3 Differences Between Real Clouds And Cloud Computing

Have you ever wondered how cloud computing got its name? Despite popular opinion, cloud computing has nothing to do with the clouds in the sky. Instead, information is transferred to and from data centers, which are shaped nothing like clouds. Yet, there are similarities between the two clouds. We will compare them side-by-side to help you better understand cloud computing.

Cloud Storage

  • A cloud from nature stores water.
  • Cloud computing stores data.

In the same way that clouds are filled with rainwater, cloud computing stores information like files, music, videos, applications, and more. You will often see marketing for cloud computing services make this connection by using a cloud graphic with data a consumer values pictured inside of a cloud. Unfortunately, the prevalence of this marketing campaign has led to almost half of the public believing that cloud computing actually stores data inside of real clouds, and therefore, cloud computing is a bad idea because sometimes there are no clouds in the sky.

Accessing the Cloud

  • Nature’s clouds require the weather to be just right before releasing their bounty upon the earth.
  • The data stored by cloud computing can be accessed from anywhere at any time.

Maybe one day we will have the ability to store our data in the sky, but for now, files are stored in data centers, which are large warehouses full of servers. One big difference between real clouds and data centers is that retrieving your files from a data center is much easier than extracting rain on command from a cloud. With cloud computing, all you need is an Internet connection to retrieve your data whenever you need it, but with a weather cloud, you will have to perform a rain dance.

Cloudburst

  • A weather cloud will burst forth rain water.
  • Cloud computing will burst when traffic spikes.

When a cloud from nature bursts, the vegetation on the land below will benefit and grow. When virtual clouds burst, it’s the result of too much demand on the network. Unlike rain, which can be beneficial, a cloud computing burst can be damaging to your business. This is why it’s important to be extra careful when choosing a cloud provider to host your company’s important data.

You will want to make sure your cloud computing company is big enough to host your data, and have all the resources your business will need as you grow. You will also want to ask your potential cloud provider about the overall size of their operation. How many clients are they hosting? Are they continually expanding to keep up with growth? Do they redundantly backup data to multiple locations? These questions are worth asking in order to avoid a cloud computing burst.

One last comparison we will make between the two clouds is “making it rain.” Choose a cloud provider that’s right for your organization’s needs.  You can use cloud computing to make it rain a flood of money for your business. Michell Consulting Group is having a Breakfast n’ Learn in November in which we have several topics we’ll be discussing.  One of them is Cloud Service.  If you would like to attend, give us a call at 305-592-5433 or email sales@michellgroup.com.

 

What is the SAP HANA Marketplace?

On March 5, SAP announced the SAP HANA Marketplace: an online app store where customers and developers can try, buy, and deploy SAP HANA applications. There are currently more than 75 applications on the marketplace and we plan to have more than 500 apps by the end of this year.  A low-touch, self-service marketplace is an essential requirement for transforming SAP into a cloud company.

One important step to bring SAP HANA to everyone is the new subscription pricing options for the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP). At the March 5th press conference, Vishal showed in a demo how easy and affordable it is to buy the newly announced SAP HANA Cloud Platform from SAP HANA Marketplace. In the demo, Vishal showed buying and getting access to a 128 GB SAP HANA infrastructure service (starting at $1,595 per month), in less than thirty minutes. Such a fast deployment of SAP HANA is critical to drive its mass adoption globally. This new and easy buying experience is available for applications being developed by SAP and its partners (Startups, ISVs, SIs).

Press and analysts have welcomed these new announcements resulting in 24 total articles that reached approximately 45.1 million readers. They also generated 2092 tweets resulting in over 6 million impressions, and of course the questions are rolling in.

We thought we would provide a comprehensive FAQ that will evolve as we journey through this transformation

We would love your impressions of SAP HANA Cloud platform and SAP HANA Marketplace, and welcome your feedback.

