Using the Cloud Can Save Your Business Money
Dan: It is 8:30 right now, it's time for a Bit-Wizards Tip of the Wand. And I do believe, hopefully, we have Vince and Sam on with us.
Automated: Participants in the meeting.
Dan: I think we might be there.
Automated: This meeting is now being recorded.
Dan: Some lady's listening to us.
Vince: Hey, Dan.
Dan: Are you guys there? I think they're there. Vince, Sam, are you guys there?
Vince: We are here.
Sam: Yes, can you hear us?
Dan: Good. I can hear you guys now. That's awesome. It's time for Bit-Wizards Tip of the Wand. On the phone with me I have Vince and I have Sam. You guys, you're the regulars right now. We get to talk to you every Tuesday from 8:30 until 9:00, and you guys always have some great information for us. So how have you both been?
Vince: Fantastic sir. How have you been?
Dan: Well, so far everything is pretty good. Lonely, because being in here, lots of people are working from home, and you're probably the same way with your business, a lot of people working from home. It'll be nice when we can get over all this mess and be able to interact with people again. It'll be nice.
Dan: Well, guys, I know we have a little bit of a delay so let's just get right into it.
Announcer: Bit-Wizards : Bits & Bytes.
Sam: Well, good morning everybody. We are talking today about the cloud. So without the cloud computing, the business world would be in a lot more trouble than it is right now. According to [ Canolis 00:01:28 ], an analyst firm, $107 billion were spent on cloud computing services all over the world last year. That amount is actually 37% more than in 2018, and so it's predicted that public cloud services will rise another 17% this year, totaling, get this number, $266 billion. That's how much is going to be spent on cloud computing. And then with COVID-19 pandemic changing the way businesses run and employees work, the investment in cloud computing has allowed the transition to working from home to happen relatively smoothly for most companies. And if the coronavirus had hit back in 2010, businesses would have been in much, much deeper trouble because at that time, only 6, 300 a year was being spent on cloud computing.
Dan: Wow, that's a bit difference.
Sam: **crosstalk** predicted for this year. The computing landscape has changed. I think a few years ago, you keep hearing people talking about the cloud this, the cloud that, I remember getting on the phone doing IT support with people, helping them fix something on their computer, and they would ask me, " Hey, Sam. Hey, keep hearing this cloud thing. Can you tell me what the cloud is?" And I'm always like, " Well, there's cumulus clouds, there's nimbus clouds, there's rain clouds." And so it really became a buzzword for a little while there, but now it's not a buzzword. It is the computing environment we live in, as we said, just in the short 10 years we've gone from 6K a year to 266 billion a year being spent on this. So why is that important for your business? Well, if you're not convinced that leveraging cloud is a good thing to do, the coronavirus pandemic should have convinced you by now that the cloud is now and it is essential. So it's not something that's off in the future and maybe one day we'll talk about this cloud thing. And it's not even a nice to have type feature anymore either, whereas large environments typically have all of their servers, all of their desktops, all of them in one building or in a couple of different buildings connected to each other. Now we're talking this cloud is essential to being able to do this. Even if you have desktop or older applications, you can still move them to a managed server environment. And the important takeaway is that you have to have a cloud strategy for your small business going forward. Even on the lowest level of a cloud strategy, that cloud strategy is, are you using anything to store your documents for your company in, let's say, OneDrive, or SharePoint, or Dropbox, or Google Drive, or something like that, are you using the cloud that way? Or are you setting up Zoom meetings for your employees and for your clients? Because if you are, you are already starting to leverage the cloud.
Dan: And doesn't that also give information available to other people? You can log into the cloud and you can put down documents and so on, other people can can source the documents if they're allowed to and just store all your information, as well as on the hard drive, because you can have other devices that you've got. It doesn't have to have a lot of memory because you can access the cloud. You don't necessarily have to have these big hard drives anymore.
