What You Should Know About Cloud Based Services

Cloud based services are becoming more popular every day.  Companies of all sizes, including small business owners and entrepreneurs, are looking to save money by utilizing these services rather than spending the capital required for traditional hardware based technologies.  While these types of services can be extremely beneficial to businesses, it is important that you understand what you’re getting into before purchasing a cloud based service for your business.

Hand in hand with the number of cloud based services increasing is the number of guides and articles written about them. Unfortunately, these guides often contain inaccurate or outdated information, leaving many business owners confused when they try to implement a new technology into their operations.

In this article we hope to provide you with the most accurate and helpful information possible.  We want to provide you with the information necessary to make an educated decision regarding whether or not to utilize cloud based services for your business.

The Basics

There are many things that all businesses should consider before using a cloud based service.  First, what type of organization do you have?  Is it a large corporation with hundreds of employees?  Or is your company small, like local insurance agencies or landscape design firms?

Once you determine the size of your organization, you can then begin to consider how critical data security is for your business.  The smaller the business the less likely it has an IT department on site, meaning that the responsibility of securing your data is on the cloud based service.  The larger and more established a company is, however, the more likely it has an IT department and can understand how to properly secure its data.

If you decide that cloud based services are right for your business, you need to ensure that you’re a good candidate for the service.  Do you have a reliable internet connection?  Do you plan on sharing files with others on a regular basis?  Will your employees be working from any location besides the office or will they need to access data frequently away from the office?

All of these questions are important and should be carefully considered before you sign up for a cloud based service.  You don’t want to get stuck with services that won’t work for your business or can not be properly utilized by your employees if they are on the go.

Types of Cloud Based Services

· eMail

· Document Management

· Backup and Disaster Recovery

· Database Hosting

· Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

eMail

There are many types of eMail services that allow you to use your own domain name rather than an email address provided by the cloud based service such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail.  Most well known providers offer this type of service, including Microsoft and Google.

Document Management

Document Management services are used to store your files remotely, allowing you to easily access them at any time.  Some companies utilize these services for their clients as well, which can allow for easy collaboration between company employees and clients.

Backup & Disaster Recovery

Backup is an essential part of running a business today.  Without it, valuable data may be lost in the event of a disaster.  While large corporations can often afford to purchase their own backup hardware, small businesses are more likely to utilize cloud based services for this important task.

Database Hosting

If your organization hosts its own databases or is considering moving to a database based system (such as Microsoft SQL), a Cloud Based Database Hosting service may be right for you.

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

Many organizations have employees who work from home or use public networks at coffee shops and libraries to connect back into the office network.  Since these types of connections are not secure, a Virtual Private Network will allow you to safely send information back and forth between the office, employees, and clients.

Choosing a Cloud Based Service

Now that you understand some of the basics of cloud based services, you should begin to explore your options. There are many to choose from and each offers their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages depending on your business needs.  We recommend taking some time to learn more about the different cloud based services on the market, as well as how they can benefit your business.  It never hurts to have multiple options available in case one doesn’t work out for you or you have special needs that aren’t being met by a particular service.

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