Posts

Cumulus Global and Google Offer Webinar Series

WESTBOROUGH, MA – August 24, 2011 – Cumulus Global (www.cumulusglobal.com) is pleased to announce ”The Google Apps Difference”, a series of webinars discussing how better communication and collaboration capabilities can improve profitability for small and mid-size businesses.  Hosted by Google and Cumulus Global, the webinars will present the perceptions and realities of moving to cloud computing for most organizations, and will explore the benefits beyond expected cost savings of moving to Google Apps for Business.  While targeting businesses in the New England and New York region with 50 to 250 employees, the webinar will prove useful for most businesses and non-profit organizations.

 

“We are honored to be selected by Google to participate in this joint education and marketing program”, noted Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global.  “Our selection reflects the expertise of our team, our relationship with Google, and the quality of service we offer our customers.”

The live webinars will be hosted by Falcon and members of the Google Enterprise team.  To accommodate demand, the webinar will be repeated live at several times.  The current schedule includes sessions on Tuesday August 30th at 10:00 am and 3:00 pm, and on Thursday September 1st at 3:00 pm.  While planned for an hour, Cumulus and Google will stay on the line to answer any questions from attendees.

For more information, visit the News and Events page on the Cumulus Global website at: https://www.cumulusglobal.com/news-and-events.php.

About Cumulus Global
Cumulus Global, formerly Horizon Info Services, helps small and mid-size businesses, non-profits, governments, and educational institutions thrive by delivering cloud computing solutions.  Serving clients from 1 to more than 1000 employees across numerous industries, we align technology with our clients’ goals, objectives, and bottom lines. We leverage our expertise, vendor relationships, and a diversified range of best-of-breed cloud services to create custom solutions with tangible value.

 

 

Friday Thought: Who Do You Trust?

Recently, in one of my LinkedIn groups, a member asked folks about outsourcing and cloud computing.  Predictably, the cloud computing naysayers chimed in with their usual argument, which often sounds like “I would never put my data in the cloud because you don’t have control”.

To me, this sounds like an argument from past generations against putting your money in a bank.  The naysayers’ concern is not control, but trust. The naysayers don’t trust the cloud provider with their data.  They don’t trust that the cloud provider will really delete information when you hit the delete key.  They don’t trust that the administrators will not access data.

And yet, these same folks fail to look at their own environments in the same way.

In a Windows server environment, the “Domain Administrator” has complete access to everything — every piece of data, every piece of user information.  In most small and mid-size enterprises, everybody on your IT team as Domain Administrator privileges.  A disgruntled team member can not only destroy your data, but can destroy the backups you would need to recover.

Use an IT service firm or the services of an MSP?  Chances are, one or more of their employees have “Domain Administrator” or other rights that gives them access to some or all of your data.  How do you know that the help desk staffer at your IT provider will not get upset with his boss and seek revenge by destroying or stealing your data?

Clearly if you don’t trust an employee, you let them go.  And no business owner would sign up for outside services if they did not trust the vendor enough to also trust the vendors’ employees.  Cloud computing is no different. Well … maybe a little different.

Unlike your network administrator, the vast majority of cloud computing vendors have no access to your data.  They do not need access to provide you with service.  Reputable providers include data privacy and security clauses in their contracts and their service level agreements.

Unlike most in-house systems, cloud computing solutions are designed to keep everyone but you out of your data.  Google, for example, obfuscates every occurrence of every piece of data on every server.  Most SMEs cannot afford anything close to the levels of encryption and security included in the architecture of most cloud computing services.

Control and trust go hand in hand.  And, cloud computing may not offer the best solutions for every business, or even yours.  When assessing your options, consider the benefits and risk of the cloud with the real benefits and risks of your current network and systems.

Good News for EDUs

We have some good news for educational institutions using Google Apps.  Google has increased the inbox size from 7.5GB to 25GB per user, giving your users the same level of service as businesses.

In addition, Cumulus Global can now offer Google’s famous educational discounts for all Postini services, including Google Message Security and Message Archive & Discovery services.  These discounts are valid if you use Google Postini services with your in-house email servers or Google Apps for Education.

Contact us for more information and pricing.

