Is the cloud for you or is it a lot of hot air?

Everyone is talking about the cloud these days which means at its most basic, outsourcing IT services over the internet. Are you a business owner with an ageing server that has been pushed to its limits? Have you reached that stage where it’s time to do something about it?  You’re now at that decision point that so many other business people are finding themselves this year.  And the decision is this, do you replace that old server with a new server…or do you go to ‘The Cloud.’

Before making the leap to the cloud there are important questions to be answered. There is no doubt a start-up or a very small company or even a company with employees remotely based is ideally suited to a cloud based environment. Or maybe you have high internal IT costs or require more computing power for development. But if that’s not you and we know most of our IT customer base falls within the small to medium size business (SMEs) then this option may not be for you.

Most of our customers took our advice early in the year, with the discontinuation of SBS 2011, to renew their servers and not opt for the cloud. The main reason was when they did their sums, the cloud, certainly at the moment, didn’t make economic sense.

You may be going through this exact decision process.  Suppose you have 15 people in your company who need computer access, you are satisfied with your existing applications and don’t want to go through the agony and enormous expense of migrating to a new cloud based application.  Let’s assume you don’t employ a full time IT guy, but have a service contract with a reliable local IT firm. Do the numbers, let’s say approximately £60 per month x 15 users is £900 per month or £10,800 per year for a cloud based service.  How many servers can you buy for that amount?

So it’s a bit of a no-brainer. The cloud, at least for established businesses who don’t want to change their existing applications, for the time being, is still just too expensive.

There are also data protection issues to be considered with the cloud, the most obvious problem with cloud computing is where is this data stored?  Data Protection Act 1998 protocol states data mustn’t be sent out with the EU unless other countries have adequate level of protection.

Over the next few years the costs should come down.  Your favourite internal application will become out of date and your only option will be to migrate to a cloud based application (hopefully provided by the same vendor to ease the transition).  Your IT support provider will help you and the process will be easier, and less expensive than today.  But for now, you may find it makes more sense to just buy a new server.

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