01 Jul Dispelling the myths of the Cloud – What is it?
The technological landscape of the modern world is unrecognizable compared to what it was a decade ago. The advancements in technology that we have borne witness to over recent years have been nothing short of remarkable – most recently many workforces have been enabled to become predominantly remote. This revolutionary change to the way we work has only been made possible by the Cloud.
Recent circumstances made the transition to remote working a much faster one than was originally intended – it was the only way that many organizations stood a chance of surviving the turbulent times they knew were coming, as well as keep their organization operating at a level similar to what they were capable of in the office.
Any sort of change can be stressful, and that is exactly what business owners felt when presented with the sudden change to remote working. We all know how difficult it is to run a business at the best of times, especially with statistics showing that “approximately 20 percent of small businesses fail within the first year.” ¹. Yet another speed bump in the road could be enough to push many over the edge.
The Cloud can cause apprehension – I mean, how many actually know what it even is apart from it has something to do with IT? Throughout the following blog articles, we will explore the Cloud, and attempt to dispel any myths you may have heard about it – hopefully, by improving your knowledge of the Cloud, you will see how good your relationship with it can be if you use it correctly in your business.
What is the Cloud?
Put simply, Cloud computing is the future! You probably hear the saying ‘on the Cloud’ a lot – this refers to the fact that a company’s IT services are delivered over the internet from a provider’s data centre, meaning that the business doesn’t have to run their own IT on locally based servers. As we’ve already said, it is the future of IT and consists of the latest tools, services, and infrastructure in the IT world.
Before the Cloud, businesses would need to purchase, support and (most commonly forgotten about) maintain their own IT hardware and software platforms. Business owners would need to supply power and air cool their hardware to ensure it functioned properly and didn’t stop working unexpectedly – all of which can be an expensive and challenging task for a trained IT professional let alone an untrained individual just ‘giving it a shot’. Luckily, nowadays the Cloud offers a subscription-based model that allows for more flexibility from your IT and is less reliant on management in the hands of business owners.
Now we understand a bit more about it, let us explore the myths around the Cloud further.
The myths surrounding the Cloud
“The Cloud? What’s the point? We won’t achieve any more value from it.”
As you can imagine, your IT provider is the perfect ally when it comes to Cloud migration and implementation but the unfortunate truth is that the support often stops there. Most providers give you all the care and attention you need when onboarding, get your signature on the contract, and then don’t contact you again – this is unacceptable!
Most commonly, the concern about the value of the Cloud comes from small to medium businesses not having the technical prowess or the resources in-house to implement the Cloud to its full potential.
Microsoft 365 is by far the most popular Cloud platform used around the world. It is common to find businesses that have adopted the platform using it to cover initial requirements, host email and perhaps store some documents, but that barely scratches the surface of the true value that the cloud system can bring to your organization. You need to find an IT partner that can get under the skin of your business operations and map technology to not only solve challenges but help drive your team forward to use the Cloud and bring untold levels of productivity and efficiency.
“I do not need to back up my data if we work in the Cloud.”
There is always potential for data being lost, stolen, or corrupted no matter where it is stored. Unfortunately, there is no way of guaranteeing its safety 100% – irrespective of where your IT operates from.
Human error will always be the main reason why back-ups of data, email, and systems are necessary. Accidental deletion, poor levels of access control that facilitate a cyber-attack, or simply a lack of end-user knowledge resulting in a click on a malicious email link, are all ways that your users could inadvertently and unknowingly be the cause of your problems, resulting in the loss or theft of your data.
From an infrastructure security perspective too, the Cloud, despite its enterprise-grade levels of cyber defences, will not be an entirely impenetrable fortress. Security is only as strong as its weakest link and, unfortunately, in most cases, that will be caused by the humans interacting with it.
However, you need not despair – it is entirely possible to back-up your Cloud systems to another totally independent Cloud service, providing you with peace of mind and assurances that your data is protected whatever might happen. Bear in mind that it can be more cost-effective to back-up data from your cloud environment than it is from an on-premise IT environment to the cloud.
“My Data is no longer in my control when in the Cloud, and that makes it unsafe”
It is a misconception that when your data is in your physical control it is safe, but this is untrue. It is, in fact, likely to be more unsafe than when stored in a data centre. The data centre in which your data resides will more than likely have invested a lot of money – a sum that far surmounts what the average organization would normally spend (even some of the largest ones) – on a security infrastructure and defences that are far better equipped than what you can produce in house, making the Cloud the far safer option. But nowhere is completely safe, so it is still essential that you back up the Cloud. It is also easy for data to get lost due to human error – to tackle this problem, most businesses use a ‘no delete’ function that automatically saves important data and information.
“My data is missing, and I don’t know where it has gone”
It is important that you have control over your data no matter the circumstances. Not only are you asking for trouble from threats if not, but you may also be failing to meet your compliance obligations – and be subject to legal ramifications. The fear that this brings to the surface is a big reason why many do not make the transition to the Cloud at all. In the Cloud you do still have control – Microsoft, for example, operate data centres that reside within the UK for UK customers, allowing you to maintain peace of mind that not only is your data within your grasp on home soil, but also that you are compliant to the regulatory obligations regarding the storage of your data. This being said, ALWAYS read the small print before signing up for any Cloud service, as some (Google, for example) claim ownership of your data, allowing them to scan your email and content for their own purposes.
“Subscription services cost more in the long run”
It is understandable why you may think a monthly subscription service may cost you more in the long term, but maintaining your equipment, and ensuring warranties, licensing, and the version you are using are up-to-date will likely make traditional IT the far more costly option in comparison.
Your Cloud service provider – Downtown
Our team of experts enable companies to enjoy the advanced opportunities offered by Cloud technologies. Our Cloud solutions include offsite data backup, data sync services, Hosted Exchange, and Office 365. Those same experts will work alongside you to be sure we not only implement the best technological solutions to improve the way you work but also ensure it is as straightforward as possible. You and your team will be educated throughout the entire process and be confident that your systems are secure at all times.
Contact us now to find out how we can help you.