Some Tech Tasks Small Businesses Should Outsource

IT Consulting

One of the most efficient ways to boost a small business or startups is outsourcing the non-core operations like IT support, network services, website hosting to IT consulting firms in Virginia. Besides improving the productivity of the business, it also saves on operational costs. By transferring non-business works, small business owners can devote time in focusing on consumer satisfaction, expansion while leveraging the potential of new technologies.

When outsourcing projects are done right, businesses can save their significant time and money. But it is very essential to figure out what tech task to outsource and which one to look after in-house. Given the rise in the need for technology by small businesses, many IT firms are now providing small business it support services. So, what tech task are those that an SMB can outsource? Here is the list:

Cyber Security
Data safety is the topmost concern businesses have. For a small business with a robust IT support team, it is usually difficult to maintain cybersecurity. By outsourcing the cybersecurity, companies can save considerable money and time while also reducing the aggravation.

Cloud Hosting
Over the years, cloud technology has become an essential tool for businesses. Through cloud computing, companies can gain access to critical files and data from anywhere. All they need is a device and secure internet connection. Although the cloud has great potential and numerous advantages, it is not easy to host a cloud service. A miss managed cloud hosting can bring more harm an organization than good. But having an in-house cloud service can be expensive to maintain and might require constant security checks. By outsourcing the task, a business can do away with the hassle of hosting the cloud and keeping it protected while reaping the endless ease of data access it offers.

E-commerce Site
The website has become a significant part of a business today. Since the internet is a ready marketplace, it is imperative for companies, especially e-commerce to have a responsive website. But designing the website is a task in itself. Unless someone is well versed with the ins and outs of e-commerce website designing, one cannot take up the task. It is only best to outsource it.  By letting a professional designer prepare your website you can be assured that your site would look professional and responsive.

Infrastructure
The term Infrastructure as a service defines the process of outsourcing the task of setting a business IT environment. It includes installation of equipment like servers, network, hardware, and cloud. Since there are a lot of technical complexities involved in setting an IT infrastructure, choosing to set it up on your own can cost to money and take up a lot of your time. Moreover, there are chances that none of the staff is proficient enough in setting up the system correctly. Thus, it is best to outsource this task if a business wishes to save its money and time.

Why there is a Demand of Managed Services in IT Consulting?

Why there is a Demand of Managed Services in IT Consulting?

In the artificial intelligence world, all industries battle to govern the dynamic complications of the IT solutions. Specifically small-scale and developing organizations counter more obstacles as they have confined budgets, inadequate IT experts and security.

As the number one provider of managed services, managed IT services Virginia Beach answers and try to explain the widespread dissatisfaction with IT service providers among small and midsize businesses. Based on an experience with talking to clients and understanding their pain points, one of the major factors is a lack of strategic support.

The necessity for managed services has grown in the recent past. Trade and commerce are now becoming conscious of the advantages of technology like increased productivity, enhanced capacity, and efficiency. With infrastructural depletion, software turn obsolete or advanced threats originate, thereby seeking modern solutions.

Technology isn’t slowing down, and according to this data, neither is the demand for a strategic IT service provider. Today’s managed services teams need to take a holistic look at what it means to be an IT partner and provide solutions that go beyond basic help desk support and get into the real issues of how clients can best align IT to meet their business goals.

Why the Managed Service approach works.

  • Provides Flexibility-Solutions to all the problems at any time and also on requests.
  • Increased Sales –Not only to the technology but also to an economy in an accurate and immediate way.
  • Manage Time- As it is clearly understood, the more time a business gets the more can be focused on production and accomplishments of goals.

Manage Service build together ongoing supple knowledge.
Companies always need a hand with:

  • Indicators on practice dealing with a trades utility, not just coordination support.
  • Complex customers are the custom when you have seen it all.  Regulations often are mandatory as users gain experience.
  • Ongoing reports are table recompenses. Just in time and specific business dashboards are continuously in demand.
  • Make sure implementation when you can arrange clash verified shortcuts.
  • Keep retreat and access well managed to prevent revelation and cost.

