Moving To Cloud Computing
Wednesday - March 03, 2010
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By Mike Meyer
Chief Executive Officer for Islanda Tech
I’ve been a technologist in Hawaii for more than 30 years. Back in the 1990s when I worked for Oceanic Time Warner, I launched a project called Roadrunner, the state’s largest wide, high-speed commercial broadband network.
Since getting that off the ground, I haven’t looked back.
My newest endeavor, Islanda, has been in existence about three years, and we specialize in one task to provide companies with the IT tools to survive and grow in difficult economic times.
I don’t think our timing could have been better. Hawaii is at the very beginning of a vast industry trend that is already impacting both local companies and individuals.
Businesses are starting to shed their in-house servers and networking gear in favor of outsourcing them to people who can work smarter and cheaper. That trend is part of the move toward “cloud computing.”
First, let’s provide a definition: Cloud computing means getting your computer resources - storage, firewalls, software and everyday applications such as word processing, spread sheets, etc. - accessed on demand from the Internet. For those of you who have seen schematics of networks, the Internet is always diagrammed as a cloud.
Hence the moniker cloud computing.
The upshot is that your office no longer needs to maintain hardware components such as servers, backup drives, etc. All you essentially need is a work station and a connection to the Internet. All the computing power (and applications) are outsourced, offsite and safe in a bunker that won’t go down if there’s hurricane, tsunami or earthquake.
So why should you care? For starters, how does saving a ton of money sound?
Even a small business of around 10 to 15 employees can save up to 40 to 50 percent in capital cost and a great deal on operational expenses such as IT personnel. What’s more, your company no longer has to buy new computers every few years and repair it if something breaks.
Security is another major reason to be in the cloud.
Because all documents are stored offsite and out of harm’s way, if a tsunami hits or your office burns down, you’ll still have access to your files immediately. This is a very big issue with nonprofits, medical or accounting firms and even merchants that need to comply with Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA and PCI SSC or other industry standards to prevent fraud and protect consumers.
Cloud systems also limit what your employees can and cannot download. Everyone who runs an office know how employees can clog up the system with YouTube videos, X-rated material and music files as well as doing unauthorized activities such as shopping.
Cloud computing also makes your business virtual.
We can set up telework environments so that you or your staff can work at home or even from overseas. The KNG Group LLC, a Honolulu-based waste management company, recently moved all of its applications and files to the cloud, including 12 desktops and four lap-tops. Sue Gourlay, vice president, often travels to England and regularly checks up on operations simply by logging in when she’s in London.
The cloud also is ideal for businesses that have multiple offices and need to link their network. In the last two months, we have added two Hawaii-based retail chains to move Point of Sales systems for running cash registers in stores to the cloud. Everything is centralized and virtual without expensive servers in every store. The next time you are in one of the Vim ‘n Vigor stores for a healthy snack, your purchase is processed in the cloud!
Our company’s mission is to remove the capital costs of maintaining current IT infrastructure while reducing lost employee hours and repair call costs that can devastate a small organization even in the best of times. This is a tough environment for just about any business, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get much better anytime soon.
The silver lining, for your company, just may be in the cloud.
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