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When it comes to authorising budget for IT the Finance Director can be presented with a minefield of jargon and impenetrable specifications

– How do you make sure that the solution you buy will meet your company needs and won’t become outdated within a couple of years?

Providing a robust network is complex enough but then there are decisions about who should support the system, what maintenance contracts should be purchased, how should you go about buying the hardware & software and from which supplier & finally, and most importantly, how to develop an IT strategy to ensure that whatever you buy helps to develop your organisation’s services and doesn’t just become a drain on limited resources
The Solution : Move your IT to the Cloud !

Here at Cloudmetix we have a winning solution and the really impressive aspect for any FD is that the solution is considerably cheaper and more flexible than traditional IT expenditure.
For further details please see: Cloudmetix

By Selina Chandler, FD @ Netmetix.

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Cloud to beat Olympic business disruption

How do you enjoy the Olympic Games when you have a business to run?

It’s an exciting time for Coventry as we gear up to welcome the Olympic games but while we are all enjoying the festivities and fun that the greatest event on earth brings, what does the influx of visitors and attention on the city mean to your business?

There are some obvious positives – the profile of Coventry and its businesses will be raised and you will have the opportunity to bring your products and services to a wider audience but it also brings with it problems, particularly for SMEs.

A recent Lords debate at the end of March raised the subject of the potential disruption to businesses during the Olympic Games. Like London, Coventry will be seeing a surge in visitors meaning an increase in the amount of people on the roads and even more congestion. Have you considered the possibility that members of your staff may not be able to get to work on time – if at all?

If you are technology savvy and your Coventry business is using cloud computing then this possibility need not be a worry. Cloud computing offers total flexibility to your business and allows you to access your work computer network at any time from anywhere in the world – taking work out of normal business hours and out into the modern day business world, where a lot of productivity happens on the move. With cloud computing, staff are able to work from home, on public transport from laptops and iPads or even in their local coffee house, meaning that your business does not have to suffer from increased congestion on the roads.

Another point raised in the House of the Lords was the potential effects of a cyber surge in view of the huge interest there will be in the Olympic Games themselves. With more and more people accessing Coventry and using our Wi-Fi ports around the area, will your business be able to survive a high demand for internet capabilities?

With cloud computing, your business uses a high performance IT network which offers increased bandwidth compared to any other network, making your business a lot more resilient. Cloud computing automatically updates software and facilities in the cloud so it does not affect your on-going usage. What’s more – it is just about as safe an IT network as it is possible to find.

Cloud computing comes with enhanced security packages that protect your business from external and internal threats to your network. Our own cloud computing solution, Cloudmetix, is protected by the latest security appliances and software from Cisco and Symantec. The datacentre is protected by 24/7 perimeter security and CCTV with scheduled authorised access only with photo-ID.

Having a professional, reliable cloud computing service in place can guarantee that your business is not affected by the Olympic games. You need not worry about bandwidth surges, increased congestion or security because your cloud solution protects you against any threat to lost downtime and profit. Instead, you will just be free to enjoy a historic Olympic games and cheer Team GB up the medals table.

Seminar begins to spread the word that cloud computing can be secure

We have been a busy hub of productivity since announcing our first cloud computing seminar, and the success of the event last Wednesday has given us more to go at in the way of educating businesses on de-mystifying cloud computing, what the business benefits are, and how to choose the right provider.

One of our main aims was to allay concerns that people have around the security of cloud computing. Whilst the overall model has evidently been around since the 1960’s, it is still a relatively new concept to SMEs, and the term itself can be extremely complex as it can cover all types of internet-based activity. In speaking to businesses across the board, we have always found that there is a level of naivety around the protection of data in the cloud. Following on from our seminar, the general consensus was that people were unaware that if you choose the right provider then data can actually be more secure in the cloud.

It is important that businesses are taught about the huge benefits they can gain from using a cloud solution which not only helps them manage day to day operations more effectively, but also underpins their growth strategies. We wanted to invite impartial advice from the National B2B Centre and Coventry University to show businesses that this really is a great advancement in terms of business IT.

Delegates, ranging from accountants and solicitors to musicians and virtual office services, congregated at the Management Group Training Services Centre in Coventry last Wednesday to hear expert advice from three different perspectives.

A topic of significant interest at the seminar was the impact of the USA PATRIOT Act, where data passing through an American located or owned (partially or in whole)network is accessible by American authorities. This was something that delegates appeared to be initially unaware of. One of the running themes in the feedback was that companies would want to use a provider which stores all their data in local UK datacentres, providing a much higher level of security that most SMEs could afford themselves.

