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To Cloud or Not to Cloud, That Is The (Functional) Question

Last time we looked at the financial pros and cons of putting your technology in the cloud, or at least the differences. However, another important parameter in determining if the cloud is best for you is considering your specific applications and how you work.

Now, there are some cloud snobs out there, those who say it is the cloud or die. But as they say, if you are a mower, then everything is a lawn (or something like that). Practically, most businesses evaluate the cloud on an app by app basis. The trend is to be moving more and more to the cloud as applications support that model, so the percentage of cloud dependency increases over time.

The first app to go for nearly everyone is and has been email, and most of those were Microsoft Exchange email users. Its email server is a complicated beast to understand, right up there with why we duck when you hear “Heads Up!” However, it is a critical one for business, given that missing even one email could cost a company lots of money. For most smaller businesses it was a no-brainer to put it in the cloud for $4/user/month (if you’re paying more than this give us a call..) and let Microsoft keep it up and running.

Since then, vendors have rushed to the cloud with their applications like fans to a free Beyoncé concert. Subscription fees produce consistency of income and vendors can maintain their applications on one place. It’s been the best thing for software vendors since…well, software. It’s here to stay. So what factors should you consider to see if it makes sense for you with a given application:

1. Cloud Features: Be sure your application functions as you need it in the cloud. Some applications, for example QuickBooks first incarnation, were missing functions from their premise products. Be sure to test your application first so there are no gotchas.

2. Internet Reliability: The more you function in the cloud, the more you depend on connectivity to the Internet. Be sure your Internet provider is giving you a stable connection and has good and efficient support. Test any component, such as say printing, which uses lots of resources to evaluate performance. Also, really consider a second backup connection to the Internet. And be sure it is from a different vendor, or it ain’t a backup!

3. Remote Work: The more mobile your employees are, the more a cloud option makes sense. You can certainly connect remotely to your office using a VPN or SSLVPN configuration, which has been an established technique, but it generally requires more machinery and is slower than the speed to a cloud solution. If you connect the same way from everywhere, that makes the process and support simpler.

So, these are few thoughts to consider regarding To Cloud or Not to Cloud. We have looked at the financial question, how it is priced, and now the functional question, how it will work. Next time we will consider a third consideration, the fruitful question. That is, when working in the cloud, what factors determine you will be most productive. Until then, we once again hope that our thoughts have been “Cloud and Clear!”


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