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What IT infrastructure for a startup or an SME?

Cloud in a SME

For a company, It is increasingly important to set up a communication and digitization strategy. The infrastructure thus takes a strategic place in the conduct of business. This technological development was only possible through the establishment of efficient computer networks. Whether for telephony, collaborative software suites or connected objects, it becomes important to choose the right infrastructure in order to optimize operational costs without any compromise on the service quality.

Telecommunications technology has developed throughout the 20th century, especially during the first part. The first computers were developed and marketed there. These machines worked alone and were not networked. The first networking took place in 1969 with the arrival of ARPAnet (internet prototype).

From these years appear the first mobile networks, and development forces are mainly focused on mobile telephony but also on the development of the internet and related services such as Internet telephony and all cloud services.

With the development of network capabilities, applications can be centrally installed on servers. From this moment on, it is no longer necessary to acquire a software license per workstation, but these can be managed centrally on a server. Thus, it becomes possible to acquire only the number of licenses necessary for the operational needs.

The physical size of computers themselves is decreasing and at the same time the power of mobile networks is increasing. This promotes mobility. Thus, from the 2000s, everything was in place for the development of the cloud services:

  • The power of workstations
  • The portability of these
  • Remote Access Capabilities
  • The development and democratization of VPN technologies
  • The development and democratization of MPLS technologies
  • The development and democratization of servers

Given that at the beginning of the 21st century, the democratization of the internet and mobile telephony brought pressure on telecommunications prices, operators had to develop new business models. The transport of voice and data has become a commodity and operators have become either partners or competitors of GAFAM.

Conventional operators have thus diversified and now offer services such as video on demand (content offering). Using cloud technology, they have also developed contracts in the form of packages of services. They offer voice services via the cloud.

  • Virtual PBX to offer telephony services
  • Mobile virtual PBX that allows mobile phones to be included as internal phones
  • Video conference services like Webex, Skype for business etc

To complement these voice services, the following collaborative software suites are available:

  • Offices 365
  • Creative Cloud
  • MS project
  • MS Visio

GAFAM also provides cloud services such as:

  • Azure (Microsoft)
  • G-suite (Google)
  • Google Cloud Computing
  • AWS (Amazon)

It is important for an SME, that the tools and services it selects are adapted to its business. It will have to define its needs through a precise set of specifications

When choosing a solution, it is also necessary to evaluate the costs of the solution. It is important to consider the necessary investments and all operational costs (maintenance costs and subscriptions).

For more details, please attend our April 25 conference at #bluelab. You can reserve your place via the link.

For more information on our advisory services, please follow the link. You can ask us for a personalized offer through our contact page.

Economical and Commercial impact of the Cloud

Disruptive technologies

According to the McKenzie Global Institute study "Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy." 12 technologies are identified as disruptive technologies that will change medium-term consumption patterns, management and corporate governance. Of these 12 technologies, 2 most particularly hold our attention:

  • Mobile Internet: With the development of smartphones, more and more services are offered through mobile applications.
  • - The cloud: its value is directly related to the mobile applications it offers mobile Internet users. New business model are born.

The advent of Cloud technology allows remote access of data and applications according to a business model that is closer to leasing and away from the ownership of software.

Not less expensive, this model is interesting for businesses. Renting an application is not an investment expense but an operational expense. This model is more flexible:

  • It allows a company to always have the latest version of the application.
  • It does not immobilize a large investment related to the purchase of this application.
  • If business growth warrants, the company can buy the software.
  • The rented license is granted to a user and no longer to a machine.

It also allows the development of big data technology according to the 3V model:

  • Volume: It multiplies by 3 every 2 years.
  • Velocity: Allows you to increase storage and increase speed.
  • Variety: The number and variety of contents are constantly increasing; and as well, the number of possible correlations.

The data collected and correlated are highly coveted and the volume of business they generate will be multiplied by 3 by 2020.