This post was originally posted on scn.sap.com by Layla Sabourian in SAP Business Trends on Mar 18, 2014

3 Interesting Facts about Mobile Marketing

Mobile technology use is growing at such a fast rate that it’s proving to be more than a trend. In the U.S., 56% of adults own a smartphone, and for businesses with an Internet presence, 31% of conversions took place over a mobile device last year. This mobile revolution has huge implications for how your business reaches new customers.

If your business isn’t taking advantage of mobile marketing, then you’re basically leaving money on the table. Likewise, if your company isn’t taking advantage of even basic Internet marketing and lacks a web presence altogether, then it’s like your business doesn’t even have a table to leave money on.

Mobile marketing should be a top priority for any business looking to capitalize on the Internet’s popularity; but don’t take our word for it, check out these results from a recent study by AOL and the University of Virginia looking at 500 billion online ad impressions along with 100 million conversion events from the travel, retail, auto, and telecom industries.

Mobile Conversion Rates Grew 3% in the Past Year
Of the four industries looked at, the conversion rate from mobile devices grew from 28% to 31% in the past year, with telecom having the highest conversion rate of 37%, and travel having the lowest rate of 20%. We can draw two conclusions from these statistics: 1) Accounting for 1/3 of conversions, mobile marketing should be taken seriously, and 2) A business specializing in technology will see a greater ROI from mobile marketing efforts.

75% of all Mobile Ad Impressions Happened at Home
The impression we get from mobile technology is that consumers are using it while on the go, but in actuality, 25% of a user’s Internet time at home is spent on a mobile device. Knowing that there’s a good chance your audience may be lounging on their couch when browsing your website from a tablet will help determine the tone of your advertising campaign.

85% of Mobile Conversions Happened on iOS Devices
Bottom line, Apple users are a little more loosey goosey with their money. You will want to take advantage of this and optimize your mobile marketing content for iOS, despite the fact that you may prefer Android. While it’s true that Android device sales are catching up to Apple, the fact that 65% of mobile conversions took place over iPad tablets shows just how much work Android must do to catch up with Apple.

By taking advantage of mobile marketing, you can open up new opportunities for your business that’s impossible to achieve with traditional marketing. Aside from marketing, mobile technology can provide your business with a mobile workforce that can access important data from anywhere via the cloud, and improve company communications. To better understand how the latest mobile solutions can improve your business, call Michell Group Consulting at 305-592-5433.

 

4 Data Loss Scenarios That Can Happen to You!

You may feel like your computer network is immune to data loss, but according to a study by Blackblaze.com, 46% of users experience data loss every year. Whether it’s from something big like a natural disaster, or minor like improperly removing a flash drive, every form of data loss is costly and can be prevented with a data backup plan.

Data loss can happen to anyone and it can strike suddenly. To illustrate how prevalent data loss is, we will go over four of the most common causes of data loss.

Hard Drive Failure
You may be running an old server and think that everything is working just fine, but the reality of your situation is that your old server is running on borrowed time. We recommend that you upgrade your computers every five years because hard drives become unreliable after the fifth year, and the longer you push past the five year mark, the the higher of a risk your drive has of failure.

The failure rate of a hard drive will be dependent upon its make and the model, so it’s difficult to provide an exact lifespan for your particular drive. For example, Blackblaze released data stating that 80% of their hard drives are still operational after five years, and Google found that their drives have a 50% chance of failing within five years. Either way you slice it, pushing a hard drive beyond the five year mark is a risky move for any business.

Computer Viruses
The common perception about computer viruses is that they’re primarily designed to steal your sensitive information like your credit card number. While it’s true that there are many viruses made to steal your identity, there are also several nasty viruses out there that will delete your data. It’s estimated that 4-to-7% of all data loss incidents are due to computer viruses.

Often times, there’s no rhyme or reason as to why a virus will erase your data. Some hackers just want to create viruses that make everybody else miserable. You will want to protect your business from computer viruses with a strong network security solution like a Unified Threat Management (UTM) tool. Call Michell Consulting Group at 305-592-5620 to receive a free network security audit, along with a consultation on how your business can protect itself from online threats.

