Get Into Cloud Computing with Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint
Our mandate at General Data is to help clients understand different topics in Information Technology. Once a client understands a topic, then we can help form a strategy designed to put that technology to work for you. Cloud Computing is no exception. Cloud Computing has increased in popularity in recent years and is by far on one of the most important topics to emerge in the world of IT. At one time a mainstay for large cap enterprise, more and more cloud computing providers are designing services at a price point and availability that make them accessible to companies operating in the small-to-medium enterprise market. Cloud computing can help improve any business, allow staff to work remotely, share documents and typically engage in full two way video and audio conferencing. This has been an especially important topic as increasing numbers of employers are looking for the right solution to allow staff to work from a home office.
In order to understand how this is accomplished, we explore cloud computing and its origins in the following paragraphs.
Computing in a contemporary scenario.
Consider a typical scenario: a company with a main office, two remote offices and an individual who spends most of their time on the road (see figure “A” below). Now add a server at the main office and a primary Line of Business (L.O.B.) application that runs on the server, as well as files and folders. All the staff in the main office access the application across the LAN, with the two remote offices and remote worker connecting to the main office via the Internet, which, in any diagram is represented in the center as a cloud.
In the best-case scenario, there are no issues; staff in remote offices are able to access the main office at all times. The main office does not experience any issues and the remote teleworker has no issues getting in. This frankly is rarely the case. If the Internet goes offline at the main office then no one working remotely will be able to get in. A power blackout or brownout will cause similar issues. The server itself requires special attention; it needs to be protected against loss of power which is usually accomplished by the use of a UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply. Servers can also generate a great deal of heat and thus Air Conditioning needs to be supplied. The room that the server is in also needs to be protected fire and flood. Businesses large and small have had issues arise in many of these aspects and thus suffered downtime and losses.
What are Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint?
Microsoft Office 365 is an online portal, file storage and email service, among other things. Office 365 is adopted initially for access to the email service, each user typically gaining access to a 50GB "Exchange" mailbox in the cloud that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook. From this point users can send and receive email, check up to date email remotely via the login portal, share calendars and contacts, easily use their email on smartphones and tablets etc... Typically a company must "migrate" to Office 365 unless already subscribing. Office 365 however has grown to include many more features including 1TB of cloud based storage in OneDrive that can be synced automatically with Windows 10 thus offering the user a backup. The other features that have emerged as mainstay solutions in the contemporary workplace are Microsoft Teams for file sharing, task management, collaboration and communication as well as Sharepoint which can act as a cloud based server for documents, files and other information. General Data has migrated and rolled out Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint to Small and Medium Enterprise Clients, Municipalities, Not-for-Profit Groups and Large Enterprise Corporations.
Cloud Computing: Server Virtual Machines and Other "Backoffice" Functions
Cloud computing makes a difference for companies by doing away with most of the issues noted above. Cloud computing has historically offered solutions for Backoffice or Server Functions as well. Referring to figure B below, the Server and with it the LOB application and files are moved into the cloud. In doing so, the critical components required to run the business are moved to a tertiary location, typically in what is known as a datacenter. A datacenter is a controlled environment that is designed to protect server assets and subsequently applications and files. UPS, Air Conditioning and protection from the elements are all essential elements of a datacenter and thus the uptime, reliability and availability are improved.
Migrating your documents and information into the cloud allows you to access your files anywhere. The cloud computing packages are typically offered with a variety of options. Solutions are offered by Microsoft as well as Apple, Google, Amazon and a number of medium-enterprise sized cloud computing providers. The largest, fastest growing and most accessible cloud computing provider is Microsoft, creator of the Azure cloud computing portal and all the services contained therein. As part of the Microsoft Partner Network, General Data has rolled out many cloud computing solutions based on Office 365 and the Azure platform for Backup & Recovery, VM, Site Replication and other "Backoffice" solutions.
“Do I actually move my server into the Cloud for Cloud Computing to work?"No. Typically what happens is we will create space in the Microsoft Azure cloud on behalf of a client. The space is available on a trial basis for 30 days at no cost of obligation for the client. After resources have been allocated, one or more virtual machines will be created and your important software, files and folders will be migrated into the cloud in a seamless transition.
“I am a laptop user, can I do this using Wireless or WiFi?”Yes. General Data will normally alleviate any issues by first conducting a no-obligation, on-site assessment. The assessment is always offered on a complimentary basis.
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