Wednesday, Oct 22nd

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You are here: Technology Business Tech Harnessing the Cloud
Before the Internet, companies had no choice but to install all the software they needed to use on their own computers and networks. Now that is changing as many providers move to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Customers access the software products online and  hardware remains the property of the provider. Accessing software from a distance – also known as “in the cloud” – removes the cost of maintaining that software from the customer, leaving it with the provider. Obviously, this is a better deal for customers.

“Traditionally, what's happened is we build applications and they're on the internal network and infrastructure. It's a lot of effort to patch the hardware, to patch the firmware, to keep the software up-to-date. What's really important is the actual application – the thing that does the work for the business,” said Vincent Mayfield, CEO of Bit-Wizards, a custom software development company. “By moving to the cloud, we take away a lot of the need for having to deal with that infrastructure, and we can focus on what's truly important, which is the application that solves the business problem, or performs the work, or makes them more efficient.”

One chief concern with cloud-based offerings is security, since data needs to pass back and forth over the Internet from the provider's server to the customer's workstation. “As a custom application development shop, the focus for us is Platform as a Service (PaaS) in conjunction with SaaS – integrating the two for a lower total cost of ownership (TCO). This also allows for Hybrid solutions such as Private On-Premise software implementations that can talk to data or applications located in the Public Cloud. Our PaaS of choice is Windows Azure. We are experts in Azure and members of Microsoft’s elite Azure Circle of Partners. By choosing Azure, many of the Security and Compliance issues are eliminated, as Azure is SAS70 Certified, SASE16 Certified, FISMA, Safe Harbor, and HIPPA Certified, ” Mayfield said. “So that way, what we're doing is decreasing our cost of operations and still being able to adhere to some of those issues that come up with security.”

Mayfield believes that moving into the cloud is a great choice for companies that are struggling to save money. It also gives businesses with smaller budgets access to enterprise-level IT infrastructure and services that they couldn't afford to own. “The smart organizations say, 'How do we invest in information systems that are going to make our business more profitable and more streamlined?'” Mayfield said. “I think the smart businesses actually did that in the economic downturn and continue to do so. They're going to come out stronger companies in the long run than their competitors who just cut things to the bone.”

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