Human Error
The second biggest cause of data loss is human error. This is something we are all prone to, in one form or another. Deleting data by accident might stem from a minor incident like forgetting to save your file and then having the power go out, or something major like accidentally formatting a hard drive. It’s virtually impossible to take human error out of the equation, the only real thing you can do is to be proactive and make sure that all of your data is backed up.

Natural Disasters
A natural disaster can do more damage than demolish a building; it can also take out a company’s IT infrastructure. If a fire turns your building into charcoal, then your servers containing your valuable data will be reduced to a glop of melted plastic and deformed metal. You might be able to pass off the remains of your server as art and sell it to a government administrative building to decorate their lobby, but even money from an art sale will not be enough to make up for the data loss because your company’s data is your most valuable asset.

The best way to protect your company’s data from a natural disaster, human error, computer virus, hard drive failure, or anything else that can cause data loss is to back up your network with Michell Consulting Group’s Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution. The advantage of BDR is that it automatically saves your data offsite to the cloud, meaning that even the worst disaster or negect will not sink your company because your data will be safe and secure in a data center.

BDR also provides you with the option to virtualize your network using a backup terminal, just in case your company is hit with a disaster and your servers are transformed into modern art. This allows you to keep your operations going and not lose any revenue due to a data loss incident. For information about how to protect your company from data loss using BDR, call us today at 305-592-5433.

 

Whatever We Write, Data Protection is Still Important

Before the XXII Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, there were concerns from several influential entities about the data security at the Olympics. These concerns were reported leading up to the games and on the eve of competition, the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams ran a story by reporter Richard Engel that intimated that visitors to Sochi were immediately being hacked when they signed into the public WiFi accounts provided to athletes, media, and guests of the games.

In a blog post titled, “A Lesson of WiFi Security from the Sochi Winter Olympics” we referenced Engel’s story to suggest the need to understand the best practices in keeping your personal information safe. Over the past couple weeks people have been extremely critical of Engel’s comments, some going so far as to call the story a complete fabrication. While we thought of writing a flat retraction, apologizing for the misinformation, NBC news came out in defense of Engel, leaving the issue in limbo. Besides, it’s not the issue for us.

Whether or not Engel’s mobile devices and mobile workstation were hacked when he first got to Russia or not, understanding the best practices in keeping your personal and business data secure is essential. It’s not hard to get wrapped up in the context of a situation and not understand that the message would be the same either way, which is, you have to protect your data.

Much of this endeavor is personal responsibility and understanding scenarios. Here are five tips to ensure that your business and personal information isn’t compromised from your computer or mobile device:

  • Select Devices or Software with the Best Security – By selecting a device that comes equipped with enhanced security capabilities, you will lay the groundwork for secure computing. This includes antivirus software and data encryption.
  • Require Authentication – To ensure you don’t get any unauthorized visitors on your device or network, requiring credentials for access is best practice.
  • Control Business Accounts – By controlling the third-party apps on your employee’s devices, and utilizing the “wipe device” option when warranted, you can ensure that none of your sensitive data is being compromised or stolen.
  • Consider Intrusion Prevention – Most mobile devices have the capabilities to track all traffic that comes through the device. Auditing this material for potential attacks can be just the thing to keep your device, and your network, safe.
  • Careful Connections – Not all WiFi accounts are created equal. To ensure that your device, and the data on it, isn’t compromised, consider only connecting to secure and trusted WiFi connections, and turning off your Bluetooth, to limit your exposure to intruders.

At Michell Consulting Group, our technicians are versed in all elements of network and device security. We believe that no matter what the news says, that it’s essential that you protect your data. For more information about how we can provide your business with the kind of comprehensive support that keeps our current clients ecstatic, call us today at 305-592-5433.