Secure Remote Access

Custom Systems and Citrix Make Mobile Access Secure and Simple

Isn’t mobility great? It makes it possible for employees to work anywhere, on any device, and be more productive than anyone could have ever imagined. But it’s not always so great for your business when it comes to making that access both secure and easy.

Increasingly, security concerns are putting companies between a rock and a hard place – having to choose whether to limit mobile access to company data on corporate or personal devices (which makes it harder for people to work at maximum productivity) or to give employees free rein to use their own devices (which makes it harder to secure sensitive data).

And don’t get employees started on the usability challenges that mobility can create. It’s hard to achieve the productivity that mobility offers when they have to use different interfaces and credentials for different devices – and even then might not be able to access all the corporate resources they need.

Fortunately, Custom Systems provides app and desktop virtualization solutions powered by Citrix that eliminate these challenges. By virtualizing apps and desktops, employees can work remotely, stay productive, and easily use the devices they prefer – from company laptops to personal tablets or smartphones – for mobile access over any type of network connection. They also receive the same consistent experience across all devices. And you can rest assured that business-critical information is safe because secure access to both data and apps is built in.

To learn more about all the benefits of app and desktop virtualization solutions from Custom Systems and Citrix, visit www.SolveITwithCitrix.com/infographic/customsystemscorporation where you can access a library of resources including whitepapers and videos. Or give us a call.

David Bubb

David Bubb, Sales Director
david.bubb@customsystems.com

©Custom Systems Corporation 2016

One of Those IT Moments: Why won’t it work?

If you are in IT, then you have probably had an experience like this. You have been trying to get something to work properly and no matter what you do, it just won’t work. You know (or are at least very sure) you have done everything you were supposed to and it still does not work. You finally give in and have someone else look at it. What happens? They figure it out within minutes. They find the one spelling or punctuation mistake, the check-box that should or should not be checked, or even the capitalization mistake. They notice the one thing you did not. Once you are done banging your head against the wall, you wonder how you could have missed that. It had been staring you in the face the whole time. I recently had another of those moments and I thought I would share that experience and others with you. I am sure many of you who are reading this have experienced these moments.

I know I have had moments like this a few times in my career.

The first time in my IT career I can remember it happening was back in college. I was in a programming class. I think the language was COBOL, so that should give you an idea how long ago I was in college. I had almost finished the assignment, but had one problem. The program gave the correct response, but then changed it. I had my buddy who was in the class with me look at it. For a short while, he was also stumped as to what was happening. After reviewing it together over and over, he finally looks at me and calls me a name that had a similar meaning to idiot, but not as nice. In the main body of the program, I had forgotten a period after the ‘Stop Run’ command. One little dot. Because it was not there, instead of the program ending where it should, the subroutine directly after the main body was run one extra time. Over 20 years later, I still remember that incident. That’s how frustrating (and revealing) it was.

Last week, I was doing a VMWare server refresh with a client. We needed to swap out some host servers that were past their prime for some new servers with up-to-date hardware. On the first server we swapped out, we hit a point where the server seemed to be configured properly in vCenter, but would not talk to the SAN. I looked into the obvious areas first like cabling and configurations, but could not find anything. Admittedly, I found a couple of little things to adjust. However, there was nothing significant. I was looking at it going nuts knowing that it should work. My client was looking over my shoulder trying to see if he could catch something. I compared settings from new to old. I checked everything over and over. I changed settings I knew were correct, but had to try anyway. We finally gave up and called VMWare support to see if they could find it. The first support person knew right away that this was not his area of expertise and handed us off to someone else. That second person, took five minutes to find it. On the SAN, in the WWN name, the letters ESX were capitalized. In the host server’s configuration, they were lower case. That was it. We had been staring at it over and over and never saw it. It was past 2 am, so we were not likely to see it. Also, in my defense, I had copy/pasted the WWN from the SAN console to the VMWare console configuration. However, there it was. One of those moments where the answer was extremely simple, staring us in the face, and we were not going to see it. By the way, I observed what happened when we did the second host server replacement. I copy/pasted again and it did the same thing. On the paste, capital letters were converted to lowercase. The wise guys reading this are thinking: “Sure, that is your excuse.” However, we are replacing more hosts this week, so I can video it happening as proof. I am not saying that I am not losing my mind. I am, but this was not a symptom of that.

