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The WebPal Wire

Get our latest updates as we bring you new insight on how cloud computing is already changing in its infancy. Security, content and business process are just a few categories within of wide range of topics covered in our blog

Archive for the ‘ECM’ Category

2014 Cloud Computing Financial Forecast For You and Your Customers

10-02-2014 Chris

The financial forecasts for 2014 cloud computing are predicting a hot year for cloud technologies. According to Forbes, end-user spending on cloud services will exceed $180 billion by the end of 2015 and by 2014, American businesses will spend more than $13 billion on cloud computing and managed hosting services. But what does this mean for you, as a cloud provider or a cloud customer? Here are some implications for the current rate of growth for the cloud computing industry.

For customers:

Downward trend in prices

As more cloud hosting services emerge, companies need to maintain competitive pricing to retain and grow their existing customer base. Amazon Web Services, for example, had over 30 price cuts since 2006, and Microsoft Azure, Amazon, Google, and other cloud providers are following suit. The challenge for companies, however, will be to maintain the efficiency and integrity of their systems while reducing costs.

Move Your Accounting and ERP System to the Cloud

Transferring your CRM data to the cloud can be a tasking process, but there are countless other reasons why you should begin the migration process. Not only does it eliminate almost all infrastructure maintenance costs, cloud services offer upgrades and 24/7 support for the execs who will be using the system. Hybrid options also make the migration more feasible, and cloud providers will work with you to sort out compliance issues.

For cloud providers:

Paradigm shifts still to come…

Although cloud computing is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, it still only accounts for 14% of the average company tech spend. The major reasons: IT pros are hesitant to make infrastructure changes; there are lingering security concerns; and uncertainty surrounds compliance issues when putting information on the cloud. The top cloud services currently being invested in are web hosting, email hosting, online backup, and content filtering.

But new cloud services are beginning to dominate

A recent report by Spiceworks says that most spending on IT in 2014 will be recurring payments, meaning there will be less new investment in cloud computing services. When it comes to investing in new cloud services for the company, IT pros are looking to productivity solutions and online backup/recover services. Here is an infographic from Spiceworks on investment in cloud computing services:

WebPal Cloud Content Server is a business solution for secureprivate, and powerful web content managementdocument storage and online collaboration. Find out more about WebPal’s cloud content server.



3 Tips for Consolidating Your ECM

31-01-2014 Chris

The ideal end-result for enterprises who adopt cloud technologies is to have a consolidated document management system, where any and all documents are managed on the cloud. Unfortunately for many enterprises in 2014, that reality has been hard to come by as they move to bring they attempt to migrate and consolidate their entire workforce and business processes on one unified system.

“The goal of one master file, stored and managed in one location and shared through multiple channels was a worthy ECM goal, but it proved too impractical for most,” says Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Research Director for Social Business at global analyst firm 451 Research. “I don’t think it is a problem with the tools as such, more one of governance, culture, and common sense. Everything needs to be managed, but to a greater or lesser extent.”

Pelz-Sharpe goes on to say that the rise of mobile computing, BYOD policies, and flatter organizational structures have all contributed to this fragmentation. Here are WebPal’s tips for consolidating your organization’s document management system:

1. Define Key Performance Indicators, and Method of Measurement

When introducing a new cloud management system, determine the ratio of employees you want to onboard on the new system, the frequency of use, what types of documents should be managed exclusively on the cloud, time savings, etc. Here is a handy chart that can help you define ROI and KPI when implementing a new system.

2. Proper on-boarding and training 

It isn’t enough to create a guide that you hope your employees read before using the new system, especially if the guide is shared only on the cloud system itself. Reinforce your policies and goals for the system with an info session, and allow your employee to ask questions that will help them understand how the new system will integrate into their daily work lives.

3. Follow up

Continue to measure your KPI to keep track of your goals and the performance of the new system. To create lasting change within the organization, you have to make an ongoing commitment to keep talking about the new system and figuring out where deviations from best practice standards occur. It could be that your goals are off, or there is a knowledge gap within your company. Either way, check in regularly so you can ensure you are progressing towards your goals.



