There has been a lot of discussion about cloud computing in recent years and major companies like Google and Microsoft are investing millions of dollars into competing for that space. At Colden Company Inc., we are often asked about the cloud and whether or not our clients should consider the move into a cloud environment. The answer to the question “is the cloud good for my business?” is, of course, “it depends”. It is important to review what line-of-business (LOB) applications that your business relies on and whether or not cloud options are available and an improvement over traditional on-premise applications. Obvious benefits to cloud solutions include improved business continuity, less upfront hardware expense, and fewer ongoing maintenance expenses, while downsides include reliance on a stable Internet connection for access to data and perhaps decreased performance of certain applications.
In general terms, we prefer our data files stored locally, but backed up to the cloud. This insures fastest access and the safety of having a backup in the cloud, protecting against a site-level disaster. We prefer our email in the cloud for reasons will we discuss shortly and we prefer to examine our LOB applications on a case-by-case basis. Let’s focus on email since we feel it is a great cloud application.
Cloud applications rely on Internet connectivity so having a solid connection is vital. In today’s mobile computing world, email comes not only to PCs and laptops but also to smart phones and tablets. These devices often use 3G or 4G connections which are really separate Internet connections than the office network, providing a layer of redundancy in case the office Internet goes down. Secondly, email is not an application that requires a 100% persistent connection and is not as large a bandwidth user as many LOB applications. These two points make email a natural fit for the cloud.
Many people think that cloud email will only offer a reduced feature set as was evidenced by Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access for many years. This is no longer the case. Microsoft Hosted Exchange, Office365, and Google Apps for Business offer fully functional and web-based feature sets compared to on-premise solutions. With both the Microsoft and Google offerings, you can even continue to seamlessly use your local Outlook client while realizing the benefits of the cloud. Reduced functionality is no longer a reason to stay out of the cloud.
Email is just so critical to business today that having the guaranteed up-time that many cloud services provide is a great way to ensure the reliability of this critical business tool. Google and Microsoft both commit to a Service Level Agreement (SLA) of greater than 99.9% for their business cloud offerings. Cloud email is secure and reliable, making it a great fit for such an important business tool.
Finally, no evaluation would be complete without considering costs. Studies have shown that cloud email has less up front cost and in many cases, lower long term costs for the business as a result of less maintenance and fewer lost hours in productivity. With a cloud-based solution for your email, expenses are stable and predictable – both very attractive traits to business owners.
Are you interested in hearing more about how your business can migrate its email to the cloud? Contact Colden Company Inc. at (888) 600-4560, firstname.lastname@example.org, see us on Facebook or Twitter @coldenco.