Let’s face it, you don’t have to be in IT to have one of these moments.

I remember helping my kids build LEGO sets. One of them could not figure out why they were unable to do what the directions show. I would look at it and realize that they had previously used a brick with three studs when they needed one of the exact same color and similar shape that had four studs. Ever try a video game where you just can’t figure out what to do next? You go on to the Internet and find a walk-through or watch a video showing you how to do that level only to realize that the answer was staring you in the face. You did not realize it was there, but it was. Like I said, we have all ‘been there, done that’. If you haven’t, think of this article when it does happen to you (and it will). It won’t help you feel less “stupid” at that moment, but you will know you are not alone.

If you have any stories like this, feel free to share them in the comments of this blog.

AZS-3

 

 

 

Craig R. Kalty
(CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)
Sr. Network Consultant craig.kalty@customsystems.com

 

 

 

©2016 Custom Systems Corporation

3 Reasons Your Employees Need You to Switch to Office 365

Need more reasons to switch to Office 365?

It’s possible you’ve been putting off the switch. We think it’s even possible that you’re not sure you need to switch. So here are three great reasons to finally make the switch to Microsoft Office 365.

Office 365 Open for business anywhere.

This article excerpt, by Business 2 Community author Buddy Marti, originally appeared here: http://www.business2community….

We can’t really it hammer it home any more than we have – it would benefit your business to switch to Office 365. With rare exception, we’re recommending Office 365 to most of our small and medium-sized business clients. In fact, we’ve been talking about it for quite some time on the blog. If you’ve been considering a migration because of licensing or equipment costs – know that there’s another reason to consider it: your employees. Check out these three reasons your employees need you to switch to Office 365:

  1. They’re fantasizing about destroying your lagging server.
    Your server is getting older and it just isn’t keeping up like it used to. Your employees see it in every click they make. It’s impacting their productivity and they’re thinking of pulling an Office Space and taking it out back with a baseball bat. The only thing worse than losing money due to unproductive employees is losing employees due to outdated technology. Don’t allow your employees to continually become more frustrated. Migrating to Office 365 means a huge load off your server when all your e-mail data moves to the cloud. This will speed your server up, giving your employees faster access to other files and applications on your server in addition to their e-mail service in the cloud. It’s a win-win scenario.
  1. They want to work from home – or anywhere else.
    Your employees don’t like the idea of being chained to their desk. More than ever users are demanding flexibility. They need immediate, speedy access to e-mail from anywhere. They want to be able to get work done from home, at a coffee shop, or while they’re on vacation. An Office 365 migration is going to give them the flexibility they need without having to rely on your local server or internal connection to access their e-mail. Hosted e-mail means that employees can access their e-mail at any computer with a browser, securely, reliably and quickly.
  2. They need Word and PowerPoint on more devices.
    While we went into this in a previous post, we didn’t really outline what this means for your employees. Office 365 comes with licensing for all user mobile devices and smartphones rather than the two-computer limit that Office had previously. This is huge for employees that use tablets, phones or laptops to access presentations, spreadsheets or other Office documents. It means collaborative editing and quickly transitioning from device to device with a user login to access recent documents. Read: increased productivity.


Employee happiness is about more than annual raises and BBQ events. It’s a comprehensive undertaking. Technology plays a massive role in the satisfaction of your employees, and every moment they have to spend working on subpar technology is contributing to their level of engagement with your organization. If you want to employ savvy, quick people, you need innovative, quicker technology. Take a moment and assess the true impact that a transition like this can have on your employees and consider making the switch to Office 365.

