04 Aug 2016

When is it right to move to cloud services?

The other day I was out, after watching a game with a few friends, having a cool beverage. As it inevitably does, the conversation turned to business. Since most of us around the table are business owners, the big question came up “When should I start to use cloud services?”

I can’t count how many times clients ask me this, but when this group of guys asked, me I was a little shocked. All of these guys are running successful businesses, and in my opinion are pretty smart, and forward thinking.  So I couldn’t believe that none of them were using the cloud, or at least didn’t realize it.

After talking some more, I finally pulled out, that all of them had some sort of cloud service running today.  All of them without realizing, already had some aspect of their business in the cloud, the integration was seamless or didn’t impact daily operations, so they hadn’t even realized.  After I left my friends I thought about this more.  Why are my clients, and my friends, not ready to move ahead with cloud services?

Microsoft bets big on cloud services

Canadian Cloud ServicesMicrosoft says that 87% of Canadian SMBs have yet to move to the cloud.  Now this statistic reflects usage of Microsoft’s Office 365 and Azure, but still is a staggering number.  They expect 25-30% growth in cloud usage this year in Canada, which is why Microsoft is betting big on Canada.  In May Microsoft announced the opening of two new Canadian datacenters for Azure and Office 365 in Toronto and Quebec City.

SMBs need to be agile and flexible.  The ability to adapt and change quickly in a market makes SMBs great partners to work with.  Cloud services allow this and provide an excellent service value.  Most SMBs without realizing are already moving to adopt cloud services; backups, accounting, payroll, and sales tools are just a few areas where cloud services are already pervasive.  When I grilled my friends most of them already had some system running in the cloud and just didn’t think of it like that.

Why are SMBs wary about adopting cloud services?

When asked, most business owners are thinking about their primary systems, email, ERP and other systems as the workloads they would move.  Many view moving these primary systems, that touch every aspect of their businesses, as risky.  The old adage “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” always comes to mind.

The reality is that it already is broken and they just haven’t realized.  Many SMBs run their business on systems that are outdated, running on platforms that need updates, have security vulnerabilities, or are just plan not functional for today’s business.  Consequently their systems are already broken or in need of updates that are will require significant investments.  Critical systems, like email or ERP, need to be up and running 24/7, yet the average downtime for an on premise exchange server is 40 hours per year.  That is in the enterprise space, at the SMB level this number is even higher.  Do you really want to have over a week of downtime per year for your email?imgs2

Recently I did an analysis of the costs of buying on premise exchange versus Office 365.  I knew going in that the advantage was going to be with Office 365.  However when it revealed the cost of hosting exchange on premise, over a 5 year period, is almost 3x the cost of Office 365, I was surprised.  This is especially true when we consider the management and support costs as well.  Email is probably the easiest system to move too, yet many SMBs are spending more for on-premise systems.

What is an SMB to do?

So again why are SMBs not ready to move to cloud services when we have tried and tested options available.  The biggest arguments I hear

“I don’t want to lose control of my data.”
“The cloud is not as secure.”

Both of these are really common misconceptions.  The reality is that your data always remains your data, it’s in the contract.  Security is better and more controlled in the cloud then in your network.  So take a day and educate yourself on the cloud and cloud services.  BANG is a Microsoft 1-Tier Cloud Provider and Gold Cloud Partner so I would be happy to help anyone understand why the cloud is great.  Finally, I posted a few links to articles and on Office 365 and Azure.  Read them – and if you have question reach out I will be glad to answer them.  You can also attend one of our upcoming lunch and learns and find out why NOW is the time to move to the cloud.

  1. Top 10 Cloud security questions
  2. Cloud security controls
  3. Top Privacy questions to ask your cloud provider
  4. What are the benefits of Microsoft Canadian Datacenters
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25 Jul 2016

Going for Microsoft Cloud Gold

Canada Rio OlympicsWith the Olympics in Rio on the horizon, Canadian athletes will be on the hunt for Gold.  Athletes have spent months, and even years training for this moment.  Winning a gold medal at the Olympics is the pinnacle of an athletes career.  It demonstrates their level of commitment and excellence to a sport.

