Working where and when you want. Where previously the term “teleworking” was used, we are now bombarded with “the cloud”. But what is the cloud?
The cloud is…
A curtailed version of cloud computing. The definition on Wikipedia boils down to “Cloud computing is a type of Internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data.” Therefore the term “cloud” is very broad. It can mean access to a single application, but also access to an entire corporate network.
In marketing statements, “the cloud” is used whether appropriate or not. Consequently, it has become a container concept. In communication, that causes a lot of incomprehension, because not everyone uses “the cloud” in the same context.
Connecting to the corporate network
This is the archetype of the cloud. Where a modem was used to dial into the corporate network, these days Virtual Private Networking, or VPN, is used to securely connect over an existing Internet connection. With this technique, the remote device is part of the corporate network, often with the same permissions as a workstation which is physically in the corporate network.
On 1A-servers, making VPN connections is one of the standard features.
Separate applications (Software-as-a-Service)
Full access to the corporate network is enjoyable in terms of functionality, but it can be detrimental to security. Another approach is to provide access to separate components. Current cloud models typically consist of using separate applications from different cloud vendors. For example, Office365 and Exact Online. Functionalities can be broken down even further.
1A provides methods for getting remote access to files. Webfolders allows you to share folders as if they are network shares. With Nextcloud, you have the option of synchronization, just like with Dropbox, and you can easily share files with third parties. This, of course, involves a security risk: synchronized files are also stored locally to employees’ devices. If someone loses a laptop or phone, (business) data is out in the open.
Groupware and communication
Communication is the most important process for each company. 1A provides Groupware with Kopano or Office365. Both solutions have pros and cons. Kopano runs on your own 1A-server, so you know where your data is located. Several interesting features have been added, such as Files for Team and Web Meetings. Do you want to continue using Outlook? Then Office365 is the clear choice. However, here you are fully dependent on the end supplier (Microsoft) for where your data is stored and what happens to it.
Another form of communication is by voice, or telephone. Where analog lines and ISDN were deployed before, VoIP (Voice over IP) now dominates the market. Especially now that KPN has announced that it will discontinue ISDN on September 1, 2019. 1A offers a full-featured VoIP telephone exchange and even the devices are available as a rental option. With the 1A-manager, telephony can be easily managed from one place. The Phonetool offers the ease of use we are used to from our mobile phones and links with Kopano’s public address book when that is also used.
Functionality versus security
Recently, a colleague of mine jokingly said to me: “The only safe server is one that is powered off and is cast into concrete.” A nice idea, but that makes it impossible to work. Therefore, it is important to consider which solution best fits any request for access to specific data. Your 1A-partner can assist you in this.
Richard de Vroede
A perfectionistic Jack-of-all-trades who dedicates all of his passion to his work.
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