Still have questions? You can reach a live, Custom Systems specialist during regular business hours by clicking on the chat icon on the lower right of your screen. You can also reach us by email. Please visit our Office 365 page here

 

Issue: Printing – Solution: Tricerat

triceratAs is usually the case, the subjects of my blogs tend to correlate with situations currently being seen in a client’s environment. Recently, we have had more than one client with printing issues in their environments. The problems range from driver issues to an applications ability to recognize a user’s printers. In each case, we tried to handle the situation using the built-in tools within the Citrix products to resolve our issues. Do not get me wrong, I think the current set of printing utilities Citrix offers for their products is some of the best built-in solutions we have had. However, we still had issues they could not resolve. So, it was time to turn to a third party product. As the title implies, we tested Tricerat’s Simplify Printing product. I know this is starting to sound like a product endorsement, and in a way, it is. However, my intention is to share a solution to various printing problems we faced. To be fair, I am not saying that Simplify Printing is the only solution out there, but I have been using Tricerat’s products for years and it is one of my go-to solutions.

As I was saying, I am writing about this because of recent events. So, let’s take a look at those events.

Problem 1  – Solution – Tricerat ScrewDrivers

At the first client, we had a situation where users worked from a XenApp/XenDesktop environment, but would travel to multiple company sites. They needed to print at each site while accessing a virtual desktop back in the data center. Users needed to have multiple printers for multiple sites. Just assigning all the printers to the users did not work. Typically, the user would forget which printer was defaulted and send items to the wrong printers. Our original solution was to assign printers based on IP address of the client. The problem we ran into was that the number of printers at each site made it an administrative nightmare to work printer assignments/policies at an individual user level. Simplify Printing has a utility that allows the user to assign the printers that they need for themselves. Each printer in each location has its active directory name labeled where the users know to look. The Simplify Printing utility is a published application the user can open and select the printer they need. All they had to do was look at the name label and find the printer in the list. This did take a little bit of user training, but once the users got used to this process, calls to IT for printer problems dropped to almost none. There were other benefits from the installation of Simplify Printing. The product handled all the print drivers. We no longer have printer drivers in the Citrix environment for all of those various printers. The Citrix environment no longer had to fully process print jobs which saved on system resources. External users had a better printing experience once they installed the Tricerat ScrewDrivers client because all the features of the local printer were now available to them.

Issue 2 – Solution – Tricerat Simplify

At another client, a law firm, the issues started in the XenApp environment. However, Simplify Printing was not implemented at the Citrix level. It was implemented at the domain level so all printer functions in the environment, not just the ones in Citrix, are handled by Simplify Printing. The original issue involved printers needing to be assigned based on user groups. However, just because a user was in a group, that did not mean they had the right to use all the printers the group had assigned. For instance there are users in the Marketing group that need to be in the group, but do not need rights to Marketing’s color multifunction printer. Citrix policies helped, but they got out of hand. Also, as stated before, this issue was not just at the Citrix level. The dashboard in Simplify printing made it easier to assign printing rights while also controlling exclusions. Assignments made at the domain level were inherited in the Citrix environment as well. It literally became an administrative matter of drag and drop to control printer assignments/permissions.

At a third client, we had an industry specific, third party application, which also had company specific modifications. The handling of printers in this application is archaic in my opinion and does not follow proper conventions. We also had extremely limited control over it. Built-in Citrix printing utilities could not give the application what it wanted because of how printers were named for user sessions. A script created by one of the administrators was a semi-viable solution, but still had issues. Simplify Printing’s custom naming allowed us to get a modification in the app to make the user’s printers recognizable. This is another location where Simplify Printing will soon be used for all printer assignments in the domain. They are also looking into another Tricerat product called Simplify Scanning to help with their scanning needs.

