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A business owner shopping for a managed cloud provider, with Nerds Support being the highest quality available.

Shopping for a Cloud IT Provider? Look for these 5 Qualities!

Your business is ready to move to the cloud, which is a big decision for you and your team to make. Prior to nailing down a partner for this migration, you need to consider a few things. In this blog, we’ll outline some factors to contemplate when choosing your cloud IT vendor.

What are your Priorities?

First, prioritize what you want from this migration to the cloud. Knowing what you want to achieve can lead to easier decision when picking a cloud solution provider. Although you will have a reason for your employees and shareholders, you need to take time to develop a solid list of IT needs before diving into different partner options. Once you have established a list of needs, you can then move on to looking for these 5 important qualities.

1. Storage Size/Cloud Type

Think about the size and type of cloud you need. Do you just need it to store files? Or do you want to collaborate on different platforms? Do your team members need to be working on applications together in real time? It’s worth considering that at some point you may want to expand your cloud abilities. Check out what other offerings your vendor might have in terms of applications, software and servers.

In terms of what type of cloud, there’s public, private, & hybrid cloud options. Private cloud is the most secure and can help in downtime situations when public clouds like AWS are typically fall offline. And while public cloud is less costly, private cloud is a dedicated server, so there’s less need to worry about losing time and money for your business in the long run. Hybrid cloud is a bit more complex, giving options that have both public and private traits, but takes time to maintain and develop proper data policies. It all depends on what your team composition is and how much bandwidth you require for your data.

2. Cost/Budget

Also work out a budget for your vendor. Yes, there’s the upfront price, but what can your business afford beyond that? There might be a maintenance fee, and it could depend on the vendor if it is hourly, monthly, quarterly or on other basis. If you plan on expanding your cloud, think about the potential increase in fees or costs down the road too. Find out if they can expand the plan you select to meet any of your new business needs.

Other questions to consider is do they cover onboarding costs? How efficient is that onboarding process? Do they charge at a fixed rate or per ticket/IT issue? You want to make sure the IT provider you choose is in it to help YOU succeed, not just wait until problems arise.

3. Strength/Security Procedures

It’s also worth exploring how often your vendor makes updates and evaluates their security procedures. Some solutions don’t always stay current with their offerings or regularly test their systems for vulnerabilities. You want a vendor that’s making updates frequently to improve your cloud. Ask them what their yearly cyber strategy is, and for a copy of their business continuity plan if an outage or data breach occurs. If they can’t provide that for you, or they take long to get back on your request, just imagine how long it will take them to process a real crisis.

And if they do have a plan in place, do they have proof it works? Some managed IT services providers (MSP) go through yearly data compliance audits of their security procedures to ensure everything is airtight, such as System and Organization Controls (SOC). While this may not be a make or break quality for your business, it’s still very important to keep in mind, as it shows the IT provider truly cares about your peace of mind.

4. Flexibility/Accessibility

Flexibility and accessibility at all times is a must in today’s fast-paced markets, not to mention after businesses enacted widespread remote work options. You and your teams should be able to access data within the cloud at any hour of the day. This is necessary for businesses to be successful because imagine you have a team based in South America trying to access a data sheet that a team in South Florida created, and they can’t open it. That presents a huge problem in maintaining productivity for your business.

Now imagine that same situation, but afterwards when you try contacting your MSP’s support team, they aren’t available after business hours. Cloud providers should be around and ready to help 24/7 to solve a problem or answer questions for your team.

5. Reputation

Look into the IT provider’s online reviews. See how long it takes them to respond to an issue or what additional technical support is provided.

Do they educate clients on how they solve issues to prevent future ones, or do they only do the bare minimum and barely communicate? Some companies do this for free and some charge an extra amount for it.

Will you be dealing with an expert for your issue or an outsourced service representative with a script? Knowing this information ahead of time can save your team frustration down the road.

And do they have experience with businesses of your size? If you’re a small or medium sized business (SMB), you don’t want to feel like the little guy or just a number in their system. But also, if you’re a larger business with hundreds of employees, can they deal with that level of support bandwidth?

Will your data be Protected?

Since the cloud is a network of computers, it’s crucial that security be one of the top priorities of a cloud vendor. With multiple large-scale data breaches happening in recent years, it is important to know that your vendor has the most up-to-date protocols and defenses to prevent these types of problems. When it comes to security, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, companies need to have a cloud partner that is constantly monitoring and updating security for cloud data.

Part of preventing security problems comes down to access. Controlling access to sensitive information is another question to consider with a potential partner. Working with your IT provider or vendor is vital for maintaining control of access leak points for the cloud and consumer data. When selecting a cloud vendor, ask them about how much control your team or in-house IT will have over modifying who has cloud data access. Plus, check out how your potential cloud vendor certifies their employees. You don’t want a technology rookie watching over your business data.

