Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: cloud

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to cloud computing.

IT Challenges and Priorities of North American Companies

IT Challenges and Priorities of North American CompaniesHow up-to-date are you on the struggles and strategies of your industry? Understanding what companies are facing can help you plan which skills you will enhance over coming months, as well as help you develop a better sales pitch for your contracting business. There are plenty of sources and studies available to help you understand potential clients’ agendas, and new research is being published regularly. Here are a couple recent ones…

A CDW Canada survey of Canadian organizations learned that their top security concerns are intrusion prevention (39%) and Ransomware protection (35%). Even with these concerns, most are still exploring or implementing cloud deployments; in fact, half of them are planning hybrid solutions in 2017. While most organizations are adopting cloud strategies in one way or another, only 16% would consider themselves a “cloud-first” organization.

The survey revealed some additional IT-related priorities for Canadian organizations. For example, when asked about emerging technologies that will have the most impact on their business, the top responses were analytics and big data, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, 10% plan to replace legacy tools and applications with new technologies and 31% plan to upgrade or update their current tools and applications in their unified communications strategies.

South of the border, mid-market US-based companies are having a challenging time attracting and retaining IT talent — that’s according to a recent CFO Research survey. The findings detail how 49% of finance executives state that their challenges to keep tech professionals in the company have an adverse effect on them. Once they do secure IT employees, the struggles with those people continue with technical competency, strategic planning and vision, industry knowledge, project management, and customer service skills.

Naturally, the US companies surveyed are dealing with their issue by turning to external services. Rather than training or continuing their search, CFO Research learned that most are bridging the gap by moving to cloud services and eliminating a need to source, manage and maintain computer hardware, as well as turning to managed IT services. Regardless of their concerns about costs, the provider’s ability to understand the company, service quality or security breaches, the overall feeling among the executives surveyed is that this solution has been successful.

Have you come across any recent studies about your industry that help you prioritize your training? If so, please share the links below so other readers can benefit.

Cloud-Based Accounting and Bookkeeping

This post first appeared on the CA4IT Blog on February 24, 2016

Streamlining Operations While Promoting Security

Cloud AccountingBookkeeping and accounting for independent contractors present many challenges. However, perhaps the biggest challenge is keeping up with so much important information and processes for these busy, on-the-go providers. Every lost receipt or invoice hurts your bottom line because your taxes require truly meticulous records. In the past, independent contractors lost a lot of time through traditional bookkeeping and accounting practices. Luckily for modern small business operators, the creation of virtual accounting services has removed the need for such time time-consuming processes. With cloud-based accounting solutions, independent contractors just like you have found flexibility, reliability, and convenience for their financial management.

In the past, small business owners trekked to their accountants’ offices, boxes of paper in hand, or spent days hoping important documents got where they needed to go. However, with the advent of cloud-based accounting and virtual accountants, you can remain connected with real-time data updates. Imagine snapping pictures of invoices or receipts, and uploading them to your cloud bookkeeping tools. Come tax-time, you have a safe, sure, and more importantly, accurate recording on your income and expenses. Likewise, your virtual accountant gains instant and up-to-date access to your information, so you both remain current and aware of your financial standing. This shared access promotes both effectiveness and efficiency.

Why Should I Use Cloud-Based Accounting?

What makes cloud-based accounting so useful for independent contractors is its ability to streamline both bookkeeping and tax preparation. Those hours you don’t spend searching for paperwork or making appointments translates into more time you can give to your clients, or yourself. Additionally, you will discover how much less stressed you feel when you know your information is safe, secure, and in the hands of your accounting professional.

At CA4IT our member firms remain on the forefront of cloud-based accounting technologies, and we want to help you take advantage of these amazing tools. Call us today and take the first step to taking control of your financial future.

Contact

Contractor Quick Poll: Cloud Storage

What’s your favourite cloud storage service?

Backing up your files on a cloud storage service offers a variety of benefits, from extra security to accessing them outside the office. There are many options out there when deciding which ones to use, and each have their advantages. Some are more cost effective, others more convenient, and others more user-friendly.  Are you using any of these services today? If so, which ones? If not, why not? You can share your recommendations and reviews in the comments below.

How to Secure Your Data Using the Cloud

Backing up data is one of the most crucial tasks any company can perform.  Without proper security measures, the slightest glitch can temporarily bring down your business and potentially even set you back many years’ worth of work.  There are many options for backing up data, including on a hard drive, but this infographic from Novastor argues that the best way to prevent a computer disaster is by taking advantage of the cloud. Would you agree?

info-back-that-comp-up

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Gilbert Boileau By Gilbert Boileau,
Vice-Président, Québec at Eagle

What’s on the horizon for Technology Professionals??

If you’re considering upgrading or refreshing some skills that will be in demand in the next two years, look for Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) as opportunities currently in the making. Projects are starting, or will start soon, that require specialists with BC and DR knowledge and experience. Why?  Because as most companies are looking at introducing cloud into their environment to add flexibility, contain cost or convert Capital Expenses (CAPEX) to Operational Expenses (OPEX), cloud for disaster recovery is becoming a viable option for a lot of clients.

For small and medium-sized business, the cloud gives the same capabilities that larger companies have had for years. Many big companies have secondary data centers they can use for data back-up and recovery, whereas smaller companies don’t.  The cloud, however, gives those small and medium-sized businesses more possibilities with its ability to back up data or replicate servers to a remote site, and then failover the servers and network to the remote site in the event of a disaster.

