One of the biggest challenges faced outside of people being able to work, is the education sector. With the pandemic there was a shutdown of schools and colleges due to the sizes of classes and the close gatherings. With schools closing there are a lot of things that can be affected such as children’s meals, their accountability to do assigned lessons, instructional time, and being prepared for college. Cloud computing helps tons with having to learn from home. Here are some reasons why.

Virtual Classrooms and Training Labs

Having cloud computing would allow schools to create virtual labs and classrooms, and the teachers would be able to monitor the activity of the student and watch their progress as well as be there to answer any questions. With virtual labs, the instructor would be able to create virtual machine demos for the student to go through and complete different tasks while being monitored. Virtual classrooms have existed for a while but came with rather hefty price tags, as the software and hardware were rather expensive. The company Blackboard has started offering cloud-based services, making it more possible for students and schools to enroll. There are larger technology companies like Google, who have begun to develop cloud-based solutions and try to change the way students can attend school.

No More Software and Hardware

Schools and students spend a lot of money, keeping up with software and hardware requirements to learn and teach. With moving to the cloud, there is not much needed other than a computer or laptop and the Internet. This helps to reduce the costs of IT staff, the purchasing of software and continuously upgrading computers and laptops. In the last few years, ’ companies such as Google have provided schools with free access to comprehensive tools such as word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation applications. They also developed the technology, Google Docs, which is an interactive, easy way to collaborate on assignments without being in the same place.

Easier Access to Education and Technology

They are saying that by 2025 there will be approximately 200 million students globally demanding high education. With the demand almost doubling from the current market, it will make it harder for students to have access to actual classrooms as well as online classes. With the cloud, it will be easier to have larger class sizes and allow more students to have access to courses they need to fulfill the degree program they are seeking in a timely fashion. In 2012 Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller created a cloud platform called Coursera. This platform offers things like online courses, specializations, and degrees in various subjects that include Data Science, Computer Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Several universities are already using this technology; these universities include Princeton, University of Michigan, Penn State, and Stanford. As of 2017, there are more than 2,000 courses offered and more than 24 million users accessing the technology.

Jul 7 20
Christina Zumwalt

Alto9 would like to wish our readers and clients a happy 4th of July. In order to help you pop off your celebration without a hitch this year we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to make sure you have a safe and fun Independence Day.

Don’t make last minute travel plans! Prices on hotels and flights are going to be at a peak when it comes to traveling to desirable locations.

Do scope out a great place to watch large fireworks displays. Most towns have some sort of display for the 4th. Show up early to snag a parking spot and a decent spot to watch the show.

Don’t forget the bug spray! With the sun winding down for the evening’s festivities the mosquitos, no see-ems and other bugs will be making their grand entrance.

Do clean up after yourself. Use the campsite rule of thumb: “Leave it better than you found it”. Keep this in mind especially after blowing off fireworks. You don’t want to leave a mess for somebody else to clean up, or leave something behind that may injure an animal.

Don’t drink and drive! Arrange for a designated driver in advance. If that falls through, call a taxi or order an Uber to make sure you get where you’re going safely.

Do check the laws in your area regarding shooting off personal fireworks, and check noise ordinances in areas where it is legal to shoot them off.

Don’t point fireworks at other people, structure, or wooded areas. This can lead to injuries and costly damages.

Do lock up your pets. The 4th of July is a common time that pets tend to go missing. This is because of noise and chaos scaring them into looking for shelter.

Don’t forget to have a bucket of sand or water handy to put out any flames if necessary.

Jul 3 20
Christina Zumwalt

Artificial Intelligence will be one of the hottest commodities over the next several years. AI is one of the fastest-growing technologies, but one of the least predictable industries. The predictions can be anything as we have seen some fantastic changes through AI such as, deepfakes, AI-powered machine translation, and bots that can master the most complicated games. When scientists and thought leaders of AI are asked about what they expect, they gave some high predictions. Here are a few changes we can hope to see.

