April 27, 2017

High Performance Technology For Your Business Racecar With Zephyr Networks As Your Pit Crew In The Cloud

In the 21st century when technological excellence is the key to profitability, your business should have high performance technology like an online racecar with Zephyr Networks as your pit crew in the cloud. The consulting and managed IT services offered by Zephyr, including our Level 3 Data Centers in Tustin and Irvine, can help turn your old technological clunker into a NASCAR-winning high performance racer. After all, isn’t it time your business has both the speed and safety it needs to succeed in today’s world.

Your Company And High Performance Technology

high performance technology, pit crew in the cloud

Your Company’s High Performance Technology

If you could be a NASCAR championship driver, wouldn’t you be? Everyone loves the idea of speed and success, but the reality is a bit scarier. Very few people are talented enough to drive high performance racecars. Heck, racing around a track at 200 mph sounds terrifying.

But shouldn’t your company operate like a high performance racecar online? Shouldn’t you have the highest processing speeds and Internet data capabilities to ensure the success of your business?

Of course, the answer is yes if such technological capabilities are affordable. At Zephyr Networks, we put together tailored packages for our clients to meet their high performance technology needs at a cost that makes sense. We work to find an affordable option for you.

High Performance Technology Means Safety & Maintenance

There is another reason why we don’t all go around driving racecars. It wouldn’t be safe, and that’s exactly why there are speed limits. At the same time, racecars demand a tremendous amount of maintenance. Although we can’t maintain your racecar, we can maintain the high performance technology of your business as well as anyone.

high performance technology, pit crew in the cloud

Zephyr Networks Is Your Pit Crew In The Cloud

The information technology experts at Zephyr Networks understand that your business needs high performance technology with super fast Internet speed without taking risks. By offering the very best in computer and networking support, we can make this happen.

After all, providing network security, data security and cybersecurity has been our field of expertise for years. We believe that your high performance technology should never be a negative for your business. By providing quality managed services and ongoing maintenance, we make sure that your high performance technology is working for your company, providing optimum results.

Imagine Your Pit Crew In The Cloud

Zephyr Networks is your pit crew in the cloud, showing up at your company’s offices when onsite adjustments are needed. With our low latency data centers with Level 3 capabilities, you have the online processing speed used by Netflix and Amazon. By teaming up with Zephyr Networks as your company’s pit crew, you will finally be driving the business racecar of your dreams.

high performance technology

Your Company’s Checkered Flag

As the owner of the company, you are the racecar driver and you deserve nothing less than the checkered flag. Forget those old Plymouth Dusters, Ford Edsels and the rest of the rusty clunkers in the world. Today is the day for your company to have the polished high performance technology that will bring you the best results.

Zephyr Networks Can Make It Happen

Whether mobile computing or data center speed, cloud protection or managed services, Zephyr Networks can make it happen. Isn’t it time to embrace the very best? Please call (800) 884-7559 today to find out how we can take your company to the next level of high performance technology, data center speed, and cloud-based excellence.

How To Avoid 3 Technological Office Time Sucks That Could Hurt Your Company’s Productivity In 2016

technological office time sucks

Technological Office Time Sucks

Your company needs to avoid technological office time sucks in 2016 to be more productive and profitable. Given the omnipresent role of technology in the modern world, Zephyr Networks understands how frustrating it can be when your productivity seems to be going down and not up.

With all of the wonders of modern computing and communication, shouldn’t your productivity be shooting through the roof? Shouldn’t you have more time than ever to get your job done?

Zephyr Networks wants to help your company avoid technological office time sucks in

Increasing Productivity In The Modern World

By facing up to and avoiding three modern time sucks, Zephyr Networks wants to offer you this easy guide to becoming more productive. By following these simple suggestions – we admit the first two are easier to implement than the third – you will discover that modern technology once again becomes a positive as opposed to a negative. You will be able to get out of your own way by ambushing these 3 productivity killers in advance, optimizing not just your workday, but increasing your personal happiness as well.

3 Technological Time Sucks To Avoid

By addressing these three technological office time sucks that Zephyr Networks can help your company avoid, you will be back on the road to optimizing your company’s productivity and profitability.

1) The Quicksand of Social Media

The simple truth is that 75% of the time that people spend on social media is just a big waste of time. But the addiction creeps up on you and takes over. It happens to the best of us. At work, you start wondering what might be happening on Facebook or Twitter. Why not take a quick peek? You just want to make sure that your significant other or your kids aren’t posting anything stupid or your friends aren’t planning a big party without you. Innocent, right? Not so much.

