Cloud Services and Support

Don’t get lost in the clouds.  We’ll navigate for you.

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Using the Cloud for your back-up?  Think twice and have a redundancy plan.  Unless your backing up to a local server (some local company you can call for service) the issue with all these big cloud methods is that you really need to think through exactly how you’ll use these backups going forward.  Will you be able to track what’s going on?  Do you even have a clue where the ‘cloud’ is?  Do they? how will you maintain some sort of independence from that provider? I think you need to look at it in detail and say, “If I back up to one provider, how can I move that to another?” Those are probably the more sensible questions to be thinking of as you try and add this to your existing backup regime. – Andy Pizer, Millennium Group

Cloud backup is a very valuable addition to most data protection strategies, and it’s no longer limited to small businesses. But cloud backup providers need to face the realities of Internet bandwidth and provide their customers with a way to perform bulk transfer of data for both backup and recovery. If you are backing up your data in the clouds you need to ask how long and how much it will cost to get your data back if something goes wrong.  Data recovery in the Cloud can be a long, arduous and frustrating tasks- with no promises or personal service along the way.  Let the Millennium Group be your cloud. You can actually speak with us and we know how to assist in an emergency.

Let us be your pilot and steer you through the cloud. From VoIP telephony, spam filtering, web hosting, data backup and emails, we achieve your goals and land you safely.

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. You no longer have to buy all the hardware and software required to do a job. Now you can share resources, software and information on any device over the internet.

Beware. Privacy and trust must be navigated. We can help.

We don’t want you to blindly buy into all the hype.  There is a serious concern, despite the rapid growth and money in the industry.  So if you have a salesman or computer company pushing cloud services on you, please call us.  We promise to be candid.

Let these words from Raymond Gozzi’s, THE METAPHOR OF CLOUD COMPUTING, published in 2010 provide you a useful framework.  They still hold true today.

Every now and again a metaphor floats up from the world of computing that captures people’s imaginations and tongues. In the ’90s, it was the “information superhighway.” In the late OOs, it is “cloud computing.”

 

Cloud computing involves sending your computing tasks away from your computer, to a cloud of computers that will send back results. Or perhaps the cloud will house applications, so you do not need to have them on your computer. Maybe the cloud will provide a complete platform for groups of applications. Whatever it is, you are sending your information off into the cloud.

 

There are even wars shaping up between clouds run by different companies. Apple will sponsor a cloud; so will Microsoft. Amazon’s cloud is up and running, along with a number of smaller companies’ clouds for specialized business applications.

 

The cloud looks inviting for information technology officers at large corporations, because all their work can be outsourced to the cloud. The corporation will not need to buy or license software; instead, they can use the software in the cloud and just pay for time used. They will also not need to store vast amounts of data in their own systems; the cloud will do it for them.

 

So what exactly is this cloud? It is a datacenter: a building or set of buildings full of computers which are always on, always connected. Discussions of cloud computing don’t publicly include much information about these datacenters, but I have been curious about them. To me they seem to have two very large problems.

 

First, these datacenters are vulnerable. Recently, a cloud lost data belonging to users of Sidewinder cell phones, prompting some public discussion about the wisdom of putting your company’s data on the cloud, where it is out of your control. It seems to me a datacenter, or group of datacenters, would be inviting targets for logic bombs or for real bombs.

 

Second, these datacenters must eat up an incredible amount of electric energy. This has been an area I have not been able to get a lot of information about. Nobody seems to want to talk much about it. But datacenters must be huge energy hogs. One datacenter which is being built in Oregon will use as much energy as the entire city of Tacoma, Washington.

This concerns me because computers have been sold for years as a path toward a more efficient and energy conserving economy and society. Hightech companies were supposed to reduce pollution and be greener in various ways. But the clouds work against that. The clouds, in fact, look like a retreat back into the older industrial ways of doing things.

 

So the cloud metaphor sounds nice, light, fluffy, weightless. But cloud computing actually looks quite dark and heavy when you get down to the details.

Cloud computing Risks

The cloud –cheap and hassle free, or so the marketing hype would have you believe. However, there are serious perils that the cloud can pose.

  • Critical business data at risk – The main problem with the cloud is the overall security of their data. Putting information into services that are accessible over the public internet means that criminals have a potential gold mine of targets. Read the news to know that there are too many of incidents where cybercriminals have hacked into systems and taken data.
  • The cloud does not provide easy and quick access to people on the ground if things go wrong. It’s great having access to an online helpdesk, but what if the Wi-Fi has gone down? If you use the cloud, use a local service and people you know and trust to assist you.
  • Automatic updates enforce change and if you don’t want the update, well, too bad.
  • Cost-saving benefits disappear as demand grows – Don’t count on it being cheaper unless you can negotiate with a trusted local provider.
  • Your data is out of reach. When using the cloud, the results can be horrendous.  If your network goes down, just try and connect to your big vender in the clouds.  Good luck.
  • If your cloud vender suffers an outage (and they do), you’re left high and dry. Major outages have hit all the big providers, ranging from Microsoft to Google and Amazon Web Services.
  • US government can see it all, with the right warrant. The Patriot Act took your privacy.  If you want cloud services- again, consider a local company that can respond rapidly and carefully.
  • Don’t get tied to the cloud. Once a firm has gone down this route, it’s very costly to turn your back on the cloud and bring systems back in-house again.  Work with a local and trustworthy vender who will know your business and cares about it.
  • The cloud could make information, such as sharing links for documents on popular services Dropbox and Box, accessible to unintended third parties. Do you want to take the risk of your tax returns, bank records, mortgage applications, blueprints and business plans available to a stranger?

The Cloud is not always nice and fluffy.

Call 970-663-1200 for help.