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3 Bits of Advice Regarding the Cloud

"If you're a company that was 50 users and is now 200 users, supporting them is enormous, especially with mobile devices. Servers in a data center, that's one thing--now you're supporting mobile endpoints," says Jeff Kaplan, CEO and founder of Breakthrough Technology Group (BTG), an AT&T Channel Solutions partner, and provider of, among other things, private cloud builds, hosted services, telecomm services, and mobile app development.

"With such a proliferation of devices, people want a common experience. The piece that is coming is the desktop in the cloud [VDI]," Kaplan says. Customers are looking for uniformity, he says.

"The big cost model is the desktop-every three to four years you have to move to a new version, you have to protect, run backups, run a Help desk. We're taking the entire computing environment and making it available."

Larger companies do VDI, Kaplan said. But companies of from 50 to 1,000 users still have the same needs, he says, and sometimes have less-than-enough tech support.

"We're seeing a lot of interest from clients 1,500 and down, moving IT to the cloud. Six to eight months ago, it was just a conversation," he says. "But now it's 'we can see cost savings, we want to do a proof of concept.'"

Kaplan offers 3 tips for organizations considering moving to the cloud:

1. Don't take a siloed approach.
It helps to go with a managed service provider that allows for scalability. With BPOS, Kaplan says, "You didn't have VDI; you had to have a different Help desk for Microsoft solutions, you had to have different processes." Don't take a siloed approach, he says, but rather "Think integrated."

2. IT needs to decide what is needed.
Managed service providers offer management in various ways, from infrastructure to apps. It's up to IT to decide what they're looking for, whether help with patching and management, or more.

3. Focus on the right business strategy for scaling.
"Make sure that you don't do something to back yourself in a corner," Kaplan says. "Every app is now mission-critical. It needs to be up 24X7 and perform well. You have to build the correct architecture, and you need business continuity."

"Bandwidth is key; we understand that. Carriers are pushing 4G. Hardware vendors are buying up cloud-based storage. They're getting themselves ready. Everyone's getting ready for a time when everything is a central computing model and you get there with ease. When you talk about convergence, it's a convergence of industries and product sets. And we combine that."

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