The Cloud: Outside the Box

Cloud computing in a non-traditional sense. What does that even mean? Read on!

The Cloud. We know it has many different uses, but most tend to think of its usefulness in a traditional sense: Google Apps for email, Salesforce for customer relationship management (CRM), Quickbooks Online for accounting, etc. Basically this is utilizing the cloud for the replacement of standard desktop software that you would normally install on your computer. So let’s take it one step further. What else can the cloud do for your business?

How about data backup? Ok, so that’s not way outside of the box by any means, but it’s still a relatively new concept. One major player in cloud backup solutions is Mozy. They offer cloud backup solutions for home, small business and enterprise users. The interface is intuitive and it works very well. The feature of Mozy that I really like is that it will not only copy your data to the cloud, but it will also copy your data to a local usb hard drive. This not only allows me to keep two copies of my data backup but also allows me to perform a quick file restore from a local hard drive. What’s not to like? Great job Mozy!

Now let’s take it one step further. As a business you need to have some type of dependable antivirus solution loaded on your computers. Chances are those computers are mobile and go home to virus infested networks and visit non-preferable websites. It’s preferable to have a status of these computers whether they are on the corporate LAN or on the road at the Marriott. Enter Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud. It’s the antivirus solution that you’ve come to know and depend on for your enterprise, but now integrates a cloud based controller that keeps tabs on each computer! It can send you an email when certain thresholds are exceeded and keeps track of your enterprise computers as long as they have an internet connection. And don’t fret, even if your end user doesn’t have an internet connection, the computer is still protected per normal. Plus 1 for Symantec and this great use of the cloud!

Lastly, we are going to take the cloud to its limits with Meraki network hardware. Yes, I said hardware. Just about every business has a wireless access point or three. How about switches and security appliances? Sure thing. When it comes to management of each of these device types, you need to be present on the network where the hardware resides or utilize a VPN connection. That’s the old way! Meraki uses a cloud based controller that gives you access to all of your devices. Just log in to your dashboard and start reviewing network and device info or making changes. Meraki packs their controller with so many features it’s literally crazy! You can actually manage devices on your network for no additional charge – the feature is built in! Check out network traffic currently flowing or historicals. See who the bandwidth hogs are and then put a policy in place to block certain websites. Need multiple SSID’s? No problem, Meraki’s got you covered – and all from the cloud! These guys easily take the innovative cloud use of the year award!

So what are some of different cloud uses you’ve seen? We are standing by, awaiting your comments!

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