15 Years of Service

Cumulus Global Logo - 15 Years of ServiceOn August 18th, Cumulus Global reached a milestone: 15 Years of Service.  Founded in 2006, we have provided tactical and strategic cloud services and solutions to small and midsize businesses, non-profits, local governments, and K-12 school systems. Thank you! Our journey could not have happened without the trust our clients and partners place in our expertise, insights, and services.

Our need will be the real creator.” – Plato

Cumulus Global — born as Horizon Info Services, LLC — exists because we wanted and needed to solve critical business problems.  Running a strategic IT consultancy at the time, Allen Falcon and Chris Caldwell had clients struggling to manage spam.  With more than 95% of all email being spam, on-site email servers and Internet connections were saturated and overwhelmed processing junk email. Having found a solution, the duo spun off what is now Cumulus Global to provide cloud-based email security and compliance services to their consulting clients and other small businesses. The service, Postini, did the trick and our business grew.

“Just Google It.” – Anonymous

In 2007, Google acquired Postini and Cumulus Global became one of Google’s first partners and resellers.  Our relationship with Google created new opportunities for Cumulus Global and our customers, and enabled a vision and mission of helping smaller businesses take full advantage of the cloud computing evolution.

Cumulus Global helped Google pilot its Google Apps Premier Edition (now evolved into Google Workspace). We were one of the first partners authorized to resell to governments and schools.  We partnered with Google for the launch of Chromebooks for Education.

With all of these first, Cumulus Global stayed true to its focus: strategic and tactical cloud solutions that augment or replace traditional small business IT solutions for better productivity, value, and business results.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

Following the acceptance and rapid growth of “Cloud Computing”, Cumulus Global landed at #349 on the 2014 Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing private companies.  In 2015, we were #914 in the Inc. 5000.

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins

While the growth was exciting, rapid growth creates challenges. The resources required to rapid growth detracts from other areas of the business.  In 2016, we made a conscious decision to focus on “Better, Not Bigger”.  With this shift, we:

  • Became a Microsoft Silver partner, providing a platform agnostic view of cloud solutions
  • Added a broader range of security, privacy, and compliance services to meet evolving market and regulatory demands
  • Expanded from providing “support” to delivering “services”, offering customers unlimited co-management of cloud and IT services
  • Rolled out new managed services, such as Business Continuity/Backup/DR, Identity and Access Management, and Managed Print services, to provide customers with a complete, cohesive, and secure technology environment.

We continue to anticipate and respond to regulatory, industry, and market changes that impact our customers’ businesses and influence decisions.

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” — Albert Einstein

Like most small businesses, we are only as good as the members of our team. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated professionals that share our vision and passion.  This has been true throughout our history. Cumulus Global continues to be a comfortable workspace in which our team members feel safe to learn and grow — professionally and personally. We are proud of our team and their commitment to our mission and visions, and our customers. We are also proud that Cumulus Global has helped many on our team build new skill sets, expand their horizons, and launch fulfilling careers.

“Commitment is what transforms a promise into a reality.” – Abraham Lincoln

Our commitment remains firm: The outcomes you want – business, operational, technological – drive our passion. We help small and midsize organizations, like yours, get more value from existing IT and new, Cloud Forward, managed cloud services.

We …

  • Start by understanding your business so we can align solutions with your goals and objectives.
  • Design, deploy, and manage secure, cloud forward solutions that empower your team and give you a competitive advantage.
  • Partner with Microsoft, Google, and dozens of other vendors to match you with the right technologies and services.
  • Stay with you for the long haul, managing your services, supporting your team, and keeping your IT services in sync with your changing business needs and priorities.

“Nothing happens unless first we dream.” – Carl Sandburg

Cumulus Global began with a vision and a dream that an emerging technology — cloud computing — could transform how small and midsize organizations would use technology to thrive and grow.  We remain actively involved with industry organizations so we may continue to look forward, identify shifts, and pursue new opportunities for, and with, our customers.

Where are you now? Where do you want to be?

Partner with us. Let us help you dream, set goals, and execute plans.  Please contact us to start, or continue, the conversation.

4 Steps to Recalibrate Your IT Strategy

With our four steps to recalibrating your IT strategy, you’ll be able to assess appropriate changes and make informed decisions about future business and IT services.

Back in September 2020, in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, Garter published a leadership article on IT Strategy entitle, “Decide Now How Much to Recalibrate IT Strategic Plans.” The article, within the context of the pandemic, discusses how IT leaders might decide the scope of changes to strategic plans.  While intended for enterprise and upper mid-market CIOS, the article brings forward some valid points for the small and midsize businesses we serve.

Recalibrating Your IT Strategy in Four Easy Steps

1. Understand Changes to Your Business

In the midst of change, particularly when the triggers are beyond our control, assessing the scope and impact is difficult.  By stepping back with this first strategy to recalibrate your IT plans, we can assess the current, and expected, changes both impacting our businesses and within.

  • Is your business still in response? Or have you moved into recovery and renewal?
  • How have new work models — in-office, at home/remote, and hybrid — altered the way your employees work?
  • What do you expect the mix to be going forward?
  • To what extent have your business’ strategy or tactics changed?
  • Are these near-term, longer-term, or transitional in nature?
  • Do you have IT strategic services in place?

2. Map Business Changes to IT Plans and Services

With an understanding of the impact and on-going changes to the business, you can assess your IT strategy and tactics.