Here’s what some of the attendees said:

Sean Farnell, partner at Burgis and Bullock accountants:
“The security session was very thought provoking as I wasn’t aware of the USA PATRIOT Act beforehand. It has made me think that I would definitely want all of my data remaining in the UK at all times, and the seminar as a whole has given me more clarity in what I would want and need from a cloud provider.”

Ruth Coles, director of training services at The Paperwork Team:
“I liked the security presentation a lot, as it is one area I am personally interested in. If you are storing client’s information then you need to know how secure it is. In regards to the data centre it’s good to know where the datacentres are because of having a physical image. It became clear to me that if you use one of the large American companies as a provider then it is hard to ensure that the provider is taking all the security measures themselves.”

Lewis Burden, IT manager at Challinors Solicitors:
“What I found most important were the concerns around the security of data and obtaining a service level agreement from your provider. We attended the seminar as we already use it in some respects but are on a fact finding mission as we would like to expand our use of cloud. It has made us think about giving more consideration to the provider by researching them thoroughly and we would be more inclined to go with them if they had references from existing clients who are legal firms.”

Vince O’Malley, owner of Musical Exchanges:
“I felt completely de-mystified after the presentation. I went in knowing very little about the cloud and it gave a lot of information, and considering it was such a lot to take in, it was laid out and explained in an easy to follow manner. As a company we had been discussing servers and cloud computing and since the seminar we can now see the benefit of the flexibility offered rather than an in-house or shared server, as we use now. In regards to security I didn’t know what to think beforehand, however as the seminar wen on it became clear why people may have concern, but these were well combatted by the speakers. It is now clear that with the right cloud provider it is not something you should worry about because the cloud can be more secure than other systems anyway.”

Margaret Mary Keaney, director of MMK Mediation and Consulting:
“If people did not know about cloud computing beforehand then it was a  useful seminar to begin to understand it. I am already using cloud but it was a good way to find out more about how it works as I am fairly new to it.”

We now look forward to hosting a number of other cloud computing seminars this year in order to teach businesses across the region how they can be brought forward. If you are looking at moving to cloud computing why not try it first.  With Cloudmetix you can have a 30 day trial period with no obligation.   Simply call us today on: 02476 408100

Cloud Computing Seminar: ‘Staying ahead of the game’

This month we are holding a cloud seminar to help businesses across our region understand how they can reap benefits of cloud computing for their business.

When? Wednesday 18th April

Where? Midland Group Training Services on Gulson Road in Coventry

Time? 9am – 12pm

Surviving in today’s highly competitive market requires SMEs to be on top form and completely agile when it comes to performance.  And it is cloud computing that is leading the way when it comes to adaptability, flexibility and scalability. 

To give you all the information you need if you’re considering cloud computing for your business, we have gathered a team of three speakers who will cover the key features and benefits.

Freedom

Embrace the freedom of doing what you do best – running your business! Cloud computing allows you and your team to access your business from anywhere in the world, at any time. In the 21st century, companies have flexible work forces.  It makes sense to have IT that fits modern business models.

Agility

We can learn many lessons from the animal kingdom about speed, agility and performance which can be translated to business. Cloud computing offers you the agility of a cheetah – flexible, fast, and precise.  At the same time it has the elasticity which will allow you to adapt to changing market conditions by scaling the size of your business quickly and efficiently, and without the capital investment.

Business IT Security

Full platform cloud computing which offers you full IT infrastructure as well as Software as A Service will keep your systems and data safe, secure and bug-free. Our experts will address any concerns you might have around data security and how you can ensure your choice of cloud provider is safe.

Who are our speakers?

Paul Blore, managing director of Netmetix

 

Martin King-Turner, managing director of the National B2B Centre Limited

 

Professor Brian Moore, Senior Lecturer in Ethical Hacking & Network Security

 

There will be FREE Cloud cookies and refreshments for all our guests as well as a comprehensive view on how Cloud can optimise your business performance.  So why wouldn’t you attend? SIGN UP HERE!

Managed Services can help your business grow

Managed services is an area of IT provision that is set for huge growth, with the Americans expecting spending to increase from 27% in 2011 to 40% in 2015.  The UK is rapidly following suit, and we have been at the forefront of this growth with our own range of managed services.

Managed Services can include anything from a complete cloud computing infrastructure like our own Cloudmetix or a fully managed internal IT system to a simple managed anti-virus service. Our wide range of managed services includes Cloudmetix, WAN solutions, anti-virus, anti-spam, back-up, replication, audit and IP telephony. 

