Cloud Computing for Small and Medium Businesses: Meeting Specific Needs

Cloud Computing for Small and Medium Businesses: Meeting Specific Needs

Cloud computing is the future. Many businesses and a wide range of industries are now relying on cloud computing for anything from data storage to real-time operations. This is due to the fact that cloud computing can host many web applications while providing a cost-efficient solution for storing a large amount of information.

The use of cloud computing used to be the domain of large corporations with a lot of money to invest. Today, however, services providers – including NewPush – are offering cloud-based infrastructure as services, making the cloud more accessible even to small and medium businesses. How does infrastructure as a service affect different industries?

Cloud Computing for Better Healthcare Information System

The healthcare industry has been migrating to the cloud for a couple of years ago. The implementation of electronic health records or EHRs and the use of advanced information management systems are enabling doctors and physicians to offer better, more accurate treatment in a timely manner.

Even smaller clinics are now using cloud-based systems to manage their operations. These systems are capable of handling patients’ information, from records of treatments and prescriptions to medical imaging data. In fact, the demand for masters in health informatics has been on a steady rise.

It is also worth noting that universities such as Adelphi University are responding to the increasing demand by making their online masters in health informatics more accessible to students from across the country. The online courses enable IT practitioners to master the industry without having to become a full-time student for the duration of the course.

Cloud Computing for Online Commerce and Home Businesses

The use of cloud computing is not limited to large-scale operations. Today, there are home businesses whose operations are stored entirely in the cloud. Customer orders are captured directly on e-commerce platforms. Payment processing is done online and the home businesses can pull up customer orders for processing without having to download any raw file or data.

The use of cloud computing in this form means small businesses are less prone to catastrophic failures. In the event of a server failure, for instance, the business’s main website, as well as all the information stored behind it, is still accessible due to the nature of cloud servers. Some e-commerce platforms also have built-in backup functionalities as an added security measure.

Cloud Computing for Archiving and Data Storage

Archiving is a big challenge regardless of which industry you are in. The need to store documents over an extended period of time is one that is not always easy to meet. There are storage costs and maintenance issues to deal with. For small and medium businesses, storing paper documents may prove to be too costly.

This is where cloud storage comes in handy. Digitizing paper documents is very easy to do thanks to technologies such as OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and automatic document feeders. Thousands of pages can be converted into digital formats in a matter of hours. Once they are stored digitally, the documents are entirely searchable and very easy to manage.

Add the fact that cloud storage is very cheap and you have the perfect solution for storing documents over an extended period of time. Data storage, along with the previous implementations of cloud infrastructure as service we’ve covered in this article, is really boosting the value of cloud computing for small and medium businesses.


Connecting local Active Directory Cloud (AD) and Azure

Active Directory Cloud Enablement

Connecting local AD to Azure

Active Directory Cloud Simplifies user Access (Microsoft)With the deployment of more and more Office 365 services, managing separate AD instances can be daunting. Fortunately, Microsoft offers great tools to get your Active Directory Cloud initiative working. Azure’s AD is the backing AD for the Office 365 services. In this article, I am providing a summary of the key points to remember when connecting to Azure’s AD.

Microsoft provides a very powerful set of tools to easily connect a local Active Directory to Azure. There are also some advanced options available if you decide to use Azure as a full-blown AD server for your organization. However, it is important to be very careful. Here is what can happen if the connection isn’t done right: most if not all of the users will be locked out of their account. That means, no email (Outlook), no SharePoint, no OneDrive.

 The key is to configure the ADD connect the tool with a custom setting in order to make sure that the local domain doesn’t take over the Office 365 domain. The following steps assume that you have Office 365 deployed for your main domain. For example, NewPush.com is our main domain. 

Quick summary to connect the Active Directory Cloud 

1)    Check that all your local users have their email address set up properly in the “mail” attribute of your local AD. At this stage, you should also make sure that you have an Office 365 account set up with Global Admin privileges, and on the default Microsoft domain (e.g. globaladmin@yourdomain.onmicrosoft.com.

2)    Installing the ADD. This is straightforward, however, make sure to not finish the install with the defaults, as we modify the sync rules in the next step. If you already installed, and have the wrong settings, you need to uninstall, reboot and reinstall.

3)     Select custom synchronization setting and select the mail attribute as UPN for sync which results in your main domain remaining the one used on Office 365. 

References for Active Directory to Azure Connection

1)      http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=47594

2)      https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/connect/active-directory-aadconnect-get-started-custom   Custom installation of ADD connect Start to end. 

 Please let me know if you found these instructions helpful, and do not hesitate to send me feedback.