A common misconception people have when talking about technology in modern business is that cloud computing and virtualization is the same and used interchangeably. While cloud computing and virtualization share a similar element, understanding the difference between them can help a business to achieve optimum productivity. Given the overwhelming information for both types of virtual infrastructures, it is understandable why there is such confusion. Let’s explore the underlining differences between virtualization and cloud computing, and which one of these infrastructures you should employ to ensure maximum return on investment.
Small and medium businesses today are in a heavily competitive market. Then there are multinational companies with which such businesses cannot compete. The Internet has helped many failing businesses by increasing their productivity and reducing expenses like marketing costs, rental costs, miscellaneous costs and infrastructure costs. However, the element that has had the most impact on small and medium businesses is cloud computing.
Canadian Privacy Laws and the Canadian Cloud: A Primer for Canadian Businesses by Jesse @ServerCloud Canada
As Canadians, two separate federal privacy laws protect our privacy. These laws govern the information that businesses can collect on other Canadians, as well as how organizations must manage and protect that data.
As of January 1, 2004, PIPEDA applies to every organization that collects, uses or discloses personal information in the course of commercial activities. However, the federal government may offer an exemption organizations and/or activities in provinces deemed to have adopted substantially similar privacy legislation (more on this later).
Read the Full Article on ServerCloud Canada’s Website HERE
Cloud computing has become an ever present term in business and personal technology. From Google and Hotmail to iTunes and online banking services, cloud computing became the core of innovation long before they were actually called cloud services. In the commercial industry however, cloud computing is a fairly new technology, despite having an even greater accessibility publicly.
Businesses in Canada are protected through two federal privacy laws. The Privacy Act, as we all know implies to the federal government and protects personal information handling. PIPEDA, on the other hand, is more detailed.
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Acts (PIPEDA) came to effect on 1st January, 2004 and now extended to most businesses in Canada. PIPEDA has changed the way many businesses and organizations are allowed to collect, utilize and disclose personal information relating to commercial activity.
What Is PIPEDA?
PIPEDA is a federal policy that bars most businesses to collect, use or disclose personal information relating to an individual based on their commercial activity. PIPEDA also regulates standards for handling of personal information. The basic outlines of PIPEDA are:
- If a business intends to collect, use or disclose personal information about an individual, it needs the consent of the individual, except in limited and certain circumstances.
- A business can only use or disclose an individual’s personal information that they have given consent on.
- A business has to limit the collecting, usage and disclosing of personal information that would be considered appropriate under certain circumstances, even with consent.
- Individuals have the right to view their personal information a business keeps, and can correct any inaccurate details.
- The Privacy Commissioner of Canada will ensure the compliance of the law and the rights of the individuals who have their personal information in hands of businesses.
What Is Personal Information?
Personal Information is thoroughly defined in PIPEDA. Basically it relates to any personal information about an individual that is subjective and factual. This includes information like:
- Name, age, ID numbers, ethnicity, income, social insurance number, blood type, license plate number, passwords, loan records, credit records, or medical history and records;
- Opinions, comments, social status, sexual orientation, interests, habits, hobbits, or disciplinary actions.
Personal information however does not include the name, business address, title, or contact number of employees. This exception is in place to allow day to day commercial activity.
Why Your Business Needs to Comply?
In competitive markets, businesses require personal information of clients and customers to identify and interact with them. They can use this information to seek potential customers interested in what they offer. Hence, businesses today face a challenge of accessing and using that information in a way that does not offend the right of privacy. Giving your customers’ privacy respect is the foundation of building on a healthy customer relationship.
There’s no denying that cloud computing is one of the hottest commodities on the internet, and small businesses in Canada are increasingly becoming aware of its usefulness. However, the uptake of cloud solutions in small business is still relatively low in Canada. This reduces the chances of these small businesses to grow significantly and compete with the big organizations. But those businesses that have employed cloud computing have experienced incredible efficiency and productivity in their day-to-day operations. Let’s explore some of the potential problems and the benefits that small businesses can have from cloud services.
Problems Faced by Small Businesses
The priority of a business is to make sales, pay their suppliers and build contact, while maintaining a healthy profit margin. This is the main reason why small businesses find it hard to analyze the benefits of cloud computing because they cannot give it enough time. As a result, deciding on going for traditional IT systems of cloud computing is given less priority. This leads to small businesses stalling on their IT decisions, even though they are actually inflicting more costs in the process.
The nature of operations for a small business remain somewhat similar over the years, as they employ a small group of staff, work on less data and have fewer levels of management. As a result, many daily operations are managed quite easily without having to overly rely on technology, but then the costs are there. Cloud computing presents small businesses with several opportunities to reduce costs, benefit from the economies of scale, and significantly grow. Hence, small businesses that look for growth and data security will inevitably turn to cloud computing. Then why not start now?
Benefits of Cloud Computing to a Small Business
Cloud services help to keep all data, files, documents, and other important content on a virtual hard drive which can be accessed via the internet. Cloud computing, when incorporated in a small business, will grow with it, far more than an office based server will. Here are some benefits that a cloud service can provide.
Security – It adds a level of security as you can access those files even when there is a theft, when your IT systems get infected by viruses, or when Mother Nature strikes doom.
Upgrades – A cloud service will regularly get updated and more advanced as your business grows.
Storage – Cloud services can literally provide limitless data storage that can accommodate to your growing business.