Monday, April 22, 2013

Can cloud give you the edge?

Change can be daunting - and certainly in a technologically driven world where change happens virtually overnight - it seems almost impossible to keep up. In an economy where competition is high, adopting modern, enhanced ways of using technology, drives competitive advantage through enhancing efficiency, productivity, mobility and your overall image.

[Anthony Simons] The more recent decreases in data pricing, easier multi-device access to the internet and enhanced security of cloud based storage is boosting the adoption of cloud services in South Africa.

According to the recent '2013 State of the Cloud Report', small to medium size businesses are using the Cloud mostly for storage and collaboration.

But Cloud offers much more than simply a solution to online document storage and access. If integrated according to a solid business strategy, cloud services can really give your business the edge.

MMC's top 3 reasons why Cloud is a winner include: 

Multiple Device Access
An increased number of workers are using tablets and smartphones, in addition to laptops to perform work functions remotely. Cloud services enable not only the storage of documents online, but more importantly enable multi-device access to documents with the ability from some providers such as SkyDrive, to compile and edit documents even where relevant software is not loaded on the device itself. 

Business Agility 
Having additional computing resources at your disposal as and when you need them, leads to significant savings in time and capital. For example if you are running a project with a team of project based, temporary personnel, the required software and data storage can be provisioned within a matter of minutes or hours, rather than days - all at minimal expenditure.
Enhanced Business Continuity 
In the case of server failure, software issues or even something of an external nature such as an area wide electricity outage, teams can still have access to documents and can work on them using familiar software applications in the cloud.

So we mentioned the fact that technology advances almost within the blink of an eye. No business can really afford to continually update its software. Take for example the soon to be released Windows Blue - this is an upgrade to Windows 8 - already!

This is where something like Microsoft's SkyDrive comes into its own. In addition to offering online storage, users are able to access the latest versions of Microsoft Office.

An Express Review of Microsoft SkyDrive Pro 

Following Microsoft's intention to be 'the worlds hard drive', SkyDrive Pro recently replaced SharePoint Workspace and has become instantly accessible in the latest versions of Microsoft Office (2013) and Office 365, in addition to SharePoint.

If you want to test the waters, sign up for the consumer version of SkyDrive, which offers you access to a comprehensive selection of Microsoft Office products and online email in addition to a generous 7GB of online storage.

Many users harbour some confusion as to the difference between SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro - and wonder why Microsoft decided to rename SharePoint's Workspace application in the first place.

While SkyDrive is built for consumers, SkyDrive Pro offers additional functionality for business users.
  • SkyDrive Pro runs on the latest SharePoint Online & SharePoint 2013
  • SkyDrive Pro offers rich content management features such as document versioning, alerts, document quick preview, Office integration etc.
  • Each SkyDrive Pro user gets 7GB of personal storage instead of the 500 MB of storage that SharePoint Online MySite users receive currently. Each user’s 7GB is still separate from the overall SharePoint Online pooled storage
  • Users can sync documents directly to their SkyDrive from the latest version of Microsoft Office (2013)
  • With SkyDrive Pro, document syncing happens automatically when connected online.
For more information please view this post on the Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog 

So cloud services offer you a way of staying current. For a pittance of what it would cost to deploy software on-site across the company, your entire business can have access to important documents and professional versions of the latest software - immediately and anywhere.  

In an ever evolving technological landscape - the efficiencies, mobility and cost savings offered by cloud services is something that no business can afford not to consider.

Established in 1991, MMC provides organisations within the small to medium business sector with a variety of flexible, outsourced IT services. With solid implementation experience across a wide range of leading IT products, we provide robust, reliable solutions that are tailored specifically to the individual needs of our clients.

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