A Basic Understanding of Cloud Computing

Sometimes I feel that we have to go back to the beginning in order to understand where we are now. Below are a few basic questions that clients often ask us here at AEC Cloud. Questions that often times take us aback in their simplicity, but are critical in understanding what the "cloud" is and how it is such a part of our lives we take it for granted.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing is so common in our lives that you probably aren't even aware that you are using it. Currently it is estimated that over 95% of people are now using cloud services such as social networks, streaming music, streaming video or online banking.

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Cloud Computing is a set of hardware and software that work to deliver the end user these online services. Users have access to files and applications from any type of device such as a desktop, laptop or mobile device. Any device that can access the internet.

You already know the big names in the field. Gmail, Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, Dropbox, just to name a few. These applications and files can be accessed from any device that is connected to the internet. The actual application and files are on a cloud hosted server and "viewed" by your end device of choice.

How is computing from the Cloud different from computing from my local PC's hard drive?

Computing from the cloud is different in that the files and applications are not physically located on your computer or device that you are currently using. Instead those files and applications are stored on servers hosted outside of your office or home. Those servers can also spread your data across different locations and servers, allowing for a wide array of storage protection and business continuity.

In other words, with cloud computing, your files are copied across many different servers and safe from natural disasters or hardware failure.

What are public and private Clouds?

Public Clouds are just what they sound like. They are cloud networks that are open to the public. Gmail is a good example of a public cloud. Gmail is an application and data storage system that is open to the public. Each user has an account within the wider public cloud application. Private Clouds are more or less the opposite. They are protected applications and data typically behind a range of protection barriers or firewalls. These applications and data sets are not open to the public and are typically used by corporations to house sensitive data.

 

What are some common Cloud services and companies?

As noted above, there are many many cloud hosted services that you are already using in your day to day life. Gmail for your personal email; Dropbox for file storage and sharing; Spotify to stream your favorite music channel; Netflix to view a movie on your laptop or television at home.

All of these are services that allow you the end user to access data and applications through any device that has an internet connection. For business, these services offer a huge advantage in that they do not have to design, develop and host their own application and store those files. This greatly reduces IT costs and allows for more flexibility in testing different applications that works best for the business or project at hand.

 

Do I need Cloud computing?

The simple answer is that you are already using cloud computing. Maybe a better question is, can you live without Netflix, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, etc.?

Now apply this to your business model and you can see why cloud computing continues to grow exponentially, year over year. The instant access to developed applications and files from any device, from anywhere allows businesses to be competitive at a very low cost.

It is just to cost prohibitive to setup your own cloud computing center given the costs of hardware, storage, servers and networking hardware. And it does not make sense in the end since much of this would just sit idle and go to waste. Instead with cloud computing, you can pay for only what you use.

 

Are my files safe in the Cloud?

The short answer is yes, your files are very very safe in the cloud. The possibility to create duplicate data sets and store those across different geographical locations, ensures that data will never be lost. Business continuity is basically guaranteed as the data and applications can be quickly brought back online in a matter of hours, instead of weeks or months needed with locally stored files.

 

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300AEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Just ask Hensel Phelps or Turner Construction.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Call us today to get started: 866 417-7230

Email us now with your questions: sales@aeccloud.com

What Does Cloud Computing Mean for Your Enterprise?

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides the best definition of cloud computing:

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management.

Enterprise cloud computing harnesses "cloud computing" for a competitive business advantage in terms of cost cutting, as well as innovation and collaboration on a per project basis.

Probably more important than cost savings, is the power of having virtually unlimited computing resources available at a moments notice. Resources can be provisioned up or down rapidly, allowing businesses to act quickly on new opportunities.

 

What does “cloud computing” mean for your enterprise?

Here are three key points:

  1. IT demands can be rapidly scaled up or down depending on the immediate need, leading to a reduction of overall IT costs. The enterprise is only paying for what resources it needs at any given moment.
  2. Risk and startup expenses for new projects are greatly reduced. Businesses will not have to realize a large capital outlay to bring those resources online. New resources can be brought online in a matter of hours, not weeks, and more importantly those resources can be quickly scaled up or down, depending on how the project goes. Testing new business ideas becomes a feasible reality allowing for new opportunities for growth.
  3. Large projects require collaboration. Cloud computing allows all companies involved on any given project to share work spaces and data in ways never before imagined. Further integration with BizTalk allows data to pass seamlessly between applications and organizations to maximize efficiency and increase the bottom line.

As you learn more about cloud computing and the incredible array of possibilities, you begin to understand why everyone is buzzing about "the cloud". It is a huge paradigm shift for businesses today, tooling them with IT capabilities that were only a dream 10 years ago.

 

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300AEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Just ask Hensel Phelps or Turner Construction.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Call us today to get started: 212-505-0381

Email us now with your questions: sales@aeccloud.com

Nexus of Forces: Social, Mobile, Cloud and Information Combine

nexus-of-forcesThe Nexus of Forces is a concept developed by consultancy firm Gartner Inc. that describes how the convergence and mutual strengthening of four current trends, or forces, are shaping enterprise business IT decisions and creating new business opportunities. Those four forces (current trends) are:

  • social media
  • mobility
  • cloud computing
  • and information

The four forces, or trends, are distinct and happening now, but together, combine to form a new pattern of interacting with information, and how that information is utilized in the business environment.

