Cloud Technology: What you need to know


Win over the challenges of rapid digitalisation, by mobilising cloud-based technology and moving your company data to the cloud. Moving towards cloud-based practices and data servers will boost your IT infrastructure enabling you to focus on developing opportunities.

More and more companies are opting for cloud infrastructure, taking their organisational data as well as applications to a secure Cloud based central hub with collective access. Cloud technology is at the top of the agenda in business transformation. The resulting impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) increases the potential of this technology multifariously.  

So now, you find yourself in a position: If you don’t make the move to cloud computing, how will your company survive in the long term? 

Perhaps you are ready to make the move but don’t know where to start, then read on – we have you covered.  

What is cloud technology?  

Cloud technology has disrupted everyday business operations in every imaginable way. We are shifting away from traditional methods of document sharing – like print, emails, and USB memory sticks – towards using cloud and live-stream applications.  

Cloud facilities have everything hosted over a cluster of networks, referred to as a virtual space. This space is the storage unit for files, applications, and other enterprise resources, replacing traditional physical servers. Once the organisational infrastructure is moved to the cloud, it frees a business from the shackles of a physical location. With the huge increase in remote working it is has given the cloud a new dimension, by allowing teams to work collaboratively, and flexibly unconstrained by their geographical location or their shift patterns.  

When integrating IoT devices, cloud computing solutions such as Microsoft Azure help fetch data from each device and use it for analytics and reporting purposes.  


So, what does that mean in the real world?  

Consider that you have a business in London, and your office is the direct point of contact for employees as well as customers. If you need to work on a shared file with an employee in a different branch or city, traditionally you might have emailed the file back and forth and may have several versions of the file saved on unrelated servers, or worse still on local machines. This can lead to errors in the document with changes being hard to track, plus can be insecure. Approval workflows can also be complicated. 

Cloud technology allows data to be stored in a central server location, secured by the cloud service provider. All you need to do is grant access to the specific employees. Since the application is hosted over a virtual space, employees can log in to the server and access files 24/7 from any location in the world. Easy, right? Tools such as Microsoft 365, which includes SharePoint, allow document version control, automatic back up to the cloud and easy collaboration. This ensures that errors are reduced, and productivity is maximised, because of improved workflow and security of data. 

Now, this is just one minute aspect of cloud technology. Adopting the right cloud technology strategy has the potential to turn the tides.  

The Microsoft cloud adoption framework is a great template for creating a better cloud implementation strategy in line with your business and technology requirements. 

Benefits of Cloud Computing  

Custom access control and running the office network without being in the building seems fascinating, but is the technology worth the hype? 

Smoother and Faster Operations 

The first, most vital advantage of using cloud solutions for your business is that it inevitably helps reduce operational cost. Cloud solutions reduce end-to-end operation costs by increasing the speed of operations, resulting in a greater output. It improves communication and helps teams sync data better. There is an initial investment in infrastructure, but there after it is a pay-as-you-go system, meaning that you never have to pay more than what you use.  

Businesses can raise the quality of their services, reduce the turnaround time for tasks, and enhance processes with cloud deployment. With it, they can improve their profitability. That is why the cost of moving the entire infrastructure to Cloud is relative in the long-term. 

The ease to store and access documents online reduces paperwork. This improves communications across the business and opens access to important data which might previously have been siloed by department. Less paperwork, more efficiency and less paper, reducing your carbon footprint. 

Thankfully, cloud technology is more secure, more resilient, and fully redundant. In fact, if you plan and execute the migration effectively it will help reduce your cost of operation in the long-term. 

All in all, if you weigh up the investment against the benefits – its a win/win. 

Security at the top  

As a business, you are responsible for anything and everything that happens with the data you own. So, it is important that the IT infrastructure is robust and secure, reducing the risk of data privacy compromise. When you move your infrastructure to the cloud, you may worry that shifting data will add vulnerability.  

Cloud technology ensures end-to-end data encryption throughout transfer and storage. Cloud service providers also have inhouse IT security experts, working day in and out to monitor the network and keep it free from cyberattacks.  

The move to working from home and IOT may generate other vulnerabilities for businesses, however, there are simple tools available to protect you. This includes laptop encryption, VPN login, and Multi-factor Authentication which can be implemented quickly and easily. ITVET can work with you to provide more tools to ensure Cloud security and secure your business. 

Provide Flexibility to your Organisation

Running a business means you have multiple things to take care of. Imagine the time you have spent dealing with IT issues and data storage. How many times are you unable to focus on your customer, running the risk of losing out? This is where cloud technology can help.  

