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Should I Be In The Cloud?

By: Tony Marinaro on December 05, 2012

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Should I Be In The Cloud?

Cloud Productivity and Collaboration  |  Networking

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “cloud” used in reference to computers. You might have an idea what that means or you might wonder what stratocumuli have to do with the internet.

What is the cloud? And more importantly, how is it useful for business?

What Is The Cloud?

The truth of it is – even the computer guys can’t come up with a single definition for the cloud because it is a method of computing, not a single service or technology.

All of the major players (Microsoft, Google, IBM, Amazon, etc.) have cloud technologies and hundreds of smaller companies do as well. For most purposes, we can say that the cloud is any third party that provides that service using their systems located in their own data centers. The ownership of equipment and its location are important distinguishing factors to the cloud model.

Now that we have a general idea what the cloud is, we have even more questions like “Do we want that?” and “Is it secure?” The best answer to these questions is “Sometimes.”

Risks And Benefits Of Being In The Cloud

Just like any system, cloud services have risks. Similarly, there are benefits to the cloud model. It is important to look at the system you are bringing to the cloud and analyze the risks and rewards of that particular system in the cloud with the provider you selected.

If you have customers, partners, employees or even if you’re a sole proprietor, one of the major benefits of the cloud is accessibility. The cloud is always on and can always be accessed the same way, regardless of your location. Whether you’re in the office, at home or out in the field, if you have an internet connection, you can access your system. Depending on the type of system, you can give some level of access to people outside of your organization – like customers or even the public.

Now you might be thinking, “But I can already do that with my system and I know I’m not using the cloud.”

Consider The Cost Of Required Equipment

Here is where we come around to another benefit of the cloud model. Systems that are maintained on-premise require equipment and require administration, both of which are costly. Cloud providers take on the responsibility of maintaining and administering the equipment and systems so that you never have to worry about a hard drive crash or a fried server impacting your financials. You pay an easily budgeted contract fee for the cloud services provided to you.

Maybe you’ve got an old server on its last legs and you are questioning whether paying for new hardware is the right business decision. Now is the perfect time to think about whether you should be in the cloud.

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About Tony Marinaro

Tony means business when it comes to efficiency. He loves turning an organization’s clunky procedures and tasks into lean, automated processes. Tony also enjoys helping companies put business intelligence to use, with the goal of helping them get meaningful information out of their business systems. He was affectionately nicknamed “Google” by co-workers because he always seemed to come up with the answers they needed.