AI in Healthcare

One of the main impacts of 2020 will be helping to transform workflows for healthcare to benefit healthcare professionals and patients, as well as reducing costs. AI in hospitals would allow real-time access to multiple hospital documents, such as health records, admissions, equipment utilization, staffing, and levels. Having AI in place will also enable optimized scheduling, automated reporting, and automatic initialization of equipment settings.

Ethics

A huge part of having our technology sector becoming more technical, developers will have to be more wary of ethics. This would be in the way that human designers would develop AI and what it should and should not be used for. It also teaches AI how to behave both morally and ethically, called “Roboethics.” The main goal is to keep both humans and robots from doing anything harmful to anyone.

Facial Recognition

Today, facial recognition is used in a ton of things such as tablets, security systems, and cell phones. This type of technology is being adopted both in the public and private sectors. There are various uses of facial recognition, such as security.

Computer Graphics

With computer graphics, we can expect enormous improvements for things to be shown as more realistic in character films and games. There are new methods of helping to use AI to do heavy work in creating sophisticated graphics that usually take a large amount of time to develop.

Jul 1 20
Christina Zumwalt

We are about to embark on an era where there will no longer need to think about speed again.  Once 5G is fully deployed over the next several years and we build more devices that support 5G, we will never look back.

Remember when, not long ago, 4G made apps run faster on our smartphones than they did on 3G? The increased speed was welcome and useful as well as addicting for many but it was not fast enough to be transformational. We have moved step by step broadband to 2G, 3G, and 4G, As faster speeds became available we started developing and using apps and services that no longer worked at slower speeds.

Many people think the same thing will happen with 5G. This is a mistake. 5G cellular technology is faster than 4G, but it will be transformational. It will represent much more than just an incremental change. 5G will completely transform the role of wireless in our lives and bring with it essential new services. During the entire digital era, compromises have had to be made when using wireless technology. With 5G the era of compromise will be gone.


Only recently have we begun to think of wired broadband in the same way we think about electricity, When you enter your home and turn on a light switch you don’t have to wonder or ask if the electricity will be fast enough to power all the lights and devices in your home (except for outages or brownouts.) We don’t need to know anything about the strength of electricity or which “brand” it is.  Electricity is just there doing what we need it to do. In the past few years wired broadband has become similar.  It is fast enough to do almost anything we need.


When 5G is fully deployed over the next two years and we have the devices that support 5G, we will never look back. That means our smartphones will work at very high speeds and that annoying spinning wheel we so often see while digital content loads or buffers will disappear. What really sets 5G apart though, are the new services that will be enabled. These include:

  1. Telemedicine — With 5G, lags in mobile communication will disappear for almost all applications. This will make distance surgery and other forms of medicine available in real-time. Doctors will be able to remotely supervise many medical procures at the same time. Patients who require difficult surgeries won’t have to travel to a major city. The smallest towns and outlying areas will have access to superb remote medical care.
  2. Driverless cars — The technology to make cars driverless is already with us. These cars are being successfully tested on roads around the world. The missing link is the infrastructure on the roads that will allow millions of cars to communicate with each other so they can move safely through our cities. 5G will provide the essential wireless infrastructure that will enable autonomous driving.
  3. 5G could be a cable killer — The last ten years have been a struggle for cable and satellite companies. Services (like Netflix and Hulu) that bypass cable and come directly to the consumer through the internet are causing people to cut their cable. Cable companies have lost millions of television customers and will lose many more. Internet service through cable is at risk. Wireless companies will be able to provide Internet through their systems allowing consumers to eliminate cable companies for all services.
  4. Internet of things (IoT) — Bandwidth in homes are already experiencing real “traffic jams.” In addition to each member of the family using smartphones, tablets, computers, television with Netflix and other connections, appliances and other mundane devices in the home need bandwidth. These include security systems (doorbells), lamps, refrigerators, toasters, toothbrushes and much more. The good news is that 5G will be able to satisfy most, if not all, of the additional demand for bandwidth due to the IoT.

