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Category Archives: Cloud Services

Why Small Business Need Cloud Computing



Reduced cost

Firstly we need to talk about how affordable cloud services are. Understandably smaller businesses have more of a reduced budget than larger-scale companies. However this doesn’t mean you settle for reduced services. Cloud computing is a perfect solution for smaller businesses, you pay for what you need which means no wasted money on services/hardware you won’t use and no tied contracts. 


Secondly, with all of our services there are no tied contracts, as they are all on a pay-as-you go terms. This gives you the ultimate flexibility with your company demands, as-well as offering more of a flexible work environment. Your colleagues are able to work stress free remotely with cloud technology giving them access to anything they could in the office.


Every company is sized differently, all having will all have different IT needs. Using cloud services is a great solution for smaller businesses. Whether they are growing fast or slow it’s simple to scale up or down IT departments efficiently to business needs. This minimises risks associated with in-house operational issues.


In addition people may ask how secure cloud services are. This may because be are as your data will be stored on servers that you have no control of. However, all cloud services are designed to be able to offer the highest levels of security to protect customers data. Any of your data that would be stored this way is extremely safe, most importantly it could even a safer alternative to saving data on your hard drive. Meanwhile This is simply because no one could know or find out where your data is being held except the provider. 


Data Encryption

Meanwhile our IT and data encryption security services are able to give you an understanding to what data in your business may needs to be encrypted and why. With award-winning multi-OS endpoint encryption with a single pane of glass reporting, giving you unmatched protection against data loss or theft. To clarify this delivers transparent data encryption at the endpoint ­before any data would be shared. Which is the right way to reduce common security challenges, not simply the most convenient.

Perform data backups

Finally, our backup & recovery services backs up your data offsite and to the cloud. However people only realise the importance of their data when it’s gone. For example that be due to corruption, virus, deletion, or simply disk failure. Cloud53 can backup your data (any size) to the cloud so it’s safe and accessible. Most importantly, we can backup daily or weekly and retain the last 30 days for you or more if required. Equally, we can restore the data back to you should the worst happen. Above all, How valuable is your data? What would you do without it?

Take a look our our blog which explains everything on remote server setup.

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Benefits of Cloud Computing


What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the distribution of a service which is hosted over the internet and can be divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

This can include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence which are completed over the internet providing innovation, flexibility and scalability.

 Internet security

Top benefits of cloud computing


Relocating to cloud computing may lower the cost of running and maintaining your IT systems. You can reduce costs by using the resources of cloud computing such as Cloud53’s Cloud Desktop service – this removes the expense of purchasing expensive server equipment and software as well as setting up and running data centres or computer rooms on-site. More ways costs can be reduced involve the cost of upgrading systems, hardware and software may be included in your contract, energy intake costs may be reduced, there are fewer time delays and you do not need to pay for experts managing the infrastructure as it is all included in a monthly cost usually in a ‘pay as you grow’ model which allows for flexibility and scalability whilst delivering a clear monthly cost.

Cut costs


Cloud computing services are usually provided as a self-service and are on-demand meaning that a large amount of computing resources can be supplied within minutes. Businesses can also get applications to market swiftly, without thinking about capital costs or technical delivery or maintenance. Cloud computing services usually run on a global network of secure data centres and these data centres are updated and maintained regularly to ensure fast and efficient computing hardware. For example, Cloud53’s datacentres are situated on the Internet backbone of the UK providing blazing speeds for clients.



Cloud computing also allows for a business to be more productive as it delivers the ability to access any data from any location, worldwide. This allows businesses to offer employees the ability to work from home with exactly the same resources as they would have in the office. This saves staff commuting to and from the office which results in the employees being more productive. Similarly, the “office” is never closed – you are free to work from wherever, whenever. Giving staff freedom to manage their own workload.
Cloud computing also removes the need to deal with hardware. Whether it be setup time and costs, server racking and stacking, hardware set-up, software patching and other IT tasks that can be time-consuming. This allows for more time satisfying customers, achieving goals and concentrating on the business.

