Thanks for tuning in.

My name is Ryan, and aside from getting out of doing any real work, the aim of this Blog is to provide you with an insight into the daily workings of an IT Consultant at a Cloud computing provider, industry news, and to explain how some form of cloud computing is right for *most* businesses. I'll also use this blog space to shamelessly talk about how great we are, why you should avoid using American cloud providers, and what to look out for when searching for a cloud provider.

We're fairly new to this Blogging malarkey, so please bear with us!

As an IT Consultant here at Quest, it is my role to speak to clients, delve down into their current IT situation and the problems they are facing, then put on my geek-hat and develop, design, and deliver the ideal solu
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  • Quest’s New Home – The Incubator, Alconbury Weald, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 4WX Jul 14, 2014

    Thanks to exponential growth with more on the horizon, Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd are pleased to announce that we are moving to brand new premises as of the 14th July 2014. Our new home will be The Incubator, part of the Enterprise Campus at Alconbury Weald. Check out the pictures of our new home below.

    Designed by internationally renowned architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris – those responsible for the Google building – Quest’s multi-award winning new office environment is as sustainable and eco-friendly as it is sleek and modern.

    Recognised and awarded by the British Council for Offices (BCO) as being one of the five finest places to work in the Midlands and East Anglia, named the winner of the East Anglia Region’s Best Commercial Building by the Local Authority Building Control, and in strong contention for the national BCO “Best of the Best” award, we’re confident that this is an excellent move for Quest and is the perfect reflection of our brand image.

    With dedicated meeting rooms, onsite café, and a rooftop breakout area, Quest look forward to welcoming you to our new offices soon.

    Awards – British Council for Offices (BCO)
    The Alconbury Incubator Building in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire has been recognised as one of the Midlands and East Anglia’s five finest workplaces at the annual British Council for Offices (BCO) property sector awards.

    The Midlands and East Anglia leg of the BCO’s respected awards programme recognises top quality office design and functionality and sets the standard for excellence in the regional office sector. Over 300 of the country’s top designers, developers, architects and occupiers attended the awards lunch, all of whom were competing for a coveted BCO regional award.

    The Alconbury Incubator Building took home the award for Projects up to 2000msq, for successfully responding to the challenging brief of developing a flexible office space, while creating a distinctive structure in a largely vacant airfield. The judges felt the project punched well above its weight with generous shared facilities and an impressive viewing platform and has set the tone for a further 124,000msq of commercial development on the site.

    All eyes are now on October 7th when the winners from the Regional Awards will compete in their categories at a national level and bid to win the property sector’s respected BCO ‘Best of the Best’ award. Wish them luck!

    Awards – Best Commercial Building by the Local Authority Building Control
    Alconbury Weald’s Incubator scooped a second award just months after opening. The building was named as the East Anglia Region Winner of Best Commercial Building by the Local Authority Building Control, and praised for it’s building excellence in the delivery of outstanding construction and workmanship. We can’t wait to move into such a recognised office!

    Our New Home
    Please note our new address;

    Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd
    The Incubator
    Alconbury Weald

    Huntingdon
    Cambridgeshire
    PE28 4WX

    The rest of our contact details and telephone numbers – 0845 521 6000 for sales and enquiries, and 0845 521 6999 for support – will remain the same.

    We’ll be moving over the weekend of the 12th and 13th July – wish us luck! Extended hours/weekend telephone support contracts will function as normal for those clients who have them.

    We look forward to speaking to you soon.

    Thanks,

    The Quest Team

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    - See more at: http://www.questcloudcomputing.co.u...or-alconbury-weald-come/#sthash.EHcD0gWv.dpuf
  • What are the Top 10 Benefits of Flexible/ Home Working for Employers? Jul 9, 2014

    It’s easy to see the benefits of home working for the employee - more time with the kids, less time commuting, less stress, etc. - but what about the benefits of home working/flexible working for the employer?

    Home Working / Flexible Working for all employees is now UK Law
    The 30th June 2014 introduced a change to the existing UK home working/flexible working laws, extending them beyond employees with children to all employees. This new law has been met with praise and criticism, but the fact is it’s here to stay and needs to be addressed. Rather than be all doom and gloom, let’s focus on the many benefits that home working and/or flexible hours can offer your business.

    Remember, flexible working doesn’t have to mean home working and never seeing your employees again; offering flexibility to staff could mean job sharing, flexible start times, or a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE).

    Top 10 Benefits of Home Working / Remote Working for Employers
    The top 10 benefits of home working/flexible working for businesses are;
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    1. Increased Productivity
    Believe it or not, study after study confirms that employees are more productive when working from home. Not convinced by studies? British Telecom (BT) have realised a 20% increase in productivity thanks to telecommuting; they have over 15,000 home working out of 92,000 employees.

    2. Happier, More Empowered Staff
    Offering employees home working or even just flexible hours shows that you trust them; trust makes employees feel valued and empowered, feeling valued makes staff want to work for you, and work harder for you. Remember, staff should be paid for their skills, not their time. Making your staff know that they are valued makes them feel empowered, but also more responsible for their output.

    3. Improved Staff Retention
    Making your business appear as a better place to work with more trust, flexibility, and empowerment means your staff are less likely to leave.

    4. Reduce Absenteeism and Tardiness
    HSBC Bank and BT have both found that flexible home working results in fewer sick days and happier employees who are more willing to commit to their employer.

    5. Expand Your Talent Pool
    If you run an old-school business and demand your employees are at their desks at all times, you greatly reduce your catchment area for recruiting new talent to the local area. Combine this with the fact that the lack of trust this management style demonstrates will mean potential staff are less willing to commute as far as they would to a more flexible employers and you can see how you’ve reduced your talent pool even further.

    Offering home working, flexible hours, job sharing, or even just a flexible start time will expand your talent pool massively, potential nationwide. Allowing a flexible start time could mean that employees miss out the worst of the traffic and are more productive at their desks.

    6. Extended Opening Hours
    Depending on your business, there’s the potential that your customers want to speak to you outside of office hours, especially if you deal with the public rather than Business-to-Business (B2B). Offering flexible hours and flexible start times could mean your business can now be officially open for longer working hours in a day, or even at the weekends, at no additional cost to your business. Let some staff start early and some start late, and you won’t have to pay overtime to extend your opening hours.

    7. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
    CSR is a big deal these days. Your business needs to be seen as being socially responsible to its customers, staff, suppliers, general public, and the outside world. Allowing for flexible or home working will greatly reduce your business’s environmental impact, saving around 4000 kilograms of pollutants per employee per year in travel. Taking your CSR seriously is a great marketing angle; customers love to buy from businesses who are seen to be socially responsible.