Clients of all sizes have realized that they can have it all but don’t have to do it all.

Expertise is learned over time but results and insights are needed now.  More and more, companies are leveraging a flexible resource approach called Managed Services to meet their needs sometimes a lot of attention, while other times minimal support will do.

It has to be more than the just the IT solutions consulting system support to get the whole thing striking on all systems.

What are the IT infrastructure services?

What are the IT infrastructure services?

IT infrastructure refers to the complex hardware, software, network resources and services required for the continuation, procedure and supervision of a venture IT situation. It allows an organization to deliver IT infrastructure services companies and services to its employees, partners and/or customers and is habitually internal to an organization and deployed within owned facilities.

Now a days emerging technologies such as the SMAC stack have changed the IT infrastructure site across organizations and domain. To keep up with the market and retain their competitive edge, organizations have to overhaul inheritance infrastructure to modernize enterprise functioning and ultimately improve profitability. IT consulting firms in Virginia Infrastructure Services portfolio can help organizations modernize and renew processes across intricate IT landscapes.

IT infrastructure consists of all components that somehow play a role in overall IT consulting firms in Virginia and IT-enabled operations. It can be used for internal business operations or developing customer IT or business solutions.

Typically, a standard IT infrastructure consists of the following components:

Hardware: Servers, computers, data centers, switches, hubs and routers, and other equipment
Software: Enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), productivity applications and more
Network: Network enablement, internet connectivity, firewall and security
Meat ware: Human users, such as network administrators (NA), developers, designers and end users with access to any IT appliance or service are also part of an IT infrastructure, specifically with the advent of user-centric IT service development.

Optimize IT assets with the agile infrastructure services

From cloud enablement of legacy platforms to desktop application journey and purpose virtualization, scalable Infrastructure Services from IT infrastructure service companies can help organizations address challenges in designing, provisioning, and maintaining IT infrastructure. They helps deliver greater business contact from IT through services like: Transformation Services, Managed Services, Consulting and Professional Services, Cloud Solutions and Next-Gen Platform-Centric Solutions.

From cloud enablement of legacy platform to desktop application immigration and application virtualization, scalable Infrastructure Services can help organizations address challenges in designing, provisioning, and maintaining IT infrastructure. They helps deliver greater business impact from IT through services like: Transformation Services, Managed Services, Consulting and Professional Services, Cloud Solutions and Next-Gen Platform-Centric Solutions.

IT Infrastructure Services companies portfolio includes:

IT service desk
End user support
Enterprise systems & network management
Data center consolidation and hosting
Database services
Cloud hosting (AWS)
Project management and governance
Virtualization Solutions (VMware, Microsoft, Citrix)

With widespread experience in delivering and listening carefully infrastructure management services across domains, IT infrastructure offers organizations the benefits of well-built industry partnerships such as SAP, Cisco, Oracle and Microsoft. Enable your business to run faster, smoother, and more reliably with complete infrastructure services.

How technology compresses everything: Three unthinkable outcomes that can benefit man

How technology compresses everything: Three unthinkable outcomes that can benefit man

 

When man first conquered the moon, NASA was equipped with the most sophisticated computer equipment of its time to launch the first manned missions to space. There were tons of equipment occupying almost an entire office building of wires, circuit boards, and hardware to harness the technology.

Decades later, the same amount of technology multiplied dozens of times can be made to fit inside a regular smartphone. That is how technology has evolved since then and the same goes for microscopic to nano-technology.

Nowadays, automated and off-site managed service provider VA could run an entire software and hardware infrastructure for a business more advanced than the technology available in the early days of space missions.

As time goes by technology follows suit to make devices much smaller, yet more powerful.

Cloud storage and network capabilities
Portability and mobility is the name of the game. Cloud networks and services are one of the most promising technologies that changed the business landscape and those that have embraced it have gained a better advantage over competitors.

Goldman Sachs reported that cloud computing infrastructure systems have a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30% from 2013 to 2018, significantly higher compared to overall enterprise IT figures at 5%.