Cumulus Global Backs New Tiers for Google Apps Authorized Resellers

Yesterday, Google announced the addition of “Premier” tiers for Google Apps Authorized Resellers, as well as for Google Earth, Enterprise Search, and Google Maps.  As reported by CRN, Cumulus Global supports Google’s efforts to differentiate among resellers.

As Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global discussed in the article, not all resellers have the same skills and resources.  The new tiers reflect training and experience of the reseller, giving customers another tool for matching their needs when selecting a reseller.

Horizon offers Support for Chromebooks Now

In an interview with CRN, published today, Horizon Info Services confirmed that we are prepared to help organizations plan for, deploy, and support Google Chrombooks.   While organizations must currently purchase Chromebooks directly from Google, Horizon’s professional services team can assist with the planning, deployment, and support efforts.

Once trusted partners are able to offer the Chromebooks directly, Horizon will also resell and support them directly.

Horizon CEO discusses Google’s Channel with CRN

Allen Falcon, CEO of Horizon Info Services, is featured in an CRN feature discussing Google’s VAR/Reseller channel strategy.

See the full article here.

Google Apps Cant’ Walk Your Dog, But Maybe …

More than once, prospective customers have sarcastically asked of Google Apps could also walk the dog.  With all the features, we sometimes feel the same way.

And while Google Apps cannot walk your dog (yet), Google may soon be able to drive your car.

Check out this NY Times article from the Science section.

Economy is Ripe for Cloud Computing

A recent article in the New York Times reported that in the current economy, businesses are spending capital rather than hiring additional employees.  As reported in the article, the Commerce Department noted that

“The equipment and software category alone grew at an annual rate of 21.9 percent, the fastest pace in 12 years.”

When we look  at the stats and trends, we see businesses moving forward with project that have been put on hold.  And, we question whether or not this is a wise move.  Is moving forward with a project that’s been on hold for 12 to 24 months still the best way to go? In many cases, the answer is “No!”.

Many businesses are facing upgrades to core systems and infrastructure — desktop operating systems, office productivity tools, email servers — and are looking to finally move forward implementing collaboration systems.  Much of this demand is driven by aging hardware and software that is reaching end of life and vendor support.

Before moving forward with existing plans, businesses would do well to reassess their planned directions.  The past 24 months has seen a dramatic improvement and expansion of cloud-based services.  During that time, for example, Google has added over 200 major features to the Google Apps Premier Edition suite of services.  And, the rate of innovation and adoption for cloud computing solutions continues to accelerate.

If businesses do not take a fresh look, they stand to miss the improved integration between Google Apps and Windows desktops — Outlook and MS Office; support for enterprise features such as delegation of email and calendars and mobile device management tools; and improve security and management tools.

In short, what was leading edge is quickly moving mainstream.  Reactivating projects without reassessing options means potentially missing better solutions and lowering costs.  And, wouldn’t most businesses rather spend money on people and projects with greater returns than on their infrastructure and email?

If your business would benefit from a free email and collaboration assessment, please let us know.

If it weren’t for the customers …

… the job would be easy.

Earlier this week, Ning (a service that creates networking-based private communities) announced that it was rapidly terminating its free services.  Making real the fears of many users of free services, Ning is hoping that keep its revenue stream in tact knowing that 80% of revenues come from 20% of its users that pay for services.

Ning’s mistake is not forcing users from a free model to a paid service.  Ning’s mistake is in how it communicated and is managing the change.  Rather than a migration to paid services, Ning’s free service users heard: “Pay or Leave! And, Ning will help you leave!”

If the 80/20 rule is true, maybe Ning will really be happy shrinking its customer base by 80% in order to keep 80% of its revenue.  How may of the paying customers are also in free communities and will leave because of the treatment?  I wonder.

When Google wanted to boost paid usage of Google Apps among SMBs, they cut off free services at 50 users and rapidly added new features to the paid versions.  For many businesses forced to go from free to paid, the carrot of better features and functions mitigated the pain of the stick.

It will be interesting to see if “We don’t want you” is a good business model for Ning.

Horizon Joins Google in Push to Bring Cloud Computing to SMBs

Horizon Info Services is partnering with Google to offer webinars for small and mid-size businesses.  The webinars, scheduled at multiple times on May 6, 2010 and May 12, 2010, will focus on how businesses can save 30% or more on IT costs while improving productivity and reducing their ecological footprints.

More information and registration links are available by clicking here.