Cloud Computing: What It Is and What It Can Do For You and Your Business

Cloud Computing (or "the Cloud") has been getting a lot of press lately—some good, some bad. But you can't decide if a Cloud Solution is right for your business until you know what it is, and what the pros and cons are for using it instead of the more traditional local networks/server/computer configurations. That's where CSI can help

Definition of Cloud Computing:

A search on Google will tell you that "cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer." In other words, you stop putting your software and the data for your organization on a local computer/local server and instead put it on a remote server (run by an outside IT provider) which you then access through the web (with the appropriate user ID and passwords, of course).

Clearly, the cloud computing approach has some great advantages:

  • You don't buy the hardware and software, you essentially "lease" it from the provider for a fee (saving on your capital budget) and providing your company with more IT resources than perhaps you could otherwise afford. And as your business grows, your IT resources can easily keep up (while your costs remain manageable)
  • You don't pay for maintenance/replacement if equipment goes down or needs to be replaced/upgraded (that cost is the provider's, not yours)
  • You don't have to have internal IT staff (also saving you money) since all maintenance, hardware and software upgrades, service and support is done by the provider
  • You can access your applications (software) and data from any device, anywhere with the proper ID and passwords, so you can work remotely from anywhere, on a portable, desktop, tablet or even mobile smart phone
  • You don't have to manage your software licenses or keep your software updated—your provider does that for you.
  • You don't have to worry about back-ups and disaster recovery—those services are included as part of cloud solutions, so you don't have to purchase back-up systems and software or manage the backup/recovery process yourself
  • Monthly/Annual IT Costs are predictable, making budgeting easier

Concerns with Cloud Computing include:

Security: Is your data safe out there on the Cloud? Recently, the media has played up the hacks into online data sources, and you are right to be concerned about the security of your data. However, as the FBI recently reported, there are two types of companies left in the United States: those that have been hacked and those that will be hacked. CSI has IT staff who are certified security experts, whose job is to keep up with the latest in anti-virus, anti-spyware and preventing cyber-attacks. We know how to best protect your data, and because of this, your data will actually be more secure with us on our cloud than it would be on your own systems.

Outages: Will you have access when you need it? It's critical that your systems continue to run smoothly and your business continue to grow, and you don't want to worry about the system being down when you need it most. CSI provides critical fail over and redundancy systems so you don't have to worry about outages impacting your ability to conduct business. In fact, your downtime will be less with our Cloud Solution than it would be on a normal computer network.

Bringing IT back in-house: Sometime in the future, your company may decide that it wants to bring IT functionality back in-house. The cost of doing so (buying equipment/software, hiring and training IT staff) can be high. However, if you decide to pull back off the cloud, CSI will work with you to carry you through the migration period with network installation and set-up, data migration, and outsourced service and support until you get your own network and your own team up to speed. Rest assured, we won't leave you hanging from the Cloud.

For more information about Cloud Computing or to discuss a Cloud Solution for your business, please call us at 712-255-1775 or email us at

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