Cloud Report. Answers To The Top 5 Questions Business Owners Have About Cloud Computing

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1 Cloud Report Answers To The Top 5 Questions Business Owners Have About Cloud Computing Discover What Most IT Consultants Don t Know Or Won t Tell You About Moving Your Company s Network To The Cloud By Luke Downing Mode5, President

2 A Letter From The Author: Why Did We Create This Report And Who Should Read It? From The Desk of: Luke Downing Dear Colleague, Luke Downing President, Mode5 Undoubtedly you ve heard all the commotion around cloud computing and how it s the next big thing. Yet, despite all the hype, very few people really seem to understand what cloud computing is or how it can help their business. That s why we wanted to set the record straight and provide business owners and executives with a simple, easy to read report that explains what cloud computing is, how it can possibly help their business and, if it can help, what they need to know in order to make good decisions about choosing a cloud vendor. Why possibly? Because cloud computing is not necessarily a good fit for every company; and if you don t get all the facts or fully understand the pros and cons, you can end up making some very poor and expensive decisions. That said, for some clients, going to the cloud can actually lower their IT costs dramatically, greatly improve the ability for remote workers to connect and work, simplify their entire IT infrastructure and genuinely solve a number of technology problems that business owners have been trying to work around for years. So can cloud computing help you? By the end of this report you ll know, or at least have a much better understanding. Of course, we are always available as a resource for a second opinion or quick question, so please feel free to contact my office directly ( MODE5) if we can clarify any points made in this report or answer any questions you have. Dedicated to serving you, About The Author Luke Downing is the President of Mode5, a Virginia-based corporation. Mode5 has been at the forefront of business technology services since He is a Microsoft Certified Administrator and has a BS in Finance with Minor Degrees in Accounting and Communications. It is his passion to make technology easy for business owners and managers so they can focus on their clients. In addition to his role at Mode5, he is active in his community serving on various boards and volunteering for local charities. Luke is a graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

3 5 Critical Questions You Must Have Answers To Before Moving To The Cloud In this report I m going to answer the top 5 questions that I ve heard just about every savvy business owner ask about cloud computing. I ll also provide an overview of what exactly cloud computing is and how it can possibly benefit your business. I ve also included some actual case studies from other businesses that have moved to cloud computing. At the end of this report there is an invitation for you to request a complimentary Cloud Readiness Assessment to determine if cloud computing is right for your particular business. I encourage you to take advantage of this before making any decisions. It s designed it to take a hard look at the functionality and costs for you as a business and to provide the specific information you need (not hype) in order to make a good decision about this new technology. What Is Cloud Computing? Wikipedia defines cloud computing as the use and access of multiple server-based computational resources via a digital network (WAN, Internet connection using the World Wide Web, etc.). But what does that mean? The easiest way to understand what cloud computing is, and gain insight into why it s growing in popularity, is to compare it to the evolution of public utilities. For example, let s look at the evolution of electricity. Back in the industrial age, factories had to produce their own power in order to run machines that produced the hard goods they manufactured. Be it textiles or railroad spikes, using machines gave these companies enormous competitive advantages by producing more goods with fewer workers and in less time. For many years, the production of power was every bit as important to their company s success as the skill of their workers and quality of their products. Unfortunately, this put factories into TWO businesses: the business of producing their goods and the business of producing power. Then the concept of delivering power (electricity) as a utility was introduced by Thomas Edison when he developed a commercial-grade replacement for gas lighting and heating using centrally generated and distributed electricity. From there, as they say, the rest was history. The concept of electric current being generated in central power plants and delivered to factories as a utility caught on fast. This meant manufacturers no longer had to be in the business of producing their own power. In fact, in a very short period of time, it became a competitive necessity for factories to take advantage of the lower cost option being offered by public utilities. Almost overnight, thousands of steam engines and electric generators were rendered obsolete and left to rust next to the factories they used to power.

