It’s a common term, but many business owners don’t know what it means. The “Cloud” is here to stay, and it’s important that you understand what we mean when we say something lives in “the cloud”.
It used to be common for businesses to buy servers and install them at their office to host their email, store their files, serve their website, and run their business. When there were black boxes in the corner making noise and using electricity, it was easy to understand that the email, files, or websites “lived” inside that box. It didn’t take much imagination to comprehend that your computer was reaching out over the short network cable and talking to the black box in the corner every time you checked your email or saved a file from your desk.
With the proliferation of the Internet, the black boxes in the corners of our offices are gone, many replaced with only a connection to the Internet. We no longer buy and setup servers to handle our office technology needs. Instead we use services that are built and managed by companies with vast expertise in the field of centralized hosting of these services. We can no longer touch, feel, or even see the physical machines that perform the business critical functions that used to live inside the black boxes in the corners of our offices.
If we no longer keep servers in our offices, then where, exactly, do our emails, files, and websites live?
I’m sure you’ve heard it said that many business-critical functions have moved to the cloud. That’s true, but I want to explain a little more detail about that.
When someone says something is in “the cloud”, it’s all a matter of perspective. From the consumer’s perspective, “the cloud” simply means a server that’s somewhere in the Internet, and the consumer doesn’t have any visibility into the actual physical location of that server.
If you have a Facebook account, for instance, your perspective is that all of your posts and pictures are in “the cloud”. From the perspective of an engineer who works for Facebook, though, your pictures are likely stored on a hard drive inside a server mounted in a rack of servers located in an air conditioned data center with thousands of other servers. A Facebook engineer would know exactly where the server is located, and could even walk to the server and point to it and tell you “your picture is stored right here”. From your perspective as a user, though, your pictures are just “out there”, somewhere. You’ve relinquished the control and responsibility of storing the pictures yourself (even though you may keep copies of them), and you’ve entrusted the smart engineers at Facebook to store your data and keep it safe for you.
So what does that mean for business?
When a business decides to move some (or all) technology to “the cloud”, it’s usually motivated by costs or performance. By trusting experts to store data and keep it safe, a business owner no longer has to worry about physical server security, power failures, data security, backups, etc. As long as you have an Internet connection, you’ll be able to get to your data.
Obviously, you want to know that your data is safe and secure, and that only comes from working with a reputable, trustworthy partner to host and support these services.
If you’d like to take advantage of the cloud and your company is located in or around La Habra, Brea, Fullerton, Anaheim, Yorba Linda, Placentia, or Buena Park, CA, give us a call! Our team of cloud experts would love to help your business take advantage of the performance, security, reliability, and cost savings found in the cloud.