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How to Create a Business Continuity Strategy

One of the things our customers ask us about most often is how to build a business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan. While most customers think of hurricanes and tornadoes, it’s important to note that natural disasters aren’t the only thing you need to plan for. There are far more common events like bad software, misconfigured networks and hardware failures that can cause real problems.

To discuss BC/DR, we turned to our resident expert, Mike Cybyske. Mike is a crisis manager at Qwest and is responsible for overseeing our corporate Crisis Management Team. This is the first installment in a series where we’ll discuss BC/DR. Today, we cover the strategic elements of a BC/DR strategy. In future pieces, we’ll discuss the technology considerations and how to evaluate a solution.

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Survey Says: Hybrid Approach to Cloud Offers Best-of-Both-Worlds

With so much hype surrounding cloud, we love to see some real data. According to a recent online poll of business and IT leaders conducted by IDG Research Services, almost all enterprises have adopted or are planning to adopt a hybrid cloud model for at least a portion of their computer applications. Makes sense, right? It certainly seems like a good deal to get the best-of-both-worlds, but it brings us to a critical question: how do you deal with separate internal and public infrastructures?

Security is obviously a top concern when it comes to cloud adoption plans. After all, what CIO wouldn’t worry about a threat in a public environment spilling over into his enterprise network? Plus, couldn’t this bring about additional complexities?

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New Age for the Sales Process

The enterprise buying process is broken. And I suggest both customers and providers need to work at fixing it.

Let me back up and explain. The all-too-common traditional process that is no longer working typically looks like this: Customer has a need, finds providers that sell a product to fulfill that need, and then selects a solution based on price or a mixture of price and feature/functionality.

What I am proposing is that we take a more transparent and collaborative approach to the buying process. Something that would look like this: Customer talks to provider about what they are looking to do with their business (change in technology, new apps, outsourcing, etc.) and also shares critical things like business challenges, their forecasted growth and their current infrastructure environment. The provider then proposes possible solutions based on a holistic view and customer selects the one that works best for them.

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What’s in it for Me? Varying Perspectives on Cloud Computing

During our cloud computing roundtable series we’ve covered a variety of topics from the technical benefits of cloud to the business risks. This range of topics brings us to an important point: the cloud discussion is very different for the business professional than it is for the IT professional.

In our final expert roundtable, we explore this dynamic. For the business person, cloud represents an opportunity to drive profitability, growth and product development. For the IT professional, the cloud represents a way to drive greater efficiencies, offload resources and ultimately provide another tool in the IT toolkit to support the business.

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Deep Dive: Connections to the Cloud

As we continue our exploration of cloud computing, we’ve hit a critical topic: connections. By that we mean the connections that will be required to make cloud computing a reality – whether that be connections between partners to provide a full end-to-end solution, industry standards connecting different vendors’ products or the connections between the network and the apps. Understanding how these connections work is essential in reaching a successful cloud computing model. It’s also a complex and little-discussed topic.

In this expert roundtable, Qwest cloud experts and Nemertes Research Senior Analyst Ted Ritter answer the following questions:

  • What is the role of standards in the development of cloud services?
  • Is the Internet the ideal platform for the cloud?
  • What is the role of the network in the cloud? As Ted asks, is it still just a “thing” in the middle of an architect’s network drawing?
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Cloud Conundrum: Security

We all know that security is the No. 1 concern for enterprises considering cloud computing. Technology decision makers must balance risk management strategies with the high availability and performance of cloud-based resources.

In the second of four roundtables between Qwest cloud experts and Nemertes Senior Analyst Ted Ritter, we focus on public, private and hybrid clouds and the security considerations enterprises must keep in mind, including:

  • What risk management strategies to consider
  • How to evaluate which resources and processes should move to the cloud.
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Clarifying the Cloud

Continuing with our focus on cloud computing, we brought together our cloud experts with Nemertes Senior Analyst Ted Ritter for a tough question and answer session. This is the first in a series of roundtables focused on cloud computing. In this video, our execs answer the following questions:

  • What is cloud computing?
  • How does cloud affect the enterprise?
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Chronicles of Cloud Computing: Moving CRM to the Cloud

We’ve been talking a lot about cloud computing here at ThinkGig and we’d like to share an example of how we are moving to the cloud with our Salesforce.com implementation.

It begins with the classic story. The Software as a Service (SaaS) implementation replaces a homegrown funnel management system whose performance had been steadily degrading. Managers lacked visibility into the sales cycle and tools for coaching. Users wanted the ability to manage customers from a Smartphone without losing performance. The tool wasn’t able to scale up quickly as the user base grew and changes to the application took longer than we’d like.

What are the benefits we found by moving to the cloud?

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