In some cases, it was a matter of trial and error to get to where we wanted to be. We even needed help from Tricerat support to get things just right. However, that is not a dig on the product. We just had some tricky situations to resolve. I am going to do a little more shameless endorsement and tell you that the support team really cared that they find a solution for us.

As stated earlier, Simplify Printing is not Tricerat’s only product. Besides printing and scanning, they have products that handle monitoring, profiles, clipboard sharing, and backup. They also offer their products in a bundle called the Simplify Suite. I have not had the opportunity to use each and every one of their products in production environments, but the scanning and profile management products are also go-to solutions for me.

As always, please feel free to post any questions or comments below or reach me directly by email.

AZS-3

 

 

 

Craig R. Kalty
(CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)
Sr. Network Consultant craig.kalty@customsystems.com

 

 

 

©2016 Custom Systems Corporation

Who maintains your data?

Think your organization is following best practices when it comes to data security? Ask yourself these questions:

Do you have an IT professional looking after your network or is it an employee that has other duties within your company?

Did you hire that person for his/her IT knowledge or for something critical to your line of business?

Have you lost any of your important data? Have you experienced down time that keeps your employees from doing their job?

Data SecurityWorking in the IT field for nearly 30 years (Hard to believe it’s  been that long!),  I am astounded at the number of companies that do not follow best practices when it comes to their IT infrastructure and data. According to Price Waterhouse Cooper, 70 percent of all small businesses that experience data loss go out of business within one year. Staggering right? Yet I still hear, “We are good. Our office managers takes care of it.“

Just as we don’t normally turn to our co-workers to take care of the electricity, the water, or even the coffee for that matter, why would we put the most valuable asset, our data, in the hands of someone who is not qualified? As nice as the office manager/gamer/or electronics enthusiast is, do they have day-to-day experience with security threats and application delivery? Probably not, but our managed services engineers do. They work daily with hundreds of clients to manage their IT.

It is important to not only protect what you have, but also to build your foundation so it will grow with you. And that’s where managed services can help. Technology does not stand still. Did you ever think that having a smart phone was in your future in the 90s? Now, you can’t do without it. Who ever thought we would be able to open a tablet and review the day’s earnings while sipping an umbrella drink on vacation? With a customized managed services program, your growing data is protected as your business grows and technology evolves.

At Custom Systems we help not only large corporations but also small- and medium-size businesses realize their potential through IT, while keeping data secure. Your data is your largest asset. Don’t be the next business that loses everything due to an IT failure. You don’t have to be at risk.

Like to learn more about the benefits and features of an MSP? Please feel free to visit our Managed Services page or email me directly. Questions or comments are always welcome below.

 

Suzanne

 

 

 

 

Suzanne Chambers
Account Executive
suzanne.chambers@customsystems.com

 

© Copyright Custom Systems Corporation 2016

What is an MSP?

MSP, managed services providerAn MSP (Managed Services Provider) staffs highly certified and highly trained IT Engineers to remotely monitor and maintain your organization’s network.

 

 

When you bring in an MSP you should expect that the following would be included in any monthly cost:

• Alerts – Storage, Server and Desktop
• Data backup and recovery for different devices (desktops, notebooks, servers, etc.)
• Patch management
• Security

For any small or medium sized business an MSP may act as a Virtual CTO for your company. They can not only take care of the above tasks but they help with an overall IT strategy that will easily be expanded as your company grows.  In larger corporations an MSP may act as an extension of your IT department. The MSP would take the day to day monitoring, patches and updates and free your IT staff to focus on the projects they need to focus on.
In hiring an MSP, you are not losing control of your IT. You decide what you need help with. It is after all, your company.

Like to learn more about the benefits and features of an MSP? Please feel free to visit our Managed Services page or email me directly. Questions or comments are always welcome below.