The Current State of Global Cloud Regulations

07-11-2013 Chris

Each country has their own unique cloud regulation policies that can be confusing to users, especially those who share their content across borders. As global Information Cloud Technology (ICT) innovation occurs, cloud policies and regulations need to constantly adapt to keep up. Here is an idea of cloud regulation policies in the U.S., Europe, and Canada

The United States of America

There are a number of specific laws that govern the use of the cloud in the United States, and each of them pertain to a specific vertical or industry. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) helps protect the privacy and security of health information using three types of safeguards: administrative measures to manage the selection, development, implementation, and maintenance of systems; physical measures used to protect electronic information systems and related buildings and equipment; and the technology and the policies and procedures that govern its use.

Meanwhile, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) encompasses two rules for storing financial data in the cloud: the Financial Privacy Rule and the Safeguards Rule. The Financial Privacy Rule requires financial institutions to provide their customers with details of the information they have gathered and where it is stored. The Safeguards Rule means they must outline in clear and unambiguous language their document storage policies regarding customers’ non-public information.

In education, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires educational institutions to get consent from students before placing their information on the cloud. Although the U.S. has been the number one cloud provider for many years, but the recent NSA surveillance scandal may change that. Some analysts are predicting American cloud providers could suffer more that $22 billion in lost revenue due to surveillance concerns.

Europe

Edward Snowden shook things up with his revelations that the National Security Agency of the United States was monitoring information on cloud systems like Amazon Web Services. Since then, the European Union is proposing new legislation to protect the digital privacy of their citizens. These legislative amendments to existing laws include launching user notifications and consent agreements when data is transferred from a cloud inside the E.U. to a cloud outside of it, which details the possibility of surveillance by a third-country authority. Although it is uncertain if all these laws will pass, there is general consensus in Europe that more regulation is needed to protect their citizens.

Canada

Canada has recently risen as a world leader in ICT innovation, from 12th place in 2012 to 9th place this year. The 2012 copyright bill, Bill C-11, helped instigate this improvement, and places Canada in a position to ratify the WIPO Copyright agreement. The bill allows content distribution and software companies to place “digital locks” on their creative content to guard it from unlawful use. Access to broadband internet still needs to improve if Canada is going to continue to raise its international rankings, as the digital divide is still a prominent issue in this country.



Top 4 Myths About the Private Cloud

02-10-2013 Chris

From 67 per cent of enterprises in 2012 to 75 per cent of enterprises in 2013, the cloud has finally started to gain traction. More than ever, companies are using cloud content management systems to collaborate and share their important documents. Unfortunately for enterprises looking to invest in private cloud infrastructure, there are still a number of concerns involved in public clouds that put cloud document management into question. In a recent infographic by Skyhigh, it was determined that 40% of the top 10 file sharing systems that are in used by enterprises are classified as “high risk” services. Here are some myths about public cloud services that give private cloud systems a bad rep:

It’s unsecure

When you look at the high risk file sharing services, they all exist on the public cloud. One of the main problems with security on a cloud system occurs when admin roles change and access shifts between employees. Sophisticated private cloud document management systems allow you to easily manage admin roles and monitor who has accessed a document and when.

It’s difficult to implement

Like any new SaaS or IT system, implementing a cloud content management system across an organization takes time, although it is less time-intensive than changing a hardware system. Once the system has been implemented however, the system can easily scale with your business so you don’t have to change services.

It’s not reliable enough for large-scale organizations

Many large-scale organizations operating in regulation-heavy industries, like health care and financial services, believe that the cloud does not offer the compliancy regulations they require for document management. Compliancy regulations in many industries are moving towards Electronic Document Management and many private cloud providers offer the compliance coverage you need.

Employee adoption rates will be low

By enabling employees to access documents on their desktop and through their mobile, as well as offering multiple collaboration and sharing opportunities, cloud content management systems like WebPal are easy-to-use.

Find out more about our secure and seamless cloud content management solutions.