    8. Improves Your Brand’s Image
    With the CSR benefits, happier employees, potentially extended opening hours, and access to a wider talent pool for employees, your brand’s overall image will likely improve. With studies and case studies showing that teleworking improves productivity amongst the many other benefits, your customers will receive a better and more efficient service. Good for them, good for you, and good for the staff.

    Offering flexibility is one step towards becoming recognised as being an employer of choice.

    9. Reduce Costs
    Offering a flexible work environment makes your business more appealing, and makes potential recruits more keen to work for you. As such, you’ll potentially be able to reduce the salaries on offer, as potential recruits will value the other non-financial benefits of working for you and that home working saves people an average of £6,000 a year in travel costs. There is a real value in our free time, and it’s probably worth a slight reduction in salary if we get more of it.

    Aside from salary, you’ll likely reduce your office overheads, and potentially even downsize your office and its costs.

    10. Focus on Growing your Business, not on Man Management
    Allowing flexible working and home working means less office politics, less distractions, and increased productivity. As a business owner or manager, is your time best spent on managing staff in the office, or growing the business?

    How can you make use of technology to make use of flexible and home working?
    Still not convinced? All of this has been proven to work in existing companies; John Timpson, owner of Timpson, has shared his experience with flexible home working options for his business.

    Flexible working and home working is here to stay, and all businesses of all sizes can make it work for them.

    It’s no secret that the right use of technology can help make teleworking better and more effective. Adopting Cloud Computing means that all staff can access their files, data, and applications from anywhere in the world, and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Lync Unified Communications will enable staff members to talk to each other (telephone, instant message, video conference, etc.), and collaborate (screen sharing, application sharing, presentations, etc.) more effectively than ever. Speak to Quest today to find out how the right technology can help you make best use of the opportunity that home working can offer your business – 0845 521 6000.

    Thanks,

    The Quest Team
  • Ryan’s doing a Charity Skydive for the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB)! May 19, 2014

    Ryan’s Charity Skydive!

    So it’s official – I, Ryan Hughes, am doing a Charity Skydive, jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane, strapped to someone I’ve only just met, all in the name of Charity! I aim to raise money and awareness of all that the RNIB do for those who are blind, and all that they do to help prevent blindness in the UK and worldwide.

    More info here - http://www.justgiving.com/Ryan-Hughes-RNIB-Skydive

    [​IMG]This insanity will be taking place on Saturday 21st June at Sibson Airfield, Peterborough – feel free to come along and support/mock us!

    Or if you’d like to join in this worthy cause, get in touch with me at [email protected] to arrange jumping with me and the rest of my group!

    I’ll be doing this along with a few people from other local businesses, and I need your help in raising the money! Please have a look at my JustGiving page to donate to this worthy cause.

    Why am I doing this Charity Skydive?
    Blindness and sight loss affects millions of people just in the UK, many of them children, and our chances of it affecting us increases with age. 1 in 5 people aged 75 and over are blind or partially sighted.

    I’m doing this in support of the Royal National Institute for the Blind to help raise awareness of the work they do. Charities like the RNIB don’t get anywhere near as much attention as some of the big ones (i.e. Cancer charities), but their work is vital in helping prevent potentially blinding eye conditions, and in helping those who are blind or partially sighted.

    Loads of facts below, or you can see more here.

    Did you know…?
    • Firstly, yes… I’m terrified! But it’s all for a good cause, so please donate away!
    • “Over 50% of sight loss can be avoided.” (Access Economics, 2009)
    • “There are almost two million people in the UK living with sight loss. This figure includes around 360,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK, who have severe and irreversible sight loss.” (Access Economics, 2009)
    • “There are almost 25,000 blind and partially sighted children in Britain. That is equal to 2 in 1,000 children. As many as half of these children may have other disabilities.” (Morris and Smith, Educational Provision, 2008)
    • “The number of people in the UK with sight loss is set to increase dramatically. It is predicted that by 2050 the number of people with sight loss in the UK will double to nearly four million.” (Access Economics, 2009)
    • “Sight loss affects people of all ages. Sight loss affects people of all ages but especially older people: 1 in 5 people aged 75 and 1 in 2 aged 90 and over are living with sight loss.” (Access Economics, 2009)
    • “Two-thirds of registered blind and partially sighted people of working age are not in paid employment.” (Douglas et al, Network 1000, 2006)
    • “Nearly half of blind and partially sighted people feel ‘moderately’ or ‘completely’ cut off from people and things around them.” (Pey, Nzegwu and Dooley, 2006)
    Thanks!
    Thanks in advance for your donations, they’re going to a great cause!

    - See more at: http://www.questcloudcomputing.co.u...itute-blind-people-rnib/#sthash.7bSdGgb6.dpuf
  • Backup Storage – Fireproof Safes for Backup Tapes and Hard Drives May 19, 2014

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    "I store my backup tapes in a fireproof safe. That’s good enough, right?"
    Does this sound familiar?

    In a recent conversation with a potential client, we got onto the topic of where they stored their backups. Turns out, like many businesses, they use fireproof safes for backup tapes, and felt that this was the most secure way of storing their business-critical backup data and protecting it against fire damage.

    They were confident that in the event of a total loss fire in their office, they would be able to retrieve the safe from amongst the ashes, pull out the tapes/hard drives, and restore their data onto a newly-purchased IT system. After all, that’s what fireproof safes are for, right?

    Well that’s partly right…
    Fireproof safes are, as the name suggests, designed to be fireproof. Their contents shouldn’t catch fire, even if the surrounding environment is in flames. But what standard fireproof safes don’t do, is keep the inside of the safe cool. Quite the opposite, it can get HOT in there. Most standard fireproof safes are designed to get no hotter than 177°C (350°F), the maximum temperature that paper and documents can withstand. But media devices like backup tapes fail at around 52°C (125°F), at which point they become warped and unusable. If your business is storing its backup tapes in a standard fireproof safe, that safe will rocket to 177°C in the event of fire, destroying its contents, regardless of the fireproof hour rating it has (usually 1 or 2 hours).

    The moral of the story – storing your backup tapes and hard drives in a standard fireproof safe will not work as you expect.

