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To the Cloud!

By on Sep 14, 2016 in Business, Cloud Computing, Office 365, Technology, Websites |

To the Cloud!

We have all heard about the ‘cloud’; we all use ‘the cloud’ every single day with our cell phones, email platforms, hell, even Facebook uses ‘the cloud’. But what is the cloud and how can you use it to improve your business productivity, efficiency and maintain your bottom line? Simple, I’ll tell you how.

First, we need to know: What is the cloud? Well, essentially, the cloud is a collection of strategically placed datacenters that house hundreds if not thousands of servers that store all types of information from emails, to browsing history, to credit card data to everything in between. By using the power of these massive data centers, many large companies and developers are able to build applications and store data that have direct impact on our lives. Gone are the days of a company having a headquartered building with a basement full of servers; that if the internet went down or the power went out, customers were unable to access that company’s website, banking resources or email systems. Now, information is stored across these datacenters so that if a datacenter in one region is inaccessible, another datacenter in a different region will provide access to the resource that is requested. As a result of this scalability, resources such as email, data storage, websites and apps are available at an extremely low cost and with nearly 100% uptime/availability.

Ok, so what does this mean for me and my business? Well, chances are if you use Gmail, Facebook, a banking platform, hell even the web based version of Quickbooks, you are interacting with the cloud. This is all fine and dandy, but if your business utilizes any type of IT related infrastructure, such as a website, email or data storage or even Quickbooks, then it may be time to take advantage of the power and cost savings of the cloud.

If you are using an in-house email solution such as an on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server, Lotus, or any other in-house email platform; or, if you are using an email platform provided by your web hosting company, then it is time to move over to a platform that actually works. The 2 biggest providers are Google and Microsoft. The Google platform is very good, as is Microsoft Office 365. However, with Microsoft’s solution, you are getting fully featured Microsoft Exchange IN THE CLOUD. If you use Microsoft Exchange now, you know how powerful it is. There are a plethora of reasons why I prefer Microsoft to Google, but both options are far superior to anything that you have in-house, or that you use with some other provider.

Having email in the cloud ensures that customer can reach you at any time of the day, without any issues due to an internet or power outage in your office building. Storage capacity is also typically a non-issue with cloud services as you can scale up to whatever capacity your business needs. Furthermore, many of the web hosting providers that offer an email system, have a system that is incredibly antiquated, has several limitations, and often times, causes many emails to get bounced, marked as spam, or end up simply not being delivered to you, or your customer. How in the world is a business supposed to operate under those conditions?! Simple, migrate to a cloud based email system.

Email is probably the biggest business tool that you should switch to the cloud today. However, it may be a good idea to consider moving some of your data (especially shared data) to the cloud. Just like with email, there are several providers out there. Some of the biggest are DropBox, Google and of course Microsoft. If you presently have an on-premises solution, like a large ‘shared’ drive on a server; or if you only have a few workstations and you want to share data with others in your organization as well as outside of your organization, then moving the data to a cloud-provider may be a better option for you.

Each of the cloud storage providers allow you to share data, set permissions on folders and files so only specific people can access that information, as well as provide 24/7 access to your data. No longer will you need to use a VPN or other remote connection to access your server or computer in the office. Simply open up whichever provider’s application, or login to their website and you will have full access to everything you need. Another benefit to this option is the data is stored across several servers and datacenters which means that data loss due to a hard drive or other physical hardware failure is almost non-existent. Of course, this is no replacement for a good backup solution.

These are only a few of the IT related infrastructure items that can be moved to the cloud. There are several others such as phone systems, banking platforms, proprietary apps, you name. But in many cases, your business will benefit greatly from moving these aforementioned items to the cloud sooner than later. You will see your IT related costs decrease dramatically, and you will more than likely have fewer ‘sleepless nights’ not worrying about whether your email server was backed up or if the hard drive in your primary file server is about to kick the can.

Here at Cross Island Computers, we can determine how to best utilize these cloud solutions for your specific business needs. We have over 6 years of experience in dealing with various aspects of the cloud, as well as managing all IT related components for any size business. Call, email or even text us today to find out more about how Cross Island Computers can improve your IT infrastructure and business efficiency today!

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