In our experience helping companies across the Midlands with their IT issues, we have found managed services contribute to the growth of a business as well as taking the pressure off day-to-day business itself. We have seen companies able to divert attention away from managing their own IT development projects and focus on their core business development. Additional bonuses of an IT overhaul include the company using less power and reducing their IT carbon footprint.

 

What managed services are on offer?

Cloud computing

Cloudmetix enables you to have access to your full IT systems from anywhere,  provided you have an internet connection. It allows access to all your files and documents, your business software and email accounts. The whole system is updated and maintained by a professional IT team, so all you have to worry about is the actual business. It brings together all members of your team, including any remote workers and branches from different locations.

Anti-virus

A fully managed anti-virus solution will mean that the selection, testing, planning, deployment, updating and reporting of the software will be taken off your shoulders. The Netmetix anti-virus managed services package will also cost no more than what you would pay for a basic unmanaged software product. It provides the  skilled IT resources, domain expertise, centralised monitoring and management facilities and proactive approach to ensuring the protection of your servers, desktops and laptops against the ever present threat of viruses, spam and malware attacks.

 

Anti-spam

A Managed Anti-spam service will prevent all unwanted email, spam and virus’s from ever reaching your network. How is it different to junk e-mail?  It means you don’t have to filter through checking for legitimate emails, giving your business back productivity time. It will give your business the continual protection needed to stay on top of this ever present and evolving threat.

Back-up

With all the IT threats present in this technological age, a managed back-up will create a safe, reliable infrastructure, which will help you recover from a disruption before downtime negatively affects business operations or customer relations. It means that all files are automatically backed up as frequently as every 15 minutes if needed.  

Replication

A managed replication service is a step in a disaster recovery plan. It ensures that a continuous replication of the business data is stored off-site within a secure Network Operation Centre, so if the worse ever did happen, then the business could be quickly be back up and running.

Audit

A managed audit protects customer and business data from increasing security threats and tougher compliance requirements in regulated industries. It will give a comprehensive way to regularly assess and report on possible vulnerability, configuration and compliance related issues on the network.

IP Telephony

This is a way to unify communications and ensure that you are communicating effectively with suppliers, customers and colleagues. It is an all-in-one networking and communications solution that will mean your business can collaborate and problem-solve more effectively. IP telephony also allows a greater degree of flexibility by bringing remote workers and locations into a single telephone system with free inter-location calls. IP routed telephony can also significantly reduce your monthly telephone bills.

 

Take the first step in relieving your business IT headache by employing a Managed Services Solution suitable for your business. Call one of our friendly advisors on 024 7640 8100 to experience the relief yourself.

Business agility is a top reason for adopting the Cloud

Once again the advantage of agility has come up trumps when investigating the reasons behind a company’s adoption of cloud computing. Following recent reports that indicate that the UK economy is likely to become even more hazardous this year, it is no surprise to hear that businesses are looking to become as agile as possible and work from anywhere in the world, at any time of day.

According to a recent global survey of 3,645 IT decision makers, mobility is the top reason for adopting cloud computing, with 33% of companies stating that they have switched to cloud computing in order to access information from any device. This supports the findings of our own poll (http://www.cloudmetix.net/) which found that having access to business IT 24/7 and from anywhere in the world was the key benefit to drive people to adopt a cloud platform.

We have always waxed lyrical about the importance of staying ahead of the game when it comes to business agility and by ensuring your IT systems are safe, secure, and making a contribution to business efficiencies, you can stay ahead of your competitors.

The advantages of using cloud computing are enormous. Allowing better communications across departments and multi-sites, greater operational efficiencies and more effective ways of working, cloud computing allows you to take your work with you far beyond the typical 9-5 working realms. When coupled with cost savings scalability and energy reduction, cloud computing is an attractive option for many SMEs with professional services companies already expressing a keen interest.

Of course, we have known this for a while which is why our very own Cloudmetix programme has been leading the cloud computing revolution in the Midlands for a very long time. As one of the first cloud computing platforms to be launched in the Midlands, it has already been taken up by a number of local companies who recognise that IT provision is entering a new era with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) increasing in popularity.

Propel your business into the 21st century by adopting the Cloudmetix cloud computing programme today. Call one of our friendly advisors on 024 7640 8100 to experience Cloudmetix for yourself.

Simplifying Cloud terminology

…What does it all mean?

 

A recent statistic released by global researchers TNS, states that 93% of businesses see an improvement in their IT since adopting cloud…

…It is all very well being told how cloud computing can consequently benefit your business, but at Netmetix we understand that all the techie language of the different processes can be very daunting.