6 types of actors are needed to deploy the cloud:

  • Content Providers: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple etc ...
  • Internet access providers such as Swisscom, Salt, Vodafone, Telefonica, British Telecom, Deutsche Telecom, etc...
  • Data centers such as TAS France, Telehouse UK, Equinix etc ...
  • IT equipment manufacturers: Lenovo, HP, Dell etc ...
  • The Content renter: They create contents like softwares, photos, video, music etc ... These are actors like Netflix, Spotify, Deezer etc ...
  • The users: These are the consumers using connected terminals like TV, Smartphone, Tablet, connected objects etc ...

These different actors will negotiate bitterly among themselves to set up whole services. For example, Netflix can be distributed bundled with an internet subscription.

Generation Y entering the labor market is the first generation of the mobile Internet that has changed the ways to work and to distract. Collaborative mode replaces hierarchical organizations.

Training is also a sector using cloud technology to set up E-learning services. This new form of training also brings new forms of marketing. Prospects can be solved through the content of training.

Number of cultural exchanges are based on the free. The actors offering these services must find new business models. It also appears sites exchange services such as carpooling, exchange of apartments for holidays etc ...

With the collected data, the Cloud brings new methods of espionage including economic and industrial. In the United States, the "Patriot Act" allows US authorities to directly access server data from US-based companies.

More than 15,000 requests were submitted by the FBI in 2012 as part of the "Patriot Act" without it being known if European companies are involved.

With the Cloud you must be careful about:

  • "Infotoxication": The more data, the easier the correlations are. It is therefore important to consider the risk of manipulation. The protection of the citizen about the files and his guarantees on the exploitation of the data about him must be kept in mind. Therefore; It is necessary to reconcile the two different fundamental approaches:
    • The American approach: for whom the protection of data is a matter of consumer protection.
    • The European approach: for whom data protection continues to belong to the field of fundamental freedoms.

Throughout the past century, telephone operators have expanded their business by offering voice transport services. With the advent of Arpanet in the 1970s, a data transport network developed in parallel. In the early 2000s, it became more efficient to carry voice over IP rather than the historical network. With this evolution, transportation has become a commodity and business is rather generated by content. Thus, appeared services like :

  • Voice over IP
  • Video on demand
  • TV distribution
  • Application distribution

Therefore; operators have a role to play in this new ecosystem. However, they must undergo an in-deep molt. In fact, they must globalize their business, define services and business models compatible with the various legislations in place. The services developed must be compatible with both US law and European law; one privileging the security of the state, the other protecting the privacy of the citizen.

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The digital shift for a Small and Medium size company.

The big data

While large companies have the resources to finance their adaptation to the digital economy, SMEs are struggling to make the digital shift, which is crucial for them. Indeed, it has a major impact on their internal processes, marketing, customer relationships and their business model. The following questions arise quickly:

  • Which goals?
  • How to do?
  • How to start?
  • Which tools?
  • Which skills?
  • Which impacts on the company’s processes and business model?

Indeed, business model and operational processes must be adapted. The degree of digitalization must be taken into consideration to determine the purpose of the digital shift and help the company to redefine its business model. Moreover; the project can be planned.

The success key of this technological change is the adaptation of the corporate’s culture and business model. To define the most appropriate tools and introduce the right skills, a company strategy must be defined.

Innovation is not simply about acquiring technical knowledge. It does not have to be a marketing polish. the added value, it brings to the company and its customers is imperative . This involves new forms of collaboration. With his customer’s collaboration, the SME will be able to identify the digital tools which need to be implemented.

The advent of big data and connected objects technologies have favorized the digitalization. This has made it possible to move from the data collection to the data exploitation stage. In this new paradigm, companies are forced to rethink their infrastructure and business processes.

Innovation is becoming more complicated. Now the innovation is the result of the collaboration between companies. Digitization makes possible to deploy the most appropriate tools to enable this collaboration.

