Thursday, April 16, 2015

What Does Net Neutrality Mean to You?

Net neutrality (also known as "network neutrality", "internet neutrality", or "net equality") is the principle that internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the internet equally, not discriminating or charging differently by user, content, site, platform, application, or mode of communication.*
In May 2014, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released a plan that would have allowed internet service provider companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to discriminate online and create pay-to-play fast lanes. Essentially, the big internet providers would have had the power to decide on what content moves the fastest on the web based on who pays the most. 

Thanks to a huge public and political outcry, Chairman Wheeler shelved his original proposal. In February 2015, he announced that he would base new Net Neutrality rules giving internet users protections from any attempt to pay-to-play. The core net neutrality provisions are bans on blocking and throttling traffic. Broadband providers will not be allowed to block or degrade access to content, applications, websites, and services, or favor some traffic over others in exchange for payment.

Why Net Neutrality is Important for Businesses
Net Neutrality is crucial for small business owners, startups and entrepreneurs who rely on the open Internet to launch their businesses, create a market, advertise their products and services, and distribute products to customers. It ensures the web is a level playing field. It’s because of Net Neutrality that small businesses and entrepreneurs have been able to thrive on the internet. They use the internet to reach new customers and showcase their goods, applications and services. We need the open internet to foster job growth from small businesses, competition and innovation.

Why Net Neutrality is Important for Individuals
The open internet allows individuals and community organizations to tell their own stories. The open internet gives marginalized voices opportunities the opportunity to be heard. But without Net Neutrality, internet service providers could have blocked unpopular topics from reaching the masses. And without Net Neutrality, many small businesses would not be able to compete against larger corporations online.

"An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known." - Barack Obama: November 2014

I encourage you to leave a comment by clicking on "...comments" below...
David Schuchman     Princeton Technology Advisors
* Wikipedia

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Don't Buy or Lease Your Infrastructure, Get a Subscription

In an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model, a third-party provider hosts hardware, software, servers, storage and other infrastructure components on behalf of its clients. For you, it means your organization will not own or lease the infrastructure, you pay for its use. Now, imagine extending that model to infrastructure in your own facilities, and include monitoring & management. Sound far fetched? It's not!
The next time your business needs new internet appliances, networking equipment or other technology, the traditional question you would ask yourself is should you buy it or lease it? Both options have their pros and cons. Ultimately, your method of acquisition will be based on several factors. Let's look at some of the benefits & costs of the purchase and lease options for your on-premises equipment. Then, we'll look at the new IaaS subscription model for your on-premises equipment.

Purchase Your Equipment
  • It's easier than leasing. Buying equipment is easy. You decide what you need, then go out and buy it. While you may negotiate the price, there are typically no contracts to sign.
  • Your equipment is deductible. The IRS currently lets you deduct the full cost of newly purchased assets, such as technology equipment, starting in the first year. Of course, the IRS can (and has) changed that regulation (Section 179 Qualifying Property).
  • The initial outlay for needed equipment may be too much. Your business may have to tie up lines of credit or invest hefty funds to acquire the equipment you need. Those lines of credit and funds could be used for other functions that can help grow your business.
  • Eventually, you're stuck with outdated equipment. Most technology equipment becomes outdated quite quickly. A growing business may need to refresh and invest in its technology every 18-36 months to remain competitive. You may be stuck with outdated equipment that you will be responsible to donate, sell or recycle.
Lease Your Equipment
  • Leasing keeps your equipment up-to-date. All technology equipment eventually become obsolete. With a lease, you pass the financial burden of obsolescence to the equipment leasing company.
  • You'll have predictable monthly expenses. You have a predetermined monthly line item expense, which can help you budget more effectively. 
  • You'll pay more in the long run. While leases rarely require a down payment, leasing is almost always more expensive than purchasing.

Another business decision you will make with a purchase or lease option is if/how you will manage the maintenance and support of the equipment. Even if the hardware is not obsolete over the life of the equipment, you will need to upgrade the firmware, apply security patches, update configurations, etc. to keep the performance of the equipment in top form. The cost of maintenance and support from the equipment vendor can cost 20% or more annually of the equipment purchase. In addition, you need to account for the cost of personal (staff or contracted) to keep your equipment supported.

Infrastructure as a Service now extends to on-premises implementation. Like a hosted IaaS model, you will not own or lease the equipment under contract. Your on-premises equipment (routers, firewalls, internet appliances, etc.) will be owned by the service provider. And, the all of the support responsibilities will be included in your subscription contract. 

On-Premises IaaS
    • You'll have predictable monthly expenses. Like a lease, you will have a predetermined monthly cost, which can help you budget more effectively. In addition, this will include your maintenance and support costs.
    • You won't be stuck with outdated equipment. Your contract will ensure all firmware, security patches, configuration settings, etc. will be current. In addition, you will get hardware upgrades as your current hardware reaches its end-of-life.
    • Completely monitored and managed. Your subscription will completely monitor, maintain and mange the equipment, including on-site service calls if needed. The vendor will likely know of service issues or upgrade needs before you will.
    • Cost. When you consider all of the actual expenses with the tradition purchase and leasing options, including the cost of manpower time and effort that can be reallocated to actually growing your business, on-premises IaaS can be a very efficient model

    On-premises IaaS is a solution worthy of your consideration. You will have many factors to consider when you need to acquire technology equipment. Now, you have another option to consider as to how you will acquire and implement that new equipment.

    For more information on this topic, contact Princeton Technology Advisors, LLC.

    I encourage you to leave a comment by clicking on "...comments" below...
    David Schuchman     Princeton Technology Advisors