What are online services?
The most common term used today to describe online services is 'cloud computing'. In essence this means that you access the majority of your technology needs through the Internet. Like all technology solutions this has advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages include that you no longer need to house and maintain complex technology, you can access your information anywhere you can access the Internet and you are normally billed on per user, per month basis. Some of the potential disadvantages include that you need a good, fast Internet connection, your data is in a location that is outside your business and you are dependent on someone else to maintain the server equipment.
As with all technology, by using a systematic approach, it is possible to leverage the advantages while minimizing the downsides. This is where the Computer Information Agency comes in. We can examine your existing set up and recommend a strategy that is both cost effective and practical to your business. In many cases this will involve a hybrid solution with some of your technology remaining in house while other components being outsourced.
What services should I move to the cloud?
The most likely application that you would consider moving into the 'cloud' would be email. Services like Hotmail and Skydrive have been successfully offering online email for years. Even with an application like email, numerous possibilities are available including using Microsoft Office365.
Microsoft Office365 for example includes hosted Exchange server (email), SharePoint (collaboration), Online Communications Server (chat) and Lync (web conferencing) in a single package available on a per month per user basis.
All these options can not only be very confusing but also challenging to implement and integrate technically. There is also the question of migration of existing data as well as how to plan for connection and service outages. Luckily, this is where the Computer Information Agency can help with its vast experience in many of the most common online platforms available today. Not only can we advise you of the best strategy we can also help you implement and manage the whole process to ensure that it all goes smoothly. For a free consultation please contact us.
How can online services work for you?
For many common technology applications, like email, it may make sense to consider moving these to a hosted solution. It can provide a much lower cost of ownership, easier configuration and less restrictions in terms of disk space and remote access. Most online solutions work on pay as you go scheme which means that you do not have to invest significant amounts of money in hardware and software even before you start using the applications. Because online solutions are hosted in large data centres they are probably more secure than having equipment inside your premises and don't forget that you'll also save on your electricity bills by not having servers in house.
Online services are just another technology tool that is available to improve the effectiveness of your business. You can use as much or as little as you need and generally swap between online and offline at any point. There will be a growing number of services offered online that you can easily take advantage of, so it is important to be aware of what is available and how it can help your business. With our extensive industry knowledge and experience we'll be there to help you make sense of what works for your business.
Why use us?
The Computer Information Agency has experience in many of the online application suites including Microsoft Office365. We can also show you a number of other online tools that will improve the way that you do business. Our ongoing research in this area ensure that we are always up to date with what is available and the benefits it can provide a business like yours.
We recommend you contact us to arrange an obligation free consultation about online services for your business. Let us show you what is possible.