    What can you do?
    If you’re insistent on sticking with backup tapes, then make sure you have a fireproof safe that is rated for media and tapes, as these are designed to keep cool. You’ll also need to put your tapes in sealed protective containers, as the safes keep cool by releasing moisture into the safe as they get warm. You wouldn’t want that moisture to destroy the media! You should also ensure it’s always locked, and stored on the ground floor (so that it doesn’t pop open upon landing if it falls through the ceiling).

    Any better options?
    In a word – yes. Online backup is the answer.

    Why spend time and money keeping file backup as a manual process, as well as the risk of not being able to use your backup when you need it most, when there are more cost-effective, reliable, resilient, and easy-to-use methods out there?

    Online backup performs your whole backup process for you, every night, encrypts the files and uploads them to an offsite secure Cloud platform stored in a datacentre. Only the daily file changes are uploaded, meaning very little Internet bandwidth and speed is needed.

    Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
    Another reason to use Online Backup – disaster recovery and business continuity.

    Imagine the scenario; your office has burnt down or flooded, and your fireproof safe successfully protected the backup tapes. Now what? You have no servers or PCs left to restore to, so you have to order some new ones and wait for them to arrive before you can even start the backup process. Oh, and find a new office in the meantime…

    Alternatively, if you’d been using Online Backup, you could restore your backups into a Cloud-hosted virtual environment almost instantaneously, and be back up and running in a short space of time. In addition to this, your staff could all work from home while a new office was being sourced. You could suffer a disaster and be back up and running the next day.

    Online Backup definitely wins the disaster recovery and business continuity challenge here. Consider this; how much downtime can your business afford?

    Still not convinced? Try our Online Backup product for free for 30 days! or speak to a Consultant at Quest on 0845 521 6000.

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Team

    - See more at: http://www.questcloudcomputing.co.u...ackup-tapes-hard-drives/#sthash.szLXzKil.dpuf
  • Work From Home – Flexible working promoted by Work Wise UK May 16, 2014

    11th to 17th May 2014 is the 9th consecutive year of Work Wise Week, once again featuring the hugely successful National Work from Home Day, on Friday 16th May. Is your business involved?
    Work from home schemes have grown in popularity in recent years, largely thanks to ultra-flexible hosted IT services that enable staff to be at work without actually being at work.
    Soon, flexible working options won’t just be a policy that caring companies provide, the option to have it will become law. June 30th 2014 will brings new legislation in the UK that provides all employees with over 6 months’ experience at a company the legal right to request flexible working and the ability to work from home. Employers can find out more at the ACAS website.

    Microsoft Work From Home Study

    Microsoft recently conducted a study of European employees focused on flexible working. You can read the full report here, and see the main findings summarised below.
    • Around two-thirds of office works currently work flexibly on occasion
    • Children, pets, and elderly relatives are the most common cause of employee’s wanting flexible working
    • Over 75% of workers feel their lives would be improved by working flexibly
    • 90% of workers feel that they are equally, if not substantially more, productive when working flexibly, with 30% feeling they are most productive at home
    • Over 70% feel that flexible working options are a significant factor in their job search, with 17% saying it is critical
    • Small businesses offer more flexibility than large enterprises (25% compared to 9%)
    • Technology is the biggest restrictor to companies offering flexible working, and yet is one of the easiest to change and improve
    [​IMG]It isn’t just greater emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility that has brought this change about. Saving the planet thanks to less travelling is great, but the real reason companies are offering more flexible conditions is because it’s actually better for business.
    Why offer flexible working?

    Because your employees want it, it’s good for the environment, it promotes your Corporate Social Responsibility, and makes your staff happier. And happy staff make for a happy business and happy customers.
    Speak to Quest today to find out what you can do to make your business more flexible and productive on 0845 521 6000.
  • Data Privacy, Data Snooping, and the PRISM Scandal Jul 9, 2013

    Data Privacy, Data Snooping, and the PRISM Scandal - How Does it Affect the Cloud Computing Market?

    With the recent press coverage of data privacy issues, the PRISM scheme, and all sorts of data snooping by foreign Governments, more and more businesses are asking; where is my data stored? Data privacy and Cloud Computing is a massive topic now.

    Those using Quest Cloud's platform know the answer; in the UK, and only in the UK. Our clients' data is never stored outside of the UK, and therefore is not subject to the US Patriot Act and the data privacy issues it brings.

    Why does this matter? Perhaps as a business you're not fussed where your data is stored? Perhaps you want to use Microsoft 365 or Google Apps because it's cheap and aren't concerned that Uncle Sam has the right to snoop into your business' data? But wait a minute; what about your clients? How do they feel about the data you store about them on your systems being available to foreign Governments, and floating around the world, going from country to country, datacentre to datacentre?

    You could argue, and some do, that perhaps you should avoid using the Cloud altogether, and store everything on the little box in the corner of your office. At least that way you can be sure the data isn't being stored in the US, right? Surely that makes it safer? But wait; how secure is that data now? Sure, it's safe from scrutiny by Uncle Sam, but it's now open to all visitors to your office, all employees, and anyone who can break the office door lock and steal your server. Not to mention, you could be one of the 9 out of 10 small to medium business who say they've been hacked in the past.

    So your data is secure from hackers on a US-owned Cloud platform (i.e. Microsoft 365, Google Apps, Amazon EC2, etc.), but not secure from foreign Governments; on the flip-side, your data is free from data snooping by foreign Governments when stored in your office, but not free from hackers, office visitors, and disgruntled employees. So what can you do?

    Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd have positioned ourselves to combat these concerns. Our Cloud platform is entirely UK-based; no foreign Governments to intervene, and our Terms of Business state that the client always retains data ownership. Our Cloud platform is also far more secure than most SMEs could afford, with state-of-the-art firewalls, enterprise-level anti-virus and anti-spam, and intrusion-detection technology, all of which help ensure that your data is completely safe.

    Want to know more about what "the Cloud" could do for you? It goes far beyond security and safety benefits you know! How does improved flexibility and resilience sound? What about a more flexible costing model that grows and shrinks with your business on a month-by-month basis? Or a more stable IT platform that doesn't rely on single pieces of hardware for your business-critical applications and processes?

    Reading about "the Cloud" is great, but to truly find out what "the Cloud" can do for you, talking is better; get in touch with a Consultant at Quest for more information. We're a friendly bunch, and don't bite!

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd Team


    Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd are based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and provide cloud computing services from our UK-based cloud platform. We specialise in providing a range of bespoke cloud computing, virtualisation, and traditional IT solutions, tailored to the individual clients’ needs. We also provide hosted Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telecommunications and Unified Communications, data connectivity, lines and minutes. Check out our website for more information, and get in touch to speak with a consultant.

