Why Should You Choose Cloud Computing for Your Business?

Cloud computing is a practical, affordable solution for small and medium business owners. You get all the benefits of big-business infrastructure without the headache or responsibility of managing it yourself. Until recently, all of your company’s software and servers stayed in your office where your IT staff worked. However, in recent years, cloud-based software (also known as cloud computing) has surged in popularity. Cloud computing makes it possible to access data and software from any device with an internet connection. 

Businesses of all sizes increasingly rely on cloud computing to keep their businesses flexible and resilient. Here are five reasons why:

  1. You can log into the office from anywhere. Cloud computing makes remote work easy and accessible. After our pandemic experience, most leaders and business owners recognize the value of pivoting to remote work at a moment’s notice: it keeps operations running as usual. Another perk of the remote work option is increased employee satisfaction. In a recent Flexjobs survey, 98% of respondents state that they want some form of remote work, be it full-time remote work or working in a remote-hybrid
  2. Cloud computing improves efficiency and employee productivity. According to Xlingshot partner Ring Central, Dow Chemical, Best Buy, and British Telecom, have seen a productivity increase of 35-40% from employees who have switched from office-bound work to working remotely. All made possible by the cloud.
  3. Cloud computing is accessible. There are lots of cloud-compatible tools that you and your employees already know. An easy example is the Office 365 Suite, including all of the programs that have become the staple of doing business everywhere, such as Word, Excel, Outlook, et cetera. With today’s O365 licensing, you can access your works in progress through the cloud as well as on your desktop-bound app. With O365’s cloud-based email, chat, video calls, data storage, and more, it is easy to plug in and work anywhere with an internet connection.
  4. Cloud computing is an affordable solution for startup businesses. With cloud-based email, document sharing, and conferencing, for example, startups don’t have to pay for expensive servers. The subscription model of cloud-based services allows businesses to quickly and cost-effectively scale their IT as their business grows. 
  5. With the proper security in place, cloud computing can provide operational stability. Many studies have indicated that more than 50% of small businesses go out of business in the event of significant data loss. When your information and files are properly stored, locked up, and monitored in the cloud, losing a laptop or the like will not affect your ability to continue with business as usual.

Cloud computing supports long-term business growth and resiliency. The best thing about it is that your organization can ease into the cloud with no need for an all-or-nothing approach. Start with some programs you already use, like those in the Microsoft O365 suite, and go from there. 

The flip side of cloud computing is that all of your information is out there on the web, which can be disastrous if your login credentials get into the wrong hands. For this reason, it is crucial to building your cloud computing strategy with security top of mind. Multi-factor authentication and encrypted passwords are a huge step in the right direction. Still, the most effective prevention is staff training for security awareness.

Are you running a small or medium business? We would love to hear from you! We can help with:

  • making cloud computing a more significant part of your business
  • ensuring that your data already in the cloud is secure
  • raising security awareness in your organization
  • all facets of IT support and security

We value your time, and we know what it’s like to run a business. Give us a call, and we can learn about your business and cloud computing needs and share our experience-based recommendations and best practices. If you’re interested, we’ll show you how we can help.

We have been supporting small and medium-sized businesses in the Denver metro area for over 19 years. Our approach is built around your business and your needs. Every business is different, and we work with our customers to create a tailored IT strategy that suits you and your budget. Call 866-950-0698 or email us at info@xlingshot.com.

Cloud backup or cloud storage? Find the right solution for your business.


A few ideas for boosting employee morale during quarantine, including opening up communication, checking in on company culture, and leveraging the natural benefits of laughter.

As predictions of the second wave of coronavirus proliferate in the media, many companies and organizations are looking at long-term solutions for working from home. One of the most common questions that come up for small and medium businesses is, “how do I keep my files safe while my team works remotely?”

“Cloud storage” and “cloud backup” solutions are appealing options because they are easy to use and, in some cases, free. These options are often confusing, but there are critical differences between the two.

In this article, we explore the differences between cloud storage and cloud backup. We also offer insights on the next steps for anyone interested in implementing one or both of these small business solutions.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage makes accessing your files simple and easy to manage. All you need is an internet connection, and you can access your data from anywhere, at any time. Dropbox and Google Drive are a couple of examples of well-known cloud storage options out there. 