3 Reasons the Healthcare Industry Could Benefit From Cloud Computing

29-08-2013 Chris

When it comes to matters of our personal health care, we don’t want to leave anything up to chance. Compliancy and security issues are the predominant concerns for practices who are considering implementing cloud content management systems to manage their medical records. Previously, government legislation like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States had strict regulations for how health care providers were required to store their data, but new HIPAA requirements state that by 2015, all medical professionals with access to patient records must utilize electronic systems. Now is the ideal time for the health care industry to move to the cloud. Here are some ways cloud content management systems can improve the health care industry:

It saves money

Healthcare providers are required to store a patient’s records for a minimum of 6 years after they are discharged. A report conducted by Canada Health Infoway estimates that community-based practices saved approximately $84 million Canadian from the reduction of paper handling. Electronic-based content management can also become costly if it involves physical on-site hardware. By centralizing your efforts in a cloud content management system, health care providers can reduce their spending on physical hardware and the maintenance of those systems.

It’s a scalable solution

One of the biggest problems with on-site hardware for content management is it can be difficult to scale as your practice grows. Updating your hardware system can be a costly and time-consuming project that can disrupt daily operations. Cloud content management systems like WebPal are scalable, and can easily adjust to the size of your practice.

More informed and efficient delivery of care

Most importantly, cloud content management can improve patient care. By making medical records more accessible with a cloud content management system, patients and healthcare providers are empowered to make more informed decisions when it matters most.

With cloud content management systems like WebPal, health care providers get the scalability, efficiency, and security that they need to store their patient and medical records. Researchers and practitioners are using WebPal Servers to securely store documents, disseminate knowledge, gather data, analyze, and share results. Learn more about our features.



Finding the middle ground between PC’s and mobile devices is key to success

24-04-2012

For information technology companies, it has become increasingly important to be a master of all trades, especially in mobile and PC technology. While PC’s offer more functionality and can handle some more complex tasks, smartphones and tablets are important to help foster a mobile and remote business environment. The successful IT companies will be able to offer both to their customers.

On Monday, Intel announced at an event in San Francisco that it is launching its new Core microprocessors called Ivy Bridge for their thin laptops called Ultrabooks. Up until now Intel “has largely been shut out of the smartphone and tablet markets, where devices are most commonly powered by chips based on designs by Britain’s Arm Holdings.” Analysts say the new Ultrabook technology is an attempt to off-set moves by Arm Holdings to encroach on the PC market with the release of Windows 8 (the first Arm compatible version of Microsoft’s operating system).

“The ultrabooks and tablets are where Intel and Arm’s supporters are really going to be fighting for turf,” says Rob Engerle, a tech analyst with the Enderle Group. “Whoever wins this middle group is going to have a lot of momentum going into PCs or phones.”

As mobile content management becomes more crucial to giving businesses a competitive edge, The Globe and Mail has released some tips on developing a mobile strategy. This includes figuring out what work your employees typically use outside the office, which employees need mobile access for work, and how you expect to prevent a security breach in case an employee loses their phone or device. If it’s too far outside your company’s expertise, they suggest outsourcing.

WebPal has made sure to integrate mobility into its cloud content management systems by making your content accessible from a variety of smartphones and tablets. WebPal also connects with some of your favourite apps. To learn more, go to our features page.



Canadian business owners don’t like cloud computing

12-04-2012

 Information technology has provided us with countless avenues for increasing efficiency and accessing new revenue streams for many businesses; It just stands to reason that businesses should be excited to try leveraging the power of the cloud to do so. But according to a new BMO study, conducted my Leger Marketing, only a sad percentage of business owners are interested in cloud content management systems.

50 per cent of business owners polled say they do not know what Cloud computing is, and another 40 per cent indicated no immediate plans to use cloud computing. The remaining 10 per cent said they plan on using it.

“At BMO, we continually advise small business owners to keep abreast of new ideas and developments that have the potential to be cost and time-effective solutions for their businesses,” says Cathy Pin, Vice President of Commercial Banking at BMO. “Cloud computing provides small businesses with access to platforms and enterprise solutions once reserved solely for big businesses.”

“This services model can also lower overall IT costs, while giving business access to valuable analytics, productivity and collaboration tools,” says Bal Sahjpaul, also with BMO.

WebPal’s cloud content server provides easy organization for all your documents. You can share documents online, convert to various formats and access the server from your mobile device, all while making sure your documents are secure. For more information, go to our features page.



Do Documents Dream of Business Processes?

11-04-2012 Markus

by Greg Leighton, PhD

As a matter of course, you expect your documents to be available to you whenever you need them. But what about those frequent periods of time between accesses, while they are “sleeping”? Is there more they can do for your organization during these idle periods?