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Information is the context that is at the center of social media and "virtual" interactions. Mobile devices are the platform for social media, allowing for new ways of working. Cloud hosting enables the delivery of the information and applications. Thus, the four forces converge, creating a fifth force that is driving technology and business into places we can only begin to contemplate and understand.

The Nexus of Forces concept is applicable to both social and enterprise spaces and is not limited to any one organizational size.

Research group Forrester, recently found 71% of enterprises believe mobility is a top priority, with 45% of the workforce qualifying as “anytime, anywhere.” Employees are now expecting companies to accommodate their mobile needs, with 55% saying they are more satisfied with their job if the company they work for emphasizes mobility first.

Based on a recent study completed at the MIT Sloan School of Management, businesses who consider mobility a priority and build initiatives around mobility are 26% more profitable.

Adaptation is the key to survival. The business landscape has changed, and with that the methods of doing "work". For all of us, it has been a mobile mind shift. It's hard to remember when these devices we hold all day we not there. When was the last time you left your house or office without your mobile device? And tell me, how did that feel?

If you are like me, then you went running back to get the device. The fact is, mobile devices are part of our everyday lives. Anytime/anywhere. We are connected with friends, colleagues and business associates via social media. Sharing information that is hosted on cloud servers. This is what I am calling the "Mobile Mental Shift".

We are in the beginning, the dawn if you will of enterprise mobility. Sometimes it is hard to imagine what is all means and where it is going. But in the end, I believe that we are heading into something really powerful and really exciting. And in the end, you either get on-board and enjoy the ride, or sit on the sidelines and watch the bus go by.

I've gone over the benefits of bringing a business 100% mobile in previous website posts here. The brief is:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Reduction of maintenance requirements
  • Flexibility and scalability of resources
  • On demand user administration
  • 24/7 user support
  • Off-site backup of critical data
  • Regular maintenance and software upgrades
  • Employee mobility anywhere, anytime
  • Freedom to focus on core business

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300At this point, it is worth the time and effort for IT departments to take a hard look at this opportunity, and at a minimum do some cost/productivity comparisons. We are definitely past the days of early adoption, with many larger companies now taking the steps to move in the direction of cloud-based desktops, apps and file storage. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple of our client names that come to mind.

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

LeadershipWidget_270_blueAEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Just ask Hensel Phelps or Turner Construction.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

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  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Call us today to get started: 212-505-0381

Email us now with your questions: sales@aeccloud.com

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Enterprise Mobility - Three Keys

Construction worker in construction machinery discussing with engineer blueprints on pad or tablet computer on siteThe idea behind Enterprise mobility is the opening up of the traditional office environment boundaries. While obviously the main office not going anywhere soon, the idea of the office is beginning to shift in real time. Staff is on the move which opens up the possibilities of new opportunities to gain business and increase efficiency. There are three components to "enterprise mobility".  All three are based around accessibility. Accessibility from anywhere, and accessibility anytime.

  • Data
  • Applications
  • Desktops

With all three of these components accessible via cloud hosting, enterprise mobility becomes a reality. Staff can work when they need to, and more importantly from anywhere they are located.

Real Benefits

  • Cost efficiency
  • Reduction of maintenance requirements
  • Flexibility and scalability of resources
  • On demand user administration
  • 24/7 user support
  • Off-site backup of critical data
  • Regular maintenance and software upgrades
  • Employee mobility anywhere, anytime
  • Freedom to focus on core business

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300At this point, it is worth the time and effort for IT departments to take a hard look at this opportunity, and at a minimum do some cost/productivity comparisons. We are definitely past the days of early adoption, with many larger companies now taking the steps to move in the direction of cloud-based desktops, apps and file storage. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple of our client names that come to mind.

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

LeadershipWidget_270_blueAEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Just ask Hensel Phelps or Turner Construction.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

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  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Call us today to get started: 212-505-0381

Email us now with your questions: sales@aeccloud.com

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_167

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Enterprise Mobility: Hosted Virtual Desktops (HVD), Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

Construction specialist using a tablet computer Business is on the move, and by that I mean on the move outside the physical walls of the office. Mobile devices have blown the lid off the "traditional work place" and now allow workers to move outside the office and still be productive. In fact productivity has increased, along with efficiency. Gone are the days when you could only check your email at your physical work station at the office.

I remember the day that I got my first Blackberry. What a revolution! Here I was sitting in a cafe checking my email and responding to clients and colleagues instantly! Before, I would have to worry I was missing some important email while outside the office at a meeting or running errands. It was an incredible watershed moment in the history of the mobile work force, and the technology has only continued to improve.

Tablets, iPhones, Android mobile, not to mention laptops, have opened the doors to access data, software and communication anywhere; anytime.

Of course we still use our desktop computers. Who doesn't like a large display screen and full size keyboard when there is a pile of work to get through? But what do you do when you need to go home to take care of something, but still need to push out that big report? This is where the Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD), also known as Desktop as a Service (DaaS) comes into play.

AdobeStock_88855189HVD is just what the name implies. It is a desktop that is hosted on a virtual server. Users connect to that desktop via their personal device, laptop, personal computer, tablet, etc. To the end user, the experience is the same. They open their personal "virtual desktop" and see all their applications, documents and data.

