The Cloud offers smaller firms the tools that were once only available to large enterprise organisations that had the finance and resources to manage complex solutions. Now available as on-demand services where you only pay for what you use, the cloud frees firms from the cycle of hardware upgrades and the burden of managing complex systems.
TW have deployed numerous Hybrid Cloud solutions to clients, moving business critical IT services to the cloud through Microsoft Office 365. Working with Microsoft we offer Software as a-Service (SaaS) which includes Office 365, a suite of hosted applications that require no installation, upgrades or management by the end user organisation.
Microsoft Office 365 is a Web-based version of Microsoft's Office suite of enterprise-grade productivity applications. Office 365 is delivered to users through the cloud and includes Exchange Online for email, SharePoint Online for collaboration and Lync Online for unified communications.
This allows for collaboration and greater access to services once a user has access to a device with internet connectivity. The solution provided compliments any mobile collaboration strategy the client is under taking. The remaining on premise server facilitates server based applications which have not been tested in a cloud environment and network printing.
Any other applications are transitioned to Microsoft’s Azure cloud hosted server solution. The solution allows TW to build, deploy and manage applications for clients in the cloud. Cloud solutions are being embraced more now in the corporate sector as previously the subscription was more dominant in the SMB market.
Recently TW have transitioned our Service Desk ticketing system to the cloud providing the facility for clients to log calls via email or direct to the system and have engineers provide updates in real-time via apps configured on their smart phones. This implementation has provided significantly improved efficiencies in call logging and access to information on ticket progress.
Our Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings turn hardware into an operational rather than capital cost, with racks of rented computer power and storage delivering all your IT needs from the cloud. We also offer a range of standalone services around storage, virtual desktops and systems monitoring as well as a cloud-based disaster recovery solutions.
Cloud computing is completely changing the way in which companies use technology to meet the needs of customers, suppliers and partners. It brings with it many benefits including:
For any business, cloud computing typically means that there will be a reduction in hardware, software and staffing costs. When cloud computing is adopted, the requirement for heavy duty servers is gone. The business realises savings on the capital outlay, installation and ongoing maintenance costs associated with such infrastructure.
The software is now delivered as a service and there is no longer a need to purchase a CD or a license and install the software product on a computer. Instead, the user licenses can be paid for on a monthly basis and the number of users can be scaled up or down according to the organisation’s needs at the time. The software is always up to date and there is no requirement for any investment in expensive upgrades.
Staffing costs may also be reduced, dependent on the staff that is in place prior to the adoption of cloud computing. There would be a reduced requirement for roles such as system administrators and database administrators, as these would now be delivered by the service provider.
Your storage needs depend on the type of business that you have and the number of users. The storage options available to businesses vary from vendor to vendor, but the important element is that they are scalable and flexible. If you are running out of space, you can simply add more space to your monthly subscription. This can be done online, it can be made available immediately and there is no longer a need to specify and purchase more powerful hardware to manage the increased demand.
Backup, Recovery and Business Continuity
With cloud computing, the businesses data is backed up to an offsite remote server rather than locally on a device such as a hard drive or a storage disc. In the event of a technical failure or other problem at the businesses premises, the data which is required to continue running the business will still be accessible via any device as long as there is internet connectivity.
The recovery is generally faster and more straightforward than from a tape or hard drive.
Easy Access to your Information
Cloud computing makes a truly mobile workforce a reality for many businesses, some of which would have previously been very fixed and immobile. As long as there is internet connectivity, employees can access data from any location, on whatever device they are using and via whatever network / connection is available to them. It is now possible to not only work from home but to work on the train, in a coffee shop, at the airport and the list goes on.
Cloud computing gives access to software and tools that aid collaboration between employees, clients and suppliers. Hosted business email and shared calendar and contacts, protected with the most current antivirus and anti-spam solutions, means secure communications are no longer confined to the office. Document sharing and cloud based collaboration enables colleagues to work together wherever they are, sharing documents from a central repository that is always secure and up to date. Multiple communications channels are only a click away with access to instant messaging, audio and video conferencing.
Types of clouds
What cloud computing options are out there for you?
With cloud computing, large pools of resources can be connected via private or public networks to provide dynamically scalable infrastructures for application, data and file storage. Applying the idea of economies of scale, the costs of computing, application hosting, content storage and delivery can be significantly reduced.
Cloud computing is offered in different form: public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds.
Public Cloud Computing Model
Public clouds are owned and operated entirely by the service provider and are hosted on shared infrastructure. The service provider makes resources available to companies on demand. With infrastructure costs spread across all users, customers benefit from economies of scale and can enjoy a low cost ‘pay-as-you-go’ model.
A public cloud service is, in general, larger than a private cloud service, and this delivers seamless on-demand scalability.
The company will have limited configuration capabilities, security, and availability variances, as these factors are wholly managed and supported by the service provider.
Private Cloud Computing Model
Private clouds are built exclusively for an individual enterprise. They allow the firm to host applications in the cloud, while addressing concerns regarding data security and control, which is often lacking in a public cloud environment.
A private cloud can be deployed in two different ways:
- On-premise (internal cloud) – in this case it is hosted at the organisations own data center and on the company’s own infrastructure. It can have limitations in terms of size and scalability. On-premise private clouds are best used for applications that require complete control and configurability of the infrastructure and security.
- Externally hosted – in this instance an exclusive cloud environment with full guarantee of privacy is provided for. This format is recommended for organisations that prefer not to use a public cloud infrastructure due to the risks associated with the sharing of physical resources.
Hybrid Cloud Computing Models
A hybrid cloud model combines the best bits from both the public and the private cloud models. With a hybrid cloud model, a company can leverage third-party cloud providers in either a full or partial manner. The hybrid cloud environment is more flexible and delivers on-demand, externally-provisioned scalability.