BANG has been on the hunt for gold too.  Over the past several months the team at BANG have been working to achieve our gold certification from Microsoft.  Finally, at the start of July we reached that goal.  BANG has obtained Gold Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions Competency, putting BANG at the forefront of cloud providers in Canada.Microsoft Gold Partner Logo

This new attainment makes BANG an “elite” Gold Cloud Partner

BANG is now one of 30 resellers, out of 3400 in Canada, to reach this level of certification. This clearly shows our expertise on Office 365 and its supporting technologies.  Over the past several months our techs have been studying hard.  Many techs have earned their certifications in Office 365 in order to achieve this competency.  With this hard earned knowledge, we have completed many successful migrations to Office 365 for our clients.

Microsoft competencies require 3 things: demonstration of knowledge, deployment of the technologies, and recognition from clients.  Our team certified on Office 365, we had to sell and deploy Office 365, and we had to do it so well, that our clients would be willing to tell Microsoft that we are the greatest.

This particular competency shows our commitment to the SMB market, and demonstrates our level of expertise and experience within this market.  BANG specializes in offering services to SMBs, and now we have even better tools and resources.

With the cloud becoming so important to businesses this certification couldn’t be more timely, and it just further shows the level of commitment BANG has to new technologies.

I am proud that our team achieved all this, it’s a great accomplishment for the company.  Working together,  our sales, project and support teams delivered the results to bring this home, I congratulate them all for their hard work and dedication.

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06 May 2016

Enabling Productivity with O365 and the Cloud

JS Assurance

Since 1896, Montreal-based Jolicoeur Savard Assurance Inc. (JSA) has been helping individuals and businesses secure outstanding insurance coverage. As one of Canada’s oldest insurance brokerages, JSA leverages its knowledge and contacts to negotiate commercial and consumer policies with all of the major insurance companies on behalf of its 3,000 commercial and 8,000 consumer clients. While the company works across many industry verticals, its team of 50 employees has earned an exceptionally strong reputation for great customer service and its deep expertise in commercial auto insurance and tourism, leisure and sports.

THE CHALLENGE

JSA’s IT had fallen behind the times. The company’s aging fleet of computers, on-premises servers, outdated software systems, lack of mobility device management and even its Internet accessibility were seriously hampering its productivity and had become costly and frustrating. In short, almost everything IT had to go—the company needed a new, end-to-end, modern technology solution to stay competitive.

THE SOLUTION

A change in ownership ushered in new management at JSA and, with it, a new philosophy about the role of technology at the company. Instead of trying to do everything itself internally, JSA Vice President and General Manager Daniel Forget called on Microsoft Certified Partner and cloud services provider BANG Industries (www.bang.ca) to reboot the company’s IT mix with productivity, reliability, security and mobility top-of-mind.
“The challenge was do a 180 shift. As an insurance broker JSA did not want to manage IT any longer. They also realized that looking at IT as a cost centre instead of an investment was hurting them. The key was to make their transition to the cloud as smooth as possible and to help JSA’s employees embrace this transition through training and support.”

Robert Helie, BANG Industries President

Through an intense six-month collaborative engagement, BANG leveraged its expertise, infrastructure and partnerships to provide JSA with a complete solution, from initial planning and deployment, to employee training and on/offsite support. This solution involved:

* Moving from a fleet of old PCs running Windows XP to modern dual monitor workstations running state-of-the-art broker management software: sigXP® by Keal (www.keal.com)

* From having extremely limited Internet access to being connected anywhere, at any time, complete with a redundant access solution in place to guarantee reliability.

* From maintaining an aging fleet of servers on premises to a private IaaS cloud solution using virtual machines to host all of JSA’s business-critical applications and data securely.

*Migrating to Office 365, including OneDrive for file sharing and storage, to provide employees with the latest productivity apps and easy email and file access across devices.

*End-user training and support on the new platforms by BANG and through online training programs provided by Microsoft and Keal.

