Perceived threat (and the reassuring reality) of cloud security

As seems to be fairly common knowledge (and as we’ve reported in the past) one of the major barriers to cloud adoption is the perception that it is less secure than typical IT platforms — even though in reality, the opposite has been suggested to be true.

This disparity between expectation and the reality of cloud security, is again exposed in recent research carried out by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).

Of 250 IT professionals that were questioned, 61 per cent reported that security is the primary area for concern. This contrasts with a figure of 2 per cent of organisations that actually believed they’d experienced a security issue in the cloud.

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Archive posts

The results — 1st Easy Customer Satisfaction Survey 2014!

Now in its fourth year, our Customer Satisfaction Survey sees you grade us against the pledges that we set out in our Customer Promise and tell us about the good, the bad and the (dare we say it, ugly!) of your 1st Easy experience…

The results are also important in helping us to demonstrate our efforts at continual improvement, which are requirements of our externally audited ISO9001 accreditation.

We’re delighted and encouraged — and full of thanks to our customers for the positive feedback that we see in the results this time around. We’re at the stage now where using the input from previous years, we can see positive themes and trends emerging and becoming established.

As ever, although we’re pleased with the results, we know that what you’ve said is simply a marker — the hard work will carry on!

results

Over the years, one area that you’ve told us could be improved is the ease with which you can leave feedback for us. Although the results show we’ve made some progress, we won’t be happy until you’re fully satisfied that you have every opportunity to let us know what’s gone right or wrong — that’s part of the reason we have an annual survey in the first place. As a 1st Easy customer, what would you like to see us put in place to make things easier in this respect? All suggestions warmly welcomed!

We’ve received some really useful constructive individual comments too which we’ll be discussing in our upcoming team meetings — we’ll be in touch personally with our thoughts on what you have kindly offered.

Thanks again to everyone that took part — fantastic feedback that has been a pleasure to share with the team.

Businesses say that cloud delivers competitive advantage, but…

Recent industry research has shown that cloud is delivering on what must surely be one of its key goals: competitive advantage. The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) reports that 55% of cloud-adopting organisations have experienced an improvement in competitive advantage, while 23% expect to see such a benefit.

The impact on competitive advantage is even more pronounced for SMEs, with 69% seeing a boost in this key metric following their move to cloud. Two other “top of the list” motivations for moving to cloud are also shown to be coming true: 66% have made good on their objective of getting the IT they need more quickly, and 65% have realised improved uptime and reliability goals since taking to the cloud.

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Do we make the grade? Tell us what it’s like to be a 1st Easy customer in our annual survey

It’s something we can take a stab at, have a gut feeling about — even take an educated guess at… but only you can tell us what it’s like to be a 1st Easy customer.

Each year, we fire up our trusty old Survey Monkey account (other online survey applications are available of course) and ask you to share your experience with us. Where do you think we’re doing well? Where are we falling short? Do we answer the phone quickly enough? And when you get through to speak with one of our team, do they give you the help you need? After all, it’s no good if we pick up within 30 seconds and you don’t get somebody competent on the other end of the phone!

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15 years of 1st Easy… today is our birthday!

15 years ago on this very day, our journey as 1st Easy began. It was 1999, and websites looked like this, this, and this (ok, not a drastic change with this one actually — aside from Shania Twain being listed top of their music charts…).

Friends Reunited was about to become a big deal (it would be a good few years before we’d all be Liking and Following on Facebook) and there was nowhere to post selfies so nobody took them (even if that would have been possible on one of these). Google was around, but they were still the internet’s “Good Guys”.

Meanwhile, one 56k modem and a shared AOL connection served our office (we had to take turns to login and download our emails). The Cloud? It wasn’t even a glint in our collective eye as we busily set about designing, building and hosting the first generation of ecommerce sites.

bday1

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Public cloud computing by proxy?

David Linthicum’s observation (noted today in ZDNet) that private clouds are being used as “points-of-control or interfaces” into public clouds seems to validate a way of working that has been expected for quite some time.

The idea that private clouds can draw upon external (public) compute and storage resources as and when required, would appear to be one that sits well with the concept of the hybrid model of cloud computing. To the end user — in whatever form this might be — the outcome is the same: they get the resources they need in order to get along with what they’re doing.

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Looking for a dedicated server deal? We have quad-core systems from £79/month

A quick heads up if you’re looking for a good deal on a dedicated server: we have a stock of Dell R210s starting at £79+VAT/month for a Linux system (£99+VAT/month if you’d like Windows).

All available on one month contracts, they feature 2.4Ghz quad-core processors, and range from 4GB to 8GB RAM depending on the model you opt for. Take a look and if you have any questions, you’re welcome to get in touch.

Show and tell: here’s how cloud has helped my business — what might it do for yours?

If you’re a regular reader of the 1st Easy blog (or you receive our quarterly customer newsletter) you might have seen my recent post about how cloud has changed the way my business works — we don’t just sell cloud, we use it too.

Although we’re still in the process of shifting the remainder of our own infrastructure to cloud, it has already benefited 1st Easy — and our customers — in many ways. It has (so far) reduced our data centre footprint by 50%, hugely improving our efficiency. My team spends less time slaving away managing physical hardware, and more time helping customers and improving the way we work. We have a more resilient hosting platform for our customers, who also benefit from the freedom of new levels of flexibility in the way they use our resources — flexibility that helps them to do business in the way that suits them best.

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IT and business strategy — with cloud, they’re more or less the same thing

CIOs — and the organizations for which they work — must completely commit to delivering on a vision of IT/business integration that is now close to 30 years old. There needs to be institutional recognition at every level of an organization of the strategic value of IT.”

This statement from Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen in his recent piece for ZDNet, places CIOs at the centre of a struggle between IT and business — where the two are often still viewed as separate entities, CIOs are mediators, attempting to meld technology and operational goals. He describes how IT and business collaboration should ideally be the “default” way of working, and underlines the important role that IT has in the strategic direction of a business.

What’s the answer? We’d like to suggest that this ideal state of integration is something that could be realised via cloud. Indeed, we don’t think that cloud can be viewed purely as a technology — as we’ve written about before, cloud should really be seen as a business strategy.

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Real life experience: our cloud computing customer case studies

No matter how much we write about cloud, extol its virtues and eulogise about its benefits, we’re sure our words will always be greeted with at least a degree of scepticism — cloud is after all, a service that we sell, so how could we be objective about it?

What says it best then, is real life evidence — life with cloud in a living business, and the changes that it brings.

After that long-winded build up then, what follows here is a round up of our cloud case studies. A look at the problems (or “challenges” as we’re supposed to say these days) that our customers faced, along with the why, how, and importantly, the results of cloud computing — what tangible changes became apparent once cloud became a part of the way these companies operated?

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