Cloud storage  is a useful tool and a great solution for:

  • Teams that need to store files in a centralized location (Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint are great to secure options for this)
  • Sharing and collaborating on files with others

Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint are great to secure options for this. Certain types of consumer cloud storage accounts can be problematic when it comes to security. Be sure to review your account details and security protocols with your IT partner to ensure that your data is secure.

As we have alluded to, cloud storage has its limitations. It’s not good for:

  • Maintaining security and privacy
  • Automatic, comprehensive backup of all files
  • Ongoing tracking and monitoring for changes
  • Consistent, uniform policy controls for backup
  • HIPAA, FERPA, and GLBA compliance

It’s also easy to lose data if you are using cloud storage as a substitute for backup. Human error is the most common form of data loss; it’s too easy to accidentally delete files from the cloud, to overwrite them, or to simply forget to upload them.

Cloud Backup

Cloud backup is like cloud storage on an automated schedule with more stringent security measures. Between the two options, cloud backup is the best way to protect your business and personal data because these services are specifically engineered for long-term, on-going backup and security, not just storage. 

To illustrate why this is the better option, security-wise, we will explore the most commonly-asked questions about cloud backup.

How does cloud backup work?

Cloud backup utilizes automation to regularly backup all files on a device. This process does not rely on a staffer’s calendar reminder, passwords on post-it notes, or for users to manually drag and drop files or upload them to the cloud. It works in the background, monitoring for changes along the way.

Can cloud backup be hacked?

When it comes to hacking, sloppy password security is the main culprit for breaches. This becomes a problem in backup programs that are manually implemented instead of automated like cloud backup programs. To keep your data secure, it is important to use a cloud backup service that encrypts files before uploading to the cloud and sending them through a secure tunnel using advanced encryption technology.  There are two concepts at play here, “encryption-in-transit” (securing the transmission of data) and “encryption-at-rest” (securing stored data). Both services will upload data over a secure tunnel called SSL or TLS. Not all “Cloud Storage” encrypts at rest, but all “cloud backup” should allow or require it.

Why is cloud backup important?

Recovery and versioning are the two most useful features of cloud backup. If you have a system crash, through recovery you can log in to your cloud backup service and restore data to your replacement hardware with minimal downtime. Also with this service, earlier versions of files are stored. This comes in handy for those times when you accidentally overwrite a document.

Which cloud backup is the best?

At Xlingshot, we offer our customers several types of storage and backup solutions for small and medium businesses. Would your organization benefit from implementing one or both of these solutions? We can help you identify the solutions that are a fit for your organization and compliant for your industry, including HIPAA compliance requirements. We would love to help your organization get set up and with your ongoing backup and support needs. Contact us to learn more.

Additional Resources

We hope this article was helpful and that you are taking the right steps to keep your files and data safely secured. For more data security resources, check out our security checklist. You may also like our free guidebook, Pivoting your Business to a Remote Work from Home Strategy during COVID-19


2018 Technology Resolutions for Small & Midsized Business


January 1, 2018 –

The new year is here! And with every new year comes a new set of opportunities (and challenges!) for your growing business. Make 2018 the year you use technology to give you a competitive edge, and also to protect your business. If you’ve been putting this off (maybe hoping you’ll somehow be missed by cyber criminals?), now is your chance! Tackle that IT “to do” list and put yourself on the right path to move your business forward.

Technology Resolution #1 – Backup Your Data

Take a moment to picture this: What would happen to your business if you lost a day’s worth of data? A week’s? All of it? Unfortunately data loss can happen to your team at any time due to human error, hardware failure, corruption or cyber attacks. Make sure you have your data safely and securely backed up and stored. Today, 96% of PCs* aren’t adequately backed up. For the same reasons you buy insurance for your business, be sure to invest in a quality backup solution. This will help you recover in the event of data loss. Be sure your back-ups are secure, encrypted, and monitored. So you can count on your data being there when you need it.

Read more about Backup and Disaster Recovery

*Source: Pricewaterhouse Coopers

Technology Resolution #2 – Update Your Data Security

According to data from Symantec, 43 percent of cyberattacks are targeting small business.  What’s most alarming is that 60% of small and midsized businesses that are breached go out of business within six months!  From ransomware, to Business Email Compromise, to malicious websites, there’s a lot of criminals looking to take advantage of small businesses who might not have prepared to defend themselves from attack.  This HAS TO BE THE YEAR when you tackle your data security and make sure you have the protections you need.