    We provide our services to small to medium businesses as well as corporate clients all over the UK and Europe; we also network regularly in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire to connect with potential clients as well as to speak with other IT Service Providers and Value Added Resellers (VARs, MSPs, etc.) who are interested in reselling white-labeled cloud computing services.
  • Windows Server 2012 Improvements Jun 20, 2013

    Despite the Windows 8 start bar issues that have caused a massive ruckus, Microsoft have made serious leaps ahead in their back-end technology in their latest versions of software; really impressive stuff that most users will completely take for granted or not even notice, but will get IT management weak at the knees...

    Windows Server 2012 Improvements​


    Aside from giving Windows Server 2012 a graphical overhaul to bring it in line with Microsoft's fresh and clean new look, the tech bods over in Silicon Valley have been busy making huge improvements to the underlying engine of Windows Server.

    • Remote Desktop Services / Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Improvements - The improvements that Microsoft have made in RDS and VDI technology in Server 2012 are some of the most relevant for cloud providers and businesses looking to make a move to cloud computing and Terminal Services environments. These improvements include;
    • An improved user experience - thanks to improvements in graphical processing and smoothing, the user experience while using Terminal Services has been greatly improved, with far less latency and lag issues (not that it was a problem in Windows 2008 R2; it has just been massively improved upon).
    • Possible reduced costs - the visual improvements in Server 2012 may actually mean that businesses don't need to adopt Citrix licensing for visual improvements, therefore greatly reducing the costs of IT upgrades and new IT rollouts.
    • Improved VDI Deployments - Businesses looking to deploy true VDI will benefit from an easier management and deployment console in Server 2012. In addition to this, the user experience is improved thanks to new features such as Network Fairshare, Disk Fairshare, and CPU Fairshare, all of which have been designed to ensure that users can't negatively impact on the resources available to other users.
    • A full breakdown of RDS / VDI improvements can be found here.
    • Improvements to various aspects of Active Directory, including Domain Services, Certificate Services, and Rights Management Services.
    • Improved File Server Resource Manager - The improvements in this function offer IT administrators and cloud providers more control over file storage and access, i.e. better control over who can access what, logging of file access and attempted file access, etc.
    • Hyper-V Improvements - There was a time when Hyper-V was an inferior product to VMware and Citrix; however with the recent improvements from Microsoft, Hyper-V is becoming a decent challenger. Improved features include Dynamic Memory, Hyper-V Replica (for business continuity and disaster recovery), Live Migration of virtual machines, and improved scale and resiliency.
    This list is just scratching the surface of what's new and improved; check out this Microsoft TechNet post for a full breakdown of every feature.

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd Team

    Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd are based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and provide cloud computing services from our UK-based cloud platform. We specialise in providing a range of bespoke cloud computing, virtualisation, and traditional IT solutions, tailored to the individual clients’ needs. We also provide hosted Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telecommunications and Unified Communications, data connectivity, lines and minutes. Check out our website for more information, and get in touch to speak with a consultant.

    We provide our services to small to medium businesses as well as corporate clients all over the UK and Europe; we also network regularly in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire to connect with potential clients as well as to speak with other IT Service Providers and Value Added Resellers (VARs, MSPs, etc.) who are interested in reselling white-labeled cloud computing services.
  • Huge Windows 8.1 improvements due… Is bashing Windows 8 really warranted? Jun 19, 2013

    Windows 8 has gotten a fair bit of bashing since it was released, and to be fair, some of it was warranted. While we at Quest actually quite like the new Metro-style layout and the fact that you now need to type in what you're looking for rather than navigate through a Start menu (we think it’s a quicker way of working), we appreciate that it was quite a jump for the company to take and it didn't go down well with the average user.

    However, to bash an Operating System just because of that is probably over the top, especially considering the impressive behind-the-scenes changes they've made. Granted, the average user probably won't care, but IT Pros should do. With the impending rollout of Windows 8.1 and the reintroduction of the beloved Star menu, come a range of additional benefits. A quick overview of the Windows 8.1 improvements include;

    Modern UI Improvements​

    Perhaps most importantly to the general public, Windows 8.1 will bring improvements to how Windows 8 looks and feels; they are the most minor changes, and yet will visually be the most obvious.

    • Desktop and Smart Screen - Improvements have been made to better support users who prefer a mouse and keyboard experience to access applications
    • Boot to Desktop – Users can now choose an option to boot directly to the desktop, rather than to the Metro-style Start screen

    Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Improvements​


    Windows 8.1 has made a big move forward in the BYOD space, encouraging businesses to give staff the flexibility to literally bring their own device (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) to work with them.

    • Workplace Join – Previously, a device had to be joined to the workplace’s network and domain completely, or not at all; Windows 8.1 will enable a middle-ground, whereby user’s personal devices can be joined to the Workplace and access network resources but with less rights than a company-owned machine
    • Work Folders – Allows syncing of users’ workplace personal documents to their personal devices and vice versa
    • Mobile Device Management – Easier mobile device management for IT administrator
    • Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Enhancements – Windows 8.1 in conjunction with Windows Server 2012 will result in a much smoother user experience when using Terminal Services; fantastic news for businesses looking to move to a Terminal Services and/or cloud computing solution

    Mobility Enhancements​


    • Virtual Private Network (VPN) Improvements – More VPN support in Windows 8.1, as well as the ability for applications to automatically trigger VPN connections
    • Broadband Tethering – allows users to tether other devices to their Windows 8.1 device for Internet sharing

    Security Enhancements​


    • Remote Business Data Removal - Businesses have more control over corporate content which can be marked as corporate, encrypted, and then be wiped when the relationship between the corporation and user has ended
    • Malware Resistance – Windows 8 is more malware resistant than ever, using Windows Defender, the free, built-in antivirus and antimalware software from Microsoft.
    A full list of the changes in Windows 8.1 can be found at Microsoft’s TechNet website.

    All in all, Microsoft have actually done a good job in their new Operating System, and with the reintroduction of the Start menu, we hope they’ll actually get some of the credit they deserve.

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd Team


    Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd are based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and provide cloud computing services from our UK-based cloud platform. We specialise in providing a range of bespoke cloud computing, virtualisation, and traditional IT solutions, tailored to the individual clients’ needs. We also provide hosted Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telecommunications and Unified Communications, data connectivity, lines and minutes. Check out our website for more information, and get in touch to speak with a consultant.

