May 14th, 2013
In the world of business, time is money. Long gone are the days where workplaces could assign excess work to staff without any forethought. Modern business process management puts a much greater emphasis on running efficiently and discourages surplus staffing.
Most businesses now function with “lean” workforces, meaning they have just enough people to do what needs to be done, and additional tasks can only be accomplished at the expense of others. This is when the advantages of online document management come into play. By moving document management online, there is an opportunity to create greater efficiencies for staff.
Three proven ways that online document management can help make the lives of employees easier:
- Collaboration: Online document management systems free up access to documents
and allow for changes within documents to be monitored and managed. This helps avoid the unnecessary complication of passing files by email, dealing with multiple versions of a draft, and reduces the need to track down whether or not everyone has had input on a document.
- Eliminate duplicate work: Often, documents require duplicate work. Something as simple as filling out the name and address of a client in a form multiple times, adding a header to a document, or reproducing other common elements can be a tedious and redundant process. Setting up a system to eliminate repetitive work makes any document handling process simpler and more effective for everyone involved.
- Eliminating the need for other software products: Document management systems can be customized to facilitate the specific processes a company needs. This can minimize the time it would normally require for additional work to be done by staff. For example, if finalized documents need to be converted to a pdf format, the system can be designed to handle pdf conversions internally, saving employees from the extra step of using a separate software program to perform the conversion. Creating a system that can perform all of the steps internally saves time and frustration for everyone involved.
Taking the time to install a properly designed document management system can help maximize your workplace efficiency and keep saving you time going forward. Time is money- the decision to make the most of your time by implementing online document management is one that will continue putting dividends in your pocket!
May 9th, 2013
by: Markus Latzel, CEO
Last week I participated in a discussion on LinkedIn started by Lucy Railton with a simple question: “Is there enough understanding by Canadian owned organizations about the importance of choosing a Canadian cloud provider?“. Lucy considered this question in particular in the context of existing legislation re: PIPEDA, and US Patriot Act.
There was quite a discussion on this question, with a few experts weighing in on whether Canadian executives are fully aware of the level of protection US-based cloud providers give them and whether hosting domestically should be the first choice for them.
Michel O’Neil from cloudfingr points out that there are many onsiderations, including jurisdiction in the state of data location and how that can affect potential litigation vis-a-vis SLA contract requirements.
Oscar Jofre pointed out that Canada is a country with very high data security standards and suggested it should be a first choice in selecting a hosting provider.
In my opinion, Canada actually still has quite a ways to go with respect to data privacy protection. In our own review of Canadian cloud provider service level agreements (SLAs), we found that 9 out of ten still lack significantly with respect to data protection and ownership. Practices in the field support our finding.
We believe that in a world where regulations (SSAE-16, PCI/DSS, PIPEDA) only scratch the surface of proper data protection, ultimately, reliable risk management is very highly dependent on practices and procedures enforced by the cloud provider. The Service Level Agreement is a core indicator to how far the provider is willing to assume joint risk with the client. And we all know that enforcing an SLA is best done on legal home territory.
Therefore, selecting a domestic data centre for your data storage needs seems like an obvious choice.
WebPal Cloud Servers are available in data centres in Toronto/ON, Phoenix/AZ, Ashburn/VA and Amsterdam.
May 8th, 2013
A recent survey by the hosting company Rackspace reinforces the idea that saving time and money are critical components in the minds of those making the switch to cloud computing. Respondents named freeing up of dollars and time for reinvestment into other product and service innovation of the highest priority. This trend of moving into the cloud, driven by cost savings, is highlighted yet again with recent news of the U.S. Navy moving into cloud computing,(following in the footsteps of the CIA). The obvious savings of time and money can be an excellent goal for any company, but the challenge lies in not discounting all the other benefits a well-designed cloud content management system can provide.
