Praise for the Cloud

14 May

Pro Cloud

In a previous post, the idea of the Cloud Office was introduced.  In this, the third of our three posts regarding Cloud Computing , we will take a closer look at the vast positive positive parts of your information stored in the Cloud.

Pros:

  • In an ‘apples to apples’ comparison, there is typically less up-front costs for licensing (this is a broad statement – the specifics of these costs will vary from business to business)
  • There is no server hardware or software to purchase/house/maintain – this is especially important for solo or small group businesses that may not have the ability or may not want an IT person on staff.
  • In the event of a disaster scenario, not having your information on on-site servers makes it easy to set up an impromptu hot-site, and allows for faster recovery time as little to no data is lost.
  • Many hosting companies make it a point to have highly sophisticated security measures/data protection in place and are very concerned about keeping your data safe – it is highly unlikely that an anonymous hacker will gain access to your data.  They may also have better customer support than may be offered from a local IT support company.
  • Along those same lines, with company documents, customer files, and shopping cart data stored in password-protected, secure sites online, it’s not a total catastrophe if a laptop is lost or there’s a break-in at your office.  In fact, with all the actual files are stored in the cloud, if someone were to break into a device, they would  just find a bunch of apps waiting to link to the cloud, and no actual documents.
  • While team collaboration is still possible with applications like Skype, SkyDrive, DropBox, and GoToMeeting, as well as the solid standbys of old – email, texts,and calls, many office-based interruptions (both work related and not) go away when you have to think about ‘is this worth bothering them about’ and then send a message, or can it wait until the next scheduled meeting, virtual or actual.
  • With all of the files needed for customer interactions, meetings, and presentations at your fingertips in the ‘Cloud’, you no longer have to worry about leaving the USB drive (with the documents, presentation, or presentation files) back at the office, hotel, in the car, or anywhere but where it needs to be.
  • While the idea of your data on someone else’s servers may not be a comforting thought, the fact that a person can work from different locations on many different devices (desktop, notebook, tablet, smartphone) means that having out-of-sync files is a thing of the past. The office is anywhere with Internet.
  • Having your data and programs running online, rather than on local office computers, means that employees have access to the needed information anytime, anywhere there’s an Internet connection.
  • The Fixed-Cost Advantage – Software provided in the ‘Cloud’ is upgraded and maintained by the hosting company, so you do not have to purchase the newest version of software or download fixes and patches.  There is also a possibility that you may not need to buy a program outright, but could potentially enter into a monthly or annual SaaS contract.  The fixed cost allows you to plan and budget resources, rather than be caught off-guard when a costly software or hardware upgrade must be purchased.
  • In an actual ‘real-world’ example, the city of Los Angeles moved from a local email system to Gmail two years ago, a move that saved  the city approximately $1 million annually in software, hardware and support costs.  In addition to the cost savings, many workers stated they like the fact that they are able to access email on their own devices, whether they’re smartphones, tablets or traditional PCs.  The city’s IT staff likes that it gained a disaster-recovery system — something it didn’t have previously — as part of the overall package.  The IT staff also enjoys shifting its resources away from supporting and updating the email system, as Gmail requires practically no support.  In this example, the cloud provided an application that was more cost effective and easier to maintain while providing more scalability, storage and redundancy.
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