Have you ever started to scratch the surface of selecting a cloud computing provider and got lost? Just googling cloud computing providers brings up a vast number of companies you can choose from to bring into your office. The one thing that will be the hardest is actually selecting a suitable platform for your needs. Here are some criteria you can consider when looking to switch to cloud computing.

Evaluation Criteria

A strategic and tactical approach to cloud migration includes focusing on several core areas and how they integrate with your existing business and existing legacy architecture.

Architecture

It is important to consider how the cloud architecture will integrate and support your existing workflows presently and in the future. Suppose your current infrastructure and workflows already depend on many Google services. In that case, Google may provide better, easier integration, but if your enterprise has invested in Microsoft Universe, for example, then Microsoft may be the better provider.

Security

When selecting a cloud provider or multiple providers, you should carefully consider where the provider data centers are located. If your organization utilizes highly sensitive applications, you may want at least one data center close to where your users are from a user’s perspective. For resiliency and disaster recovery, you will want a provider with geographically diverse data centers that are not run off of the same electrical grid. There is yet another security consideration. If your company is global, you also need to consider where your provider hosts data because there are specific rules and regulations around data particular to a country.

Compliance

Some industry sectors are highly regulated and require strict compliance with specific standards and regulations like medical and financial organizations. You must understand what you will need if your applications are being run on a public cloud infrastructure. It is important to be aware of what responsibilities in terms of data security and compliance are the responsibilities of your organization and which responsibilities your cloud provider will fulfill to ensure your applications remain compliant once migrated to the cloud.

Management

Another important criterion in choosing a cloud provider understands what your organization will have to manage. Every service utilizes different orchestration tools and provides various integrations with other services. If there are certain services your organization requires or are vital to your operations, you need to ensure that your provider offers an easy way to integrate with those services. You will also want to take a close look at how much time, effort, and money it will take to manage the different aspects of the cloud infrastructure you select.

Service Levels

If your enterprise has sensitive or critical needs around availability, capacity, response time, and support, you need to understand your cloud provider’s Service level agreements. You will also want to draft a contract that clearly establishes and defines the cloud provider and cloud service customer relationship you are entering into. The contract should be written with clear contractual language and include SLAs for all vital enterprise needs, including data security.

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May 27 22
Christina Zumwalt

With the considerable changes in cloud computing, there have also been changes with augmented and virtual reality. The healthcare industry has now started the convergence of blockchain, cryptocurrency, VR, and AI. With it being the medical industry usually, they do not adopt new technology until it has been proven safe. However, the latest technology helping to improve transparency and accountability within the healthcare systems. Here are a few types of newer technology and how they can help the medical field.

Blockchain Technology

In the healthcare industry, there are several flaws that include healthcare hierarchy, data ownership, and data security. There have also been situations where health records or history have been mixed up, leading to what could be potential life-threatening situations. With blockchain technology, you can store and manage health insurance information, helping to keep everything sorted and transparent. This would allow patients to manage their own care through a patient-centered model.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

When you think of virtual reality, you think of gaming as that is a huge use of the type of technology. However, it is being widely adopted by the medical field as it is created using real-world data to discover more about the real-world counterpart, usually the patient themselves. This type of technology can allow doctors to see how the treatment affects someone’s physical body anywhere in the world. It can also help provide surgeons with real-time information on the patient’s vitals, procedure details, equipment location, and any other data needed to complete a successful surgery.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is being widely used in healthcare to help diagnose diseases, offer treatment options, and help to improve overall outcomes for patients. Using artificial intelligence allows you to revolutionize the healthcare industry by making it more efficient and cost-effective. The best thing about artificial intelligence is that it can provide accurate diagnoses for patients with rare diseases and treatment decisions after removing all human bias.

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May 20 22
Christina Zumwalt

Have you ever wondered how the healthcare industry chooses its software and hardware purchases? The healthcare industry is one of the largest growing industries in the world. Along with it growing, the technology also has to evolve to keep up with all of the advancements. Cloud computing has become the best option for healthcare organizations as it is ever-growing. Here are three ways that cloud computing is transforming the healthcare industry.

Cost

This is the most significant factor as healthcare companies will spend up to 75% of their IT budgets maintaining internal systems. Cost also factors into deciding where you want to host your applications and data. Even though you cannot compare the actual dollars saved, there are considerable differences in the cost models. This helps to cut the high hardware costs, capital expenditures, and the costs to maintain the hardware. Having the ability to divert funds into other areas of operations that would have been used to create a robust IT infrastructure is a really good thing. Cloud computing helps to cut the high costs of hardware and capital expenditures. Using the cloud, a company will pay a subscription service, which is considered an operating expense based on their scale. Organizations can also divert funds into their operational areas that were previously used to create a robust IT infrastructure.   