By the end of the year, 33% of companies have embraced cloud technology with 86% of companies spending a chunk of its IT budget on cloud-based services whether managed in-house or outsourced to cloud infrastructure providers.

The evolution of scale
Through cutting-edge wireless and nanotechnologies, scientists are a step closer to helping people with severe neurodegenerative diseases that affect vision.

Scientists from the Nanovision Biosciences Inc and the University of California, San Diego have developed an implant prototype with the ability to respond to light signals in the retina.

The high-resolution retinal prosthesis uses nanowires and wireless electronics that work in the same way as neurons in the retina, which was found successful with in vitro laboratory tests using lab rats. Researchers have developed the technology with the aim of helping those who are diagnosed with sight-affecting diseases like retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, and diabetes complications.

Revolutionary indoor farming technology
The global indoor farming revolution has taken the concept of sustainable farming and food production to a whole new level. One should no longer be restricted to the idea of having acres of land to create a sustainable farm.

Technology has equipped farmers with the capability to produce food within a, enclosed facility and could even increase yield to meet demand. Modern indoor farms are capable of reducing crop wastage, pest-free organic crops, and high-yielding sustainable farming methods.

The technology is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.8% between 2018 and 2022.

 

Velocity–Web Operations

I was really impressed with the Velocity conference, the organization, the content and the participants. The conference was a perfect size, not too big while at the same time not too small. Velocity had two main themes, Web Performance & Optimization and Web Operations. Common topic of discussion were performance, operations, change management, configuration management, monitoring, optimization, metrics, mobile, devops, web ops, agility, JavaScript, node.js, and dirty-apps (data intensive real time apps).

I gravitated to the web operations talks but also sat in on some of the mobile and web optimization discussions. I heard multiple times was how web performance and optimization has grown and really delivered value over the past five years, whereas the web operations sector has not grown at the same rate. From a web optimization perspective, browsers are faster, JavaScript has been optimized and delivers 6 times the performance as 5 years ago, node.js has become a framework for JavaScript on both the client and server side, and an entire market has evolved around web optimization.

From an operations perspective, Amazon, Facebook and Google all have efforts focusing on changing their data center and application delivery strategies, moving away from an older style of enterprise capacity planning which focused on scaling vertically at the application level to a newer web level of capacity planning and optimization that delivers a flexible infrastructure across all applications. Both Facebook and Google have created standards around server configurations, builds, deployments and decommissions, and Facebook has custom built their data center, squeezing cost out of server builds and power delivery. Amazon focuses on capacity planning and has recently moved all Amazon online store applications off of physical servers onto an ec2 infrastructure, putting all their apps into the cloud, even if it’s their cloud.

Other areas where web operations is adding value is in the continuous deployment and configuration management space. Common configuration management and deployment tools identified at Velocity were cf engine, puppet, chef and the cast-project. There was a lot of talk about devops which is basically introducing a operations strategy into the development process while at the same time introducing a development strategy into the operations process. Examples of this would be using a code repository for all applications builds and deployments, and from a development perspective, introducing the developers to the monitoring and performance stats before they release their code. I agree and fully support this strategy, however I do feel that there is a too much hype surrounding the “devops” term, and prefer the “web operations” term as a replacement for the devops term.

There was not a lot of discussion around gathering metrics however a number of folks did talk about monitoring, looking at your data and understanding your logs and data. John Allspaw gave an interesting talk on “Advanced PostMortem” where he spoke of Time to Detect TTD an incident, Time to Recover TTR from an incident and the overall impact time which is TTR-TTD. John made the point that the severity of all outages are not the same and each organization should define different levels of severity, and track TTD, TTR, Impact Time along with the severity level.

I was also looking for some help with deployments, and chef and the new cast-project look interesting, I am going to hold off on a configuration management systems at work and focus on building out our continuous deployment process. We have started this process in development using Bamboo, however our organization needs to commit to this strategy, and then scale out the current Bamboo infrastructure to accommodate building all of our apps. There was more talk about application servers in the cloud as opposed to application servers on premise so my application server question did not get answered. A couple of vendors offered sophisticated java monitoring products however both came with a steep pricetag. The one java monitoring product that I thought was interesting was dynaTrace which I will probably investigate.

