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Archive for July, 2012

The “cloud” continues to gain momentum in adoption and awareness in our country and worldwide. Over the past year we have written, talked about and shared industry information and our personal view on the cloud and what it could mean for your business. Here are 5 tips to help reinforce all of this that you and your technology team should sit down and discuss before taking the next step.

1.  Back It Up! Back It Up! Back It Up!

Migrating data to any new location is a mess and anything can (and usually does) go wrong. Therefore, make sure you have good, recent backup copies of everything before you make the move.

2. Maintain An On-Site Copy

At first, moving to the cloud can be a bit scary. What can help mitigate the risk (and the fear) is keeping a local, on-site copy of your data and network image on a NAS (network-attached storage) device. That way you have a local on-site copy in addition to the working cloud copy.

3. Have A “Plan B” To Access The Internet

One of the biggest questions about moving IT to the cloud is, “What if the Internet goes down?” To mitigate that fail point, have a business-class connection as your initial and main way to connect, and then also have a second Internet connection service as a backup. If a T-1 line is your main connection, you might consider keeping a Comcast account as a backup. What is your true risk tolerance for being down?!

4. Use It As An Opportunity To Do Some Housekeeping

You could just copy and paste your files from your local machines into the cloud, but why not take this as an opportunity to re-evaluate the structure and organization of that data? Here are some ideas:

  • Re-evaluate and/or update your file naming conventions and file organization. A good file naming policy will make it much easier to find files and information. Also, consider reorganizing all the folders into smarter, more efficient categories.
  • Consider who will be using what and what levels of permissions are required to access files. Revisiting your permission levels will help keep sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Look at old files and consider deleting them or archiving them so they aren’t cluttering up your server and costing you money for storing and backing them up.

5. Phase The Move

Don’t try to migrate everything all at once. Create a transition plan and implement it. Make sure you move your files in bite-size (not byte-size)  pieces so that the changes are easy to digest for your clients, employees, partners and everyone else involved. This also gives you the opportunity to test the water before taking the plunge, and it allows you to put out one fire at a time instead of having all systems down or broken.

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In the introduction to this month’s e-newsletter, I wrote the following:

“How did you spend your 4th of July? Hopefully you were with family and friends and celebrating our nation’s holiday and having good ol’ American food. I chose to invest most of my July 4th at my CMIT office focusing on learning more about using my time better by using concepts and tools. Not only did I learn (or have reinforced) these concepts, I put them into practice as part of the program. It’s an ongoing process to improve and enhance my efficiency and focus on my Most Valuable Activities; however, I am cognizant of what I need to be doing and catch myself when I am not following the program.”

Well, more insights from IT industry publications are telling me that the world of Mobility and using your device any time, anywhere and any place, can actually be detrimental or a detractor to your work-life balance. This should come as no surprise if you are honest about how much time outside of your normal workplace and workspace that you spend being connected via one or multiple devices. In a July 2012 Channel Partners article, “American Racking Up Voluntary Overtime Thanks To Mobility”, it was “discovered that 80 percent of people continue working after leaving the office for an average of seven extra hours each week – almost another full day of work. That’s a total of close to 30 hours a month, or 365 extra hours every year. They’re also using their cell phones to mix work and their personal life in ways never seen before.”

You may want to do the math for yourself to comprehend how much extra time you are spending on work-related items and tasks without really thinking about it because you are checking email on your smartphone or looking up something on your iPad. I know that I am one of those who checks email on my smartphone way too much with the intent of controlling the number of emails in my Inbox.

Well, someone is laughing at all of this. It makes me tired just thinking about it – all the extra hours spent on using Mobility. It’s only going to get worse. So, observe yourself over the next week and how often you check your mobile devices or even computer at home (for work purposes) and think about how many hours you are truly working. Granted, you may need to be connected those extra hours and that may be OK. But, when someone or a survey asks you how many hours a week you work, be honest!

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A QuickTip On Using Microsoft Web Apps

For the past couple years I have taken advantage of Microsoft’s SkyDrive. With the advent of Web Apps with Office 2010 and the growth of using the “cloud”, I have actually edited some work and personal Excel files using Excel Web App. It has come in quite handy for quick, on-the-fly editing.

All you need to start is a free Windows Live ID by going to http://skydrive.live.com. If you have a Windows Live ID already, just sign in. If not, go ahead and sign up. You will get up to 7 GB of free storage space.

Store your Office documents in SkyDrive, and Office Web Apps lets you view and edit them in your web browser. That’s perfect for making quick updates (no need to start up an Office program), on just about any computer or device that’s connected to the Web.

You can avoid the hassle of sending documents to yourself and others as email attachments (and it clogs up your Exchange server), and skip the extra step of saving them as PDFs.

Instead, store documents on SkyDrive, where you can link to them in email, on social networks, and in your blog. You can also share documents with others as long as they have their own Windows Live ID. Not only can you share documents, you can also have a shared calendar that’s handy for family members and you can have alerts or reminders for calendar tasks, events, birthdays and anniversaries.

SkyDrive is not to be used as a backup solution. It’s merely for storage, ease of use and sharing some files or calendars. If you are interested in backup solutions, ask us about CMIT Guardian.

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