For example, a worker is at the office working on a document, but has to leave the office. He then goes home and opens his/her HVD and all the documents are still open, just as they were before back at the office. The "desktop" is accessible from any internet connected device and viewed anywhere, anytime.

Apart from the beauty of accessing your personal desktop anywhere, anytime, the benefits don't end there.

All maintenance, support, upgrades and backups are performed by the service provider operating the virtual servers where the desktops are stored. The service provider can scale up or down the amount of power a user needs, as well as offer redundancy and offsite data backup.

This of course is more interesting to the CIO, than it is to the end user. To the end user, the experience is the same, but instead of having access to their desktop at the office, they now have access to their desktop from any device. To the CIO, the advantages go well beyond that. Business continuity alone is enough to justify such a transition to HVD, not to mention the reduced costs in maintenance and support.

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300Here at AEC Cloud, we have focused our hosted IT solutions to the AEC space. We have been in the game for over 15 years now, helping the big firms such as Hensel Phelps, to the small guys, make their IT transition into the mobile enterprise workplace as smooth as possible. We know what needs to be done, and more importantly, we know how to do it.

If you have been putting off your IT transition, the time has come to take another look. The technology in the space has come a long way, and continues to improve. And the benefits gained, far out weight the pain of making the move.

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

LeadershipWidget_270_blueAEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Just ask Hensel Phelps or Turner Construction.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

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  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Call us today to get started: 212-505-0381

Email us now with your questions: sales@aeccloud.com

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_167

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Enterprise Application Hosting: User Support

AdobeStock_34165921Many hosting companies offer application hosting, but rarely offer any kind of user support. We all know that hosting your enterprise applications, data and desktops is a growing trend. The benefits far outweigh any reasons not to either have already made the move from in-house servers and an IT team. The missing link during this transition is supporting your end users when problems arise, which they will. Having a team of support staff in-house does not come cheap and the question arises as to how much time they are being utilized or sitting idle. Out sourcing the user support makes a lot of sense when you take into consideration:

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  • How knowledgeable are the support staff with your hosted applications
  • How knowledgeable are the support staff with the server configuration
  • Are the support staff being fully utilized?
  • Are they available 24/7?

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300Hosting your enterprise applications with AEC Cloud, come with a built in support team that quickly handles any problems when they arise with end users. An easy support ticket system with live call back is a guarantee that issues are handled on a personal level quickly and efficiently.

Whether your team is in the physical office or out in the field, they will be accessing their data and applications from a myriad of different devices. When they cannot access their data or applications, the problem needs to be remedied immediately. That is why a support team that is available 24/7 is a must.

Here at AEC Cloud, we have been helping businesses in the AEC industry make those decisions in a calculated and planned way. We have over 15 years in the business and have consciously chosen to focus on the AEC industry. We know what you need before you do. We are specialists in cloud hosting, and that knowledge base we have built for the past 15 years is yours to share in when you use our services. Why take the risk with some off the shelf general "cloud hosting" company?

At this point, it is worth the time and effort for IT departments to take a hard look at this opportunity, and at a minimum do some cost/productivity comparisons. We are definitely past the days of early adoption, with many larger companies now taking the steps to move in the direction of cloud-based desktops, apps and file storage. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple of our client names that come to mind.

The benefits are just too many to ignore.

EM03Real Benefits

  • Cost efficiency
  • Reduction of maintenance requirements
  • Flexibility and scalability of resources
  • On demand user administration
  • 24/7 user support
  • Off-site backup of critical data
  • Regular maintenance and software upgrades
  • Employee mobility anywhere, anytime
  • Freedom to focus on core business

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

LeadershipWidget_270_blueAEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple names that come to mind.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

Software we host:

We host any enterprise business application you need to get your job done. If you don't see what you need in our list below, just ask!

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  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Feel free to call us if you have any questions: 212-505-0381

Email us here: sales@aeccloud.com

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_167

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Enterprise Cloud Hosting Benefits

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_300 Enterprise cloud hosting is the buzz word of the past year. There has been a convergence of technologies that have made the option of hosting desktops, files and applications outside of the office a viable reality. Whether you are looking at private cloud hosting, public cloud hosting or a hybrid situation, the benefits are just to clear to ignore.

LeadershipWidget_270_blueThe workplace has changed, and we argue for the better. The clearest gain in external cloud hosting is giving your workforce mobility to work whenever and wherever they may be located. The days of the office cubicle are slowly fading and dissolving into a worker that can move outside the walls of the office and still be productive. In fact, more productive than they ever were while chained to a stationary terminal. The workforce is allowed to move which brings opportunities for inspiration they can bring back to the workspace.

Smartphones and tablets, not to mention laptops, have opened the doors to reducing office space requirements. Workers can now work efficiently from home or any other place they may choose to perform their tasks. It's been said before, a happy worker is a productive worker.

Mobile workers can now access their personal desktops, files and enterprise applications when the business makes the move to cloud hosting. Plug and play. Always connected to colleagues and the office no matter where they are. A dream for any department manager.

The next biggest factor for consideration is a reduced IT budget. Purchasing and hiring a team to manage updates and troubleshooting are removed from the equation. By spreading the cost of support and infrastructure across multiple clients, the cloud hosted option realizes real time cost savings. No longer is a business required to bear the entire burden of costs associated with purchasing and maintaining an entire IT department. With this old model, the drain on resources and overall budget just don't make sense anymore.

