How business can avoid unnecessary capital expenditure with the cloud

A Gartner study has found out that businesses are increasingly moving away from establishing in-house infrastructure, which includes hardware assets and software. Businesses are doing this in order to avoid spending for the dreaded capital expenditure. Instead, enterprises are increasingly going for a service-based model, in which assets are paid for on an expenditure basis, instead of being bought outright.

Cloud-based services are making all these possible. Even companies that are traditionally known for offering on-premises based products are acknowledging that cloud is the future of business. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the company is “all in” for the cloud, and that about 90% of current developments are geared toward cloud computing.

Avoiding CapEx is one of the main benefits of the cloud. Instead of bulking up expenditures at the start, acquiring applications on a service-based model lets businesses pay on a per-use basis. Here are a few ways a businesses can focus their resources on operating expenditure instead of CapEx through the cloud.

Reduce Hardware Costs. Traditional on-premises infrastructure would necessitate the purchase of servers and the rental of server or co-located space. This would usually entail a heavy up-front cost. Cloud computing lets businesses pay for assets on a rent basis, which means expenditure is moved to operations rather than capital.

Tax Savings. As a result of the reduced upfront costs, businesses can save on their tax expenditures by charging for cloud-based assets and services as regular monthly expenditures rather than a single purchase. This is just like being able to charge leased assets (like building space, automobiles) against tax deductibles. With cloud computing, payments to service providers are treated as business expenses and not assets.

Pay-per-use. Another big advantage of cloud computing is that businesses only pay for what is actually used. Processing cycles and bandwidth that are unused will not be charged. This is a big difference from buying a server and paying for server space and bandwidth outright. With cloud computing, the organization only pays for actual services, bandwidth and processing cycles used, depending on the service agreement.

Cloud computing provides the most benefit for small and medium businesses, because of scalability. Organizations without the ability to shell out big amounts in capital expenditure can still compete with more established businesses, because of the service-based business model that cloud providers charge. Big organizations, meanwhile, can reduce CapEx and instead convert these into operating expenditure, and likewise realize cost-savings in the long run.

 

Acceptable User Policies for Your Staff

New media has changed the way businesses use the Internet. While organizations have previously been using the Internet solely as a tool for publishing information, social media, cloud computing, and a host of other services have resulted in users gaining access to resources, and possibly engaging in unwarranted activities online.

Technologies are open to abuse. Businesses are increasingly allowing employees to bring their own devices to connect with the office network. Even work-related activities can sometimes cross the line toward personal. For instance, while businesses are now using social media like microblogging services and social networks, employees who are directly responsible might use these inappropriately.

As such, there is a need to define the rules. Acceptable Use Policies have traditionally included rules on telephone use and Internet access. But with the changing information landscape, there is a need to implement rules that are both fair and practical, noting that rules that are too strict can stifle innovation and productivity.

Here are a few basic ideals.

Flexible and adaptable. AUPs are usually incorporated into employment agreements, but these are often static. Organizations need to be agile, and should be able to adjust according to changing trends. Organizations should be able to change their AUPs as the need arises, especially when there are new technologies that could be threats to productivity.

But aside from just viewing the Internet as a threat, organizations can adopt to changing perspectives. For instance, social media like YouTube and Facebook were once considered wastes of time and resources in the workplace. Today, though, businesses are increasingly using these tools for marketing, brand awareness and engaging with customers.

Enforceable and actionable. An AUP is only as good as how your IT department can enforce it. As such, rules that are impossible to enforce would only be easy to circumvent. Also, an organization will need to implement monitoring tools that enable IT staff to adequately screen usage that is not within the policy. Also, the AUP should be enforced in a fair manner, which would encourage users to positively adhere to the rules, rather than users trying to covertly go around it. Also, the rules should apply to everyone, including senior-level staff and managers, and even the IT department.

Visible and available. Your AUP is only good if people are aware of the rules, and which actions they can do or not do. As such, any breaches in the acceptable use policy should result in a notification through trackable channels, such as email. It would also be good to remind users of the acceptable use policies on a regular basis. For example, you can set the office firewall to display the policies the first time a user accesses the Web in the morning. Given that most users would probably just scroll down and click “OK” or “Accept,” you can provide a short outline, which can catch users’ attention better. It’s also a good idea to indicate that the AUP is being enforced for both the users’ and the organization’s protection, such as preventing viruses and other malware from infiltrating the system.