Let’s look toward hospitals for an example: Facing increased needs for electronic storage of patient files, many hospitals are considering cloud content management systems as an efficient and economical way to deal with patient records without having to build an internal I.T. infrastructure. This establishes cost and time savings. What are some of the other ways in which moving to the cloud could have a positive effect on business processes?
More efficient collaboration: With easy access to the files of shared patients, specialists and other healthcare providers can work together to provide a better quality of integrated care, while reducing the chances of duplicating files.
Controlled access and organization: By giving staff access to only the records they need, you eliminate potential security loopholes. In addition, when needed information is organized and easily accessible, employees can do their jobs without wasting time wading through records.
Eliminating opportunities for error: A content management system can do much more than just store files, it can be used to automatically fill in repetitive fields across documents (such as name, address, etc) reducing the opportunities for needless errors, streamlining document handling, and eliminating a frustrating and time consuming task from employee workloads.
The cost savings involved in moving your content management to the cloud can be the first reason that you contemplate a change, but don’t let the dollars of this strategy distract you from the good sense of taking advantage of all the benefits the cloud can offer you.
April 23rd, 2013
In the past, we’ve discussed how moving your document management systems into the cloud can help free up the resources of your IT department, save time and money, and help you manage the ever increasing demands for efficient and intelligent document storage. With benefits like this, you might think that everyone would switch to using the cloud overnight! However, like any technology, cloud storage must instill confidence in the general populace before it sees widespread adoption. Recent announcements that the CIA and the U.S. Navy are making use of cloud storage and other services seem to indicate that confidence in the cloud is building at a steady rate. The important question is, has cloud storage reached its tipping point?
According to Wikipedia, the definition of the tipping point (for economic circumstances) is:
…the point at which a dominant technology or player defines the standard for an industry-resulting in “winner-take-all” economies of scale and scope.
Just last week, another announcement came that indicates cloud storage might be close to its tipping point. Amazon Web Services has released an update announcing that their Simple Storage Service (S3) is now being used to store over 2 trillion objects. Now in it’s sixth year of operation, it took five years for Amazon S3 to reach 1 trillion objects stored, and less than 1 additional year to double it’s previous milestone. With storage growth increasing at this speed, it’s hard to imagine what the totals will be a year from now!
While we might not yet have reached the tipping point for cloud services, the pace at which Amazon’s S3 Storage Cloud is growing suggests that we might not be that far away. If you haven’t yet taken the time to explore how the cloud can benefit you, It might be time to ask: how will my industry be redefined when the cloud becomes the dominant technology?
In other news, WebPal will be at the CTIA from May 21st to May 23rd. Come visit us at our booth.
April 9th, 2013
The subject of moving health records into the cloud typically invokes a concern for security. With an issue as sensitive as health records, security is obviously of high importance, but the benefits of moving health records into the cloud are also too substantial to ignore. The cloud is more secure than one might first think. Here are three fantastic reasons that might tip the scales in favour of moving health records into the cloud:
- Equal access for all healthcare providers: As medicine progresses, our records don’t get any simpler, on the contrary, they become more complicated. We deal with additional specialists and more complimentary care providers for individual conditions because it allows us to receive better comprehensive care, but in order to best help patients, all healthcare providers need access to the same records. If one particular care provider is responsible for “owning” the records, it can be too easy for delays or problems in accessing or updating patient files. If all healthcare providers have equal access to revise and review patient files, then everyone has access to the most current and accurate information – leading to better care.
- Cloud computing is cost effective: The recent trend to switch to electronic records has posed a challenge for many healthcare organizations. Their expertise is not in computers and online document management, and simply moving to electronic records, means having to build expensive infrastructures. Moving to the cloud for content management of health records means that healthcare providers get the resources they need without having to invest in infrastructure. Those savings can be spent elsewhere, such as in patient care.
- Enforced Standardization: One of the challenges currently faced by organizations moving towards electronic records systems is a lack of standardization. A unified record keeping system in the cloud shared by healthcare providers would force all contributors to standardize, avoiding potential incompatibility issues that can be created by competing records systems.
