To cloud or not to cloud? 2017-12-20T07:26:29+00:00

To cloud or not to cloud

Cloud. Buzz terms, buzzwords, and buzzing pundits sure get our attention. Sometimes, if we don’t know the lingo we politely grin and immediately go into isolation mode. It is easy to keep doing what we have been doing because it works, right? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Change is hard. Often times, making the change is harder than the change itself. I understand and there are valid reasons for old and new ways of operating a business. Let me tell you how we started Good Helper 100% in the cloud.

After working in the IT field for a couple decades you get to a point where your idea of service delivery and IT philosophy is something you want to share. The only way to fulfill your ambitions is to try for yourself. Everyone knows starting a business is hard, time-consuming, expensive, and scary. Without capital or financial backing, you will need to be wise on what and when you spend your money. They even have a buzzword for broke startups, bootstrap. Cloud makes bootstrapping super easy.

We already covered whether to run your own Exchange email server or go Office 365. Read Exchange or Office 365 here. Good Helper uses Office 365 Premium giving us the latest version of all Microsoft Office products. Our email is included with our Office 365 plan. We share files using Microsoft’s OneDrive. Our ideas are captured in Microsoft SharePoint. Our best-in-class business phone solution is run out of some data center back East. Our ticketing and invoicing system is somewhere in a data center operated by the ticket people themselves. Intuit has QuickBooks online which counts the few beans we have in their fluffy cloud somewhere. I never met my banker but I take pictures of checks and upload them to my online banker’s cloud. Our remote management system is hosted by remote management system people on their hardware. Who better to run their products then the creators themselves? Customer service and product delivery becomes your focus. That’s powerful!

Now that you don’t have to supply power, HVAC, and security to house your own servers, you will also not need those high buck IT resources to support your IT infrastructure either. Upfront costs are almost non-existent with each of our cloud providers. Sure, there may be a small setup fee but we only pay for the number of people per month using a particular cloud service. The scaling is dependent on the cloud provider but cloud systems are built to scale naturally. If you build out your own IT infrastructure how well are you prepared for scaling up or down? Expensive to start thinking if things go well or not so much. Your burden is already less not being responsible for the uptime of your own IT infrastructure.

No infrastructure, no all-in sunk costs, only pay for what you use, no responsibility on your part for uptime and no worries about service delivery. Wait, there is one thing that will break your cloud. Make sure you have valid and up-to-date payment information on your cloud provider accounts. Changing credit cards or banks could cause self-inflicted outage. That is pretty much it, paying the bill is all you are responsible for in the cloud.

Flexibility is inherent using cloud services providers. Here is where the game changes. You can access these cloud service providers from anywhere with an internet connection. (WARNING: Your cloud service will only be as good as your Internet connection.)  If your Internet is 1995 then build your own IT infrastructure. Access on any device is an important flexibility especially for us Americans that need our fix on a minute-by-minute basis on every device we own including refrigerators. Flexibility to go all cloud, all on-premise, or a mixture of both is more likely the scenario we encounter in the field. Cloud services are good in little bits or big chunks. If you want to define cloud flexibility needs to be in that definition.

Oh, cloud. What is cloud? I will let you Google your eyeballs out defining cloud. I must laugh. These buzzwords popup and a barrage of talking heads spew these terms like they were just invented. Often it is merely technology catching up with itself. Cloud is such a technology. Internet speeds and virtualization caught up to the already vast number of programs, apps, or online services available making the cloud viable. Today, reliable Internet speeds are still the number one crux of the cloud. So, what is the cloud? It is the Internet and anything connected to it. Yes, the matrix. Cloud, silly words making us think there is more to it, whatever it is. If you have good Internets and your cloud provider has proven to offer a flexible, robust solution, then you know what you need to do.

We mentioned earlier that Good Helper has a fully distributed cloud infrastructure from industry leading providers. Email, banking, phones, ticketing, and accounting for a total of 5 online “cloud” services. There are more online services we use but we will use 5 to illustrate our point.

(1 / x) = % Outage Risk

x = number of online service providers

We have 5 cloud service providers so let’s plug the number 5 into our formula.

(1 / 5) = 20% Outage Risk

The greater number of service providers you use is lowering your risk and lower outage risk. Let’s try 12 which is probably closers to Good Helper’s real number of cloud service providers.

1/12 = 8.3% Outage Risk

Availability is a big part of the flexibility of the cloud. A natural disaster would have to blanket the United Stated or globe for a fully distributed cloud company to go dark. That or not paying your bill 😉

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