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May 2014

By: Moira Alexander, I.S.P., ITCP/IP3P, PMP, Conture—Director, IT Advisory

Do You Have Your Head In The Cloud? Should You?

Cloud computing ……so what does that even mean to your business? Well the term “cloud” is used to describe the internet. Cloud computing typically involves on-line applications or services accessible by logging into a web portal on the internet.

Often times you will hear various acronyms used like Saas (software-as-a-service), Iaap (Infrastructure-as a-service) and so on.

Cloud computing can refer to other available services offered by various technology service providers, and can greatly vary in features, offering types, applications and pricing.

The one constant is that cloud computing is here to stay and growing in popularity, availability and use. That being said there can be a sea of options to wade through when looking for the right cloud based solutions for your business.

These on-demand services allow businesses to pay only for what they need and use, without incurring the huge ongoing capital cost of purchasing expensive software and equipment. It can often remove the need for hiring additional IT staff to maintain equipment and provide internal technical support. Another big benefit is the cloud can provide peace of mind in the event of natural disasters like hurricanes, fire sand flooding.

So does this mean cloud services are right for your business, and if so, which ones? The answer to these questions can vary greatly. There are many things to take into account before just going out there making the commitment; it should be well planned.

Here are just a few of the benefits and risks that should to be factored in before you migrate to the cloud.

Benefits

Cost effective (lowered capital expenses)

Better accessibility to data & services

Scalable (to grow with your business)

Risks

Privacy concerns

Data stored on external servers via the web

Security of sensitive business/client data

(Keep in mind there are numerous additional benefits and risks to consider).

Regardless of any benefits a service provider touts, it is solely your responsibility to your business to complete your own due diligence, and ensure you have covered off risk points that may arise.

Do as much independent research as you can, and ask questions even if they seem silly, better to ask than to get an unwelcome surprise later.

Business owners do not need to be afraid of the cloud, but rather open minded about the benefits and cautious about possible risks. The cloud has numerous benefits to any business; it is simply a matter of sorting out which ones are right for your business, and making sure you have mitigated the risks as much as possible before making final decisions. Also engage the expertise of outside expertise if you are unsure or simply do not have time to do so, it can be money well spent and save you a lot of stress and grief down the road.

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Phone: 360-746-0793 or visit us at www.contureadvisors.com.

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