A challenge that I have and I am sure that many other enterprise level organizations have is that our infrastructures are carved out and deployed on an application by application basis, which means that we have to pay for and build redundancy into every new application as opposed to the market leaders like Google, Amazon and Facebook who have redundant infrastructures and add applications onto their redundant infrastructures. The market leaders have had a lot of success with this infrastructure strategy, it is surprising that more large enterprises has not started down this same path.

I thought this was a valuable conference and next year I am going to recommend that we have two or more folks attend velocity. More information on Speaker Slides and Video can be found here.

The Open Social Web

I have been talking and writing about web 2.0, the open web, social networking, and social computing for a while now and now like to refer to all of this as The Open Social Web. In my version of the Open Social Web, all applications and content are built on open web standards that provide users with interoperability and control of their own data. While that may not be the case with many of the larger social networking sites, I like to think of it as a good goal to work towards. Adoption of social tools and applications have moved the digital conversation from blogs to social sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Buzz and Identi.ca, and the adoption of free mobile tools has helped to fuel this migration. While many people lose site of the Open aspect of these tools and social adoption is still growing and that is good for everyone. Social tools are changing how, when and where we communicate and that benefits everyone. Openness leads to innovation, and innovation leads to better tools, applications and communication both within and outside of the social networking space. Location tools like Foursquare and Gowalla are great examples of innovation in the Social space and the wide adoption of desktop tools like Seesmic and TweetDeck prove that users want to pull all of their social data and communications into one tool or application and companies are innovating to make that happen. I use Seesmic more than TweetDeck and both are great social aggregators, however I am still waiting for the tool that produces one open stream with all my social data.

An Open Social Web built on top of the same open infrastructure components will lead to an increase in discovery and sharing across all social sites. A good starting point for learning about open infrastructure technologies is the W3C Incubator Group Report on “A Standards-based, Open and Privacy-aware Social Web”. The W3C Incubator Group Report on Social Web Standards makes a case for Open Social Web Standards and focuses on identity, profiles, social media, privacy, activity streams, accessibility, open social networking projects and business considerations.

Adoption of these tools and standards is growing however there is still a lot of user friction sharing data between the large social networking sites and when it comes time to move to or at least try a new social networking site. This is too bad because discovery of new social tools and friends is a big part of the social web, and there are many groups working to reduce this friction and find tools and let users take their credentials from site to site. OpenID, OAuth and XAuth are the prominent tools for logging into new social tools and services with your current credentials. Many of us have seen the Twitter, Facebook, Google and OpenID buttons presented when logging into new services and the advantage of using these buttons for authentication is access to your current friends at Twitter, Facebook or Goggle on the new service. This enables a pass through service back to your authentication point of choice which enables the user to easily identify current friends on the new service. This functionality helps with discovery and as I said, discovery is a big part of exploring the social web. Joseph Smarr and Jon Panzer outlined many of these tools in their Google I/O 2010 talk on Building fluid social experiences across websites.

Thoughts on Facebook

Thoughts on Facebook

In November of 2009, I read The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich which was a story the Founding of

Facebook and my impression based on the book was that Facebook’s founder Marc Zuckerberg screwed everyone on his way to building Facebook. I have recently just finished reading  The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick and I have a different opinion of Marc Zuckerberg. Now I think he showed a lot of maturity and poise as he and the Facebook team met the challenges of growing and scaling Facebook into a network of over 500 million users, and I do not think that he screwed anyone.

I do not think that the lawsuit filed against Marc Zuckerberg by Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra held much merit as Zuckerberg did not sign a contract with them and in 2004, there were many examples of Social Networking companies like Live Journal, Friendster and Linkedin. I think it is a stretch to say that the Harvard Students came up with the Social idea and Zuckerberg stole it, as there were many other colleges doing the same thing, and you have to give Zuckerberg credit for executing on his idea, and then growing it past the college market.

