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Using the Cloud Strategically

A recent blog from Sungard AS, Stretch Your IT Dollar with Cloud Computing Services, offers more than just ideas on how cloud can extend your IT budget.  It also covers ways organizations of all sizes can use cloud services strategically to meet their goals, as well as provides a link to materials useful for companies considering the move to cloud.

A key part of Cisco’s cloud strategy is to enable service providers like Sungard AS to offer a wide range of cloud-based services. These cloud services aren’t simply cloud-based copies of data center applications.  Because they are based in the cloud, they can provide even greater flexibility and value.  This gives businesses fast access to new technology without the delay or expense of capital expenditures.  Put another way, this gives businesses a powerful competitive edge.

For example, organizations can deploy disaster recovery in the cloud.  The use of shared, multi-tenant architectures enables businesses to minimize the cost and complexity of a disaster recovery solution.  This provides greater flexibility, giving businesses more options that can be tailored to meet their specific needs and budget.

Cisco’s portfolio of cloud services is extensive.  It includes:

Collaboration services like TelePresence as a Service (TPaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Infrastructure services like Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), and Bring Your Own Device as a Service (BYODaaS)

Software services like Application Experience as a Service (AXaaS)

Security services like Hosted Security as a Service (HSS)

And the list only continues to grow.

An important part of this portfolio is that providers can offer these services as Cisco Powered services.  Every service is built upon validated architectures.  As such, they provide enterprise-class performance and reliability as a minimum standard.

The top percentage of Cisco partners, however, take these services to the highest level.  By passing a third-party audit, cloud providers like Sungard AS have verified that they can deliver the service, security, and support they promise.  They also earn the right to use the Cisco Powered logo.

For you as a cloud user, the Cisco Powered logo means a service has passed Cisco’s stringent standards.  As a result, the service provides fast time to market with ensured performance.  You also benefit from ongoing innovation by your service provider and Cisco as they continue to innovate and improve services.

Using the cloud strategically is crucial for survival in today’s competitive world.  However, not all cloud services are created equal.  Commodity-based services built on best-effort networks can’t give you the confidence you need to move your mission-critical applications to the cloud.  To execute a great cloud strategy, you need cloud services you can trust.

Learn more about how Cisco Powered can transform your business.

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The New IT: How Cloud Changes Everything

The move to cloud can be daunting.  In their blog, Overcoming the Organizational Challenges of Moving to Cloud, Presidio describes one of the barriers organizations face when transitioning to cloud.  Building a hybrid cloud – one based on private on-premises resources extended through the public cloud network – requires many shifts in thinking for IT.

In short, IT is becoming the cloud services broker within their own company.  This means IT is less about building out infrastructure than it is brokering cloud-based services and applications. To achieve this, IT needs to be able to provide services tailored to their user base.  In turn, IT needs to be able to access flexible services designed to meet their specific requirements.

Another important shift in thinking for IT is to realize that the cloud is a doorway to more than just virtual servers.  It is a portal to new applications and new ways of doing business so you can act upon emerging opportunities quickly.  It is an assurance that you can have the performance you need to follow through on these opportunities.  And it is a direct connection to ongoing innovation, enabling your organization to seamlessly access leading technology without extensive capital investment.

Cloud providers like Presidio understand this dual role of cloud, to help manage costs today while enabling unrestricted expansion into the future.  And, with their Cisco Powered services, Presidio offers a cloud that is also built for reliability, security, and scalability.

Learn more about how Presidio’s Hybrid Cloud and Cisco Powered cloud and managed services can transform your business.

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Disaster Recovery Oversights

It can be challenging and expensive to design an efficient network and data center that minimizes downtime.  Yet, even if you’ve put together a bulletproof solution, there’s always the possibility of disaster to consider.

Developing a robust disaster recovery plan involves much more than just installing redundant resources.  There are so many factors to consider, and so many that are easily overlooked.  For example, a comprehensive disaster recovery plan includes not only redundant electrical systems; it ensures electricity sources are redundant as well.