We have all experienced the situation of undergoing a technological process without fully understanding all the jargon on our screens, so I have put together a list of some of the common terms you will come across when adopting a cloud platform for your business, explaining them all in an accessible format:

 

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS is a way of using expensive hardware without buying it outright. In order to run and control business applications you would require the usage of servers, software, data-centre space or network equipment – which can all end up being a huge cost. IaaS is a way of outsourcing it all as a full service from a company like us. This also means that your business will be free from maintenance costs and wasted office space.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

Software as a Service means that all your business’s software and its data are hosted centrally. This eradicates the need to install and run the application on the companies own computers and also places the responsibility of maintenance and support into the provider’s hands.

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

Similar to both Software and Infrastructure, receiving a platform as a service means that the operating system and associated services are also delivered over the Internet by a provider. It is a cost effective solution eliminating the complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers. The PaaS lies between the IaaS layer and the SaaS layer.

Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop is a means of delivering a familiar Windows Desktop to users from a remote location e.g. a data centre. When using Remote Desktop technology, files, data and applications stay at the data centre and only the “image” of the Desktop is sent to the user’s screen. That way, only the keyboard and mouse inputs and pixel screen changes are sent over the Internet connection. This massively reduces the amount of Internet bandwidth required over conventional file transfer methods. It also means that the security of your valuable data isn’t compromised over the Internet because it never leaves the data centre.

On-demand self service

This means that the user can individually utilise all the computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service’s provider.

Resource pooling

The provider’s computing resources are shared to serve multiple customers to take advantage of the varying demands over time of different customers.. This provides the user with rapid access to additional resources by demand.

Rapid elasticity

This refers to the scalability of cloud computing. It means that capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned and in some cases automatically. At Netmetix we can scale your Cloud solution up or down quickly depending on your demand.

Measured service

With cloud computing the resource usage can be monitored, controlled and reported providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the service. This means that you business will only pay for the resources you use. It enables your IT costs to match your business success.

Service Provider Licence Agreement (SPLA)

This is a means of providing customers with licenced software without them having to purchase a full software licence. This typically allows customers to effectively rent the use of the software for a specified period, usually monthly. It also means that they only have to pay for what they actually need as the number of licences rented can be increased or decreased from month to month.

Cloudmetix is one of the leading cloud technologies in Coventry. Alongside this Netmetix is ranked Number 1 on the Microsoft Partner Pinpoint website.

If you are looking at moving to cloud computing why not try it first.  With Cloudmetix you can have a 30 day trial period with no obligation.  

Simply call us today on: 02476 408100

Cloudmetix workshop reassures Coventry of Cloud security

Our workshop on cloud computing yesterday proved successful, and we received some interesting feedback that we’d like to share!

We had a range of companies attend, varying from legal services to graphic design, all of whom can reap the benefits of a cloud computing system within their businesses.

As an IT solutions provider, we aim to create awareness of how cloud computing can benefit businesses throughout our region at a time when Government austerity measures are taking their toll on SMEs like the ones in Coventry.

Finance and legal are two sectors which are rapidly adopting cloud systems for more efficient processes; however they face a number of issues concerning data protection when using offshore cloud services. We approached this issue at the workshop by presenting images of our secure dual-data centres, which are based in the Midlands and not in some offshore location.

We were really pleased to see such a positive reaction from local businesses about the buzz of cloud computing. As IT professionals, we are always on the lookout for innovative processes that can help other businesses in our area. We have a strong vision for the future of cloud computing especially as as industry research has shown that it is being adopted five times faster than traditional IT. We want to be able to bring SMEs in Coventry forward in terms of this technological revolution.

  • 100% of feedback respondents at the workshop had faith in the security of a cloud system following our presentation.
  • The following chart shows the respondants opinion on cloud’s main benefits:Cloudmetix

 

 

Q&A session:

Q: Is there a data limit?

A: The storage space available is unlimited. A specified capacity is included as standard, but additional capacity will be automatically added as required for a minimal additional cost..

Q: We are a design agency and operate from Apple and Microsoft. Can you use the cloud on both systems?

A: It is possible to access your cloud platform from a PC or a MAC. One of our existing clients has both systems in their office and it operates exactly the same from both platforms.

Q: What happens to our business if a similar scenario were to happen as with Blackberry earlier this month?

A: Whilst in the development stages we considered every single scenario that could happen. We have dual-data centres which mean if something happened to one, then the other would still be fine. The datacentre is protected by 24/7 perimeter security and CCTV with scheduled authorised access only with a photo-ID.

Q: What would you say is the biggest downside?

A: We don’t believe there is one. If we didn’t have complete faith in the cloud system then we would not have invested so heavily into developing our own package. Our traditional IT business is growing and successful, but we see this as the future for business IT systems, therefore have optimised it to our full capability.