Read more about protecting your business from cyber threats

Technology Resolution #3 – Use the Cloud to Your Advantage

Moving your technology into the cloud can be a huge advantage for your small to midsized business. You can run your software in the cloud, your email and communication tools in the cloud, and your hardware (data storage) in the cloud. With this move you can take advantage of the latest technologies and scale quickly as your business grows. And from a data security standpoint, you’ll often have more protection as your data is stored in a secure facility than what you might be able to achieve in your local office.

If you’re not sure where to start, read more about Cloud Computing solutions or contact us.

Technology Resolution #4 – Manage Your Passwords

If you don’t have a strong password management policy in your organization then your first step is to have everyone update their passwords to something unique as soon as possible. (Today is good day for it!). Make sure your team uses a unique password that they aren’t using anywhere else. Check out this article for tips on creating good passwords. Once that’s done, consider using a Password Manager solution, which can help automate password creation and storage for your team. You install the software on your computer and mobile device, and use one master password (which you memorize) which will unlock all of the passwords being stored. With the right solution you can manage passwords across your business. You can also change passwords for employees that leave and enforce a password changing policy to keep your business secure.

If you’d like to manage passwords across your entire business please contact us.

Technology Resolution #5 – Train Your Team

You can install the best data security solution in the world, but it won’t matter if your employees unwittingly give out confidential information to cyber-criminals. Hackers today use sophisticated social engineering schemes to trick your employees into sharing passwords, wiring funds to fraudulent accounts, and sharing employee and customer data. The best defense against these schemes is to train your employees to spot them so they don’t become the next victim. Many small and midsized businesses skip this critical step, so make a resolution to start your training program in 2018.

Read more about setting up user training to help protect your business.

Tackle these technology resolutions in 2018 and you’ll be on the right path to move your business forward. If you would like to learn more about using technology to empower your business and protect your data, contact us for a free evaluation and recommendation. You can also call us at 303-410-2845.

Here’s to a great 2018!

– The Xlingshot Team

Small Business Technology: Is It Leveling the Playing Field?


October 30, 2017 –

New technologies come online every day. Small and mid-sized businesses can be position themselves well for the future by adopting the latest solutions.  While some believe only larger companies can adopt new technologies, the latest cloud-based solutions are leveling the playing field.  In many ways it’s now actually smaller organizations that are positioned to be early adopters. Not only does this help them “keep up” with their larger competitors, it might just give them a strategic advantage.

Small and Mid-sized Businesses are actually in a Better Position to Adopt New Technologies

And there are several reasons for this.  First, for smaller and mid-sized companies, it is often a shorter and easier adoption and implantation.  Solutions can be deployed quickly via the cloud.  And because there are fewer employees, leaders can be train their teams more easily.  This training can include new business processes based on the new technology.

In addition, small business owners are often looking for significant time-saving technologies.  They need to do things as quickly as their larger competitors but with fewer resources.  Often they don’t have the luxury of throwing bodies at the problem (or opportunity).  Instead they will adopt and deploy new technologies that will save them precious time.

The overall movement to cloud-based solutions has also had an impact.  It has placed small and mid-sized businesses in a better position to adopt the latest technology. That’s because cloud-based solutions don’t require large up-front investments in hardware.  Which is one thing that has historically kept small business technology adoption low compared to their larger counterparts.  Today, up-front infrastructure costs are no longer a barrier to entry.

What new technologies should small and mid-sized businesses be considering to help with business operations?

Where you are as a business and what your biggest pain points are (as well as your biggest opportunities for growth) will dictate what technologies make your list.  But as a starting point, here are some areas to consider:

  1. Payroll processing – according to the Small Business Technology Adoption Index put out by PYMNTS.com, 66% of small businesses are using technology to generate payroll. If you are still processing payroll manually, this might be a good place to start your cloud journey.
  2. Accounting – moving to automated accounting system is often a natural next step after payroll. At $50 – $70 per month it is an affordable approach to tackle your accounting woes.  There are several solutions in the marketplace including FreshBooks, Xero, and Intuit Quickbooks to name just a few.  There are a lot of good options out there, depending on your budget and the features required.  It’s worth taking your time on this one.  PC Mag put together a nice article summarizing the top players.
  3. Invoicing – automating the invoicing process and receiving payments automatically (goodbye paper checks!) is a great next step for increased time savings for small and mid-sized businesses. Many of the accounting software providers discussed above also provide invoicing and payment solutions.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be exploring which new technologies can help small and mid-sized businesses collaborate better, run more efficiently, and create a great experience for their customers.