    We provide our services to small to medium businesses as well as corporate clients all over the UK and Europe; we also network regularly in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire to connect with potential clients as well as to speak with other IT Service Providers and Value Added Resellers (VARs, MSPs, etc.) who are interested in reselling white-labeled cloud computing services.
  • What are the real benefits of Cloud computing to SMEs? May 14, 2013

    Benefits of Cloud Computing to the SME Market​


    We could bombard you with the features and technology behind cloud computing, but unless you're in IT, you probably don't care. As a business owner or IT decision maker, what you care about is what it can offer your business, and also why you would choose it over a traditional IT solution.

    The main benefits? Security, Resilience/Redundancy, Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery, Flexibility, and Scalability. Read on for more details...

    Benefits of Cloud Computing

    Security

    Cloud solutions are, by their very definition, more secure than traditional IT rollouts. There's a common feeling that data is safest when it can be "seen" sitting on a server in your office; but when you consider who else can "see" that data (all employees, visitors to the office, cleaners, etc.), you'll see it isn't such a good idea. Cloud computing provides you with the same level of virtual security as you get when you bank online (256bit AES encryption for those who care), and a physical datacentre building that feels like Fort Knox that "the Cloud" platform is stored in.

    Resilience

    While it may sound like a boring technical term, resilience is very important for all businesses. Cloud computing solutions are far more resilient against hardware failure than traditional IT solutions, largely because of the amount of hardware that's in use; if part of a cloud platform fails, the rest of the platform will pick up the slack until the faulty hardware is fixed or replaced. An onsite traditional IT rollout can't offer this, at least without significant investment in hardware that most SMEs can't afford.

    Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery

    You wouldn't be doing your job as a business owner or IT decision maker if you haven't considered business continuity planning. While some business continuity planning can be difficult (dealing with high levels of absence, for example), planning for IT-related disasters can be quite easy, especially when you take "the Cloud" into consideration. Given the high levels of hardware redundancy, redundant Internet connectivity, and redundant power supplies supplying our Cloud platform, "the Cloud" is a much better place for your IT platform to sit. If your office burns down, your in-house server explodes, or your staff can't get to the office for a few days due to bad weather, you'll still be able to operate in IT terms if you're using a cloud solution.

    Flexibility

    Small to medium businesses need flexibility in their IT platforms to help them stay afloat, especially in this market. having a rigid and fixed IT platform could seriously hold your business back if it means you can't adapt your business to changing times easily.

    Scalability

    A scalable IT platform is essential for growing businesses, but also can help with cost reduction when businesses need to scale down; Cloud solutions provide this level of scalability. Never again will your business have to splash the cash on future-proofing the hardware it purchases, with the risk that it will never be needed and will be out-of-date by the time it is needed; with "the Cloud", you just pay for what you need, as you need it, scaling it up and down with your business.

    There are a varied range of options and services that cloud computing can deliver to your business, including;

    • Online Backup - this is a solution that all businesses, large and small, can make use of, and makes recovering from disasters a much smoother process
    • Hosted Email - again, this is a solution that all sizes of businesses can use; after all, all businesses need email, and this is the most cost-efficient way of getting it
    • Virtual Servers - do away with aging physical hardware and replace them with resilient and secure virtual server technology
    • Virtual Desktops - great for small businesses who want enterprise-level IT without the associated cost
    • Hosted VoIP Telephony - save money on hardware, line rental, and calls!

    Remember, cloud computing isn't really any different from traditional computing, except it is hosted in a more secure location than your office could ever be, and is far more resilient, redundant, and secure than most SMEs could ever afford.

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd Team


    Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd are based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and provide cloud computing services from our UK-based cloud platform. We specialise in providing a range of bespoke cloud computing, virtualisation, and traditional IT solutions, tailored to the individual clients' needs. We also provide hosted Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telecommunications and Unified Communications, data connectivity, lines and minutes. Check out our website for more information, and get in touch to speak with a consultant.

    We provide our services to small to medium businesses as well as corporate clients all over the UK and Europe; we also network regularly in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire to connect with potential clients as well as to speak with other IT Service Providers and Value Added Resellers (VARs, MSPs, etc.) who are interested in reselling white-labeled cloud computing services.
  • FREE Installation of Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) Fibre Optic Broadband services May 14, 2013

    FREE Installation of Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) Fibre Optic Broadband services... Limited time offer!

    New FTTC free Installation offer – available until August​


    Following the success of our discounted broadband services promotion earlier this year, Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd are delighted to announce FREE INSTALLATION, worth £80, on all Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) Fibre Optic Broadband orders for the next 3 months! Save yourselves £80 and get super-fast and ultra-reliable broadband for your business.

    In conjunction with our preferred connectivity services supplier, Gamma Telecom, this offer is available for all new Fibre Optic Broadband orders, and will run until the 9th August 2013.

    What you get with this offer;

    • FREE installation which normally costs £80
    • Super-fast speeds of up-to 80 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream
    • Very competitively-priced business-grade FTTC products

    With FTTC now available to 45% of the premises in the UK, the combination of our competitive pricing and excellent service provides a great opportunity for you to upgrade your Internet connectivity to some of the fastest and best value business broadband services in the UK. Why let your business settle for less when you can have blisteringly-fast speeds without the need for the cost of Ethernet-in-the-Final-Mile (EFM) or Leased Lines?

    Find out what services and speeds are available to you; speak to a Consultant today!

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd Team


    Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd are based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and provide cloud computing services from our UK-based cloud platform. We specialise in providing a range of bespoke cloud computing, virtualisation, and traditional IT solutions, tailored to the individual clients' needs. We also provide hosted Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telecommunications and Unified Communications, data connectivity, lines and minutes. Check out our website for more information, and get in touch to speak with a consultant.

    We provide our services to small to medium businesses as well as corporate clients all over the UK and Europe; we also network regularly in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire to connect with potential clients as well as to speak with other IT Service Providers and Value Added Resellers (VARs, MSPs, etc.) who are interested in reselling white-labeled cloud computing services.
  • 11 reasons to use Cloud Computing services for your SMB / SME... May 14, 2013

    11 reasons your SMB should use cloud computing services...​


    While we appreciate that cloud computing isn't 100% the right choice for all businesses, there are hundreds of reasons to use Cloud Computing services. Below are just a few reasons why "the Cloud" is likely a good choice for your small to medium business.