I do think that Mark forced Eduardo out but Eduardo also shares some responsibility as Facebook was growing and Eduardo and Mark were fighting over money and control. Both Mark and Eduardo could have handled that situation better, however Eduardo eventually signed a shareholder agreement that allotted him 3 million shares of common stock for which he agreed to hand over all relevant intellectual property along with his voting rights to Mark Zuckerberg. Since that time Mark has reissued more stock diluting Eduardo’s shares, however Eduardo is still a very rich man with about 5% of Facebook stock.

What really changed my mind was reading about Zuckerberg’s passion to grow the business and to put growth before making money. According to David Kirkpatrick, Zuckerberg turn down many chances to sell Facebook but instead wanted to grow the service and make it into a utility. If Marc was just out to make a quick buck, he would have taken the money and run, however he did not. However Marc does come across as being obsessed with control of his company but who could really blame him.

I have not seen the movie the Social Network but now I will view it from a different perspective. I recently watched Zuckerberg’s interview at the Web 2.0 Summit 2010 and like what I heard from Zuckerberg. Two points that I heard more than once in Marc’s talk were:

  • “over the next five years almost every major product vertical is going to get rethought to be social”
  • “designed around people”

Other thoughts from Marc were:

  • “Facebook’s value system errors on the side of openness and portability”
  • feedback that we hear a lot is “we want control of the information that we put on the site” and a lot of people are asking for user control.
  • “Our default is to build an open platform, the stuff that we work on like groups location messages are like really core parts and are either distribution channels or we view are the foundational building blocks of the social graph.”

Virtualization and the path to the Cloud

Virtualization and the path to the Cloud

Have you noticed the shift in hype within computing news away from cloud computing? I have and I think this is great because the hype tends to distort the facts. Also, while the hype is fading, adoption of cloud computing continues to grow and is predicted to grow. Ryan Nichols published a story in Computerworld in August 2010 called “Cloud computing by the numbers: What do all the statistics mean?” where he outlined statistics from IDC, Gartner and Merrill Lynch all estimating dramatic increases in cloud computing adoption. Also in August of 2010, Andre R Hickey from ChannelWeb outlined a story on Small and Medium Business (SMB) spending on Cloud Computing sighting research from AMI partners that where they predict cloud computing adoption by SMB’s to exceed $95 billion by 2014. These are great predictions, however how are organizations going to make the switch from a dedicated server and network infrastructure to a scalable, on-demand model for delivering services?

Virtualization

Virtualization will be the key for many organizations as many large enterprises have already deployed virtualization and are learning what it takes to maintain and support a large virtualized infrastructure. Many think, and I agree that virtualization is the first phase toward cloud computing, while others already consider their virtual environments a cloud, which I do not want to dispute. Now, organizations need to master the support and scale of virtualization and then consider some sort of private or hybrid internal cloud before moving applications to the public cloud. Jon Oltsik is a Principal Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group and recently wrote how “Many firms still struggle with performance issues when trying to align physical networks, storage devices, and servers with virtualization technology” and outlines how many organizations are not using the full features of virtualization like VMWare’s vmotion and vcloud to improve reliability and service delivery. I agree with Jon’s assessment and want to emphasize the importance of mastering your virtual infrastructure and providing a high level of support to your virtualized resources. Cloud computing offers improved elasticity and scaling which is also found in many virtual infrastructures, but having these capabilities are one thing, whereas actually taking advantage of these features is another thing.

For many organizations this is a change in mindset as they move their critical processing off of dedicated servers onto shared virtual resources, because the management of that shared virtualized infrastructure is now key to the delivery of all services. Organizations that grow accustom to the shifting and deploying of virtual resources will be one step closer to cloud and will make a easier transition to the use of external resources in the cloud.

Google Buzz

Have you tried Google Buzz yet? I have and I like it a lot. It has many of the discussion and “follow” like features of Twitter, however unlike Twitter, you can see both sides of the conversation. Also, after using it for about two weeks there appears to be more technical content, links and discussions and fewer posts about going to lunch or what you had for dinner.

