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Is Your Head in the Clouds?

    • 4 posts
    July 7, 2010 4:24 AM EDT

    IT Dreams is constantly on the forefront of technology examining different types of systems and services and like all things their come benefits and than come the negatives. It is at this juncture it is necessary for our clients and others to really weigh the options of Cloud Computing and what the ramifications are if something goes wrong and the cost of preventing something going wrong. 

    Recently Intuit the makers of Quick Books had a server outage that took down servers preventing customers from accessing such things as Intuits Merchant Services. During the outage you could not process credit cards through Quick Books for example and the outage lasted up to 36 hours for some customers. IT Dreams will not knock intuit here because server failures and major outages happen everyday every where but we just do not hear about them. Somewhere right now as your reading this there are servers crashing around the world because of power failures, natural disasters, hardware failures, software corruption and more. 

    If your business heavily relied on Intuits Credit Card Processing you had serious issues. There is nothing in the world worse than telling your customer. Sorry we can not process your order at this time because our servers are down. Now this is not to say that relying on 3rd party software and the cloud should not be done as we are in the modern age of computing but it really opens a huge hole in the business world and the IT world on the reliability of the cloud. 

    With companies like Microsoft pushing hard on cloud computing people and business alike are getting a false sense that the technology is reliable and fail proof. Microsoft is not going to advertise Cloud Computing and put a disclaimer stating that the Cloud Services provided may cause you great pain that you may not be able to overcome. Hey lets face it many of you that are reading this that probably think wireless technology is great and reliable. Manufacturers such as Netgear, D-Link and many more will never tell you in bold writing that wireless performance is not guaranteed, read the fine print. 

    I am sure all of you have lost your cell phone signal and your call was disconnected. Yet many people think that it supposed to perform just as if it was run over wires but it does not. To those of you who still have Land Lines, how many times can you remember talking to someone over the telephone via wires did that call get disconnected? In my life I recall one time and my service was out for 3 days. I am sure I have lost 100s of calls on my cell phone, so many I can not keep track. The moral of the story of course is don’t believe the hype. It is the evil sales man knocking on your door pushing what they want you to think is the next best greatest thing you can not live with out. 

    The cloud is open game for anyone who wants to use it, abuse it and exploit it if they want. Security exists to help encapsulate data and protect it from being intercepted, read, and used in an improper way and more. This does not mean though you are completely safe. This does not mean that some future hacker is not right now planning on making a name for him/her to somehow bring the internet down or to a crawl. Why not? It has been done before. 

    The reality is that we only have control over our own internal structures and can not control external forces. If you are relying on cloud computing for any part of your critical business functions have you looked at your operations and analyzed what would happen if the cloud evaporated? 

    Here are some critical questions IT Dreams believes you should ask: 

    1) What systems are relying on an internet connection?
    2) What systems relying on an internet connection are controlled by 3rd parties?
    3) What sort of backup plan (not backup of data) do we have if we loose a critical service?
    4) What will happen to business if we lose one or more critical services supplied to us over the internet.
    5) Do we have a plan on how to conduct business with out these systems, is it possible?
    6) Internally are we relying on one internet connection or do we have fail over internet connections.
    7) Do our phone systems fail back over to analog or are we completely digital. 

    The cloud is here and it is here to stay but before you go jumping into completely relying on the cloud for your business keep this in mind there are three Major Cloud-Only service providers and they are Salesforce, Amazon and Google. 

    The best advice IT Dreams has for you is to be prepared, do not just jump into the clouds with out a parachute and make sure you have two rip cords because its never the fall that will kill you but the sudden stop when you crash. 

    IT Dreams is a full service technology solution provider to Small Business and Small Office Home Office customer. 

    If you have any comments or questions contact IT Dreams directly @ info@it-dreamz.com 

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