Also consider the data security laws for your industry. If the cloud vendor you are selecting does not comply with the compliance standards and regulations for your industry, then you are putting your business at risk of non-compliance.

How to Plan Moving Forward

If you are looking at an on-premises cloud solution, consider where the data center will be located. You don’t want anyone to be able to “walk in” and access this information. Think about natural disasters, too such as floods, fires, earthquakes or even man-made disasters such as data breaches and ransomware attacks. These things happen, and it’s important for an MSP to have a plan in place to keep your business running.

In short, making the move to the cloud is a big change for many businesses. By doing your homework ahead of time, you can select the perfect cloud vendor to help your company with this transition and long-term solution. Call Nerds Support or schedule a consultation below and we can provide your business a free IT audit to give the best insight on what you should look for in a cloud provider!

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Cloud made of paperclips with computers, tablets, and phones surrounding it

Using the Cloud to Improve your Workforce

The New Standard of Managing a Remote Workforce

Team is what makes a business successful

The ability to collaborate in the cloud is becoming a key driver of competitive advantage - Forbes Media

Products may come and go. Services are another buzzword. Brands have a lifespan. Culture and leadership are the most important things a company  has. But technology can also serve as a tool to help guide that culture and leadership. So as your business grows and gets more complex– especially with work from home workers , you need an IT infrastructure to help.  

One thing is clear: “Out with the Old, and In with the New!”

→Email threads become a labyrinth.
→Document versions get lost in sync.
→Work from Home employees require flexibility.

Using the cloud means always being able to access your most important assets, whether they're Word docs, spreadsheets, or photos - PC Mag

Old-school IT systems – the kind you manage from your own servers – are no longer the norm and are not letting you progress!

These days, the advent of cloud computing and all the benefits that come with it have paved the way for collaborative cloud-based services that are reshaping how employees work together over the internet, whether it's a trio of founders at a startup or a mid-sized company with 500 staff - TechRadar

A New Normal for a New Workforce

The cloud is here to help you grow your business.

This guide shows some of the ways cloud-based applications and services can help your business:

→Speed up decisions
→Getting files faster and to the right team member
 →Making the most of company resources
→Increasing your security
→Minimizing your IT costs and overhead

Now it’s time to use them to modernize the way you work, and turbo-charge your team. And we’re here to help you every step of the way!

The best part of using an outsourced service is that upgrades and feature add-ons are automatic. Your company benefits from the latest and greatest and it's installed for you without any worry or work

We’re your local Miami-based IT Services provider! We specialize in helping companies simplify their IT systems, support work from home and improve collaboration by moving to the cloud – in easy, steps. We can help you transition to a simpler, more productive world while supporting you and your users with the best customer service.

Contact Nerds Support the premier IT Solutions Provider for a FREE IT Test!

Businessman sick at home but can still access his data through the cloud

Why the Cloud is the Future of Business Continuity

What Business Continuity And The Cloud

The world is unpredictable. At any given moment, something can happen that disrupts ordinary life. It could be a natural disaster, a power outage, or a virus pandemic like the current coronavirus.

The disruptions that affect our livelihoods are the most severe. In earlier years, businesses forced to shut down would have to just take the profit loss and move on. Even now, a year later when businesses had to abruptly adapt to the evolving remote work climate, some businesses have yet to take the proper steps to adjust.

However, cloud computing, along with mobile devices, allow businesses and their employees to work from home or any location that has internet access. Although some employers might hesitate to move towards remote work, many modern companies are adopting it as a means to offer employees flexible working hours and to maximize productivity.

Major companies like Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce and Twitter have encouraged remote work during crisis periods. Businesses have to adapt to changes and shifts in the real world, accounting for factors that are outside of their control to thrive.

The flexibility of the cloud helps do just that, while adding value and benefits like shared access to information and stronger security.

Flexibility on the Cloud

Cloud technology enables remote work from any location, providing access through virtual machines with access to the same information they’d have access to working in the office. Various tools on the cloud ensures businesses continue their work as if they were in full operation.

Accessing data and documents when needed can be useful not only during power outages and natural disasters. If your business has multiple offices and additional locations, the cloud can help you adapt as you grow. On the cloud, employees can access all relevant information via a centralized server.

Managed IT services providers now offer cloud services along with IT support that creates a collaborative, secure environment.

Scale Your Business on the Cloud

Let’s say you’re a smaller business with limited physical space. Accommodating employees can be difficult and time-consuming as it is. Now imagine you’re a growing business, adjusting to a larger work is even harder.