 

Suzanne

 

 

 

 

Suzanne Chambers
Account Executive
suzanne.chambers@customsystems.com

 

© Copyright Custom Systems Corporation 2016

Don’t forget your reminders

This is too easy to forget

The reminderMost of us use calendars to add events that we need to remember. Some of us may write things down on sticky notes and leave them around so we don’t forget. If you use Gmail for your email service, there is another great way to set up reminders – and it’s free.  Don’t have Gmail? It’s easy to set up a free, personal account at gmail.com.

Within Gmail you have access to Google Docs. Google Docs has a great free add-on called “Add Reminders”. Once you have signed into your Gmail account and switch over to your Docs page you can download and install this free add-on. Once installed, just open a new spreadsheet file and give it a name, like “Reminders”. Then go to the Add-on button and choose your newly downloaded add-on. It is very easy to use and will all but walk you through setting up reminders. Just put in the email address, task, and date then save the file. Once setup, it will  automatically email you or anyone you choose a reminder that a particular task is about to be due.

Never forget about where you stuck that sticky note is or to look at your calendar and still be aware of an upcoming task. You may even be like me and like, and use multiple reminders for important dates like anniversaries which will help avoid getting into trouble that could result in sleeping on the couch.
I hope you have found this helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them below. Also, make sure you follow and friend us through social media at Twitter or Facebook.

Ryan Ash

 

 

Ryan Ash
Network Consultant
ryan.ash@customsystems.com

 

 

 

©Custom Systems Corporation 2016

 

New Features in XenApp & XenDesktop 7.7

Help DeskThe latest version of XenApp and XenDesktop were released at the end of December 2015. Version 7.7 of both products will be followed up by another version (7.8) currently scheduled to be released sometime 1st quarter 2016. Citrix is being a little more aggressive with these releases because they are trying to accelerate their relationship with Microsoft, increase integration between products, and (re)introduce features.

With version 7.7, Citrix has given us these new features:

    • Zoning – Why does that sound familiar? Prior to version 7, zoning was has always been a part of XenApp and even MetaFrame. When version 7 was released, zoning was not included. With version 7.7, zoning is back. It has the same purpose as before. Zoning gives us simplified management across geographically dispersed deployments. One XenApp site can now be deployed in multiple geographical locations while enabling application control from one console.
    • Application Limits – Another feature being revived is the ability to put certain limits on published applications. This is where an administrator can control how many concurrent sessions can be active at one time, how many active sessions of a published application a user can have open simultaneously, and more.
    • Advanced Database Configuration – Previously, all database activity was installed in one location. Now, the site, monitoring, and logging databases can be installed on different servers and even in different locations. As a note along this path, SQL 2012 SP2 is now installed instead of SP1.
    • Improved Maintenance Notifications – Notifications to users about system maintenance can now be configured to go out at a specific time prior to the maintenance commencing and reminders can be sent at configured intervals.
    • Skype for Business functionality – This allows for a full installation of Skype using a desktop or a virtual app. The RealTime Optimization Pack will need to be installed to provide a user with the best experience while using Skype for Business.
    • Citrix Director Improvements –
      • Defined application limits (see above) are now shown in Director.
      • Director can use your windows credentials to authenticate you (single sign-on).
      • Better SCOM 2012 integration.
      • Proactive monitoring alerts to help improve reaction time.
      • New usage views for both desktop and server OS’s. Usage can be viewed at the site, delivery group, and machine level.Along with new features, there are a number of enhancements:
    • There are updates to platform support. This is to allow and improve performance with new hardware technologies.
    • New APIs are being introduced for developers. Using PowerShell SDK, session roaming can be tailored to an organization’s needs. Another API will allow for the access of templates, images, and snapshots across multiple hypervisor connections.
    • Windows 10 support for the VDA and Studio is now available.
    • Extended integration with Microsoft Azure – You can now use Machine Creation Services (MCS) from XenApp and XenDesktop to provision virtual machines in Azure.

Look for a future blog post detailing the changes coming in version 7.8.

As always, please feel free to post any questions or comments below or reach me directly by email.

