Cloud, cloud, cloud that’s what it’s all about. Businesses of all sizes continue to transition to the cloud. It is arguably the most disruptive technology since the industrial revolution. In fact, you could say that computing and now cloud computing is our very own modern-day “digital revolution.” There is little question that digital disruption is rewriting every chapter and verse of our lives-business and personal.

Let’s face it. For many IT executives, it can be a real puzzle to transition your business to the cloud. Transitioning to the cloud also creates real challenges and struggles for your vendors and partners. They may be amid their own transition, or they may have to deal with the issues that arise out of your transition to the cloud. Either way, the path to transitioning to the cloud is a risky one.

Thankfully, lots of help is available to guide and assist you in transitioning to the cloud. All the big enterprise software companies have made that journey and can provide you with plenty of excellent information and guidance.

The “Cloud Transformation Journey” by 451 Research is a very valuable report that will help you understand the issues and help guide you through a thorough cloud migration process. For the literary-minded, you may find the four stages of transformation that 451 research identifies a great tool to guide your process. It makes the steps “memorable” by equating them to great book titles.

There are five stages of cloud transformation that are defined as follows:

1. Great Expectations– Looking forward to the cost savings that will drive consolidation.

2. Wuthering Heights– Discovering that lower costs also drive greater consumption resulting in increased costs and virtual sprawl.

3. A Tale of Two Options– Determining how best to handle all your data, applications, security, and storage. Should you go Cloud or Hybrid Cloud?

4. War and Peace– Finally gaining control to the point where usage and cloud costs are controlled through payment terms and tools.

5. Brave New World– The ongoing process of optimizing and making continual improvements to enable flexibility and agility, scalability, and the cost savings you anticipated at the beginning of your cloud journey.

You do not need to go through the cloud transformation or migration journey alone. Thankfully, many large enterprises have successfully transitioned to the cloud and can help you. You can also benefit from learning about what is new, what is hot, what is not, security concerns, and governance issues by attending or following top cloud providers like Amazon and Google. Both offer summits that provide deep-dive information on all sorts of cloud and enterprise transformation topics. Some sessions from these summits are even streamed for free. The other benefit of attending these summits is the ability to develop relationships and learn from others who have already made a move or are in the process.

Transitioning your business to the cloud can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be scary and full of risk. Doing your due diligence and lots of research into other brands like your own that have made the transition will provide you with great learning and prepare you by helping you navigate the cloud landscape and focusing your energy on the areas that will be the most important for your brand’s cloud success.

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Jun 23 22
Christina Zumwalt
Happy Fathers Day

Father’s Day is a day used to honor fatherhood and the paternal bond, as well as societal influence of fathers. In Catholic countries it is celebrated in March on the 19th and is known as Saint Joseph’s Day. Here are a few quotes you can use to make your father feel appreciated:

  • “The power of a dad in a child’s life is unmatched.” —Justin Ricklefs
  • “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” —William Shakespeare
  • “One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” —George Herbert
  • “A girl’s first true love is her father.” —Marisol Santiago
  • “A father’s smile has been known to light up a child’s entire day.” —Susan Gale
  • “A father doesn’t tell you that he loves you. He shows you.” —Dimitri the Stoneheart
  • “Fathers just have a way of putting everything together.” —Erika Cosby
  • “Behind every great daughter is a truly amazing father.” —Unknown
  • “To her, the name of father was another name for love.” —Fanny Fern
  • “The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.” —Tim Russert
  • “No music is so pleasant to my ears as that word―father.” —Lydia Maria Child
  • “A father carries pictures where his money used to be.” —Steve Martin
  • “When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back.” —Linda Poindexter
  • “A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.” —Unknown
  • “The greatest mark of a father is how he treats his children when no one is looking.” —Dan Pearce
Jun 17 22
Christina Zumwalt

Life before the cloud meant that most data storage solutions were decentralized and hosted on on-site servers. 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 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. 17 of the GDPR or “the right to be forgotten.” This article challenges the way data is stored across blockchain networks.

Basically, If you store data on-chain, you cannot comply with data regulations because the data becomes immoveable, which is the point of a blockchain. In addition, there is a much greater need to track what data is shared with whom 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 inefficient for general data storage and not for large databases requiring 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.

Even so, many proponents of blockchain technology believe that in the future, everything will be tracked on the Blockchain. Is Blockchain the ultimate solution? Only time will tell.

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Jun 10 22
Christina Zumwalt

Memorial Day is about remembering all of the fallen military and is observed on the last Monday of May. Here are some interesting facts about Memorial Day:

Freed Slaves May Have Organized the First Memorial Day

Some reports say formerly enslaved people who were freed at the end of the Civil War were among the first to memorialize the fallen soldiers, according to the History Channel. Others contributed to the start of a group of women who laid flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers in the same year.

General John H. Logan Officially Declared It a Holiday

On May 5, 1868, this general declared May 30 a day “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” History.com reported.

It Used to Be Called Decoration Day

Memorial Day wasn’t the first name of the holiday. It was called Decoration Day first because it was a day to decorate the graves of lost loved ones.

It Started in Waterloo

There are contradicting claims as to where Memorial Day really started, but the federal government declared that it began in Waterloo, New York.

It Wasn’t a National Holiday Until 1971

While Memorial Day was observed by many from the Civil War’s end and on, it was federally declared a holiday in 1971.

May Was Chosen Because of the Natural Flowers

The natural beauty that spring brings to America inspired the flower-based holiday, according to Reader’s Digest.

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May 30 22
Christina Zumwalt

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