Cloud. Such a simple word...so why is it so scary?
"Cloud" used to be a happy word which conjured up images of puffy white balls floating in the summer sky… yet now it can create immediate fear and confusion with it’s one ominous syllable.
Next time you’re in a group of people, say “the cloud,” and you will get a repulsed response of uncomfortable grimaces and disgusted shudders. Take it a step further and suggest they look into cloud services… and you will see grown men running for the nearest exit.
What IS this mysterious thing we call THE CLOUD? Where did it come from? And for goodness’ sake, how has it permeated every area of our life?
Well, knowledge is power, my friends. We can now return to the land of grown-ups and stop letting the fear of this unknown entity confuse and scare us like the monster that was living under our childhood bed.
First of all, the cloud isn’t some fancy new gadget, technology, or computer language that you need to learn. It is simply a new label for technologies and services that have been around for a long time and you’re probably already familiar with. The only difference now is that these technologies and services are becoming more readily available and widely used. Anytime something is “cloud,” it really just means that you are outsourcing. This breaks down into two components:
- It's there... not here. Cloud simply means the action is being handled at a different location.
Example: Cloud phone systems. Where we used to have a switch board and physical equipment in an office building, we can now have all that equipment sitting somewhere else…. taking up their closet space and not ours.
- It's a service... not equipment. Cloud is a service…this means you no longer need a specific piece of equipment to accomplish the task- now you are delegating that responsibility to someone else’s equipment. Why buy your own when you can use theirs? (And theirs is probably a lot better than yours. Sorry, but it’s true.)
Example: Cloud data storage. No longer do you need to take out a loan to buy flash drives, external hard drives, servers, etc. to store all your data. Now you can pay someone else to do it for you. Yes, there is still a real piece of equipment holding all your data. It just isn’t in YOUR closet anymore.
So, what does all this cloud outsourcing mean for you and your business? Congratulations, because it means you just got an upgrade. Your options have been expanded in several ways:
- Cloud converts capital expenses into operating expenses.
- Cloud frees your staff to do other things.
- Cloud removes the junk from your closet and lets you repurpose space or downsize.
If you are a small company, this means you can have the same abilities as the big guys without having to purchase, house, and maintain the big boys’ toys. For a recurring fee, you now have access to things you may not have ever been able to own outright. You also have these fancy abilities without having to hire and pay the fancy staff.
If you are a large company, you now have freed up capital for higher yield investments, and have freed up office real estate for better uses. Hooray! It gets better. Not only do you now have more space and money to work with, now you also have more manpower: gone are the endless hours your internal staff spent maintaining equipment and infrastructure. Now they are free to focus on strategic initiatives necessary to your business. After all, that’s what you hired them for, right?
See? The cloud isn’t so scary after all.
So next time you hear “…the cloud…” whispered in dark corners by frightened CEOs, you can breathe a sigh of relief because you are no longer held hostage to that fear.
Instead, just smile smugly because you understand the cloud and what it is.
That’s not where this story ends, however. This is where the story gets really interesting, because this is where knowledge turns to power. You see, now that you know the nature of the beast… well, now it’s time to see how to make that beast work for you. Let’s harness this energy and let it propel your business forward.
Click below to learn more about moving your phone system to the cloud.