Category: Tech News

 

Excel and Access applications to the cloud economically and safely with Amazon Workspaces

Recently there has been a major new development in cloud platform tools that allows your Excel and Access applications to the cloud economically and safely with Amazon Workspaces. This development by Amazon is truly standing them apart from other cloud providers at this stage.  We have tested and can verify excellent results with MS Access, MS Excel and other proprietary Software applications.Amazon Workspaces

So, let me explain to you, as a business owner, what this is, without the technical mumbo jumbo.

In short, Amazons new function, “Amazon Workspaces”, is a set of tools that will allow users to put their Excel spreadsheet, or MS Access application, or Word templates on to the cloud and allow all their staff to access this information.  This new feature also has backup option and security.  It allows the user to access this information via a login to the cloud on what is referred to a as a remote desktop (e.g. a window inside your operating system), so they can use whatever their business has loaded there.

It allows users to print locally where the user is located. In addition, the user has the ability to use programs and data that are remote.

Here’s a practical example of this

Last week, a client of Accede’s came to us to help them solve their dying server.  Logic dictated to move to the cloud.  They have a MS access application, a PHP based intra-web, and a proprietary software product loaded to their new Amazon Workspaces.  We loaded A few extra tools so that our client could handle

  • their shared documents and shared images,
  • auto backups,
  • photocopier/scanner document transfers
  • a range of other unique software applications.

My client uses Office 365 for all their Office Software and for their business outlook. My clients peripheral devices include Macs, tablets, hubs, printers, scanners and Windows PCs.  All my clients software and data has now been loaded to the Amazon Server, and all peripherals have been transparently  connected. As a result, all their staff can locally and remotely use this server.  We have turned off their old server locally (as this was dying and needed a full replacement or an alternative solution).

A lot of testing  has been performed on this new function and we have found that even though this client has no NBN and very poor ADSL he is getting good results from this cloud option.  This is because all of the processing and work is actually done on the server and by sending data up and down very poor internet lines.

Why Go to cloud?

Simply put; ease of use and it’s also very cost effective.  Many customers use Office 365 exchange simply because it works better.  So does this cloud feature.  It just works better, easier and has more flexibility than what most small business companies currently offer their own staff with their own servers and IT facilities; and it is so much cheaper.

I have often been asked about security.  You will find that security for exchange on office 365 is better than it was when exchange was on the average small business server.

What Amazon Workspaces offer is also more secure than what the average business offers.  So much so, that even the CIA has moved to Amazon purely due to its security.

Lack of security for cloud access is really an outrageous fear put into most business owner’s heads, due to IT people being afraid of loss of revenue.  I see this time and time again.

Cost Review of Amazon Workspaces

Based on a small business server, whose hardware, software and installation costs about 20K (this is a very average type server for say 8-15 terminals).  This 20K would be amortized over the average 4 year life span that technology and servers generally offer today.  So, the monthly cost excluding interest etc. would be $416 per month.  Plus, the average server of this type, costs about 5K per annum to maintain.  All up costs would be closer to $833 per month.

Now, if one used the Amazon Workspaces as their server, and Office 365 for their exchange one’s server maintenance is included.  On’s space, backups etc. is all included.  The monthly cost average for 10 users is just $275 per month.

The difference is clear, $833 versus $275.  Security is safer. The accessibility is easier.

Why are people not advertising how to use Amazon Workspaces?

Simply put – IT Technicians that advertise this will lose revenue.

Accede do not source their revenue from network or hardware maintenance as we are Software developers.  Our clients seek solutions to their particular needs.  Amazon really does offer a full solution for loading simple based applications to the cloud.  We continually review other cloud service providers, however Amazon is a clear leader in this area.

How could you test your Excel and Access applications to the cloud economically and safely with Amazon Workspaces without committing?

As Amazon offer this service on a monthly fee, customers can try this for a month and turn it off if it is not good enough for them.  We did this for the example I gave you at a monthly fee of about $60.  We have also loaded a single application for a client and given them access so they can test the viability of this before  investing in setting up their own virtual server etc. and this has cost the client just $40.

