Myths and Realities of being in the Cloud

Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and many others offer an amazing, and often confusing, array of ‘cloud’ solutions. Microsoft has Office 365 and Azure. Google has Cloud Computing and Cloud Services. Amazon has its Web Services and Cloud Platform.

What does the cloud offer

  • A central location to store documents, manage a common calendar, and process email; enabling you and your team to obtain current information from wherever there is an internet connection.
    • You no longer have to worry about ensuring that every computer has the latest files.
  • The ability to easily share information and work-in-process with partners and customers; allowing them to make corrections/comments as  needed.
    • You no longer need to trace through email threads to find out what was sent to the customer.
  • Allows you to select only the tools and applications that you need; ensuring that you always have the most up-to-date version, where you only pay for what you use.
    • You pick and choose what you need, knowing that it is current.

What the cloud does not do

  • Manage your security and passwords. One of the biggest fears is that someone will hack into your online data.  To minimize this risk:
    • Require that everyone who has access to use ‘strong’ passwords.
    • Always set up administrator passwords, and change them frequently
  • Maintain local backups. Data loss is another major concern about using the cloud
    • Even though the cloud provides backup, always make a local backup that is stored offsite.
    • Have a disaster recovery plan.
  • Be the solution to all your problems. The sales pitch for the cloud can be very compelling.

If you need advice, have a comment or question, please do let me know. I would be delighted to assist.

Thinking about going Mobile or Virtual ?

Everywhere you turn it is cloud this, virtual that, and 4G everywhere. There seems to be a confusing, and always expanding, set of services and offerings available.

Keeping it Simple, let’s go back to the basics. These are tools that you use to support the way that you run and do business. Here are some thoughts to help you decide what tools you might need.

When considering a phone number for your business, compare having a bundled package from Comcast, Frontier, etc., to having a cell phone, or a service from Skype, Google Voice, Vonage, etc.

Microsoft, Google, and others offer services that allow you to put quotes, proposals, etc. online that can be read and shared with others. Being on the road allows you to update the files and review tem with the customer. Stay tuned for blogs that discuss clouds, and online shopping carts for when you want to sell online.

Tablets and laptops can have wireless cards, so you may not actually need to have a fully loaded cell phone; but you will need to have a data plan.

Remember to always back stuff up, ideally with some form of regular backups.

Wikipedia has some great background reading on comparing the different Voice over IP services

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do let me know. I would be happy to help.