What is the Cloud?
The Cloud is IT services and products delivered through the internet. There isn’t an actual cloud of data floating in the sky!
Dropbox is a Cloud product where you store files online. Instead of ‘storing them in the sky’, they are stored at a data warehouse, which has thousands of servers. To access your file, you send a signal through the internet to the data warehouse, where it sends the file back to you over the internet. The Benefits of this include security, safety, reliability, cost savings, and efficiency; However, we explain these in more detail later.
What if the internet goes down?
Let’s say you have moved from an in-house email server to the cloud and trying to send an email to a prospect. It doesn’t send because the internet is temporarily down. What would you think? “This wouldn’t happen with my in-house server!”. Well actually yes it would. You would only be able to send emails to your staff in the building as they are using the same network.
When was the last time the internet went down? It rarely goes down nowadays, and cloud products like Office 365 have a guaranteed 99.9% uptime. Many businesses are adopting secondary internets into their network, so that if one were to ever go down it would automatically switch over to the other.
What are the main benefits of the cloud?
Security & Safety – When using the cloud, there is a 2-way encryption between you and your data. This means your signal cannot be intercepted on the way and is entirely private.
Reliability – Data Warehouses also have banks of batteries and generators in which to protect the servers in case the power fails. In fact, many small businesses have incorporated cloud back-up and recovery solutions. This makes the Cloud the perfect disaster recovery solution.
Flexibility – Because your files are stored on the cloud and not on your in-house server, this means you can work outside of the office. In fact, you can work anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The cloud offers the opportunity for flexible working.
Automatic Free Updates – Products like Office 365 will always give you the latest version of Word PowerPoint, Excel, Etc. If you have a cloud telephone system (VoIP) then features and updates will be implemented instantly.
Cost – Which we will talk about in the next question.
Is the Cloud Expensive?
No. Before the Cloud, an in-house server was used by businesses to send emails and access files. An in-house server could set you back around £5,000, and several hundred pounds per month was required to maintain it. It also needed to be replaced every five years. Now you can use cloud services like Office 365, which is a small monthly sum.
Is it a hassle to migrate to the cloud?
No, it’s rather easy. Migrating to the cloud can take hours or days depending on how much data you have, but once it’s migrated you never have to do this again. In most cases, you can carry on working without disruption whilst services are being migrated. This is followed by a simple switchover – all co-ordinated by the IT migrations team.
If you’re thinking about moving to the cloud, get in touch with us today on 01273 806211. We are an IT Support & Telecoms company based near Brighton and service companies throughout Sussex, Kent & Surrey.
By Zain Hassan Senior Helpdesk Engineer