It's becoming a CLOUDy day!

We've recently had the opportunity to start working with clients more and more on "cloud" based solutions for small businesses. What we've learned is that choosing the right cloud-based provider makes ALL the difference to success or failure. We've also learned that choosing the right SUPPORT company also makes the difference.

The idea that "cloud" based solutions are simple, easy, and cheap is so completely out of perspective to what reality is, that many companies find themselves signing up for multiple solutions, but then very easily lose site of efficiency. Almost like the clouds obscure our view of the skies.

Years ago when I first heard the "cloud" expression, I realized that it was simply a marketing term, almost meant to mislead and confuse business owners and decision makers. The promise of a simplified infrastructure, managed elsewhere, almost seems too good to be true. Many companies fell in to the marketing pitfalls of "cloudy thinking" and have come to realize that although they might be saving up-front costs on hardware and infrastructure, they still need efficient and adequate support PEOPLE to maintain, organize, protect, and migrate cloud-based solutions.

In fact, recent projects that we were involved in would have completely destroyed a small business that found themselves lost in the clouds with little to no idea of what was where, why, and how much they were spending for things that weren't even working for them. Without our help, and understanding of their business model, they would have lost clients/customers, lost business, and had to downsize their company, if not close the doors altogether.

Yes, some cloud-based solutions work. There are also new technologies that are extremely vital to small and big companies that are solely based on "cloud" models... but in the end, you still need to have support, and your solutions still need to be maintained, managed, and administered to make sure you are using the right solution, and not losing money, or your business!

Viruses are smarter, and nastier

In over 20 years of maintaining computer systems, I have personally never experienced such an onslaught of viruses, spyware, trojans, pop-ups, worms and ransomware as I have seen in the past month.

Security and protection of computer networks is becoming a critical component of keeping technology working for the small business owners.

The worst fact, we are almost defensless against these infections. Almost.

End-user education is the key component to protecting and securing ANY small business network today. Regardless of the protection schemes used, the fact is that a user can click on the wrong thing and create a catastrophic event.

The latest threats of Ransomware viruses have us very scared for unprotected small businesses and even home users. The general public just isn't being taught how to evaluate an email, or stay away from corrupt links on web pages, especially news article websites. The articles just look too interesting, and when clicked on, launch a viral attack on any computer, on any network, running any antivirus software.

We recently had a customer infect one of their computers with the Crowti virus - a nasty ransomware virus that encrypts every file it can find (especially on the local network) and then charges up to $1,000 or more for the decryption key to have access to your files again. This client was using our recommended dual-backup method and within a few hours we had them back to normal, operating as though the day never occurred. However, how many businesses are out there that don't have good backups; that don't know how to restore files; that would be lost without their data?

Recently I consulted with a teacher who had 10-years of her work on a single USB drive. She needed something off her drive one day and plugged it in to an infected computer. In a heartbeat all of her files, 10 years of work, was encrypted, gone.

These infections have cost AIS multiple hours of time for us to scan, sweep, clean, and re-check systems that are vulnerable. We are making the investment of our time to make sure all of our clients are safe. Luckily, every client we have on our offsite backup system is fully protected, and we can recover any of those files - quick, efficient, and operational.

Please be careful. Educate yourself and others about clicking on the wrong things. No email filter, antivirus software, or firewall can protect us from these threats.

Private Cloud offerings available NOW

How time flies when you're having fun with tech!

We are proud to be able to offer one of the best, and most economical, solutions for moving away from other 3rd party Cloud Storage solutions... you can now Drop the Box.

AIS is able to host, or install an on-premise solution which allows you to gain access to your files at anytime, from anywhere, on anything.

This solution also can provide an easier way to email large files, share entire folders (or just files) and even let access to those files and folders expire!

There's too many options to list, so just visit www.getfilecloud.com to get a better idea of the Tonido FileCloud solution which we are able to demonstrate for you and your staff.

This technology is something we're VERY excited about. It's the perfect solution for the small business that's always working, always on-the-go, and working with multiple different devices, with other people, and various other partners/consultants/clients/vendors/etc.

Get your own Private Cloud solution TODAY.

Private Cloud Storage Solution is here, today!

I'm excited to talk about this project because it's something I've been researching and working on for almost three years. I wanted to find a solution that allows you to access your company data, securely, over the Internet, from any device (laptop, desktop, website, tablet, or a smartphone).

