Cloud Computing

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Even if you’re a down-to-earth business owner, you may want to put your head in the cloud—the computing cloud, that is.

You’ve probably heard the term “cloud computing”. It’s a catchphrase for accessing a network of computers on the internet and storing your data and software with a remote service provider. You might think of it as outsourcing your computer operations.

What should you think about before you move in that sky-high direction?

Dive into the vocabulary. Yes, there are cloud glossaries, and you’ll find them on the internet, of course. Using them could shorten your search for answers.

Be mindful of security. As with anything computerized, security is important, especially when it concerns the software that lets your computer talk to the cloud (that’s interfacing software, if you haven’t yet checked out the glossaries). Storing data in the cloud allows your employees to access company information from home, a coffee house, their car or anywhere in between, which means multiple opportunities for security breaches. In addition, information about your clients and customers needs to be protected, too.

Compare the capabilities of various services. How much storage space does the provider offer? Is a contract necessary? What about backup capabilities? What procedures are in place so you can access your data if the service provider suffers a hack attack?

Consider your bottom line. There’s always a learning curve for new software. What’s the cost of that curve in terms of employee hours and lost productivity? While you may save money by not having to update software or buy a faster computer, how much will it cost to store your data in the cloud, and what are the additional fees, if any? Finally, what will it cost you if your provider goes out of business?

Cloud computing might be the latest and greatest tech advance—or it might simply be another fad that fades. Either way, you want to keep your feet on the ground as you investigate making the leap.

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