Flexibility and scalability are other aspects of this cost savings. Are you operating servers and infrastructure that you are only using a part of? What if you need to add an additional ten users overnight? Would your IT department be able to execute that. I'm guessing probably not. With an enterprise cloud hosted model, scalability is built into the system. Scale up or down your user base, in a matter of hours, not weeks.

At this point, it is worth the time and effort for IT departments to take a hard look at this opportunity, and at a minimum do some cost/productivity comparisons. We are definitely past the days of early adoption, with many larger companies now taking the steps to move in the direction of cloud-based desktops, apps and file storage. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple of our client names that come to mind.

The benefits are just to many to ignore.

Real Benefits

  • Cost efficiency
  • Reduction of maintenance requirements
  • Flexibility and scalability of resources
  • On demand user administration
  • 24/7 user support
  • Off-site backup of critical data
  • Regular maintenance and software upgrades
  • Employee mobility anywhere, anytime
  • Freedom to focus on core business

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

LeadershipWidget_270_blueAEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple names that come to mind.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

Software we host:

We host any enterprise business application you need to get your job done. If you don't see what you need in our list below, just ask!

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*****************

  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Feel free to call us if you have any questions: 212-505-0381

Email us here: sales@aeccloud.com

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_167

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Hosted Applications + Virtual Desktop = WIN

Home_CaseStudiesWidget_DECC_370x320The mobile work force and the benefits it brings to any business model are here to stay. Smartphones and tablets have become the next generation thin client, using the power of cloud hosted applications, file storage and web services. While these devices have torn down the walls of the office, there is still a need for the desktop experience. Many early adopters of the Virtual Desktop, or desktop as thin client, still bear the emotional scars of slow refresh rates, and overall poor performance. So poor in fact it was at times crippling to work productivity.

The technology of the desktop thin client has dramatically improved and is now a viable option for both inside the office, and outside. Virtualization of desktops has come a long ways over the past couple years with improvements in graphic acceleration, server protocols and server performance. End users of the Virtual Desktop can now enjoy a 'normal' desktop experience with full access to files and applications they need, when and where they need them.

Cloud-based desktops coupled with hosted applications and file storage open up increases in worker productivity and a lowering of IT costs. Employees can enjoy a mobile work-space, accessing their personal desktop, files and applications from any connected terminal.

At this point, it is worth the time and effort for IT departments to take a hard look at this opportunity, and at a minimum do some cost/productivity comparisons. We are definitely past the days of early adoption, with many larger companies now taking the steps to move in the direction of cloud-based desktops, apps and file storage. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple of our client names that come to mind.

The benefits are just to many to ignore.

Real Benefits

  • Cost efficiency
  • Reduction of maintenance requirements
  • Flexibility and scalability of resources
  • On demand user administration
  • 24/7 user support
  • Off-site backup of critical data
  • Regular maintenance and software upgrades
  • Employee mobility anywhere, anytime
  • Freedom to focus on core business

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

AEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple names that come to mind.

Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest companies in the AEC space for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

Software we host:

We host any enterprise business application you need to get your job done. If you don't see what you need in our list below, just ask!

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*****************

  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Feel free to call us if you have any questions: 212-505-0381

Email us here: sales@aeccloud.com

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_167

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Benefits Of Hosting Your Enterprise Applications In The Cloud

Offerings_Hosting_370x320The reasons for moving all or part of you IT department off site are numerous. The benefits far outweigh any perceived negative drawbacks. Many articles have been written in regards to hosting your enterprise applications in the cloud. Thousands of users are now enjoying the benefits of off-loading their IT burdens to 3rd party managed hosting. It is now a proven and necessary consideration by any company that is still running in-house servers. Corporations have to be flexible in today's market place, taking advantage of new technologies that bring real benefits to company growth, employee mobility and of course the bottom line of the balance sheet.

Real Benefits

[contact-form-7 id="6186" title="Inpage Contact Form" html_id="sidebar_contact"]
  • Cost efficiency
  • Reduction of maintenance requirements
  • Flexibility and scalability of resources
  • On demand user administration
  • 24/7 user support
  • Off-site backup of critical data
  • Regular maintenance and software upgrades
  • Employee mobility anywhere, anytime
  • Freedom to focus on core business

Proven Reliability and Leadership For Over 15 Years

AEC Cloud has been on the scene working with the largest AEC companies in the field for over 15 years. Leaders in the industry rely on our expertise and proven track record to help their companies stay ahead with their Enterprise Application Hosting needs. Hensel Phelps, Turner Construction are a couple names that come to mind.

For many enterprise businesses, this can be a huge decision and often a leap of faith. Fear of the unknown often hinders the move ahead into cloud hosting critical business applications. Finding an experienced and reliable hosting partner is critical in seeing a successful outcome.

Here at AEC Cloud, we know what you need before you do. We have been hosting applications and data for some of the largest construction companies in the world for over 15 years. We can help guide you through the maze of cloud hosting and determine exactly what your company needs today, and what it will need tomorrow.

Software we host:

We host any enterprise business application you need to get your job done. If you don't see what you need in our list below, just ask!