Until then, if you would like more information on how better technology can improve your overall business, please review our section on Technology Performance.

If you would like specific recommendations for your organization, feel free to contact us at info@xlingshot.com or 303-410-2845.

– The Xlingshot Team


Why More SMBs are Turning to the Cloud to Reduce TCO


March 6, 2017 –

More small and mid-size businesses seem to be taking the initiative to learn more about the benefits of the cloud.

Determining why SMBs have this sudden keen interest in the cloud isn’t all that tricky.

If you shouted, “Cost Savings!” in a room full of SMBs, you’d undoubtedly be the center of attention. And it seems as if this is also the motivating factor as to why more SMBs are looking into cloud-based solutions to reduce expenditures.

Although it seems like an oxymoron to recommend investing in new technology to control costs, cloud-based solutions can be leveraged for a greater return on already inevitable operational expenses. By enhancing productivity and overall efficiency, the cloud could help spur business growth and profitability.

Here are few of the reasons more SMBs are opening up to cloud-based solutions…

  • Containing Costs – This is the big one. Every SMB wants their business to grow but that growth is accompanied by rising costs to maintain safe, reliable, and sustainable business technology.On-premise solutions are expensive.  If you’re paying someone $60K a year to manage and monitor your technology, and most of their day is spent performing routine maintenance tasks or running to the aid of the intern who complains that something is running slow, are you really getting a return on that investment? You can do better and your on-site IT support can do more for you.The cost for cloud-based solutions have been found to be anywhere from 35% to 50% lower than with on-premise solutions. This is because the cloud can completely eliminate most infrastructure costs such as servers, databases, backup, operating systems, upgrades, migration, physical space, power and cooling, and associated in-house or third party staffing costs.
  • Greater Flexibility – No doubt you’ve been privy to an office Happy Hour conversation or two about Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Is that crickets we hear? Okay, well since you’re in the dark, the flexibility of the cloud makes it really attractive to SMBs. IaaS and PaaS are two increasingly popular cloud technologies because of their flexibility when it comes to big data analysis.IaaS technology is flexible as it allows an as needed rapid deployment of resources. Basically, fast expansion to accommodate growth. SMBs can pay accordingly for this on-demand usage, giving them the ability to access and analyze the kind of big data seen at larger enterprises without having to pay for necessary hardware capacity.PaaS technology gives SMBs the ability to affordably increase or decrease data storage capacity as needed. Of course, there must be a need for big data analysis that justifies the use of these technologies. Many SMBs may be just fine using Microsoft Excel for data analysis.
  • Greater Mobility – Many SMBs are turning to the cloud to provide remote employees with access to communications solutions. Through the cloud, remote workers can use smartphones, laptops, and notebooks to access documents and files for internal and external collaboration.

As you can see, it’s understandable why the cloud is being seen by SMBs as the “great equalizer” to take their business to the next level and stay competitive with even the big dogs despite budget and staffing limitations. It also helps that cloud-monitoring services have simplified the monitoring and management of SMB cloud deployments, alleviating a lot of the fear about migrating to the cloud.

Visit the Cost Control section for more information on how to keep your IT costs in check.

For more information, please contact us.

Cloud Monitoring Can Be the Difference Maker for SMBs

It’s a fast-paced world. Not only do people want things, but they also want things right now. This sometimes-unnerving need for instant satisfaction has only intensified now that we have Wi-Fi and mobile devices that keep us connected regardless of where we are, what we’re doing or the time of day. There is no longer any tolerance whatsoever for waiting. A business with a website that fails to load, or loads too slowly, will lose customers and leads to competitors.

So what has your business done to address this need for constant accessibility and optimal uptime? Do you feel you’re doing enough to meet the demands and expectations of your customers, new business prospects and those who have just now found you on Google?