What does Amazon Workspaces and its setup cost?

Price varies depending on space, users, facilities etc.  If you are IT literate, you could do this yourself. However, as with any server setup, I suggest you use skilled IT people to do this for you.  An average application cost would be about $250, but a full server replacement cost, could be between $1500 and $5000, – about half the cost of a physical server setup in your office. This is really a great break through with Tools and options offered for Cloud Users.

So why not move your Excel and Access applications to the cloud economically and safely with Amazon Workspaces.

 

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ANZAC’s Centenial Anniversary in relation with today’s IT industry

image from whatsbestforum.com

Come this Saturday the 25th of April 2015, we in Australia and New Zealand, will remember those who fought for our freedom. This will be a special event as this is 100 years since our landing at Gallipoli. So why would something that happened so long ago, affect us and especially IT today.

Gallipoli saw a mindset change occur here in Australia. We were no longer going to be the cattle to be used and abused by the British. We became a voice and a power. Since this change, Australia has matured and grown quite well. However, we still are quite weak when it comes to standing up for our rights internationally.

With that being said, we still let our citizens be abused by other countries, laws, and charlatans. We seem too afraid to stand up to other countries, and seem only content to ride along as long as we don’t create too many waves. Therefore, what is the correlation between this and IT? Well read on.

Australian have always been a creative people, and here is why I state this:

Aboriginals and their skills with living in this harsh land and their mystical skills displayed in their relationship with our land. For example, did you know not one aboriginal was in Darwin when cyclone Tracey hit, but many Anglo Saxons were?

Think about some of inventions that we have created. E.g. Hills Hoist, Baby Safety Capsule, WIFI hotspots, the Paper Notepad, Plastic wine casks, Electric drill just to name a few. We have created out of need. They say that Need is the father of all inventions. Remember when our soldiers left Gallipoli, we had invented in that difficult area and site, a self-shooting gun, that fired when a water can filled to a set position. Need certainly is the father of all invention and this is testament. So how do inventions affect IT? Simple, IT is created by ideas or Need, and here is where we excel.

We at Accede are contacted from all over the world because of our creative ability, backed up with skill, history and cost effectiveness. We are not alone. Here in Australia IT absolutely creates solutions and it does this in a truly cost effective and time effective manner. We are really world leaders. So often I hear of code being created here and sold off shore. Our Government supports R and D, and this R and D is creating Export dollars for Australia. We do however as a country need to consider how we sell our inventions, e.g. completely, license or partial.

I recently spent many hours reviewing websites for software companies. In the USA, I saw mainly, sales or management of Virtual Companies or Programmers. Here in Australia, custom software, products created, and those for sale are huge. Even in Accede when our sales to clients have been quiet our R and D broke new boundaries. We have created quite a few new products, and are still doing this.

So our freedom that was purchased at such a high price, that we remember during this Saturday anniversary, has really bought us creativity in IT. Now, I challenge our IT industry, to be world leaders, not only in IT creativity, but in IT export. We really do lead the world in IT. We need to take the next step and learn how to really take our products from here in Australia to the world and to bring in the export dollars to Australia.

So my blog is a call to action for all of us involved in IT. For those involved and have skills in Exporting and commercializing join with IT and let’s make Australia a leader in this area. Truly, our skill base and the creative environment we live in makes us uniquely positioned. Let’s leverage from this position.

 

Cate Schafing is a successful Australian business woman in the IT field serving as CEO of Accede Holdings Pty. Ltd. makers of Ezymeetz, ICE and Virtual Gym. She develops innovative new technological products as a programmer and entrepreneur. In gratitude for her success her company supports NFP’s by donating $5000 per month in programming time for NFP’s requesting work.