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*****************

  • Find out what AEC Cloud can do for your business migration to the cloud.
  • Schedule a live demo today and see for yourself the possibilities we can offer.

Feel free to call us if you have any questions: 212-505-0381

Email us here: sales@aeccloud.com

Logo_AECCloud_Option2_167

 

 

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AEC Cloud Updates Portal Software with Patch 20: Unified Application Management

Home_Slider_Software_840_100pAEC Cloud recently released Patch 20 for the Portal Software. This new patch covers some bug fixes of the Portal Software, giving users and administrators control over application access and management. "Unified Application Management" is the key feature of Portal Software.

Fixes Fix #1:

  • The user count issues in Companies Page. a. Application Section shows incorrect count in the list. b. Assign Application section shows inactive users in the list. c. Related Accounts section shows  incorrect count in the list.

Fix #2:

  • 'Related Users' matrix displays incorrect applications on following scenario. Scenario: Remove all apps from a user  via the Contacts page, save and then reassign only on App to the user - Matrix will display access to all/other apps

What is Portal Software?

Developed with a cloud mindset, the AEC Cloud Portal Software is purpose built for:

  • Companies seeking a unified end user
  • Unified application administrator experience
  • Currently used by more than 20,000 users
  • Seamless self provisioning experience

Major Functionality includes:

  • Central company/contact repository
  • Secure launching, provisioning and single sign on for various applications
  • Activity based billing module
  • Integrated with Active Directory
  • Includes a web services layer that can be used to leverage certain features for other integrations

 

If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

OBA: Mixing a Little Excel with Your Cloud Strategy

cloud-app-access-via-multi-devicesMore than 30% of construction companies rely on spreadsheets as part of their process for carrying out day-to-day construction tasks. For anyone familiar with this industry, that number shouldn’t come as a shock. But what might come as a surprise to some is the fact that such a stat could have cloud implications. This figure comes from the recently published report Construction Software BuyerView by Software Advice. I agree with their assessment that most construction firms find it difficult (i.e., cost prohibitive) to relinquish their traditional methods and adapt their processes. But this is where construction companies must embrace a strategy of adopting new technologies while still leveraging current investments.

This is where I believe Microsoft Office Business Applications (OBAs) play a valuable role for the construction industry. For those not familiar with OBA, here’s a quick run down:

  • An OBA is an application written for Microsoft Office and is based on .NET technology that uses Web services to connect to a standard Line of Business (LOB) or other application. This certainly makes OBAs very NIST-friendly based on its Five Cloud Characteristics.
  • OBAs work by using Microsoft Office as the interface to capture information that is sent via Web services in XML format.
  • The most commonly used OBAs in the AEC industry are based on Microsoft Excel.
  • OBAs are different than the use of Microsoft Office in combination with import/export methods—don’t let some vendors fool you! Here’s the difference: OBAs connect to the LOB application via Web Services. A Microsoft Excel-based OBA, for example, allows for a pre-mapped, secure, two-way connection over the Internet between Excel and the LOB—something that simply cannot be done using traditional import/export.

Here is where the cost value truly comes into play. For many construction companies, achieving such level of integration involves developing a custom solution. And that’s where Software Advice’s statement about the industry’s reluctance to relinquish traditional methods holds true. But that doesn’t need to be the case, thanks to OBAs.

Take the AECCloud customer Morley Builders, for example. It was looking for a way to eliminate the need for employees to manually input large data sets of drawing and specification information. The company is using AEC Cloud’s Drawings & Specification OBA, which interfaces with Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheets.

With this, Morley’s employees are able to quickly input a large amount of data all at once, which saves time. Perhaps the greatest time-saving activity comes during the start of a project, when it is not uncommon for certain information to be repetitive.

And this is one of many success stories. For AEC Cloud, we take a very targeted approach to delivering OBAs to the construction industry:

One Source: The OBA Store is our online source for Microsoft OBAs where we have standard OBAs for most features supported by Trimble Meridian Prolog. We have standard OBAs for most features supported by Prolog and are always looking to build them for other Line of Business applications based on client demand and Vendors opening up their web service technologies.  Get a free account to access and browse to the largest catalog of OBAs for the AEC Industry! Sign Up Here or Login Here if you already have an account.

One Host: We offer the ability host them, or allow users to host them if that is preferred.

Centralized Management: OBA Online is the source for hosting OBAs, and when combined with the OBA Store allows users to buy, manage, and deploy OBAs in a very efficient manner.

An Eye Ahead: We are always looking to build OBAs for other LOB applications based on client demand. But this necessitates other software vendors opening up their Web service technologies.

So for anyone who tells you that the use of Microsoft Excel and the cloud simply don’t mix—think again. OBAs can make that use of Excel very innovative for years to come.

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About The Cram Group & AEC Cloud Since 2001, The Cram Group is a leading Consulting, Hosting, and Development services provider focused on the AEC Industry. Core offerings include education about Cloud Computing and Solutions based on the NIST Cloud Definition; Software for Unified Application Management and Role Specific Applications; and Services from Advisory to Maintenance which are available direct and through a nationwide Certified Partner Network. For more information, call 212-505-0381, or email us sales@aeccloud.com

Cloud Hosted Software is the Present

Hosting your Software in the Cloud

Home_CaseStudiesWidget_DECC_370x320Hosting software on external cloud server has now become the standard for business. The overall cost advantage coupled with lower maintenance has made this option the "go to" for IT departments globally.

