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CTN Solutions has been serving the greater Philadelphia area since 1997, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Utility Computing in the Cloud

Utility Computing in the Cloud

There is no denying that the cloud has exploded into the fastest growing business computing method, and for good reason. The cloud has a plethora of options that are designed to meet the needs of the modern business. Today, we examine how your business can leverage the inexhaustible supply of cloud options. 

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Four Ways Cloud Storage Can Benefit Your Business

Four Ways Cloud Storage Can Benefit Your Business

Cloud solutions have proven their value in many different business applications. A major one is the ability to use a cloud service as a storage solution. By doing so, a business can enjoy a few additional advantages as compared to one that relies on more traditional storage solutions.

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Why a Hybrid Cloud is Right for Your Business

Why a Hybrid Cloud is Right for Your Business

The cloud can bring numerous benefits to a business. Public cloud offerings can reduce technology costs, provide scalability and flexibility to a business’s computing infrastructure, promote collaboration, protect your business from data loss, and much, much more. What it cannot do, however, is guarantee the control some organizations wish to have over their technology infrastructure. Some businesses prioritize that control, while others are bound by industry and government-induced regulations. For those businesses, there is the hybrid cloud.

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Taking a Look at Cloud Growth

Taking a Look at Cloud Growth

In today’s modern business world, you’d be hard-pressed to find an organization that doesn’t utilize the cloud to at least some extent. Let’s take a dive into how businesses use the cloud to be more sustainable and efficient.

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With So Many Cloud Options Picking the Best One Can Be Dizzying

With So Many Cloud Options Picking the Best One Can Be Dizzying

Technology plays an integral part in just about all modern businesses in some way, shape or form. Without a place to purchase devices, however, no one can reap the benefits of them. Some businesses are vendors that provide organizations with these devices. In a sense, they act as the middle man between the producer and the consumer, acquiring devices for sale to businesses and users alike. In this way, vendors are critical for every single business.

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Problems Persist in Private Cloud Implementation

Problems Persist in Private Cloud Implementation

Private cloud computing is on the rise, and it’s for a good reason. Data security is a major problem for countless businesses out there. In the wake of growing concerns over privacy and security threats, it has urged organizations to take it more seriously now. Putting together a comprehensive private cloud system has its fair share of challenges, but when done properly, data security problems can be solved as well.

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Cloud-Based Security Is Concerning for Small Businesses

Cloud-Based Security Is Concerning for Small Businesses

The cloud is such an important part of today’s business environment that most organizations use it to some extent, even if it’s just for basic storage needs. However, the cloud needs to be properly maintained, starting with the way you secure your cloud services. Take a moment to ask yourself if your cloud--whether it’s hosted on-site or by a provider--is safe and secure.

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Are Cloud-Based Solutions Right For Your Organization?

Are Cloud-Based Solutions Right For Your Organization?

You’d be hard-pressed to find a business these days that doesn’t use the cloud in some way or another. Before investing in the right cloud solutions, it’s important that your organization considers several factors. Here are three of the most common ones that your business should consider before investing in and implementing a new cloud service.

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Unified Communications Boosts Organizational Collaboration

Unified Communications Boosts Organizational Collaboration

Communication is one of the most important parts of running an organization, and this is especially true for smaller organizations that need to work closely in order to make progress. Today’s collaborative workplace is dependent on people understanding a unified message and working to succeed in that endeavor. To this end, a unified communications strategy can be extremely helpful.


Defining Unified Communications
What kinds of tools do you use on a daily basis to make sure that everyone stays connected and informed? Be sure to include technology solutions like email, telephone calls, mobile apps, and instant messaging. Now imagine all of it together in one singular platform. When you consolidate so many solutions into one, you make the experience easier for everyone involved, including your employees, supervisors, and administration.

Another aspect of unified communications that makes things much easier for your business is the fact that it’s hosted in a flexible cloud-based environment. Since you’re accessing these platforms through the cloud, you don’t have to worry about hosting and maintaining the infrastructure that these solutions are hosted on (as long as you’re outsourcing this, anyway). This also saves you a considerable amount of time and resources during implementation, as well as lowers the barrier for entry due to its ease of use.

How They Are Good for Business
By building a unified communications system you gain multiple benefits. You enhance security by being able to manage all communications--both inside and outside your organization--from one easy-to-manage dashboard. It is great for organizations that depend on department-to-department collaboration. Just think about how much easier it is to collaborate when there are reliable communication solutions at your fingertips. The end result is a much more efficient and valuable situation that you would see with a more traditional system where you utilize multiple solutions to handle your company communications.

If you want to learn more about how unified communications can work for your company, CTN’s consultants can take you through what it entails to build one, and just how much more efficient your operations can be with enhanced communications solutions. Reach out to us at (610) 828-5500 for more.

