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Posted July 26, 2017 by Dan Madigan


Are you confused about "The Cloud"? Are you managing a small to mid-sized business and are unsure  on whether or not you should move your business to "The Cloud"? What are the risks involved with moving your business to "The Cloud"?

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions you are probably making some fairly common technology errors that could affect your bottom line and the ability of your business to grow. Don't worry - you are not alone. Most business owners and managers do not have the time or the resources to fully understand the most current advances in the technology world.

With this in mind, here are a few terms and tips to help you understand "The Cloud" and how it relates to your business.

What and Where is "The Cloud"?

In its most basic terms going to "the cloud" simply means putting your critical data and business applications on someone else's computer. You and your associates then access those applications and data through the internet. Those computers are servers that are generally in data centers. Most business owners that have some or all of their "stuff" in the cloud cannot tell you precisely where that data is stored. The 4 largest cloud providers are AWS (Amazon Web Services), Microsoft, Google and IBM.

Should you move your business to "The Cloud"?

If you watch any television at all you are inundated with cloud commercials leading you to believe that this magical cloud is the  cure to every business woe. The old phrase, "If it sounds too good to be true....." definitely applies here. Moving to the cloud should be as much of a business decision as a technical decision. Using cloud services has a significantly lower start-up cost than an internal server-based infrastructure but that monthly cost of cloud services will never go away. You are at the mercy of your cloud services provider when they decide to raise their rates, and, as you grow,  you will need more resources resulting in higher monthly fees.

What are the risks with moving to the cloud ?


 As with any type of change you have to manage the risks involved. Here are a few to consider:

Security - Cloud service providers have a bigger target on their backs because of the value of the data they have on their networks. Cyber criminals go where the money is. If you have moved to the cloud or are considering a move, contact the experts at Four Winds Network Services to discuss security enhancements for your cloud-based critical data and applications.

Loss of Control - At the end of the day, whatever you have with a cloud service provider is, for a better term, "your stuff". Make sure that you can get "your stuff" back if that relationship sours. Again, the Four Winds Network Services engineers can determine how to get your stuff back.

Vendor Risk - Relying on a cloud service provider means that you are vulnerable if the vendor runs into problems. These can include lawsuits, bankruptcy and regulatory investigations. 

Downtime - We have all heard about or have been affected by downtime at large cloud service providers. Whether an outage is the result of the cloud service provider's actions or a loss of internet connection, you have to be prepared for downtime.

End User Support - When you do have issues who would you rather call, the 1-800 support number at Google or your local IT support team at Four Winds Network Services?

The cloud is here to stay. Start small, we recommend a hybrid approach where you can move one piece of your IT environment (ie. Office 365) to the cloud. As you become more comfortable with the cloud you can make informed decisions on strategies to help grow your business. The expert consultants at Four Winds Network Servicescan work with you to design and implement your own Business / Technology Road Map.