Access to the software is no longer tied to the office environment, freeing your workforce to be productive where ever they are located.

This new method of accessing software has revolutionized the workspace and business operations overall.

Software We Host

We can, and do, host almost any software out there. Below is a list of some of the software we are currently hosting.

If you don’t see yours in there, just call or email us to find out more information.

Software

Platform

  • Citrix
  • Microsoft

Infrastructure

  • Cisco
  • EMC
  • Equinix
  • Juniper
  • Microsoft
  • VMWare

See our offerings in action. Schedule a live demo today!

AEC Cloud Updates Portal Software with Patch 19: Unified Application Management

Home_Slider_Software_840_100pAEC Cloud recently released Patch 19 for the Portal Software. This new patch covers some bug fixes as well as extends the functionality of the Portal Software, giving users and administrators control over application access and management. "Unified Application Management" is the key feature of Portal Software.

Enhancements Enhancement #1:

  • To Upgrade Contact related pages to auto create user in Account Management/Passport Database when the user has AM Application access.

Fixes Fix #1:

  • Contact Page – Windows username validation issue: When the contact's windows username contains single quote (‘), edit record feature is throwing an error. This issue is fixed in this release.

Fix #2:

  • MyProperties>Configuration Manager> Number of Records to be Listed setting issue. The MyProperties>Configuration Manager> “Number of Records to be Listed” setting is not reflecting in Portal/Passport List Pages. This issue is fixed in this release.

Fix #3:

  • Citrix Receiver Download Link for Mac: Seamless Plugin Installer page is displaying invalid citrix receiver download link for Mac. This issue is fixed in this release.

The full release documentation can be viewed here.

What is Portal Software?

Developed with a cloud mindset, the AEC Cloud Portal Software is purpose built for:

  • Companies seeking a unified end user
  • Unified application administrator experience
  • Currently used by more than 20,000 users
  • Seamless self provisioning experience

Major Functionality includes:

  • Central company/contact repository
  • Secure launching, provisioning and single sign on for various applications
  • Activity based billing module
  • Integrated with Active Directory
  • Includes a web services layer that can be used to leverage certain features for other integrations

 

If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

Experience Our Cloud Hosted Apps and Portal Software in Live Demo

Try it before you buy it!

virtual-desktopWe have a live demo environment where you can see our Portal (Unified Application Management) and our Virtual Desktop, Desktops as a Service (DaaS) in action. It can be configured to test any hosted software we currently are hosting, or let us know what software you are looking to use.

If you have never used a Virtual Desktop, this is a great opportunity to experience the power of this revolutionary approach to user desktop configuration and access. Users can access their desktop from anywhere, and are not tied to the office environment. This results in increased productivity and decrease in overall IT budgets.

The Portal Software suite is an powerful tool to allow internal IT Administrators quick configuration of current users.

Contact us today to schedule a Live Demonstration!

Your IT and the Cloud: Are they Compatible?

Today we present the second of three articles about Cloud Hosting specifically for the AEC Industry. We look forward to your comments


Offerings_Hosting_370x320Just because your AEC business is running legacy technology doesn’t mean it cannot make an easy transition to the cloud. In fact, many of today’s most successful matches between the cloud and construction are based on the process of “cloud-enabling” existing IT systems.

AEC Cloud has been hosting early every construction software available since 2000. It just comes down to a matter of compatibility.

You see, running an AEC business requires such core systems as project management, document management, accounting, estimating and job costing, for example. For the most part, these systems are not native cloud applications. No problem. Service solutions available today can ensure that what isn’t “cloud native” in your IT department can certainly become “cloud ready.”

Of course, the ultimate compatibility test is made up such factors as time, cost and security. But such issues have become relative non-issues as cloud services and solutions are faster, better, cheaper and more secure. Just ask our clients, such as The J. Companies and Morley Builders.

A Secure Package Let’s take The J Companies, a builder/construction manager based in New York, as our first example. The company started down its cloud-based IT path in 2005 by hosting Prolog Manager from Meridian Systems using our AEC Cloud. Over time as the needs of IT expanded, so too has the role of the cloud.

For example, with clients located across the country, and with multiple construction, consulting or development projects going on simultaneously, the need to compile information and keep documents organized has become the priority.

Today, you can find Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange, Document Locator from ColumbiaSoft, and Master Builder from Sage, accompanying its Prolog Manager application up in the cloud. A custom solution gives employees access to an integrated package of virtual desktop, document management, accounting, and project management tools that can be accessed anywhere and anytime.

So let’s talk security. Document Locator is essentially the core of the business for The J Companies. With the AEC Cloud, an unlimited library of documents has become stored in the cloud. Given the high quality document security, that means that there is never a risk of information being left unsecure in the cloud.

Just ask David Brot, the Principal of The J Companies, who says that he has never needed to worry about his company’s information. Document security and stability in the cloud has never been an issue.

Low Cost and Connected Now let’s address that issue of high cost. Back in 2013 when we first engaged with Morley Builders the company was talking with many different software vendors about developing a custom solution. The company was looking to have its employees maintain large amounts of drawing and specification information and stay connected, while working at construction sites or back at the office.