Cloud computing servers are flexible and have a team of highly skilled engineers working behind the scenes to regularly monitor the system around the clock, ensuring there are no interruptions. 

Cloud technology also delivers on scalability. If you wish to increase your bandwidth at any point, you can do it quickly and swiftly, usually at the touch of a button. 

Analytics for better decision-making through in-depth insights 

Data is of huge importance to businesses today. With every device generating tons of data each day, it is important to make sense of this data and use it to make informed business decisions.  

Cloud computing technology helps you with cloud analytics rendering custom-fit reports on organisation-wide data. This helps get in-depth insights on everything that is happening within the organisation and modifying your strategic decisions and improve performance and efficiency.  

Are ready to start transforming your business with cloud technology?  ITVET have over 12 years’ experience in delivering end-to-end cloud solutions. We have a diverse portfolio and experience in deploying cloud solutions to organisations across a multitude of industries. Get in touch today and claim your FREE IT audit. 


Managed IT Services: What you need to know


Are you finding that your internal IT teams are getting weighed down by day-to-day IT issues? Are you lacking time to deal with pressing issues such as strategic planning, transformation, and organisational growth? If you answered yes to either of the above then outsourcing your IT to a third-party managed IT services provider (MSP) might be a great way to free up your internal resource – without taking on additional overhead in-house.

Having a managed IT services partner on hand 24/7, could be just what you need. This article will outline how to identify the best managed IT services provider for your business. Let us start with explaining what Managed IT services is.


What is a managed IT service?

IT services that have been outsourced to a third-party organisation or a managed IT service provider are referred to as the managed IT services. Unlike traditional IT services, managed IT services give providers the privilege to take strategic business decisions in addition to providing IT support to the clients. Some providers act as technology consultants to their clients and operate on a continuous contract with allocated resourcing as opposed to on-demand providers of IT support.

A leading managed IT service provider (MSP) will have a team of skilled engineers and professionals that work in partnership with the IT department of the client to create a collaborative relationship on a basis of continuous communication. An MSP can also provide managed networks services to larger organisations.


Why do you need managed IT services?

Managed IT Services can transform the way you run and operate your business. Unlike the traditional in-house IT teams, moving to managed IT services can offer many benefits.


Focus on important IT tasks

Outsourcing IT services to a third-party organisation allows you to focus on other important tasks. It can provide you clarity and objectivity that may not be available for a team emersed in day-to-day operations. As a matter of fact, the company will have more time to plan and innovate rather than worrying about their everyday IT requirements or issues.

It also gives you immediate access to a breadth of specialist IT technicians, developers, project managers etc, who have experience across industries, in providing expertise to businesses of varying scales.

Often when you move to a managed IT services model, your IT support partner will handle all relationships with your IT technology providers, including billing, purchases and contracts. This means that you no longer have multiple suppliers to manage for your leased lines, phones systems, cloud services and IT equipment – but a single point of contact, with support available 24/7 should you opt for an outsourced service desk. This reduces your admin and allows you to focus on matters that really drive your performance.


Help Mitigate IT Risks

With your data security being totally reliant on the security of your IT infrastructure, it is vitally important that your network security is robust and secured.

Understanding the constantly evolving complexities of modern technology and the ever-changing cyber security threat is a full-time job. It is not realistic for most organisations to recruit a network security specialist in-house. By outsourcing this capability, you can ensure that you are equipped with the latest relevant advice as and when you need it.

You will have security in the knowledge that you will always have someone who is available and monitoring your company’s cyber security. The team will be utilising the latest tools and technology to protect you and your clients, for example, network security, anti-virus protection, filtering, and penetration testing. In the event of a major incident, your managed IT service provider will also have a full plan for Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR), this assures you and your clients that, should you face a crisis, you will be safe hands.

The MSPs take immense care about security standards like PCI and ISO compliance. They should also adhere to the standards and assure that the organisation abides by the regulations, making sure that all policies are adhered to.


Regular updates to your IT

As well as mitigating potential cyber security risks, managed IT service providers conduct regular updates to your IT equipment, and IT infrastructure. They assess and monitor the IT ecosystem making sure software is current and functioning optimally. This guarantees that your staff are always using IT equipment that enables maximum productivity and that any issues or upgrades are dealt with, with minimum impact to your staff.

Your managed service provider is well placed to select the best IT technology providers as they are experts in the field and stay informed on the latest innovations and what IT products are best value for your money.


Cost-effective IT departments

By integrating managed IT services within your business, you can uplift your efficiency and capability, whilst retaining a lower financial exposure. The wealth of knowledge and experience provisioned in a managed IT services partnership can lead to changes and improvements in process and technology that enhance your business and raise your outputs.

