10 Reasons to Move to the Cloud

10 Reasons to Move to the Cloud

RapidScale’s CloudOffice is the first bundle in the market to include a full suite of cloud solutions for a business all in one package. CloudOffice is the ultimate “Cloud-in-a-box” solution which provides users with a virtual desktop, email, applications including Microsoft Office, virtual servers, and full disaster recovery backup all for one flat rate. It’s the first total solution for any business that makes it easy to move from the old-school in-house IT environment, to the modern, virtual environment.

Here’s why you’ll be jumping for joy when you eliminate IT headaches and save you company a whole lot of bucks by moving into the cloud:

1. Virtual Desktop

Virtual desktops (Desktop as a Service) are becoming widely embraced in the business environment. RapidScale’s solution, CloudDesktop, give a user the ability to work from the cloud, instead of relying on a physical desktop or laptop. You get the ability to login through your web-browser, desktop icon, or an app from the App Store or Google Play Store. Moving a workspace to the cloud gives you so many possibilities such as never having to worry about using that ONE laptop all the time, you can use ANY device anywhere, anytime, and access your desktop with all of your files.


2. Virtual Server

We move your in-house servers into our Cloud. It is the best service in the industry. RapidScale gives you on-demand capacity with the best infrastructure tools and utilities available. RapidScale’s Infrastructure as a Service (CloudServer) is backed by vCloud hypervisor, NetApp storage, and Cisco UCS blade chassis. The greatest thing about CloudOffice is that you never have to save anything anywhere other than in your virtual space.  So what does this mean for you? No

more physical servers in that server closet down the hall. That means no more backup generators, individual cooling units, or backing things up to tapes (yes, people still do that). With your infrastructure being hosted off-site, you free up your IT staff to focus on value-added tasks such as planning and development, instead of running around patching machines and fixing bugs

3. CloudMail

While yes, everyone does have email. And yes, it’s pretty easy to get. RapidScale has wrapped our very own Hosted Microsoft Exchange into CloudOffice. Why is Hosted email better than any other kind of email? Well, it’s so much simpler. We do all the maintenance, so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of leaving a dozen voicemails with the IT guy to fix your email. The costs to set up hosted exchange are significantly lower than to set up an internal server, host all of your emails, deal with storage, backup, and recovery, and it’s so much more reliable. RapidScale uses the best of the best when it comes to our hardware (which, yes, was VERY expensive) so you get the benefit of the top-of-the-line stuff without having to buy it all. See you later CapEx, we took care of that for you.

4. Disaster Recovery

Did you know that housing your data in-house is EXTREMELY risky? What are you going to do if you have a power outage? Or what if the air conditioning stops working and your servers overheat and fail? You could be sitting on a complete loss of data with the possibility of going out of business. Yikes. The good thing about moving to the cloud is that RapidScale is fully redundant across all of our data centers. This means that say our data center in California decides to fall into the ocean, then the rest of our data centers take over and keep the data up and running, without a second of downtime. We run only out of the highest quality data centers in the world, which makes giving you a 100% uptime guarantee an absolute reality.

5. Cost

So let’s look at the facts here. In a traditional IT situation, you have to start with buying your hardware, which can be EXTREMELY pricey. This can rack up in cost when you start buying servers, routers, switches, desktops, cables, etc.

Plus, you have to think about their refresh cycle. There is no infinity with these babies; they’ve got to be replaced every 3-5 years. So all that money you just spent, well, expect to spend that much every couple of years. Next there’s software. Every user has to have their own license, for every application they use, and on every device. To top it off, did you know these initial costs only make up 10% of your overall IT spend!? The other 90% comes when you have to factor in networking, IT labor, setup, facility cost, management tools, power/cooling, support, maintenance, security, backup, and disaster recovery. Moving to RapidScale’s cloud eliminates that entire headache, because we deal with all the hardware and software for you. Forget those in-house nightmares, everything is managed, hosted, backed up, and monitored 24x7x365 from the folks at RapidScale too.

6. 24x7x365 support

Have you ever had to deal with calling your IT guy and trying to explain to him why your email isn’t sending that thing to that person and them telling you “just restart it”? Well, we have these great people over here at RapidScale that can monitor and fix issues before you even know they exist. You don’t ever have to worry about trying to jump start your hardware or software when it starts to give you grief. We might not be in the office next to you, but we sure are just a phone call or email away if you ever have any questions anytime of the day, from anywhere.