Zephyr Networks can provide content filtering for your office computers that prevent access to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and whatever other social media websites are distracting your employees.
When it comes to such filters, the preferences of marketing departments to use social media for research can be a problem. Selective filters for different departments can prevent such problems.

Social Media Filters = A More Productive Office

social media quicksand, technological office time sucks

Social Media Quicksand

Compulsive social media checks are a definite example of technological office time sucks. Checking Facebook and Twitter throughout the day can add up to hours a week of lost work time. More importantly, they take your employees out of the flow of their work.

If employees want to check Facebook or Twitter, they can schedule social media time during their lunch breaks and check Facebook and Twitter on their phones. Your employees might grumble a bit, but who cares if they end up being more productive and your company ends up being more profitable.

2) The Stampede Of Too Much Email

Email is impossible to avoid in today’s world, but the flood of spam, personal content and useless messages can hurt a business. Why is your workplace email box overflowing with hundreds of emails every day? Zephyr Networks have learned from experience that being too connected can be a major productivity killer. Why do you employees need to be connected to a flow of information that distracts them from their work? Such distractions are downright damaging.

social media stampede

The Stampede of Social Media

When it comes to your email inbox, you need to take a structured approach. Automate some basic email tasks to help you prioritize your inbox. Most emails don’t need to be replied to and many more don’t need to be read. If you are going through every email in your inbox every day, you are wasting a tremendous amount of time.

Your office email box should not be one more of the  technological office time sucks hurting your business. It should be segmented like a Gmail inbox where messages are divided between primary, social and promotional. The latter two should be ignored during the workday. By having your employees segment their Inboxes, they will save a lot of time. You also can have your employees use a separate email for work that focuses exclusively on business essentials.

3) The Freedom Of Cloud Computing

Okay, Zephyr Networks understands how this solution is the hardest to implement and it doesn’t have to be done overnight or in one fell swoop. However, isn’t it time for your company to embrace the freedom of cloud computing and remote work opportunities? Are both the morning and evening commute sucking valuable hours from your employee’s workdays? In most big cities, employees that commute to work five days a week lose over 10 hours of potential productivity.

Fortunately, thanks to cloud computing, working remotely is easier than ever. With web-based software and collaboration tools, office workers can get everything done even when they’re miles away from home base. Telecommuting is growing quickly as remote employees report higher productivity and morale.

Cloud Computing = Remote Productivity

cloud computing

Access The Freedom of Cloud Computing

Even if you can’t work remotely all the time, you may be able to slightly shift your work schedule so you’re not traveling at rush hour. Couldn’t some employees handle the first part of your workday from home before they make that commute? By avoiding rush hour, they’ll be saving time and relieving stress.

Working remotely can remove unwanted distractions at the office and help employees focus on what they do best. By giving them set goals to accomplish, they will become responsible for their own time on the clock. If they fail to accomplish the set goals, take away the privilege of being allowed to work remotely part time. When such a punishment becomes a reality, you will be amazed at how much more productive your employees become when working remotely.

Zephyr Networks Can Help

Zephyr Networks specializes in helping our client companies take advantage of cloud computing opportunities that can help their business. Our goal is to help make modern technology work for you. By avoiding the above time sucks and optimizing your office’s relationship to modern technology and networking, you can increase productivity and profitability.

To learn more about how Zephyr Networks can help your company avoid technological office time sucks in 2016, please contact us today by calling (800) 884-7559.

Why Should Microsoft Or Amazon Be Gatekeepers Of Your Company’s Private Data?

Recent conflicts between the government and giant tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon web services raise the question of who should be the gatekeepers of your company’s private data. When it comes to a company’s private data and customer information, why trust faceless tech behemoths with such a critical responsibility? Such trust seems foolish, particularly in light of the size of your small to mid-sized business in comparison to these corporate giants.

Why would they care about truly protecting what is the most precious resource of your business: Your intellectual property, your private data and your customer information?

Your Company’s Private Data

When Microsoft refused to comply with a warrant in December 2013 for emails from a business suspect in a court case, industry officials and civil liberties advocates raised a red flag. Why should Microsoft be making such a decision? Zephyr Networks believes such cases are a major reason to embrace the private cloud. After all, with a private cloud, you control your own information and access to that information. You should make such decisions, not Microsoft.

