As seen in The Maryland Coast Dispatch
Even though cloud solutions have benefits like flexibility, collaboration and simplified backups, some Delmarva businesses are hesitant to migrate to the cloud because of local internet concerns. Delmarva technology leader Sam Card answers questions about how connectivity works and the impact it has on your decision to migrate to the cloud.
Q: I’m thinking of moving some business applications to the cloud. Why is it important to have a reliable internet connection?
Sam Card: The cloud can be very frustrating if you have poor internet connectivity. This is especially true when you need access to your files to meet a business deadline, like a sales proposal. If you have frequent internet disconnections, or don’t have high speed internet, you may be restricted in what you can do with your data in the cloud.
However, the infrastructure on Delmarva has come a long way as many service providers have invested in their networks, bringing better connectivity to businesses. Cards Technology, along with several of our clients, have purchased fiber optic internet service. This reduces the construction costs for internet service providers and makes fiber more affordable for Delmarva businesses.
Q: I’ve been hearing fiber is the best internet connection. What is the difference between fiber optic internet and cable?
SC: Cable, DSL and prior to that, dialup service, used copper wire because it’s a good conductor of electricity. Fiber optics was born with the development of thin, flexible, glass material wrapped in bundles where data is transmitted at the speed of light.
Basically, fiber optic connectivity is dedicated to your business while cable internet is shared with all your neighbors. Imagine 10 kids streaming movies when they get home from school on the same cable line as your business. Trying to have a video skype conversation with your customer becomes a nightmare! With fiber, you are guaranteed speed because the connection is direct to your business. There is also less, if not any, downtime with fiber since the fiber infrastructure is heavy duty and more reliable than cable.
Q: Isn’t fiber going to be too expensive for my Delmarva small business?
SC: It doesn’t matter what size your business is, you want cost effective internet. If you need constant internet connectivity, and it costs you money when the internet is down, fiber is your answer. You have to analyze what downtime costs you compared to the cost of fiber. If your staff is sitting idle, or your customers can’t get answers, that’s expensive!
Your access to the cloud doesn’t have to be stalled by internet connectivity. Consider what level of internet uptime your business needs, and choose the connection that best fits your needs. There’s still room in the cloud for you.
PowerPoint is the go-to app for presentations for business professionals. One of the best practices we’re taught right away is to make slides consistent and clean for the best-looking presentations.
If you’re dealing with multiple images that you want to be the same size – and need to be resized consistently – there’s a feature for that. Let’s say you are using profile pictures for speaker bios and the images all need to be the same size, but they aren’t. Here’s the best way to handle the situation:
A picture is worth a thousand words…
If you work with multiple tabs in Excel routinely, you know the pain of searching through each tab to make the same change repeatedly. You also probably know these changes can be made with the Search/Replace function but – step away from the search key! – here’s a quicker way to make the same change across worksheets.
Bada bing bada boom – all cells changed! Let’s take a look…
OK, OK. That was a really short (although very cool) tip so here’s a bonus Excel tip…
When you want to put today’s date into a worksheet cell, just type Ctrl+; in the cell. Add the time by pressing Ctrl+Shift+;
Take your Word documents from fine to fabulous with these 3 easy steps to adding a table of contents to your reports, proposals and presentations. Printed documents with a table of contents appear more sophisticated, and onscreen documents with a table of contents feature hot-link navigation to make it easy for readers to jump immediately to specific sections. Your readers will quickly find the information they need – and you will look like a rock star!
1. Apply Heading Styles
2. Insert A Table Of Contents
3. Customize your table of contents
Between phones, tablets, and computers, most employees today have at least three devices. It’s not like the early 2000s when companies were just beginning to adopt the internet. Computer servers sat in an office closet. Everybody drove to the office to work, and nobody really cared about accessing information from anywhere else.
Today, work on Delmarva is just as likely to happen at a main or remote office, as it is at home or a coffee shop. You and your staff have higher expectations for accessing information – you want to be able to get to it instantaneously.
That’s where cloud technology helps.
To help you determine if cloud technology is right for your business, consider these five advantages.
1. Flexibility to work from anywhere.
When your company is working from the cloud, you can get to your applications and information quickly. Employees can work from home, in the field, or in the office. One of our Delmarva plumbing clients has enabled their field employees to review and update data in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet from their job sites. Now both the field and office staff have real-time access to information. No more waiting to get back to the office. Not only has productivity soared, but employees are happier because they can get their jobs done faster.
2. Improved staff collaboration.
Traditional business applications don’t allow you and your staff to collaborate easily on projects and documents. Accounting software lets you do a great job managing your company’s payables and balancing your checkbook, but it doesn’t help your staff work together on other projects. Cloud collaboration allows you to share data, and work on documents together in real time, all in one place.
3. Simplified backup and safer data.
No business owner wants to discover their server crashed and they’ve lost access to their data. With the cloud, you aren’t at risk of losing information you’ve saved on your server or device due to a hardware failure, virus, or employee error. Because your data is saved in the cloud on systems that have multiple redundancies, downtime is virtually eliminated. And if something does go wrong? The cloud allows for quick data recovery, usually without a call to the helpdesk.
4. Fluctuate with seasonal demand.
As your business changes throughout the seasons, cloud technology allows you to quickly and easily add and remove users to software applications. No longer do you have to worry about paying for perpetual software licenses that you only use during the high-season. With cloud solutions, you can accommodate the fluctuations in your staffing and sales.
5. Grow efficiently and cost effectively.
Many cloud solutions, like Microsoft Office 365, have built in tools or capabilities that most companies aren’t even aware of until they begin to grow. Other cloud solutions are similar. They include these capabilities to meet your business needs without disruptive upgrades or software switches. You may not need all the capabilities they have today, but by choosing a cloud solution, you preserve your flexibility for when you do grow. Those capabilities are there, waiting to be implemented as your business grows and evolves.
Not everything is sunny in the cloud. As you consider cloud technology, there are two considerations to keep in mind.
1. Back-ups are still necessary.
The cloud simplifies your backup strategy, but doesn’t eliminate it. You don’t have to back up your applications like you do with a server in your office because the cloud does that for you. However, you still want to back up your data. It’s the backbone of your business. At Cards Technology, our experts review your backup strategy as part of your move to the cloud to safeguard that your data will be protected.
2. Know where your data is stored in the cloud.
While the cloud can be an extremely efficient way to store your data, it’s important that the cloud provider you select has a secure, reliable environment. The security experts at Cards Technology conduct regular security audits, offer you written documentation of our security policies and show you an audit report that verifies we adhere to standard data privacy regulations.
Like the idea of the cloud, but you’re concerned about the reliability of your internet connectivity? We hear that frequently. Don’t let it rain on your cloud vision.
If you’re having problems with internet connectivity, step back and examine why it’s happening. With the internet as accessible as it is today, you really shouldn’t be experiencing problems. When we encounter it with our clients, our top two recommendations are:
1. Get a second internet connection. A second connection will give you redundancy. If one connection goes down, you have a backup.
2. Move to a fiber-optic internet service. This uses physical fiber-optic lines to your office and is typically more reliable than DSL or cable.
To ensure you’re on the right path as you move to the cloud, partner with a trusted IT provider, like Cards Technology, that understands cloud and cloud security. If you’d like to discuss how you might implement the cloud in your business, click here or call us at 410-208-3933. We’ll conduct an assessment to identify the best strategy for you.