    1. You want an ultra-secure IT platform (especially if you're storing sensitive client data)

    "Cloud systems aren't secure!" This is a common objection we receive, but it is totally unfounded; at this point we like to ask why you think it isn't secure, to which the response is usually stumped silence... Quite often we find that non-forward-thinking IT providers who are scared of expanding into "the Cloud" are poisoning their clients against cloud services, which is a real shame. Banking-level encryption, two-factor authentication, Cisco firewalls, intrusion-detection technology, and 24/7 physical security with 6 layers of biometric scanning entry make "the Cloud" much more secure than a server sitting in an office protected by a lock on the door and Windows firewall. Think we're a big juicy target? 80% of small businesses reported some form of security breach in their systems last year; we had zero breaches and have hundreds of clients on the system.

    2. "The Cloud" is an option even if you have unreliable Internet connectivity...

    A common objection we receive is that the business' Internet connection isn't good enough for Cloud; while this can be an issue, it isn't always the case. Hybrid cloud solutions that make use of onsite and cloud-based services can actually get around this issue; speak to us for more information. Options such as hosted email and online backup don't require an always-on Internet connection either; hosted email can be retrieved on mobile devices when the office Internet connection drops so there is a flip-side argument to using it as a business continuity tool, and online backup will only backup the daily file changes, making it incredibly efficient and reducing strain on bandwidth.

    3. You want the ability to scale your IT platform up and down with your business's needs...

    In this uncertain market, wouldn't it be nice to be able to scale your IT platform up and down as you need it, expanding it as your business grows, and shrinking it if you need to scale down? We have many clients large and small who are thriving thanks to the ability to scale; check out our case studies for more information.

    4. You want the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world...

    Wouldn't it be nice to be able to work from anywhere in the world and not be tied to the office? Why use clunky services like LogMeIn when you could use hosted desktop services from our UK-based cloud platform which will give you a much smoother and more reliable experience?

    5. Your business' size is right for Cloud computing, regardless of what you've been told...

    Another very common objection is that SMBs think they're too small for Cloud services, but again this is incorrect. "The Cloud" is an ambiguous term and means many things which may be why many SME owners don't really know what it can offer, but hosted email and online backup are cloud services, and all businesses need email and backup, regardless of size. Beyond that, a micro business may still need centralised file storage and collaboration options that a server would offer, but they may not want to splash out on it; cloud services can offer micro businesses the ability to make use of enterprise-level IT without the associated cost. Don't do a disservice to your business and employees; at least find out what's available to you.

    6. You want to have flexible payment options that make budgeting and forecasting much easier, especially in this market...

    The ability to pay a monthly operational expenditure (OPEX) for the level of IT you need on a month-by-month basis, and not having to future-proof your IT hardware upfront with huge capital expense (CAPEX) has been a Godsend for many small and medium businesses. If you need a new IT or telephony solution but don't have thousands of pounds in capital upfront for it, an OPEX model could just save your business.

    7. You're concerned about disaster recovery and business continuity...

    Backing up to tapes is a tried and tested method, but it's pretty out-of-date and full of flaws, and can you truly say you ALWAYS take the tapes off-site? And backing up just to a memory stick is a very risky strategy. Hosted services, or at the very least online backup, give a much higher level of disaster recovery and business continuity, and it's cheaper than you think; 10 GBs of online questBackup is just £4 a month, less than the sandwich you bought for lunch... Why risk your company data when it is essentially the most valuable asset you have?

    8. You want a financially-backed guaranteed uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA)...

    IT systems break, it's a fact of life. But wouldn't you be happy to know that you have a financially-backed uptime Service Level Agreement in place to ensure that you are covered in the event of unplanned system downtime, or to provide a real incentive to your service provider to do their jobs and keep you up and running.

    9. You want the option of free rolling upgrades to the latest Microsoft software...

    You may not be fussed on having the latest and greatest Microsoft software, but the option would be nice without paying through the nose for it or having to opt for expensive Software Assurance? Cloud services will give you the choice.

    10. You realise that resilience and redundancy are important to all businesses...

    We speak to so many SMEs that are relying on a single server, and a single hard drive in that server for their entire business-critical IT systems; this is a ticking time-bomb. There are two types of hard drives in this world; those that have failed, and those that will. Using a hosted system from Quest gives you redundant replication of data, the option of geographic-dispersal of data, resilience against cloud-based physical server failure (thanks to VMware vMotion technology) and multiple high-speed links to the Internet, making for one very resilient and redundant cloud platform.

    11. You want to have Bank-level secure IT systems (i.e. Banking-level 256 bit AES encryption)...

    Perhaps you feel that Windows Firewall and an anti-virus program is enough, but given the statistics on how many SMEs were hacked in 2013, perhaps your business deserves something better?

    Hopefully this gives you an idea of some of the reasons to use cloud computing services, just why cloud computing is such a huge industry, why many SMEs are now making use of it, and why a very high percentage of SMEs will be adopting some form of cloud service in 2013.

    Each business is different, so talking to a Consultant is your best choice; get in touch today to find out more.

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd Team


    Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd are based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and provide cloud computing services from our UK-based cloud platform. We specialise in providing a range of bespoke cloud computing, virtualisation, and traditional IT solutions, tailored to the individual clients' needs. We also provide hosted Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telecommunications and Unified Communications, data connectivity, lines and minutes. Check out our website for more information, and get in touch to speak with a consultant.

    We provide our services to small to medium businesses as well as corporate clients all over the UK and Europe; we also network regularly in Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire to connect with potential clients as well as to speak with other IT Service Providers and Value Added Resellers (VARs, MSPs, etc.) who are interested in reselling white-labeled cloud computing services.
  • 11 reasons NOT to use Cloud computing services... or is it? Apr 26, 2013

    11 Reasons NOT to use cloud computing services...

    So a bizarre title for a blog post by a cloud provider, eh? Why would we suggest reasons not to use cloud computing services for your SME?! Read on, and you'll see the point we're making...

    1. You believe cloud computing isn't secure...

    "Cloud systems aren't secure!" This is a common objection we receive, but it is totally unfounded; at this point we like to ask why you think it isn't secure, to which the response is usually silence... Quite often we find that non-forward-thinking IT providers who are scared of expanding into "the Cloud" are poisoning their clients against cloud services, which is a real shame. Banking-level encryption, two-factor authentication, Cisco firewalls, intrusion-detection technology, and 24/7 physical security with 6 layers of biometric scanning entry make "the Cloud" much more secure than a server sitting in an office protected by a lock on the door and Windows firewall. Think we're a big juicy target? 80% of small businesses reported some form of security breach in their systems last year; we had zero breaches and have hundreds of clients on the system.

