You know, in the past few months, I have written a lot of content around technical IT stuff.  A lot of it has to with Security of course, but a fair amount has to do with the Cloud as well.  Even as I attend networking events, and continue to write stuff about it, from time to time, I still keep getting asked by people, what exactly is the Cloud?

Truthfully, there are many ways to answer this.  It all of course depends upon the situation and the application the individual has in mind.  But very often, although deep down they know more specifically what they want to ask, it doesn’t come out that way.

So 9 out of 10 times I just tell them in plain English:  It’s another great way to obtain software applications for a more affordable price, or even back up your data more efficiently.

Or another way to answer this question is simply to say:  “Hey, do you use the Amazon Cloud or the iCloud??  Well that’s what the Cloud is all about!!!”.  Because of all this, I feel it is important to dedicate a couple of blog postings (maybe even more) sort of going over what the Cloud really is.  But before I jump into all of the technical geek talk, let us look at a simple example.

Suppose there is a small business, and they have all of their servers, databases and software applications stored right on the floor amidst their business operations.  This is actually known as an “On Premises” or an “On-Prem” solution.

True, there are some advantages to this.  First, the business owner has complete control over what is going on in their own IT environment.  Second, any changes that he or she wants to make can be done, with the cooperation of their IT staff.

But, despite these advantages, there is also the huge downside as well.  For example, by having an “On-Prem” solution, there are a lot of costs to be shouldered.  There are the costs which are associated with having to maintain and keep upgrading both the hardware and software platforms (as well as license renewals), and then there is the cost of having to pay their IT staff in order to make sure that all is running in optimal order, and any issues are resolved promptly.

But there is another huge cost as well:  that of Security.  For the business owner of today, there is a huge burden to make sure that their IT environment is as safe as it can be, but they are also responsible for the safeguarding of their customer data.

Not only that, but they have to ensure that the Security Policies are strictly followed by their employees, and that every wireless device which is used by them is always upgraded with the latest patches.

Finally, the business owner has to stay at the forefront (well, at least to some degree) of the threat environment.  He or she has to understand what is happening out there to see how it could potentially impact their business, and even their bottom line.  After all, any Cyber attack will not only tarnish the image and brand of the company, but more than likely, it will also mean lost revenue and market share, and worst of all, lost customers.

Is there an answer to these administrative nightmares-yes, by having the business owner move their entire IT environment to the Cloud.  To be continued next time, stay tuned!!!