Awareness is growing that documents and other types of unstructured data, such as emails, news feeds, multimedia clips, and social media content, represent a valuable source of information about an organization’s business processes. Various estimates suggest that as much as 80% of a modern organization’s data is unstructured. Despite this, most attention thus far has been paid to mining structured information — such as transactional data — that fits tidily into relational databases. This is partly because the rigid schemas of database tables represent less of a moving target, facilitating the development of focused mining strategies capable of exploiting structural knowledge during their search for interesting patterns.

A second contributing factor has been the ever-rising importance of unstructured data within the enterprise. While relational databases have consistently played a key role since their introduction in the 1970s, various trends over the intervening decades have contributed to grant a higher status to unstructured data. These include the introduction of document authoring software, the adoption of email and instant messaging as core business communication tools, and the recent use of social media platforms as a means for increasing brand awareness and for obtaining immediate customer feedback. In response, effective solutions for mining information from such sources are only now emerging.

Utilizing the WebPal.net cloud infrastructure, we’re currently developing efficient and scalable methods for gleaning valuable business knowledge from documents, as they “sleep”. While maintaining the same levels of availability and responsiveness our users have grown accustomed to, we will be able to offer the many additional benefits presented by a robust document mining solution.



The face of business is getting cloudy

10-04-2012

 The face of business is changing as IT and cloud computing become a part of everyday vernacular in the office. The change has been slow and gradual since cloud computing first emerged some years ago, but it’s speeding up faster than ever. As recession-like economic conditions persist, companies need to adopt some cost saving measures, and harnessing the power of mobility, business process management and the cloud is just the way to do that.

In November 2011, Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist and Program Director of the MIT Centre for Digital Business published an article in the Harvard Business Review. He stated that cloud computing is “a sea change – a deep and permanent shift in how computing power is generated and consumed. It’s as inevitable and irreversible as the shift from steam to electric power in manufacturing…”

Even early cloud adopters who are looking to improve business process management need to keep up-to-date with the trends in IT, because it’s undergoing constant evolution as well.

“The IT function of 2015 will bear little resemblance to its current state,” says one report. “Many activities will devolve to business units, be consolidated with other central functions such as HR and Finance, or be externally sourced.”

Cloud computing and the resulting globalizing effect means great things for India, as their outsourcing industry is booming. A story in The Globe and Mail says that business process operations (BPO) and IT operations account for 7.5 per cent of the country’s GDP and employ 2.8 million people.

“This is where the whole business world in India is heading,” says Muskan Chalwa, who trains corporate lawyers for the legal outsourcing firm Pangea3.

The WebPal software harnesses the power of the cloud by offering users the efficiency and cost-saving measures they expect from cloud software, and more. We give you control on scalability, privacy and help make sure your content is secure. Cross all types of barriers by jumping on the cloud with WebPal.



Top Cloud Security Issues

05-04-2012

When companies discuss their cloud content management practices, the discussion inevitably turns to security. Cloud content management is still a relatively new space, and changes to corporate processes and structure are inevitable. The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) has released a report to help companies navigate the muddy waters of content management systems. Marnix Dekker, one of the authors of the report, says structural change will come first.

Organizations have started switching from running systems internally to outsourcing and using cloud services. So the skills and focus of IT staff have to change,” says Dekker.

Dekker goes on the say that companies need to be smarter about asking the right questions from their providers. One field where this is difficult is incident response time.

“It is difficult to write a contract on how quick incidents should be resolved because they can be very complicated to address. But for users it is important to get data on how fast incidents were or were not resolved,” says Dekker.

Another major security issues is Bring-Your-Own-Device policies that companies have adopted, which allows employees to use varying operating systems.

“There’s a wide consensus between security professionals that the practice of employees brings their own devices to work is exposing corporate networks to serious security risks because of lack of control over those devices.”

Security is obviously a large concern for cloud content management system adopters, which means providers need to make it a priority. WebPal is a secure cloud server that can be fully isolated, while still remaining flexible to your organizational needs. Ask us about WebPal Enterprise to learn about Secure Enterprise Content Management and other compliancy and security options.