“Cloud computing” is a new generation of computing that uses distant servers for data storage and management. Placing key applications from your business in the “clouds” can save you a lot of money here on Earth. No matter the size of the business, cloud computing offers efficiencies, cost savings, and peace of mind.
Backup is one popular use of cloud computing. There are many options to securely backup data into a ‘cloud.’ One service, Mozy, allows users to upload photos, business documents, financial records and other digital files. Backups can be performed according to an automatic schedule.
There are tremendous cost savings when switching to cloud computing. A Yankee Group study analyzed one year’s cost for two email and messaging options for a hypothetical business of 25 employees. In one case, which we could call customary, the business relied on Microsoft Exchange and Outlook with servers located on premises. The other option allowed the business to use Microsoft Communication Services from Comcast Business Class – a cloud-based service. In the example where technology is located in-house, the business spent $14,000 a year on software licensing, maintenance and cost of servers, backup and support. With the cloud computing option – costs were cut to $2,463- an 80 percent reduction in cost!
If you’re considering cloud computing, here are some questions to consider:
- Is the company credible? Do they have security at all levels including physical, network, application, internal systems and operating systems security? Investigate the company as you would any major business partner. You’re safe with companies like Microsoft, and there are others that are highly regarded.
- Are my people well trained? In small business, there is always a risk when undergoing a major change – especially in IT. Before moving to the cloud or making any other major IT change, make sure you have a training and transition plan.
- Will I need help to make the transition? Some businesses hire someone to help with the transition. You want to get it right if you are transferring your email from one system to the cloud. Consider bringing in someone who has done this before. Check their references.
- Is my recovery plan strong enough? An automatic backup plan is great. You will sleep more securely knowing that if there’s a business disruption, your data is safe. Yet a disaster recovery plan is more than about data. Your people will need equipment and know-how to get to the data during a disaster.
Cloud computing is a hot topic in the technology landscape because it can provide real business benefits. As you look to optimize your resources, it is an opportunity that should definitely be explored.