Look at the “major cloud features” in this SingleHop infographic. Notice how some reference work life, some personal life (I was going to say “private life” but thought better of it) and most serve both halves of the lives we lead today.

People use the cloud constantly but many don’t even know what exactly the cloud is. Every time we store our data online, whether it be pictures, music or sensitive work documents, that data is saved on physical servers somewhere on earth. The cloud is made up of these servers, some are open to public use and some are divided into secure sections to make up virtual private clouds, accessible only by authorized users. Understanding what the cloud is can help us better understand how to protect our data and ourselves online.

Life in the Cloud Infographic

{ 0 comments }

For the last couple of years “The Cloud” has been a buzzword all over the business and IT world.

What is The Cloud? -Basically, it is the possibility to use remote servers to handle your processing, storage and other IT needs. In the olden days you only the resources that you physically had on your computer; these days that’s not the case. You can “outsource” resources from another computer in a remote location and use them anywhere. This has opened so many doors for the world of business and has helped bring new companies into the internet.

Why? Because of how much it reduces the cost of being on the internet. A server is a costly piece of equipment and not everybody can afford it. Between the initial cost and upkeep of the hardware, you could easily spend a few thousand pounds every year.

The cloud has brought on the Virtual Private Server, which gives you all the benefits of an actual server without the hefty price tag. A hosting company will rent out a piece of their processing capabilities to your company and create a server environment for you. You only pay for what you use and you don’t have to worry about things like hardware failure, power costs or having room for a couple of huge server racks.

But what if your business grows? One of the biggest advantages of the cloud is that it can grow along with your business and your needs. It’s highly scalable and flexible, so if you ever need some extra storage or extra bandwidth, it’s a really easy fix that does not require you to purchase new equipment.

Since your own personal business cloud is by definition a remote solution, this means that you can access it from anywhere and everywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Want to make changes to your server? You can probably do it without leaving your house, even from the comfort of your own bed.

The same applies to your staff. If anyone ever needs to work from home or from another machine that’s not their work computer, all of the important files and resources they could possibly need can be hosted in the cloud, making those files accessible from anywhere. If someone’s office computer breaks there’s a backup and no data is lost.

The Cloud also makes sharing files between members of your staff a lot easier. Since none of the files are hosted on a local machine everybody has access to the files they require. Files update in real time, applications are shared and you can create a business environment that’s exponentially more effective.

Of course, the cloud still offers security and access control so you can keep track of who can see which files. A good cloud services provider also provides protection against malware and other security risks, to make sure that no pesky interlopers get into your files.

If your business is growing and so are your IT needs, then the cloud is an option worth exploring. Embrace the future, adopt new technologies and take your business to the next level.

{ 0 comments }

Success in the tech world: different approaches

by Benjamin on October 14, 2014

The tech industry is exciting, dynamic and competitive, and forging a good career in tech is the goal of almost all computing and engineering graduates. Success in the tech world is a real challenge, but with some good advice and planning, it is possible to make an impact.

There are various approaches that can be adopted to succeed in the tech world. However, what is most important is that IT professionals and engineers specialize early on to become experts in their chosen field.

Be flexible

The most important factor in the tech world is flexibility. Technology is constantly advancing, and everything that a student learns in their first year or two of college will probably be considered out of date by the time they graduate. An education, whether it is engineering or computer science, should always be considered a foundation to a career; it will rarely teach the specific skills that are needed in an individual’s first job.

Individuals who want to succeed need to be willing to change their tactics and strategies according to the ever-changing industry. For example, the latest development is the growing reliance on cloud-based business support systems.

Adopt the cloud approach

There is a growing trend in businesses moving their operations to the cloud. The cloud provides businesses with many advantages such as data storage and disaster recovery. More recently, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions have been developed that seamlessly connect each business area and gather data to produce real-time management reports.

ERP was developed to help manufacturing businesses make production more efficient by analyzing the passage of resources from supply of raw materials through to the end product. It was used to highlight bottlenecks in production and identify where human resources were working sub-optimally.

ERP systems help all businesses, including technology businesses, to optimize workflows and become more efficient and more competitive. Today, ERP manages purchasing, sales, client services, finance and accounts, human resources, marketing and production.

By developing a system that can analyze the entire process, it is possible for managers to better identify problems before they cause a financial loss and to spot changes in customer demand. When implemented well, this can make a company very competitive.