7. Mobility

You probably have a laptop… and a tablet… and a smartphone… and if you’re up in the tech world, maybe even Google Glass. We bet that you get pretty annoyed when you have to drag your laptop with you wherever you go so that you can work on that presentation you need to get done. Here’s the thing about CloudOffice, you can access your stuff from any device via your web browser or our App. You can log in from the app on your smartphone, regardless of your operating system (check out the demo here) or work on your presentation from your tablet. Plus, once you hit save, it’s saved on your virtual desktop, which means that you never have to use flash drives to move stuff from one computer to the next. It’s all there on your desktop that lives in RapidScale’s cloud. How much more convenient can that be!?

8. Security

So let’s talk about security. RapidScale proudly houses our data in some of the top data centers in the United States available to the public. Anything higher is typically utilized by organizations like the government — for mission critical type stuff. Our data centers are all Tier 3, Class 1 data centers (find out what that means here) featuring full redundancy, biometric scanning for entry, fully enclosed and locked cages, round-the-clock interior and exterior surveillance, and more.

9. Stability

Since you’re running everything from the cloud, you can expect the same performance no matter what device you’re using. RapidScale gives you unlimited bandwidth running in and out of the data center, which delivers the best experience to all of our users regardless of where they work or on what device. Plus, with our 100% uptime guarantee, you don’t have to worry about wondering if your desktop will be up and running. It just will be, all the time.

10. Easy

So in the event that all of these other points haven’t won you over yet, the final way you can really love your new cloud environment is by experiencing how simple it is to use. Our interface is Windows 7 based meaning that no matter what device you use, you have a familiar, standard user interface that is simple to navigate. RapidScale takes care of design, testing, migrations, and implementations so you can focus on running your business instead of why the email isn’t working. RapidScale has made something so convenient and so efficient that you’ll be so glad you moved to the cloud.

Connecticut Communications is an authorized RapidScale partner.  Not only can we provide you the necessary paperwork for RapidScale, but we can help you move your data to the Cloud!  Contact Connecticut Communications to setup a meeting to see how Cloud Computing can help your business.

Scott Marks 203.985.1001

How Secure is the Cloud?

How Secure is the Cloud?

Coud security is a hot discussion topic these days. Security is one of the main reasons that many business leaders have been slow to adapt to the cloud. Keeping data on premises makes business and IT leaders feel more secure.

But lately there seems to be a shift—the cloud tipping point has arrived, and more companies are moving to the cloud to replace various on-premises technologies and services.

The truth is that the cloud offers many of its own security advantages—many of which are the same as on-premises storage technologies. Before you assume that the cloud isn’t safe, it’s worth taking a look at what’s available to you and evaluating the risks associated with moving to the cloud—particularly when doing so could provide serious benefits.

According to Corey Louie, the Head of Trust, Safety, and Security at Dropbox, the best solutions will serve as an extension of the network and security infrastructure that you already have in place. When deployed properly, cloud solutions can help SMBs and Enterprises achieve more agility and can help with cost savings.

If we specifically look at one cloud service—let’s take Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS), one of the fastest growing markets in communications, the cloud can enable companies to:

  • Offload equipment costs 
  • Shift certain budgeting from a CAPEX to an OPEX model 
  • Simplify management and cost tracking 
  • Increase scalability 
  • Increase IT speed and agility 
  • Improve disaster recovery and business continuity

There are still those who hesitate when choosing the cloud, which is why it is important to understand what the security threats are, and how to approach security for a cloud-based technology or solution.


What are the risks?

In 2013, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) identified “The Notorious Nine,” the top nine cloud computing threats. The report reflects a consensus among industry experts surveyed by CSA, focusing on threats specifically related to the shared, on-demand nature of cloud computing.

These nine threats include:

  • Data Theft/Breaches
  • Data Loss
  • Account/Service Traffic Hijacking
  • Insecure Interfaces/APIs
  • Denial of Service
  • Malicious Insiders
  • Cloud Abuse
  • Insufficient Due Diligence

Physical theft, employee mistakes (like lost devices), and insider threats are responsible for 42.7% of 2013 data breaches in the United States, according to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. In another 29.6% of data breaches, hackers broke into data owned by companies and government agencies. Big tech companies, major retailers, and airlines were some among many 2013 victims.

Each year, Alert Logic, an IT services provider, publishes a semi-annual State of Cloud Security report, surveying their customers to understand from where security threats are coming.

The results are interesting:

  • An enterprise data center (EDC) is 4x more likely to suffer a malware/bot attack than a cloud hosting provider (CHP).
  • EDCs and CHPs are equally vulnerable to a “vulnerability scan” and a “brute force” hack. 
  • EDCs are 3x times more likely to suffer a recon attack and 4x an app attack. 