Vince: That's correct, Dan. And that's the beauty of the cloud, is that there's an unlimited amount of resources and the cloud sounds like this great big amorphous thing, but like all things big and amorphous like that, there's a lot of little different pieces or different types of clouds. You'll hear terminology where you hear us say things like SaaS, software as a service, and a software as a service, or maybe backup as a service, these are leveraging cloud technology. So backup as a service or storage as a service, those are things where you have, think of it like a giant hard drive in the sky, that's out there that's leveraged and connected, it's maintained, and it's secure, and you're able to leverage those resources and share them around the world. Some of the other items are, you'll hear terms like IAS, infrastructure as a service, where you have servers that are networked together. Or PAS, platform as a service, where you run a physical application in the cloud and then obviously this actually helps it so that you don't actually have to own stuff anymore. You don't have to own big hard drives or lots of computing hardware on premise. You leave that part of it to the professionals and let them build out that large global type of infrastructure and you utilize it.
Sam: This as a service model is really what makes the cloud the cloud. So, as Vince said, there's different kinds of service models of what you're essentially buying into or leasing into for when you host your computing in the cloud. But it's not just... I'm trying to think of a good real-world analogy of what this relates to and I think what we have at Bit-Wizard, is we have FPAAS, that's fire protection as a service. So we don't go out and build our own sprinkler system. We don't go buy our own fire extinguishers and then check them and get them certified every year and try them out. And I think instead we subscribe to a fire service that takes care of all of that for us. And of course they get the buying power of being able to buy all of these things in bulk. They have the domain knowledge. They know about fire alarm systems and sprinkler systems and extinguisher systems. So we don't have to know that. The same thing essentially happens here in the cloud. It's where we give you then the ability to have your infrastructure, your servers, as a service so you don't have to go out and price up on Dell's website $50-70,000 worth of servers and hope that three or four years from now, the specs that you just bought are still going to be good to go. You don't have to. There are even environments now where you don't even necessarily need desktop computers for your employees, because you can have those hosted in the cloud and all I have to do is get some sort of an interface into a web browser and then they can have everything that they need, everything that they have, is right there at their fingertips from wherever they are. And as Vince saying, that's software as a service, again. So rather than going to Best Buy and buying this stuff off the shelf for 4-500 bucks for a little piece of plastic, you're going to throw in your computer and then move on to the next one and then it's going to tell you, sorry, you can only put this on one computer. Instead, you get these cloud software applications where you either get to it through a browser or you can download the license to be able to use those on your local machine.
Vince: And to piggyback on that, you want to do, as a small business, what you do well and then you want to outsource the things that that other people do well. And that's exactly what we do with our fire service. We actually use one of our customers, Advanced Fire Protection Services, and they take care of our fire for us. And by on the other side, we actually do the IT for AFPS as well. So we each do what we do well and we're able to leverage that scalability and that buying power and those types of things and leverage our expertise in that way. Embracing the cloud is easy with Bit-Wizards, you don't need to fear it. We know how to safely and securely help you leverage the cloud as a strategic enabler. We understand that technology is a tool to help your business be more efficient and to better serve your customers. And you probably heard me say before that today, every business is a technology business and you need someone to help you stay at the tip of the spear and not just at the bleeding edge, and managed IT services with Bit-Wizards is a perfect way to go.
Dan: Gotcha. You guys do a wonderful job and I'm sure you have to educate some of your folks because some of us maybe aren't that sure on what a cloud really is and you've really nailed it on what it really is. And again, like you were talking about early, don't be afraid of the cloud. That is going to be a great resource for you. And then that being said, let's go to our next segment guys.
Announcer: Bit-Wizards : What's Up Our Sleeve?
Vince: So we're going to continue the cloud computing thing and cloud computing has been one of the best things for small business probably since the invention of the stapler. It provides access to business data and applications from anywhere, at any time, on any mobile device, and at prices that are reasonable when compared to trying to build out your own infrastructure in house. Cloud computing is basically a small business equalizer. It's what big businesses have been leveraging for a long time, but allows small businesses to have access to computing power and services that they wouldn't otherwise have had without investing millions upon millions of dollars into that infrastructure. And about 60% of the business owners today are relying on cloud data for hosting their data through 2020, and the numbers have been doubling every year since 2018.
