Cloud, Do You Know What It Means?

Posted By: Claire Friday 8th April 2016

For some time now, Cloud has arguably been the greatest buzzword in technology. So much so, that almost every IT solution has a Cloud alternative. From applications, desktop PC’s, servers, backups, emails and the list goes on and on and on. But do you actually know what Cloud means? No I don’t mean the big pockets of visible watery vapour that float around in the sky, I mean Cloud technology.

Cloud is defined as the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. This essentially means managing some form of process or service and an external location using external servers, as opposed to a server in the same room or same site as you.

This all sounds good in theory.

I don’t have to buy servers, I don’t have to manage them and they are offsite in the unlikely event my office burns downs.

Happy days!

Or is it?

Cloud is a service.

Just like all services, this comes at some sort of cost.

All Cloud services I know of are charged monthly or annually for the span of a year or more.

Again, this all sounds great when it is presented to you and your trusty Cloud salesman says “it will do everything you want and its ONLY £350 plus VAT per month”. Instant thoughts tend to be, no capital outlay and it will do everything I want, where is the catch? And that is what I want to touch the surface on in the next section of this post. Everything, I mean everything, has pro’s and con’s. I am yet to find something that doesn’t.

Cloud is no exception to that statement.

The main drawback with Cloud is that it is very dependent on the internet. We all know how frustrating it is when the internet goes off, but normally when you have an in-house server, you can continue working and using applications that are stored on your PC (like Office) or stored on your server (Sage). But if all of these applications are stored on the Cloud and the path to the Cloud (the internet) is cut off, then you cannot do any work, other than maybe some filing or utilising the kettle for your colleagues.

Then when the internet is down, how much money is your organisation losing because you are unable to work?

So on top of potentially paying a lot more money for a Cloud solution and losing money through downtime, is your deal really as good as you initially thought?

Don’t get me wrong, Cloud is really good idea and works very effectively for a lot of companies both large and small. But all solutions need to be considered in order to find the most effective in cost saving, reliability, user friendliness and redundancy. Which is essentially where the advice, knowledge and expertise of an IT Business Partner comes in to play.