Organizational support. Even if an IT department can implement and enforce an AUP, it would be of no use if the entire organization does not support it. As such, policies should have the support of key organization personnel, including the management team and the human resources department. This way, whatever sanctions that need to be enforced can be done with full support of the people responsible for handling employees and employee concerns. Otherwise, the AUP would only be a policy on paper, but would be difficult to enforce if management is not keen on implementing it.

AUPs should be viewed in a positive light, rather than as a restrictive set of rules that users might learn to shun. Different organizations will have different requirements, and management would have to tailor-fit these according to their needs.

The Cloud is called “Life Changing” in PNG, South Australia

Amid difficulties in securing decent connectivity and software options in remote towns in Papua New Guinea, a project run by South Australia’s Mt. Barker Council is helping users do their daily work through cloud-computing initiatives that are said to be “life changing.”

The Mt. Barker District Council is running a mentoring program in which the City of Kokopo Council is being provided resources that will help improve its financial systems, thereby improving corporate governance in the council. This Commonwealth Local Government Forum has made the project possible through funding from AusAID. The project began implementation in December of 2011.

Kokopo is home to 26,000 citizens, and is the administrative centre of New East Britain. Sitting between the Solomon seas and Bismarck, this capital city is some 1,000 Km away from Port Moresby. As such, it is among the most remote isolated of Papua New Guinea’s cities.

Mt. Barker District Council General Manager of Corporate Services, David Peters, says cloud computing is providing a “life changing” link between towns in this city, considering the difficulties administrators face in securing a decent network connection and software for use in its operations.

Kokopo has relied solely on non-wired broadband connections, since wireline connections are not viable given the distance, and given copper wires’ likelihood of being stolen. Likewise, administrators have found it difficult to install servers and software, with IT services being expensive.

In an interview with IT Wire, peters decried the fact that people dig up and sell copper wires in PNG. PCs are likewise virus-riddled. Power-supply is also unstable. Meanwhile, IT support in the city is very costly.

With cloud computing initiatives, though, Mt. Barker is now assisting Kokopo to remain financially stable. The cloud-based systems have helped the city administration improve its tax collection rates and other activities like garbage collection, and health services.

Mt. Barker has partnered with an Australian telecommunications provider in provisioning a Sotfware-as-a-service (SaaS) portal, With regular monthly subscription fees rather than a one-time purchase fee, the cloud platform provides live updates, which removes the need to purchase software whenever there are major releases, or to download updates and patches for improved security.

The Hello Queensland Project

Finally. Our own business directory.

Are you a business owner in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Toowoomba, Mackay, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Gladstone, or anywhere else here QLD?

Have you had any difficulty (or expense) getting the word out about your small-medium business, whether offline or online?

Have you ever wished you can easily connect with other small-medium businesses online to network, collaborate, and give each other business?

This is why we came up with: The Hello Queensland Project.

We understand the challenges, struggles, joys and opportunities of being a business owner right here in Queensland. We know there is strength in numbers. We value connections.

The Hello Queensland Project is simple:

  • It happens on our Facebook page: you get to list and promote your business there 100% free.
  • We will drive targeted traffic to our page- so our exposure is your exposure
  • We will all spread the word together- so people will have an online working directory that is visual and creative.
  • It is also a community newsletter- so we have a way of communicating with everyone and offering value added stuff like- business tips and resources.
  • It’s free, fun and easy.

So do you want free exposure? Do you want to connect with other businesses? Do you want to be found more easily? Just fill up the form below and let’s get started! After that we’ll email you step 2- which is preparing your business listing for publishing in our directory.

Officially Open

To All Our,

FAMILY, FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES, PARTNERS, PETS, FOLLOWERS, AND ASSOCIATES,

CloudSPACE IS NOW OFFICIALLY OPEN FOR BUSINESS

We invite you to take a tour of our Website and check out WHO WE ARE, WHAT WE DO and HOW WE CAN HELP you, your friends, your bosses, and your businesses.

Thank you again to everyone who has supported us in setting up and preparing our dream. The dream of becoming Australia’s leading Cloud and Information Technology service and solutions provider. We now have the platform, technology and the people to help service Australia’s Small to Medium Enterprises using our state of the art cloud technology solutions and services.

As with anything in life. If you don’t ask. You won’t know!

So, I am asking (if you are reading this) if you could please please please tell your friends, family, bosses, colleagues, and even enemies about our new venture CloudSPACE Services and simply get them to visit us at;

cloudspace.net.au
or contact me directly.

A Very Excited and Very Humbled

ERIC BRIZUELA
Managing Director | Chief Problem Solver
P +61 7 3124 5001
W cloudspace.net.au