Security will always be a key component when moving electronic health records into the cloud, and you don’t have to compromise safety in order to do so. When you weigh out the advantages, it is a logical investment.
In other news, there has been a whole lot going on here at Palomino. Including, our brand new WebPal 3.0 release, the team heading to HostingCon and CTIA this Summer and a new partnership with the National Association of Career Colleges. Stay tuned right here and on Twitter as we roll out more information.
March 26th, 2013
When it comes to adopting new technology, it is important for there to be both the perception of security and the reality of security. Perception is integral to opening the door to using any new system. A poor impression of how secure a particular technology is can often be the biggest challenge in stepping through the door to implementation.
We have discussed the reality of cloud computing security in the past, and recently there have been two great events that have helped build acceptance of how secure cloud storage can actually be. Firstly, a recent study by CA Technologies and the Ponemon Institute shows businesses have improved practices regarding cloud security in comparison to a previous survey in 2010. There are still some challenges, such as the lack of agreement as to who holds responsibility for cloud security within some organizations, however, a good start has been made.
The second recent occurrence to boost our perception of cloud security comes from the CIA. Last week, the CIA reportedly signed a $600 million dollar cloud computing contract with Amazon with the goal of assisting the CIA in gathering and analyzing information. Amazon will be setting up a “private cloud” for the CIA to further investigate and process on an even greater scale.
As we’ve mentioned previously, private clouds are a viable security option for many firms – they are not restricted to large agencies like the CIA. This is a very strong statement about how secure the cloud can actually be. If the CIA can trust their data within a private cloud computing environment, what does this do for your appreciation and acceptance of cloud computing in relation to security? New partnerships are occurring every day. Who will be the next major player to boost our confidence in the cloud? Perhaps it’s time to take another look at what this technology can do for you.
March 19th, 2013
In 2011, we wrote an article on this blog about how Simplicity Rules in Document Management. In the intervening two years, while technology has continued to evolve at a dramatic pace, the lesson in that article still holds true.
In a world becoming increasingly mobile, online document management has had to evolve with its users, becoming less complicated and easier to understand. If the device you’re using doesn’t already have built in cloud storage capacity, there are third party apps available for downloading. For most people, document management has become so simple that you don’t even need to think about how you use the cloud (as we touched upon in our earlier article The Cloud is All Around Us).
A well-designed document management system is capable of increasing security within a company while also empowering staff to be more efficient and productive. Security is an obvious concern for any company, but if too many steps are involved you will definitely encounter resistance to the new system from your employees. No one wants to enter 5 passwords in order to perform a pdf conversion or transfer a file. When designing a document management system for your company, thinking of what works for your document management in a personal context can be an excellent way to start the
process. If you wouldn’t use it, most likely, neither will your employees.
Change is often a source of fear for people. Making the process simple will help defuse fear and resistance to change – in fact, if you make it simple enough, you might even encounter love for your new system. While it might be tempting to create a complex document management system that is capable of doing everything you might ever need, you should always remember that simplicity still rules in document management.
March 12th, 2013
In last week’s article on The Adoption of Cloud Content Management in Healthcare, we discussed how the increasing volume of data created by patient care is leading to challenges for healthcare organizations. This challenge is not limited to the healthcare industry though, and as businesses grow in complexity and start tracking more and more information, business process management can become a strain on existing IT infrastructure. In addition, many businesses are now experimenting with big data, which has great potential for improving both services and sales, but requires incredible amounts of data storage and an agile content management system.
As increasing numbers of companies move their data and business processes into the cloud, the concern for security among users also grows. We already use cloud storage in our personal lives (sometimes without realizing it), but there seems to be a higher requirement for security in business process management. Losing a music playlist or having your email account hacked (although inconvenient and problematic, to be sure) does not rank on the same level as having your entire client list made public, or losing records such as credit card information.
