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What Is “The Cloud”?

It goes without saying that if you are reading this blog, you are at least somewhat familiar with “The Cloud”.  Thanks to the Microsoft TV Commercials featuring the phrase “…to the cloud”, the word “cloud” may now be one of the more overused buzzwords in IT. So our industry has put together a very well thought out definition of the cloud, but if you’re not an IT guy (or gal), you may get lost about 5 words into the definition.

Trying To Simplify the Cloud

In its most simple terms, the cloud is nothing more than an application or service typically delivered over the internet that you can use on demand when you need it.  For business, that may also mean that you pay for a service or app as you need it based on how much you use. If you listen to all of the hype around the cloud these days, you may think that if you’re not working in the cloud that you’re missing out on something.  Well, the truth is some organizations may only make limited use of the cloud while it may make sense for other to adopt a wide array of cloud based services and solutions.  It’s important to partner with a solution provider that you trust and allow them to help guide your review and adoptions of cloud solutions that are best suited for your organization.

You Use On-Demand Cloud Based Solutions Every Day (Example: Search Engines)

Most of us have been using search engines for years.  They were one of the first (if not the first) on demand cloud based solutions.   Over the last 15 years or so, the technology of browsers, servers, and development tools have evolved to the point where almost any business application can now be delivered in real time, on demand, over the internet.  You could conceivably operate your entire business using only cloud based applications.  The advantages of operating in a cloud environment are many.  There’s no large capital outlay required to get started.  There are no servers and complex networking equipment to purchase.  You usually can deploy less expensive workstations (or possibly just use thin clients or tablets).  And your operational budget for operating in the cloud is easily managed because the cost is much more predictable. The cloud provider is responsible for the support and maintenance of the application and you just pay when it’s used.

The Cloud Can Allow Smaller Businesses To Use Enterprise Level Applications

From a business perspective especially for the small to mid size business sector, this can be a game changer. The access to large enterprise level applications and web technologies once only available to business that could afford to adopt them will now be available in the cloud for anyone at a much lower cost. This is very exciting for us at Intec as we are now able to offer many more solutions to our clients allowing them to become much more competitive in their markets. Managed Services will play a very large role in how we offer these and many more solutions and services to our clients in the future. I will discuss Managed Services in the Cloud in future articles and blogs. I truly feel the future is bright for technology and the technology consumer and Cloud Services will be a major part of this for all of us.

As You Move Towards The Cloud For Solutions, Make Sure To Take A Trusted Technology Partner Along With You

With every new technology, platform or environment there comes some bumps in the road, and some unforeseen issues as we plow through some untested waters.  So a “proceed with caution” should be a prevailing approach. Utilizing a trusted technology partner will help guide you though some of these. I will mention a few of the obvious issues briefly.  In a traditional “Public” Cloud Solution, all of your data exists in the cloud on public servers.  This may be a concern if you operate in a heavily regulated industry like healthcare where privacy concerns are large scale.  In order to address this, some organizations are implementing either a Private or Hybrid Cloud Solution. In the private cloud solution, organizations will partner with a data center to house their servers and software in a secure environment where only they have access to it.  While a hybrid solution is one in which the private data is kept in the private cloud and all other data remains in the public.

 

Please contact us (859) 757-2804 if you would like to learn more about how Managed, Cloud or other technology solutions can help your business.