An Introduction to Cloud Computing

What exactly is “cloud”?

Many of us have been using cloud computing for a long time and don’t even realize it.  It’s only recently that the marketing term has become so popular.  Most of us have a personal e-mail account hosted by Google, Yahoo, MSN, the local Internet provider, etc..; this is cloud.  Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service over the internet (or network) rather than by a product you would install on your computer or server.

Besides personal e-mail, other successful public cloud computing models include the popular for customer relationship management and DropBox for syncing files and folders to the cloud.

Should you be using cloud in your business?  It depends…

On one end of the spectrum there is the business owner that would love to get rid of the burden and costs associated with purchasing, maintaining, and occasional down time that comes with keeping IT on premise.  On the other end of the spectrum is the business owner that will never trust his business operations to be housed where he can’t see and touch it.  I tend to fall somewhere in the middle of the road.  I often recommend a cloud based service that provides a day to day solution that wouldn’t spell lost data or significant downtime if it were to go away.  For instance, there is a lot of human error in remembering to take your secondary backup offsite in case of fire.  Why not complement an onsite backup strategy by mirroring it to the cloud?  Another example is SPAM filtering.  In this case it can be costly to maintain a second server or appliance onsite just to remove SPAM before it arrives at your mail server.  Why not deploy a cloud service to remove it before it reaches your network?  In either of these cases there is very little risk in deploying these services because your business data remains on premise.  If you decide you don’t want these services anymore you can simply cancel the service and have little to be changed with your own IT infrastructure.

Posted by Eric O. Schueler, A+, MCP, MCSE, MCTS, CSSA, ACSP. Eric is the Senior V.P. of Information Technology at HRCT.  He has been in the business of providing IT and consulting for small and medium business for more than 15 years.

For more information and to ask questions, click here to contact Eric Schueler.

Hampton Roads Communication Technologies (HRCT) provides quality business telecommunications solutions, like Business Telephone Systems to companies and organizations throughout Hampton Roads, Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. HRCT keeps your company connected. Call today 757-399-3350.