AZS-3

Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)| Sr. Network Consultant craig.kalty@customsystems.com

 

 

 

©2016 Custom Systems Corporation

Windows Server 2016 Administration: Modifications

Windows Server logoContinuing with a previous post on the upcoming Windows Server 2016, we look at administrative improvements in 2016. There are many articles about Windows Server 2016 that tell us about the new features we should expect, but this blog is about the modifications we should expect. We are talking about changes made to the features we already utilize in the Windows operating system. There are many changes coming and this article is not going to cover every one. It will focus on the significant changes that will affect a Windows Administrator’s day-to-day usage of the operating system, our most common tasks.

  • The Interface – The GUI will be similar to the GUI in Windows 10. The ‘Start’ button is back. That should make a lot of administrators happy being that the lack of a Start Menu was one of the top complaints with Windows Server 2012. However, we will also see a change in how we find the items we utilize. Navigation of menus and features will have some differences. For instance, certain settings may not be where you expect to find them in relation to Server 2012 and 2008.
  • Active Directory – Windows 2003 functional levels will be deprecated in this release. If your Active Directory is still at a Windows 2003 functional level or you are still utilizing File Replication Services, it is time to enact a plan to upgrade the domains functional level and move on from FRS. Enhanced security features and certificate services will improve compliance.
  • PowerShell – Everything we do in the Windows 2016 GUI can be done in PowerShell because everything done in the GUI is controlled through PowerShell. However, the reverse is not true. There are tasks you will need PowerShell commands to accomplish because there is no GUI for the task. PowerShell 5.0 will be expanding the language, commands, and feature-set to support the modified and new features in Server 2016. This article is focusing on the administration side, but we have to note that there will be many modifications/changes on the developer side as well like using classes to develop.
  • Windows PowerShell Console – For years now, we have been working with PowerShell, but our primary console to perform the work within is rudimentary. Many of the features people have been looking for in a language editor are being incorporated into the updated PowerShell Console. Features like drag-and-drop, cut-and-paste, and more.
  • Storage – While there are new features for file servers and storage clusters, the most significant update to an existing feature affects data deduplication. Optimizations in the handling of large files and large volumes will give improved access and control. Clusters will be able to run in a mixed Server 2012 and Server 2016 mode. Sever manager will be able to control deduplication of backup workloads.
  • Hyper-V – One of the big issues with Hyper-V is that it is not as feature rich as its competitors. Windows Server 2016 hopes to close that gap. Features for handling server upgrades, modifying resources to VMs while active, device access, and more were integrated to close the feature gap. The 2016 Hyper-V Manager is backward compatible so you can manage 2012, 2008, and Windows 8 VMs. Hyper-V Manager no longer has to use the security of the account logged in. You can now access Hyper-V with an account other than the one you are logged in as. Improvements in the handling of server hardware resources give virtual machines improved performance. Even the upgrade process for a Hyper-V cluster has been improved.
  • Remote Desktop Services – The most significant modifications to RDS are the updated clients and browser support. For instance, Edge is fully supported and there will be new Windows 10 and Mac apps available. Device support has been enhanced to include Pen devices. Support for OpenGL applications is also included. New features will enhance the offerings we will be able to give our users like Personal Session desktops.

These are some of the major modifications in 2016 that will affect an administrator. There will be many modifications in Windows 2016. More than what can be discussed here. Hopefully the few changes listed above will prompt administrators to take a look at what is coming and how it could affect their environment. While discussing the modifications to administration from 2016, it is hard not to mention new features. There are many new features are going to affect your role as an administrator. To see more of what is new and changing in Windows Server 2016, check out the Microsoft blogs

Feel free to post any questions or comments below or reach me directly by email.

 

AZS-3

 

Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)| Sr. Network Consultant craig.kalty@customsystems.com

 

 

©2016 Custom Systems Corporation

Cloud Computing’s Refuseniks: How Long Can They Hold Out?

Is your organization a “Cloud Computing Refusenik”?

