In the back corner of most offices is a small, or sometimes large, dark room with a door that rarely opens. Majority of office workers don’t know what is behind these doors. They don’t really need to know and if they don’t look now they may never know.
Historically, Information Technology (IT) Managers working for numerous types of companies have been charged with the task of managing what lives behind those closed doors. Depending on the size of the company they either do this themselves or they manage an expensive team of people to do it. These are generally the only people in the company that know, and frankly care, what lives in these dark rooms. If an employee from another department, other than IT, would look in that room, they may not be sure what exactly it is they are looking at. There would be a very large “computer” like looking machine with enough blinking lights to compete with the runway at JFK International Airport. It’s a foreign object to them. What exactly is it there for? What does it do?
Most people go about their daily work routines and don’t even notice these rooms occupied by large machines. Or maybe it’s that they simply don’t care to know that these machines are absolutely essential to the everyday tasks they are expected to accomplish. These machines, are know as servers. Servers are mission critical to both the organization and its employees, whether they know it or not. These servers are the home for almost all technology used by the company. These servers make things like phone systems, emails and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software usable for all employees. I’m willing to guess that many of you reading this article have benefitted from these costly servers. As for the times they aren’t working, the thought of going home early almost certainly crosses your mind. These are the times that you really see what the IT team is there for. These are the times that you realize the IT department does much more than just ask you if “you made sure it was plugged in” when you tell them your mouse isn’t working. Of course, these essential components of an organization (servers, hardware, software, IT Staff, etc.) come at a cost. And not a cheap one.
Companies have been looking into how they can cut cost on server hardware, software and network infrastructure for many years. Luckily for business owners, shareholders and managers, the answer is here. It comes in cloud form.
Although “cloud computing” isn’t a completely new concept, there is still much uncertainty around it. In the simplest form, cloud computing means that data and information is being accessed using the internet and is not stored on a local network server or an individual computer(s). Even those that have been in technology space for a long time have many questions about the cloud. If it is not on our servers then where is it? How do I know we can keep our data safe? What happens if it rains? All of these are legitimate questions… with the exception of the last one, but believe it or not, I have been asked it before.
Whether you stand with your head in the cloud or you are still a little skeptical, there is one thing that is for certain. The cloud is here, it is growing, and it’s not going away.