It was an exercise that, as many other AEC companies have figured out, is prohibitive in terms of time and cost.

This is where an OBA can come into play. This is an application written for Microsoft Office applications based on .NET technology that uses web services to connect to a Line of Business (LOB) application, or other applications. OBAs that are built on the Microsoft Office Business Application framework are used for extending LOB applications. This means that AEC companies can capture critical information in spreadsheets and work offline.

Today Morley Builders uses our Drawings & Specification OBA. This allows its employees to input large volumes of data all at once. The fact that the OBA interfaces with Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheets makes it easy for employees to get up to speed learning the tool very quickly.

Like The J Companies, Morley Builders works with Prolog. This is where the direct connection from the OBA comes in handy, making the process of batch revisions an integrated process between the programs.

Cloud Considerations It’s not difficult to find these types of success stories within the AEC industry. More and more, we see companies coming to us to help make the cloud a critical part of the way they run their IT systems across the company.

Applications like Dropbox, Evernote, Box and others have catapulted the idea of “the cloud” into the IT discussion these days. But the truth of the matter is that the cloud has long been a part of doing business in construction, tied to core operational systems.

Legacy IT systems are necessary in construction. So too is the cloud. Ensuring they are compatible can be the most powerful investment your company can make in 2015.

[infobox]If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

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Case Study: Morley Builders Increases Efficiency with AEC Cloud

Case Study: Morley Builders Increases Efficiency with AEC Cloud

The Problem: A Need for Streamlined Data Entry and Greater Efficiency

Morley Builders is an employee-owned construction company that provides services through two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Morley Construction Company and Benchmark Contractors Inc. Headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, the company needed a way for its employees to maintain large amounts of drawing and specification information and stay connected, while working at construction sites or in the office.

“We work on a variety of building projects, from commercial and retail to multifamily residential complexes,” said Erin Khan, Project Manager at Morley Builders. “We needed a way for our 200 employees to easily input project data and share information.”

 

The Solution: AEC Cloud’s Office Business Applications

While researching various options, Morley Builders heard about AEC Cloud’s office business applications (OBAs). “We talked with other vendors about developing a custom solution, but the development time and cost were prohibitive,” explained Ernest King, Operations Technology Manager.

“Then we found out about the business application offered by AEC Cloud, and it sounded like the right solution at a great price.”

An OBA is an application written for Microsoft Office applications based on .NET technology that uses web services to connect to a Line of Business (LOB) application or any other application. OBAs built on the Microsoft Office Business Application framework are a great way to extend LOB applications so companies can capture critical information in spreadsheets and work offline.

In 2014, Morley Builders began using AEC Cloud’s Drawings & Specification OBA. The application allows employees to quickly input a large amount of data all at once, which saves time – especially at the start of a project, when certain information is repetitive.

“Previously, our employees had to manually input large data sets of drawing and specification information, which was very time consuming and labor intensive,” Khan said. “Now, we can input data much more quickly. The OBA interfaces with Microsoft Excel and our spreadsheets, which makes it easy since most end users already know Excel. You can also see a lot of data at once for editing, instead of just one record at a time.”

Morley Builders recognized the value of working with a company that understands the construction industry and supports the software it uses. “AEC Cloud has extensive knowledge of the software we use and how it all works together,” King said. “The Drawings & Specification OBA has a direct connection to Prolog, which makes updating information very easy. We just have to push one button to make a batch of revisions.”

Morley Builders also appreciates AEC Cloud’s technical expertise and customer service.

“In addition to delivering on the OBA, they also investigated and helped us solve another Prolog integration issue we had been experiencing for months,” Khan said. “Their knowledge and willingness to go the extra mile for us as a new client really sets them apart from others in the industry.”

Morley Builders plans to continue partnering with AEC Cloud.

“AEC Cloud stood out with their volume of offerings through the OBA Store,” Khan said.

“The Drawings & Specification application was easy to install, works seamlessly, and has increased our efficiency since we started using it in our production environment. We’ll watch for other solutions from AEC Cloud that may work for us in the future.”

 

About AEC Cloud’s OBA Store

The OBA Store is the online source for Microsoft Office Business Applications (OBAs).  We have standard OBAs for most features supported by Prolog and are always looking to build them for other Line of Business applications based on client demand and Vendors opening up their web service technologies.  Get a free account to access and browse to the largest catalog of OBAs for the AEC Industry!

Sign Up Here or Login Here if you already have an account.

The OBA Cloud is the online source for hosting Microsoft Office Business Applications (OBAs).  When combined with The OBA Store there’s simply no better way to buy, manage, and deploy your OBAs.

************ About Morley Builders Morley Builders is owned by nearly 200 employees and has a total craftsman payroll that ranges from 300 to 600, depending on the number of self-performed field projects under construction. Morley Builders has more than 65 years of experience in the construction industry and contracts its services through two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Morley Construction Company and Benchmark Contractors, Inc.

For more information, visit www.morleybuilders.com.

CMFA 2014 Las Vegas: Wesley Smith Presentation (Powerpoint with Audio)

CMFA 2014 Las Vegas Powerpoint presentation by Wesley Smith, with audio discussing cloud hosting for the AEC industry, NIST cloud definition, Public cloud, Hybrid cloud, Private Cloud, Hensel Phelps, Unified Application Management. Learn more about hosting your data and software on servers located outside the physical office, increasing productivity, mobility and lowering cost.

