When Will Your Business Be Fully Cloud-First?

Hosted ServicesSmall businesses and startups are most able to take advantage of new cloud technologies. That’s according to an IDC report. It says that 70 per cent of SMEs now engage with the cloud in some way. SMEs are using 4 cloud apps per company, on average, while the fastest adoption is taking place among millennials: people who reached adulthood around the year 2000.

Consider the fact that many of today’s entrepreneurs can barely remember a world without the web. They are adaptable when it comes to new technology, and they are open to trying new ideas. It’s no wonder: they’ve grown up with the cloud. Millennials are already forming new companies that are disrupting established markets, and they’re using digital tools relatively freely.

If your business is to compete with these new, highly agile competitors, it needs to take a cloud-first approach to its business IT. That may mean invoking massive culture change.

Are you ready for the challenge?

Defining Cloud-First

The US government coined the term ‘cloud-first’ to encourage departments to use cloud technologies as a first option. This policy was designed to speed up migration to the cloud, therefore encouraging a more economical use of IT.

And it worked. Hundreds of US government data centres have closed, or are in the process of being decommissioned, because so many departments are leveraging cloud storage and processing power instead. The cloud is creating a less wasteful IT landscape, and delivering massive savings. Already, the US Department of Agriculture has saved $75 million by moving to the cloud, and expects to save another $125 million as its adoption strategy continues. That’s just one department of hundreds.

Here at home, the UK government also has a cloud-first policy, although it has failed to deliver the same kinds of savings as its US peers.

Is this a cultural issue, or perhaps a generational one?

Changing Times

By 2020, millennials will make up 50 per cent of the world’s workforce. And millennials are the people most likely to understand, accept and trust cloud technologies.

In contrast, look at attitudes within the UK civil service: 43 per cent of employees are still printing and posting documents to each other, because the cloud is still viewed with suspicion, or seen as a barrier to normal ways of working.

In a survey, 78 per cent of civil service IT workers were concerned about cloud security, while 68 per cent said time and effort were an issue when migrating.

As startups come to treat the cloud as a prerequisite for success, so established organisations are going to have to update their approach to IT and embrace the cloud, rather than shying from it. Startups are going to outpace non-cloud customers and gain that critical efficiency advantage.

Additionally, customers and service users are going to notice a marked difference between the companies that are cloud-first, and the ones that are not. Delivering exceptional service means giving customers the service they expect.

The First Step

All over the world, we’re seeing a digital revolution take hold. In public organisations and private businesses, cloud computing is driving efficiency and positive change. A cloud-first approach is essential if your business is going to retain its lead over competitors, particularly as agile startups threaten your lead.

For more information about our cloud-first email services, file storage and online backup, don’t hesitate to give Cloud4 a call. We can provide a single service or a bespoke package, supporting your business as it takes its first steps towards successful migration.

Will Hosted Exchange Save You Money?

JPEG image-063D6255745C-1We usually think of email as a free method of communication, but it can actually be a huge drain on resources. If you currently run an Exchange server in-house, you might be surprised how much you could save with a hosted solution.

In a climate of cuts and efficiency measures, public and private sector organisations are looking for ways to reduce cost. Maybe it’s time to re-think your email strategy and redirect the wasted cash elsewhere?

The real cost of email

For a business, the main cost of email is running a server in-house, and providing all of the infrastructure that goes with it. You need a secure network, reliable power, storage devices, and possibly air conditioning to keep the room cool. Some businesses have a small on-site server room that has to be maintained and secured, with fire suppression and alarms to protect the data.

Additionally, there’s the cost of keeping all of your server software up to date. You’ll need software licenses for your servers and per-user licenses for software, and someone to monitor, upgrade and patch as required. If you have an external company providing backup services, this adds another layer of admin and cost.

So it’s not just a case of running a server. It’s the cost of running a secure, modern and up to date infrastructure, and making sure the data on the server is always available. It’s about preventing unauthorised access, paying for licences and coming up with a workable support framework.

Even for a small business, this can cost thousands of pounds every year.

The cloud alternative

Cloud computing gives small business access to business grade infrastructure, but at a fraction of the normal cost. If you’re currently running email servers in-house, outsourcing could be a more affordable and sensible way to run your email.