4 What made this possible was a series of inventions and scientific breakthroughs but what drove the demand was pure economics. Utility companies were able to leverage economies of scale that single manufacturing plants simply couldn t match in output or in price. In fact, the price of power dropped so significantly that it quickly became affordable for not only factories, but also for every single household in the country. Today, we are in a similar transformation following a similar course. The only difference is that instead of cheap and plentiful electricity, advancements in technology and internet connectivity are driving down the costs of computing power. With cloud computing, businesses can pay for computing power like a utility, without having the exorbitant costs of installing, hosting and supporting it in their office. This allows them to not be in the business of IT. Whether that is worrying about upgrading a server, network downtime, or finding the right company to maintain their network, IT can be very overwhelming and time consuming. Many of my clients have said that IT became almost a full time job for them prior to Mode5. In fact, you are probably already experiencing the benefits of cloud computing in some way, but hadn t realized it. Below are a number of cloud computing applications, also called SaaS or software as a service, that you might be using: Gmail, Hotmail or other free accounts Facebook Constant Contact, Exact Target, Aweber or other broadcasting services Zoomerang, SurveyMonkey and other survey tools LinkedIn Twitter All things Google (search, AdWords, maps, etc.) The general concept of cloud computing is that a third party provides software AND hardware resources so you don t have to deal with it. In most cases all you need to provide is a device (a workstation, laptop, phone or tablet) and a web browser. As a business owner myself, I am constantly looking for ways to eliminate things from my plate. The cloud removes having to purchase a server, a backup system, battery backups and more every three to five years. There are STILL servers, backup systems and battery backups, but those are provided for me in my monthly fee. So as a customer of Mode5 myself, by taking the purchase and maintenance of hardware and software off my plate, I can focus on my customers. What is Mode5 s cloud offering? Here at Mode5, our goal is to take your entire server infrastructure and host it in our own Mode5 Cloud that we built from the ground up. We leveraged our decades of combined experience to design a solution that offers an easy, fully hosted cloud network supported by our expert staff. With Mode5 Cloud, we host your business applications and data so you can access them via a secure webpage called the WebDesk. We also provide the latest version of Microsoft Office and Mode5 Mail powered by Microsoft Exchange. What is unique about the Mode5 Cloud is that we host ALL of your resources so all you have to do is log in to a web page from anywhere and go.

5 Answers To The Top 5 Questions Business Owners Have About Cloud Computing Question #1: What if my Internet connection goes down for an extended period of time? Our Answer: While this is a valid concern, we have not seen this as a major issue for our clients for a couple of reasons. First, internet outages in most areas are uncommon. Our client base has not experienced many internet related outages to speak of and if they occur they tend to be for less than a minute or two. If you are in an area that has internet outages frequently, our suggestion is to purchase a second internet connection. Often, a cheap second connection can be as low as $20 or $30 a month. Because cloud applications tend to use little bandwidth, you don t need to invest in very expensive connections. At Mode5 s corporate headquarters, we have a firewall that allows us to use a second internet connection as a failover. So if the primary connection goes down, the other one picks right up and the users don t even notice. Question #2: What about security? Isn t there a big risk of someone accessing my data if it s in the Cloud? Our Answer: In many cases, cloud computing is a MORE secure way of accessing and storing data. Just because your server is onsite doesn t make it more secure; in fact, most small to medium businesses can t justify the cost of securing their network the way a cloud provider can. And most security breaches occur due to human error: one of your employees downloads a file that contains a virus, they don t use secure passwords, or they simply confidential information out to people who shouldn t see it. Other security breaches occur in onsite networks because the company didn t properly maintain their own in-house network with security updates, software patches, and up-to-date anti-virus software. That s a FAR more common way networks get compromised versus a cloud provider getting hacked. How does Mode5 handle security? Mode5 Cloud is secured in several ways. First, our Mode5 Data Center is a fortress. It is a SAS 70 Type II data center with 24/7/365 manned security and surveillance. Biometric access is required for entrance. It is a lot more secure than many small business servers that sit in the open or in an unlocked server closet. Second, all access to the Mode5 Cloud is encrypted. Applications and data access is encrypted to secure communication between you and the Mode5 Data Center. Mode5 Cloud provides authentication, authorization, and cryptography functionality that is consistent with the industry s best practices for secure software. Third, with Mode5, ALL of your data is stored in the Mode5 Data Center. That means if you have a laptop stolen or the night janitor is able to log on to your computer, there is nothing there to see. Many businesses are paying thousands of dollars to encrypt their workstations and servers in case of theft. With Mode5 Cloud, that becomes a thing of the past. Finally, your data is secured with redundancy and disaster recovery best practices. I have personally been in situations where a business owner was very nervous about the security of the Cloud. Meanwhile, their local server had failed backups for months and had failing hard drives in it. They are

