Comcasts's new Upware service app store offers options for biz customers

Leveraging the popularity, ease of use, real-time support, pay-as-you go features, and scalability of cloud-based services, Comcast is launching an app-store style marketplace to assist small business owners in making use of the "cloud." The three store categories, or "aisles," include data backup, data security and collaboration, providing tools from companies including Box, Soonr, WebSense, Norton, YouSendIt, Carbonite, Microsoft, Mozy, DigitalSafe, and others as they expand.

Hoping to assist business owners with important IT related tasks, Comcast has carefully chosen industry-leading companies to offer business-grade solutions to it's customers, offering fewer choices in a cloud of often too many options. Knowing that having too many decisions often leads to indecision, Comcast is only partnering with top-notch vendors, and filtering out the rest before they are an option to the customer. In addition, Upware is providing central access to many web-based accounts, allowing fewer accounts user names and passwords needed to be kept track of and kept secure by the business owner.

Comcast has placed itself in front of all technical support issues in an effort to resolve them as quickly as possible. They have established live-transfer protocols for each partner in the event a particluar issue needs to be escalated. Again, offering only one initial point of contact, regardless of what app or service the customer is having troubles with, makes IT support a much simpler process.

"We know small business owners and we know what tools they need to grow their businesses," Kevin O'Toole, a Comcast senior vice president, said in a statement. "Upware simplifies what can be a complex world of choices when evaluating cloud-based services."

The cloud services being offered: a closer look

What is cloud based backup? - Also called "online backup," or "Internet backup," cloud backup is a service in which data is backed up via a secure Internet connection to, most often, a third party location. To make the backup transparent and seamless, many backup providers offer the ability to create a regular "folder" or "directory" on the users computer that they can use to organize, add, edit and delete files on or offline, and when a connection to the service is made (or in real-time for always on connections) the folder is "synched" with it's online version, creating an online copy. Some services will go further and automate date based backups allowing the user to pull from past archives if the need arises.

What is cloud based security? - Keeping data secure in the cloud is a different, but in some cases, similar process to securing data on a local PC, or local or corporate network. Data transfer must be encrypted and only those who should have access to data, will be granted access to it, with ownership and permission levels, in a perfect secure world that is. Data security can involve single sign-ons (the need not to have to remember mulitple usernames and passwords), and the ongoing protection of malware, viruses and spyware.

What is cloud base collaboration? - Cloud data collaboration allows multiple people, from multiple locations across the world, using multiple devices to share and modify data that is stored in a central location in the cloud. Different permission levels and access can be given to each individual or to the public, whether it be simple read access, edit access or delete access.

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