Is the cloud for you?

Data Center Server Rack

Way back in the 1990’s Microsoft introduced the Small Business Server product. It is aimed, as the name implies, at small businesses. It has evolved over the years and is still a great product that offers an excellent value. But to address the businesses with fewer than 26 users, who wanted an entry level file storage solution with advanced security features. Microsoft has added the Small Business Server Essentials product to their lineup.

“The Cloud” is a term we are being absolutely bombarded with. It is a great term to describe the Internet. Things on the internet can be anywhere and it is tough to tell where or even what they are. Things come and go like the weather. “The Cloud” is also a very inaccurate term. I prefer the term hosted solution to describe cloud based applications. The internet requires some very substantial machinery to keep it going. There are huge buildings all over the world setup just for this. And every day the internet becomes much less like water vapor and more concrete and steel. Microsoft has contributed to a solidification of the internet by offering a service called Office 365.

Most businesses require a few things from their technology. They need to use it for communication. Communication can be email, text messaging, voice or even video conferencing. They use it for organization. Usually by the minding of their contacts and scheduling. They use it for running software to run their business like their accounting and billing applications. They use their computers to create and store their work product.

Right now, creating work product for the most part is best done with a computer on your desk, in your lap, or held in your hand. From there, where you store your work product depends on the size of it. Large files should be stored locally and smaller files can reside further away.

Where you run your company accounting and billing software really depends on what it is, and what you are doing with it. If you are in a single location using software that is not possible to integrate into an online version, then it runs on site. If you have a mobile workforce or many locations, it may make sense for it to be hosted on the internet.

Comunication is definitely changing at a lightning fast pace. As technology has progressed, it has gotten much more cost effective and practical to have hosted communication solutions. As almost everyone has some sort of email enabled phone, hosted email gets more and more attractive. As the prices of hosted solutions come down and features offered go up, they get more and more attractive.

Let me make something clear. If your internet is not reliable, you need an on premises solution. If your internet is reliable, hosted may be for you.

With the small business server essentials product, and Office 365, there is a very nice solution with high end features without a high end price. If you are under 25 users, it is a solution to check out. With this solution, your data, and line of business applications can reside in house and communications can reside in a hosted solution. It gives you features and functionality while reducing intial expense.

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