5G is certainly one of the most exciting technologies being rolled out and it will have an enormous impact on just about everything including cloud computing.  It is an exciting time and we have much to look forward to.

Jun 26 20
Christina Zumwalt

Life before the cloud meant that most data storage solutions were decentralized and hosted on servers on-site. That local presence means more control for the enterprise, but it creates problems with scalability and efficiency. For this reason, many companies have been switching to the cloud. Indeed, there are many benefits to cloud adoption in terms of scalability, flexibility, data storage, reliability, cost-effectiveness, uptime, and others. Still, one of the downsides has traditionally been security because a lot of the cloud security requires an enterprise to rely on third-parties to secure private, sensitive data. For this reason, Blockchain could be a more affordable and efficient technology to use for security purposes.

It’s not surprising then that many companies have begun to make the switch towards cloud computing instead. After all, it’s much more flexible and cost-effective, giving organizations access to incredible value, and allowing them to replicate their data across a range of data centers, offering redundancy and reliable uptime solutions. Of course, with all the benefits cloud computing has to offer, there are some downsides too. Whenever we use a cloud service, we need to put a significant amount of trust in third-parties to keep our most private and sensitive data secure. To understand Blockchain’s potential applications within the business world, one must understand what makes this technology unique. When it comes to trading and buying Bitcoins, Blockchain allows people to manage their cryptocurrencies with transparency and security because every time something is changed on that Blockchain, the ledger records the alteration for the entire public network to see.

Blockchain Security Challenges

Blockchain technology is evolving, and many technical advances have been made to keep user data private. Even so, there are still legal and compliance issues such as Art. Seventeen of the GDPR or “the right to be forgotten.” This article challenges the way data is stored across blockchain networks. If you save data on-chain, you cannot comply with data regulations because the data becomes immoveable, which is the point of a blockchain. There is a greater need to track what data is shared and the point at which that data is shared. There is also a need to know if access is granted or revoked because of the increasing regulations governing personal data and privacy. This permission layer will move to the Blockchain, and that, in turn, will have implications for cloud provider business models. There is some healthy skepticism being expressed about the use of Blockchain for data security because a blockchain for data storage only functions as a ledger that ensures no one has changed the data. The other issue with blockchain technology for data storage is that the distributed ledger method Blockchain utilizes is not efficient for general data storage and not for large databases that require a high transaction rate. The other thing in favor of current cloud storage centers is that they still retain several economic benefits over Blockchain-based storage solutions such as economies of scale.

Jun 23 20
Christina Zumwalt

The field of medicine is much like that of technology, ever-changing, and ever-growing. Healthcare has come a long way if I might say so myself, and the great thing about changes is the ability to treat more diseases and illnesses. These cures and treatments not only modern medicine but also the use of technological advances. The healthcare industry is surprising: one of the leading sectors that have moved to cloud adoption. It is said that out of organizations that were interviewed, 35 percent of them stated that more than 50 percent of their data and infrastructure are now on the cloud. Here are three ways that cloud computing benefits the healthcare industry.

Flexibility and Scalability

Cloud services always help to address fluctuating demands when needs arise. It is so easy to scale up the organization’s capacity at just the press of a button. If there is ever a need to scale down, the cloud allows you to do so within the cloud model. The cloud has a ton to offer, and it helps to enable organizations to continually add programs, locations, and staff to support their models of care. The healthcare field is in an environment that is ever-changing. With this ever-growing environment, there are always going to be regulatory enhancements, financing reform, competition, or clinical quality initiatives, and this creates external pressures. In a conventional self-hosted model, organizations are forced into the cycle of trying to keep up with hardware purchases and maintenance to support these changes.

Security and Reliability

If done correctly, these are two of the cloud’s most substantial capabilities that it has to offer a healthcare organization. One of the biggest reasons that security of the cloud is essential is due to the need to protect private healthcare information. Reliability plays a role of being able to hold all the data that is stored on the cloud. As long as the data has been stored on the cloud, if something were to happen to a computer, there would be no loss of data. Data storage is essential as there are laws regarding the storage of medical records for a certain amount of time.