Human error


Many cloud service suppliers offer a wide range of policies, technologies and controls that reinforce your security overall which helps protect data, apps and infrastructure from potential threats. 94% of business saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud found a survey conducted by RapidScale.



Cloud computing makes it easier for business continuity, disaster recovery and data backup, as well as making it less expensive as data can be mirrored at multiple sites on the cloud providers network. This avoids human error as all documents are stored in one place and in a single format meaning consistency in data can be maintained and this provides you with a clear record of any revisions or updates.

 5 stars


Another benefit of cloud computing involves the ability to scale up or scale down your operation and storage requirements quickly providing businesses with flexibility. It is for this reason that Cloud computing is often referred to as elastic computing.
Using the cloud will free up your time allowing you to concentrate on growing and running your business.


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This as a Service (TaaS), What as a Service (WaaS)???

It seems in IT everything is as a Service (aaS) yet given the amount of questions we at Cloud53 receive about this element of managed services, clearly it is a much misunderstood way of doing things to those non IT people.

The diagram below should hopefully make this much simpler to understand using something as a Service that we all understand.

car as a service2


If interested in any IT services as a Service (aaS) then please do give Cloud53 a call

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All White for Winter?


We know the weather predictions are always a tad dramatic with phrases such as ‘Arctic Freeze’ and ‘El Nino’ but it is worth paying attention to the fact that your business could suffer because of the winter. At present weather predictions for this winter are suggesting the El Nino (named Modiki) weather Phenomenon and reportedly maybe the strongest since 1950. In this year heavy snowfall brought chaos to much of the country with temperatures in some areas being as low as -22C with around 50cm of snowfall, certainly worse than the ‘big freeze’ which we remember in 2009/10.

The ‘El Nino’ happens when ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific, near South America, rise due to a change in the normal wind direction, creating knock-on effects across the globe due to the amount of heat released into the atmosphere. The polar jet stream tends to move further south, and brings wetter weather across the Atlantic, which causes heavy rainfall in warmer months (we have certainly had this), but can bring snow in the winter.

So is your business ready in case we do have a bad winter? Typically in the UK a bad winter means the public transport system grinds to a halt or at best is a very poor service. The reason for this, apart from the weather affecting equipment and roads, is due to Staff not being able to get into work and so we get into a vicious cycle!

If your staff cannot get into work whether it be due to public transport or the highways what contingencies do you have in place to allow your business to continue? Should it just be for a single day most businesses will be fine, albeit probably lose some revenue, however if the weather spell lasts a week or more then it could be much more serious.

Points to consider:

  • Remote access – Do you provide remote access whether it be via Remote desktop, Citrix, Outlook web access. Is this setup for all staff? Are they aware of the details? Do you have enough licences? Does your internet connection give sufficient bandwidth for inbound connections?
  • Telephony – do staff have desk phones at home? Can staff access the telephone system through soft phones (PC or smartphone apps). Can diverts be put on remotely?
  • Backup – if using onsite backups who will change the tapes/disks? How will the data get offsite for safe storage?
  • Meetings – do you have video conference services available to take meetings internally and externally given that travel is limited?
  • Communication – are staff aware of the business continuity plan? How they will access systems? How will staff communicate?
  • Suppliers – depending on your business your supplier’s business continuity plans maybe extremely important if you cannot receive deliveries of vital goods and services – they should be asked the question.


Whilst we have seen predictions previously for heatwaves, bad winters and even the end of the world eventually predictions do happen so it’s always best to be prepared. Please get in touch should you be interested in any advice on the above (excluding weather forecasts).

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Backup, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery – are they the same??


Recently after talking with clients we have realised that these terms all appear to mean the same thing to some of the business market out there and this is a dangerous assumption. Typically people only understand the differences after an incident and when it’s too late. Therefore we thought it may be useful to summarise what each is and what it means:

Backup –this typically happens once per day and overnight so therefore it is technically possible to lose around 23 hours’ worth of data. In addition a backup simply backs up data and restore may involve building a new server and then restoring the data to this server which if from tape could mean 24-48 hours before the server is back up and running as was. Therefore in this case the Recovery Point objective (RPO) is 23 hours and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is 48 hours. With tape this is always assuming each backup is successful and that you have a suitable tape drive to read from.