Specialize

This may appear to be in contrast to the advice to be flexible, but in the tech industry specialization is vital for anybody, or any business, that wants to do well. To be noticed in the crowd it is important to be able to offer something that is unique.

A good case study of how specializing helps a tech company develop trust and respect in the tech market can be seen in  Transducer Techniques. They construct load cells that are used in engineering to accurately measure weight and force. Precision engineering companies are able to out-compete much larger companies that are focusing on the mass consumer market.

To succeed in the tech world both individuals and businesses need to ensure that their skills are developed on a solid foundation and that they specialize in a niche area that is in high demand. Being flexible is important early on in the career path because new technologies can provide exciting opportunities; however, ultimately, specialism is the key to success.

{ 0 comments }

How can technology help when working abroad?

by Benjamin on October 14, 2014

Those who have chosen to spend time living and working abroad are actually very lucky these days. The rapid development of modern communications technologies means that it is so much easier to keep in touch with people, no matter where you are, than it used to be even ten years ago. When somebody moves abroad, the ability to keep in touch is essential for both the worker and those remaining at home.

How has technology changed?

Before the onset of smartphones, laptops and the Internet, the only real way of keeping in touch with family and friends while working abroad was the telephone and letters. This usually meant that contact was infrequent, and most people would go for weeks without hearing from loved ones.

The Internet has changed a great deal for those who are away from home. Email has made it so much easier to drop somebody a line and has become a popular way to communicate not only with family and friends but also with work colleagues – even those in the same building! This has been followed rapidly with additional technologies such as smartphones and Apps that mean workers do not have to be at their desk to keep in touch. Financial technologies developed by organizations such as  Trans-Fast Remittance LLC mean that money can be transferred from one country to another in seconds – important for those who work abroad and want to send money home.

Cloud computing

Cloud technologies are becoming increasingly popular for businesses and private use. Cloud services mean that the location of the worker is far less of a factor than it used to be. Technology such as Skype means that people can keep in touch easily. Skype video chats are great for keeping in touch with family but are also ideal for the workplace. Meetings can be held via Skype and similar Apps. It is free to download and ensures easy communication.

Google Apps and Google Docs are a type of cloud computing. A worker can create a document using this software and it is held on Google’s cloud service. Another worker can easily access it from their own office, even if they are thousands of miles away. FaceTime is another option for communication while abroad. A way of making video calls, it has become very popular with younger people for keeping in touch while they are traveling.

Google and Apple are just two developers that have embraced the concept of cloud computing and are applying it to their new products all the time, continuously developing each one further. The development of cloud services and new ways to keep in touch is only going to continue as competition grows in this sector. Those who work abroad will see it become even easier to communicate in the years to come.

Communications technologies such as cloud computing have developed very rapidly, and their continual evolvement means that consumers should expect to see the Apps that they already know very well develop even further as well as the introduction of new software.

{ 0 comments }

Making the move into IT contracting is a big step. Whether it is a making an initial move into the field either as a recent graduate, a career change or as the result of a move from permanent to self-employment drawn by the promise of greater financial reward and enhanced flexibility, there are a number of important issues that must be taken into consideration. Perhaps most importantly is ensuring that one has the skills required to be successful and continue to win new work in this increasingly competitive field.

Essential skills

In the current market, it is essential for any IT contractor to be able to demonstrate Cloud skills. These are some of the skills IT contractors will be expected to have.

  • Technical skills – at the very core of any IT contractor’s skill-set should be a fundamental understanding of Cloud technology
  • Project management - technical knowledge alone is not enough; contractors must be aware of how it can be applied in a practical way in order to help an organization streamline its IT resources.
  • Data analysisdata is invariably one of the biggest assets of any organization and IT professionals must be able to provide advice on how that data can be most effectively managed through the application of Cloud technology.

Ongoing professional development

Continuing personal and professional development is essential in this field, perhaps more so than any other. IT is based on technology and the pace at which it is developing is truly dramatic. It is crucial therefore for IT professionals who wish to present themselves in the most impressive way to ensure they can talk with credibility about and demonstrate a sound knowledge of the latest innovations.

A dedication to, and passion for, ongoing training and education should therefore be a priority for anyone in this field. IT professionals should be aware of the most relevant qualifications according to their specialism and be able to demonstrate a dedication to achieving them. Professional institutions and trade bodies are among the best places to start researching this area, while enlisting specialist support with regard to  IT contractor services can help free up the time required to undertake such training.