Security and Reliability

If done properly, these are two of the cloud’s strongest capabilities that it has to offer a healthcare organization. One of the biggest reasons that the cloud’s security is essential is the need to protect private healthcare information. Reliability plays a role in being able to hold all the data that is stored in the cloud. If something were to happen to a computer where all the information is originally housed, as long as it was backed up to the cloud, there would be no data loss. This is extremely important as there are laws regarding the storage of medical records for a certain amount of time.

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. The healthcare field is in an environment that is ever-changing. With this ever-growing environment, there will always be regulatory enhancements, financing reform, competition, or clinical quality initiatives, which creates external pressures. In a self-hosted model, companies are forced into trying to keep up with hardware purchases and maintenance to support these changes.

Cloud computing is very important 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 and hire more staff to run more efficiently. 

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May 13 22
Christina Zumwalt

Cloud communication providers primarily operated in certain categories, employee experience and the customer experience in the past. Until now, the providers met all enterprise needs. However, now enterprises are demanding more. The new solution would be one that connects EX and CX tools called “The Great Convergence.” Most unified communications platforms offer a host of essential tools that give you an all-in-one solution without having to pay extra for things like meeting software or instant messaging. With all of your communications housed on one convenient platform, scaling and maintaining your system becomes much more manageable. Here are a few key benefits unified communications can provide.

Benefits of Unified Communications

Using unified communications has excellent benefits that businesses can levy for the success of their company. You can see an increase in productivity, as your employees can now connect however they feel comfortable using any device. It helps reduce costs as fewer platforms are used throughout the company eliminating costly expenses. There is also a more substantial performance aspect, as customer issues are handled more quickly, improving reputation. The most significant benefit is the enhanced user experience, as giving employees the freedom to work as they choose can boost morale and reduce turnover costs.

Great Features

Most unified communications providers have great features on their platforms for their customers to use. Here is a small list of some of them:

  • Mobility
  • Web-Based User Interface
  • Presence
  • Unified Messaging
  • Fax Support
  • Conferencing
  • Collaboration
  • Advanced Notifications

Trends of UC

The major shift to using unified communications is due to the worldwide pandemic. The world had to make a significant shift to being digital as most people could no longer work in their offices due to policies in place to keep the public safe. Being digital caused a lot of companies to look for a provider that offered all needed tools in one place.

May 6 22
Christina Zumwalt

Along with Cloud Computing, there are a lot of myths that can hamper IT or enterprise success. The myths about cloud computing have caused the adoption of cloud computing to be prolonged as people still think negatively about the cloud. There was a significant push towards cloud due to the pandemic, but it is still something that people were very reluctant to do. Here are a few myths that people believe to be true about cloud computing.

Cloud Automatically Saves Money

While this one can be true, there are upgrades, applications, and base computers that can raise the cost of moving to the cloud. The cloud, in some aspects, can be more expensive, but the end goal of where you need your business should be where the focus is. If there are goals that you must increase business growth, the cloud can be an enabler to reach that goal more quickly, and the cost can be justified.

Security

Here is the biggest myth or misconception about cloud computing: the cloud is not safe for data storage. Cloud providers take security extremely seriously, and if they did not they would have no business. There are several frameworks and controls in place, and most of the time more secure than the average company’s data center. Anyone that is considered reputable will encrypt the data, both within transit and where it is stored, where the customer is the only one with access to the encryption key. When looking for a cloud provider, you should make sure that the platform is based on a set of security standards and security best practices, including a full range of controls necessary to create a secure environment.

Job Killer

With moving to the cloud, there is a misconception that IT departments will suffer job losses. Moving to the cloud, there are still people needed to make sure that everything is being transmitted to and from the cloud correctly and that access for their company is running smoothly. It is still pertinent to have an IT department even though you utilize the cloud.

The myths about cloud computing have caused the adoption of cloud computing to be prolonged as people still think negatively about the cloud. There was a significant push towards cloud due to the pandemic, but it is still something that people were very reluctant to do.

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Apr 29 22
Christina Zumwalt

Have you ever wondered if there were downfalls to switching to cloud computing? You can easily provide the common or potentially damaging pitfalls to avoid when switching to cloud computing if you have already been there. These minor pitfalls can cause executive officers to stop initiatives to increase cloud migration and potentially lose faith in their IT managers for suggesting the changes. Switching to cloud computing changes everyday jobs such as data storage, app development, and resource allocation. Here are three significant pitfalls you should avoid when migrating to the cloud.

