Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Comparison between On-Premise and Cloud Anti-Spam Solutions

Cloud-AntiSpam-Solution Anti-Spam services at their most basic level are intended to eradicate spam from enterprise networks. This can be both a costly and time consuming process.

There are two options available to manage this problem: on-premise and cloud-based. Let's compare the two.


In this traditional approach, enterprises with dedicated IT staff would manage this process in-house. At a minimum, this would involve the purchase of one server, depending on the size of the organization, maybe more. Hardware maintenance agreements may also have to be secured.

Office space would have to be allocated for the equipment and software licenses would have to be purchased. As these licenses aren't scalable, you may be stuck purchasing more licenses than you actually need. Finally, staff would have to be trained and dedicated, at least partially, to this activity.

With this option, price and complexity stand out as the biggest drawbacks.


In this modern scenario, an organization would only need to evaluate potential cloud service providers, select a vendor and purchase the service. With this option, eliminating the hardware and staff alone may represent significant savings. Coupled with more flexible terms and lack of ongoing maintenance, all point to simplified management and lowered costs.

The most cited issue with cloud-based services is security. The perception is that if the service is not maintained in-house, there is a level of uncertainty as to how well the service provider can protect your data. Yet many vendors in this space have established and verifiable track records with regard to security. And contract terms including service level agreements can ensure compliance with existing company security policies.

Based on these factors, cloud-based service should be considered as a viable alternative to in-house solutions. Optional services like encryption and data loss protection; web filtering can also be attractive add-ons.

This guest post was provided by Veronica Henry on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. More information about GFI MAX MailProtection, hosted email security solution can be found at Image credit under CC license.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Cloud Computing Articles at Techno-Pulse

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cloud Computing: A Catalyst for IT adoption in SMEs/SMBs

What does it take for SMEs / SMBs in fast growing economies to accelerate their growth and make them competitive on the global stage? Perhaps the recession of 2009 will go down as a landmark year that marked the shrinking of US and European economies and the beginning of a new world order. The significant rise of India and China along with a few other countries is noteworthy.

Optional Info: The abbreviation SMBs (small and medium businesses) is used in the USA. SMEs (small and medium enterprises) is used by European Union and international organizations, including the World Bank, the United Nations and the WTO. The definition of SMEs/SMBs varies with respect to the country which is defining it.

According to Wikipedia, the US defines small businesses to include those with fewer than 100 employees and mid-sized businesses to include those with fewer than 250 employees. EU has standardized the threshold at 50 and 250 respectively.

By rough estimates, SMEs/SMBs account globally for 99% of business numbers and 40% to 50% of GDP. In India, and perhaps globally also, only 10% of SMBs / SMEs are exploiting the power of IT!

SMEs/SMBs, unlike their bigger counterparts, cannot afford a big IT budget. This is why they still do business by manually creating hundreds of spreadsheets on a daily basis. They have no efficient process for organizing their data, which results in too much dependency on the people who are managing the data. In most cases they have one executive who will maintain the spreadsheets (of customer addresses, enquiries, quotations, purchase orders etc) based on feedback from the sales or marketing executive. There will be print-outs of the data to serve as back-up, and they will manually stack these neatly in some folder before dumping them somewhere in a closet. In developing countries, the SMBs/SMEs are growing like never before. With the passage of time, the amount of data grows and consequently, the number of folders in the closet becomes too large to manage, or overflows the closet. One fine day, if that particular executive who maintains the data is absent from the office - other employees run from pillar to post to retrieve even simple information like a customer’s phone number.

What does this mean? Your business is dependent on an individual and NOT on a process. A big risk indeed! 

Are SMBs / SMEs staying away from IT?

No, not at all. Speaking to a few of the decision makers of India based SMBs, I came to the conclusion that the assumption of SMBs not embracing IT is incorrect. During last 5 or 6 years almost all of them, particularly the ones located in metros, have been approached by some IT vendors, and have tried some custom made software. But what happened after that? Most of the software projects, so called mini ERP or CRM, were either never completed due to the infinite loop of change requests, or were implemented but performed far below the customer’s expectations.

A few applications which were delivered were too little too late in terms of the ROI. Those who burned their fingers during the first wave of IT implementation are a bit skeptical about future software implementation. Most of the time the process of IT adoption is so complicated, with multiple software and hardware vendors involved, that by the time it gets implemented either the software or hardware is out-of-date and redundant.

Why Cloud Computing is the Road Ahead for SMEs / SMBs…

The requirements for SMBs/SMEs in any verticals are not so complex, but they do have their own set of standards and ways of doing business. For example, much of the time additional negotiations occur at the time of payment: the other party may ask for a discount, even after signing an agreement and sending a purchase order. In this kind of scenario, unlike traditional apps where customization is the key; a true SaaS (Cloud based app) can meet any requirement by simple configuration.

SMEs / SMBs are growing very fast. A few of the business owners I spoke to were unhappy because the application that they were using until now is not supporting the increased number of users or cannot adapt to changing requirements. Here, either the application is rendered useless, or the vendor is charging high prices for adding any features/enhancements based on the changing business needs. SaaS scales extremely well, which is why it is appropriate for growing SMBs / SMEs.

Unlike their bigger counterparts, SMBs/SMEs also have cash flow challenges. In Cloud based apps (SaaS) there are no upfront expenses. Pay as you use.

IT is no longer a luxury, it has become a necessity. SMBs / SMEs must leverage the cloud opportunity to stay ahead of the competition. But before signing a cloud service provider you must be aware of the risks that come with cloud implementation. IMHO, though the gains of cloud computing far outweigh risks; you must be aware of them. A formal risk assessment may be necessary in many cases…

Why are Companies Moving to Cloud Computing Services?