Typical roles

Some of the most common IT contracting roles are project based and involve being employed by organizations for set periods of time in order to help manage the implementation of new IT technology or the evolution of existing systems. IT contractors require the ability to quickly grasp a client’s values and priorities, as well as technical expertise.

Such roles have a number of key advantages. The most common being the potential for more competitive financial rewards and the flexibility to manage one’s time and devote attention to the projects of greatest interest. The opportunity to enjoy these benefits is within the reach of most people and IT professionals in particular whose skills lend themselves so well to working in this way.

With all this in mind, applying time and effort to ensuring the necessary skills are gained and continually honed is absolutely essential to ensuring success as an IT contractor.

{ 0 comments }

Cloud computing for improved business efficiency

by Benjamin on October 14, 2014

A continued drive for optimum efficiency should be at the very heart of the business strategy of any organization wishing to stay relevant, profitable and competitive in their chosen field. Only by ensuring that operations are being carried out in the most effective and efficient way possible, with regard to all factors of the company, such as staff time and overhead investments, can it be sure it is achieving the best possible outcomes and therefore laying the foundations for ongoing success and continued growth.

In recent years, through the rapid development of technology and the opportunities it provides businesses, IT has been at the heart of identifying such efficiencies and the most forward thinking companies in all fields are now looking towards cloud based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to help them achieve exactly that and thereby guarantee ongoing and future success.

The advantages

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is the term used to describe complex database systems introduced within organizations that enable employees, at all corporate levels, to access in a secure and appropriate way, real-time data. The advantages of doing so are all about efficiency, as access provides significantly greater scope for collaboration and streamlining. Everyone within the business is given a new kind of visibility of the relevant data and is therefore empowered and encouraged to identify ways of improving business operations to improve efficiency and reduce overheads as a result.

Cloud ERP is the term used to describe ERP software hosted on a platform maintained remotely, over the Internet, thus removing the necessity for individual companies to invest in expensive computer systems.

ERP software therefore has the potential to be a hugely helpful tool with regard to business support and planning and is perfect for creating an efficient, ordered and scalable backbone for any project within this area.

The right approach

ERP and cloud computing is employed across almost the entire range of industries, from heavy engineering to architecture. The most appropriate system depends very much on the business in question and its specific requirements.

Things to consider when deciding on the right approach include the following.

  • The size of the business in question, including projections and ambitions for growth and development.
  • The operational systems that are already in place, which could be replaced, streamlined or evolved through the introduction of cloud computing.
  • The fundamental vision and values of the business, what it is trying to achieve and how the introduction of such software could potentially contribute to future growth and development.

Staying relevant

Very few organizations are able to operate today without the application of technology in at least its most basic form. Ensuring that a company has the right systems in place to support the delivery of its goals and aspirations is a fundamental consideration.

Most analysts and expert commentators agree that the role technology plays in business is only going to increase, so installing the most appropriate solutions in place is the best way to ensure that a company does not get left behind.

{ 0 comments }

Updating Your Network Infrastructure for Modern Devices

September 18, 2014

Today the world of IT infrastructures is changing. This is due to the way companies communicate and the way they send and receive data within their networks, and the development of cloud computing and virtualised servers has re-shaped the way we share information with one another. Cloud computing is a scalable and reliable cloud based […]

Read the full article →

Top 5 Reasons Your Brand Should Invest in SMS Marketing

September 3, 2014

As more customers access information on-the-go, SMS is increasingly becoming an important tool in multi-channel marketing. However, there are still a number of businesses that believe mobile marketing demands significantly large budgets and heavy investments in applications. In truth, gaining access to mobile communications is easier than ever and engaging with mobile users is as […]

Read the full article →

When Businesses Share Files They Need Control, Tracking and Audit

August 28, 2014

When My Docs Online, an online file sharing and delivery service with 15 years experience, revamped their Share feature in July, they focused on control, tracking  and audit. “We’ve been doing this for businesses and professionals for some time,” said CEO Stephen Campbell, “And we know that in addition to ease of use for both […]

Read the full article →

Effective Software Development – Best Practices

August 27, 2014

A software development company should always be on the lookout for methods to develop software in the most effective manner. This is because as the competition grows, a software service provider could fall behind in the race, if it does not stay updated with current trends, technologies and best practices. An effective software solutions firm […]

Read the full article →