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Cloud Computing – Bullet Proofing Your Business Model

Bullet Proofing  Your Business

It’s 3:00Am on Sunday morning, the phone call startles you awake.  “Mr. Jones?  This is Deputy Starr down at police HQ, I’m sorry to inform you your business burnt to the ground, you’d better get down here sir…”

Click.

Now what?

Well, with proper BC/DR planning, you’ll grab your BC/DR plan from the safety of your shared file server out on the internet and start the process of assuring your business will survive.

Because you see the vast majority of businesses that fail to plan for this sort of data loss, do fail if they experience a major data disruption.  They go out of business within the next 12 to 24 months.  They never recover.

Tragically, the more they rely on technological assets to run efficiently, the stronger the chance that a total or near total data loss will simply wipe them out – POOF – GONE!

Do not pass GO, do not look back, you’ll be torpedoed below the water line, slowly sinking — there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it, unless you have a plan.

So here we go.

What is Cloud Computing?

Basically there are a whole host of #hanikesh platforms and services.  We’ll stick with two I’d say are the most basic and important “Software As A Service” (SAAS) and “Communications As A Service” (CAAS).

These two types of services are generally paid monthly as you use them, kind of like phone service, or perhaps an internet subscription to e-mail or other services.  These services are provided by SAAS companies, sometimes thought of as SAAS software.  In the case of CAAS, many internet phone services options exist.

The only difference here from how we currently operate is we are doing basic mission critical business functions like using our Customer Relationship Management system (SAAS CRM), or maybe SAAS ERP over the internet.  In the case of CAAS, it might be phone equipment, e-mail or Instant Messaging applications over the internet from an internet telephony service provider (ITSP)

Whatever the service, it will be accessible from our place of business over the internet, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, because it IS on the internet.  We don’t need anything but a basic PC or browser to get to it, and if our place is burnt down like poor Mr. Jones above, then we’re still basically OK (except no cloud coffee in the morning, you’ll have to get a new coffee maker – OK?)

We may lack a postage machine, a PC and all our family pictures along with some of those local applications we use for our business, but at least we still have our basic customer and prospect data, can send e-mail and make phone calls.  Oh and do the books, that’s kinda important — yes?

Ummm, and by the way, all that other stuff can be virtualized as well, right down to the postage, we can make it so that your PC desktop itself is on the cloud, and you don’t even need a PC at your desk, just a “dumb terminal” to get to the internet (dumb terminals are cheaper to buy and operate, plus they don’t get spam and virus’ and so forth because they are, well, they’re dumb!)

Why Keep It In the Cloud?.

Because it’s safe.  Just like a baby needs to be cuddled and nestled in it’s mothers arms, our data likes to be on a virtualized server, in a class 5 data bunker where the lights never go out and it’s always 68.5 degrees with 50% humidity, where the worse of worst hurricanes create only a whisper.

Our data also likes to know that when it’s needed (data like a customers contact info, an important Word document or the ability to make or receive phone calls) that even if our class 5 bunker takes a hit from an airplane crash, all systems switch automatically to another bunker at least 500 miles away, and we never miss a beat.

Because you see the very essence of cloud based computing is SAFETY, EASE OF USE, REDUNDANCY, SCALABILITY and ENHANCED FUNCTIONALITY these are things we get essentially for free if we choose our provider carefully.  They are also something only the largest businesses could ever assure themselves due to incredible upfront and recurring equipment costs, so leverage this to your BC/DR advantage!

You see with cloud computing, we can skip back-ups, worrying about buying and maintaining file and e-mail servers, and all that stuff.  We push all this into the cloud (like Wow, man, the cloud…) and just have PCs, maybe dumb terminals and an IP phone handset on our desk.  We can walk away with our lap top, or go to the library and get at our data from any browser and make phone calls using a softphone (not in the library, we can’t make phone calls – shhh…)

Preparing for ArmageddonAKA I don’t care if the sun don’t shine no more

Step One

If you’re a small or mid sized business, get with your insurance agent, use them as a resource and make them responsible for helping with your plan.  Make sure you not only have various available insurance coverage (especially business continuity) but start to draft a plan.  Many BC/DR templates are available on the Internet, spend the time to do your homework.

This plan should include off site data back-ups at the very minimum, there are dozens of good cloud based back-up service.

Even better, let’s assure a disaster doesn’t require a data restoration (a long and arduous process, requiring new equipment and so forth) from back-up with a fundamental shift to cloud computing.  Options include all sorts of software applications and let’s perhaps add Communications as a Service (CAAS) like hosted PBX, a type of VoIP Internet Phone services.

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