Beginner’s Guide to the Cloud

We’ve all heard the term, ‘migrating to the cloud’ and many business owners have switched to cloud data storage, which brings many benefits, yet there are those who have little knowledge of the digital world. You could say that the cloud is another word for the Internet, yet there are aspects like cyber-security and authorized access that need to be set up and managed.

Here are some of the basics you need to know about cloud business solutions.

  • Remote Server Storage – When you migrate your business data to the cloud, you are using a Toronto based cloud services provider who stores your critical data on secure servers. The Internet allows for secure access from any location, by any authorized user, so basically, your data is no longer stored on your office hard drives, rather it now resides somewhere else. The cloud service provider offers many services that can benefit your business and with super-fast web connectivity, you have unrestricted access to your data. The secure network is managed by the provider and with 24/7 support, you can rest assured that your IT infrastructure is always healthy and online.
  • Automated Back-up – In the event your website went down, a copy was made a few minutes before and is automatically restored; we all know how painful data loss can be and when you use an established managed IT services provider, you know you are in good hands. Multiple servers hold your data, with automated back-up 24/7, so you will never again lose data.
  • Cyber-Security – Most of us know next to nothing about cyber-crime, yet it is a very common occurrence; small and medium businesses are targeted and stealing financial data is usually the goal. While you might be thinking your business data is safer on your computer hard drives, using a cloud host is the smart thing to do. Credit card details can be sold and resold until a criminal uses the data to purchase stuff online and the hacker has many ways to get to your critical data. Do you run a firewall? If not, you are at risk of being hacked and the best way to protect your business data is to join forces with an IT support company. The ultimate cyber-security test involves ethical hackers attempting to hack a network’s defenses, which is called penetration testing; your local managed IT services provider can handle all your cyber-security needs. Your network is monitored 24/7 and should there ever be a hacking attempt, your IT support provider can trace the origin of the malicious code, which could lead to prosecution.
  • VoIP Communication – Forget cellphones, VoIP solutions bring real-time video into play and if cost is an issue, you’ll be pleased to learn that using Zoom or Skype for Business is much cheaper than telecommunication networks that charge by the minute. You can arrange team meetings with your managers and collaborate in real time; powerful tools like file sharing and virtual whiteboard make it possible to actually get things done in a video meeting. Check out Zoom, download the application and install it on your device, then simply add all your contacts and you can connect with them at any time. Using Zoom in a business way requires a managed IT services provider, who offers a range of managed IT services to suit the client and they are happy to help you get acquainted with Internet telephony and will set up a free demo. Once you have experienced real-time video calls with zero delay, you will not want to go back to cell networks.
  • Permission Hierarchies – If all your business data is on the cloud, you can control who has access to what by creating permission hierarchies; bookkeeping & accounts have access to the spreadsheets, receipts and invoices, while the sales force can access (and update) all customer data. The cloud service provider understands the need to assist new users and is always ready to help staff get to grips with cloud-based computing, which is very user-friendly. The office worker, for example, has an extra icon on Windows Explorer, the cloud network and access is the same as if you were looking for something on the hard drive, you can bring up any document instantly and when you update something, relevant people are notified, keeping everyone on the same page. Here are a few tips to protect your personal data when online.
  • Sourcing a Cloud Service Provider – Start with Googling ‘managed IT services near me’ and that should bring up a list of websites and your quest for the best provider can begin. The managed IT services sector is very competitive and talking to several providers that are based in Toronto will help you make the right choice of provider. Check out their online testimonials and their client list, which should contain a few names you know and the IT specialists will take a look at your business and based on that, will make a few recommendations for you to consider.
  • Access with Any Digital Device – Once your secure cloud network is up and running, you can access the data using any digital device, all you need is an Internet connection and you’re good to go. You might be in the car and need to take a look at a customer’s history before arriving for a meeting, you can use your cell phone to access up-to-date information. You might be in a meeting and need to show people a few charts and diagrams, which you can do with a tablet or laptop. All employees have limited access and that is controlled by setting permissions, which can be changed at any time.

If you would like to learn more about how to protect yourself against cyber-attacks, talk to a local managed IT services provider; a short video call will show you the various ways that IT services can help your business and you can start the ball rolling and get ready to migrate to the cloud and enjoy the many benefits that cloud-based solutions bring.


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