The Cloud; such a small word with so much responsibility. How did we survive pre-cloud? Where did our music come from? How did we rent movies? Did we have conversations without being able to see the people we are talking to on our computers? Well, maybe we are not all quite there yet but we will be, our children will be, that’s a guarantee. So this magical cloud, does it have any business taking over our businesses? I met up with IT veteran, Gary Croxton, part-owner and CEO of PureIT based out of Calgary, Alberta, to see what he thought about bringing the cloud to your business.
What is Cloud Computing?
While it is not yet completely defined, it is in part the ability to fulfill many different business requirements without the up-front cost, or management responsibility of owning your own infrastructure. These business requirements include e-mail, accounting software, CRMs and document storage, to name a few.
How does it work?
There are three basic options one could pursue, private cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud. A private cloud would be a situation where your business maintains an off-site server in a location that is controlled by TELUS, Q9 Networks, BCE, CareFactor, etc. The public cloud option would be a situation where companies like Google or Microsoft provide business services and it is accessed solely via the internet. A hybrid situation is where you could have a combination of public and private cloud. In all types of cloud computing, there are monthly recurring costs for these services, but you don’t incur any upfront equipment investment.
Where do I start?
With a professional It assessment including a cost benefit analysis and a risk assessment. The solution is very dependent on the type of business you are in, and there must be serious consideration given to things like The Privacy Act (PIPEDA), CSOX, and your intellectual property, to name just a few. In a majority of cases, the solution will most likely evolve into a hybrid solution, where some of your IT infrastructure is via cloud computing and a portion of your IT infrastructure is your own server solutions.
- Cloud computing has been around long enough that you do not need to be afraid of it.
- The agreement between your company and the cloud provider is a rental agreement, you do not own anything.
- There is little to no upfront investment.
- Ensure that you understand how data your data is protected, recovered and restored.
- If you want to change your cloud computing provider how do you do this? What costs are involved?
- As long as there is an internet connection, your workforce can access your office from anywhere.
- Cloud computing is not “free”. In addition to the monthly fees for cloud computing, be prepared for the fact that your monthly wireless charges are most likely to increase.
There are many reasons to implement some form of cloud computing. It may be for disaster recovery, data back-up services or simply to use applications such as Salesforce.com. Done wisely, it can add productivity to your business, just ensure that you are choosing the right solution catered to your unique environment.