The “cloud’ is an extremely hot topic right now in many areas of IT and personal computing, but it means different things to different people, and it can do different things for different types of businesses.
One of the simplest concepts to understand and use is cloud storage. This is essentially just remote storage of your data, and you can get this service from Google, Amazon, Apple, Mozy, and any number of others.
But, is that really a business service, or just outsourced storage? Small businesses need data security and disaster recovery, included automated backup services, not just data storage. Many companies offer this service as well, but is that the whole story?
Imagine this scenario: You have a retail store with 4 POS terminals and a back office station. You have had a busy holiday season so far and you’ve done lots of account sales and loyalty transactions with your best customers. You have a backup service, so you assume you’re good to go.
But, a desperate criminal, possibly hurt by the long recession, breaks into your store. He finds empty cash drawers because you have good banking practices, but he sees value in your computer system and steals them all.
What good will your simple backup service do you now? You need help re-installing your point of sale application on your replacement computers, and you need help downloading your data. A simple backup of your files isn’t enough. Not by a long shot.
As noted here by Mark Webster: http://www.echannelline.com/usa/story.cfm?item=27328, retailers need to be thinking about more than just offsite backup. You need to have a disaster recovery plan, and you can use the cloud to store not only your data, but your mission critical applications and other necessary information. Or, pick a provider that will do it for you, and will give you the services you need, when you need them most.