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5 Mysteries of the Cloud Revealed

by john

5 Mysteries of the Cloud Revealed

Image of a cloud on a Desktop Computer“The cloud: is an intriguing new technology that mysteriously resolves all my business challenges.” While you have probably heard it before, there is probably a little voice in you head asking “really? What is the cloud anyway?” and who could blame you!  A new definition of cloud appears every day! So lets remove the shroud and uncover five mysteries of the cloud for you!

Where is my data kept… seriously?

The greatest confusion for many new clients of the “cloud” is that their data is floating around on the Internet somewhere and you can just access it from where ever you are. Whilst accessing it from anywhere is true, it is far from floating around. All of your data is still located on a physical piece of hardware somewhere in a data center. This means it sits in a facility that is managed and maintained by a service provider. So as a direct comparison, you used to (or still have) your data stored on a local server or on local computers in your office and now you can have your data stored on in managed data and computing resources within a controlled, fortified ecosystem. This means your business would no longer need to worry about expensive hardware and IT resources. This saves your business time and money whilst making consistent access to critical business applications and data a certainty.

Is my business data secure?

There has been a lot of conjecture about the security of data in the cloud, but the answer to is my data secure is most often yes. You still need to choose carefully and make sure you work with industry experts. In Australia, you should make sure that your cloud provider is certified, has good compliance and security protocol practices, can demonstrate all of these in a physical sense as well and provide a far greater level of security that your business could provide for itself. If you look at your current business situation, ask yourself, “does my business have all the IT skills and on-site security it needs to make sure it can fully protect my business data?”. Just think – is my IT person duplicated? If they were to vanish tomorrow what would happen to my data? If my office burnt down, what happens to my server and the critical information? Have I really protected my data? Now look at the cloud. Cloud service providers are experts in both data and security. They have a number of full-time trained and certified staff wholly dedicated to securing clients information. Due to regulations and scrutiny of cloud providers they work even harder to remain in front of industry trends and security threats, and this is in complete opposite to most on-site solutions, which are reactive at best. Whilst the initial decision to move to the cloud can be daunting, in reality the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial reasons for fear.

Do we have full control over our data?

This question really comes down to whom you choose to use as your cloud provider and the agreements you put in place from the outset. You need to make sure you always have administrative rights to your data. By choosing a cloud provider who provides access authorization, you will be able to access, manage, change and delete your own data if and as required. You need to make sure within this access only particular key staff have access to do such changes via an encrypted secure connection.  If your business deals in sensitive and personal data, then ensuring your cloud provider encrypts your information as it is added is essential. Do your due diligence. We always recommend that you take a data center walk through, take note of the process, is the facility secure, how many physical layers of security are there between the outside world and your data? What network redundancy to they provide? Do they have power failure backup? Then, consider data destruction.  If you were required or needed to remove your data permanently from the cloud platform, including backups and active-active concurrences, can it be completely removed and permanently deleted upon authorized confirmation. Ask for documentation of this process. Your ability to control your data comes from the agreements and frameworks you put in place from the outset.

Is the cloud cheaper than on-premises?

This question is based on each businesses circumstance. Cost effectiveness of the cloud comes with its ability to scale at very little additional cost in comparison to having to procure additional hardware. If you look at adding a new server to your existing business environment you have more than just a purchase to consider. You need to think about initial and long-term costs. On top of the purchase price you have setup, maintenance, software, security, power, IT support, management, data backup, cooling and more… The other consideration is that in most businesses, the equipment is rarely utilized to its full capacity from day one and by the time you are fully utilizing its resources, you are probably at that 3-year mark again where replacement is back on the table. Very quickly, the costs are evident. Cloud computing services like Desktop as a Service (DaaS) in comparison allows you to pay for resources as you need them or “pay as you go”. This reduces the upfront costs and many of the additional costs mentioned for an on-premises solution are no longer required or are included in the scalable solution. Things like maintenance, software patches, and redundancy are all factored in to the monthly fees so this makes meeting budgets and unlimited resources a reality for any sized business.

So, why did they call it “the cloud”?

Not exactly a technical question! But nonetheless, it needs to be answered! Cloud computing has nothing to do with weather, the sky, storms or anything else to do with the temperature outside! The cloud refers to a symbolic image of the internet. Like many catch phrases, once it was used and people accepted it as a term, it became a popular way of describing masses of information stored somewhere else! If the cloud still seems daunting, just remember, you have been using it for over a decade! It is your yahoo or Gmail account, your iTunes and Apple TV service. It is where you go to stream a replay of your favorite TV show or sporting event.  It is that place where you go to online game! But, when you make it Private Cloud, then you are looking at the same application but in a business environment that is built to be secure, resilient and scalable.

So, we hope we have lifted the shroud and removed the mystery of “the cloud”! If you still have questions or just want to know more, our team at Com2 can help you work out what your business needs to move to the cloud and how simple it can be. Call 1300 887 495 or pop un an email on info@com2.com.au

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