Welcome back to Point of View- Point Alliance’s official e-newsletter!

Today's business world is dominated by ever-increasing technology and aggressive competition. As such, it is no surprise that businesses need to work harder to equip themselves with the proper tools to allow for success

At the top of this list is certainly the ability for businesses to provide a secure environment to allow for collaboration with clients, suppliers and partners. Smaller companies and independent professionals with fewer resources may likely ask-what happens to those of us without extensive IT resources? Can we still leverage effective IT solutions despite our lack of on-premise infrastructure?

Luckily, with the emergence of cloud services, also referred to as Software as a Service, companies of any size can now benefit from robust IT business solutions despite their size or resources.

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Software as a Service (Saas)

Software as a Service (Saas) is a software distribution model in which application solutions are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network. Since users are not required to have much IT resources, it is a great solution for small businesses that have the same IT requirements as larger organizations. While various vendors host cloud solutions, they often vary in their product offerings and capabilities. Let's explore leading service vendors Google, IBM and Microsoft's individual offerings and their key differentiators in this space.

Google Apps

Google Apps for Business is a Google service that provides messaging and collaboration for a specific domain. There are currently 3 editions of this service. (1) Standard Edition- This edition is free with the purchase of a domain name. It offers a suite of collaboration services for organizations with less than 50 users. (2) Premier Edition- This edition encompasses all the services from the Standard Edition, yet also includes additional benefits such as 24/7 customer support, guaranteed uptime, enhanced business-ready features, increased security, and 3X more Gmail storage. (3) Education Edition- This package combines the features from the Standard and Premier editions and allows users the ability to mix and match services for free.

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IBM LotusLive

IBM LotusLive offers enterprise quality software for small and medium size businesses, but also helps Enterprise Businesses protect their investments and complement their current on-premise solutions. LotusLive is IBM's suite of online services that can provide online collaboration, social networking, web conferencing and much more to companies of all sizes.

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Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard (BPOS)

Microsoft’s version of cloud services is a selection based on Exchange, SharePoint, Live Meeting and Office Communicator for customers of all sizes. Microsoft has introduced two flavours of BPOS: 1) Standard edition- this platform hosted in a shared environment is perfect for smaller sized customers who enrol as few as 5 seats a year. 2) Dedicated edition- this edition, hosted on a dedicated platform in a single-tenant environment is best suited for larger organizations that will enrol a minimum of 5000 seats.

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How can Point Alliance help?

At Point Alliance, we realize that companies of all sizes are discovering the benefits of cloud services and exploring cost effective ways to best manage and secure their data. In addition to evaluating different vendors and the differing solutions available, companies also need to consider other aspects of cloud computing such as compliance and legal mandates, storage, data, and readiness assessment.

As such, developing a solid cloud service implementation plan is critical to a successful integration of this tool. At Point Alliance, our comprehensive knowledge in the cloud space ensures that you select a cloud offering that best fits your organization. As IT professionals, our goal is to provide you a seamless migration and transition for your business. Contact us to learn how we can help implement your Cloud solution today.

We hope you have found this month’s edition of Point of View to be helpful and informative. Look out for our next installment in November, as we continue to deliver Point Alliance news, and explore additional IT opportunities.

We want to hear your point of view!

If you have any ideas, suggestions or any questions about our newsletter, please contact us at: info@pointalliance.com.

Warm regards,

Point Alliance Team