….

Cloud Computing in U.S. Law Enforcement

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), SafeGovand thePonemon Institute conducted a survey in 2012 to find out how law enforcement officials view the adoption of Cloud computing in the law enforcement sector, including their plans and concerns.

About 54 percent of the 272 agencies that responded said that they had already implemented or were considering or planning to implement Cloud solutions in the next two years.

As for the agencies that were not planning to use Cloud computing, 44 percent of them indicated that they were concerned that Cloud services may not be able to provide enough security for their IT systems and data.

Applications of Cloud Computing in Law Enforcement

The abovementioned survey also found that most law enforcement agencies use Cloud computing for emailing purposes, while others use it to store information, manage records, report crime, analyze criminal cases and perform mapping.

Additionally, the Cloud provides easy access to federal and state systems, such as the National Crime Information Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Justice Information Services, Computerized Criminal History, Department of Motor Vehicles and others.

By adopting Cloud solutions, police departments can also save substantially on IT costs and avail of a reliable backup and disaster recovery solution. It has been proven that investing in new technologies can help law enforcement agencies increase their effectiveness and efficiency.

As they add new computers like those from major retailers, such as Walmart, to their arsenal, they can turn to the Cloud to gain an edge against criminals. The proper machinery and technology make for a solid one-two punch in the fight against crime.

Examples of Police Departments Using the Cloud

The San Diego Police Department is using a Cloud-based system called Evidence.com to obtain, manage and share digital evidence.

This system is more cost-effective, scalable and user-friendly than an in-house computing system. It automates the upload process to provide better security and integrity, and it enables officers to spend more time in the field.

The East Hampton Town Police Department in Long Island, New York is one of the first police departments in the U.S. to implement a Cloud-based dispatch and records management system.

As a result, it is now able to streamline arrests and make it easier for its officers to capture and record crime reports and court information.

As more and more law enforcement agencies are turning to the Cloud to fight crime, Americans can look forward to a safer future.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

License: Creative Commons image source

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It may not show up on a standard office calendar, but February 10 is a holiday. In 2000, the Institute for Business Technology designated the second Monday in February as Clean Out Your Computer Day, giving users an excuse to remove unused files and software to improve overall efficiency. Each year since, the date has prompted experts to remind users everywhere of the benefits of doing a thorough annual review of their systems.

Spyware infected PC
photo credit: xcaballe

There have been many changes to the market since 2000, with users today possessing a variety of devices. One consumer can own a smartphone, tablet, and laptop of varying ages, with each of those devices being gradually loaded down with more items. Even if a user isn’t adding files and software intentionally, with daily use they add cookies, temporary files, and other data that, over time, begins to slow these devices down.

For this reason, early February gives users an excuse to go through each device and remove anything that hasn’t been used in a while. While there are tip sites that go through the basic process of manually cleaning a device, time-challenged consumers are often looking for an easier way. Thanks to cloud technology, users can now access services that detect and, in some cases, repair issues without having to spend hours going through each device.

PC Cleaning Services

The top concern for any user considering downloading a PC cleaner is malware. Some services claiming to clean your DC are merely covers for software that either installs spyware or viruses or adds a suite of software you never requested in the first place. PCWorld has recommended several pieces of software that do exactly what they say they do, including CCleaner, which removes temporary files, cleans up your Windows registry, erases your browser history, and distinguishes between junk cookies and cookies a user generally wants to keep.

For cleaning mobile devices, Android users can try CleanUP or SystemCleanup and iPhone and iPad users have PhoneClean. These clean-up utilities work similarly to those for PC, wiping away junk to free up space.

Speed Test Services

For those who simply want to pinpoint problems that are slowing PC performance down, there are several tools available. Ookla SpeedTest provides insight into a user’s wi-fi connection on a variety of devices, but that test doesn’t delve into issues related to the PC itself. PC Pitstop is a tool that has received positive reviews from a variety of services and SIW is a portable diagnostic service that can run from a flash drive.

For Mac Users

Mac users aren’t excluded from Clean Out Your Computer Day. Step-by-step instructions for manual cleanup are available here. According to Mac enthusiasts, Macs have the built-in ability to keep themselves junk-free, and many clean-up utilities only manage to make the device’s job harder. If only that same self-cleaning ability were built into other devices, we wouldn’t need a Clean Out Your Computer Day.

During our hectic, day-to-day activities, it’s easy to let device maintenance lag, leading to problems over time. By taking time once a year to do a thorough scan of our systems, we can improve our overall performance, speeding up our productivity the rest of the year.

About the Author: Kirill Bensonoff is a founding partner at ComputerSupport.com, helping small business executives get the most out of their technology investment.

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