To Cloud Or Not To Cloud?
If you are like many of our clients, you’ve probably heard some of the buzz about “The Cloud” – the IT version, that is – not one of those puffy white objects in the sky.
So, what exactly is it and should you go there? Cloud computing is simply a way to “rent” the computing you need – by getting it over the Internet – instead of buying your own hardware and software. A lot of businesses like it because they only pay for what they need and they don’t have to worry that their IT investment ever becoming obsolete.
You Already Use The Cloud
The thing is … cloud computing has already been around for a while. If you keep track of customers on Salesforce; if you bank online; or if you share photos with friends on Facebook, you are already using it. Probably the biggest cloud application of them all is Google.
Some business owners are nervous about moving critical data or applications offsite to an outside vendor. On the other hand, the benefits can be very big and include:
- Disaster protection. What is not stored at your place of business cannot be lost there if a disaster were to strike.
- Pay as you go pricing. If you are like most businesses, you have to manage cash carefully, so not having to write big checks to pay for “forklift” equipment or software upgrades can be attractive.
- Scalability. Cloud-based services can grow or shrink depending on how much you need. So if demand in your type of business is cyclical or seasonal, you don’t pay for computing you don’t need during slower periods. And if you need more computing power during a busy period, it’s there when you need it.
- Fewer distractions. Putting your services in the cloud means that owners and managers can spend more time focused on their core business.
Whether to cloud or not is also not typically an all-or-nothing decision. For example, you don’t have to store all your data there; you can just use the cloud for backup. Some applications may make more sense running in the cloud – others maybe not so much.