What Is Cloud Computing and Why are Small Businesses Moving to Cloud Services?

In its simplicity, cloud computing is basically storing and accessing information and software programs through the internet instead of your computer’s local hard drive. “The Cloud” is a term that is somewhat synonymous with the Internet. Think of it like this: A company has many users using many computers with a lot of data and programs. Those computers, programs, and information are all governed by a server and a network with hopefully some backup protocols in-case of unpredictable problems. This is all LOCALLY managed and driven. The Cloud, based on it's level, seeks to remove those variables from the equation to reduce cost, improve scalable performance, and protect data so you don't have to worry about IT issues.

Photo Credit: Data Hive

When you use your computer, you can either access information locally (the hard drive in your computer) or you can access information over the internet. The data is obviously stored somewhere else; a server-farm, data-center, another computer… but it’s the matter in which you access that data.

When storing information on your computer locally, there are many limitations and security risks. The biggest hindrance is data accessibility. Since it’s only on one computer, you would have to share it with others on your network. Of course, the obvious solution here is to setup data management on a local server and setup permissions for users to access certain information.

Once again, the limitation would be that the information is only available on premises unless other workarounds are implemented.

With cloud computing, all information is stored in an off-site, centralized location and is accessible from any device over the internet. As far as accessibility, cloud storage allows the highest level of access to data at any time, from any location. This eliminates the need to locally share or setup remote access to the local server for accessing important information.

Another limitation of local storage: Security. The safety of your data is the ultimate priority. When data is stored in one location, it is susceptible to not only physical damage, but a higher probability of cyber threats as well. When this happens locally, the chances of the data being irreversibly corrupted, damaged, or stolen is much higher.

With cloud services, security is never an issue. Everything is stored in one centralized location where the human error of local storage is no longer a problem. There is no need for additional disaster recovery plans or cyber security solutions.

Here are a few interesting scenario’s when data become susceptible on a local environment with managed IT services:

Scenario 1: An employee stores all of their information locally on a computer. They also have a local backup of their files and image backup connected to their COMPUTER. After some time, the hard drive on the computer crashes and the only way to retrieve the information is to put in a new hard drive and restore an image of the computer. This will require your IT administrator to make a trip out to your location, repair the damage by replacing the hard drive and recovering the data from an image backup. This option is costly and creates a time inefficiency.

Scenario 2: An employee stores all of their information locally on a computer. They also have a local backup of their files and entire computer connected to the SERVER. After some time, the hard drive on the computer crashes and the only way to retrieve the information is to put in a new hard drive and restore an image of the computer. The only problem is the backup has not been maintained or monitored and the last backup of the image and files was 5 months ago. Now, because of the local storage option, the data is likely unrecoverable for the recent 5 months.

Scenario 3: A company has a local server with no offsite backup. An employee accidentally opens an email that contained ransom-ware which affected the entire network, including the server. With the server’s files and programs locked, the network is unable to access important information and software necessary for operation and production. This is a major problem and could potentially destroy the company.

These are just a few situations out of hundreds of issues and unpredictable outcomes from managed IT services and local servers / data storage. It's not necessarily true that cloud services will be your best option, however, with this technology, it would be wise to determine if this solution is right for your organization. There are major benefits to be recognized here, so be sure to fully understand what it means to utilize cloud services.

Here is a great video on quick look at Cloud Computing

When you’re on Cloud 9:

Your valuable data is backed up on redundant servers keeping it safe from the worst hard drive crashes, hardware outages, and malware attacks. With our cloud services, servers are protected with full enterprise-level endpoint security software and constantly powered with UPS batteries, backup power generators, locked server cabinets, redundant internet connectivity, and protection against fire and theft. Your data is not only accessible securely from any device at any location, but also has the highest up-time possible.

Please reach out to our team to ask about our cloud services if you are not currently utilizing this technology. We are always here to help!

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