If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

 

 

AEC Cloud Updates Portal Software with Patch 18: Unified Application Management

Home_Slider_Software_840_100pAEC Cloud recently released Patch 18 for the Portal Software. This new patch covers some bug fixes as well as extends the functionality of the Portal Software, giving users and administrators control over application access and management. "Unified Application Management" is the key feature of Portal Software.

The full release documentation can be viewed here.

What is Portal Software?

Developed with a cloud mindset, the AEC Cloud Portal Software is purpose built for:

  • Companies seeking a unified end user
  • Unified application administrator experience
  • Currently used by more than 20,000 users
  • Seamless self provisioning experience

Major Functionality includes:

  • Central company/contact repository
  • Secure launching, provisioning and single sign on for various applications
  • Activity based billing module
  • Integrated with Active Directory
  • Includes a web services layer that can be used to leverage certain features for other integrations

 

If you are thinking about moving all or part of your business to the cloud, give us a call and let us show you how to leverage the myriad benefits of cloud hosting.

Embracing the 5 Characteristics of Cloud for Construction

The cloud holds true potential for transforming the AEC industry. This potential, however, has gone largely unfulfilled due in large part to the ambiguous manner in which it has been defined in general. This in turn has led to a lack of confidence from key decision makers when evaluating cloud solutions for their construction business. The value of the cloud boils down to five essential characteristics, derived from the cloud-computing definition published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Chances are you are familiar with these characteristics on some level, having interacting with cloud-based solutions on a daily basis. Stripping away the tech jargon, along with the marketing-speak, you uncover a solid set of criteria for which to hold the cloud up against going forward.

On-Demand Self-Service

You control the services. At its core, this is the most essential value of a cloud-based application. This allows you to configure and monitor capabilities on your terms. Take your basic online storage applications, like iCloud, Amazon Cloud, SkyDrive, and think of the premium aspect. You are only billed for what you use under a subscription-based billing model.

In construction this is a model that can be adopted for such systems as project management. Providing a “pay-as-you-use” functionality will ultimately prove its value as you scale from large job down to small.

Broad Network Access

Access any time on any device. Take an application like Dropbox as an example. This file-hosting service helps you maximize usage as desired, allowing access to files from any device at any time. You create a unique folder to upload files. That folder is then synchronized so that it appears as the same folder on any device—web or mobile—regardless of how you choose to access it. Of notable appeal is the ability for various users to share and collaborate on files.

In construction, such functionality becomes the base for many collaborative solutions, some of which have even mimicked the model of Dropbox. One critical factor to keep in mind with broad network access is pertains to version control—ensuring there are rules in place to ensure that users are always working with the most up-to-date documents.

Resource Pooling

Shared computing resources. True cloud applications dynamically assign such computing resources as processing, memory, and bandwidth across multiple tenants. Your level of demand dictates the manner in which various physical and virtual resources are dynamically assigned and reassigned.

At the physical layer is where virtualization comes into play with hardware being the virtualized resource. The cloud adds that all-important management control layer for scaling the pool up and down as needed. Memory and storage are examples of pooled virtualized resources.

Rapid Elasticity

Pay for use. The same manner in which you may add and delete storage on your cloud-based email account, for example, correlates to function elasticity for cloud-based applications.

Do you have a job that requires the need to provide partners, like a sub or architect, access to files or permissions for only a finite amount of time? Work with a cloud-based system that can scale access for third parties up or down as needed. You save on resources and training, while having centrally located files and applications throughout the course of the job.

Measured Service

What gets measured gets managed. This old adage certainly applies here. There is no ambiguity when it comes to measured service—your resources are monitored, controlled, and reported. Think of an automated remote service where you receive reports on what has been used. It’s the cloud equivalent of an invoice. This means transparency for you, transparency for the provider—no questions asked. Today any cloud application worthy of your investment will provide you with such capability.

These five characteristics make up the essentials for embracing cloud services in construction. Understanding the value inherent in each will help you appropriately move forward applying the cloud to your AEC business.

Next comes the step of considering the delivery methods and deployment models best suited for your AEC environment. IT plays a strong enabling in this process. Next month we address the methods for getting IT on board with the move to the cloud.

AEC Industry Cloud Transition Cost Management: Part 4/7 09-03-14

AEC Industry Cloud Transition Cost Management: Part 4/7, Evaluating Cloud IT Costs

Moving on, most “Cloud” vendors present their pricing in monthly increments.  They also generally classify their offerings as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) which come from the NIST Cloud Definition.

Once you digest that, you can see this fits very nicely in line with all the legwork we already did in the first 3 parts of this series.

From here it’s just an exercise of getting the information from Vendors you are considering and plugging it into your Cost Model Matrix.

Below are 3 examples based on a make believe Project Management application.  These will help you understand how to classify an offering as you will typically run across them in the market. It does not matter whether is is Accounting, BIM, etc…the same applies across the board.

Continue reading the full article on our website, here

Or read the entire series on "Cloud Transition Cost Management" here

Give us a call today and let us help guide your business to the "Cloud".

212-505-0381

Email us here: sales@aeccloud.com