If you’re a small-to-medium-sized business owner, do you have confidence in your technology infrastructure? Can you say with certainty that your website, internal server, and mobile applications function smoothly, efficiently, and correctly?

When your IT team leaves work to go live their lives, are you confident that things won’t go bump in the night? That you won’t be ringing their cell phone while they’re out having dinner with their family, or worse yet, sleeping?

If you answer no to these questions, you may be one of the many small business owners who could benefit from cloud monitoring. And you’ll be pleased to learn that cloud monitoring can significantly improve all facets of your business – especially your service, productivity, reputation, and profitability.

What is the Cloud?

According to a study conducted by Wakefield Research, 54% of those questioned responded that they’ve never used cloud technology. However, the truth is that they’re in the cloud everyday when they bank or shop online and send or receive email.

Business owners, specifically non tech savvy small business decision makers, are still apprehensive when it comes to moving their server and web monitoring services to the cloud.  But FDR’s famous quote, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” definitely applies here.  The cloud is nothing more than moving the storage and access of your data programs from a computer’s physical hard drive to the web. There is nothing to fear.

Benefits of Cloud Monitoring

Obviously, these physical and virtual servers, their shared resources, and the applications they run on, must be monitored. This can be done from multiple remote locations and it’s called cloud monitoring.

Cloud monitoring makes it easier to identify previously unseen patterns and potential problems within your infrastructure–issues that may be too difficult for any in-house support staff to detect. For instance, monitoring ensures that your site is delivering accurate page content and is meeting anticipated download speeds. It can detect unapproved changes, website tampering, and compromised data.

The continuous analyzing and testing of your network, website, and mobile applications can reduce downtime by as much as 80%. The speed and functionality of e-commerce transactions are also optimized. Additionally, cloud monitoring tests your email server at regular intervals, which minimizes failure deliveries and other issues pertaining to sending and receiving emails.

Clearly, all of the above, along with the alerts that help identify and fix issues before they become catastrophes, make cloud monitoring an attractive way to gain insight into how end-users experience your site, while also enhancing their overall experience.

For more information, please contact us.

How SMBs Can Utilize the Cloud to Build Their Business

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February 13, 2017 –

There has been a lot of talk lately about the cloud and its ability to put small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and startups on a level playing field with large global enterprises. Can this be substantiated or is it a load of trendy hype to push SMBs to cloud-based solutions?  We’ve compiled this breakdown of how the cloud can be used to boost profitability.

The Convenience Factor

It once took smaller companies and startups weeks to launch and configure their own IT infrastructure. Doing so also required a ton of overhead costs. Today’s cloud technology provides the benefits of this very same infrastructure but on an as needed and on-demand basis. SMBs can build a technology infrastructure for themselves online in less than a minute.

For example, a smaller agency that provides apps for its clients, can turn to a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud provider. A PaaS provides companies an environment that enables them to more easily host and deploy apps.  They do this by shielding developers from the hassles that come with the set up, configuration, and management of things like servers and databases.

Without having to worry about things on the infrastructure side, the company and its application developers can focus on creating innovative apps that will generate business revenue. Once their server is online and available, they can launch instantly with a 1-click deployment of their application.

Mission Critical Agility & Scalability

In the tech industry, everyone must channel his or her inner Maverick and Goose* because there is a need… a need for speed. Speed is everything and agility is mission critical. The cloud’s rapid provisioning of computer resources can offer additional storage space in mere minutes rather than weeks.

Having that kind of agility bodes particularly well for the scalability needs of SMBs. As business grows and the need to store more data increases, the cloud is flexible enough to resize your infrastructure on the fly and grow with you.

The cost of cloud-based solutions is much more beneficial to SMBs than the cost of traditional shared or dedicated hosting plans. This eliminates the high overhead that comes with buying dedicated hardware and hiring staff to run the servers.

Cloud technology has empowered SMBs by eliminating any need to make the same kind of costly upfront investments that large enterprise are able to incur. There is no longer a need for SMBs to spend thousands of dollars building out a massive infrastructure to support their big data applications. Better yet, backing up that big data is also inexpensive compared to traditional hosting solutions.

* Top Gun, 1986, in case you were wondering

Visit our Cloud Computing section for more information on how cloud-based solutions can help your business.

Contact Us at Xlingshot.com