What's All This "Cloud" Stuff About?

So you are asking yourself what all this cloud mumbo-jumbo is that you've been hearing about lately.  To be honest the concept is not a new one.  All of us have been working in the cloud in one way or another for many years now. 

The term "cloud" is just a fancy way of saying "internet".  Anyone that has used Hotmail, Gmail, etc. has already been using cloud computing.  Even Facebook is considered a cloud based application.  Although cloud computing is an emerging field of computer science, the idea has been around for a while now. It's called cloud computing because the data and applications exist on a "cloud" of internet based servers.

 Of course, cloud computing has become much more than just email or social networking.  Entire companies are moving their once locally hosted servers to cloud based servers.  The reasons for moving one's data and sharing infrastructure to the cloud include:

  • Instant availability: Information can be accessed from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
  • Reduced cost of ownership: Instead of owning the server equipment you instead lease a portion of a server to host your data.
  • Flexibility: Easy add additional storage and features whenever necessary.
  • Data redundancy: Your data is stored across multiple servers to ensure maximum uptime.

While cloud computing has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years it is important to remember that the cloud isn't a one size fits all solution.  There are some draw backs to letting your data live in the cloud to include: 

  • High speed internet availability: You must have a reasonably fast and reliable internet connection.  This is not always a possibility in rural areas where T1 lines or extremely expensive fiber line are your only options.
  • Internet connection redundancy: Since all of your data will be stored in the cloud a redundant internet connection from a separate provider will be required to ensure your data is always available.
  • Loss of control: Hosting your data on cloud based servers means that you are relinquishing direct control of your data and servers.
  • Hidden cost of cloud computing: While cloud pricing models appear simple on the front end there are many considerations to take into account including how much storage you will need, how you are billed for accessing your stored information, active directory security needs, etc.

Living in the cloud, like any technology solution, has it pros and cons.  Careful planning and consideration must be given when contemplating a move to the cloud.  In many instances an on-premise/cloud hybrid solution makes the most sense for both local network security and offsite accessibility and redundancy.

If you're considering a move to the cloud then you need to give us a call.  We can help formulate the best success strategy for living in the cloud and assist with putting a solution into place that makes the most logical, economical and functional sense for your business.

Give us a call today at 615-446-9140 for a free, no obligation cloud consultation.