Cloud-Based Apps vs Local Servers
I get a lot of questions about Cloud computing. So today we are going to discuss a few of the differences between keeping your applications and files on local servers vs. moving to the Cloud. We will cover some of the advantages and disadvantages of both, as well as examine my own bias. We may even discover that I’m (GASP) wrong. Sound like fun? Ready? Here we go!
What is Cloud?
Well, it’s not in the Stratosphere (though THAT would be especially cool!). Cloud computing usually refers to a service that you pay to store data for you. Everything from email, databases and files to accounting software can be Cloud based. Advantage? No servers to manage or maintain. No backups to check, no tapes to change. Just sign the check on time, and it’s all taken care of for you.
This ain’t your Dad’s Cadillac, er, Cloud.
Cloud computing has been around since the dawn of the interwebs. Why it’s just becoming a buzzword now is beyond me, but there it is. Chances are, your bank hasn’t stored your account information in their local branch office in over a decade. Instead, they pay a hosted service to provide the disk space and backups they need. Banks used to dial into the data center at a specific interval each day, update any changes and check for problems. It was painstakingly slow, but it kept your information safe. Fast forward to today: Even your grandmother is uploading pictures to Facebook or to DropBox. Both are cloud.
So is Cloud better?
Well, it depends. Internet services keep getting faster and more reliable. So does server hardware. Having servers in my office means that I get to manage them. If there is ever a problem, it’s a short walk down the hallway, and I can troubleshoot in a matter of minutes. Hardware can easily be replaced or upgraded as needed. Servers have lights that blink, fans that whir, and hard drives that hum in perfect harmony. And should one of them get out of tune, I can fix it. If my data is in the Cloud, I have to rely on someone else to keep an eye on their servers.
In some scenarios, I suggest a hybrid of both on-site servers and a Cloud-based solution. For a medium-size business, this is often the best of both worlds. For example, keep your data on an in-house file server so you have local, secure access to your information; but use a hosted solution for email. Email servers take a lot of work and are difficult to manage. While I’m more than happy to take care of your email server, using a hosted email option may be the most cost-effective for your organization.
Give us a call today, and we can help find the best solution for your business!
Full disclosure: Custom Systems uses Office365 to host our email and file services. This article was written on my laptop, but then stored on a hosted SharePoint server for the editor to review and fix my spelling and grammar.
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