Underestimating Costs

Everyone that looks into cloud computing knows about the cost savings you get from switching, but they do not think about the costs associated with the migration process. Most providers do not charge for the actual data migration into the cloud, but it potentially could take weeks to months, depending on the size. You want to think about the size of your data before you start your migration. The migration could also cause your IT team to be distracted, whereas they might be otherwise focused on work-related jobs but focus on the migration instead. This could slow down or postpone projects that need to be completed.

Proper Training That Is Needed

With every new process, there is necessary training needed to ensure that you are getting everything out of the cloud services you purchased. If you do not have properly trained people, it could cost you more money to find cloud-savvy people who can assist you with anything you need to do with your cloud. Without knowledge of the cloud, any migrations can take longer than they should, and you could possibly run into other issues. There is also a possibility that the IT department will move its old problems on-premises to the cloud. “One of the mistakes we made early on is not fully appreciating how scary this can be to people who have been in IT for a long time,” said Pacific Life’s Trujillo.

Not Expanding Past “Lift and Shift”

Moving past the legacy ways of thinking will help avoid the pitfalls of cloud migration. The cloud entails much more than just picking applications and adding them to your cloud. You want to make sure you take advantage of all cloud services, such as mobile back-end services or performance management services, and not just use them as cheap storage. The cloud requires you to think of new ways of doing things within the cloud, which proves to be different from what we have grown up with. One of the most significant changes would be that there is no longer a need to wait for a server as you previously would have as there can be one readily available in a couple of minutes.

The pitfalls that you can see yourself falling into using the cloud can often be avoided by making sure to use all things available in the cloud and make sure you evolve with the cloud. 

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Apr 25 22
Christina Zumwalt

When utilizing the cloud for your business, you need enhanced security that still allows everyone to work and access applications and online data. It is also very important that you are aware of what security threats, issues, and challenges you may face using cloud computing. There are some common ones, such as data loss from cyber-attacks, security system misconfiguration, and unsecure access control points. Here are some reasons why these could be potential issues for you.

Data Loss Due to Cyber-Attacks

Cloud-based networks are often the target of cybercriminals due to the fact that most cloud service providers are accessible from the public internet. Most of the time, multiple companies use the same CSP, which allows attackers to repeat successful cyberattacks on one target to gain access to many more. Cloud-based networks are usually not secured properly, and many hackers are aware of and know how to exploit these providers.

Security System Misconfiguration

It is estimated that between 65 and 70 percent of all cloud security issues arise from security misconfigurations. There are several reasons why misconfigurations occur in a cloud network’s security system. One of the biggest ones is that accessibility and data sharing makes it more difficult for cybersecurity professionals to be sure that only authorized parties can access data. Something such as sharing a link to access anything on the cloud could give someone access that is not needed.

Unsecure Access Control Points

One of the most significant issues that can cause security problems is not being on a secure connection and accessing the cloud network. Being able to access the cloud anywhere from any device allows people to log in from places such as coffee shops, airports, hotels, and anywhere that has public wi-fi. Unfortunately for the people connecting, you never know who is around you, which can lead to someone being able to hack your device and gain access to your cloud network.

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Apr 14 22
Christina Zumwalt

Over the last few years, cloud computing has been growing to be something completely incredible. Cloud computing was something people talked about, but until COVID hit, it wasn’t used throughout the world. Since the significant shift to using cloud computing to keep people working while everything was shutting down, tons of trends have taken hold. Here are a few trends that will carry us through the rest of 2022.

AI’s Move To Edge

AI has been living primarily in the cloud. One of the developments with AI is that algorithms are becoming more efficient and can run on low-power devices. This means that AI can now occur and live at the edge-the point 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 with superfast fiber optic and mobile network availability. There will likely be an increase in customer processors that will become a greater 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.

Edge Computing

Although edge computing is not new, it has made steady gains in the cloud computing space. It has been rising in importance, but it is also maturing, and 2022 should be an interesting year for the edge computing space. First and foremost, the three F’s will be driving edge computing forward. Fit, form, and function are the three important F-words that will underlie and drive the development of custom form factors. At its core, edge computing is characterized by great variety because each use case is different, and the cases span multiple industries. There are unique demands for storage, computing power, and networking that will have a significant impact on the development of custom form factors right from the processor level on up.

