What is the cloud?

Did you know that you’re probably already using the cloud? If you use Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook, Twitter, photo sharing sites or online tax and financial software you are already using services in “the cloud”. But, what exactly is the cloud and how can it be used for business?

Basically, the cloud is a platform that delivers IT resources to consumers in a fundamentally different way than ever before. Programs, services and infrastructure are provided on an as needed basis, allowing organizations to use and pay for technology when you need it, as you would for gas or electricity. One of the most frequent questions we hear is “Where is the cloud actually located, is it hovering somewhere?” Although this whole technological revolution is termed “the cloud”, the data itself resides and has to be processed in a physical location. Here at Datotel, our secure cloud platform is located in our data center, a 30,000 square foot monitored, highly reliable and accessible data center. According to Ameren UE, the power feeding our facility (located in the historic St. Louis Globe Democrat building), has not had an outage in over 17 years.

So now that you’re seeing the possibilities of paying for technology as you need it, how can you make this work for your business? To start, you won’t have to worry about your technology; industry experts can now manage that infrastructure for you 24/7/365. Second, you’ve lowered your risk exposure and finally, the big benefit; you’ve lowered your total cost of IT ownership. This shift to the cloud allows you to focus on your business vs. the operational elements of IT. Think about it like this, in the 1800s, factories had their own, individual power plants to produce power to run the plant. Then, in the late 1800’s, Edison opened a commercially available power plant and invented the national grid system. Gradually, factories moved away from their individual power sources and converted to the commercially available system. The cloud revolution is very similar to this scenario that took place over 200 years ago.

VMware statistics show that average physical server utilization is less than 6 percent, in other words, most companies are leaving the vast majority of their assets unused. Now add up the additional expense of maintenance, power usage, people and replacing out-of-date technology every 36 months; paying for only what you use starts to make a lot of sense. The pay as you go model allows you to have scalable expenses for technology that match your revenue and growth streams.

Consider wanting to add on 50 new employees. Do you have enough storage, processing power, installation and maintenance capabilities to do all this in house? You would if you were working in the cloud. In minutes you would be able to add the emails for the additional users. No waiting, scheduling, appointments or service time needed.

So you’re ready to move to a pay for what you need, cloud solution- likely your next question is about security of your data and information. You’re not alone; a 2011 LinkedIn survey showed that 56% of business owners had concerns about the security of the cloud. Common concerns about the cloud involve the concept of a third party storing your critical data. It’s important to remember that regardless of where it’s stored, it’s your data. At Datotel, we work hand-in-hand with our customers to make sure that the appropriate levels of security are in place. In fact, we have a team devoted to compliance, governance and security protocol. But you don’t just have to take our word for it; we are also continually audited and verified by 3rd parties and are governed by SSAE 16 and other compliance regulations.

Whether your goals are to free up resources, improve redundancy, lower risk, become more flexible or lower costs; the bottom line is that moving to the cloud is the next big thing and it’s already changing the way our customers do business.

Ready to move your company to the cloud? Request a one-to-one information session or schedule a tour of our Downtown St. Louis data center —we look forward to hearing from you.

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