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Get Rid of Those Filing Cabinets with Document Management

Get Rid of Those Filing Cabinets with Document Management

The file cabinet. It may be a staple of the office, but can be a pain in the neck. Every file needs to be printed and collated only to be filed in a dingy file cabinet with the off chance that it will ever be needed again. For businesses with lots of paper, a document management system can go a long way toward modernizing your organization, and providing an access-controlled database where you can find any file in seconds.

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Can Hosted VoIP Be a Game Changer for Your Business?

Can Hosted VoIP Be a Game Changer for Your Business?

Many business transactions may be moving away from the telephone, but it is still a must-have for any business. Not everyone is Internet-savvy after all. Nowadays, there are plenty of telephone options out there, but only one carries no upfront hardware costs or a exorbitant fee structure: Hosted VoIP. Today, we will take a look at the benefits of cloud hosted VoIP, and how to get one working for your business today.


What is Cloud-Hosted VoIP?
Before we go into what cloud-hosted VoIP is, you have to understand what VoIP is. With Internet bandwidth increasing very quickly, there are now phone systems that work over an Internet connection rather through the traditional telephone infrastructure. As a result, Internet-based phone systems are growing in popularity. Called Voice over Internet Protocol, companies who were looking to take full control over their communications costs, started to purchase expensive PBX technology, hosting it in their place of business, and paying a VoIP provider per user. Sure it was expensive to start up, but once a company owned the hardware, costs normalized and the phone system was theirs to do with as they please.

Cloud-hosted VoIP moves the PBX platform from your server room to the cloud, removing the upfront hardware and maintenance costs that typically keep businesses from investing in their own telephone solution. With a cloud-hosted VoIP solution, you and your staff gain anytime-anywhere access to a feature-rich and reliable telephone system without the cost, headaches, and hassle that traditional telephone systems are often associated with.

Cloud-Hosted VoIP Features
While the main advantages to integrating a cloud-hosted VoIP system come from the transfer and reduction of cost, there are other benefits. Being able to quickly, and affordably, scale to your organization’s needs, provides you the opportunity to pay only what you need to pay, and not get locked into a lengthy and expensive long-term contract. If you need a new phone line, you can get one, and it will be reflected in next month’s bill.

Speaking of bills, the Cloud-hosted VoIP solution allows you to budget your communication costs based on your users, not on your whole system. This provides an advantage for project-oriented businesses, as they can easily add a phone when they need one and get rid of it when they don’t.

Another major benefit isn’t one you would typically expect. The security of cloud-hosted VoIP systems is solid. Your VoIP provider is in charge of your system’s hosting and security. As with most data center-based computing platforms, a cloud-hosted PBX server is completely protected with comprehensive disaster recovery protocols as well as ample physical security.

A lot of hosted-cloud VoIP options offer conferencing solutions and the opportunity to unify your organization’s communications platform. This can have several positive benefits including simpler management, cost reduction, and increased efficiency.

With Cloud-hosted VoIP at the center of your business’ communications, you can do more with less. For more information about the VoIP options CTN has, call us today at (610) 828-5500.

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Why The Cloud Should be Approached Responsibly

Why The Cloud Should be Approached Responsibly

It can be argued that your organization isn’t considered “modern” without taking advantage of truly modern technology solutions. This includes the cloud, which provides anytime-anywhere access to important information or products. This type of access--also known as Product as a Service--can help your budget by eliminating large up-front costs in favor of smaller payments more regularly. This might seem ideal for your organization, but we urge you to take a step back and think about the solution before accepting terms of service without looking for extra hidden costs.


A study performed by Research in Action asked 468 CIOs all about their cloud usage and the costs that come with them. The majority agreed that cloud investment was one of the biggest expenses that their organization had, which only seemed to feed into the consideration that any additional expenses can add up in the long run. These CIOs also found that most of their concerns over hidden costs were made up for by the sheer quality, quantity, and reputation of the vendors. Here are some of the issues that were considered during this poll:

  • Putting forth more effort to properly manage vendors, and their corresponding Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
  • Bottlenecking and the impact poor cloud performance could have on brand perception, productivity, and customer support.
  • Spending more to solve complex problems inside cloud environments.

Whether or not these concerns are justified is another issue altogether. While they might be difficult to measure, they are certainly issues that need to be addressed in some way, shape, or form. Many organizations simply don’t have the solutions to adequately determine how much the cloud costs. Many of these companies are simply using dated systems that track their cloud performance, limiting the amount of information that can be tracked.

Costs of Scalability
Some businesses also have trouble scaling their cloud solutions to the point where the organization benefits most. This happens when you’re spending too much on cloud services you don’t need, spending too little and creating an operational deficiency, or managing and administering the cloud in a way that doesn’t create a profit for your organization. You need to understand how much space and and processing will be required of your organization so that it can handle your cloud requests, as well as the flexibility needed to ensure change can be made easily enough. What it amounts to is understanding how your business’s cloud technology handles its bottom line.