Cloud providers are 40% more likely to suffer a web app attack and 10% more prone to vulnerability scan weakness than an enterprise data center. In recons, malware, bot, and app attacks, the cloud seems to have less risk than most on-premises technologies.

According to Louie, the takeaway is not that cloud is better but that the risks are manageable. No one—regardless of their resources—is 100% secure.

What are the benefits?

Cloud-based technologies and services are not without their own security advantages. For many cloud service providers, there is a deep commitment to security—perhaps deeper than the media typically portrays. This commitment means a few, quite significant, things:

You get enterprise hardware for a small business price.

With cloud computing, your data is stored on enterprise-grade hardware, equipment that is typically unaffordable for most small and mid-sized businesses. By using the cloud for your business, you are upgrading to safer equipment.

You get more focused security.

For cloud vendors to succeed they need to focus on securing their service. This means that instead of attempting to prevent a variety of more general threats (as your in-house model would require) cloud vendors are free to (and great at) securing the one thing you want protected: your data online.

You get flexibility and agility.

Many IT organizations are stretched thin and struggle to balance day-to-day operations with strategic projects. One of the advantages of cloud services is the speed of deployment. Businesses have the flexibility to rollout cloud services without the IT time, and resource commitments typically associated with a legacy deployment model.

You get professional management.

Using the cloud to store data means that you get trained professionals managing your patch updates and keeping the server’s software up-to-date. Maintenance and support time are reduced since there is no longer a need to plan and implement system updates, and you can redeploy IT resources to more strategic initiatives to help advance the organization.

You get well-funded security.

Investing in top-level security features adds value to individual cloud service providers’ businesses. Investing in this way is a necessity for success. Businesses adopting cloud services gain the opportunity to put someone else’s financial resources to work, which can help take the sting out of security spending.

That deep commitment to security means that cloud service providers have to invest far more in scalable infrastructure and information security than do most organizations. Those investments are quite significant, and service providers will bear that burden for you. They can create economies of scale and efficiencies that benefit you.

Think about it like this: services like Dropbox go above and beyond to protect your data — so that you don’t have to invest heavily in secure systems and servers, constantly consider network and product security threats, submit to in-depth compliance reviews and audits, undergo regular testing against attacks, set up complex logical access controls, and assure data centers have advanced physical, environmental, and operational security measures.

The Cloud in Perspective: UCaaS

Hopefully, it’s clear why the cloud has some real advantages. Let’s take a quick look at UCaaS for a perspective on a unique cloud service.

The market for UCaaS is growing pretty rapidly. Among IT pros responding to a 2014 Spiceworks survey, 11% had adopted UCaaS. However, another 12% indicated they are planning to adopt it in the next year, more than doubling the number of people using UCaaS today.

This projected growth tracks consistently with the expectations of UCaaS market growth reported in 2013 by researchers at MarketsandMarkets. Their report on UCaaS projects that the global market will grow from $2.52 billion in 2013 to $7.62 billion by 2018, at an estimated CAGR of 24.8%.

Some suggest that developing confidence in hosted solutions in general is the impetus for the projected dramatic increase in adoption. Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research, has pointed out, “…more than 90% of companies now use software as a service (SaaS) applications.” Much of that confidence is due to the service providers’ dedication to security improvements.

Are you excited by the opportunities UCaaS presents to the communications market?

Security concerns shouldn’t hold you back from learning more. Check out the Reducing UC Costs and Increasing Business Performance whitepaper to take a deeper dive into the advantages of UCaaS, market drivers, concerns, and what to look for in a provider.

Can Teams Collaborate Effectively While Working Remotely with NEC IP?

Can Teams Collaborate Effectively While Working Remotely with NEC IP?

It’s estimated that telecommuters will total 3.9 million people by 2016.The question remains though—can work-from-home teams collaborate effectively with the help of technology?

Telecommuting seems to be a business trend that thrived during and survived the recession. There’s been an abundance of news articles on this very topic since Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced almost two years ago that the company’s new policy would only allow telecommuting occasionally. Yahoo’s human resources chief, Jackie Reses, announced the telecommuting change in a memo, saying, “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.”


The indication here seems to be that collaborating and communicating from multiple locations and across technology doesn’t work nearly as well as in-person collaboration—a bold statement which many critics claimed was unfounded and misguided. With most businesses using some form of communications technology like Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) that have applications and features like presence, unified messaging, and video collaboration that have been proven to make teams more efficient—the decision to re-route two decades of Yahoo and HR modernization and improvement seems like a giant step backwards.

The teleworker discussion seems to be a small piece of a much bigger conversation—whether or not technology actually brings people together, and how best to define the new workplace and teleworkers’ individual roles in it.

