Technology should enable, end of story. With technology evolving at such a fast pace, it is difficult to know what is best for your business. This fast evolution though has a huge benefit, that being, IT cost savings for your business. Cloud based applications, infrastructure and services have allow small and medium business access to technologies previously available to only the enterprise class businesses. Now, businesses of all sizes have access to enterprise class technology, generally for very reasonable costs. An overview of a few of these technologies is below.
Microsoft Office 365
Office 365 is a quickly evolving platform from Microsoft. It has quickly become the defacto standard for hosting email. Office 365 covers a lot more than just email though. Through office 365 you can license your Microsoft Office products, host Sharepoint sites and collaborate with your internal team. Skype for business has made it possible to message, talk and conference with co-workers and clients both. Office 365 services can replace legacy email servers and file servers and traditional phone systems. This is an exciting new area and has positive impacts for almost all small and medium sized businesses.
On premise architecture is a risk and a large cost centre for businesses. Microsoft’s Azure (Iaas) platform is the way of the future and the best way to host many of your server needs. The redundancy and security built into the Microsoft data centres is unparalleled. The scalability, redundancy and security is now available to all sized business and customer needs. This allows you to scale as needed and have your costs scale in a linear way. Huge up front capital expenditures for setting up sever infrastructures are a way of the past. If you are in need of a server upgrade and net-new environment, this almost certainly is the way to go. Or if you have an application, there is no better way to host it than Azure.
Microsoft Windows Server
The most common brand of server operating systems is Windows Server, and for good reason. Microsoft server operating systems are the best value for your money. They are reliable, secure and feature full. Their is excellent support resources available for Windows Servers and they are the hub of your network for authentication, print/file services and many other services.
The standard for getting work done in the office has for a long time been Microsoft Windows based. Now with Windows 10, the platform is more mature and efficient than ever before. Windows 10 is currently a free upgrade, jump on board!
Google Apps for Business
Google Apps for Business is a viable alternative to the Microsoft Office 365 platform. Google Apps for Business is a completely web based solution and minimizes the onsite footprint of software and hardware. It allows for easy bolt in of third party applications and tools. Many business run smoothly and efficiently using Google Apps. The web based email portion is the best web based email experience you can find. Search is simply what Google does, and search works incredible in their web based email.
The Macintosh platform has long been the preference for creatives, artists and designers. The Macintosh is being used more and more frequently in traditional Windows environments. So far, the results have been great. A Macintosh is a definite option in place of a Windows machine.
Mobility (iPad, iPhone, Android)
The world has drastically changed over the last 10 years. Work is no longer tied to a desk and desktop computer. Workers are on to move and are mobile enabled. Having access to files, email, contacts and calendars from anywhere is now necessary. This is now possible and critical to most businesses. Huge advances in mobility technologies has allowed this to happen and make workers nearly as efficient from outside their office as inside.
The base of all offices is a network, both wired and wireless. This is the part of your system that is at its best when you do not notice it. And that simply is our goal, have a foundation of networking that will enable seamless and uninterrupted information and communication access and creation.
Software as a service is a huge growth industry right now. Instead of the traditional model of purchasing software and upgrading frequently, it is now easier to purchase access to cloud based software and receive unlimited upgrades and support. This makes your business more secure, efficient and your costs to be lower. There are some great SaaS offerings for backup, CRM, billing/accounting, productivity and countless other ones.
Infrastructure as a service is another huge, current growth industry. Rather than purchasing servers to host email and other workloads, you can purchase computing power from a highly reliable, scalable and secure data centre. This reduces your on premise hardware and reduces both cost and risk. There are some big companies already quite mature in this market, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and now Google Cloud Platform. There is becoming fewer and fewer reasons to purchase server hardware. Server hardware has a limited lifespan and requires high maintenance costs. It is also difficult to build into your on premise data centre the amount of redundancy, stability and security a large IaaS provider such as Microsoft, is able to provide.