“The adoption of a modern technology solution in the cloud has changed our business for the better in almost every way imaginable. We’re a hugely more efficient and productive team. We’ve empowered our staff to collaborate and work remotely, on any device. Our security is top class. We have predictable IT costs and no maintenance headaches. Our employees are happier and have modernized their skills, as well. And as a result all of these things, we’ve vastly improved our competitiveness, profitability and best of all, customer experience.”
Daniel Forget, JSA Vice President and General Manager

THE BENEFITS

Productivity – introducing new PCs, best-in-class broker management software as well as modern productivity apps, email, calendar and file sharing through Office 365 has dramatically accelerated workflows, empowering employees to get a lot more done with better results.
Cost Management – JSA no longer invests in maintaining outdated server hardware and software and instead benefits from fixed and predictable operational IT expenses.
Reliability – Frustrating issues with Internet access, file sharing, scheduling meetings and accessing email on mobility devices have disappeared. The company now enjoys 99.9% uptime.
Better Security – With a private IaaS solution in place, JSA benefits from state-of-the-art security measures to protect data, applications and customer privacy—a must for its line of business.
Mobility – JSA’s cloud solution enables employees to work from home and its salesforce to work on the go, at any time, on virtually any device—easily, securely and seamlessly.

THE LEARNING

The JSA story offers us some great insights for small and medium-sized businesses concerned about the perceived costs of upgrading their technology:

* Rethink IT. By changing the way they thought about IT (from a cost-centre to an investment), JSA unlocked its potential and empowered its team to compete at an unprecedented level.
* Partner up! By partnering with BANG, an expert Microsoft Certified Partner, JSA was able to modernize its entire IT system with a minimum of disruption, in just six months.
* Embrace the cloud. With a modern cloud solution, JSA now benefits from powerful productivity tools, advanced security, 99.9% uptime and much more—all cost-effectively.

LINKS
Jolicoeur Savard Assurance: http://www.jsassurance.ca/
BANG Industries: http://www.bang.ca/
Office 365 for Business: https://products.office.com/en-ca/business/office

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11 Jan 2016

« Disaster Recovery Plan » : c’est quoi ça ?

Cet article a paru pour la première fois sur Lime - Blogue d'affaires

C’est assez compliqué à changer d’emploi, mais je me souviens du temps quand je venais me joindre à l’équipe de BANG. Plusieurs nouveaux défis, ça faisait tout un changement! En fait, ce n’est pas le changement tel quel, mais plutôt les questions des gens :

« Comment ça se passe? » « Aimes-tu ça? »… vous vous reconnaissez, n’est-ce pas? 🙂

Mais dans mon cas, la question existentielle, le top des tops, c’est…

« Mais, Andreea, que faites-vous exactement? »

« Nous vendons des solutions TI et des plans de reprise d’activité après sinistre, ou DRP ( Disaster Recovery Plan ) »

Et là… ils bloquent!

Votre entreprise a-t-elle une stratégie de reprise d’activité informatique et récupérations de données après un sinistre?

Étant donnée la valeur des données, il est très important pour les PME de s’assurer que, peu importe ce qui arrive aux ordinateurs, serveurs, techniciens, employés, à l’édifice, ou même à l’environnement informatique, « The show must go on! ».

Une étude de Gartner dit que « 43% des PME, qui subissent une perte de données majeure ne se remettent jamais et 29% mettent la clef dans la porte moins de deux années suivant le sinistre. ». En même temps, les professionnels du domaine sont d’avis qu’il faudrait vérifier au moins une fois par année les backups avec une restauration complète, pour s’assurer qu’ils sont valides et prêts à être utilisés en cas de sinistre.disaster-recovery-plan

Que doit-on faire?

Qui aurait cru qu’un feu dans la cuisine d’un restaurant au rez-de-chaussée du Complexe Desjardins détruise les serveurs d’un de nos clients du troisième étage? Avant que cela ne se produise, pas nous!

La migration vers le cloud est en train de devenir un exercice indispensable pour la sauvegarde efficace et sécuritaire des données et de tout environnement informatique. Cette option pourrait vous permettre de reprendre vos activités plus rapidement après un sinistre majeur.