Digitization involves a change in the legal environment. A new adapted ecosystem is being set up. The laws on data protection are adapted to this new environment. Compagnies need to deploy the right tools allowing them to follow the new rules and laws put in place. Moreover; data protection laws must not be bridged. Our last article “Cybersecurity, loopholes for Small and Medium Enterprises.” give you more details.

For more information on our advisory services, please follow the link. You can ask us for a personalized offer through our contact page.

Cybersecurity, loopholes for Small and Medium Enterprises.


Historically computer attacks was managed by IT teams. Today with the digitalization development, IT and telecommunications infrastructures are part of the company business. Therefore; now, the management has to take care about security.

Computer security budgets are increasing by 15% each year, while the security infrastructures are often used at less than 20% of their capacity. The actors in the computer security sector talk about costs between ten francs a year to one million for an XXL structure.

in most cases of hacking, human behavior has contributed actively. Most of phishing attacks such as the CEO scam use human behavior as a vector of propagation. Therefore; the exchange of information between all actors is essential. It allows to identify attacks behavior. In general, the most efficient measures against these attacks require the training of employees:

  • We can have the best protection system, if users continue to open e-mails and click on unidentified links, nothing can be done against.
  • The management of passwords stored in an unencrypted file or stuck on a screen using post-it must be prohibited. Password must be easy to remember but difficult to crack.

With the entry in force the May 25 in European union of the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR), compagnies using customer files have the obligation to actively protect themselves against potential loopholes.

What are the obligations of a company in case of incidents on his databases?

  • Obligation to announce.
    • In Switzerland: as soon as possible after the discovery of the incident.
    • In the states of the European Union, within 72 hours after the discovery of the incident.
  • To whom to announce it.
    • In Switzerland, to the Federal Data Protection Commissioner and to the persons to whom these data belong. If the number of people affected is too high, a public announcement via the media or social network is enough.
    • In the states of the European Union, it must be announced to all the authorities of the European countries concerned by the incident. This will trigger a country specific procedure.
  • Who should announce.
    • The person responsible for processing the data.
  • What needs to be announced.
    • The name and contact details of the people affected and the nature of the violation (erasure, loss, theft, etc.)
  • What penalties.
    • In Switzerland maximum fine of CHF 250 000.-CHF.
    • In the European Union fine up to 4% of the turnover.

For more information on our advisory services, please follow the link. You can ask us for a personalized offer through our contact page.

The cloud: impact on business and operational procedures


The convergence of technologies (telecommunications and IT) has brought a drastic change in the IT and telecommunications departments operational procedures. Historically, the main functions of these departments were to make available and operate the infrastructure.

Cloud technology is disrupting the entire industry because of its operational impact.

The IT infrastructure become secondary; on the other hand, the offered services and the applications must be innovative. On this basis, new business models are developped and Processes of internalization and outsourcing are taking place.

To succeed in such a migration, it is necessary to define the specifications for the services providers. It is also important to accurately identify the impact on operational procedures. The formation of the teams will have to be considered.

For the implementation of cloud technologies, it is essential to implement a solution adapted to operational procedures and to identify the impact in order to minimize it. The solution must fit the business and not the other way around.

A key step to transform the migration in a success will consist in writing specifications for the Cloud services provider. The following points will have to be taken in account:

  • User needs
  • Operational procedures in place
  • The marketing needs of the company
  • The use of data by the company
  • The legal obligations of the company in the face of the law on data protection

It is important that these specifications are written in a very professional manner and that they are the result of a very precise business analysis. As a startup or a small company, you cannot afford to have a full-time employee for such task. Cloud service providers propose to write these specifications in order to present to you one of their solutions as the solution. This way of proceeding is not optimal: Moreover; the choice of the solution will have to be as neutral as possible. An external consultant can be the solution:

  • Minimize the impact of such migration on your operational procedures
  • To choose the optimal solution for your business while optimizing the quality / price ratio
  • To identify and minimize negative impacts
  • Quickly consider the training needs of the teams

For more information on our advisory services, please follow the link. You can ask us for a personalized offer through our contact page.