The access had to be to the actual file server at your office, and it had to provide remote workers, field personnel, business owners, contractors, customers, and vendors secure access to files stored either on your server, or a server hosted offsite from your main offices.

We've found the solution.

Available, today, right now - you too can have that "app" feel to getting your data without using unsecure 3rd party solutions that store your data in unknown locations. It's your data - you should know where it is, and who's accessing it.

This solution also includes a synchronization tool allowing remote computers and laptops to synchronize personal files/folders, and it also includes a means of delivering that shared folder as a drive letter on a computer, located somewhere else.

Awesome. Truly awesome - especially for the Architectural & Engineering markets in today's economy. Why? Because as the A&E firms begin to grow, so will their need for outsourced resources. Contractors that have better/faster machines at home, and the work can be done quicker and cheaper - so why not let them work from home?

The solution can range from $25/month for hosted storage (hosted by AIS, in OUR data center, on OUR equipment), or up to $500/year for your own license to run on your won equipment.

It's easy to setup and configure, easy for people to use, and does what we've been looking for... get the data closer to the people that need it.

Reminded of how important our Client Relationships are

I was reminded again today how important it is to stay in contact with my customers and their needs. Although AIS LLC doesn't do website design, we know the in's and out's, especially what's needed to make it all come together.

To get the right solution for your business, include your trusted resources as much as possible.

AIS loves to be involved, where we can assist. We do value other relationships you might have, like marketing, SEO, website design, email hosting, etc. Remember, Technology can be a really big puzzle, and we're here to help - not hinder or confuse.

We hate problems. We love solutions (especially ones that work)!

Is the desktop going to disappear?

Transient

So much recently has moved towards "the cloud" and "virtual computer" that many wonder what will Technology look like? Am I heading in the right direction?

If being able to operate your computer, or your programs, from a laptop, tablet, smart-phone, public PC, friends laptop, or your SmartTV... then perhaps you might want to open your mind to some newer technologies... especially if you can work more efficiently, or increase profits because of that access.

"The Cloud" has changed many minds about what their company needs are. Basically, taking a business need and extending it beyond the physical walls of your office means your using "The Cloud" to get your work done. That could be remote access to your office (from outside), hosted email from a provider, or an online storage drive where you can save files. "The Cloud" is "The Internet". Cloud Computing means using the Internet as your network - further extending, and perhaps relocating, the technology you need to wherever on that network makes the most sense.

Today I contemplated what the future might hold for desktop computers. The fact is, we use applications. PC's or even laptops run those applications, open the data we need to view or change, and then save that data. Today, we can launch several compatible "Office" programs (word processor, spreadsheets, presentation programs, etc.) from just about any device, from laptops to smart phones, tablets and yes, even SmartTV's.

So, if what's important is the data, and you can use different "apps" on different devices to access that data - then why does the data need to be on that bulky desktop computer that requires so much maintenance and support.

The fact is, it doesn't. By extending your business's access to data, using the Internet, you have global access to your files and information. You just need the right app, and the right configuration. That bulky desktop will go away. In it's place - a multitude of devices that satisfy your needs at that location. Imagine a 24" screen, keyboard and mouse - plugged  in to a maintenance-free box that connects to the Internet and runs "apps" like your phone or tablet.

Yes, Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile will be more common operating systems, expanding their use to larger screens that make sense in an office environment. They'll run apps that pull data from an Internet/Cloud based location and deliver what you need - information.

The downside? You'll pay more per month hosting ANY of your equipment or data outside your office. You might not own the equipment your data is on, and you won't know who to call (or yell at) if you can't get your data. Oh... and you'll have to remember more usernames and passwords.

However, there's help. Don't get scared. It the future, and it's inevitable. We're here to help.

Offsite Backups are here!

Transient

I am proud to announce that we are officially LIVE with our Enterprise Backup solution. This solution fits every demand I had to provide this type of service. Low cost, trustworthy, supported, expandable, and accessible by tablets and smart phones.

Pricing starts at $25/mo. for 250GB of storage (for managed customers) and $50/mo. for 100GB of storage for non-managed customers. Device Licensing costs also apply, so lets configure the right solution for your business today.

Call, text, email me if you're interested in protecting your business data, surviving equipment failures, and never having to deal with tape backups or USB hard drives again!