Knowing When You’ve Gone Too Far
The cloud is nice for business purposes, but without taking a closer look at your finances, it’s easy to forget how much you actually use the cloud. Look at your personal use of cloud services as an example. If you use Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and other cloud-based services, while they are all relatively cheap, they can add up and cost you a considerable amount of money.

Depending on your business’s specific needs, you’ll need various cloud services that will vary by industry. How will your organization use the cloud? To find out, reach out to us at (610) 828-5500.

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Four Questions to Ask Your Cloud Provider

Four Questions to Ask Your Cloud Provider

The cloud has revolutionized the way that businesses approach computing. Companies can implement solutions in a flexible and accessible model that makes it much easier to take advantage of technology solutions. Yet, you should know that not all clouds are the same, and you can’t treat them as such. Here are four questions that you need to ask your cloud provider about the services that you’ve been rendered.


What is Your Business Responsible For?
Depending on the cloud provider that your business goes with, you’ll want to know exactly what their responsibilities are. For example, the cloud provider might be responsible for security to a certain degree, with the rest of the responsibility being shared with your organization. How can you best protect your organization if you don’t know who is responsible for what? You should clearly outline the responsibilities of both your cloud provider and your own organization.

What Type of Cloud Security Do You Need?
You’ll have different cloud-based services that you take advantage of, inevitably. Whether it’s an Infrastructure as a Service type of solution or a Software as a Solution approach to cloud computing, your security needs will change. Your cloud provider should be able to adapt to the needs of your business.

What Kind of Training is Offered?
It’s great if you know how to use your business’s cloud solution, but what about every other one of your employees? While you could spend all the time to make sure that your business’s employees know how to work with your cloud services, why should you waste the time doing so if your cloud provider offers it for you instead? The more time you can save, the more money you can save. Furthermore, cloud training shouldn’t be limited to during the implementation process; instead it can be used incrementally to keep everyone up to date on the latest and greatest practices.

How Much Visibility Do I Get?
In this case, visibility can be defined as insight into how your business’s data is stored, managed, and secured. Depending on the type of cloud provider and services you work with, you’ll have varying data visibility. For example, a small business might have limited control over its business’s data. On the other hand, a larger enterprise or corporation is trusting the cloud provider a lot with their patronage. This patronage also offers a considerable insight into the way that your data is being used.

If you want a cloud provider that offers complete and total transparency, CTN can help. To learn more, give us a call at (610) 828-5500.

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Tip of the Week: Best Practices for Cloud Data Management

Tip of the Week: Best Practices for Cloud Data Management

Data management is exceptionally important for any business. Companies that use the cloud in any capacity need to be considerably more cautious in the way that it’s managed than a business hosting data on an internal server or network. The cloud makes things more complicated at times, but if managed correctly, it can lead to unprecedented efficiency for your organization.


Identify Your Needs
The cloud is a great way to take advantage of various technologies, but only when it’s implemented with your business’s specific needs in mind. Sometimes a company will implement a cloud solution without thinking about whether it’s the best fit for the organization. While it might be tempting to implement a solution as soon as possible, there is value in research and consultation. Essentially, it’s important that your business implement a solution that’s designed to meet your specific needs, whatever they may be.

Generally, there are three types of cloud solutions from which your business can choose. The first is the public cloud, which can provide cloud access to businesses with limited budgets. On the more flexible and customizable side is the private cloud, which can shore up weaknesses in security that might be concerning for your company. Finally, a hybrid cloud is a melding of the public and private cloud that can provide the hands-off approach of the public cloud combined with the features and benefits of a private cloud.

Data Must be Organized
When you place data in the cloud, it’s important to recognize that you’re taking it from its location on your network and moving it to a location on the Internet. Therefore, make sure that your data stays organized so that this process can go as smoothly as possible. When your data is organized, applications and other parts of your network will be able to access this data much easier than it would otherwise, allowing you to get the most value from your cloud as possible.

In essence, think of your cloud-based data storage as a chance to make everything about the way your business network functions even better. It’s a rare opportunity to optimize the way that your data is stored and organized. In other words, don’t let the mistakes you may have made in the past get in the way of improving things moving forward.

Outline the Migration Process
Every business is different, so you’ll need to create a specialized approach to cloud migration. It’s also critical that your applications are able to communicate with the data in an effective way. Figuring out how your business is going to utilize cloud data is half the battle on its own, so take some time to think about how you are going to use it.

Any information that your business needs about cloud management can be provided by CTN. We want to be your go-to cloud management professionals. To learn more, reach out to us at (610) 828-5500.