Quantum Computing

A quantum computer is defined as an ultra-powerful machine that could solve problems currently beyond the realm of traditional computers. For example, your desktop PC would struggle to solve the following question: “If a salesman has many places to visit, what is the quickest route?”

Traditional computing can answer this question for a certain number of cities, but if I wanted to add more cities, it would get much harder quickly. Light is already used to transmit data very quickly over long distances via fiber optic cables. With this discovery, it may be possible to manipulate these photons and enable the distribution of data in much more powerful ways. The research team is now trying to manipulate photons in ways beyond attraction. The next test will be repulsion, where they slam photons into each other and scatter. These researchers are exploring uncharted territory. They do not know what will happen with repulsion. It may be that they form a regular pattern, like a crystal of light, or something totally different may happen.

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Apr 8 22
Christina Zumwalt

Today is a day where nothing should be taken serious, as most of it might just be a practical joke. Here are some fun ways to pull pranks on anyone around!

1. Place a “Please honk and wave—April Fools’ prank!” sign on the back of your car to either confuse your spouse or roommate on the way to work, or your children going to school!

2. Tape fake roaches inside a lampshade with the light on—talk about making everyone immediately feel creepy-crawly!

3. On a Windows computer, press the Ctrl, Alt, and downward arrow keys to flip the display screen upside down. You can turn it back by pushing Ctrl, Alt, and the upward arrow key together!

4. Make a mashed potato and gravy sundae that looks just like ice cream and caramel sauce, but is definitely more dinner than dessert!

5. Sorry in advance to whoever is on the receiving end of this prank, but one way to really shock someone is by leaving fake poop out somewhere in your home, car, or workplace!

6. Stuff toilet paper in the toe of your kids’ or roommates’ shoes, and see how long it takes for them to figure out the prank!

7. Switch out two (or more) bags of cereal from their boxes for the ultimate “gotcha!” moment in the morning!

8. Stick clear plastic wrap over the toilet, but be prepared for a clean-up that’s slightly less funny!

9. Place a jolly rancher or two in the showerhead so that the water comes out sticky (and potentially a little colorful)!

Apr 1 22
Christina Zumwalt

What emerging cloud technology will prove to be the next big thing? Although it is always difficult to predict with accuracy, we can look at trends gaining traction within larger organizations and enterprises to get a pretty good idea about the next significant technological developments.

One of those new trends emerging within large enterprises is a practice referred to as DataOps. But before we look at this new trend, let’s look at the definition of DevOps.

DevOps Defined

DevOps is an acknowledged IT practice that is designed to maximize automation and repeatability in the building and deployment of applications. The goals of DevOps include a faster time to market, continuous application delivery, and agility.

Trending Now

One trend impacting nearly all enterprises today is the increasing importance of using data to drive value. Data is the primary way a company can gain a competitive advantage regardless of the industry in which they operate. Data is used to improve the customer experience, increase operational efficiencies or generate new sources of revenue.

Why Data Matters

A major shift in focus for IT is how to manage and deploy data-intensive applications. Where DevOps focused on lightweight applications, there is a completely new list of considerations that need to be dealt with when we begin to work with data-intensive applications.

Data management practices are central to the entire application lifecycle. Developments in machine learning and data science applications require vast amounts of training data. Deployment raises other issues because data-intensive applications need to take into consideration the concept of locality. Processes need to be deployed near where the data is generated to meet performance expectations. Because data is used by different groups within an organization, the access to that data, IT needs to provide access control and governance.

DataOps For Data-Driven Applications

We are beginning to see shifts in the types of infrastructure, platforms, and tools used to support DataOps. Some of the tools like containers and virtualization that support DevOps are also central to DataOps, but additional needs are driving the use of newer technologies.

DataOps will require a data fabric capable of providing access to massive volumes of data while at the same time having the ability to manage different types of data, including legacy structured data as well as unstructured and streaming data. With the development of a global data fabric, IT will be able to manage data across multiple physical locations and process it with huge stores of computing engines, including containerized processes. Another feature you can expect as part of a dataOps platform is the ability to optimize for data locality. 

The Next Generation Of Market Winners

So, who will the winners be moving forward? It is probably safe to assume that the data center of the past decade will look quite different from data centers moving forward. As DataOps practices become more common and standardized, we will see a shift in the technology marketplace. Marketplace winners will be companies that deliver tools and platforms that cater to making the development and deployment of data-intensive applications easier and faster.

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Mar 24 22
Christina Zumwalt