For larger companies with elaborate disaster recovery environments and strategies,Cloud Technologies introducing the cloud can be beneficial from a financial and control perspective.  These organizations need to create an integrated strategy of processes, architecture, and the reporting necessary for audit and governance purposes. The flexibility to test more frequently and the ability to scale up or to scale down if needed are examples of reasons they are trying to introduce cloud into their environment.

What does this mean in terms of market skills needed?  Well, reviewing DR and BC strategies, from small to large size companies, means the start of a new cycle of projects where DR and BC skills will be in demand.  2015 should see an increase in demand for DR specialists, starting with project managers with extensive knowledge in that field.

Are you up-to-date on your business continuity and disaster recovery skills?  Would you like more information about these potential opportunities?  Let us know, we’d love to help you prepare!

The Top 5 Cloud IT Challenges Facing Businesses in 2015

This list is originally posted in this article by Michael Gold on Entrepreneur.com. He notes that worrisome trends in 2014 such as businesses juggling too many cloud apps, too many people having access to these apps, and passwords being far too weak, will lead to fiveCloud Computing specific challenges that business will face in 2015.  Whether you’re a contractor in any area of IT or you’re involved in business decisions in another area of an organization, you’ll want to pay attention to this list and reference it when making recommendations to clients:

1. Extremely high reliability will no longer be a luxury.
According to Intuit, 37 percent of SMBs are already fully cloud adopted. For any business that relies on the cloud for mission-critical services, the classic 99.9 percent uptime guarantee is no longer enough—not when that amounts to 8 hours of downtime a year. Look for 99.999 percent uptime (which promise less than 26 seconds of downtime a month) to be the new standard.

2. The cost of litigation will make compliant archiving the new norm.
Most businesses associate compliant archiving with HIPAA and SOX. But archiving will become essential for all businesses, not just regulated businesses. That’s because compliant archiving slashes the mounting burden of eDiscovery (a 2014 report by eDiscovery.com found an average of 479 GB collected in eDiscovery projects prior to filtering and processing). This isn’t just email archiving, though—chat transcripts, too, for example, will also need to be archived to protect your company.

3. Businesses will begin to take the ex-employee menace seriously.
In September, the FBI warned that “disgruntled and former employees pose a significant cyber threat to US businesses.” The question is: will businesses institute rigorous access auditing and offboarding policies before the inevitable headline-grabbing hack?

4. Administrators will look for opportunities to consolidate providers.
If the average of 14 cloud apps per SMB are all sourced from different providers, that means there are 14 separate vendors to pay, 14 control panels to manage, 14 support teams to work with, and so on. It will become increasingly important for companies to consolidate providers to more effectively manage their entire cloud.

5. Companies will take control over data on mobile devices.
According to SMB Group, 83 percent of SMBs have deployed mobile apps to improve productivity. Imagine how much corporate data now lives on personal phones and tablets. Businesses will recognize the need for mobile device management—and will embrace apps that don’t just sync data across devices, but make it simple for administrators to both remotely wipe data as well as to restore it when devices are lost or stolen.

Rain or Sunshine after the Cloud?

Gilbert Boileau By Gilbert Boileau,
Vice-Président, Québec at Eagle

Last July, I wrote a post on the need for contractors to keep their skills updated based on clients’ willingness to adopt cloud-based solutions.  Some have asked me if, since things were changing at such a fast pace, if they should be worried.  I decided to write this to go more in-depth to the July post.

The first important thing to understand is that the drive for cloud solutions (applications,Cloud Solutions infrastructure, data, etc…) is mostly “human” driven versus technology driven.  Yes, it allows selection of best-of-breed solutions (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS) and creates greater computing and application elasticity, but it comes first from the need for more agility, greater business flexibility and cost containment.  Those are the big drivers.  And those drivers are way more important than if it was only a technological fad, because they answer fundamental business issues. 

What we are seeing is a normal evolution, not a revolution. In that respect, IT contractors will have to adapt to the changes by elevating their skills but most importantly, their way of practising their trade pertaining to that service/technological transition.

On the infrastructure side, system administrators will not lose their potential contract tomorrow morning. But they will certainly need to understand how cloud solutions enable clients to change the way they “interact” with technology.  As an example, some of the basic system admin tasks (configuration, sizing, etc…) will clearly not be needed.  As with other functions, they will be part of the provided cloud service. System administrator will need to understand the use of cloud configuration tools, Open Source or proprietary, and also security issues related to the use of the new cloud platforms. Additionally, they will probably spend more time taking care of service agreements and less time maintaining the service, which entails enhancing their soft skills. As for network administrators, their job will probably evolve to become cloud administrator.

On the security side, the move of core business processes and data to cloud solutions will push security specialist to stay on top of new security models and technologies.

On the application side, given the flexibility provided by solutions in the cloud, there will be even more pressure on the actual trend for rapid delivery on business requirements. 

In general, moving to the cloud is more than a virtualization mind shift. New paths will be presenting themselves and options will be there. Whether you deepen your technical skill sets to design those new services or become the liaison between business and IT, you should look forward to the change. Much of what you have today will be transferable.

Rain or sunshine?  It is for you to decide how proactive you want to be in this “service” model transition.