Disaster recovery is an example of an application that is well-suited for the cloud.  Certainly you can take on the challenge – and expense – of putting together a complex, in-house solution.  Alternatively, you can leverage the expertise and up-to-date solutions available from cloud providers.  Cloud-based disaster recovery services can also be put in place must faster and at substantially lower cost.

Partnering with a cloud provider can greatly simplify implementing a comprehensive disaster recovery plan. Not every cloud provider offers enterprise-class service.  Nor do they all guarantee their promises with written service level agreements. Choosing the wrong service or the wrong provider can put the reliability of your recovery strategy at risk.

In Shopping List for Cloud Recovery Services, cloud provider Sungard AS reviews key factors to consider when evaluating disaster recovery cloud services.   They offer many service levels, such as the speed with which different infrastructure and applications are restored.  Properly balancing your plan with your business requirements leads to the best price.  The right provider can also help you understand your vulnerabilities and different approaches to address them.

Cloud-based disaster recovery services provide a cost-effective approach to enable you to ensure the safety of your organization’s data and continuity of operations.  Learn more about how industry leaders like Cisco, Sungard AS, and Allstream are working together to manage risk in the cloud.

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Enabling BYOD for your Organization

 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technology promises many benefits to organizations.  For example, increased productivity results when users can access data with any device, anywhere, anytime.  By both simplifying and automating security and policy management, IT management costs can also be reduced.  There are equipment savings as well, since organizations can leverage the use of personal electronics that their employees already own.

There’s a lot to enabling BYOD.  IT can’t afford to manage every single device that wants to join the network.  There are also security issues, such as preventing stolen mobile devices from providing unrestricted access to sensitive data.

Cisco has worked with OneNeck IT Solutions to provide a comprehensive BYOD solution for businesses and other organizations.  OneNeck IT Solutions is a Cisco Gold Partner.  They have advanced specializations in mobility and security and are leading the industry in helping companies successfully embrace BYOD technology.

The OneNeck BYOD solution includes:

  • Identity Services Engine: Unifies policy-based service enablement that ensures corporate and regulatory compliance of all devices on your network.
  • Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client: Simplifies the VPN experience with enhanced remote access technology.
  • Intelligent Network infrastructure: Security is embedded into wired, wireless, and VPN access points to provide greater visibility and enforcement.
  • Mobile Device Management: Seamlessly integrates your BYOD strategy with solutions from leading market providers.
  • Virtual Desktops: Provides secure access to desktops from any device.

OneNeck also offers many advanced features to assure the security of both devices and the network.  You can read more about these features in this blog from OneNeck. To learn more about Cisco’s BYOD solutions, visit http://www.cisco.com/web/solutions/trends/byod_smart_solution/index.html.

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Take Out the Stress of Choosing the Right Cloud Provider

For many organizations, buying cloud services can be stressful. After all, as your business moves more and more into the cloud, you need to know your services and cloud provider are as reliable or better than if these services originated from within your own data center.

Buying cloud services can feel a lot like buying a car. How many of us really know what’s going on under the hood? We look at a few key stats like gas mileage and drive it around the block. Yeah, it accelerates and brakes. We know we’re safe and going to get relatively good gas efficiency. After all, cars have to meet certain standards. So in the end the decision comes down to price and comfort features such as how much we like the center console and cup holder.

But not all clouds are created equal. Low pricing and a fancy user portal are nice, but they aren’t what keep your business growing. Is best-effort service good enough for your operations? Can your organization afford to experience down time? Does your provider offer the flexibility you could get from other providers? Is your service truly enterprise-class?

The good news is that, just like there are standards in the car industry, there are standards for cloud. Services that are Cisco Powered, for example, have to meet strict requirements to carry the Cisco Powered logo. These requirements include certification and a third-party audit of every service to verify they deliver as promised.

You can learn more about what it takes to have confidence in your cloud provider from our partner, OneNeck. In their recent blog, “How to Reliably Offload IT Management to the Cloud,” they share a comprehensive list of factors to consider when choosing a cloud provider.
Selecting the right cloud provider and services doesn’t have to be frustrating and arbitrary. By understanding what comprises a reliable cloud, you can ask the right questions to ensure your provider is the best partner for your business.

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