Option Info: Recent research in THE GFI SOFTWARE SME TECHNOLOGY REPORT has the following key findings:

  • Only 10% of senior business decision makers in Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) claim to fully understand what cloud computing means. 62% have never heard of cloud computing. A further 13% have heard of it but don’t know what it means.
  • Security fears are not the main concern for organizations considering cloud computing. Although security is the second highest perceived disadvantage (after vendor lock-in), only 12% cite it as a main reason for not actually pursuing cloud computing.

Stay tuned to this space…

Cloud Computing Articles at Techno-Pulse

Sunday, June 13, 2010 Review - Real-time Collaboration in Cloud

Summary ?

Web based word processor for collaboration in real-time

A product of

Cynapse, Mumbai, India

Useful for

Brainstorming, meeting notes, project planning, training

User Interface

Slick & intuitive 

Base Technology



Fast & responsive


Drawing tools, subscript, superscript, image



Detailed Review is a real-time collaboration tool. Users can simultaneously edit and all changes are seen live by users connected to the note/document. It synchronizes everyone’s edit & merges them all in real-time. Multiple people can simultaneously edit the same document, any changes reflect on everyone’s screen instantly.

I tested (Public) with a team of 4 members (collaborators), simultaneously & randomly writing on the pad. There’s a Paid version as well - (Pro).

The most impressive feature was its real-time synchronization capability. I was curious to know the time lag in syncronization i.e. the difference in time of typing the letter & appearing of that letter at the other end. To calculate this we accessed the same note (document) from two systems placed besides each other (so that we can view both the monitor screen). Interestingly, we could see each & every letter typed by other collaborators/members at our screen as if it was being typed from the keyboard attached to the local system. Practically, there was no perceivable lag at all.

We did a similar test with Google Docs - document, in the same environment. But its synchronization ability proved to be slower compared to In Google docs document, chunks of words appeared suddenly after a significant lag of say 12 seconds.

Noteworthy features

  • Interface is quite intuitive. No learning curve.
  • Chat window - collaborators can communicate while they're editing.
  • The color coded (8 colors) text background indicates the contributions done by different users. Users can change their colors or completely turn this functionality off.
  • Color highlight trail for each author: quickly know who contributed what.
  • Infinite undo history..all changes are saved to the server and can be undone any time…
  • One click, easy sharing - invite collaborators easily by sharing the note link over e-Mail, Facebook, twitter, Linkedin & other social networks.
  • Travel back in Time using Time Slider.
  • Mark & find important versions in a click
  • Chat history is saved foreve, along with the note.
  • Export your note as html, plaintext, bookmark file.


  • Export to Plain Text NOT maintaining formatting…of no practical use.
  • No drawing tool
  • No subscript, superscript support
  • No formulae support (e.g. sharing equations etc)
  • No image support…
  • Font styles not supported.
  • Very limited formatting tools.
  • Connection with server lost frequently



Also note that, Public notes can be accessed by anyone. For a private & secured note, companies can opt for Pro which has enhanced security features for Private Notes viz.  Password, SSL (https) etc.

Optional Info

A few other similar services powered by ether-pad technology.

Find out more at

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

4 + 1 Reasons Companies are Moving to Cloud

Guest Article by Patrick Jobin from Canada based Storagepipe Solutions, a pioneer in the world of Data Protection.

Cloud-SaaS2010 is a landmark year in terms of implementation of Cloud Computing Services - IaaS, PaaS & SaaS. Companies are increasingly finding that SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is a safe and secure alternative for improving ROI while maintaining flexibility. Although the benefits of SaaS computing are many, below are a few of the most important:

  • SaaS scales extremely well and simplifies IT planning. You can go from 1 to 1000 users almost instantly by assigning resources on the fly. It can all be done with the click of a button, or even automatically. This eliminates unnecessary hardware upgrades, maintenance costs, and downtime.

  • SaaS does away with the need for physical hardware. This is especially important in an age of “server sprawl” were companies are struggling to make efficient use of expensive datacenter space while reducing energy consumption. Also, SaaS frees up IT departments since they’re no longer locked into specific devices or locations.

  • SaaS also eliminates many business risks and sunk costs since there is no capital investment required to get started. You just plug in a cable and pay for what you use on a monthly basis. If you find that a new system isn’t working for your company, you can simply walk away from it with minimal loss.

  • Companies with many locations like the idea of SaaS because it allows them to access company systems from any point. Employees can work from the head office, the remote sales office, their home, or even from a laptop while the road.

Of course, is one more significant benefit isn’t often discussed. Cloud-based business software also provides you with access to highly trained technical support... often at little or no extra cost. For example, if your company already has a complex in-house IT infrastructure - including iSeries, Windows, Linux, SQL, Oracle, etc... - you would need a wide range of specialized expertise in order to back up all these systems properly.

Trying to do this in-house could be a long, expensive process. You might have to send your team for special training or even hire outside consultants. But if you were to try back up these systems to the cloud, you could probably find a provider that already has experience dealing with these types of mixed environment. The SaaS provider could come up with a fully automated solution for you that was easy to implement, minimized backup windows and optimized recovery times.

This way, IT staff can spend less time on routine maintenance & upgrades, and more time focusing on important strategic projects for the company.

In all the business benefits of SaaS, it’s no wonder that so many companies are adopting it.

Guest author Patrick Jobin has been providing server online backup since 2001, and also offers many other cloud-based services for enterprises.

For Guest Post: contact techno-pulse

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