How Cloud can make your business green

The Guardian recently reported that cloud computing can reduce your carbon emissions by 50% and other recent statistics have shown that it can save small businesses energy cost by around 90%… they are pretty staggering figures right?

At a time when energy costs are soaring through the roof, the prospect of reducing these costs whilst also having a more positive effect on the environment is enticing for business owners. Being classed as a ‘green business’ is currently a popular trend, with many big names competing to get on the Sunday Times’ Top Green Companies list.

A report called the Carbon Disclosure Project calculated that large UK companies could achieve annual energy savings of £1.2 billion if they move to cloud computing. This just highlights the significant savings that can be made when making the switch to a more efficient system.

The report which was conducted by independent firm Verdantix and sponsored by AT&T said that large companies plan to accelerate their adoption of cloud computing from 10% to 69% of their IT spending by 2020.  

The savings predominantly come from the virtual servers of a cloud system which are in place of the old physical servers linked to a custom IT system. One of the key benefits is that the customer can precisely refine what IT they require, meaning they will produce less waste and redundant capacity. The servers are more fully utilised so they are running at their optimum more frequently and are therefore more efficient that most in-house servers.

The simplicity of the equation is that cloud computing means you use less energy, which means you create less CO₂, which makes your business greener.

Cloud    =    less energy    =    less CO    =    GREEN BUSINESS

As well as the green savings in terms of both energy and cost, cloud computing also makes sense when it comes to savings on capital outlay on equipment, software and IT upgrades.

Find out how Cloudmetix can help your business save money.  Contact us today for a demonstration, or visit www.cloudmetix.net to start your free 30-day no obligation trial.

 

Top 10 Cloud Computing Statistics

With cloud computing increasing in popularity we thought we would share some of the key statistics into why industry experts think it is the way forward for your business.

  1. Last year the snow caused staff shortages for 73% of companies and of these only 39% had the ability to work remotely. Cloud computing is renowned for its ability to allow employees to access the business from any location in the world. This combats any weather related issues that could hinder business at any point in the year, providing there is an internet connection.
  2. The cloud computing market is expected to rise from $40.7 billion to $241 billion by 2020. Depending on these figures, cloud computing could save 85 million tons in annual net CO₂ savings by the same year which shows the green effect it will have on the world.
  3. According to IBM’s Chief Technology Officer, cloud computing reduces IT labour costs by 50%. When a cloud system is implemented into a business, the majority of the IT responsibility is shifted across to the providers. Therefore all software updates and technical issues no longer have to be addressed individually.
  4. Cloud computing can save small business energy costs by 90%. This is an increasingly popular incentive for businesses to adopt a cloud system.  Not only does it reduce your company’s carbon footprint, but you can also increase your CSR credentials. It’s a win/win all round.
  5. 82% of small businesses say it’s important to buy cloud computing from a company with local reach. At Netmetix we offer the chance for businesses to visit our data centre site for their own piece of mind. We find that customers are generally happier when they know their cloud provider is local. It adds the “human” element rather than dealing with a large faceless corporation that focuses on volume business rather than quality of service.
  6. 58% agree that being on the cloud has given them better control of their data. Being able to access your company’s data and IT systems whenever and wherever you want means that you are always in control of what is happening in your business.
  7. 41% of profit-focused small business owners plan to invest in the cloud by 2014. It is evident that small businesses are recognising the benefits of cloud computing as the uptake is constantly increasing.  Companies are recognising the value and benefit of Software as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service, which dispense with the need for expensive capital equipment and costly installation and upgrades of software.
  8. Industry use of Cloud Computing:  Financial Services 63%,  Manufacturing 62%,  Healthcare 59%,  Transportation 51% 
    Four main industries are predominantly using cloud platforms already for their business. This illustrates the continuity in demand for such a system.
  9. 50% agree that business agility is the primary reason for adopting cloud applications. The fact that cloud offers elasticity and complete flexibility of service to companies, means that business operations can be carried out far more efficiently.
  10. 72% of organisations using private cloud servers have improved end-user experience. We have found that cloud creates a more productive and engaging working environment for employees, leading to higher levels of motivation and performance. 

Take our Poll and let us know how you feel about cloud computing.  Is it something you have experience of already?  Or are you looking to move your business IT to the cloud in the near future?  

Cloudmetix offers you all the benefits of cloud computing and more.  We would love to give you a free demonstration, or why not try it for yourself using our 30-day no obligation trial. 

You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain through business process improvements. 

Call us today or visit our website: http://www.cloudmetix.net