If you are an IT manager for your business, you will be able to concentrate on adding true value and relieve your responsibility for the day-to-day technical IT processes of your department.

Irrespective of whether you are a small-scale start-up or a well-established organisation, managed IT services offer effective solutions for all. Where an in-house team can provide a valuable conduit for internal discussions, outsourcing regulates your overall expense – making it a win-win for all.


Components of an ideal managed IT service model

Managed IT services experts help business enterprises with their IT day in and day out. But what should you be looking for from a top managed IT service provider? Here is what an ideal end-to-end IT service model should include:


A full spectrum of IT services

Make sure that the service provider you go ahead with – provides an extensive set of managed IT services outside those in your requirements. For example, an all-in-one managed IT services provider that offers end-to-end consultation on the existing network infrastructure but is also able to provide the equipment and the support to make the changes required.

Your Managed IT provider should work alongside your IT department, as an integrated part of that team, to understand the overall infrastructure and highlight the pain points to further improve the functionality of the business. By choosing a provider who has a full spectrum of IT capability you will ensure that you create a relationship with an IT partner who will continue to drive your business forward into the future.


24/7 Support Services

Your managed IT service provider should always be ready to provide support. Whether you seek to outsource your technical IT issues for resolution entirely externally or want to work in collaboration – round the clock IT technical support services will help you in making sure that your business operations never get affected because of the hired team.

Providers should offer a dedicated account representative, support service dashboards, online and telephone support, and onsite resource.


Digital transformation

Planning to migrate to the cloud or looking for cloud advisory services? Not sure whether to go for a hybrid cloud model or move all your data onto a hosted cloud?

Your managed IT services partner will be able to support you in your objectives to future proof your enterprise. They will have in-house IT experts for cloud-based solutions, helping you to modernize your IT infrastructure and migrate both data and applications to the cloud infrastructure. Preferably, they will have a separate team of professionals that work closely to identify gaps and assist you in making the move.

From consultation to Integration, implementation, management, and support, they should be able to provide all types of cloud-native solutions. By using a managed IT services partner who understands your business, you can strip out complexity and effort from an already challenging modernisation.


Network Security Review

Network security is crucial to every modern organisation, the best managed IT services providers will complete a cyber security review. By conducting an end-to-end assessment of the existing infrastructure, scanning all endpoints internally and externally testing software applications, and reporting on the robustness of the IT infrastructure – they should be able to handle everything.

Additionally, they should provide suggestions to close gaps and strengthen the IT infrastructure of your organisation – keeping you free from doubt with your data security.


Compressing your IT supply chain by providing a single point of contact

An ideal managed IT services partner must have services to fulfil all your requirements. They will be able to take on responsibility for your IT equipment suppliers or negotiate new contracts to reduce your overhead and improve your technology and productivity. They will be able to give you expert advice on the most effective partners and help design your IT services to include IT technology which works most effectively for your business. Whether it’s your telephony or VoIP solutions, leased lines or cloud software provider, your IT partner will help you build excellent business relationships and deliver outstanding customer experience through the provision of expert IT support services.


Consultation and development solutions

Whilst it is not mandatory, we think it is advantageous to choose a managed IT services provider who has this capability in-house. If you find a team that could deliver consultancy or custom development services, it will ensure that you get the most for from your partnership.

We always make sure that we are equipped with experienced leading industry engineers and software developers to help organisations develop technology and implement change smoothly and effectively. That way, we enable clients to run lean and agile IT departments in a cost-effective way.


Cost and business hours

Finally – you should make sure that the rate model followed by your chosen IT infrastructure solutions provider must match your budget and preference. If that’s not the case and you still want to go ahead with a particular team – ask if they could provide custom offers or if things are negotiable. We recommend you seek an inclusive service with a fixed budget per month to ensure that there are no hidden extras

We recommend going with a service provider with an all hours active policy. It will ensure that all your vital tasks are carried out without disrupting everyday operations. Such providers can give you an outsourced service desk and an option for 24/7 support.


The Final Word

Managed IT Service providers help businesses operate with ease by managing your IT services in their entirety. As our reliance on IT technology and software across all aspects of a business increases, the need for specialist, trustworthy support for IT services and related infrastructure is becoming imperative.

By taking care of all the aspects outlined above, a managed IT service provider can act as your technical IT support and guidance – leaving you to focus on driving your business forward. Whether it’s network design, 24/7 IT support, hardware & software management, Wi-Fi services, cloud services, communication enablement, or development – the right managed IT services partnership will improve your operations, revenue, and performance as an organisation and help your company soar.

