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March/April 2009 
In this issue, we will explain Cloud Computing and how it relates to SaaS.  If you want to learn more about the Top IT Trends of 2009, join us for our Lunch & Learn on Tuesday, March 31st.   
Top IT Trends for 2009:
Cloud Computing
Electronic Document Management
Green IT Initiatives
SaaS (Software as a Service)
Unified Communications
Web 2.0
Cloud Computing - the next new, big thing in computing

Way back in the 1990's, a new model for computing was taking the world by storm - ASP.  Application Service Providers were popping up everywhere with the promise that this was the next big, new thing in computing. But it did not go unnoticed that ASP looked a lot like grid computing repackaged.  Or maybe grid computing looked like ASP. Anyway, grid computing was also to be the next big, new thing in computing.  But many "old-timers" noticed that grid computing was a lot like working on a mainframe.

The long story shortened is that Cloud Computing, SaaS, ASP, grid computing, etc. describes the same model of using computer resources over a big network called the "cloud" which looks a lot like the internet. The computer resources are applications, managed services, databases, user interfaces or any other software or service that can be delivered through the cloud for use on any of your computer machines. You might say that the "cloud" is the network that allows us to use software as a service (SaaS).

Trying to define an exact meaning to each of these terms or succinctly explain subtle differences between them is like determining the number of angels that can dance on a pinhead.  Extracting deep meaning is better left to the scholars as we apply the technology to our businesses.
Cloud Computing
How can your business benefit from Cloud Computing?
  • Pay-as-you-go software and services. You lease rather than buy software and  have the option of short-term rather than long-term commitments.
  • Little or no capital investment for access to the cloud resources. In most cases, you can use your current computers and internet connection.
  • Easy to provide collaboration and mobility features to employees.
  • Reduced IT administration. The provider will keep the system updated, backed-up and running at peak performance.  If they don't then you can always find a new provider.

What are the risks of Cloud Computing?

  • Security not under your control.  Demand transparency from your provider and understand how your data will be secured. 
  • Availability dependent upon your internet connection and the provider's systems.  You have little if any control over the geographic location of your data or availability assurance.
  • Limited customization.  You can upload your custom applications, but your special security or compliance requirements may not be met.
  • Portability of data.  Be sure that you know how to get your data out before you put your data in.

Some examples of Cloud Computing/SaaS offerings:

Amazon EC2        
Microsoft at Work article by Chris Tull
3 stubborn PC problems you can fix
Ever notice how each PC has a personality of its own? Or maybe even multiple personalities? In the course of a week, your computer may act friendly, moody, and sometimes downright mean. 
 However, don't take a hammer to your PC just yet. The following is a list of common symptoms and treatments to help even the most troublesome PCs. You don't even have to be a psychologist (at least not yet) to deal with your PC's neuroses.
These solutions deal specifically with Windows XP, but overall you'll find these tips work for all versions of Windows starting with Windows 95 to Windows XP. Windows Vista handles most of these problems automatically.
1. You keep getting a "your system is running low on virtual memory" message
2. Your windows slide off the desktop... and you can't grab them
3. Your taskbar has disappeared.
For tough malware infections 
We often use ComboFix for chronic and persistent malware infections. Although ComboFix is effective, it is only recommended for experienced users. It is a powerful tool and improper use can damage your system. It has some side effects, like changing the date/time format, that are easily fixed.  
If you have a chronic infection that requires help or just have questions, contact the LAN Systems Helpdesk at 770 662-0312.  Just call - we'll be there!
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In This Issue
Cloud Computing
3 Stubborn PC Problems
For tough malware infections
Network group

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