I always worry when someone wants to push something and there are so many people wanting to sell the products. All “good” things that are being pushed and pushed by marvelous claims remind me of PPI, extended Warranties and other Scams. I am a victim of the Lehman brothers, Endowment Mortgages and a Pension, so I am sceptical.
After a lot of investigation here is the offical cmx business computing view on Cloud computing.
If you are either so poor that you can only afford monthly payments or are really rolling in cash, travel the world, don’t care if you lose information and get data corrupted and you have fantastic Internet then its a good thing.
There are currently two options in computing; either own your own equipment, look after your data or don’t. It’s exactly the same reasoning that you would use to either own your own car or just use taxi’s.
Let me explain but first you need to know what the “cloud” is
Theres a simple answer, “when you store your information or use programs over the Internet on someone else’s computer and you use the Internet to access it.”
Is it any good? Yes, No, maybe so – like everything else it depends. Lets put it in simple terms. You can buy your own car, service it, tax it, store it, clean it, insure it, fuel it, drive it and finally replace it or use a Taxi where you pay for usage. The car will cost you 0.25p a mile and a taxi around £2 a mile. So why don’t we all rush out and use a Taxi, tell you the truth Having now written this paragraph I don’t know the answer, however, I won’t be getting rid of my car anytime soon, I just won’t and I am not even going to do a cost comparison.
What does the cloud do for me?
We need to look at what the cloud is and I am going to split the answer in to two simple items. Information and programs.
Your information is your data, facts, figures, documents, diaries, emails, photos, in fact anything you put on the Internet. The programs can be a simple task list or mail on Google which are free, or a paid for product such as Microsoft office 365. This is also known in the jargon as SaaS or Software as a Service.
Its all stored stored elsewhere, it might be free for a small amount but if there is a lot of it then you will pay to keep it there. It’s like self storage, you have to go there to get to your property or look at it and the bigger the storage the more you pay.
Its the same with the cloud, its somewhere else so you need to have access to a computer and a connection over the internet. It does have an advantage though, wherever you go if there is an internet connection you can use your stuff, and you can let others use it too.
Is it a good thing?
As with everything there are good and bad sides and it’s all designed to confuse probably for your disadvantage.
There is always an ulterior motive. Google provides free applications with the hope that you will take on Chrome and next time you want a laptop then you will buy a Google Chrome computer to go with your Android phone. More turnover for them. Everyone else charges so much a month, just take that figure and multiply by 60. That’s what it will cost over five years, now find out how much to buy and you will see my point. With Office its £10.10 a month thats £606 over five years. The program costs £169 to buy a license for.
So cost wise, it may appear attractive but Microsoft know how often you change your software.
Why go in the cloud?
There are only three reasons, cost, security and accessibility.
Basically you are paying each month and not an up-front payment for five years.
You can never buy cheaper and get better and when was buying the cheapest the best reason anyway. Well, well, the cloud isn’t cheaper anyway. You will still need your own computer and over a five year period the software will cost you a fortune and the more you store the more you pay. The average business has 250 Gb of storage.
Item Cost over 1 year Cost for five years
Own Office Licence £169.00
Office 365 (Cloud) £121.10 £606.00
25Gb storage (Cloud) £513.00 £2,565.00
250Gb Storage (Cloud) £2,508.00 £12,540.00
Privacy & security
In all honesty your own system is quite private and secure, nearly every broadband has an acceptable firewall, that provides some protection as does even the most basic anti-virus.
When you sign up to put your information on the internet you are handing over to someone more likely to be hacked and you don’t have a clue if they have better security than you, as for privacy then everything out there is available to anyone determined enough to want it. Recently a data storer advised every single user to change their password as a precaution, yes of course it was a precaution – not? What about the data left on the disks when old ones are thrown away?
It can all still become a victim of theft, fire vandalism etc. The other downside is that its a single generation copy. In other words if you have a corruption on your Sage accounts then it might be the only backup with the same problem.
As we have said before you can access and share your data with everyone no matter were you are. There are other ways of doing this, All business computers come with RDP, you just set this up and you can access your computer wherever you are, or if you need to spend money then use Logmein or GoToMyPC.
Anything else that can go wrong?
The down side is Internet speed, to use the cloud you need a reasonable Internet service. There are two speeds, upload and download, When you send a query to Google such as “who is who at cmx computers” You send about 30 characters what you get back is about 2,000 characters. Upload is slower than download. Upload is about 0.6Mb and download is between 1 and 60Mb. This means when you send your data there it takes 33 Seconds for a 10Mb picture but to receive it takes between 5 and .01 seconds.
Imagine you are backing up and retrieving 1Gb a day. That’s 28 minutes depending what time and how many home users you are sharing with.
If you have less than 4Mb of internet then forget it – thats actual speed, not what was sold to you.
So you need to consider the down side of privacy, cost, speed, accuracy and lastly a question that only you can answer. Do you want your information in the hands of someone else?
Anything good about the cloud
Now the upside; You will always have the latest software, you don’t have to worry about holding data or programs on your own machine. This can be the big decider for many users, you can use a smaller less capable device and you can use anything anywhere. You can use your phone, tablet, net-book, laptop to access your files and use your programs.Conclusion
At the end of the day the cloud is not ideal for everyone for many reasons, dealers like ourselves find it a revenue stealer but it also makes it hassle free, so if cmx was as big as Dell and I wanted to cut costs I would sell computers with Cloud built in and then pass any problems to someone else.
You pays your money and takes your choice. With the cloud you keep on paying and paying, but its a slow continual payout which will frighten you when you add it up.
My conclusion is that the assumption about the cloud being good asre only valid if privacy, security, cost, immediacy & control of ones IT are not important to you.
Not in my world however, how about in yours?