 

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Top Ten Technology Trends to see this 2015

bigdataservicesJust as we rely on technology and electronics for our dailies, we ought to think what is next for us to come? Gartner Inc. highlighted from their symposium last October 5-9 at Orlando, Florida the top ten strategic technology trends we will expect this 2015. Gartner Inc. defined strategic technology as an idea that has a potential to create a huge impact for the next three years. David Cearley, vice president and Gartner Fellow said that they have identified these trends that they think organizations cannot afford to ignore in their strategic planning. He added that these trends cover three themes: merging real and virtual worlds, the onset of intelligence everywhere, and the technology impact of the digital business shift.

 

 

 

 

 

According to Gartner Inc. here are the top 10 trends we should watch for this 2015:

  1. Computing Everywhere  Gartner predicted a much more advancement on mobile devices catering new contexts and environments for the end users. Aside from wearable devices, there is also the idea of consumer electronics and connected screens in both workplace and public spaces. This advancement will pose more management challenges for IT authorities to control their user endpoint devices. It will also become challenging for them to provide extraordinary user design experience for their customers.
  1. The Internet of Things User-oriented computing will be the thing in 2015. All devices, searches and data leading to the Internet of Things will be connected to the Internet of Me. All searches on one single concept (for example housing) might lead to assets (property list of properties), services (property developers or real estate firms), people (real estate agents), places (list of properties near the area of search) and systems (mortgage systems). Gartner stressed that all industries can leverage to the four basic internet models. These are Manage, Monetize, Operate, and Extend.
  1. 3D Printing For the next three years, 3D printing is about to get cheaper and its market will grow around 98% in 2015 alone. Industries, biomedical and consumer applications will continue displaying the advantages of using 3d printing as a cost-effective measure. They will reiterate that using this technology will reduce costs through improved designs, streamlined prototyping, and short-run manufacturing without sacrificing product quality.
  1. Advanced, Pervasive and Invisible Analytics Gartner indicates that analytics will be on the spotlight as it will collect huge number of data generated from embedded systems. These vast pools of structured and unstructured data will be analyzed inside and outside the enterprise. Mr. Cearley said that every app now gathers data from its users and these data can be used in analysis primarily on customer and product research. He added, Organizations need to manage how best to filter the huge amounts of data coming from the Internet of Things, social media and wearable devices, and then deliver exactly the right information to the right person, at the right time. Analytics will become deeply, but invisibly embedded everywhere.” Apparently the answer rely on the numbers or stats not the data itself.
  1. Current-Information-AgeContext-Rich Systems In relation to embedded analytics and intelligence, this feature will make every system alert and responsive to their surroundings. Context-aware security understands the context of a user request thus alerting the system and respond on a possible security threat. It somehow simplifies the complexities brought about by the advanced computing world.
  1. Smart Machines Self-taught machines will emerge as they are programmed to understand context data and analytics making them act accordingly. This is predicted to evolve rapidly thus making this technology the most disturbing in the history of IT. Expect more prototype autonomous vehicles, advanced robots, virtual personal assistants, smart advisors and other forms of machine helpers starting the new age of machine helpers.
  1. Cloud/Client Computing With the emergence of cloud computing over the past years, it is anticipated to synchronize files and applications across multiple devices. This enables apps to use intelligence and storage effectively lowering bandwidth costs. This will provide enhanced experience for gamers as they are able to use multiple screens and wearables while playing.
  1. Software-Defined Applications and Infrastructure To keep up with the ever-changing demands of digital business, the computing industry should move away from static models and resort to software-defined applications and infrastructure. This along with cloud services are configurable through rich API’s to access their function and content programmatically.
  1. Web-Scale IT – As defined by Gartner Inc. Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting. It is implemented by web giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook setting a commercial hardware platform. This platform embraces cloud-optimized and software-defined approaches to reach mainstream. DevOps is said to be the first step in achieving Web-Scale IT for many organizations.
  1. Risk-Based Security and Self-Protection It is certain that with all this advancements comes the issue of security and protection. It is certain that security measures will go from perimeter defense to multi-faceted approaches. Expect security measures built directly into applications making each app self-aware and self-protecting against threats and viruses.

 

Sources:

http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2867917

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/fgjd45eldm/1-computing-everywhere-2/

 

 

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