The White House, after months of study, has yet to articulate a public response to the argument that a victory in the Microsoft case would provide authoritarian governments, particularly those of China and Russia, with a way to get access into computer servers located in the United States. “Clearly, if the U.S. government wins, the door is open for other governments to reach into data centers in the U.S.,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, explained in an interview. Amazon web services and Microsoft are fighting efforts to give the federal government access to their communications. But will they fight for you?

Why Is A Company’s Private Data In The Mix?

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Your Company’s Private Data

The question that Zephyr Networks wants to raise is why should your company be part of this epic battle? Why are you entrusting Microsoft or Amazon web services with your company’s precious information? By embracing the private cloud, you put the power back into your own hands. This is why Zephyr Networks runs a data services center in Irvine for our clients, giving them access to a private cloud where they make the decisions and they are in control.

“People want to know what law will be applied to their data,” Brad Smith of Microsoft continued. “French want their rights under French law, and Brazilians under Brazilian law. What is the U.S. government going to do when other governments reach into the U.S. data centers, without notifying the U.S. government?”

Such international issues should not affect your company. Your company’s data should not be subject to a potential international tug-of-war.

Zephyr Networks Protects Your Company’s Private Data

By becoming a part of the Microsoft or Amazon web services behemoth, by allowing these corporate giants to control your company’s data, your are falling prey to their whims and fancies. By embracing the private cloud, you remain in control of your company’s information. It’s that simple. Rather than being a cog in a giant machine, learn about the independent freedom and reliable security of the private cloud by contacting Zephyr Networks today.

Zephyr Networks Offers Holiday Upgrades Of The Latest Technology That Could Help With 2014 Tax Savings

Holiday upgrades equal the rare combination of a smooth transition married to cost-saving tax incentives. With Thanksgiving over and Christmas right around the corner, Zephyr Networks is offering our clients and new potential clients a way to save money while improving their technological capabilities. End of the year tax incentives equal the ability to reduce your company’s 2014 tax burden. By spending money today on holiday upgrades, improving computing and networking systems, you will have them up and running by the end of the year.

Holiday Upgrades Can Mean Tax Savings

The idea is to get spending on the books now by having new computer upgrades up and running before the end of the year. If the systems are in place by year’s end, the expense can offset profits, lowering your taxes later. By purchasing new equipment like computers, tablets and mobile phones that are tax deductible as legitimate business expenses, you create tax savings in 2015. Such opportunities are a big reason why the Zephyr Networks team works through the holidays.

In addition, by working through the holidays, we assure our client that any new technologies or computer upgrades are integrated into your company with as easy of a transition as possible. During the holiday season, interruption is minor. Such downtime means it’s the perfect time for a major upgrade and a smooth migration. While the competition is off skiing, Zephyr Networks is working hard for your company to give you that competitive edge in 2015.

Zephyr Advantage = Holiday Upgrades Installed

holiday upgrades, tax savings, zephyr neytworks

Zephyr Networks Holiday Upgrades Mean Saving Money

Any good accountant will tell you that spending money on better equipment and technological upgrades at the end of the year is a great way to offset profits. By using funds spent on holiday upgrades as company tax deductions, technological upgrades truly become holiday upgrades. After all, isn’t the best-looking version of Santa the one that looks a little like more Benjamin Franklins in your pocket?

The bigger bonus of holiday upgrades is that the newer, more cutting edge equipment delivers greater reliability and greater security. You also can upgrade your network security software and virus protection capabilities, providing the safety your business deserves while doing some smart tax planning. The majority of such computing, networking and mobile offerings are tax deductible as legitimate business expenses. Still, at Zephyr Networks we do not pretend to be accountants. As computer networking, information technology and cybersecurity experts, we recommend you talk to your accountant.

Holiday Upgrades Make Sense

Without question, however, in today’s day and age when the latest computer hardware and mobile devices are improving at such a rapid pace, making a smart holiday upgrades make sense. With better and faster mobile devices like the latest tablets and smartphones, your employees can have what they need to do their jobs effectively wherever they happen to be. Such an expense is money well spent because you are improving your company’s capabilities while reducing its tax burden.