“No one would disagree that the U.S. work force is increasingly mobile,” said the Telework Research Network in a 2011 paper on the state of telecommuting. “But, beyond that broad statement, we know little about the rate of increase in mobility — how often people are out of the office, where they are, and what they’re doing. For that matter, there’s no agreed-upon method of defining who they are.”

The Challenges Facing the Remote Workforce

It’s clear that the remote workforce discussion was taking place long before Marissa Mayer and team entered it. And they certainly aren’t the only ones to question the effectiveness of a constantly remote work-force.

In an article by Gallup Business Journal author Steve Crabtree, Google’s Chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf emphasizes the importance of frequent casual interactions between coworkers.

Tools like instant messaging and video collaboration can help create opportunities for these interactions for remote workers—provided of course that UC and communications solutions are evenly distributed and widely used throughout the given organization.

Dr. Cerf, one of Gallup’s senior scientists, is widely regarded as one of the fathers of the Internet for his seminal work on the TCP/IP protocols that form its underlying architecture, and the networking tools he helped make possible now allow many people to do their jobs from almost anywhere.

Google has faced its own challenges with employees working together remotely. “‘We had people participating in teams, [and] they would almost never see each other face to face. Often they were in different time zones, which meant they had to work harder to stay in sync,’” Dr. Cerf said. “‘So we started recompiling groups to make them, if not co-located, at least within one or two time zones of one another so that it was more convenient to interact.’”

Many similar challenges are faced by organizations that have large telecommuting populations. As more workplaces become dispersed and reliant on remote workforces, more companies will experience the tension of helping employees work together effectively while allowing them to do their jobs from disparate locations.

Modesty is Key to Higher Telecommuting Success Rates

One of the top telecommuting questions that most people want answered is: “How does telecommuting affect employee engagement?” On the one hand, working remotely offers employees a measure of autonomy, helping them feel better equipped to do their jobs. On the other hand, employees must have positive, trusting relationships with their managers and coworkers to stay engaged, and such relationships become much more difficult to sustain with less face-to-face interaction.

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report suggests that the ability to work remotely corresponds with higher engagement, but, primarily among those who spend less than 20% of their total working time doing so—a pattern that makes “intuitive sense,” according to Dr. Cerf.

Jennifer Glass, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas, Austin, who has studied teleworking for two decades, said her research shows that much of what managers and professionals call telecommuting occurs after a 40-hour week spent in the office. These people check email, return calls and write reports from home, but in the evenings and weekends.

Flexibility is a remote work benefit that will elicit a positive response while it remains a benefit, but beyond that it becomes less useful. In terms of the limits to the utility of telecommuting, it seems that studies and statistics suggest that the strategy involved in managing in-office and remote work is as important, if not more so, than the tools used while telecommuting.

Solutions are found in Balance

Balance is needed between utilizing the advantages of online collaboration tools and the need for the personal and informal interactions that boost workplace morale/cohesion; a balance which depends on the nature of the job being done and specific situations.

In inclement weather or other crises, cloud computing services such as remote desktops, softphones that can be accessed from home or at work, and video collaboration tools can help organizations ensure that everyone continues working even if they cannot physically get into the office. The benefits in this situation are great, and often allow employers to keep employees safe without losing, what many times can end up being weeks of, productivity.

“The ability to set up a collaborative environment literally within seconds is an extraordinarily powerful tool,’ Dr. Cerf says, ‘as opposed to having to coordinate everybody’s calendar and waiting two weeks before we can all put our heads together [in the same room].’”

But it’s still just as important to interact directly with co-workers on a regular basis. According to Dr. Cerf, face-to-face conversations help “cross-pollinate” talent and creativity among varied workgroups and departments within an organization.

The Flexibility of Modern Communications

In the end, companies will have to devise policies that meet their own needs and values. As we mentioned before UC&C, video collaboration, presence, instant messaging etc., can help organization scale communications more appropriately to affordably allow telecommuting as needed/wanted.

But UC&C does a lot more than that. UC&C integrates real-time and regular communications with business processes and requirements based on presence capabilities, presenting a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types. UC also supports each organization when managing various types of communications across multiple devices and applications, and across geographies, with personalized rules and policies, while integrating with back-office applications, systems and business processes.

UC&C can help you re-define what “remote work” means for your business by helping you eliminate many of the social issues typically associated with long-term work outside of the office. How? UC&C enables people to connect, communicate and collaborate seamlessly to improve business agility and results. These results include better user and group productivity, dynamic collaboration and simplified business processes—all goals that need to be met to keep remote workers connected to each other and the home office.