    2. You think that an unreliable Internet connection rules out "the Cloud" completely...

    A common objection, but not always correct. Hybrid cloud solutions that make use of onsite and cloud-based services can actually get around this issue; speak to us for more information. Options such as hosted email and online backup don't require an always-on Internet connection either; hosted email can be retrieved on mobile devices when the office Internet connection drops so there is a flip-side argument to using as a business continuity tool, and online backup will only backup the daily file changes, making it incredibly efficient.

    3. You don't want the ability to scale your IT platform up and down with your business's needs...

    In this uncertain market, wouldn't it be nice to be able to scale your IT platform up and down as you need it, expanding it as your business grows, and shrinking it if you need to scale down? We have many clients large and small who are thriving thanks to the ability to scale; check out our case studies for more information.

    4. You don't want the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world...

    Wouldn't it be nice to be able to work from anywhere in the world and not be tied to the office? Why use clunky services like LogMeIn when you could use hosted desktop services from our UK-based cloud platform which will give you a much smoother experience?

    5. You think your business is too small for Cloud computing...

    Another very common objection, but again it is unfounded. "The Cloud" is an ambiguous term and means many things which may be why many SME owners don't really know what it can offer, but hosted email and online backup are cloud services, and all businesses need email and backup, regardless of size. Beyond that, a micro business may still need centralised file storage and collaboration options that a server would offer, but they may not want to splash out on it; cloud services can offer micro businesses the ability to make use of enterprise-level IT without the associated cost. Don't make your business miss out on what's available.

    6. You don't want to have flexible payment options that make budgeting and forecasting much easier, especially in this market...

    The ability to pay a monthly operational expenditure (OPEX) for the level of IT you need on a month-by-month basis, and not having to future-proof your IT hardware upfront with huge capital expense (CAPEX) has been a Godsend for many small and medium businesses. If you need a new IT or telephony solution but don't have thousands of pounds in capital upfront for it, an OPEX model could just save your business.

    7. You aren't fussed about disaster recovery and business continuity...

    Backing up to tapes is a tried and tested method, but it's pretty out-of-date and full of flaws, and can you truly say you ALWAYS take the tapes off-site? And backing up just to a memory stick is a very risky strategy. Hosted services, or at the very least online backup, give a much higher level of disaster recovery and business continuity, and it's cheaper than you think; 10 GBs of online questBackup is just £4 a month...

    8. You don't want a financially-backed guaranteed uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA) for your clients...

    IT systems break, it's a fact of life. But wouldn't you be happy to know that you have a financially-backed uptime Service Level Agreement in place to ensure that you are covered in the event of unplanned system downtime?

    9. You don't want the option of free rolling upgrades to the latest Microsoft software...

    You may not be fussed on having the latest and greatest Microsoft software, but the option would be nice without paying through the nose for it or having to opt for expensive Software Assurance. Cloud services will give you the choice.

    10. You don't think resilience and redundancy are important to your business...

    We speak to so many SMEs that are relying on a single server, and a single hard drive in that server for their entire business-critical IT systems; this is a ticking time-bomb. There are two types of hard drives in this world; those that have failed, and those that will. Using a hosted system from Quest gives you redundant replication of data, the option of geographic-dispersal of data, resilience against cloud-based physical server failure (thanks to VMware vMotion technology) and multiple high-speed links to the Internet, making for one very resilient and redundant cloud platform.

    11. You don't want to have Bank-level secure IT systems (i.e. Banking-level 256 bit AES encryption)...

    Perhaps you feel that Windows Firewall and an anti-virus program is enough, but given the statistics on how many SMEs were hacked in 2013, perhaps your business deserves something better?

    Hopefully this gives you an idea of just why cloud computing is such a huge industry, and why many SMEs are now making use of it, and why a very high percentage of SMEs will be adopting some form of cloud service in 2013.

    Each business is different, so talking to a Consultant is your best choice; get in touch today to find out more.

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Cloud Team
    Quest's Homepage
  • IT Providers and VARs; 12 reasons NOT to resell Cloud computing services Apr 26, 2013

    12 Reasons NOT to offer cloud computing services...​


    So a bizarre title for a blog post by a cloud provider, eh? Why would we suggest reasons not to use cloud computing services and offer them to your clients?! Read on, and you'll see the point we're making...​


    1. You think cloud services risk losing you support fees or devalues your offering as a support provider...

    This is a common objection, but is unfounded. Virtual servers still need to be managed and supported in the same way as traditional servers, and we're more than happy to hand you that level of control over your clients' infrastructure; they are still your client after all! A major benefit of managing virtual servers over physical ones is that you don't need to leave the office to perform maintenance on it, freeing up your time and making your business more profitable.

    2. You believe cloud computing isn't secure...

    "Cloud systems aren't secure!" This is a rare objection from an IT provider because they generally know better, but we get it occasionally; however it is completely unfounded. Banking-level encryption, two-factor authentication, Cisco firewalls, intrusion-detection technology, and 24/7 physical security with 6 layers of biometric scanning entry make "the Cloud" much more secure than a server sitting in an office protected by a lock on the door and Windows firewall. Think we're a big juicy target? 80% of small businesses reported some form of security breach in their systems last year; we had zero breaches and have hundreds of clients on the system.

    3. You think that an unreliable Internet connection rules out "the Cloud" completely...

    A common objection, but not always correct. Hybrid cloud solutions that make use of onsite and cloud-based services can actually get around this issue; speak to us for more information. Options such as hosted email and online backup don't require an always-on Internet connection either; hosted email can be retrieved on mobile devices when the office Internet connection drops so there is a flip-side argument to using as a business continuity tool, and online backup will only backup the daily file changes, making it incredibly efficient.

    4. You don't want them to have the ability to scale their IT platforms up and down with their business's needs...

    Sure, many clients won't be fussed about this; but what if the ability to provide an IT platform that can scale up and down wins you a deal you would otherwise have lost? We have many clients large and small who are thriving thanks to the ability to scale; check out our case studies for more information.

    5. You don't want them to have the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world...

    Same as above, this will be a non-issue for some, and absolutely essential for others. Why insist your clients use clunky services like LogMeIn when they could use hosted desktop services from our UK-based cloud platform which will give them a much smoother experience?

    6. You don't want them to have flexible payment options that could help you win more business, especially in this market...

    The ability to pay a monthly OPEX for the level of IT your clients need on a month-by-month basis, and not having to future-proof their IT hardware upfront with CAPEX spending may be a God-send for many small businesses. If a client needs a new server solution but doesn't have thousands of pounds in capital ready for it, what options can you currently give them? None as flexible as an OPEX-based costing model.