Granted, I follow a lot of tech folks so it’s not surprising that I would see a lot of tech content, however this appears to be an easier solution than Twitter, Identi.ca or RSS for searching and for following what others say about a post or topic. It takes the discovery and follow aspects of Microblogging and the full commenting aspects or regular blogging and combines this into one solution.

Another nice feature of Buzz is the ability to mute a buzz or post which I have found this useful especially when I am not interested in a topic but others are and there is a lot of comments. It’s a nice way to clean up the stream.

Buzz is built on Google Gmail and although it is still in the early adopter days I think that it is a great discussion platform and well worth looking at. If you do not have a Gmail account then I would recommend that you signup for a Gmail account today.

The world of Social Networking and Social Computing is growing with many tools that enable you to reach out and connect to others. In three to five years time everyone will have multiple social computing accounts similar to the way that many of us have multiple email address. So my question to you is why wait?

Jump in and participate, if you are not sure what to do, try one of these sites …

Linkedin.com, Facebook.com, Twitter.com, www.google.com/buzz, Identi.ca

The Open Web and Mozilla Drumbeat

I believe in and support the Open Web the Open Internet and the Mozilla Drumbeat Project. In my opinion, Openness leads to innovation and innovation leads to progress and progress is good for us all.

For many non-technical folks, there is a subtle confusion between the Web and the Internet, so an easy way to think about the difference is to think about our roads and highways and think of them as the Internet. This is the Infrastructure that we use every day and do not even think about, just like the Internet. The web, on the other hand, is like the cars and trucks that use our roads. Compare a car to a Browser or a Web Site that rides on top of the road and on top of the Internet. The power of the Web comes from the tools and protocols, programs, APIs, and data that make it work, however, the Web needs the Internet and without the Internet, we do not have a Web.

The Mozilla Drumbeat project is a project that advocates for the Open Web and they are looking for help from you and me. The concept of Drumbeat is to let everyone know about the freedoms of the internet, and how our freedoms may be slipping away from us, and what we can do to help keep the Internet and the Web Open and moving forward.

For many folks our digital roads (Internet) and digital cars (browsers and web sites) are already open and do not appear to be at risk, so what is all the fuss about ? Concerns start when you think about where we have come from and how we have evolved, and by looking at the experiences of other markets over a long period of time.

When Tim Berners-Lee created HTTP and HTML he did not license or charge royalties for his technologies, instead he move it into the public domain for other to use. This is how the Web grew and was literally the start of the Open Web. However since that time, we have witnessed many organizations attempting to carve out their piece of the Web by charging for access to content and data. After a while, charging for and restricting access to content and networks became the norm, but that is starting to change now and we want to make sure that it continues to change.

The Web is evolving along with Technology all around us. Television and Video are moving to the Web and the Internet is moving toward the Television. Fairly soon the Web will be just another channel to access content from your couch, but we want to make sure that all web content will reach that couch and is not restricted by the large media conglomerates responsible for Television today.

Think about the Television and Radio business in the early 60’s. Their focus was on the local news and local programming, and this was very beneficial to everyone. However, over time the heavyweights in the industry started buying all the stations and before you knew it most of the stations were owned by a small number of large media conglomerates. Less competition, less outside interference led to selective programming and reporting that is slanted toward the media conglomerate and not toward the people. We can’t let this happen to the Web.

There are forces in work looking to build a tiered Internet where the large players will have access to a larger faster internet tier that the rest of us will be restricted from. There is a large debate going on now for this Internet change. This if often referred to as Net Neutrality where the premise is that the Internet is a free and open resource and Internet Service providers should not carve up the Internet as it will lead to discrimination of content and traffic on the Internet. I am for Net Neutrality and the Open Web, and I encourage you to explore the Mozilla Drumbeat project and get involved.

For more information about Project Drumbeat, here is a slideshow from the Mozilla Foundation Executive Director Mark Surman on how you can get involved and help the Open Web.