La copie externe de vos backups, est une excellente solution, mais est-elle suffisante pour rétablir relativement rapidement et facilement un environnement de travail fonctionnel? Si vous avez pris des images complètes de vos serveurs, vous pourriez surement les virtualiser dans le cloud, soit sur un nuage privé, soit dans un cloud public comme ceux offerts par Microsoft ou chez votre fournisseur d’infrastructure cloud si celui-ci fournit cette option.

Et le plus important : N’attendez pas que le pire arrive pour tester votre stratégie!

Si tout ça ne vous dit rien, mais commence à vous inquiéter, notre équipe de spécialistes peut vous aider à trouver une solution adaptée aux besoins de votre entreprise.

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16 Dec 2015

Félicitations à tous les participants – Tirage Stratégies PME 2016

Durant la quatrième édition de l’événement Stratégies PME 2016, qui a eu lieu le 25 et 26 novembre 2015 au Palais des Congrès de Montréal, l’équipe de Bang a organisé un grand tirage auprès des visiteurs souhaitant avoir plus de renseignements sur nos services et en particulier sur Office 365 de Microsoft.

L’expérience fut des plus agréable et toute l’équipe vous remercie. Nous avons eu un réel plaisir de vous rencontrer et d’échanger avec vous.

Le prix a été tiré le 1er décembre, par le président de BANG, M Robert Hélie dans la présence du vice-président, M. Shane Monty.

Le gagnant de cette année est:

Félicitations!

Nous souhaitons remercier TechData Canada qui a rendu possible la tenue de ce tirage par le don de l’appareil Roku3.

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10 Nov 2015

BANG partenaire 1-Tier CSP de Microsoft

Montréal, Canada – 10 novembre 2015 – BANG est nommé partenaire CSP 1er Niveau par Microsoft Canada

« Il s’agit d’une très importante étape qui a été franchie par BANG cela démontre la confiance de Microsoft envers nous », dit Robert Hélie, le président de BANG.

Les solutions infonuagiques sont le pilier central des stratégies de croissance de Microsoft. Selon leur PDG Satya Nadella, Microsoft est entièrement dédiée à « donner aux gens et aux organisations le pouvoir de réaliser plus ».

Bang est fier d’être un partenaire aussi important de Microsoft dans la promotion de leurs valeurs. La mise en place de leurs solutions cloud permet un déploiement rapide et qui facilite la gestion informatique, étant parfaitement adapté aux PME d’aujourd’hui, car elles diminuent les investissements en capital tout en augmentant la productivité.

Afin d’attendre le statut de CSP 1er Niveau de Microsoft, Bang a du faire preuve de solides capacités dans quatre domaines: le modèle d’affaire de son offre de services, sa taille, son infrastructure et ses services de soutien technique, ainsi qu’un service de facturation efficace.

Depuis ses débuts, aider les clients à transformer leur entreprise est au cœur de toutes les activités de BANG. Plus que jamais, avec le statut de CSP 1er Niveau, BANG est en mesure d’offrir encore plus efficacement à ses clients les solutions infonuagiques de Microsoft tout en y ajoutant la valeur de son expertise. Ceci est fait tout au long du processus, facturation, approvisionnement et support après-vente.

Les partenaires CSP de 1er Niveau gèrent toutes les étapes, du choix du produit au support technique après-vente. Étant donnée l’évolution rapide des TI, cette habileté est très importante et permet aux clients de bénéficier d’un seul point de contact éprouvé, qui connait leur infrastructure TI, pour tous leurs services infonuagiques Microsoft.

Les gagnants sont les clients de BANG.

 « Ce nouveau statut CSP nous permet de simplifier la manière dont nos clients emploient le cloud – un seul partenaire avec une exécution simple et rapide. »

En plus, il nous permet également d’offrir aux clients le type de service qu’ils veulent vraiment. Les études ont montré que deux clients sur trois prévoient acheter leurs services infonuagiques d’un seul vendeur et 84 % veulent être en mesure d’avoir confiance dans un seul fournisseur CSP (Cloud Services Provider – Fournisseur de services infonuagiques).

Pour de plus amples renseignements, veuillez communiquer avec :

Andreea Tudor
Coordonnatrice Marketing et Ventes
BANG
514-949-2336 poste 3
andreea@bang.ca

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