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Tip of the Week: Choosing the Right Storage for Your Business

Tip of the Week: Choosing the Right Storage for Your Business

Regardless of where it is kept, your data’s security is of paramount importance. However, this doesn’t mean that the decision between leveraging the cloud or an on-premise server for your data storage needs isn’t an important one. For this week’s tip, we’ll weigh these options against each other to help you establish which is the better option for your business needs.


Cloud
The cloud offers quite a few advantages to those who utilize it as a data backup or storage solution. A major one is how cost-effective a cloud platform is, as the costs of maintenance and utility requirements are bundled into the service, and the only costs left are for storage space and the services that the cloud provider offers.

In addition, the cloud offers fully customizable scalability to your needs. Unlike an in-house platform, the space and computing resources available to you are fully adjustable. All you need to do is inform your provider, and they will adjust your service to best fit your requirements. Furthermore, the cloud also provides improved accessibility. Cloud-based storage allows you to access the data stored in your provider’s facility via most Internet-connected devices through either a browser or an app, providing you anytime access.

There are few disadvantages to cloud storage. Speed can be a consideration, given your circumstances. If, for instance, you have a considerable amount of large files, or your Internet connection isn’t quite up to the task, working with the data you have in the cloud may not be efficient enough for business purposes.

Local Storage
Local storage allows you to access your data at increased speeds, but there are other advantages to it as well. A business that leverages an in-house infrastructure has increased control over their solutions, and as a result, more options.

This increased control enables you to design and manage your infrastructure in a way that saves money for your business. For instance, a single server can host multiple virtual machines, and your information can be protected by redundancy.

However, the initial costs are considerable because of the need to procure the requisite hardware and software, and scalability becomes a bigger concern. What’s worse, keeping all of your data in one place leaves you vulnerable. If a disaster were to strike, you could lose access to your data, assuming that your data survives. It’s also important to consider the fact that every several years, your infrastructure will need to be refreshed and upgraded, which would require another upfront payment to deploy the same platform.

The Hybrid
Many companies find both on-premise IT infrastructure and cloud hosting to have their own pros and cons. In cases like this they might use a hybrid of both. For example, hosting your email in the cloud but your line of business app in-house might be the best solution for your business. Your IT requirements, security compliances, and broadband speeds are all factors that come into play when making decisions about where your infrastructure should go.

CTN can help you to make these important decisions regarding your business technology. Give us a call at (610) 828-5500 for assistance.

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Is Your In-House Email Server Worth It? Probably Not

Is Your In-House Email Server Worth It? Probably Not

If you’re like most businesses, you almost certainly rely on email on a daily basis. However, if your email is hosted on an in-house server, you are becoming less like many businesses, as they are moving their solutions to the cloud. Here’s why you should follow suit and make the switch yourself.

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The Top 3 Ways Cloud Computing Helps Businesses

The Top 3 Ways Cloud Computing Helps Businesses

Cloud computing has taken the business world by storm, fulfilling so many needs and simplifying as many processes. If you’ve been on the fence about incorporating the cloud into your IT infrastructure, you should know a few of these benefits to help you make your choice.

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Selecting a Cloud Service Provider Should Never Be a Hasty Choice

Selecting a Cloud Service Provider Should Never Be a Hasty Choice

Did you know that 43 percent of IT decision makers have plans to increase their cloud investments throughout 2017? This is according to a recent survey which, when combined with the steady rate of cloud adoption seen during the past decade, proves that the cloud is the next phase in the evolutionary development of business computing. While this shows great promise for the future, cloud adoption is not something to dive into blindly.

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Why You Should Be Cautious About How You Share Files

Why You Should Be Cautious About How You Share Files

The cloud lets your business share files easily and efficiently, but regardless of how useful this feature is, you need to make sure that your team understands how and why they’re given access to certain files. Giving the freedom to share files is great, but it can quickly become a hindrance when you have inexperienced users doing the sharing. Be sure to take these three risks into account before handing over the keys to your business’s file sharing.

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Understanding the Cloud and How it Can Help Your Business

Understanding the Cloud and How it Can Help Your Business

If your business is still on the fence about implementing a cloud solution, we don’t blame you. Moving to the cloud can be a daunting task, and you don’t want to jump the gun and make such a big decision on a whim. It’s important to understand why businesses move their data to the cloud in the first place, as well as what the different types of cloud solutions are and what they can offer your unique business model.

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Drew was pleased to present a gift of financial assistance to the Joy of Life program in Sarajevo, Bosnia on behalf of his non-profit ABLE (American Balkan Leadership Enterprise) and my company CTN Solutions. Unfortunately in many countries...

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Just because you think that you’re following best practices, doesn’t necessarily mean that you actually are. Take it from this aspiring entrepreneur, who shared his own personal experience with us, so you could benefit:

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