SAAS (Software as a Service) sales are ramping up hard. If you are a professional, I'm sure you've had more than one visit or phone call recently from someone promising to make your technology headaches go away with the promise of the cloud. There's a solution for everything, from Electronic Medical Records to Practice Management, Online Ordering, Compliance and everything in between.
And the best thing about that magical place they call the cloud? You get to transition your technology expenditures from a Capex (Capital Expenditure, you pay up front) model to an Opex (Operational Expenditure, you pay as you go) model, meaning no more multi-thousand dollar up-front tech costs, just a steady, predictable monthly bill. It all sounds too good to be true, but is it?
What Is the Cloud?
In the physical sense, the cloud is a big building filled with racks full of trays, each tray containing the guts of a PC, all connected by network cables. Some trays contain motherboards connected to hard disks which together form the elastic storage arrays that hold your data. Why bare circuit boards in trays? At this scale, you can't waste money or space on metal cases.
On top of all these thousands of computers is the software layer that aggregates the vast processing power and storage capacity into usable virtual machines, or server instances, that are usable by the companies that provide software and services to you. The software is the key. It's what allows storage volumes to span multiple drives, able to be resized and reconfigured on the fly - the elasticity of the cloud.
What I described is what forms the infrastructure that drives the cloud, but the cloud is really a concept. The concept of processing or storing data in an off-premise data center that is equally accessible from two or more locations. True cloud solutions put your software and data in a logistically neutral location, meaning the barriers to accessing the system from your local office are gone. You are just as close to your software and data at at home, at the airport or 1000 miles away. The flip side is that you're just as far from your data at your office as you are at home or anywhere else.
You Lost Me at Virtual Machine
What you need to understand is that The Cloud is a buzzword, just like AI. It's like a hashtag gone viral and software companies have figured out that a healthy sprinkling of Cloud (and the right pricing model) sells software. Salespeople use the term Cloud even if their solution has nothing to do with the cloud.
Cloud-based and cloud-infused solutions can be very, very beneficial to your bottom line, but you MUST know what you're getting into. Salespeople are trained to say Yes. Can you filter through the razzle-dazzle and find the truth?
Like everything in life, the cloud is what you make of it. It's one tool in the technology arsenal and it's usefulness to you depends on the right implementation. You have to make sure you're getting the right solution and at the right price. If you're busy building and growing your business, this can be an overwhelming task.
We have partnered with a local IT firm to help our friends and clients make sense of cloud-based solutions in this new web-based world. We are here, we care about your success and we will work together in your best interest. If you have questions about the cloud or need help figuring out the best solution for your business, get in touch and we would be glad to help.