Bi101 Blog … on cloud computing and SaaS, by Business Intelligence 101

Which is cheaper Google Apps or Office 365?

google apps

One of the hardest things when planning a move onto a cloud architecture is what your total cost of ownership (TCO) is going to truly be.  All the costs are never stated up-front, especially when matters like migration or re-training come into play.

In terms of deciding between Google Apps or Office 365, there are strong elements to recommend both.  We’ve gotten plenty of clients up and going on both systems.  Deciding, which is more cost-effective depends on your office, as well as your planned usage.

So today, let’s take a quick look at some of the major elements that affect the price, TCO, and ROI on adopting Google Apps vs Office 365.

Major Cost Considerations When Choosing A Cloud Collaboration System

1 – Previous investments.

First, if your shop is already deeply invested in one or the other, don’t fix what isn’t broken.  If you’ve got Microsoft service contracts and everyone’s already on Office, just move to Office 365.  Or, if everyone’s using their personal Google accounts for work, stay with Google.

There usually isn’t a good reason to change horses mid-stream here, as the saying goes.

2 – Downtime.

In most situations, we find Google and Microsoft to be fairly competitive.  However, as things stand, there is one big benefit on Google’s side:  Microsoft’s servers go down more often, and have longer outages when they do.

That said, Google is widely-known for having the top availability in the industry, period, so this isn’t surprising.  They also beat out Amazon and many other top-tier cloud providers.

3 – Syncing And Compatibility

If cross-system compatibility is a key focus for you, Microsoft is likely the better choice.  Their Office formats – DOC, XLS, etc – are worldwide standards, and they offer a variety of APIs for linking third-party software into their own cloud network.

Google, on the other hand, largely uses proprietary formats and consistently has issues handling format conversions.  While the issues are usually minor, they can add up to lost productivity for employees having to actively move documents between formats.

That said, Google Apps has created individual apps for Docs, Sheets, and Presentations to enable full compatibility with Microsoft applications across mobile and tablet devices.cloud-computing

4 – Premium Prices For Premium Services

By and large, Microsoft offers better service and support for enterprise end users, whereas Google is more aimed at small and mid-sized organizations.  Google Apps can scale effectively, again if you’re staying within Google’s system, but faces challenges in companies integrating many different software systems.

Office 365 ultimately offers more robust integration and security features, but their high-end services are significantly more expensive than Google’s paid App offerings.  You get what you pay for, but you may not want/need to pay for it at all.

A Lot Goes Into Picking A Cloud Document Service

The choice between Google Apps and Office 365 is not a simple one.  They’re both great services, but with different focuses and approaches.  If you’d like more advice, please don’t hesitate to contact Bi101 for a free consultation on your needs!

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Business Intelligence 101 Recognized in CRN Next-Gen 250 Annual List Highlights Up-and-Coming Solution Providers

Livermore, CA, August 25, 2014 – Business Intelligence 101, announced today it has been named to the 2014 CRN Next-Gen 250 list. The annual list honors up-and-coming technology solution providers who have adapted their businesses in unique ways to meet market demands for emerging technologies such as unified communications, managed services, virtualization, and cloud computing.  These solution providers, each in business for less than 15 years, have embraced pressing market challenges in ways that clearly distinguish them as today’s trailblazers and tomorrow’s leaders.

Business Intelligence 101 (Bi101) delivers top cloud solutions and bottom line results. Eliminating the pain of computer infrastructure and enabling the gain of efficiency, mobility, and innovation. By leveraging cloud technology, Bi101 provides implementation, training, and managed service in support of Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, and NetSuite.

“We are honored to be recognized side-by-side with the top solution providers in the industry. Our team stands out in the industry by providing quality work to all of our clients for over ten years. I believe that this recognition comes because of our emphasis on our company values of living a balanced lifestyle, staying united as a team, always acting in a professional manner, and being an evangelist of cloud technology,” stated, Kevin Lalor, CEO and Founder of Bi101.

“IT is undergoing a transformation today, with new technologies, new delivery models and new demands being placed upon the integrators tasked with architecting the technology solutions businesses need,” said Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company, publisher of CRN.  “The CRN Next-Gen 250 recognizes the up-and-comers among the solution provider community who have found innovative ways to address these business challenges and recognizes them as the next generation of leaders in the IT channel.  We are pleased to be able to honor the organizations named in this prestigious list, and CRN editors will be following their progress in the years to come.”

A sampling of the Next-Gen 250 list will be featured in the August issue of CRN, the top news source for solution providers and the IT channel, and will be available online at both www.crn.com and through the CRN Tech News App for iPad and Windows 8.

