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Buy, Lease, DaaS, or BYOD?

BYOD or DaaS?As we noted in our last blog post, Moving Cloud Gets Real, small and midsize businesses like yours are reaching the tipping point where cloud solutions outweigh those running on-site. When this happens, you need to decide if/when you move your remaining on-premise systems to the cloud. As you do, you face the question about what to do with your end user devices.

Not Just a Desktop Anymore

End user devices are no longer limited to the desktop/laptop purchased by the company. Most of your employees are regularly using personal smartphones, tablets, and other devices to conduct business — your business.

Four Options for Devices

When deciding on what devices your team will use, you have four options:

  • Buy: Purchase devices and provide them to employees, creating a company asset. Buy also includes finance leasing with the “$1 buyout” that gives you ownership of the device at the end of the lease.
  • Lease: Use a lease to pay for only the fair market value of the devices, returning and refreshing them with new models at the end of the lease.
  • BYOD: Allow users to buy and use the device they choose.  They own the device, but use it for work, exclusively or non-exclusively.
  • DaaS: Device-as-a-Service, or DaaS, is similar to a lease in that you pay monthly per device. DaaS differs from a lease in that you can, within guidelines, adjust the number of devices up or down, swap out devices for newer models, and replace damaged devices without penalties during the term of the contract. Many DaaS services include malware protection, support, and other services in the monthly fee.

Unless you are buying your staff all of the devices, they use, you already have some mix of “buy” and “bring your own device” (“BYOD”). For many businesses past the cloud tipping point, DaaS and BYOD become the best solutions. DaaS and BYOD let you equip your team with the tools that empower their productivity while maintaining cost controls.

You Own the Data (if not the device)

Whether you own your users’ devices or not, you own the data and are responsible for security and privacy.  You need to ensure you have policies and systems in place to secure, manage, and protect your company’s data. This means installing mobile device management and data security tools on devices used for business, even if they are owned by an employee. Failure to do so leaves your exposed to data loss and breaches, and the civil and criminal penalties that can result.

Fortunately, policies need to be complex or difficult to enact. Providing data protection to mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and — yes — laptops) has benefits for your employees as well. They key is to ensure that your policies and the support technologies are aligned.

Next Steps

Now is the time to discuss your device strategy and how you are, or will, protect user devices and the company data on those devices. Contact us for a free Cloud Advisor session to discuss options, opportunities, and solutions.


 

Lease vs Buy: Time to Rethink Your Options

Key for buy and lease
Historically, the “lease versus buy” decision for IT purchases focused on a business’ cash flow and the impact major projects would have on company financial statements.  CFOs would look at leasing options when cash flow was an issue, and to see if the capital expenditures or operating costs would best benefit ROI and other key metrics.

Three factors drive the need to take a fresh look at leasing versus buying:

  1. Trends in End User Devices
  2. Moves to Cloud Computing
  3. Interest Rates & Economy

End User Devices: With organizations moving away from traditional desktops and laptops to Chromebooks, tablets, hybrids, ultra-portables, and smartphones, the life cycle of end-user devices is changing.  These devices are not designed to last as long and compatibility with advancing systems and services is lost more quickly.  The original iPad, for example, was release in early 2010 and became obsolete with the release of iOS 6 in September 2012.

The impact on businesses is that, even though they are much less expensive, refresh and upgrade cycles will need to happen more frequently if devices are to remain connected to applications and systems.

Moves to Cloud ComputingAs companies move to cloud computing the need to maintain hardware platforms to support legacy applications is dwindling.  And, the impact of IT as an operating expense versus capital expenditure is advantageous to the vast majority of small and mid-size enterprises.  The concept of monthly recurring fees is generally accepted, although many vendors charge a small premium for monthly versus annual prepaid fees.

The impact on businesses is that the flexibility in licensing and costs, and cash flow benefits come, at a higher price than one-time purchases and annual payments.  Leasing can mitigate these costs.

Interest Rates and the Economy: With a long, slow recovery and continued low interest rates, the finance costs for leasing have rarely been as low as they are currently. Even as the Federal Reserve tapers and ends its bond-buying stimulus, interest rates are expected to remain low as job growth struggles.

The impact for businesses is that the finance costs for most leasing opportunities are probably less than expected.

The Big Opportunity: Fair Market Value Leasing

Fair Market Value, or FMV, leases offer a unique, big opportunity for small and mid-size businesses today.

Win #1: FMV leases assume that you will return the equipment to the finance company and upgrade at the end of the lease.  As such, they match well with planned refresh cycles needed with today’s end user devices.

Win #2: The leasing company assigns a residual value to the assets.  Financing is based on the purchase price less the residual value, lowering the overall cost of the asset.

Win #3: At current interest rates, the interest cost of a 3-year lease may be less than the residual value of the asset, effectively creating a 0% or “Near 0%” financing option.

Win #4: Bundling annual prepaid cloud services lets you get the prepaid savings and still make payments monthly.  At current rates, the you will likely still pay less than monthly plans.

Win #5: You can combine hardware, cloud licenses, and services in your lease, giving you one payment for all services.  Leasing companies are flexible, with monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual payment plans in order to best meet your business’ financial needs.

Granted, leasing is not for every business.  But, it is probably worth some exploration before your next purchase.  Feel free to contact us to discuss your needs and available options.

 

 

Creative Solutions Help Schools Deploy Chromebooks and Google Apps

Schools looking to engage students and deploy one-to-one technology programs face many challenges, including limited budgets, annual budget cycles, and the need to select technologies and services that integrate with curriculum goals and objectives. To overcome these challenges, schools are turning to creative funding solutions like those offered by Cumulus Global through its strategic partnership with First American Education Finance. By offering deferred initial payments, flexible payment schedules, short term rentals, and lease rates as low as 0%, the newly announced alliance offers schools more ways to fit Chromebooks, Google Apps for Education deployments, and related services into their curriculum and their budgets.

“Chromebooks make a great choice for student computing as they enable web-based learning and enhance student-teacher interaction,” notes Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global. “Chromebooks also work well for schools as they cost half to a third of laptops and tablets, and as much as 80% less for administration, management, and support.”

Adding value beyond traditional financing services, First American Education Finance provides a web-based asset management system that reduces a school’s cost of tracking and managing devices, device assignments, and refresh cycles. Cumulus Global and First American Education Finance will also help schools dispose of older technology, applying funds to new purchases and lease payments.

“We are uniquely positioned to help schools acquire and deploy Chromebooks while saving them time, effort, and money,” added Falcon. “Schools can obtain equipment now, and pay for it as their budget cycle allows.”

Chad Wiedenhofer of First American Education Finance echoed Falcon’s statements. “As a finance company committed to the education community, we are excited to make Chromebooks more easily available to Cumulus Global customers. We are committed to developing innovative finance solutions that help schools to acquire leading classroom technology.”

Schools interested in Chromebooks for Education and financing options can contact Cumulus Global for more information at http://www2.cumulusglobal.com/Chromebook_funding.

About First American Education Finance
First American Education Finance is dedicated to bettering your student’s lives by providing your school with the resources to succeed. First American provides competitive leasing, financing and asset management solutions that help schools budget and manage new technologies. First American is a City National Bank Company.

About Cumulus Global
Cumulus Global (https://www.cumulusglobal.com) is Cloud Solutions Provider and a Google Apps Premier SMB Reseller helping small and mid-size businesses, non-profits, governments, and educational institutions move from in-house systems to cloud computing solutions. We align technology with our clients’ goals, objectives, and bottom lines. In addition to Google Apps, Cumulus Global offers a range of cloud-based security, storage, and server solutions.