Study pinpoints main motivations for managed services adoption

The latest survey from JDL Technologies has looked at the key reasons that businesses choose to embrace managed services, with some benefits being seen as more important than others.

Eighty per cent of the respondents to the study said that their organisations were already taking advantage of managed services in some form, with the remainder stating that they are in the process of considering adoption over the next 12 months.

When it comes to the factors which drive adoption, the ability to simplify the process of managing IT resources which is afforded by managed services came out on top, with 37 per cent of those questioned giving it more weight than anything else.

The second biggest influencer is the promise of improved security, cited by a third of respondents. This sits just above the 29 per cent who said that the efficiency and productivity gains made possible through managed services was the chief example of why adoption was appealing.

Respondents were also asked to talk about the benefits that came out of managed services adoption over time, with a third stating that their IT systems had become more reliable and less prone to downtime and outages as a result.

In terms of deciding which managed service provider (MSP) to work with, 46 per cent said that one thing which they felt to be imperative for a firm to offer was round the clock support. The geographic location of a provider was shown to be less relevant, with just under a fifth giving it priority during the selection process.

Managed services are increasingly common among companies of all sizes and it is important for MSPs to get a grip on the forces which drive firms to consider adoption if they are to satisfy clients.

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The future of cloud computing infographic

The cloud may have moved from hot new trend to established IT solution in the past half decade, but that has not stopped it being the world’s biggest draw for investment venture capitalists looking to get into the tech market, according to a new report from Deloitte.

The survey showed that cloud computing has managed to hold onto its spot at the top of the tech investment ladder for three years in a row, with a significant confidence rating of 4.18 out of a possible 5, delivered by respondents from 10 of the biggest investment organisations.

While the cloud remains on top at the moment, there are signs that other areas of the market could be rising to prominence, including the IoT (internet of things) and mobility. And it is worth noting that both of these emerging areas are intrinsically linked to an underlying cloud infrastructure, which is, doubtlessly, helping to prop up confidence in this area.

America remains ahead of the UK when it comes to investor confidence and this is perhaps a reflection of the fact that businesses in the US have been quicker to embrace the cloud than their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic.

The power of the cloud and the confidence that has been shown in it by investors is a barometer for the overall health of the tech world and as we are three quarters through 2015 now so we thought we'd create a summary of the state the cloud computing sector.

Cloudworks have seen a very large shift within the local government sector this year so far with many UK councils choosing Office 365 as their collaboration suite, with many others also choosing Google Apps.

E-mail based migrations remain the mainstay of our Office 365 delivery efforts but we've now seen many clients wanting to expand into the other Office 365 services like OneDrive for Business and SharePoint.

Azure also appears to be talking a foothold in the IAAS and PAAS markets - a market that has historically been so dominated by Amazon AWS with their 57% of market share. Microsoft Azure has had better uptime through 2015 so far and many enterprise customers that have been Amazon Stalwarts in the past are starting to experiment with Azure which appear to be maturing at a must fast rate than their Amazon counterparts.

We created the following cloud computing infographic tells the story of cloud computing in 2015 and also details what a possible future market may look like.

The future of Cloud Computing

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EU ruling alters stance on trans-Atlantic data transfers

Although the cloud is often described in terms that make it sound transient and ethereal, the reality is that it still relies on physical hardware to host the apps and data that third parties can then access remotely. This means that information may not only be stored overseas, but must also travel across national boundaries and over unsecured networks, to reach end users.

This has prompted the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to make a ruling this week which puts an end to the Safe Harbour agreement, which previously existed between Europe and the US, relating specifically to how information is transferred and stored in the cloud.

In particular, this will impact the ways in which American organisations with US-based cloud infrastructures at their disposal are able to offer services to European customers, with experts warning that companies, including Facebook, could face problems as a result.

The rules for how data can be moved, processed and stored were initially formulated 15 years ago and the ECJ’s ruling is intended to reflect the fact that times have changed and a new approach is needed, now that cloud computing is ubiquitous.

The end for the Safe Harbour regulations has also been prompted by the NSA data snooping scandal, which showed that US agencies had been able to access private information on EU citizens because it was stored on servers based in North America.

ECJ representatives pointed out that this kind of monitoring activity was all the more problematic because not only were EU citizens unable to do anything about it, but it also contravenes national laws on data protection which are present across the continent.

The cloud has certainly had teething troubles as a result of its global reach and this incident is not likely to be the last of them.

British SMBs increase cloud adoption rates

Small and medium sized businesses based in the UK are increasingly likely to use some form of cloud computing, according to a study carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce.

CBR Online reports that 69 per cent of SMBs currently harness some form of cloud computing service, with the intention often being to facilitate remote working and ease the pressure put on a firm’s office space.

This represents a 15 per cent annual increase in cloud usage and indicates that this technology is allowing businesses of all sizes to be more flexible in how they deploy their resources.

Ninety one per cent of the SMBs that were questioned in the study said that they allowed staff to work from home, with almost a fifth reporting that the majority of their employees were not based on-site at any one time.

The cloud allows people to work remotely while still being able to use core apps and data that is available at the office. And mobility is a key advantage, which many organisations are leveraging to improve productivity, with the use of smartphones being seen as having the most transformative effect on the way businesses operated over the past year.

Almost two thirds of respondents said that the quality of customer service had improved, thanks to the new communications tools that were available to them.

Report spokesperson, Danny Longbottom, said that the cloud was making home working a reality for many SMBs, while the rise of smartphone technology was ensuring that people could be productive, even when they were not at their desks.

The cloud is helping to eliminate any inefficiencies that businesses were previously forced to endure. And even the smallest organisations in the UK are beginning to adapt to this idea and adopt cloud services.

Quantum computing research could lead to cloud breakthroughs

Computing technology available to cloud providers today is still limited by a variety of factors, as well as being susceptible to security risks that remain relatively persistent, in spite of advances being made.

However, restrictions on processing power, storage and connectivity could be overcome as a result of investigations into the world of quantum theory, and how this might be applied in a cloud environment. And Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, has announced a new partnership which will see it setting up a centre dedicated to looking into this area more thoroughly.

This news comes in the same week that Alibaba has confirmed it will be looking to compete with American rival, Amazon, by spending $1 billion (£641 million) on expanding its cloud arm, according to the Financial Times.

Quantum computing could, ultimately, be used to eliminate the limits of Moore’s Law - that computing power doubles roughly once every 24 months. So rather than relying on an incremental approach to improvements, the power increase made possible by quantum theory could be dramatic and game-changing.

Spokesperson, Jian Wang, said that just as big data is being used to transform the cloud market and make major changes to the way various industries operate at the moment, so too, in the future, could quantum computing help to usher in the next stage of the cloud revolution.

Using quantum computing to achieve improved security is just one aspect of the research being undertaken, as the team will also be investigating its applications in the field of artificial intelligence.

The number-crunching power which would theoretically be possible to achieve with quantum computing is the most exciting aspect of this entire venture. However, observers have pointed out that, at the moment, it is still very much in the early stages of development and it is difficult to assess quite when it might be commercially viable, let alone what it might cost to create.