About Business Intelligence 101

We eliminate the pain of computer infrastructure and enable the gain of efficiency, mobility & innovation. We provide software and professional services companies with an integrated suite of cloud based tools and support services that give them a competitive edge and the visibility they need to make better, faster decisions without the limitations of traditional information technology. Our partnerships and expertise with NetSuite, Google, and Microsoft make us a leader in the industry. For more information visit our website at bi101.com or call us at 866-552-4101.

About The Channel Company
The Channel Company is the channel community’s trusted authority for growth and innovation, with established brands including CRN, XChange Events, IPED, and SharedVue. For more than three decades, we have leveraged our proven and leading-edge platforms to deliver prescriptive sales and marketing solutions for the technology channel. The Channel Company provides Communication, Recruitment, Engagement, Enablement, Demand Generation and Intelligence services to drive technology partnerships. Learn more at www.thechannelcompany.com.

Contacts

Lindsay Donohue
Business Intelligence 101
866.552.4101
Lindsay@bi101.com

Betzi Hanc
The Channel Company
508.416.1182
bhanc@thechannelcompany.com

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Which Is More Secure Google Apps Or Office 365?

cloud computing

One common question we hear from people looking to move into cloud-based services is whether Google Apps or Microsoft Office offer more secure cloud networking.

We’re glad to hear the question, honestly, because cloud security is a major issue these days.  Companies need to be looking out for their data on the cloud, even if -according to studies- IT admins tend to overstate the risks involved with cloud migration.  The cloud can be more secure than physical networks, when properly implemented.

Now, as far as Google Apps vs Microsoft Office 365?  In truth, both offer absolutely world-class security and uptime guarantees.  On that subject, we’re happy to call a draw.  We set up plenty of clients on both Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, with no reservations about the security of either service.

In truth, the decision to use Google or Microsoft for cloud document collaboration is largely based in the needs of an individual basis.

Deciding Between Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365

Since either system can form the basis for a superior cloud collaboration system, individual usage and needs is a big part of the equation.

1. Prior Adoption

By and large, if a shop is already standardized on a Windows Server / Microsoft Office setup, we encourage them to migrate onwards into Office 365.  They’re the ideal setup to quickly take advantage of Microsoft’s cutting-edge cloud systems with a minimum of disruption.

Half their data may already be on Microsoft servers anyway.

On the other hand, a shop without a strong monetary investment in Microsoft likely has a strong personal investment in Google.  Which is to say, practically everyone has a Google account these days.  So, a move to Google Apps would make more sense… given that half of everyone’s data seems to be on Google servers these days.

2. Smaller vs Larger Setupsdata storage

The other main deciding factor we use in Google vs Microsoft is the size and scale of the operation.  Broadly speaking, Google’s applications are both cheaper and easier for smaller operations to adopt, especially those who don’t have to migrate large amounts of data.  The multitude of free services they offer also help reduce ongoing costs.

Plus, it can’t be forgotten that Google tends to reward its own.  A shop standardized on Google Apps, with full user profiles and such, is likely to see subtle improvements to their SEO and other online efforts… if they’re also using Google.

On the other hand, Microsoft’s services scale better, and they have superior enterprise-level support.  For an established business, or one looking to stick largely to tried-and-true strategies that have carried plenty of larger firms forward, Office 365 fits the bill.   Your operations are unlikely to ever outgrow Microsoft.

There’s A World Of Opportunity In Cloud Vendors

Need help sorting out which cloud applications are best for your business needs?  Call in Business Intelligence 101!  Our experts have been with the cloud since the beginning, with all the experience needed to find the best-fit cloud solutions.

Contact Bi101 today for a free consultation!

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Dropbox Alternatives for Securing Critical Files

If you’re allowing your employees to use public cloud-storage sites like Dropbox, you’re using a temporary solution for a long term problem.  Dropbox is convenient and highly popular among everyday users, but it is NOT suited for business work.  There are three primary problems:

  1. It’s just storage, not an integrated suite of tools.
  2. Nothing prevents users from uploading high-security files.
  3. You have no control over what happens on Dropbox.

The good news is that, even if your workers are accustomed to using cloud storage for their documents, there are plenty of other full suite options that give you convenience along with security and high-level controls you need to protect your data.

drop box alternativeDropbox Alternatives That Deliver Corporate-Grade Access And Security

1 – Google Apps

The upshots to Google are pretty clear:  They’re huge, they’re ubiquitous, they’re business-focused, and they have some of the most robust and secure cloud storage facilities on Earth.  Plus, many of their services are free, and the professional-level services are priced to be affordable for pretty much any firm.