Cost

The healthcare industry relies heavily on updated equipment and machines due to the ever-changing field as common diseases and illnesses are ever-changing. When it comes to technology and what is being used, the cost is a deciding factor. Most companies are spending at least 75 percent of their allotted IT budget solely on maintaining existing technologies. However, there is not a cost comparison that details the differences, and cloud computing drastically cuts the costs of hardware and capital expenditures.

Cloud computing has been outside of so many companies’ budgets due to the costs associated with migration and maintenance. Over the years, with technology moving forward, several things such as costs, security, and flexibility have made significant improvements and changes. Cloud computing is critical to the growth of the healthcare industry. While saving money on the IT side, they can spend more money to improve the quality of health with updated medical equipment as well as hire more staff to run more efficiently. This allows better care for patients all across the world to ensure they are getting the medical care needed to live. With the cloud, it gives companies opportunities to use the latest technologies available.

Jun 19 20
Christina Zumwalt

Most experts would agree that the central technology story for the decade of 2010 has been AI. We entered a new period where machines can be described as intelligent and capable of thinking and learning. Given the strides made so far with AI and machine learning, it does not take a crystal ball to see that the future will undoubtedly include increased spending, research, development, and deployment of more AI-driven innovations in industry science and daily life. Here are some trends you can expect to unfold during the coming year.

Greater Human and AI Cooperation and Interaction 

Bots and AI-powered tools are becoming more and more common in the workplace-particularly in the area of industry. Rather than tools built to replace humans, you will see the building of AI-powered tools designed to optimize human skills-the ability to be creative, imaginative, strategic, and communicative. AI will help us make sense of large data sets with superfast analytic skills that are updated in real-time. This decade will usher in a new era of cooperation between man and machine. According to the IDC, they are predicting that 75% of organizations will be investing in retraining employees to fill skill gaps that will be created by the adoption of more AI tools.  

AI Moves to the Edge

 AI has been living primarily in the cloud. One of the developments with AI is that algorithms are becoming more efficient and capable of running on low-power devices. This means that AI is now able to occur and live at the edge where data is gathered and used. This shift in paradigm is going to continue to gain popularity. AI-Powered insights will become a reality outside of times and places where there are superfast fiber optic and mobile network availability. There is likely to be an increase in customer processors that will become a more significant part of the technology we use and interact with every day. We will also be able to use this technology even when internet connections are sporadic or non-existent.

AI in Business

AI is moving beyond the basic automation of manual tasks in manufacturing and production lines. AI is moving into the office. Software-based robots will take on many of the repetitive office tasks such as filling out forms, generating reports, and process documentation. This level of robotic process automation will free people from time-consuming administrative work so their time can be more focused on complex tasks, strategic and creative thinking, and interpersonal tasks. Accounting is only one area where we are already seeing the effects of software-based robotics taking over administrative duties.

AI and Security

We are all aware of how sophisticated hacking, phishing, and social engineering attacks have become. AI and smart technology will play an even more critical role in protecting against these attacks. AI can recognize giveaway signs that digital activity follows a pattern that could indicate suspicious activity and raise an alert or alarm before sensitive data can be compromised or defenses penetrated. AI will drive cybersecurity in the future.

With the starting rollout of 5G technology and AI, there will be new opportunities for more sophisticated cybersecurity solutions.

Facial Recognition

Facial recognition technology will be increasing as we start this new decade. This technology may frighten you as it does many other people. It is rolling out in several countries, including China, where the government considers ways to make facial recognition compulsory for gaining access to services like communication networks and public transportation. Many corporations and governments are increasing investments in facial recognition as a way to positively identify who we are and interpret our activities and behaviors. This is occurring over objections. San Francisco became the first major city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by the police and municipal agencies this past year. Others are expected to follow suit in 2020. There is a question about whether people will ultimately accept this intrusion into their lives in return for increased security and convenience. Facial recognition is likely to be a hot topic in the next 12 months.