Sam: The SMP Global found that 60% of surveyed organizations say a majority of their IT will be off premises within two years. This is a huge benefit for startups and small businesses that depend on agility as their operations grow. Again, you're not taking all of your capital and putting it into purchasing software, purchasing hardware, and hoping that you got the right thing and trusting that it's going to last you. Instead, you're moving that into your operational costs, so that as you grow you have the ability to pivot on a dime if you need to. You can spin things up or slow things down. You can license more employees because your business is blowing up or you can slim things down when your focus has to shift in a new direction. You can pivot as a business as you do that. It's easier and faster now to sign up for any cloud computing application than it is to buy a server, get it up and running and install and then maintain the software yourself. So using the cloud means you don't need to buy hardware and software incrementally saying, oh wait, I got the oldest version of Microsoft Office here, or this hard drive that I can't even replace it anymore it's so old. Instead, you can focus more of your energy on the productivity and the human connections that make your small business successful. We want you to be able to focus on, even though we say this, every company is now in the business of being in technology, we want to make sure that you can still focus on what it is that you do well, the value that you provide to your client base. So there's a quite a few ways that cloud computing can save you money. There's quite a lot of ways, actually. And so what we do at Bit-Wizards is we do a delicate balance of looking at all of these different aspects of ways you can save money and balancing them out against each other to make the best use of your money. We are really big believers in making sure you get the best bang for your buck and getting the most value. And one of the ways you can save money just by embracing the cloud into your business, is a staff savings and it's because you no longer have to staff manage a team of in house specialists whose only job it is to install and update software or manage email and file servers, or running backups. Just running backups could be a full time job for somebody if it's all happening within your buildings and you're trying to do an offsite backup, where if the building were to burn down, you wouldn't lose everything. That could be just one person's job trying to make sure that all of your workstations, all of your servers, all of your data stores, they're all being backed up. But now you don't have to have that as a dedicated job because the convenience of cloud computing is you pay a small monthly fee and the business of maintaining the service or the application is then the responsibility of the cloud vendor. I can take my mind off of it knowing that my servers are being updated, that my application is running the latest versions of security and everything, and that everything is being backed up because I'm paying a small monthly fee for somebody else to worry about that for me.
Dan: Gosh, I can see where the savings would be right away not having to buy all that extra equipment.
Sam: That's right. If you look back into the early days of the industrial revolution, well, maybe not quite the early days, but there was a time where every single factory would have a steam engine in the middle of the factory with this big long shaft going down the middle of the factory and every piece of machinery had a belt coming off of that spinning shaft and that flywheel so that there were entire jobs of people whose only job it was to maintain that steam engine so that everybody whose workstation they were at in this factory floor would have power to their section, and there would be rote spinning, whatever it was, a drill, or a saw, or polishing, or something or other. But then with the invention of electricity and it coming into our factories, we now lease that electricity as a service and now we don't have to have a full time boiler man. We don't have to have someone in the back shoveling coal. And we also don't have to worry about if it breaks, who's going to fix it? And it's very similar in today's environment in our computing environment is that we can do the same thing the factories have done with electricity at the dawn of electricity, we're doing the same thing now with computing, with software, and with the hardware, by saying we can just pipe this right into our company and not have to stress about who's going to maintain and take care of all of this anymore, because if anything goes wrong, we call the experts who know what they're doing and they'll come out and they'll take care of it.
Vince: I think another thing too that you got to think about is small businesses often have a lot of different little applications all over the place and one of the things that you could do with cloud computing is that you can bring a bunch of applications together into one, like a SaaS application, like your customer relationship management. Instead of having one application that does your contact management, another one that sends out emails out to people, another one that monitors what they're doing on your websites so that you can market to them, you can get one CRM application, which is a software as a service. You basically get an application consolidation. You get more features and functions than you probably would have had by having all these other little applications out there that you cobble together and figure out how to all make them work. And ultimately that's going to give you a ton of time savings so you don't have to deal with all those different things, those headaches. And that's not just the applications, that's also the software that goes along with it, the hardware, all that stuff is constantly being updated, it's constantly needs care and feeding. And you could step away from that and you can let the cloud vendor do a good portion of that for you. And then with a good managed services company like Bit-Wizards, we can help with the orchestration of those types of things and make and ensure that you're utilizing the right cloud services, the right on premise hardware, that links up with those cloud resources so that you can operate anywhere, any time, any place. And then the other thing is, is that you don't have to own all that stuff, all that hardware and space savings, the electricity, the cooling that comes from that, constantly having to keep up all that hardware and things that are there. The cloud vendors keep up with all that stuff. They're constantly planning for capacity and things like that so you don't have to do it. So I have to say that, again, embracing the cloud with Bit-Wizards is easy. You don't need to fear it. I want everybody to hear this about the cloud. You could do this safely and securely and leverage the cloud as a strategic enabler for your business. Again, every business is a technology business and if your small or medium business is not taking advantage of the cloud, you are setting yourself up at a disadvantage. And getting with Bit-Wizards, we can help you get on the right services, get the right things done, so that you can be competitive and beat your competition at the game. This is absolutely critical.
