Phone

Head in the Clouds?

July 13th, 2011 admin

Funny – it is on mainstream TV commercials, print, radio – everyone has their head in the clouds now. It is the cool thing to do and vendors are pitching and customers are asking. “Is this or can that or will this leverage the cloud?”

Do I think free and carrot based incentive cloud offerings are good for consumers ?Рsure of course. To plug a few РGmail, Hotmail, yahoo are great for personal email and for family etc etc. Tie in some of their ancillary Picassa and YouTube it is a no brainer. I know what you are all thinking (YouTube) is a crossover to a business cloud service and yes of course the marketing guy/gals are into leveraging this tool but a the root it is still a consumer based no frills viral service. Do I think Cloud Computing is the Silver Bullet answer to integration, middle-ware, compatibility, lack of security / resources,  and shelf-ware. Not completely.

This brings me to my point. We have many people approach ADIM corp. asking “How can we throw this in the cloud?” Seriously that is what I hear word for word after they have watched a Superbowl commercial and . I understand we live in a bottom line cost is everything environment right now, but there still is significant risk. We are in the business but here are three reasons the “Cloud” movement¬† terrifies me.

1. Everyone wants someone to call and be accountable. РCloud computing removes this for the most part. This is auto-attendant phone menu X100 in most cases. Try getting data recovery, tech support, and or any assistance.  Before you jump out of the plane into the clouds please ask these questions if they involve critical business data, custom applications or proprietary information. Now there are exceptions to everything and I am not a crotchety old blogger. I am just saying some of the glazing promises I hear daily from some services remind a lot of the .com days. Any of you guys old enough reading this???

2. Ownership, rights, access and survivability. This has to be my biggest reservation. Whether you are talking about of piece of dry cleaning, car, or your data if it resides at a place that closes it doors for any reason you are most likely SOL. Now you probably have extra shirts to wear on Monday, and maybe you catch a ride to work, but if you are all in the cloud and they overextend. Where are you? Maybe you have a DR plan. Maybe they say they are replicating to this site or that and you maybe be OK. This in itself is the biggest risk. Some of you readers out there may be saying to yourself. I am with Rackspace or Google or XYX — “no worries we are safe…”. The last 5 years have taught all of us that the biggest can go end up. Much like the old investment commercials “Stick to the fundamentals”. Do not get crazy and throw caution to the wind for free email and file sharing.

3. Magic Wand / Silver Bullet Theory. If it is in the cloud and all the IT/IS issues are gone. A couple of thoughts on the matter.

  • You will still need to educate your end users
  • By placing things into the cloud there will less customization, options, and flexibility
  • Verify references and evaluate solutions. Do not lock into long term agreements – there should be no terms for flexible cloud.

In closing I realize the industry is going this direction. It make sense for a number of reasons. At this point as providers we need to bring to the forefront risks to our clients and provide not only Cloud offerings but alternative products and services. Please contact me at sjp@adimcorp.com with any inquires.

Free Antivirus VS. Commercial Antivirus

August 5th, 2010 spanebianco

We have all been here before. Freeware vs Commercial software and justifying expenditures or convincing SMB customers why commercial anti-virus is worth every penny. As a solution provider, VAR, and hosting platform we have the opportunity to use in-house, deploy to customers, and re-mediate computer viruses gone awry. No one wants to see a virus outbreak (even if it generates service revenue), it is my least favorite thing about IT. Systems have degraded performance, moving targets and lack of visibility, the unknown in a scientific field of predictability, are a few of many reasons. There are no winners – customer loses productivity and at the end of the day no one is happy.

Alright – on to the point I am trying to make. I was approached by a customer that had a legacy commercial AV installation and users have been installing AVG, MS essentials, etc etc freeware. The IT Director did not feel comfortable with the path so he asked me for justification on COTS AV systems for his CFO.

1. Risk / Coverage – some may download software, others may disable, or maybe multiple packages exist. For something that can widely effect the whole network you need to know what is going on.

2. Authenticity – Is the free package actually a virus posing as an AV utility. This is so common – at least one ticket a week starts this way.

3. Managing / Reporting – deploy quickly and efficiently. See in an instant who is covered and to what degree (see #1)

4. VENDOR SUPPORT – in the instance of an outbreak you need elastic resources to deal with something un-forecasted.

5. QUALITY – with software margins pretty much non-existent this is not a self serving statement to increase our bottom line. Commercial Anti-virus works better and will render better performance for your users.

Until next time – SJP