A cloud infrastructure eliminates the difficulties of managing a growing number of employees because remote workers aren’t limited by office space. They can access information through the cloud on the device they choose in a comfortable location.

Access to data is configured through the cloud as long as new employees provide accurate login details. So whether you need to scale up or down, the cloud is an invaluable tool that works to your business needs.

Cyber Security on The Cloud

There’s a common misconception about the cloud being unsafe or less secure than the standard model of in house IT. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only is cloud computing safe, additional security tools like multi-factor authentication and file encryption could mean your data is safer on the cloud.

These security tools should not be overlooked. Implementing additional security via the cloud helps prevent data loss or theft if a mobile device, portable laptop or tablets are lost or stolen themselves. Cybersecurity on the cloud ensures unauthorized users are barred from getting hold of valuable information.

Multi-factor authentication is set up so that if someone wishes to access the cloud, they must provide valid account details on multiple devices such as their phone. For example, I as an employee, can’t get on the cloud unless I verify the login attempt on my mobile device. If I do not respond within a definite amount of time, the login attempt is nullified and ignored.

Using the cloud on a secure business laptop to continue working remotely.

The Future of Business relies on the cloud

Remote work is changing the workplace entirely. Companies already embracing remote work as a way of attracting new employees. In a study conducted by Buffer.com, 99 percent of those interviewed admitted they would like to work off-site at least once in their career.

But more importantly, remote work is a safety net for businesses should something unforeseen occur. We’ve seen how an events like viruses, hurricanes and power outages can devastate businesses. What if employees can’t access the office?

Continuity Means Security

Having a plan in place in case of such events is extremely important. Moreover, having the tools necessary to carry out that plan is just as important. A business continuity plan can ensure a business survives the spontaneous hazards of the real world. The cloud is vital in achieving this.

If working in the office becomes a risk for whatever reason, can that business continue normal operations?

If not, how long can that business go without endangering itself or taking a financial hit?

How much money is a business willing to lose until normal operations can continue?

How long clients be able to cope without that business delivering products or services?

How long will employees hold out before getting frustrated and leaving?

These are all questions that should factor into any business related decision before, during and after a crisis of any kind.

Make sure to visit our website for more on cybersecurity, cloud, and tech related news!

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Employee accessing their computer to work from home

5 Mistakes Managers Make with Remote Employees

Despite the many benefits remote employees bring to a business, they can also bring about many challenges to traditional managerial methods. No longer is it possible to greet employees in person or see to it that they’re doing their work.

Supervising remote employees requires a new approach—one that is only possible through technology. But in order to understand how technology can best serve you in managing your employees, it’s important to know where you’re falling short. Here are five of the most common mistakes managers are making right now.

Forgetting About an Employee’s Role

Without the ability to see every employee in front of you, it’s hard to account for how each individual impacts your team. In addition, in a remote setting, communication outside of mandatory meetings is often left to a standstill.

This makes it easy for employees to become disengaged, both in the work that they do and in their relationships with others. To prevent this, try to hold regular meetings with your remote workers using whatever communication system your company typically employs for client meetings or consider overhauling your communication strategy by integrating affordable, internet-based tools like VoIP (voice over internet protocol).

Whether calls consist of conversations relating to their involvement on a project or if they serve as a brief call to shoot the breeze and establish greater camaraderie between teams, these types of check-ins can help your workers feel like they’re a part of something larger.

Giving an Employee Too Much or Too Little Work

When workers are remote, it’s difficult to know if they are able to handle the work they’re being assigned, or if they have room in their schedules for more. Maximizing the productivity of your remote workforce while distributing an achievable workload starts with consistent communication.

This accentuates the need to set up some form of regular meetings with teams or individuals, during which time teams can report on the status of projects and more or less work can be assigned accordingly. Managers should also note when parts of projects can be automated.

Although it’s no one-size-fits-all solution, tools like robotic process automation (RPA) can be programmed to work with just about any existing software your company is already using and automate tasks that don’t require a lot of variation. While it may require a few additional steps, taking measures to align your team will help make sure they’re able to function at full capacity, no matter where they are.

Not Using Webcams

Employees like to be recognized, not just for their accomplishments, but also as individuals. When meetings are limited to conference calls, it’s difficult to read expressions and emotions that we would normally pick up on if the meeting had been in person.

Although remote workers might think their working arrangement sounds like a great opportunity to work from the comfort of their beds, this lack of face-time among colleagues results in a loss of teamwide engagement and familiarity—potentially impacting the quality of their work and extent of communication.

For example, Nerds Support uses secure web conferencing to communicate with all of its team members. By insisting teams use webcams, you are not only helping to reduce the chances of this, but also making sure they are just as presentable and work-ready as they would be in the office.