Sam: Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I would say the biggest pushback I get when I talk to people about cloud is that they say, " But what about security? Because if I don't have it in my possession, how can I guarantee that it's being secure? How can I make sure somebody else isn't looking at this?" And 99 times out of 100, whatever the cloud solution is, it is 10 times more secure than the solution you could possibly come up with on premises. It's not even comparable to the little lock that you have on the door to your server room, which also doubles as your storage closet for all your bathroom supplies. There's no way that that is any way even close to as secure as it would be hosting this with one of these major cloud providers.
Vince: And the other thing too is that those big cloud providers and the ones that provide both the software and the hardware, they have a technology roadmap. They have a support staff. Those are the people that focus on those things to take it forward. You're not dependent upon some guy or some fly by night organization that you don't know that they're keeping up with things, that they don't have the money to invest to make sure that their service is safe and secure for the long haul. You want to invest and be a part of one of the global cloud providers, and the one that we use at Bit-Wizards is Microsoft Azure.
Sam: Yeah. Microsoft actually has a suite of their cloud tools, Azure being the platform itself, but probably the one you're most familiar with is Office. Office used to be something you bought on a CD at Best Buy and installed on all your computers. Now it's a cloud service, Office 365. We probably need to wrap it up here and go to our technology to find with the spell book.
Dan: Yeah. Find out what this information is all about. You have some pretty interesting words that you guys talk about.
Announcer: Bit-Wizards : From the Spell Book.
Vince: Well, from the spell book, this is where we demystify some technological geek speech each week or we discuss a little technology factoid. Today's term goes along with cloud computing and it is called elasticity. And in cloud computing elasticity is a term used to reference the ability of a system to adapt to the changing workload by provisioning and deprovisioning pooled resources so that the provision resources match the current demand as well as possible. Well, what does that mean? Well, what that means is that you don't have to go out and say, if I need more hard drive space, " Hey, I need more hard drive space," as you add stuff. There's that endless hard drive in the sky that expands to meet your needs and you pay for that in an on demand service and you do it like a utility, like your lights or water, based upon consumption. So in the cloud you pay for CPU, storage, bandwidth, and those types of things from a consumption. The beauty of that is that elasticity, you can expand or you can shrink as needed, and then you can also scale up, scale down, or scale out horizontally as needed with unlimited potential global resources.
Sam: A good example of this would be that your website usually gets, I don't know, let's say a couple of hundred visitors every single week come and check out your website, but then some online service or a local news show features your company and all of a sudden your website goes from a couple of hundred hits a week to several thousand hits every minute as people are checking out your website. Because it's hosted in the cloud, it is able to scale accordingly. It's able to then be able to accept all of these incoming requests at the same time. Instead of it crashing and failing, which is what would happen if you weren't putting this in the cloud, it's able to make more instances of itself so that it can handle the workload. And it's not just websites, it's software, it's the computer hardware you need. A colleague of mine just asked a few days ago, a few weeks ago, he said, " Hey, could I get the latest CPU in my computer? It's only about 200 bucks." So we looked at it. Well, the problem was that the new CPU he wanted wasn't compatible with the motherboard that he had, so he'd need to get that too. And then the Ram that he has right now wouldn't be compatible with the new motherboard and the power supply wouldn't be... So we looked at it and in the end, that $200 upgrade was going to be over $4, 000. In the cloud, that's the opposite of what you have to worry about because if you need that little bit more CPU, it's elastic, it just bounces up and says, " Yes, I'll give you the latest version." You need a little bit more hard drive or you have a bunch of extra hard drive space that you're not being used, it'll scale that down to only what you're being used, and then you only pay for what you've actually consumed.