Additionally, Google is working to improve compatibility with Microsoft and recently released Quickoffice which lets you open and edit Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and presentations on your phone or tablet.

Not only are you getting document storage with Google Drive, you are also getting the full suite of tools (Docs, Sheets, Presentations, and Email) with Google Apps for a comparable cost to Dropbox. With Google Apps Admin Console you can easily be control of your company’s security settings and mobile device management.

2 – Microsoft Office 365

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage platform, which is integrated into Microsoft Office 365. It’s storage capabilities match that of Dropbox and exceed security functionality.

With Office 365 you’re not only gaining large cloud-storage capabilities, you’re also gaining business-class email, file sharing, video conferencing, anywhere access, and technical support. This complete infrastructure makes it leagues above Dropbox.

Additionally, you can rest easy with Microsoft, because their mammoth size helps them secure their platform with topline security around the globe. During the first half of 2014 Microsoft made large improvements to their Office 365 message encryption and transparency efforts.

cloud storage

3 – Egnyte

If you need an affordable hybrid cloud provider which can be integrated into your on premise solutions, Egnyte gives your IT department full control over files and access controls.

Because Egnyte is a system, not simply a platform, it can support virtually any combination of public, private, and hybrid cloud setups.  Egnyte offers all the benefits of a private self-owned cloud system, but with the robust architecture and oversight that can only be offered by a major provider.

Keep Control Over BYOD

BYOD is growing in companies around the world… whether they want it to or not.  When your employees are increasingly accustomed to using cloud storage in their day-to-day lives, it’s best to ensure that security is a top priority. For some companies that means managing security through one single infrastructure such as Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365. For others this means taking advantage of Egnyte and handling various files with strict rules.

If your employees are using Dropbox for work-related activities, they could be putting your data and security at risk.  Give them safe alternatives, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of BYOD.

Or, for more information on easy and affordable business-grade cloud services, just contact Bi101 for a free consultation!

 

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A Break Down: Understanding a Standard Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

disaster recovery

One of the most crucial points to understand in disaster recovery (DR), and disaster planning, is the RPO – Recovery Point Objective. It’s a required element of any current DR plan – one of the lynchpins. We wanted to briefly explain what an RPO is, its importance, and how to determine it.

The Recovery Point Objective

Simply put, an RPO is the longest allowable time period over which a company’s data could be lost. This is an entirely subjective figure, one determined by each business based on its own data usage and regulatory requirements.

Or, put another way, it could be said to describe how much data you CAN afford to lose.

A small business, for example, probably only needs to run a backup once a day. In that case, their RPO would be 24 hours, and they risk losing one day’s worth of data in a disaster. A large firm holding protected data might need to maintain backups every two hours, which would be their RPO.

Broadly speaking, a company could even have an RPO in the minutes if they had the setup to effectively keep constant mirrored backups. However, such an RPO would also be extremely expensive to maintain, rendering it cost-ineffective. As such, the RPO sets a boundary for disaster planning and prevents unnecessary expenditures that add more costs than protections.

The key point here is this: The RPO is defined by business needs, not technology. Inexperienced IT admins may say, “Our backups happen twice every day, so we have an RPO of twelve hours,” but this has it backwards. The backup method and technologies deployed should be chosen to support a pre-calculated RPO, not the other way around.

Finding Your RPOcloud computing

There is no true “right” or “wrong” answer here. Any RPO will necessarily be a compromise between what is required, what is desired, and what is possible.

1 – Differentiate between critical and non-critical systems. Determine which aspects of your data must be kept up-to-date to maintain continuity of business. This includes software systems, such as your server OS, that would have to be restored in the case of an outage.

2 – Consult with Legal to determine regulatory responsibilities. Data such as customer records fall under strict regulation, and will likely constitute the baseline for your RPO calculations. The RPO has to be at least as short as the law requires.

3 – What can be mirrored and backed up to the cloud? Many applications can have an extremely short RPO if they’re in the cloud and don’t rely on central servers.

4 – What’s within your budget? This is where consulting with trained data specialists can be a boon. Based on the above factors, an expert consultant can quickly suggest several strategies at different price points, with different balances of time and security.

If you need more advice, Bi101 is here to assist. Our decades of experience in data solutions can create the professional disaster recovery plan your business needs for stability.

Contact Business Intelligence 101 today for a consultation.

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