The Cloud! What is it? Is it right for me?
In the first of a series of Blog Posts CyberBITS takes you on a journey in the sky! Only Joking! We take a layman’s look at The Cloud and demystify the misty stuff!
For many the Cloud is this talked about thing to do with IT that seems to be mentioned everywhere. You have Cloud Email, Cloud Storage, Cloud Servers, Cloud Apps, Cloud this, that and the other! Let’s break all of this down. To start we need to step back in time to, well, not that long ago!
10BC (Before Cloud)
Only 20 years ago traditional IT infrastructure would all be stored in a building somewhere. For small businesses they would have maybe a single server (sometimes just a desktop doing server-like tasks). That server may be storing your company data, or it may have an Email Server of some description running on it. You would have probably had a couple printers installed on it so that staff could easily print to those printers without much setup.
Internet connections were slow, so it was much faster to have your own hardware installed in your own office.
Every now and then you needed an IT Guy to come in and service your server(s). Maintenance was very important, so to was backups as if that server ever failed you would lose all of your work. This maintenance caused down time, you couldn’t work on it while it was being upgraded and patched.
Then the worse would happen! You would come in one morning to find the server room eerily quiet! Something had gone pop in the night. Now what do you do? That maintenance man needs to come back and fix that failed bit of hardware. While he stands there, sucking breath through his teeth and scratching his head, you know it’s going to cost you! More importantly how much is it going to cost having all of those staff sitting there with nothing to do? They still need paying, it’s not their fault the server broke-down.
Wasn’t it all just a pain in the a$$!
Enter SaaS or more commonly known as The Cloud!
Software as a Service or SaaS was considered by some marketing professionals as Tech Talk. They decided to coin the term “Cloud” which pretty much meant anything not physically hosted by you.
You want an email server hosted in a datacentre somewhere? That’ll be The Cloud.
You want a bunch of disk space in a datacentre to store your company files on? That’ll be The Cloud.
And so on and so forth. So, The Cloud really is just a datacentre hosted by a company, providing services. You have probably been using The Cloud for quite some time without even realising it. Do you have a Gmail Account? Or maybe Outlook.com, Hotmail.com, yahoo.com etc. You get the point. That is technically using email in The Cloud.
So, The Cloud is simply a company with a Datacentre that offers to store your data on their servers. They maintain those servers. If one fails, they usually have another one waiting to take its place so there is little or no downtime to you, their customer.
The Cloud started appearing in various forms late 2000’s early 2010’s. However, it’s not until recently that it has really gained momentum. Microsoft released Office 365 back in 2011. Traditionally, Microsoft sold licenses for its products. You want Office 2010, you paid for Office 2010, when Office 2013 came out you couldn’t have it until you paid for it (unless you purchased Software Assurance of course). Now Microsoft has a subscription model, a regular amount of money coming in to help fund the infrastructure it takes to run the service.
Pretty much everything you use today has some sort of subscription model. Your car’s service maintenance may be on a regular monthly instalment. Your phone will be a monthly cost, utilities etc. Everything is going that way. So too will The Cloud. In 2017 Microsoft’s Office 365 revenue exceeded that of traditional licensing for the first time. Although, for now they still sell traditional licenses through its Office 2019 product, eventually I believe they will soon move completely to Office 365.
Should I Move to The Cloud?
It’s an important question. Big companies tend to still have traditional IT Departments with their own infrastructure. Big companies need to be agile. If they need something doing, they have a dedicated member of staff to carry out that task right now.
That’s not to say that Small Companies don’t need to be agile. Smaller Companies don’t have the budget for a fully paid member of staff in IT to sit there and wait for something to do. This is where CyberBITS comes in. You could say that we’re you’re IT Department in The Cloud! We take the headache away for you of whether you should or shouldn’t move to The Cloud. We will take an honest assessment of your existing IT and advise what would be right for your business and strategy moving forward. There is no right or wrong answer, there is no one-size fits all. It all depends on you and your business.
Hopefully that has given you a useful insight into what The Cloud is. In the next few blog posts we will take on specific Cloud related topics, such as Email, Storage and Backups.