6 very lucky to not have lost all there data already. The Mode5 Data Center has built in redundancy and several backups including offsite backups to our second Mode5 Data Center. Many businesses pay hundreds of dollars a month for offsite backup. That becomes a thing of the past and you can rest easy knowing that your backup is more secure with Mode5 Cloud than it would ever be in a local network. Question #3: Will my software work in the cloud? Our Answer: In most cases yes! The Mode5 Cloud is powered by Microsoft Windows and Citrix. That means if your application runs on Windows or is Citrix compatible it should work fine. The advantage of moving existing business applications to the cloud is that in most cases businesses have been using them for years and have processes and procedures wrapped around them. If you like your application why switch? In addition, many web-based applications are stripped down and lack features. With Mode5, it is the best of both worlds. Your apps and our cloud! To find out if your application is compatible with Mode5 Cloud please see details about the cloud readiness assessment below. Question #4: What if you go out of business? How do I get my data back? Our Answer: First, I encourage you to read our testimonials and case studies. These demonstrate our character here at Mode5. Nice people go out of business too! you say. That is true. However, it is not in our nature to leave our clients high and dry. We would not have made it to this point if that was the case. Second, our contract requires us to provide your data to you if you request it. Third, with Mode5 Cloud, you can backup data to your local computers if you feel it necessary to do so. That gives you the control to take your data when you want to. Finally, if you are still not comfortable, many insurance companies offer Cyber Insurances policies that help cover damages if a cloud company has a failure. Question #5: Do I have to purchase new servers and workstations to move to the cloud? Our Answer: No! That s one of the greatest benefits of cloud computing. Mode5 clients have expressed great relief the day we pack up and get rid of that old server and all of those old boxes of software. Cloud computing also allows you to use older (within reason) workstations, laptops and tablets because the computing power is in the Cloud. Not only does that allow you to keep and use hardware longer, but it allows you to buy cheaper workstations and laptops because you don t need the expensive computing power required in the past. Case Studies: What Our Clients Have To Say About Moving To The Cloud Law Firm Avoids Huge Upfront Server Expenditure with Mode5 Mode5 provides our law firm the opportunity to leverage enterprise class infrastructure at an affordable price. After researching numerous cloud based software solutions, we opted to migrate our existing software applications into the Mode5 environment to leverage all the benefits of a hosted solution while at the same time continuing to leverage our existing investments in traditional client/server based software solutions.

7 Rob Sadler, Hofheimer Family Law Firm Business Eliminates Downtime by Moving to the Cloud We were so upside down with the old server that we had. We had work to do that we could not get to and it s not just the downtime that is the problem, it s the time we had to spend rebooting and trying to figure things out that we didn t have any idea about. We don t have any of that now I would be surprised if somebody worked out the economics and it didn t go in favor of the Cloud based on what I went through The interaction with each person in your business was professional and worked toward accomplishing the particular task at hand so I think everybody here believes that we chose the right company and there s just added a layer of confidence. Rich Werber, Great Atlantic Pool, Spa, Patio, & Fireplace To read the full case studies visit A Final Word I hope you have found this guide helpful in shedding some light on cloud computing. As I stated in the opening of this report, my purpose in providing this information was to help you make an informed decision and avoid getting burned by the many firms offering these services. Below you will find information on how to request a complimentary Cloud Readiness Assessment. This is, of course, provided for you with no obligations and no expectations on our part. I want to be clear that this is not a bait and switch offer or a trick to get you to buy something. My reputation for running an honest and trustworthy business is something I hold very dear. I would never jeopardize that in any way. So why are we offering something like this for free? Two reasons: 1. We are simply offering this service as a risk-free get to know us offer to people we haven t had the pleasure of doing business with. Again, our goal is to allow you to make an informed and confident decision; offering this service is one way we can help you better evaluate our services. 2. This will allow us to determine if we even can help you. Obviously we can t help everyone and cloud computing might not be a good fit for your particular circumstances. Conducting this Assessment enables us to perform a small service to you and give you a risk-free way of determining whether or not we re the right company for you without risking your money. Complimentary Cloud Readiness Assessment As a prospective customer, we would like to offer you a complimentary Cloud Readiness Assessment and cost analysis. This assessment is very fast and has only three parts: 1. Network Analysis: Our first step is to evaluate what your current network consists of in hardware, licenses, data, and applications. Next, we determine what if any problems or concerns there are with your network. Finally, we analyze the cost of your existing IT Network and services to create a comparison with the costs of migrating to Mode5 Cloud.

8 2. Cloud Readiness: After we ve looked at the above areas, we then look at how you and your employees work and share information and see what applications or processes we can safely move to the cloud to improve ease of use and, of course, lower costs. 3. Demonstration and Assessment Findings: Finally, we will present our findings to you and give you the opportunity to test drive Mode5 Cloud. Even if you decide not to hire us, having a third party conduct this type of assessment will give you some good information on saving money and the security and health of your computer network. To schedule your assessment please go to and fill out the information box. We will contact you to schedule your Cloud Readiness Assessment ASAP. Need to speak to someone right away? Please call us at MODE5. We appreciate you taking the time to read this report and we wish you continued success.

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