One of the questions I get a lot from clients during strategic planning sessions is, how can we move our business into the Cloud, or what are the benefits of having a Cloud-enabled business? It’s very important to understand that when you talk about Cloud resources, there’s a big difference between trying to take your existing infrastructure inside of your business with servers and databases and your own internal use applications and moving that to a hosted facility or a hosting model. That can typically be a bit more expensive than actually maintaining that infrastructure in house. Some of the benefits that you get with that are, better resiliency, you don’t have to worry about environmental factors like natural disasters, typically it’s quicker to recover from backup images and things like that when you are working with a data center. So those are great pros for it, but again, that can be more expensive.
Now there is also a secondary model that a lot of people talk about when they are thinking of the Cloud and the basic concept is Netflix. So it is a purpose-built application for doing what you are looking to do. Many of the software suites out there like QuickBooks, and some others like Gmail, or Microsoft Office 365 are really purpose-built web applications that are delivered at a very low cost that also give you a lot of the same features that you would get like business continuity, all the disaster recovery is built into the platform at a much cheaper price. So, when you start to think of the Cloud for your business, look into “do I really want to keep all of the workflows that I have internally right now, and just move that to the Cloud? Or are we looking at making a switch to something like an Office 365 environment, maybe a Cloud hosted QuickBooks for instance? And use those web applications the way they were designed. That’s going to be a good balance of both price and performance for you.