Today, Account Manager Richard Baker presented a talk on Cloud Computing to a roomful of executives from our area. Our guests had some interesting questions, and I wanted to share them along with Richard's answers.
Where exactly is the Cloud?
The Cloud is really just a buzzword used to describe the Internet. When you access Gmail or Facebook, you are accessing the Cloud. If you access files or applications on servers that are outside of your office, you are using Cloud Computing. Since we have a data center in our office that hosts files and applications for some of our clients, technically Nexxtep's office is the Cloud.
Who backs up my data in the Cloud?
This is a very good question, and one you should have an answer to in the event you access or host sensitive company data in the Cloud. The answer to this question should be the Cloud provider. So if you are using Gmail, Google should be backing up all of your emails. If your provider does not provide backups, this is a huge red flag and you should look elsewhere for Cloud services.
As a side note, one benefit to using Cloud services is that your data is usually backed up in more than one location. If one server fails, it automatically fails over to another geo-separate server and you'll never miss a beat.
Can I still use Word and Excel if we move to the Cloud?
Yes. With Microsoft's Office 365, you can access the entire suite of MS Office programs from your Internet browser, or you can download the software if you would rather use the offline version.
How do I know if I can trust a Cloud provider?
First, you can enlist the help of an IT provider like us who will vet the provider to make sure their practices and finances are in order. We have already vetted most of the large Cloud providers and can tell you which ones are reputable and which ones to avoid.
You can also request to see the company's SOC 1 Report. If they do not have one, again, this is a red flag. The SOC 1 Report is prepared by a CPA firm who has audited the company to evaluate financial controls. Some Cloud providers post these reports on their websites.
Does a business have to reach a certain number of employees before it makes sense to move to the Cloud?
No. Businesses of all sizes can leverage Cloud Computing. In fact, it's easier for smaller businesses to use Cloud computing because there is less effort involved with migrating software and data to the Cloud.
Do you have questions about the Cloud?
Contact us here, or post them in the comments section!