To learn more about managed IT services and the value it can bring to your business…
Contact ITVET now and get your free IT audit.


5 companies using technology to change the face of retail

 

Technology is booming in retail. With the high street under threat, tech companies are developing ways to optimize the retail experience. The physical store has not changed over the last century but the shopper has. With the vast changes in technology over the last 20 years, the retail sector is lagging behind. These five tech startups are examples of how adapting the retail environment and analyzing data can revolutionise the shopping experience.

Retail technology data

Retail Report allows big data to be harnessed to improve sales and customer experience

1. Retail Report

Data isn’t just online, it’s everywhere and growing fast. Data is invaluable for analysing the performance of any business, but it is a powerful tool for monitoring the standards of a retail store or centre.

Retail Report allows this data to be harnessed – it automatically collects data from around a centre and uploads it to a secure cloud portal. It then uses algorithm technology to turn this information into manageable and insightful reports, allowing management to develop and improve their centres. The sentirating feature, for example, monitors social media feeds and immediately alerts management to any sudden negative downturns in sentiment – often notifying of complaints such as long queues or broken lifts etc.

2. Augment

Augment uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology to increase conversion rates by creating an omnichannel retail experience to drive engagement and sales. Their service allows customers to try products in lifelike AR through their own device at home. This real-time augmented reality experience for retail removes the guesswork when shopping online and facilitates the path to purchase. Connecting offline and online shopping platforms not only drives sales but also makes the purchasing process easier and more convenient.

AR technology is currently fresh and exciting, making it a valuable marketing tool with the power to engage potential customers on a new level. However, while novel, AR also improves the buying process. By engaging with a product, a customer is more likely to feel comfortable making a purchase – especially on high ticket items such as furniture.

Retail technology robot

Robots are being used to complete manual and repetitive tasks

3. Simbe robotics

Robots and robotics are being used in customer service roles and retail is no exception. Many businesses are finding robots can be used to complete manual and perhaps mundane work. Simbe robotics’ autonomous shelf auditing and analytics robot, Tally performs tasks such as auditing shelves for out of stock items and pricing errors.

 

Tally undertakes the repetitive and laborious tasks and operates safely during normal store hours alongside shoppers and employees. Tally is equipped with a charging dock that it can autonomously navigate for continuous operation. The robot includes a suite of sensors enabling it to operate reliably and safely in retail environments while capturing information on the state of merchandise in the store. The data captured by the robot is sent securely to the cloud for processing and analysis. The data is then exposed through both an API and front-end application alongside specific recommendations to improve store performance to key stakeholders.

 4. Oak Labs

Oak Labs aims to bridge the gap between the online and offline world and create intuitive customer experiences. Their feature product, The Oak Mirror, is an interactive, touch-screen mirror creating an interactive fitting room experience. It allows shoppers to customize their fitting room’s ambiance, explore product recommendations and digitally seek assistance from store associates.  Shoppers who use dressing rooms are seven times more likely to make a purchase than those who just browse the sales floor.

Some technologies may be great for marketing, but technologies such as Oak Lab aim to take away the painful or inconvenient aspects of shopping. Driving sales in physical stores is essential considering the dramatic takeover of online shopping and retail stores must adapt.

Retail technology

 Making visiting stores an experience is key to combating online sales

5. Brickwork

Brickwork also aims to change the shopping experience by merging the online and offline experience. Brickwork gives retailers the tools to turn online traffic into physical footfall. With Brickwork, retailers can activate web & mobile browsers to deliver more customers into their local stores. Up to 80% of all customers who buy in brick & mortar initially look at products or retail websites. Brickwork allows retailers to engage with these customers and draw them in store.

The physical and digital worlds are no longer separate entities and the borders between the two are beginning to merge. Technology is allowing the best features of online shopping to feature in brick-and-mortar stores to create an omni-channel experience.

Connecting with a shopper’s smartphone opens up a myriad of possibilities of how to reach shoppers in new ways. Digital displays can show items that a shopper may have recently looked at online, but not purchased. Plus, if the shopper touches the item on screen an assistant will be notified to bring the item over. Alternatively, if the item is out of stock, the assistant is able to suggest alternatives based on the shopper’s past purchasing behavior. Such technologies allow for a more personal experience, especially as mobile detection beacons can notify store assistants of your arrival, allowing them to greet you.

Automation and data analysis is the future and our partners at RetailReport can unlock the power that data holds for your organisation. For your free demo, contact us on 01279 215 915 or email [email protected].