This article excerpt, by Dave Cartwright, originally appeared here: http://bit.ly/1Wvmbu7

Umpty-squillion surveys come out every week, and they generally disagree with each other. Personally I tend to take notice of the ones that tell me that red wine is good for weight loss and long life.

I read one recently, though, in which no fewer than 51 percent of managers said they’re not presently investing in cloud technology. “OK”, I thought, half the population isn’t doing it yet. Then I read that in the same survey that 49 per cent said that in two years’ time they still wouldn’t be investing in it. And I was more than a little surprised by that.

Cloudy thinking

Bear in mind that they weren’t talking about whether they’d move their entire world to the cloud: it was whether they were investing in cloud at all. At all.

Fair enough, I understand organisations not moving en masse to (say) hosted virtual desktops. But no Office 365? No Google Apps? No DropBox? No AWS for a cheap server for a pilot project?

Some organisations tend to shy away from cloud services – specifically those with particularly high security requirements on the data they store. But even then there must surely be the temptation to adopt some kind of fully managed hosted service for applications under less scrutiny – public-facing brochureware websites, for example.

Furthermore, the cloud can be incredibly attractive in a business continuity context. Say you host your email service in a co-location data centre facility where you own all the servers and network kit, you manage the servers yourself, you have a secure remote access mechanism with two-factor authentication. Is it really that big a leap of security confidence to decide to shift it all to (say) Office 365?

And even if it is, what about that two-factor authentication system you’re using on your private data centre installation? Is that an on-site offering? I’ve recently been getting to grips with Symantec’s hosted offering – it works a treat and doesn’t need me to feed and water it.

Taking the concept further, you could even use the cloud to monitor and control your internet usage behaviour. Even the most paranoid security officer must surely find it hard to complain about using an Internet-based system to control your internet browsing.

In this sense I’m talking about services such as Websense’s cloud offering, which I introduced to my infrastructure in a previous life and which I found absolutely excellent – access gateways worldwide, synchronisation with our Active Directory, resilient services, a single management GUI, not overly expensive, and I got to throw away a fleet of god-awful ISA servers that hosted the legacy on-premises version.

I completely understand why people don’t move wholesale to the cloud. A fully cloud-based infrastructure is something that suits only a minority of organisations. But I’m still astounded to see that almost half of those questioned in the particular survey I read are of the belief that they won’t be using it at all in two years’ time.

Okay, there are concerns. There’s security. There’s the fact that it’s easy to forget what you left running and end up with a bigger bill than you expected.

There’s the fact that in all but the smallest cloud providers you have bugger all influence over their techies if the infrastructure goes down and your finance server is unavailable at year end, or your email’s not working for a couple of days. I get that.

Keeping up with the hackers

Surely, though, the people who say they won’t be using the cloud in the future are forgetting that what you can do with it is likely to change radically in the next 24 months. Security will have kept up with the hackers; connectivity will be even better than it is now (my fiver says that by then you’ll see proper quality-of-service guarantees over the Internet as if it were a private WAN).

I reckon that some vendors of traditional IT products may even entirely stop shipping software and appliances, instead stripping down their support division (supporting customers with on-prem solutions is highly non-trivial) and supplying their services as entirely cloud-based services. Will this 49% of IT managers simply avoid those services even though they’re acceptable to the auditors and the best of breed?

No, I don’t think they will. I suspect simply that when they were asked: “Will you be investing in the cloud in two years’ time?”, they’re thinking: “Hell, I’ve got so much to do now, and so much on my roadmap for the next 24 months, that I can’t even think about cloud as well”. But that in fact by the time they get part-way down their roadmap they’ll find themselves with a cloud solution.

Because by that time we probably won’t be calling it a cloud service. Or a SaaS product. Or an AnythingaaS solution, for that matter. Because by that time we’ll be so used to the idea that we won’t have a special name for it: in two years time it’ll just be called a product.