People ask us about “the cloud” all the time. How do you define it? How can we use it in our small business?
Since the World Wide Web went live in 1991 “onsite” IT resources have been emigrating to the internet. It started with something as basic as an internet-attached server that stored and sent a document across the Atlantic ocean—the first IT resources accessed remotely from a Web browser rather than an IT person or file server on the corporate network. From that moment over 20 years ago the destiny of IT was put into motion. Today the Web is a planetary IT staff for anyone with a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Think of the cloud as Web-based IT resources.
Today there are 900+ million members of Facebook and each member has in-essence a personal IT staff taking care of things that once required a whole onsite organization: backup, storage, security, anti-virus, anti-spam, application, and server maintenance. Individuals with smartphones now wield as much IT power as big corporations. Facebook is only one example of how the cloud is reordering the universe. What does that mean for IT strategy in general?
IT strategy for small business is getting real simple—keep the internet up and make it fast. The Web is now so strategic to business operations that no one can afford to be down for even a few minutes. That means you need business-class internet communications. A second internet connection and a bullet-proof router capable of failover and load-balancing are now must-haves for just about every small business. Once these things are in place you can use the cloud and social for business. Most small businesses today have consumer-class internet communications infrastructure and will experience mounting frustration when they try simple cloud services like backup or attempt to leverage social technologies for business.
The cloud is also transforming the end-user computing footprint. The age of the desktop computer is long gone and laptops feel heavier every day. Tablets and smartphones are the quantum foam signalling the complete emigration of traditional IT to the cloud. Amazon and Apple have already upended computing with the Kindle and iPad but Google is promoting it’s own vision for all-in cloud computing that could radically reduce IT spend (see link below). The upshot of these developments is the empowerment of billions of individuals to connect, interact, and engage in business anytime anyplace all over the planet. Business as well as personal relationships will increasingly be forged and maintained through the use of evolving “social” technologies residing in the cloud.
As the cloud becomes IT is “social” destiny’s child?
Google has something to say about IT…
The Chromebook’s New Ambition