Through a free consultation, Zephyr Networks will examine your year-end technological needs and make specific recommendations about what upgrades to purchase before 2014 is over. If new equipment is needed, we will explain what is needed and why it is needed. As a new client, we will help integrate the new upgrades into your company’s technological culture and train your staff when needed.

Time To Take Action Is Now

holiday upgrades, zephyr networks

Your Holiday Upgrades Up & Running By 2015

An accountant friend of Zephyr Networks told us that Congress has not extended section 179 of the tax code that corresponds to accelerated depreciation. As a result, if businesses want to take advantage of accelerated depreciation they need to have the new hardware and software in place and functioning before midnight January 1st, 2015. Zephyr Networks can make this happen, and this is why we work through the holiday season, installing holiday upgrades of computer equipment and networking solutions. While you are on holiday, Zephyr Networks will be working to get your holiday upgrades up and running.

According to the accountant, cloud computing services could be a workaround. If your company signs up for cloud based services, colocation, virtual private servers, or dedicated servers before the end of 2014, your business does not have to put the entire investment on their books today. Still, since the Zephyr Network’s private cloud is already in place and operational, you can expense the entire licensing for cloud computing immediately. When it comes to holiday upgrades, this makes good sense. Please check with your company’s accounting firm to see if such an option works for you.

Call Zephyr Networks To Learn More

To learn more about holiday upgrades as 2014 comes to a close, please contact Zephyr Networks today by calling (800) 884-7559.

 

Disclaimer: Zephyr Networks is not an accounting firm so we are not offering any accounting direction, advice or feedback. We strongly recommend you consult with a licensed CPA to receive expert clarification about any points raised in this opinion piece. In addition, this article presents only a partial view of the subject matter. It does not claim or attempt to be comprehensive or perfectly accurate. Pursuant to U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, any federal tax commentary in this article is not intended or written to be used for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.

 

What Is A Private Cloud And Why It Makes The Most Sense For Your Business

A private cloud offers a distinct and secure cloud-based environment in which only the specified client can operate, thus avoiding the dangers of the public cloud while offering the benefits of virtualization. As with other cloud models, private clouds deliver computing power to your company as a service within a virtualized environment that has an underlying pool of physical computing resources. With a secure data services center based in Orange County, Zephyr Networks offers the best in private cloud options and solutions.

Private Cloud Model at Zephyr Networks

private cloud, zephyr networks, cybersecurity

Security of the Private Cloud

The difference between the private cloud model offered by Zephyr Networks and the public cloud offered by Google and other Internet giants is simple to illustrate. Like the picture at the right, your company needs the security of a classic white picket fence. You need to know your data and information is safe. Although the most important aspects of your computing requirements remain virtualized, the private cloud offers an advanced level of security and privacy. Such security has become a necessity for many businesses in this day and age.

When a data breach could mean the end of your business and possible lawsuits, a private cloud is the answer that your business needs. When compliance regulations are growing from both a state and federal perspective in terms of client information, a private cloud offers the protection needed to stay in compliance. From HIPAA to complex financial regulations, the private cloud avoids the problems that data breaches of the public cloud have made so common.

No Maintenance + Reliable Power Backups

A key advantage of a private cloud like at the Zephyr Data Services Center is you no longer have to worry about ongoing maintenance. You don’t have to worry about cooling your server rooms or any other technical issues because we do everything for you. More importantly, all maintenance questions are covered, turned into reliable answers.

In the modern world of 24/7 business, can you afford a time out period for your business because of power issues? With the recent heat wave and the resulting rolling blackouts, many companies were temporarily crippled. Imagine the business lost and the opportunities tossed out the door. By relying on the Zephyr Data Services Center, you have the power back-ups and cooling reliability that your business needs to guarantee success.

Public Cloud Dangers vs. Private Cloud Security

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The Zephyr Data Services Center

A public cloud has multiple clients accessing virtualized services and resources from the same pool of servers across public networks. In contrast, the private cloud draws on a distinct pool of protected physical servers and computers. Hosted externally at the Zephyr Data Services Center, these resources and services are accessed across private leased lines or secure encrypted connections via public networks. The benefits of such managed services are multiple with protection and reliability being high on the list.

The additional security offered by the ring fenced cloud model is ideal for any organization that needs to process private data or carry out sensitive tasks. For example, a financial company that is required by regulation to store sensitive data internally should utilize a private cloud service. At the same time, such a company wants to benefit the advantages of cloud computing within their business infrastructure, such as on demand resource allocation.

