Not Just in the Sky Anymore

What is the cloud? Let’s talk about it. Cloud is probably one of the biggest buzzwords in the IT industry right now. There are many different applications and strategies that utilize cloud technology.  Simply put Cloud is utilizing a vendors network and size to gain easy access from anywhere and have large company redundancy and reliability with a monthly charge rather than building the same environment at your office.  This could be using an accounting companies software and accessing it via a secure web browser session or storing all of your files on their network and letting them handle backups and server maintenance that could be costly.

At G33k Consulting we can say hands down that the cloud service that we are most excited about is Microsoft’s Office 365.  It allows you to roll several technologies that would require multiple servers to run all into one service that has a low monthly cost.  Let’s take a quick look at what they are:

Email with Exchange:

If you have corporate email that you are internally hosting you know the cost isn’t cheap.  If you are utilizing a cheaper hosted service that only allows POP access to your email you know that received, read, and deleted emails don’t sync between your devices.  Exchange uses a push technology to send emails to your devices when the email is sent.  If it is read or deleted that change is replicated to your Outlook, mobile device, or web login.  No need to manage your email in several places.  Adding a contact on your phone automatically  syncs it with your other applications and devices. Depending on the subscription your team could have up to 50 gigs of email storage and unlimited archives that are easily accessed.  No longer do you need to delete emails because of the cost of storage. Another great feature that comes along with Exchange is the ability to have personal calendars that are easily shared with staff and people outside of the firm.

Office Apps:

Microsoft is always updating their software. Unfortunately it’s not always backwards compatible.  If your clients are sending you files in a new format you are forced to upgrade.  If you are using Office365 you no longer need to plan ahead for those large expensive upgrades.  The monthly pay as you go subscription gives you the newest software as it comes out.  You can choose to upgrade as soon as it’s rolled out or wait until the need arises. With each licensed account that user has the ability to install the office suite on up to five devices.  So you could have a copy of MS Office that you are used to using on the work desktop or laptop, the home machine, smart phone, tablet and still have a license to spare.  Not to mention access to use the web based Microsoft Office apps that are accessible from any internet connected PC in the world.


SharePoint is a web based CMS (Content Management System).  You can build your intranet or extranet on it.  Creating sites that your clients can securely log into to see information pertinent to them is easy.  Templates can easily be created and you can leverage the online storage and sharing capabilities to easily share large files with companies or individuals.  SharePoint has forms that can be created with little effort to automate internal functions like requesting and approving vacation without the hassle of printing and hand carrying forms to others.

Lync Instant Messaging and Online Meetings:

Would you like the ability to share a PowerPoint, your desktop, or any other application with a client or coworker at another office?  You can do this with the included web conferencing features.  Instant messaging is also another super handy tool.  It allows for easy communication on the fly.  Instead of relying on sending multiple emails back and forth to come to a simple conclusion.  Lot’s of businesses have a hard time excepting the usefulness of IM, however once you use it you will quickly wonder how you ever went through your day without it.  We liken it to how people feel about their smart phones.  Before you had one you really didn’t think you needed the internet in your pocket.  Presence on the instant messenger allows you to easily see if a person is at their machine and communicate effectively.

OneDrive Storage:

Depending on the subscription each account has up to 1 terabyte of online storage.  They can leverage this storage to work from any internet connected machine in the world as well as share files with ease in a format that is similar to DropBox that many are currently using.

When you bundle all of these features together it is very easy to see where the cost savings is.  The service is secure, scalable, reduces the administration costs dramatically.