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Cloud Computing

The Cloud Can Be A Useful Part Of Your Business Model

The Cloud Can Be A Useful Part Of Your Business Model

You use the cloud and don’t even know it. Do you go to Amazon and create a wish list? Do you have an email account on Yahoo? That is cloud computing. All your emails are stored on Yahoo servers somewhere. They are on physical servers, of course, but they aren’t on your laptop. The advantage is that when you spill your coffee onto the laptop keyboard, you haven’t lost all your emails even if you never backed up your hard drive. ( If you haven’t, shame on you, by the way.)

Here is a simple analogy to explain how the cloud works and why it might be a very useful part of your business model. Picture the small, very cramped office space of a little start-up. You and a few coworkers sit in tight quarters with messy desktops buried in mounds of papers, files, and pizza boxes. There is absolutely no room for storage. (Throw the boxes out yourself. There are limits even to cloud technology) It will be a long time until you can afford a larger office space. Your building manager offers to rent you an empty file cabinet in the basement. Although the basement space is shared with other tenants, only you and your team have keys to this locked cabinet where you will store all those piles of paper. Your rent is relatively cheap compared to other tenants, since you’re only paying for the cabinet, and not the larger lockers they have leased.

Suddenly, those once covered desktops are clean, leaving space to work. More importantly, the papers are all nearby, each of you has a key, but they are safe from everyone else in the building or outside. They are also safe from spilled coffee and pizza crumbs. You’ve avoided the dramatic jump in fixed costs required to find bigger office space, when all you needed were several feet of filing cabinets. Even better, the money saved is put back into the core goal of providing a product or service to a customer.

The cloud does the same thing. You rent only the space you need, it is safer from hackers than your on-site server will ever be, secure from thieves, and protected from accident prone employees. Unlike the rest of us, cloud service providers don’t have coffee cups near their keyboards or forget to do monthly backups. In short, the cloud provides scalable storage without large incremental leaps in fixed costs you really can’t afford.

Using the Cloud to Challenge Big Business

Using the Cloud to Challenge Big Business

Has anyone suggested you begin moving your business to the cloud? Cloud data storage or cloud computing? What is this, anyhow? And isn’t it something for huge companies?

In a previous post we explained what cloud computing is. Simply put, it is the offsite storage of your data, and perhaps even the software packages you use. The primary benefit is pretty straightforward.  It gives you access to enterprise-class technology, pay-as-you-go service.

But is that all it is? There is a much stronger case for a small business to incorporate the cloud in their business model. The cloud allows you to become competitive with the big players in your industry.

The traditional issue holding back small business: they do not have the capital to create the infrastructure to compete with large firms. They are too small to enjoy economies of scale. One obvious area is software and hardware. Historically, the technology used by big business has been out of reach of the little guys. Most SMBs have neither the hardware budget nor internal resources to own a network infrastructure. A small business does not have capital to buy the equipment. Take a simple example: You run a storefront, but think you might be able to sell a bit more if you went online, but you don’t know how much more. You can’t justify the capital to buy the hardware, software, and the labor to design, build, and support it all. The cost of entry to the online world is just too much.

The cloud ends all of that. In simple terms, the cloud lets you rent just as little infrastructure as you need, and then lets you grow as incrementally as you like, paying only for what you use.Essentially, the cloud has become the great equalizer. The high cost of entry created by IT can be eliminated by the cloud.

The Cloud: Are There Security Issues?

The Cloud: Are There Security Issues?

For many, the idea of offloading their data to another physical/virtual location can seem like a security risk. It seems counter intuitive that moving data away from “ home” is safer. But is that really true? Any server stored at your location is probably more physically vulnerable than one protected in a large server farm. If you had a fire, flood, or other physical damage that included damage to your server, what would be the result? Also, are your backups stored on–site? If a major event damaged your entire physical location, those backups would be also lost.

There is a second reason the cloud may be safer: security. All of your data, no matter where it is located, may be vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches. However, cloud storage providers probably offer some of the most sophisticated security projection available. It is unlikely that a small or even mid-sized firm has the internal resources and research capacity to maintain an equivalent level of security.

So give some thought to the cloud as tool to preserve your data and the integrity of your business (as an added bonus, it likely will be a money saver, too).

How The Cloud Saves SMB's money

How The Cloud Saves SMB's money

OK. You pay someone to store all of your data in the cloud, as opposed to keeping it on your own server and backing it up. And you pay on an ongoing basis. How is that possibly going to be cheaper than just making a one-time investment and keeping it your self? 

Let’s count the ways:

(1)  You lose the hardware expense –a capital expenditure cost.
(2)  If that hardware fails, you are out in the cold. 
(3)  Someone has to maintain that hardware. In house IT labor is expensive. 
(4)  If you need more capacity, you have to ramp up at a tiered level, which means you may need to buy capacity you don’t presently need
(5)  All of that hardware runs on software, which costs money
(6)  All of that software needs to be installed, updated, etc. (see # 3) 
(7)  All of that hardware and software has to run 24/7. Are you large enough to pay for in house monitoring and support 24/7? (See again #3) 
(8)  All of that data has to be protected with security software, which means skilled IT support and expensive virus protection

Ok. The list doesn’t end here, but this blog will. Talk to Net DirXions, Inc about how the cloud can be a really budget saver for small and medium sized firms.