Learn More About The Zephyr Private Cloud

By accessing a private cloud, the security and the flexibility go hand-in-hand or server-to server with a tailored array of services offered. The private cloud model is closer to the more traditional model of individual local access networks (LANs) used in the past, but with the added advantages of virtualization. If you want to know more about the private cloud opportunities offered by Zephyr Networks, please contact us today for a free consultation.

Private Cloud More Crucial Than Ever Before To Block Peeping Eyes Of NSA And Avoid Anymore Heartbleed

Given the countless reports about the peeping eyes of the National Security Agency and the damage caused by the Heartbeat security vulnerability, it might be time for your business to abandon the public cloud and embrace the security of the private cloud. Although Zephyr Networks embraces the value of cloud computing and how much it can help small to mid-sized companies, we have never liked the idea of putting their programs and data into the hands of big brother. Yes, the NSA probably isn’t sitting in Amazon, Google, or Microsoft’s data-centers, but this doesn’t mean you want to give them the opportunity to access your company’s proprietary information.

Public Cloud Vs. Private Cloud

secure-cloudIT professionals who’ve resisted moving to a public cloud have never fully trusted the security of the public cloud. Regardless of what the NSA might or might not be doing and the recent exposed dangers of Heartbeat, we already know the government can, and will, grab cloud servers. Just ask Kim Dotcom about the seizure of Megaupload servers. Whether Dotcom was guilty of anything is still open to doubt, but all of Megaupload’s former customers’ data is still sitting in seized servers. Want to be sure your data is secure? Keep your most important company info on your own servers, in a secure datacenter, or with a private cloud.

This need for security and the solace of the private cloud is why Zephyr Networks has its own data center for its clients with complete data security and disaster recovery protection. Given the recent uproar over the Heartbleed vulnerability that hit the public cloud providers hard, Zephyr Networks believes it is time to emphasize the importance of the private cloud and secure data centers.

Did the NSA know about Heartbleed in advance, yet chose to do nothing beyond take advantage of the vulnerability for its own purposes? Without a doubt, Google knew about this critical flaw in Internet security and didn’t alert anyone until they had protected themselves. Neel Mehta, a Google engineer, first discovered Heartbleed – a bug that undermines the widely used encryption technology OpenSSL — in March. Google patched most of its own services before the companies publicized the bug on April 7.

Safety of the Private Cloud

Zephyr Networks emphasizes the importance of embracing the private cloud option for your business data. By providing a safe and reliable data service center, we provide our clients with the best of both worlds – the flexibility and power of cloud computing side-by-side with the reassurance of true privacy and security. To learn more about how the private cloud can help your company, please contact Zephyr Networks by calling (800) 884-7559 today.

 

 

The Google Drive Suite Part 2 – 14 Premium Google Apps

premium-google-apps-zephyr-networksThis is the second part of a two-part blog focusing on the remote access potential of Google Drive and the variety of premium Google Apps available in the cloud. Zephyr Networks has seen first-hand with our clients that Google’s cloud-storage solution is a valuable resource for small to mid-sized businesses.

Beyond allowing a company to store and access files from anywhere, the first 5 GB of cloud storage are free. What is even more impressive is that Google Drive allows access to an amazing suite of premium Google Apps. Google also recognizes your history with other popular  apps, offering full integration with many third-party applications.

In Part 2 of this article, Zephyr Networks extends the list of productivity applications that work with Google Drive to include the premium Google Apps that have to be paid for on an ongoing basis. You can find the comprehensive list of all of the apps available, including those in the Beta-testing phase, at the Chrome Web Store. Zephyr Networks helps to guide our client companies in knowing what premium Google Apps makes the most sense for their business model and needs.

Part 1 of this article focused on 20 completely free Google Apps. Part 2 focuses on 14 premium Google Apps that need to be paid for based on usage rates, monthly subscriptions and premium plans. The majority of these paid apps are free to try, and some of the apps continue to be free if the usage rates remain beneath the pay threshold.