Jun 17 20
Christina Zumwalt

Cloud Computing is an upward technological trend, and there is a definite chance that it is being used in some aspect of every business. Businesses are beginning to recognize that cloud computing may be the next component that has to be incorporated in the overall business plan as it changes how the company can operate.

What is the “Cloud”?

Cloud Computing is simply the process of storing and accessing data along with program applications over the Internet rather than a computer’s hard drive. According to AmericanBar.org, this term dates back as early as 1996 when Compaq executives were visualizing business software moving to the Internet. It started to gain attention around 2006 when Google and Amazon began using the term to describe the upward trend of people accessing software and files over the Internet.

Potential Cloud Pitfalls

With such a significant trend as cloud computing, there also lies the issues that could arise when third parties have control over your data, especially when there is no certainty regarding the data storage locations or how the data is protected. You may think that because you have transferred your data to a third party, those financial liabilities would also apply to them since it is up to the third party to protect your information. They should be liable for any data breaches, but this is rarely the case. Your company information is vulnerable to hackers, and data breaches can result in lost, destroyed, or improperly sent data. You risk storing various parties’ data on familiar servers, and different laws govern privacy and data protection across different jurisdictions and geographic locations. Cloud Computing can lead to business disruptions, privacy law violations, and disclosure of confidential information. With these types of risks, financial consequences will occur for both the cloud provider and you, the customer. As businesses become more dependent on cloud technology for daily tasks, learning about the risks, and how to protect yourself from these risks are extremely important.

Benefits to Cloud Computing 

There are some great benefits to keep in mind when deciding on whether or not to implement cloud computing. Moving applications to the cloud could not only lower your costs, but it could better predict what your costs will be. Organizations can now have a single flat monthly price that will go towards maintaining the applications. With these applications comes the upgrading, and usually, businesses wait months or even years after it is uploaded to send it off to their staff. Cloud applications are automatically upgraded for all users without them having to wait for resources to become available to perform an installation. One benefit that the end-user will experience is the ability to work wherever they are as cloud applications are more practical than PC based applications. Since they do not require complicated installation procedures, businesses can run faster than traditional server-based forms. The most significant benefit of cloud computing is improved business agility. Business agility determines how fast companies can react to an ever-changing marketplace. Cloud platforms give businesses the ability to enhance customized applications, and if companies leverage their capabilities quickly, it allows them to stay ahead of their competitors.

According to Forrester Research, the global market for cloud computing will grow from $40.7 billion in 2011 to more than $241 billion in 2020. This kind of growth signifies a 488% increase in less than one decade and is showing where the cloudy future is going. The most important topic is not how effective it is, but how it could benefit you and your business.

Alto9 is a Cloud solutions firm created to help customers migrate to, and make the most of Amazon Web Services. Cloud computing is a rapidly changing paradigm that requires a specialized focus. Our Amazon Certified engineers have the depth of experience and know-how to make sure your Cloud infrastructure runs efficiently, securely, and scales with you as your business grows.

Jun 12 20
Christina Zumwalt

Cost controls affect every aspect of a business, and controlling the cost of cloud computing is no exception. The purpose of implementing a cloud cost management strategy is to optimize your business’s financial resources. There is no room for squandering even a penny of your company’s funds.

There is an assumption that the key to cloud success is technology, but it depends on your ability to control your cloud costs. Managing expenses effectively requires identifying and understanding all of the different elements that impact your cloud costs so that you can leverage cloud cost management tools to uncover inefficiencies. A lot of unplanned expenses result from a lack of visibility about current consumption patterns and historical trends, poor organization, unclear development processes, or the lack of automated deployment and configuration tools. Cloud consumption is a daily operational expense, unlike on-premise infrastructure. The nature of unfixed daily recurring expenditures means you will need to change your approach to executive management significantly. The cost will become equally as important as optimizing performance.

