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Not Everyone Wants the Cloud

For all its benefits, cloud computing requires customers to take a leap of faith that their provider will secure their information.
Cloud computing is the hot thing in IT and the companies will tell you moving to the cloud is inevitable. You should use Microsoft's Office 365 or Google Docs for your applications. Your storage should be with Dropbox or Box, your backups with Carbonite or Mozy. Maybe,  Maybe not. 

IT solutions are not one-size-fits-all. What fits the needs of one business may not fit the needs of another.

In the meantime, you have important decisions to make for your business. Maybe you're OK with sharing personal goings-on with Facebook and your personal mail on Yahoo!, but your business records, Your customer data? Not everyone's comfortable entrusting another company to store and keep that data safe. All kinds of things can and do go wrong with customer data managed by cloud services.

And the fact is that if you don't want to trust outside services with your data, you don't have to. Just as cloud services have improved, so have software and hardware to manage your data in-house. The non-cloud solutions are better and less expensive than ever.

First, don't worry about running out of room anymore. Storage is cheap. You can buy a NAS (Network Attached Storage), a simple file server on your network from well-known companies like Netgear, Synology or Western Digital, for pennies per gigabyte.

And since storage is cheap, you can use it for cheap backup. You can use conventional backup software, but it's often more convenient to use purpose-built synchronization software like Syncrify from Synametrics. Such programs have all the important advantages of backup software - such as scheduling, versioning, and incremental backup - but they produce a usable second drive rather than proprietary backup files. Such programs, Syncrify included, typically encrypt data in transit, so if you are synchronizing between physical sites no unencrypted data is exposed on the Internet.

A second NAS can back up the first, as well as client systems. Such storage systems are often small and portable, so you can buy several and keep some off-site for disaster recovery. (Make sure to encrypt all storage if you do this. There are many solutions for such encryption, some of which come with Windows from Microsoft.) Alternatively, for disaster recovery, you can keep such backup drives in a fire/flood-proof safe on-site.

Another commonly-cited advantage of cloud-based applications is that the subscription model provides for simpler cost accounting as compared to depreciation scheduling for capital expenditures on software. There's something to be said for this, but overlooks the fact that you likely already have significant capital investments in software which the services would replace. Keeping your business on your local computing resources means you continue to utilize hardware and software for which you have already paid, rather than incurring a new recurring cost for monthly subscriptions.

There is no reason to believe that local and private cloud solutions will be inadequate for your needs any time soon. Even if you need to expand your computing needs and implement new systems, you can do so without trusting your critical business and customer assets to risky public services.



Created on: 2/22/15 12:25 PM
Last updated on: 6/23/17 11:30 AM

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