  • How have changes affected the business model, markets, or operations of the business?
  • What changes to  business goals, objectives, or strategies need to be reflected in your IT services, strategy, or tactics?
  • Did you add any new or temporary capabilities/services that you no longer need — or that should be made permanent?
  • How might changes be impacting your costs, risks, or value proposition of your IT services and systems?

3. Rate Changes and Impacts from Your IT Strategy

With the above in mind, rate the impact of business change on your IT plans and services. From here it will be much easier to strategize and plan your next IT moves with data in mind.

  • Critical
    • Business direction and/or operations warrant a new IT strategy and a re-alignment of most IT services.
  • Major
    • Your IT strategy needs adjustments with significant changes to IT services and priorities.
  • Minor
    • Your IT strategy and services remain valid, but the priorities and timing of your plans need to adapt.
  • None
    • Your existing strategy and services continue to meet your IT and business needs.

4. Adjust Your Strategic IT Plans Accordingly

Understanding the scope and impact of changes to your IT strategy, plans, and services, you can recalibrate and move forward in a structured, efficient manner.

  • Reprioritize
    • Determine which initiatives to start, stop, pause, or reset.
    • Identify IT services that should be removed or normalized.
  • Communicate
    • Share changes, priorities, and reasons with your team to build ground-level support.
  • Reset Metrics
    • Determine how you want to measure change and results — cost savings, productivity, etc.

Whether your business and IT services going forward need minor adjustments or major rework, Cumulus Global can assist in your planning and execution. Contact us for a complimentary session with one of our Cloud Advisors.

5 Effective Ways to Improve Work from Home

Ways to Improve Work from Home

The Covid-19 pandemic proved that work from home and remote work was viable and productive for more employees than previously believed or acknowledged.  Necessity is a great motivator. Our businesses, employees, and customers responded, adapted, moved forward.  In the process, we have identified effectives new ways to improve work from home, as well as new benefits and pitfalls with remote work. Looking forward, our emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic is not a clear as hoped or predicted. The virus is here to stay and the impact on our lives is yet to be fully understood.  Our normal is not necessary “new”, but continues to evolve.

Considerations for Improving Work From Home

While we cannot predict the full extent of the shift, remote work, hybrid work, and work from home will be the norm. Learn how to work from home better, and remember to continue to reassess your work from home arrangement. This means asking yourself questions like, what can I do to improve my work-from-home setup? Could I boost my home productivity with additional productivity tools or technology? Is my work-from-home setup secure enough? What can I do to improve my communication skills while working from home?

5 Ways How to Improve Work From Home Effectiveness and Increase Productivity

Business need to continue to assess, plan, and adapt.  Here are 5 ways we can improve work from home and hybrid remote in-office work environments.

1. Device-as-a-Service

Device-as-a-Service, particularly remote desktop and virtual desktop infrastructure solutions, have clear benefits for new office norms. You can:

  • Provide a secure access to applications and systems with consistency regardless of where your employees are working
  • Better manage the computing environment, separating your business’ computing from the local device
  • Use existing, older laptops and desktops, thereby reducing hardware upgrade costs driven by operating system and application upgrades
  • Leverage Chromebooks as end user devices, lowering your total cost of ownership

2. Pick a Video Conferencing Service

Picking a standard video conferencing service lets you manage how you communicate internally and with customers. The right choice can also save you hundreds of dollars per year per employee while giving you and your team the features and functions they need to manage meetings and work efficiently.  By selecting a preferred service, you can invest the time and effort to integrate the service with your productivity and collaboration suites. An small investment in teaching employees how to fully use the solution also pays dividends.

3. Improve Employees’ Internet

You would never allow your Internet service to slow down work at the office. You should not allow home Internet speeds to slow down your remote employees. Reimbursing employees for increasing their Internet speeds improves productivity and morale. Providing employees with better WiFi routers and access points ensures their connections are available and reliable. Note: a few states require employers to reimburse home Internet services based on the percentage used for work.

4. Secure Your Remote Workers

Unless you provide the equipment and services, you cannot control your employees’ home networks and systems. At the same time, you want and need to secure your applications, data, and network. To do so:

  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible to control network, system, and application access.  MFA and 2FA are the simplest means of preventing hackers from using compromised user identities or credentials.
  • Upgrade home computers with additional, advanced threat protection services.  Many of the next-gen solutions offer greater protection from modern attacks and are designed to work with existing anti-virus solutions that may be installed on the device. Some of these solutions also provide tools for remote support.
  • Consider using physical security keys that provide authentication codes without the need for a smartphone or other device.

5. Protect Your Remote Resources

Whether using a company provided laptop or a personal computer, problems at home are disruptive and take longer to diagnose and repair than in-office problems. Things to improve working from home such as Device-as-a Service solutions separate the risk from the physical device, however employees using their local machines are still at risk.  At a minimum, ensure that you are backing up and can recover applications and data on remote laptops and desktops. If an employee performs critical or time-sensitive tasks, consider a continuity solution that enable the employee to return to work within minutes rather than hours.

Conclusion on How to Improve Work From Home

Whether work from home, remote work, or hybrid work will be strategic or tactical for your business, you can improve remote work security and employee experience with minimal cost.  We are here to help you assess, plan, and update your IT strategy and services to best meet your needs — and budget.  Contact us for an initial consultation, and to discuss how we can help you improve the work from home environment for your business.