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On Premises or Cloud Computing – continued

April 12, 2012 by Aaron Thomas
Information Systems

On Wednesday we discussed systems which in the right circumstance could be cloud based.  Today we will look at systems, which should stay on premise or be cautiously moved to the cloud.

“If I can’t access it for 24 hours, what will be the impact on my business?”

Many small businesses utilize a 3rd party for preparing payroll, which can be beneficial for many reasons.  For business which cannot outsource payroll due to complexity or cost, maintaining control over this data is paramount.  If your data is located remotely an Internet outage could prevent you from preparing pay checks for employees.  Additionally all the information needed to prepare payroll is the same information identity theives need to steal an identity.  Many times with cloud computing your data is comingled with other company’s data.  If your data is on premise you have a good idea who has access to it, and it can be protected.  If you data is in the cloud, you don’t know who has access to it, or necessarily where it is located.

Sometimes clients move accounting data or documents to the cloud to “save” on the expense of a server, because it is “safer”, or backup is included.  Generally speaking an on premise server properly configured at implementation will last 5-10 year.  Most of the time cloud solutions will only quote services for 3 year.  The reason for this is usually after 3 years, even with maintenance costs, it is cheaper to own a server than to host data in the cloud.  A good article explaining this was recently published in Accounting Today by Gene Marks – For Small Business, the rent in the cloud…  As for “safer”, if you don’t physically control the machine your data is on, how do you know it is safer or who has access.  There have been numerous examples of cloud hosts improperly backing up data, or not being able to restore data, since data is commingled.  This doesn’t mean that every cloud provider is unethical or not doing their due diligence.  What it does mean is that if you don’t have control, someone else does.  If that someone goes out of business tomorrow, or stops responding to you, where does that leave you?

When considering moving data or systems to the cloud, consider their criticalness.  Yes it is possible to have outages internally.  It is possible to have data breached internally.  The main difference with on-premise system is that someone who you can talk to is responsible for dealing with an issues.  With cloud outages it is easy for a provider not to communicate with you, and leave you in the dark.

To learn more about our cloud computing IT services, reach out to our team of technology consultants at Beyond IT Advisors.

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