Home > Cloud, Customer Satisfaction > Is the cloud really that scary?

Is the cloud really that scary?

As I sit here putting together a presentation for this week on Office 365 (another great product), I know I’m going to get some questions about cloud technologies and subscription-based services. I love cloud-based technologies, but I do understand the hesitation. Here’s a list of the most common concerns I hear and my responses:

1. What is cloud? Ok…now I think my industry has done the general public a huge disservice. We (not me in particular) have made the cloud into this magical fairy dust and rainbow place, that is just out there. NO! In basic terms, the cloud is just servers sitting at a datacenter. Nothing magical there. IT, as an industry, has stop turning technology into a magical thing. Yes, what we do with technology can seem like it’s magic, but it takes skill and hardware, not fairy dust.

2. Is cloud safe? Yes! As long as you choose a reputable provider. Personally, I wouldn’t purchase cloud services from a company I didn’t know. Stick to the big names and you should be fine.

3. Are they reading my data? I don’t know the answer to that. I like to think my data is more secure at Microsoft or Google then on a USB stick that I left in a clients system. This would be up to you to determine what you want to store at these sites.

4. Do I need an Internet connection? For the most part, yes, you do. But depending on your solutions provider, you may have offline access.

5. Why is it subscription-based? Overall, IT is moving to a subscription-based model. For a small business, this planned expenditure eases the burden of unforeseen expenses. Remember, you are not only getting the service, but also the infrastructure behind it. Your small business no longer has to worry about purchasing the hardware, hiring technical staff, updating the server, or dealing with hardware issues. This is all part of your subscription fee.

6. Does the cloud service cost less than the on-premise solution? Sometimes, but again it depends on the solution provider. In the example of Office 365, with the level of functionality that is available, the small business used to be only available to the business that could afford to have everything in house, including IT professionals. With the subscription-based model the “big business” tools are available to the small business at a fraction of the price.

7. Is cloud just a phase? Personally, I don’t think so. If we look at how much we do online compared to even 3 years ago, it’s staggering. Take a moment to think about how much you do online every day both at work and at home. Could you work if you didn’t have Internet?

Cloud solutions are great, but they may not be the right solution for your company. Talk to your IT professional and they will be able to help you determine if it’s time to move the cloud.

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  1. 10/31/2013 at 10:57 am

    I guess for most people cloud is something unknown. On the other hand, our lives has changed dramatically: we’re always online and therefore it’s very convenient when you have access to your documents and photos from everywhere. You took a photo with your smartphone, and the photo automagically available on your computer. So I guess it takes time to embrace new technologies.

    Although I personally don’t use any cloud services :))

    • 10/31/2013 at 11:47 am

      You are right, our lives have changed because of “cloud” tech but I meet people everyday who don’t understand it. More importantly there are so many options for small biz to take advantage of the services available to them, but they don’t understand it or are scared of it. I setup a client last night (5 part time employees) on Skydrive. It’s a simple thing, but they can now see future possibilities.

      • 11/01/2013 at 4:49 am

        I totally agree. Plus the word “cloud” was a buzzword and was a little overused. Now the meaning of cloud is clear: it’s simply servers to store your information, or even to run your application.

        Windows 8.1 integrates to SkyDrive even closer: it’s displayed as separate folder in the navigation pane. It makes sharing and storing file easier. I guess (almost) everyone sent an email message to himself/herself to transfer a file.

        Although I’m not using it myself at the moment, I recognize the cloud is our future.

        On the other hand, I don’t like the idea of subscription to software, like Office 365 Home Premium. I understand why Microsoft makes this change. Yet I think I don’t need it: at home I use Office close to never, and I still have 3-license package for Office 2007 which isn’t limited in time, I never have to pay for it once again.

        Yet I’m quite sure software would soon become subscription-based.

  2. 11/26/2013 at 11:00 am

    You’ve done a great job answering the questions about the cloud. It’s much easier for business owners to make intelligent decisions about whether they should use cloud technology when they have the proper information.

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