Business Continuity – This is essentially how your business (as a whole) will recover from an incident. This incident may not affect IT although most incidents do. It maybe related to the scenario that the office is inaccessible due to a gas leak and therefore how do your staff work from another location or it could be a gas explosion within the building which destroys the IT infrastructure. BC is about the capability of the organisation to continue its business following a disruptive incident. BC is the big plan of which IT Disaster Recovery is a subset.

IT Disaster Recovery – is how you plan to recover from a disaster and this isn’t simply restore from backup as let’s not forget you might not have any media to restore from, you might not have an internet link, you may not have servers or tape drives! DR is about how you recover from the worst possible disaster and as quickly as possible. In the business world the only way to guarantee your IT infrastructure to be always available is to host it outside your business in a datacentre (with redundancy / replication) or to host internally but replicate to a remote datacentre using real-time replication, therefore in the event of a disaster your RPO is less than one minute and your RTO is also just minutes. With auto fail-over and the correct replication software this is easily achievable.

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Welcome to Summer!

airon failed

So it seems we are approaching the time of year when things warm up which is great news if you’re not at work or maybe work in state of the art offices with aircon (that works) however it’s not necessarily  good news for servers, network kit and the like in areas without dedicated air-conditioning.

Typically once we hit real summer there is a rise in server and network failures as this kit is still in the small room or cupboard that it is all year round but with an added 10°C or 15°C to work in. The kit still produces the same heat itself but the heat isn’t dispelled as well as it is in the cooler months. Often this means that a router or some other network kit fails first as often this is situated above the servers and of course heat rises. Without am ambient temperature being maintained then due to any additional heat, the servers have to work harder, spinning the cooling fans more to try and combat the heat being produced by the disks and the CPU’s. It’s a vicious circle until either the room cools or a component fails unfortunately

Remember in the summer months to keep an eye on temperatures in these areas and allow extra ventilation / aircon if you can.

  • An average server generates 1360btu/hour which is about the same as a small radiator.
  • It is recommended that server rooms maintain a temperature of between 18°C and 24°C.
  • Typically the server CPU’s will run at around 45°C however anything past 60°C for long periods can be dangerous and result in failures.
  • Disks are more likely to fail the older they are and as such temperature changes may contribute to these disks failing sooner.
  • Humidity is just as important to IT kit as temperature.


The obvious solution is to look at hosting your servers externally – why not get in touch with Cloud53 to discuss? Apart from taking the worry away it should also reduce your on-going costs!

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Smartphones – is your data safe?


Are you aware that a SINGLE data protection breach can result in a fine up to £500,000?

We’ve all heard the stories of laptops (even by Government people) being left on trains or being stolen that are not encrypted…. But of course these days all company laptops are fully encrypted…aren’t they?

One area often over looked are smartphones, which let’s face it we all use far more than laptops these days but, are they encrypted? I suspect not! The chances are all your company email is on your smartphone including contacts, attachments and other sensitive material. So why do we not place the same caution on the smartphone as we do the laptop?

Whilst you cannot necessarily encrypt all smartphones you can follow some easy steps to ensure that the data contained on it is safe.

Typically companies have 2 sets of smartphones, those provided by the company and so known about but also more worryingly those smartphones owned by staff who like to have the company email on their smartphone, these are the ones to be most concerned about!

Do you restrict staff who can access email on their smartphones? Do you have a company policy to cover this? If you answer ‘no’ to either of these questions then please give it some thought.

With mobile device management in place you can force all phones accessing company email to be protected by a 6, 8 or 10 digit password. In addition should the device be lost or stolen then a simple ‘phone call to Cloud53 can ensure that your smartphone is wiped clean of all data so whilst you may have lost the ‘phone, your data remains safe.
To find out more about this service please contact Cloud53.