With hosted Exchange, we offer a simple pricing model. Just pay for every mailbox you need. There are no licenses to run, and no servers to maintain. All of that is included in the price.

You might be concerned about having your email hosted by another company, but there’s no need to worry: all of our servers are located in a secure data centre in the UK, backed by a robust cloud infrastructure. Your users won’t see any difference in the service they receive, but they might notice that we offer superb uptime and speed, so your email is always available, 24/7/365.

Managing the cost of IT

If your IT department is struggling to access the funds it needs, streamlining your email service could be a great way to make some savings. We can offer hosted Exchange for any business, from micro-businesses and startups through to large corporations. We’ll also migrate all of your old data, so your users don’t notice any downtime.

Cloud4 are experts in business cloud services. Talk to us today about Hosted Exchange. The days of running expensive servers are over. It’s time to make the move to the cloud.

What to Do When Your Exchange Mailbox is Always Full

All of us use email for business communication, but it can actually be a very inconvenient way to communicate. For many years, people have used work email accounts to volley Word attachments back and forth, or distribute newsletters, images and PDFs. Each time a file is attached, it takes up space in every mailbox it lands in, and every mailbox it’s sent from. That causes everyone’s mailbox to fill up fast.

Running out of space is a hassle for everyone. Is it time we dropped email for good

CloudStorage Woes

You’re probably familiar with the ‘mailbox full’ messages that Microsoft Exchange throws out. That’s because Exchange mailboxes tend to be incredibly small. In Exchange Server 2010, the default storage size is 2GB. In a large organisation, the administrator may have set it even lower.

2GB used to sound cavernous, but these days, it really isn’t. Outlook will prevent you from attaching anything over 20mb, but that 20mb file could be forwarded back and forth for weeks. It only takes 100 big files to fill up a 2GB mailbox. If you have a 500mb mailbox – and many people do – you probably get a ‘mailbox full’ email every week or so.

For most businesses, increasing mailbox size isn’t an option, because every user needs an allocation, whether they fill it or not. Before long, you hit the mailbox storage limit, because your server has a physical limit.

What can you do?

– You can scrabble around looking for emails to delete – again

– You can drag files onto your local hard drive (and hope they don’t get deleted by accident)

– You can buy a new server, or extend storage, which will cost money

Sounds inconvenient and costly, doesn’t it.

But there is a fourth option.

A Modern Solution

Hosted Exchange offers a different solution. Instead of using your own server to store emails, you can purchase email as a service. Your email accounts are hosted by a third party, securely, in the cloud.

A hosted Exchange mailbox is an affordable way to max out the storage you can use, without investing massive amounts of money on equipment. The limits of physical servers are removed.

Cloud4 offers three tiers of hosted Exchange services. The Web tier offers a 10GB mailbox, while the top Pro tier can be upgraded right the way to 50GB. To put this in context, Google’s Gmail service is well known for its generous mailbox limit of 15GB. Cloud4 gives you the space for more than three times that amount, at the top end.

Imagine how convenient it would be to have a 50GB mailbox; enough to store 2,500 attachments at maximum size.

The other aspect is cost. If you were to buy the on-premise infrastructure to give everyone in your business a 50GB mailbox, you’d be looking at huge investment, and a lot of that space would never be used. The beauty of the cloud is that you only pay monthly, and you only pay for the mailboxes that you actually need. If more staff join, simply scale up your commitment and pay for a few more mailboxes. If staff leave, cut back any time.

The Many Benefits of Hosted Exchange

Scalable storage, and monthly payments, are just two of the things our clients love about hosted Exchange. If you’re ready to make the move, talk to Cloud4 about the many benefits of switching. Call us today on 0161 850 1264.

Hosted Exchange 2013 – is it an ideal solution for my businesses?

Email is the most integral part of most modern businesses, acting as a main source of both internal and external communication. As such, it’s important for businesses to have a substantially reliable email service so that they can focus on their business strategy over their IT infrastructure.

Forum discussionOne of the main reasons many small businesses adopt Hosted Exchange, or migrate their existing Exchange data to the cloud, is to improve the mobility of their business. Continue reading Hosted Exchange 2013 – is it an ideal solution for my businesses?