Part 2 – 14 Premium Google Apps

  1. HelloFax makes it easy to sign documents and send faxes online. Send and receive faxes. Sign documents and fill out forms. Price: Up to 5 fax pages per month free.
  2. SlideRocket creates stunning presentations. Save and share directly from Google Drive. Manage a library of presentations, slides and assets. Price: Lite is free; Pro is $24/month.
  3. Balsamiq Mockups lets you create, edit and share sketch-quality wireframes, all within Drive. Price: Full functionality starts at $5/month.
  4. Floorplanner gives you the tools to make floor plans fast. Recreate your home, garden or office with a library of objects to reshape, resize and rotate. Price: 1 project is free; 5 projects is $14.95/year.
  5. Conceptboard is an app for visual online collaboration using whiteboards. Price: Individual plans range from free to $9/month.
  6. MindMeister Create, edit and share mind maps. Plan projects, manage meetings and sketch out business plans online with partners and colleagues, all in real time. Price: Personal plan is $4.99/month.
  7. Smartsheet Project Management combines a familiar spreadsheet interface with automated workflows, sub-tasks, dependencies, and collaborative worksheets with interactive file sharing and notifications. Smartsheet Price: Paid plans start at $15.95/month.
  8. WeVideo makes video editing easy for everyone and accessible from anywhere. Features optional storyboard mode for quick and easy editing. Style your video with creative and professional themes. Price: Up to 15 min export is free; 1-hour export is $4.99/month.
  9. Zoho CRM is a first-class customer management tool that is priced depending on the number of users. Under three users, it is free. Beyond 3 users, the cost depends on the plan chosen from $12/month per user for the Standard Plan to $35/month per user for the Enterprise Plan. Zoho offers more advanced options than most CRMs while covering all the basic needs.
  10. Zoho Writer is an online word processor that lets you access, edit and share your documents online. Features instant collaboration, inline commenting and chat facilities. Price: Personal plan is free; Standard plan is $3 per user/month.
  11. Zoho Sheet is an app to create and edit spreadsheets from anywhere. Share spreadsheets and collaborate in real time. Price: Personal plan is free; Standard plan is $3 per user/month.
  12. Zoho Show is an online tool for making powerful presentations. It allows users to collaborate on presentations and make remote presentations to clients. Price: Personal plan is free; Standard plan is $3 per user/month.
  13. Heap Note is a note-taking, task-managing, and task-scheduling app, all in one. Price: Up to 5 tables free; Premium plan is $1.99/month.
  14. PowToon is a video animation and presentation application. Create an animated video, and then convert it into an animated presentation. Price: Monthly plans start at $9/month.

 

The Google Drive Suite Part 1 – 20 Free Google Apps

Google AppsThe number of free Google Apps available in the cloud on Google Drive is quite impressive Zephyr Networks knows from experience that Google’s cloud-storage solution is a valuable resource for small to mid-sized businesses. Beyond allowing you to store and access your files from anywhere with the first 5 GB of cloud storage free, it also allows access to an amazing suite of free Google Apps, including full integration with third-party applications. With the vast variety of free Google Apps in the cloud, remote access has been taken to a new level of excellence.

In this two-part article, Zephyr Networks offers a list of productivity applications that work with Google Drive. You can find the comprehensive list of all of the apps available, including those in the Beta-testing phase, at the Chrome Web Store. Zephyr Networks helps to guide our client companies in knowing what Google Apps makes the most sense for their business model and needs.

Below is the first part of the article that covers the available free Google Apps offered in the Google Drive Suite of Applications. Part 1 focuses on 20 completely free Google Apps. Part 2 focuses on 13 premium Google Apps that need to be paid for based on usage rates, monthly subscriptions and premium plans.

