Cloud or dedicated server? Where is the smart money going?

Should you be entrusting your data to the cloud or keeping it down to earth on your own servers? This is a decision facing every CIO. Cloud or dedicated server?  And it’s one they’ll be forced to justify and revisit regularly for the foreseeable future. That’s because there’s been no knock-out blow in the argument between the cloud and the in-house server. There’s plenty to be said for both, which makes the question one of what’s right for you.



Cloud or Dedicated Server

Looking cloudward

Surely the chance to ditch your servers and outsource to someone who is steeped in server management seems like a gift from the universe.

The arguments in favor of cloud computing are easy to make, especially to someone frustrated by the intellectual overhead and raw cost of maintaining their own servers. The promises of the cloud include the following.

  • You pay only for what you use, so it’s incredibly flexible; you can scale up or down at will.
  • Security, upgrading, and server configuration are in the hands of experts.

In these days of everything being “as-a-service,” the idea of owning anything like a server seems downright old-fashioned. If Uber can run the world’s largest taxi service without owning any taxis, why on earth would you need to own servers?

Where to look closely

There are a few things you need to factor in to make sure you’re comfortable with any potential compromises.

Power: Cloud providers can’t match the power of a dedicated server that’s properly configured.

Speed: The scalability of the cloud has to do with getting more or less storage, not faster storage, which might be a concern when another customer is flogging the server you’re on.

Latency: If your cloud host uses dispersed locations or it’s not nearby, you might have latency issues.

Taking a dedicated approach

The promise of cloud computing is most clearly seen in companies meeting one or more of the following criteria.

  • Tight budgets
  • Growth they can’t predict
  • Business-to-consumer models
  • Jobs that don’t need lots of computer power or storage or much time to run

A company that has a business-to-business model or has well-established usage needs and predictable growth will likely find running its own servers cheaper and more efficient. This is something you can quickly run the numbers on, and the results might surprise you, considering that “cheaper” is a clarion call of the cloud industry.

The issue of security

It’s also worth running the decision through the filter of security. Hackers fish where the fish are, which makes cloud hosts attractive targets. You’re not just outsourcing server configuration and the like. You’re trusting another company with your security. If security is a concern, you’re probably better off keeping your servers in-house, where you can tailor security to your needs.


Printer Security – Your network’s weak link

Is  printer security the weak link in your brand’s cybersecurity?

You’ve covered all bases to protect your business against cyberattacks – incorporating the latest firewalls and virus scanners, a vigilant IT team and a well-trained workforce. But hackers are hoping you’ve overlooked a potential security vulnerability: the office printer. Printer security is becoming more important as these devices become more sophisticated.printer security

Today’s wireless multifunction printers (MFPs) are complex networked devices. And if not secured properly, they can expose your sensitive business data to unauthorized access and misuse. Even worse, beyond the damage to company reputation and bottom line, if certain companies fail to notify clients of data breaches impacting them, they could face severe fines under the various security and data breach notification laws established in each state. California, for example, was the first jurisdiction worldwide to pass such a data security law in 2002.

The bottom line is that safeguarding your printers is essential. Here are the best ways to prevent unauthorized printer activity and eavesdropping.

Secure access to your printer

Modern printers offer superior convenience, with features such as combined printer/scanner/fax capabilities, and wireless connectivity from PCs, laptops and other devices. But this can also make them prone to malicious activity, as shown recently when a U.K. hacker gained access to thousands of publicly exposed printers.

This can be prevented by ensuring your printer only allows access from approved networks and devices. Strategies include:

  • Configure the printer’s access control list (ACL) to limit access by device, individual or network (including wireless networks).
  • Consider using a PIN-based ‘pull print’ solution to avoid sensitive documents being abandoned in the tray.
  • Turn on encryption to protect printer data, in transit and stored on the printer’s hard drive.

A wireless printer can be a potential opening to hackers if it also has direct access to your company’s network. This can be mitigated by choosing a printer that allows direct peer-to-peer printing using its own local wireless signal, without needing to tap into your company LAN.

Patch and update

Like any other networked computing device, printers should be refreshed regularly with patches and other security updates. Be sure to check for firmware updates as part of your regular printer maintenance schedule.

If you’re using not just one printer but a whole fleet of them, it’s a good idea to use a fleet security management tool that can identify new devices as they’re added, and automatically apply company-wide security settings. It may also be worth investing in tools that can monitor your endpoint devices, including printers, for unusual behaviors or incidents.

Effective printer security begins with the understanding that any networked printer can potentially be used to hack into your systems and databases. Take proactive steps to secure your printers and you’ll have one less security headache to manage.

Why color is the new black for business printing

With so many colors in the rainbow, why limit your business to dull black and white printing? Research tells us that color has numerous psychological benefits when it comes

Business Printing

to printing internal and external business documents. Understanding when to use colors and for which audience can ultimately help your brand engage with your clients on a deeper level and evoke the right responses.

The psychology of color

There’s extensive research that tells us specific colors trigger particular emotional responses. However, there is no set rule for this science, as everyone’s reaction will be different based on their age, gender and personal experiences.

Despite these variations, there remains one clear truth: color has impact. According to the Xerox Color Survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 54 percent of people said they were more likely to read marketing material if it was printed in color, while 76 percent said they found information faster when it was in color.

Why is this the case? Think about how many advertisements and marketing items we’re exposed to on a daily basis. With so many competing messages, it makes sense that our eyes are drawn to vibrant colors.

Building your brand

Beyond simply standing out and the visual appeal, color can also help build an identity for your company by making your brand more recognizable. Picture some of the biggest brands in the world and the first color that comes to mind for each – the iconic golden arches of McDonald’s, the red and white of Coca-Cola, the blue and white of Facebook.

Once you’ve settled on your brand’s color or colors of choice, use them consistently across all marketing collateral so customers establish the connection with your brand and remember it. However, be careful which colors you choose – certain colors, and even the names of certain colors, can lead to negative perceptions among different audiences.

Pairing color with audience

Whether you’re printing internal documents with the objective of driving some form of action among your employees, or you’re launching a new print-based advertising campaign, choosing the right color for your audience is vital.

In fact, one study revealed men and women have different preferences for color. Whereas both genders listed blue as their favorite color, one of the major discrepancies was purple, which women listed as one of their most preferred colors and men did not. Men also prefer bright colors, while women prefer soft colors.

When it comes to planning your next print-based marketing campaign, consider your target audience carefully and choose your colors wisely. It might just make all the difference.