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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.

A Few Ways Small Businesses Can Use the Cloud

A Few Ways Small Businesses Can Use the Cloud

Cloud computing has its cost and time saving benefits, but when your business is small, it could just be looked at as an unnecessary addition to your computing infrastructure. Today, we will go through a few ways that even the smallest of businesses can utilize cloud computing. 

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Cloud Costs Could Undermine Your Efforts

Cloud Costs Could Undermine Your Efforts

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues around us, many businesses have found themselves seriously reconsidering their business infrastructure, pondering the switch from onsite hardware to cloud-based options. While these hosted options can offer businesses relief from a costly hardware refresh, it is important to acknowledge that cloud computing may not be a one-size-fits-all panacea. Let’s take a closer look.

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Are You Wasting Money in the Cloud?

Are You Wasting Money in the Cloud?

The cloud has proven to be an extremely useful tool for modern businesses. Not only does it provide anywhere-anytime access to applications, processing, storage, and more, but it also delivers those products as a service, allowing an organization--or an individual--to budget for recurring costs rather than major upfront ones. This provides your organization with functional, supported, and secure computing environments that eliminate a lot of the support costs that traditional computing environments require. It sounds like a perfect scenario for small and large businesses alike, but things aren’t always what they seem, as a lot of cloud users have found that they have incurred several hidden costs by using cloud platforms. Today, we take a look at these hidden costs. 

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4 Tools that Every Small Business Should Use

4 Tools that Every Small Business Should Use

The key to running a successful small business is keeping costs down and production/service delivery efficient. This is easier said than done. Some tools have been developed to boost productivity and efficiency while others are built to eliminate downtime and manage risk. Let’s take a look at some of the technology your business should be using.

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Is the Hybrid Cloud Something You Should Consider?

Is the Hybrid Cloud Something You Should Consider?

Cloud solutions are extremely popular among modern businesses, whether they rely on public cloud resources or maintain their own in-house private cloud. Some businesses, however, elect to take the middle ground and use a “hybrid” cloud solution. Let’s take a few moments to determine if your business could benefit from this approach.

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Tip of the Week: Useful OneDrive Features

Tip of the Week: Useful OneDrive Features

Microsoft has a well-developed reputation for creating software that enables users to achieve their work objectives, especially in the business setting. Here, we’re diving into a few capabilities of one such software title, OneDrive, to review some of the features of which a user might want to take advantage.

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Are You Wasting Money on Cloud Services?

Are You Wasting Money on Cloud Services?

Cloud services have proven to be extraordinarily useful for businesses of all types. With an immense amount of options to choose from, businesses can get anything from AI to Windows in the cloud. With so many services available, sometimes businesses will pay for computing resources that they don’t use, cutting into their available operational capital. Today, we take a look at how businesses throw capital away by not keeping a close eye on their cloud-based resources.  

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How Cloud Services and Pizzerias Offer Similar Benefits

How Cloud Services and Pizzerias Offer Similar Benefits

When you look at the cloud service business model, it can be easy to wonder how it is so beneficial to businesses - or really, how it fiscally can be. After all, dollars to donuts, the monthly service charges most likely add up to less than a business would spend for another, comparable service. To understand how the cloud does this, it may help to look at something that often occurs in the office.

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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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Using the Private Cloud Adds Security to Your Databases

Using the Private Cloud Adds Security to Your Databases

Cloud-based databases are valuable for businesses on plenty of levels, but when you consider how much risk you expose your organization to by using a public cloud over a private solution, you suddenly start to realize that the ramifications could be far beyond repair. Compared to the public cloud, a private solution presents a greater opportunity for security, flexibility, and customization.

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How to Plan Your Data Storage Needs

How to Plan Your Data Storage Needs

If your business is looking to use technology beneficially, the ability to store data is major consideration. After all, not having enough storage space, or having too much, can bring big problems for most businesses. Today, we’ll ask some of the most pressing questions you’ll need to answer to get the right (and the right amount of) storage space for your needs.

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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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Will You Be the Latest Business to Move Your Email to the Cloud?

Will You Be the Latest Business to Move Your Email to the Cloud?

The cloud helps many organizations expand their territories beyond the physical workplace. Employees can now access data and applications on any connected device. Your office can benefit considerably from cloud-based resources, with email in particular being a standout solution for the cloud.

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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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Cloud Can Cover Most of Your Business Needs

Cloud Can Cover Most of Your Business Needs

The traditional computing structure has been under siege by cloud computing for the past several years. More businesses than ever are seeing the value in cloud-hosted applications and infrastructure, and while that may not be a huge surprise, the perceptions that the cloud can solve any of your organizational computing problems depend largely on the needs of that endeavor. Today, we will take a look at successful small business cloud strategies and tell you why they find success.

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Can You Stay Compliant While Using the Cloud?

Can You Stay Compliant While Using the Cloud?

One of the inevitabilities of working with the cloud is that you have to face a tough question; what kind of compliance requirements are there for cloud-based data? If you’re storing data for your business in a cloud-based environment, it becomes your responsibility to know where and how this data is stored--particularly if you’re not the one doing the actual cloud hosting. How do you maintain compliance when you seemingly have so little control over how your computing platform is managed and maintained?

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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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Hosted Utility Computing Allows Businesses to Centralize Their IT

Hosted Utility Computing Allows Businesses to Centralize Their IT

Your business relies on technology to ensure operations proceed smoothly, but the way that it’s managed can have a major impact on the way your company functions. Think about it like this: if you have software solutions hosted on different computers, but not in any centralized location, only those computers will be able to use these solutions--potentially hampering your staff’s ability to be productive. How can you make sure that this doesn’t become a major problem?

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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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