If your cloud content management system is accessed from multiple points (cellphone, tablet, laptop, etc), then each of these points of access need to be secure. It doesn’t take much imagination to consider the complications that might result from this scenario, however the solution to this problem is far more manageable than it might first appear. Individual companies can start by designing a system that controls access to information, limiting people to only what they need to fulfil their roles. A properly designed cloud content management system greatly limits the potential damage done as a result of hacked accounts or lost passwords. Another possibility is to set up dedicated cloud servers (similar to what WebPal offers), giving you the benefits of the cloud—scalability, uptime, connectivity—while still offering the security of an isolated and unshared server.
Cloud service providers are constantly innovating and developing new ways to keep their client’s data safe, and organizations such as the Cloud Security Alliance helps to promote the best practices in cloud security. Keeping your data secure can seem like a constant battle, no matter what type of system you use, but a quality cloud content management system affords you all the benefits of the cloud without sacrificing your security.
March 5th, 2013
Incredible advances in medicine over the last 50 years have provided many of us with the chance to live longer and healthier lives than the generations before us. Progress often creates its own set of challenges though, and coping with additional information and procedures are an unavoidable trade-off. Every new drug treatment brings with it the need to monitor for conflicts with existing medications. Each advancement and use of new medical imaging technology ushers in one more set of scans to examine and include in patient files.
As healthcare becomes more holistic, professionals are required to work across their specialties to develop comprehensive treatments for patients. Effective and efficient care requires a system that permits not just storage of information but also content collaboration on patient files. Faced with limited IT budgets and increasing needs, more hospitals and health care organizations are turning to the cloud to provide them with the storage and content management options they desperately need to keep up with the rising tide of information being generated.
According to a report by Markets and Markets, the market for cloud computing in the healthcare field is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of over 20% between 2012 and 2017. Moving to the cloud is a logical choice for those in the industry because cloud storage for files and cloud content management for people working with patient files is far less expensive and far more efficient to implement than installing a full new server system for each organization.
Concerns about secure document storage and patient privacy prevent many organizations from making the transition into using cloud content servers, despite the many obvious benefits such a transition would hold for them. Secure cloud storage is quite possible, it’s just a question of design. The real obstacle is a lack of confidence. Building that confidence in using the cloud won’t happen overnight, but as we mentioned in last week’s article, The Cloud Is All Around Us, we’re already using cloud storage and cloud content management in many areas of our personal lives successfully. As we travel the road of medical advancement, the cloud on the horizon is increasingly coming into focus.
February 26th, 2013
Many businesses and managers are reluctant when it comes to replacing familiar systems that already exist in the office. When it comes to transitioning content management systems to the cloud, a major concern for most companies is confidence. Business owners and executives want assurance that the new structure can handle their unique needs with functionality and security. This confidence can be bolstered in several ways (check out our previous article-Simplicity Rules in Document Management), but the most telling factor in boosting our faith in the usability of such systems is to look at all the ways these platforms have already crept into our daily lives.
In many ways, the same technology that we are avoiding in our professional lives has become the technology that we seek out in our personal ones. Take Apple’s iCloud for example. This program allows individuals to store content such as photos and music remotely, and then access it from any of their Apple devices such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Microsoft accomplishes something similar with their SkyDrive, a free service for storing, sharing, and editing files online. Offering comparable services under the Google banner, is Google Drive. If we want to look even further, we can see cloud storage offered in the form of Box, Dropbox and other online cloud storage providers. In the basic sense, many of us have been using online webmail as cloud storage for years, emailing ourselves files that we can later access from other locations as needed.
It may come as a striking realization but when you look past the brand names and the marketing, many of us are already using cloud computing for storage and content management in our own personal lives. The cloud is all around us- most of us use it everyday. As an already trusted resource, isn’t it time we start using cloud content management in a practical business sense?
Next week, we’ll discuss exactly just that – trust, cloud based applications and sensitive or confidential information.