Never before has there been a technology that has “leveled” the playing field as much as cloud computing. Now instead of worrying about technology, businesses of all sizes can utilize cloud applications to access tools that were previously unavailable, too expensive, or simply too complicated to implement correctly. Read on for FAQs to better understand, then contact us to help you get started.
What is cloud computing?
The basic definition is “computing resources from a remote location and accessible over the internet”. In reality, most of us have been using hosted storage and applications such as email, music and photo-sharing, and on-line tax preparation before it was ever known as “the cloud”. In other words, the cloud allows you to store and access your data from anywhere, anytime, and from almost any device.
What does it mean for my business?
Pervasive and fast internet connections combined with inexpensive storage has helped fuel the growth of cloud applications designed to meet specific business needs with very high levels of reliability (99% uptime). Software that used to be expensive or too complicated for small businesses to bother with is now available over the internet at a fraction of the cost and with quick setup times.
Is it safe?
Cloud application providers typically detail the safeguards and standards they adhere to ensure data security. If the provider you’re considering doesn’t have this readily available, look elsewhere. That being said, no matter how secure, passwords are almost always the weakest link. Thus, be sure your application requires complex passwords or implement them as a regular business policy.
Where is my data?
At any given time, that can be difficult to determine. One of cloud computing’s great benefits is that the data is always redundant and location-independent. Most likely, your data is stored at multiple data centers spread across different states. More important is how accessible your data is should you decide to switch vendors or applications. If your vendor isn’t able to answer this clearly, you should look elsewhere.
What about downtime?
Most application providers provide a service level agreement that specifies that uptime percentage (generally 99.9%, or less than 10 minutes per week.) More commonly, the bigger risk of downtime is due to internet outages at your workplace and not the application provider. This risk can be mitigated with redundant internet connections.
What software applications are available in the cloud?
A majority of the software that you commonly use on your own internal server or PC are now available as a “hosted” or cloud-based application – even ones that are specific to your industry. However, that doesn’t always mean it makes sense for your business. Contact us and we can help you decide which solutions are the best fit for your needs.
How much does it cost?
Over the long-term, many companies are surprised to find that cloud computing actually costs them less. In addition, the fixed monthly or annual contracts common with cloud computing vendors typically result in easier to budget and manage technology expenses. Typically you’ll have agreements with multiple vendors – for instance, Microsoft (Office 365) for email and Office apps, and another for accounting or an industry-specific application.
Martin helped me assess my organization’s current technology capabilities. He asked simple questions that allowed me to identify what our needs were, then provided information on options to take us where we wanted to be within our budget. What sets Martin apart is his ability to take the complex world of technology and break it down into concepts a consumer can understand. He takes the time to understand your company’s current technology, how you want to use technology in your business, and what kind of investment you are ready to make today.
Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce
Community Foundation of North Central Washington is a small office full of non-techy people. For years we have struggled with our server setup and our desire to be a paperless office. Martin was able to look at our needs and give us a hassle free system that runs itself, costs less and has eliminated our server! We couldn’t be happier!
Martin has been proactively supporting all of our office technology for the past 5+ years. When we need immediate help, we can always count on him for a solution and when we need to plan for changes he provides options that fit our needs. Martin’s approach means I don’t have to worry about our technology; that’s a huge relief and allows me stay focused on real estate and managing my business.
Laura Mounter Real Estate
Martin is always proactively looking out for our IT needs and has helped us in the migration to cloud based management. He is very knowledgeable in this aspect of IT and is constantly looking out for our best interest, for the business, and for effective time management.
-Dr. Steven Koch and Dr. Jason Barnes,
Vision Source Wenatchee
As a full-service CPA firm, Cordell, Neher & Company, PLLC has a broad range of technology needs, all of which are critical in delivering high quality products to our clients. During his years as our Director of Information Technology, Martin proactively planned and provided support that made us confident our technology environment would run smoothly day-after-day. As our firm evolved, Martin was able to observe, listen and then recommend and implement cost-effective technology solutions that addressed our current challenges. Martin has an approach that allows him to effectively communicate and support users and clients irrespective of their own technology skills. We valued his insight and service approach and now recommend his services to clients without hesitation.
-Jeff Neher, CPA,
Cordell, Neher & Co., PLLC