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Small Business Revitalization Blog

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What is Cloud Computing?

Today we're talking all things Cloud Computing with guest blogger Linda Gaiao from Cloud VBS... if you've ever wondered if there's an easier way to run your small business computing take a look at this!

Who would have thought that the words cloud and computing would ever go together? Or that this would be where the next generation of computers would be heading?

Back to the beginning
From the 1950’s most large scale and powerful computer systems used for critical applications were referred to as mainframe computers. End user’s would send and receive information that was relayed backwards and forwards from the mainframe to their screen and they worked on a “dumb” terminal with no computing power.  All business information and software were housed by the main frame and were centrally managed.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s minicomputers became popular.  The trend was now for each individual user to have their own desktop or laptop, with their information stored locally on their individual machine which had the computing power. In business more employees equalled more need to share information across the computers (data networking). The volume of data and the space to store it were fast becoming requirements too.

With the growth of the internet and e-businesses in the 1990’s, high volumes of visitors were performing transactions online which needed to be processed by high powered computers. This is where web servers became popular, and started the move back towards centralised computing.

Fast forward to today
The level of security on the internet and on data centre servers is now way superior to what any individual user or business can provide in house. Servers are now able to host multiple operating systems and thereby operate not as a single computer but as a number of virtual machines. 

How does CLOUD fit into this?
In the IT world CLOUD is a word used to describe the internet.  CLOUD computing is essentially a computer accessed through the internet.  The computer lives on a server in a data centre and uses the server’s awesome power, security and data storage function to operate.  As an end user your mini computer is now a thin client (“dumb” machine), which will connect via the internet to your CLOUD computer on the backend super computers.
This marks a full circle in the IT world – back to a centralised computing model.

A true virtual PC!
Imagine being able to access your full computer and everything loaded on it from any device at any time, form anywhere in the world....
With CLOUD computing the possibilities and advantages for business are enormous.  
•   Increase or decrease computer processing power and data storage capacity at the click of a button.  
•   Software (Office) and operating systems (XP, Windows7) upgrades are done automatically without purchasing or loading.
•   Security is robust and centrally managed (SAS 70 certification).
•   Maintenance on the server is performed by the host.
•   Services are pay as you go (similar to an electricity bill).
•   Lower capital and operating costs.
•   Scalability as business grows.
•   Thin clients are reliable, need minimal maintenance and have a longer lifespan.
•   Access to your business information from any device (PC), anywhere in the world.

For more information: contact Lynda Gaiao
Business:  Cloud VBS (Virtual Business Solutions)
Phone:      +61 7 5502 8106
Website: au

If you are looking to run any sort of 'virtual' business then its time to investigate cloud computing... how much easier can you make your IT?

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7 Secrets of setting up a home office (Part 2)

Want more of Kerri Rodley's great tips on creating your dream office?  Don't miss her 'Creating Your Dream Life' workshop this Saturday afternoon!

Secret 4 - Scheduling

Time management and scheduling is a big component of how well your home office fits into your home and lifestyle. You can’t be stopping projects to put a load of washing on the line no matter how much the laundry is piling up. If you we back in the corporate world in a high rise, the washing would still be waiting for you after hours and that is the attitude you must have.

The same applies for those drop in visitors – just because you work from home does not mean you are available for coffee and a chat at any time of day. On the other hand, make sure you schedule time for breaks every hour or so; set a timer if you have to. When you don’t have office co-workers to meet with or to discuss issues, you can find yourself sitting in the same position sitting at your desk staring at the screen with the hours flying by.

Keep the fluids up, do eye exercises or sit outside in the sun for a few minutes (but don’t put that washing out!) And most important of all – make a prioritised task list every day and do those urgent and important jobs first; the ones that will be bringing in the $ (not the quick and easy jobs that can wait until later).

Secret 5 – Storage

From filing cabinets of paperwork & bills to garages filled with product & packaging supplies, storage of business paraphernalia is a huge factor to deal with in your home. You don’t want your work taking over your families personal space and you don’t want items such as toys or washing in your work space if you  have clients in for a meeting (plus the visual clutter is distracting).

Unless you have an office with a door that can be shut at the end of the day keeping work and home lives separate, you need to have defined  spaces where “never the twain shall meet”. Set ground rules for yourself and family members so things are either put away (if you are using the dining room table for example) or can be covered up (a filing cabinet in a family space).

And stick to them, otherwise you become complacent and before you know it your time and space for work and home become intertwined and you won’t be comfortable or focused in either space.

Secret 6 – Simplicity

You don’t know how long you are going to be working from a home office, your business may grow rapidly and you need to hire extra employees, your storage area for supplies may double overnight, or  God forbid you may need to go back to working for someone else until things pick up.

The point is don’t be spending the big bucks on setting up the home office when the money can be better spent in building your business – on your website, your marketing, distribution channels etc.

A large table is as good a desk as a purpose built one as long as it suits your style (see secret 2). Make sure the chair is comfortable and supportive but that doesn’t mean spending $500.

Always shop at discount stores first for supplies rather than the big name brands – be a spend thrift and your business dollars will go further.

Secret 7 – Serenity now!
To make your work space inviting and serene, you need to add touches such as a family photo, flowers, music or other items you enjoy. I actually have a water fountain next to my desk on the floor that provides not only a lovely sound, but I add lavender oil to the water to create a calming aroma too. Great for Feng Shui.

Hint: don’t overdo it! You don’t want to add unnecessary clutter through personal items, just a few things that give you pleasure and keep you grounded and balanced.

For more ideas and tips on decluttering, organising and setting up your small business, visit Kerri's Domestic Downsizing decluttering blog or follow her on Twitter.

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