    7. You don't want the 20-30% margin recurring revenue streams that partnering with Quest would give you every month, on top of your usual support fees...

    Sure, it's nice to get a lump sum payment from clients every now and then, but building up recurring revenue streams is a much safer business model, enables far easier budgeting, and helps get you through the quiet patches.

    8. You aren't fussed about disaster recovery and business continuity...

    Backing up to tapes is a tried and tested method, but it's pretty out-of-date and full of flaws, and how many clients can truly say they ALWAYS take the tapes off-site? Hosted services, or at the very least online backup, give a much higher level of disaster recovery and business continuity.

    9. You don't want a financially-backed guaranteed uptime Service Level Agreement (SLA) for your clients...

    IT systems break, it's a fact of life. But wouldn't your clients be happy to know that they have a financially-backed uptime SLA in place to ensure that they are covered in the event of unplanned system downtime?

    10. You don't want the option of free rolling upgrades to the latest Microsoft software...

    Some clients may not be fussed on having the latest and greatest Microsoft software, but the option would be nice without paying through the nose for it or having to opt for Software Assurance. Cloud services will give them the choice; you give them the option, if they take it you look like a hero, if they don't they'll be grateful for the offer.

    11. You don't think resilience and redundancy are important to your clients' businesses...

    Multiple-SAN storage options, geographic-dispersal of data, virtual servers utilising VMware vMotion for auto-failover from failing hardware, and multiple high-speed links to the Internet make for one very resilient and redundant cloud platform. How does that compare to traditional solutions?

    12. You don't want them to have Bank-level secure IT systems (i.e. Banking-level 256 bit AES encryption)...

    Perhaps you feel that Windows Firewall and an anti-virus program is enough, but given the statistics on how many SMEs were hacked in 2013, perhaps your clients would like something better?

    Hopefully this has given you a clearer view of what reselling white-labelled cloud services could not only offer your clients, but also what it could do for your business. It costs nothing to sign up as a reseller with Quest, and we have a full Reseller Handbook available; what do you have to lose by partnering with us? Get in touch with a Consultant for more information today.

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Cloud Team
    Quest's Homepage
  • Goodbye Microsoft Small Business Server, Hello Cloud Opportunities as Microsoft Kill Apr 15, 2013

    Goodbye Microsoft Small Business Server… Hello Cloud Opportunities, as Microsoft Kill Off Small Business Server

    So the death of Microsoft Small Business Server won’t be news to most IT providers, but it probably worries a lot of them and many companies who are making use of it. SBS offered a cheap solution for businesses under 75 users as it provided centralised server storage and Microsoft Exchange email services from one physical server as well as easy management; but now what, given that Microsoft have killed off future development?

    Why did Microsoft kill off Small Business Server? Well the reason Microsoft killed it off is because they appreciate the future is in Cloud services, especially for small businesses. Naturally they want existing SBS users to move to Microsoft 365, which there’s no denying is a very well-priced product; it is however quite limiting and for companies that want more flexibility in their IT, Microsoft 365 probably isn’t going to fit. So where does that leave you, the IT decision-maker, if you feel your business deserves more from its IT platform?

    Here at Quest we replicate the features and benefits of Small Business Server by offering Windows Server 2008 R2 and questMail, our Hosted Microsoft Exchange mailbox solution; Windows Server 2008 R2 offers the centralised server and centralised storage that is needed, and questMail offers the Microsoft Exchange email platform. And there you have it, a direct replacement for Small Business Server, made possible thanks to the cost-saving and efficiency of cloud services.

    From here you have a number of choices as well; you can stick with traditional onsite server hardware that you purchase upfront and manage/pay a company to manage for the Windows Server environment, or you can move your entire IT environment to the cloud, enabling an operational expenditure costing model that grows as you grow and shrinks as you shrink.The main thing for end users and Value Added Resellers to take away from Microsoft’s decision is that they are doing it because “the Cloud” offers a far better solution for its users, in terms of security, scalability, flexibility, and availability. For VARs, making a move to offering cloud services means that you benefit from recurring revenue streams and can offer your clients more services than ever before, giving you clients the choice they deserve.

    Get in touch with Quest today to find out what “the Cloud” can do for your business, or how our Reseller partnership network works…

    Thanks,

    Ryan and the Quest Cloud Team
  • Cloud Computing for Recruitment Companies- with Quest Cloud Solutions Ltd Apr 15, 2013

    Cloud Computing for Recruitment Companies

    All businesses can benefit from some form of cloud computing solution, whether it is simple file backup or hosted email services, all the way to a fully-fledged hosted IT and Unified Communications solutions.

    But there’s no denying, some industries can benefit more from cloud than others, and the Recruitment industry is one of them…

    Take one of our existing clients; a multi-award-winning, multi-national IT, Banking, and Oil and Gas recruiter with a high position in the Recruiter FAST 50 list. When they became our client 5 years ago, they were a small start-up with 3 Directors, 1 employee, and one office, but with big ambition. Fast-forward 5 years and the company had grown to nearly 90 employees and had offices in the UK, Europe, and Singapore; and the best bit? Aside from their determination to succeed, this was made possible thanks to the decision to adopt a cloud computing solution which enables every office to connect into the same IT platform, all centrally managed from the one hosted platform in our UK-based datacentre. (As it happens, our client decided not to hire an IT Manager early on and had us manage the solution for them; however, it could just as easily have worked in conjunction with their existing IT staff with us handing control of the virtual environment over to those who needed it).

    [​IMG]
    A Network Diagram of our clients’ setup

    Thanks to Quest’s impressive resilience, redundancy, and up-time figures, our client can rest assured that the IT system at the heart of their business will keep running, regardless of what happens at any of the remote offices. It also means that the company benefits from increased security, meaning that their all-important database is protected from external or internal theft or copying.

    We also have significant experience in providing hosted IT services for distant offices; our client are now running an office in Singapore using our UK-based cloud platform. How is this possible? Through the use of WAN-acceleration technology, that’s how! I won’t bore you with the technical details, but it effectively means that data transmits quicker and more efficiently between the Singapore office and our cloud platform; clever stuff!

    If you’d like more information about how we can help your business achieve its growth potential, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a consultant.

    In addition to a resilient, redundant, and ultra-secure cloud platform, Quest also has close ties with recruitment-specific database providers, such as FirstChoice RDB ProNet and ITRis, and have a wealth of experience that could help you make the software decisions that will define the future of your recruitment business.

    More details of how cloud computing can benefit the recruitment industry can be found here.