There are a lot of discussions around the “Cloud”. But what does this really mean to the average business? Should you even care? Some say everything should be cloud-based, while others believe it might be overkill for the average small business.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the Cloud.
1. The Cloud is another word for the Internet
It’s been around for a long time. The internet has always delivered data such as web pages, but more recently it has become capable of moving the responsibility for delivering services that are traditionally done by servers sitting within your walls to someone else. Things like your personal webmail account with Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, and others have been cloud-based for years. What’s more recent is the expanded use of the Cloud for business.
2. The Solutions are Largely the Same, The Delivery Method Has Changed
Every business has basic needs such as email and file storage. These services can be provided either through local servers or through the Cloud. In the past, running your own email server was a very cost-effective way to go for small businesses. That model has changed and now for most businesses under 30 employees going to a cloud solution such as Google Apps or Office 365 is more cost effective. The solution – email delivery – hasn’t fundamentally changed. Who is delivering that solution has. We can help you determine which method makes the most sense for your business and budget.
3. What are Some of its Limitations?
You are entrusting your data to a 3rd party. In many cases, you are entrusting it to a large corporation with limited ability to negotiate the terms for how your data is handled. Anyone reading the news knows that privacy is a concern here. If you use a smaller vendor, what happens if their business fails? How will you get your data back and what would the transition to another provider look like? You are also very reliant on the internet. If you lose your internet, in some cases you you lose the ability to access your data. We can walk you through these and other issues to make sure the solution fits your needs.
4. How Much Does it Cost?
Cloud services are typically delivered as a monthly subscription. Upfront costs are usually less than handling the services internally as there are reduced local hardware requirements. For example, Google Apps is $50 per user per year and Office 365 is $60. Many provide the ability to pay yearly or monthly.
5. Should I Switch?
There is a strong case to be made for small businesses utilizing cloud services such as Google Apps and Office 365 vs running internal servers. If you are running email internally now, think about what happens if you have an extended power outage or your internet goes out at the site hosting your email. This can have an impact on the entire company’s productivity. If this is instead hosted by a 3rd party in a more controlled data center, the risk of this is reduced. On the other hand, monthly hosting costs can become very costly for larger organizations that may benefit from running their own servers.
How Next7 IT Can Help With Your Cloud Requirements
We have experience guiding clients through the process of selecting Cloud and internal solutions, choosing the right combination that uniquely fits their needs. We’d be happy to do the same for you.
If you’re considering switching to the cloud, why not contact us today to see how we can help make the transition as smooth as possible?