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If moving to the Cloud consider…


Cost – There should be virtually no upfront costs and payments should be made on an ongoing monthly basis. This allows costs to be predictable and so budgets can be managed much easier. The cost of cloud should be less than the alternative of staying in house (including hardware, licensing, staff, power, backup, footprint etc.)

Flexibility – Ensure that employees can access their applications and data from anywhere, at any time and by any method required e.g. PC, Mac, smartphone, tablet etc. Licensing should allow this.

Resiliency – Moving to cloud should give you much increased resilience in terms of power, network, hardware etc. Be sure to check the availability figures quoted by the cloud company, remember 99.7% actually means potential downtime of more than 3 working days per year! Also to note your business is much more reliant on its connection to the internet, without this you cannot connect to cloud so maybe worth factoring in a backup line solution.

Scalability – A genuine cloud computing platform allows organisations to provision resources in real time, for example you should be able to scale your computing resources (processor, memory, disk space) both up and down quickly and easily.

Security – You need to be aware of where your data is stored and could be stored. It maybe that your data is not stored in the UK by default or it might be that it is stored in the UK but replication and failovers copy your data to another country. This isn’t necessarily an issue but depending on the country there are different laws for the security of your data and ownership. Ideally your data should never leave the UK.

Data Protection – The cloud solution should not breach Data Protection laws especially given fines of up to £500k are now possible.

Customer Lock-in – Ensure that you can get your data back at any time whether in contract or not and ideally without large penalty payments, an easy exit is essential! Your data should always be owned solely by you!

Cloud53 takes all these points into consideration with our cloud hosted services and would be pleased to discuss these with you

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Cloud not for you? Think again!


The world of Cloud Computing can seem a little daunting. The buzz word “Cloud” is everywhere we look, yet many people aren’t entirely sure what the Cloud is or how it may benefit them. The truth of it is that you’re probably already using the Cloud in some fashion, perhaps without even realising it. Gmail, Hotmail and Dropbox are all an example of Cloud services.

Maybe you use Cloud storage services to store your digital information online. You probably also use some form of Cloud based email service. Just because we haven’t thought of email as a Cloud service doesn’t mean that it isn’t one.

According to a recent survey carried out by Citrix 95% of us in the UK believe we’re not actually using the Cloud when in actual fact, we are.
Furthermore 22% of people surveyed confessed to pretending that they understand how the cloud works.

Cloud Computing doesn’t need to be scary. Businesses and individuals need to choose a Cloud supplier who understands their needs and has a proven track record of delivering Cloud technologies. A move to the Cloud should improve your business practices whilst also saving you money.

If you’re considering a move to the Cloud or want to see how much you could save speak to our Cloud experts today.

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Do you backup your data? ……Really?

where data

When you are asked that question you say a firm ‘Yes’ immediately, after all who would be stupid enough not to? But what is your backup? Is it checked? Is it safe? Is it up to date? Have you tested a restore? These are the questions where people are more hesitant.

Traditionally tapes have been the solid way backups have taken place however to anyone who has had to invest in a tape drive and assorted tapes to a reasonable backup rotation scheme will know how costly this is not to mention the man hours that have to go into this and backup software.

More and more firms are moving to cloud backup as it is simpler, faster, more reliable and a far lower ongoing cost. Security is often an argument heard however how often do tapes just go missing or you see a pile of them on a technician’s desk? Cloud53 backups are encrypted (only the customer has the security key) and stored in a Tier3 UK Datacentres.

How important is your data? Some facts regarding data loss

  • 6% of all PC’s will suffer an episode of data loss per year
  • 31% of all PC users have lost all their data due to events beyond their control
  • 34% of companies fail to test their tape backups – 77% of these have found backup failures
  • 60% of companies that lose all their data shutdown within 6 months of the disaster
  • 42% of attempted recoveries from tape backups fail
  • 20% of all small businesses will be hacked within the first year
  • 40% of small to medium sized firms who manage their own network will have their network accessed by a hacker, more than 50% will not be aware


To find out more about how Cloud backup by Cloud53 could benefit you, please get in touch.

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