By now, you have certainly heard of this thing called “The Cloud.” But what is it? Why would you use it? It can be quite a confusing concept!
In most situations, “The Cloud” AKA cloud server can be loosely defined as any resource you access via the Internet. Examples of cloud based resources include applications like Dropbox, Skype, YouTube, etc.
You might be asking yourself, “Why would I use something like that for my business?” and that is a good question! A few reasons you could utilize cloud servers for business are: portability, business continuity, security and the list goes on. There is obviously a lot more available to you in The Cloud than uploading files and watching video. Here are some pros of using cloud computing:
1) Your applications and data are available almost anywhere there is a device with a connection to the Internet.
For example: I am writing this article on my smartphone using the Microsoft Office Mobile app, sitting in my car. The document is being saved to my OneDrive for later retrieval from other devices. Remote Desktop Services can usually house everything you need to run, in The Cloud.
2) Your data will enjoy better security since there is no longer a need for production servers in your office.
Cloud server resources are housed in secure data centers with multiple levels of security employed to prevent unauthorized physical access. They are nearly impossible to steal, as well.
3) Datacenters are almost immune to natural disasters.
Your building lost power due to the hurricane? Not a problem if you are based in The Cloud. Utilizing cloud servers keeps your business running, even when your physical office is not.
4) Computer upgrades just got a lot cheaper.
There are usually no servers to buy. Basic business-class machines will work. In some cases, stripped down computers called Thin Clients can be used, saving even more money and lasting a lot longer.
5) No more backup tapes/drives!
No more wondering if the person responsible for your backup remembered to bring back last night’s media. Tired of paying that company to store your backup media off-site? Backups are now handled for you. In fact, all the servers and data are fully managed.
Okay, this all sounds great, but you said there were some cons? Yep! (Aren’t there always?) Here we go. They are mostly a flip-side to the pros. I’ll provide some possible solutions:
1) An Internet connection is required to access your resources.
Sure, you can do some things offline, but let’s say you need current email or there is an updated spreadsheet you want to work on. Well, there you are on the start of a 15 hour flight with no Wi-Fi. I hope you brought a book. Lesson here: plan ahead! Make sure you have Wi-Fi available where you need to work.
2) All your data is accessible via the Internet.
No security is perfect. Even the biggest companies get hacked (Sony, Target, Home Depot). No matter how small your business is or what you do to make money, be sure to secure your data! At the very least, that means having good passwords and a written security policy. Increase your protection further by using encryption.
3) CAD engineers can’t use stripped down computers.
In fact, Remote Desktop Connection is not fast enough over the Internet for most graphically intensive applications. They will work, but will lag. Keep your CAD workstations and their data local.
4) Cloud Servers aren’t great for people that want to “touch” their data.
Hey! It is your business, right? Not to fear… You can have a copy of your data sent to you, (or somewhere else) on a regular basis. This process can be completely automated.
Overall, the cloud server is a powerful tool that can make your business more efficient. Just like any other tool, you need to learn to use it. I personally sleep better at night knowing that my data is safe.
Peace and safe computing,
written by Marcus Prater, Senior Network Engineer, Alliance InfoSystems
https://www.ainfosys.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/password-screen.jpg 266 702 multipage /wp-content/uploads/2018/03/alliance-info-systems.png multipage2012-10-30 16:31:582018-04-04 16:54:30Going to a Cloud Server: Pros and Cons