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What The Hell Is The Cloud?

I bet you, like most people on this planet, have seen some commercial about the almighty Cloud. The Cloud can revolutionize your business!  The Cloud can increase your sales!  The Cloud can hunt down lazy employees and make them conform to company policies and procedures by any means necessary!  If Hervé Villechaize was alive today, he would be in some ad saying “Da Cloud, Da Cloud!”  But from what I can tell the big question on everyone’s mind is — What the hell is the cloud?

 

I’m glad you asked!  The Cloud can be so many different things to so many different people and businesses but at it’s core, the cloud is the internet.  Early on in the world of networking, before the inception of the internet as we know it today, a cloud was used on network diagrams to depict the “Internet”, or the area of communication, between 2 systems.  Fast forward 25 years and the term “The Cloud” has become the biggest marketing buzz word in known human existence.

 

“But why has it caught on SO much in the past 10 years?” you likely just asked yourself out loud in an empty room.  The answer is because the evolution of technology has finally allowed people and businesses to harness the power and size of the internet to better serve their needs. Cloud based storage, applications, security, monitoring, infrastructure and so much more is making it easier, and more cost effective, for businesses to grow and scale since none of these systems NEED to be on-site at your business anymore.  Simply having a computer and a connection to the internet may be all you need to work in an enterprise level environment.  This is so important and beneficial, especially to SMBs, because businesses no longer need to lay out the capital expense for infrastructure and the time and money spent on maintaining it.

 

One major drawback to using a fully cloud based solution is bandwidth.  Businesses often think that since “The Cloud” is so popular and awesome it’ll work for them.  This is a common misconception.  Cloud based systems and solutions can be great IF you have the bandwidth to support them.  If a business is utilizing a complete cloud solution then there will be a need for enough bandwidth to make a good user experience.  Without enough bandwidth, cloud services can lag and drag (that rhymes!) on which not only creates a very poor end-user experience but it can really put the brakes on your operation.  Making sure your business has adequate bandwidth is extremely important in deciding on whether or not to employ any kind of cloud solution.

 

One more drawback to utilizing the cloud is realizing and accepting that if you lose internet connection, you have lost access to that cloud based service.  This is why many business are using what is known as a “Hybrid” cloud solution paired with redundant internet circuits.  This is just as it sounds.  Having some process on-site and some in the cloud lessens a business’s dependence on the cloud based services.  A redundant internet circuit provides another layer of connectivity to those cloud services should your primary circuit go down.

 

The key to the cloud is picking and choosing the services that are right for your business and for your budget.  Don’t be sold by clever marketing and buzzwords.  Make sure to fully explore your options and make an intelligent decision.
All this too confusing?  Not sure what to do?  Don’t know what questions to ask?  Then give the friendly folks over a TechBuckIT a ring and let them guide you in the right direction.