Vince: And a perfect example of this is here where we have a season. So during the summer, when you've got high demand, if you're a hotel or maybe you're that company that's running one of the boats out to Crab Island, or something like that, you could scale up and your servers can handle it so that you service your customers, and then in the off season you scale back down and you don't have to make changes to do that. Normally, you would have to go buy a server and way over provision the size of that server, paying for that potential time that you would need it only during the summer. With cloud computing, it expands out and you can utilize that server while you've got the heaviest traffic and then it scales back down, so you pay for only what you need. And so again, Bit-Wizards uses Microsoft Azure, which is Microsoft's global cloud platform and infrastructure. And we want to make sure that you've got only the very best. And Dan, with that, we probably need to give our plug for our customer appreciation.
Dan: Okay, sounds good.
Sam: Yeah. I wanted to give a big... Sorry. I want to give a big Bit-Wizards thank you and a shout out and a welcome to our newest customer, and this is PAWS, the Panhandle Animal Welfare Center. PAWS is located at 752 Lovejoy Road in Fort Walton Beach, and I'm very familiar with PAWS because we have rescued our two dogs actually from PAWS personally in our family. And so I shouldn't say we rescued them from PAWS. PAWS rescued them. We adopted them. So really they want to make the world a better place for animals.
Dan: Good for you, man. [inaudible 00:24:41 ].
Sam: I'm a big fan of adopting animals from shelters. So, they want to make the world a better place for animals so the world is a better place for us people, and they seek to uplift our community by encouraging the humane treatment of all animals. So we want to give a special thank you to the team at PAWS for choosing Bit-Wizards. Their workings utilize technology as a strategic enabler to help serve over 160, 000 residents in Okaloosa County and in the surrounding community. So I want to say a big thank you to the whole hardworking team there for allowing Bit-Wizards to come in and serve you and help you with your IT needs as you're doing such great work with the animals in this community.
Dan: That's wonderful. I know you guys have an awful lot of clients in the area and you pick out one every week to say thank you too. And I'm sure a lot of them, if they could reciprocate, they would say thank you to Bit-Wizards for being able to let them do their business and their job much more effectively because of all the shortcuts, if you will. That's what I look at it as, a lot of shortcuts and being able to let them do their job while you maintain all of their IT processes. And the great thing about, and I'm just going to brag for you guys because you don't say this enough, I don't think, that you guys do a wonderful job not only with the technology, because you all, everyone at Bit-Wizards has a wonderful team. You guys are specialties at everything. Each one of you comes together as a team. But you understand business, so you can marry the business side of it with the IT side of it to help these businesses be able to work on their businesses and be much more effective and much more productive with all the technology that you have to offer. And I would just have to say that any business that has been listening to us for the last several weeks, a long time really, would be able to benefit from your service. If they think they're doing it all themselves and they think they're doing it right, they need to open the door to be able to look at what really can happen with their business and make it flourish much better when you have the technology that you guys have and the business savvy that you guys have to lend your services for these businesses. If they're not taking advantage of you guys and they think, we don't want to spend the money, I think they're wasting a lot of money on the things that they're doing right now and they could much be much more effective and productive if they hired you as their service. Because I got to say, you guys are on it. You always have great information, and you can tell that you guys have been in this business long enough to know how business works and help people with their businesses.
Vince: Well, thank you, Dan. We appreciate that. And I also want to give a shout out too to Cumulus. You guys have been a fantastic partner in helping us get the word out there to the community and you guys just do a wonderful job. It's always a pleasure working with you on the radio show and I just want to give the listeners out there a little heads up, we're probably going to change up the show a little bit here in the near future. We may actually take some call ins from you, where you can ask some of our experts some questions and get some good IT advice. So we'll probably still bring you a little bit of technology news and a little bit of a theme, but then I think what we're going to do is open it up and take some of your calls. So be thinking it. Put your thinking caps on. What kind of things do you want us to do?
Dan: Thank you Vince, appreciate that. And you as well, Sam. We're out of time, but we sure look forward to next week with Bit-Wizards Tip of the Wand. You guys have a wonderful week.