Not Nurturing Their Professional Development

Just because workers are working comfortably remotely, doesn’t mean they don’t share the same aspirations as your other workers. In fact, 75 percent of remote workers say they need more work-related training to further their professional growth.

The good news? Most of the training remote workers need can be done online. Many video conferencing applications grant mentors and remote workers valuable face-to-face time as well as the ability to share screens that can make instructional meetings easier to follow along.

When “off of the air,” remote employees can continue working via any cloud-based applications. Their work can later be reviewed, shared, or presented from any location. When technologies like these are used conjointly, the result is a happy remote workforce that has a greater potential to remain at your company while climbing the corporate ladder.

Not Seeing Them as Human

Remote employees are living, breathing, and hardworking individuals who happen to be located somewhere else. What this means is that attention to their thoughts and feelings should not be ignored.

Forgetting to invite them to important meetings or let their voices be heard is no different than it would be in any other setting. However, since emotions aren’t as easily felt over the phone or during video conferences, managers need to make more of a conscious effort to ensure every individual is given a chance to speak or provide input.

Even a brief pause every now and then to ask a group if they have any questions or matters they’d like to discuss can be the difference remote workers need to be and feel impactful.

 

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Businesses with successful cloud services

Top 6 Companies That Found Success On The Cloud

Cloud computing is information technology that provides database storage, applications, computing power and other IT tools through a cloud platform delivered over the internet.

In other words, it stores data and processes applications over the internet.

The cloud makes resources like storage, applications and virtual machines accessible as a utility.

There are also different types of cloud service providers (CSP). There are public clouds like Amazon Web Services (AWS), private clouds like Nerds Support, and hybrid clouds which combine elements of the two.

Here are a few companies that have found success using the cloud.

1) Capital One

Capital One is first on the list because it is one of the more recent examples. It is a special case because it’s chose a public cloud over a private cloud.

The company initially had a private cloud strategy in the first few years of its migration but it failed to hit its target. If a business chooses to move to the cloud, they decide to keep some infrastructure in their own data centers. However, Capital One made the choice to move entirely to AWS.

Although Capital One uses other CSP’s, it’s main providers is AWS. They moved to the cloud for its services and applications but it expects to see a reduction in operation costs as it finalizes shutting down last remaining data centers.

2) Pinterest

Second on the list, Pinterest is a popular social media platform that’s gained popularity over the last couple of years. Unlike Capital One, Pinterest has been using the cloud from the very beginning.

As Pinterest grows in popularity, the cloud can adjust to traffic levels and keep up with site traffic. Pinterest was one of the first cloud computing successes, valued now at over $12 billion.
Although it’s not as prominent in the news as Facebook or Google, it’s quietly grown since its founding in 2010.

3) Xerox

In 2012 Xerox decided to develop a cloud printing solution, allowing users to access printers from any location. Furthermore, it offers cloud services specifically to small and medium sized businesses. The company saw where technology was headed and took actions to continue its growth despite its synonymy, with printing and photocopying.

4) eBay

Imagine using eBay in the middle of a crucial bid. You’re overtaking the other bidders and are zoning in on your purchase. Just as you feel your item’s within reach, the site crashes. That was the biggest concern for eBay when they chose to move their infrastructure of more than a billion listings onto the cloud.

They transitioned to the cloud in less than half a year and was implemented so quickly, they were ahead of schedule by six months. Now, eBay uses the cloud to experiment and work with machine learning to improve the functionality of their website.

5) Apple

Apple revolutionized cell phone technology when it introduced Siri, a program that imitates a human being, assisting users by answering questions. Although the voice is impressive, the way Siri works is even more amazing. The cloud receives user questions and processes them before they are answered.

The cloud also allows users to share data, applications and make updates seamlessly without having to physically make any changes to their hardware or software. In fact, Apple’s cloud software, ICloud is the cloud most people are familiar with.

6) Netflix

We saved the best for last: Netflix. The streaming service has come a long way since it’s days as a DVD rental service. It dominates the screens of millions of people ready to watch any of their dozens of critically acclaimed series, films and documentaries.

Because of its huge customer base, Netflix had to figure out a way to store all that data and, unfortunately, a traditional in-house data center was quickly becoming too inefficient. They needed an infrastructure that grew at scale.

Netflix reports that its 117.58 million subscribers around the world watch 140 million hours of content daily. Put simply, the average Netflix user spends 1 hour and 11 minutes, or 71 minutes, each day on the service.

What makes Netflix so impressive is how they managed to migrate all of that data in a time when cloud was relatively unknown technology.

As you can see, the cloud can create some astounding feats when used effectively. Organizations large and small will continue to migrate to the cloud with help from a Managed IT Services provider to grow and scale their businesses as the cloud becomes more mainstream.