Ways to Lower Your Cloud Costs

Cost Analytics

It is essential to use analytics to understand what you have spent historically, as well as what you will spend currently and in the future. The first step to gaining that insight is to get total visibility on the cloud services you are using. It would be best if you had visibility into the actual usage patterns as well as cost trends. You will need both granular and consolidated details, including interactive graphical and tabular reports covering multiple dimensions, and time frames in a multi-cloud environment so you can correlate data for analysis and reporting against your business objectives.

Visibility 

About 75% of all IT professionals surveyed report their biggest problem is that they do not have a profile of their cloud resources. Without visibility into the cloud, it can cause poor management of those resources. To gain visibility into your funds, the place to start is with an in-depth analysis of your entire infrastructure. Search for support in the cloud not being used because they are not being seen, yet you are still paying for them. Allowing those resources to continue on unused cuts into your infrastructure savings and other financial benefits the cloud can bring.

Controlled Stack Templates

Cloud computing enables your DevOps team to have more autonomy in over-provisioning resources than traditional IT environments. This is a great benefit, but decentralized organizations can produce non-standard security rules and convoluted configurations that, in turn, drive up costs. Therefore, it is essential to implement automation and process best practices that include using predefined stack templates. Administrators can see to it that security, network, and instance, family/size configurations are part of the stack templates. The process of deploying instances is faster, but still aligned with the Departmental user’s roles and privileges ensures only certain specific resources are provisioned.

Automated Alerts and Notifications

Automatic alerts and notifications can help you stay informed about day-to-day changes in your environment. They also provide visibility about increases in costs, authorization failures, and budget overruns. Using standard and custom reports that offer details about costs, usage, and performance can help you with critical decisions.

Budgets

It is crucial to define and allocate budgets for departments, projects, and cost centers. It is equally essential to Implement approval mechanisms to avoid cost overruns. You can use alerts to keep you informed about when thresholds are breached. It is an ongoing process to manage the balance between cost and value. Still, the exercise and discipline of cloud cost management will ensure your enterprise optimizes the benefits cloud computing can deliver.

Governance by Policy

With the proper policies in place, you can use cloud-based governance tools to track cloud usage and costs and alert administrators when the total usage for your cloud account is more significant than a specified value or when the overall usage for a vendor-specific product exceeds a specified amount which can help you control cost. You must schedule your operational hours to shut down & start virtual machines automatically. You can avoid cost overruns by implementing policies that terminate temporary servers created to handle huge workloads. You should use integrated data sources, custom tags, and metadata to define rules that lead to improved management, reporting, and optimization.

Jun 9 20
Christina Zumwalt

Over the past few months, there have been drastic changes in the world. These changes have negatively affected everything from people to businesses, whereas the technology sector has been forced to create new types of technology. With the virus, there have been several changes in how we trade, work, produce goods, learn, seek medical services, and use entertainment to keep busy. Here are a few trends that have helped to keep society resilient.

Contactless Deliveries and Payments

If you are an online shopper or Keene on ordering take-out, the terms of contactless have been heavily used. Not only are companies using contactless delivery, but most are requiring that only debit or credit cards be used and that you enter your card in the POS device or pay online. With contactless delivery, you give the instructions on how you want your packages or food delivery to be left so that safety measures can be taken. These types of technology were already in place but are now more widely used by everyone.

Remote Work

With there being a stay-at-home advisory in place in the United States, many companies have asked their employees to work from home. This includes connecting VPNs, VoIPs, virtual meetings, cloud technology, work collaboration tools, and facial recognition technologies. Working from home helps to ensure that employees stay safe and healthy, but it also helps to save with not having to commute to work. There are some issues with working from home such as security issues and timely technical support.

Telehealth

With the current virus, the biggest issue is people needing to go to the doctor, but not wanting to get sick. With the amazing technology we have today, people can use their own personal IoT devices, track their vitals, and talk directly with doctors over the phone so that they can still see the doctor and lessen the risk of contracting Covid-19.

Many new technologies are heavily being used today due to the current pandemic that we are all experiencing. Different advancements had to be implemented in the technology already sought by so many to keep the world spinning and keeping people working.

Jun 2 20
Christina Zumwalt