Part 1 – 20 Free Google Apps

  1. Google Docs Access, create, and edit old Google docs in Google Drive. Edit documents with collaborators, and see changes as they type. Price: Free.
  2. Google Slides creates presentations with rich animations, drawings, transitions, themes, and more. Presentations are automatically saved and stored in Google Drive. Price: Free.
  3. Google Sheets creates and shares spreadsheets. Then publish them publicly, share them with others, or keep them private. Price: Free.
  4. Google Drawings builds diagrams, and creates flowcharts. Easily add them to other documents, or embed them on a website. Price: Free.
  5. Google Forms creates online forms and surveys, and then check the results in a neatly organized spreadsheet. Share forms from a link, embed them on your website, or right inside an email. Price: Free.
  6. Google Apps Script is a JavaScript cloud scripting language that provides easy ways to automate tasks, across Google products and third-party services, and build web applications. Price: Free. 
  7. RealtimeBoard is an easy to use whiteboard that helps you visualize and collaborate. With markup tools and mini-chats, work on your projects and discuss in real time. Price: Free.
  8. Pixlr Express is a photo editor with nearly 250 effects, including borders, overlays, color adjustments, crop and rotation editors. Price: Free.
  9. PicMonkey is a free photo editor with collage, touch-up, fonts, effects, filters, frames, and stickers. Price: Free.
  10. Draw.io. draw.io is a free diagramming application that enables you to draw flowcharts, network diagrams, wire framing and mockups, and more. Price: Free.
  11. Pixlr Editor is a full-featured web-based photo editor. Tools include drawing, clone, sharpen and blur, filters and adjustments. Price: Free. 
  12. Gantter is an enterprise cloud-based project scheduling application. Easily import and open existing Microsoft Project files. Price: Free.
  13. Marqueed is a collaboration tool to discuss and work on images and designs. Price: Free.
  14. PDF Mergy provides a simple way to merge PDF files. You can either select the files you want to merge from you computer or drop them on the app using drag and drop. Price: Free. 
  15. Open Drive is a collective encyclopedia project based on cloud public files. It’s designed to provide free reusable contents. Price: Free.
  16. Form+ provides an interface to create forms by just dragging and dropping components. Supports the creation of forms with a wide variety of input types. Price: Free.
  17. Ultradox generate contracts, invoices and much more from Google Docs templates. Create personalized documents from your own templates by turning Google Docs into a template engine. Price: Free.
  18. Presentation Remote enables you to use a smartphone as a remote control for presentations. Price: Free.
  19. TwistedWave is a full-featured audio editor that allows you to edit audio files from your computer or Google Drive. Save in one of the many supported file formats with multiple export capabilities. Price: Free.
  20. Revisu enables creative teams to share their designs, track versions, and collect feedback. Automatically keep collaborators in the loop whenever a new version is uploaded. Price: Free.

5 Data Security Questions To Ask A Cloud Vendor

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Data Security in the Clouds

Do you know the data security questions you should ask a cloud vendor? Zephyr Networks understands how important it is for a company to be able to trust a cloud vendor. When you are allowing an external party to safeguard the essential data and proprietary information that forms the backbone of your business, you need to be confident in their capabilities. Although not comprehensive, the 5 data security questions below can help any business validate whether or not they want to work with a potential new cloud vendor.

5 Data Security Questions To Ask A Cloud Vendor

1) Does the cloud vendor implement controls to segregate your data from other client companies?

Since cloud vendors tend to base their business on a multi-client model, the addition of other companies opens the door to a greater possibility of attack. If a multi-client server is not properly secured, a flaw in one client application could allow an attacker access to your company’s data. This is why it is essential for each client company to be safely segregated from the others on any cloud-based server.

2) Does the cloud vendor regularly encrypt and test its backups?

If a cloud vendor does not test its backups on a regular basis and update the necessary encryption, such backups are theoretically useless. Cloud-computing server backups need to be regularly tested, monitored and encrypted with the latest data security updates.

3) Does the cloud vendor have a reliable disaster recovery and business continuity plan for its data housing server sites?

When it comes to data recovery plans and business continuity strategies, your company cannot take a chance in the internet age of 24-hour business opportunities. Make sure any cloud vendor your company chooses to work with has a reliable disaster recovery and business continuity plan to ensure the safety of your data.

4) Does the cloud vendor follow data destruction processes for computer equipment and storage devices that ensures the zeroing out of all confidential information?

Before you enter into an agreement with a cloud vendor, ask them about their data destruction process. Do they take all the necessary steps to zero out confidential information on decommissioned computer equipment and storage devices? If you move on later, will your confidential information be thoroughly wiped from their servers?

5) Can the cloud vendor provide relevant certificates and applicable compliance certifications?

There is a vast array of compliance certifications for cloud vendors that include the following; ITIL, COBIT, ISO 2700, and many more. If a cloud vendor claims to be in such compliance, ask them to show you the relevant certificates and applicable compliance certifications? If they can’t do this, there most likely is a problem.

Cloud Vendor Relationship Managed

As a proponent of cloud-based solutions, Zephyr Networks has the experience needed by our clients to secure and ensure their valuable company data. We consistently negotiate and manage a client’s relationship with a cloud vendor.  To learn more about how we can help you with cloud-based storage, data security and network security solutions, please call Zephyr Networks toll free at (800) 884-7559 or fill out our handy contact form.