Debunking cloud myths

2012-09-04

SMBs can no longer let fear of the cloud prevent them from taking their business to the next level

For all of the hype surrounding cloud computing, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are still fearful of embracing the could. There are several legends masking the truth on how risky it actually is for SMBs to take on the cloud. Intermedia, a global leader in cloud services and the world’s largest Microsoft Exchange hosting provider, is debunking the top three cloud myths.

“Leveraging the cloud is a highly efficient and cost effective way for businesses to access the technologies and services that are critical to running a successful business in today’s global marketplace,” says Michael Gold, president, Intermedia. “Once small and medium-sized businesses move beyond the myths associated with the cloud, they can become more competitive through the Fortune 50 level IT services provided by cloud computing. Risk mitigation is critical for SMBs, and Intermedia delivers this reliability at a cost reduction of 50 to 70 percent from the traditional, on-premise model, delivering more secure, reliable, better supported and highly available technology services such as Exchange for email, SharePoint for document management, Hosted PBX for voice, and more.”

Myth No. 1: The Cloud is Not Secure

The most prevalent myth is that the cloud is not secure, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Business-grade cloud services are safe and datacenters are extremely secure. When comparing the cloud to the security of a typical SMB’s on-premise server, often kept in a basic closet or other unlocked and unprotected facility, cloud services are far less risky for your files and folders. When it comes to back-up, cloud-based solutions are a cost-effective option to keep important data securely stored in a location other than the office. When considering possible disasters such as a fire or flood, as well as break-ins, the cloud is a safe option for SMBs.

Managing servers and systems is more than just the physical control, it is also about ensuring data privacy and security, protecting critical data from theft, loss and corruption from such intrusions as spam and viruses, and providing back-up and recovery services. Through a secure, business-grade cloud, SMBs must receive cloud solutions with an array of security controls, including encryption, intrusion and malware detection systems, as well as utilization of redundant systems to back up primary resources in case of failure. These levels of protection will address the customer’s data privacy, security and compliance needs when transitioning their business communications to the cloud. In the case of Intermedia, the company develops and delivers many proprietary security services including Outlook Backup, Message Mirror, SpamStopper, VirusStopper and Mobile Device Management.

One way SMBs can find a cloud provider with a guaranteed security background is through the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). The CSA is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within cloud computing. As a corporate member of the CSA, Intermedia draws from a strong knowledge base to deliver best-in-class could services security.

Myth No. 2: The Cloud is Unreliable, Customer Service is Poor

With the argument the cloud is unreliable and offers poor customer service, the alternative is that not all clouds are created equal, and with premium services comes premium customer service. When evaluating the various cloud options, it’s important for businesses to understand there are discernible differences in each cloud service provider, and while most clouds are built to optimize costs, not all are built to deliver the specific requirements of businesses. There are reliable cloud service providers with live 24/7 help-desks. For example, Intermedia answers calls within 60 seconds, and has a financially-backed service level agreement of 99.999 percent uptime. SMBs should look for a vendor that treats each client as an individual, not a number, and also allows for customized solutions. With Intermedia, clients receive the user-friendly Host Pilot® Control Panel so making adjustments is as easy as the click of a button, even from mobile devices.

By seeking out 24/7 help desks and an industry-leading 99.999 percent financially backed service level agreements SMBs can trust their cloud provider is always available. At Intermedia, customer service is not just a “help desk,” but rather an elite and dedicated team of English-speaking, certified information experts. Also, the pursuit of 100 percent uptime is a passion for the engineers and architects. For the past 12 years, Intermedia has continuously analyzed historical operational experience to unearth insights for maintaining future performance. This level of availability is possible because of Microsoft Certified architects and engineers who have applied their deep expertise to Intermedia’s architecture, world-class datacenters and the Internet providers connecting Intermedia’s datacenters to the world.

Myth No. 3: Migrating Data is Difficult, Time Consuming and Costly

For an SMB, moving to the cloud can equal the cost of each day’s morning cup of coffee, so yes, it is affordable. When choosing a cloud service provider, it is important to select one that takes an active role in the migration process, with a network of trained, value-added resellers available. More efficiencies are created on the cloud with the integration of services. Without an integrated offering, businesses must go to a dozen or more providers that all have their own control panels and separate bills. An integrated offering allows access to all the products and services from a single control panel, with just one bill, and most importantly, one support team who can help across the board.

Cloud computing is not going away, and will be the key driver to help companies grow. To ensure success, SMBs need this IT backbone, and to take the necessary steps to maximize the cloud’s value for their business. As the leader in managing these issues critical to SMBs, Intermedia can help companies take their business to the next level.

To learn more about Intermedia, visit www.intermedia.net.

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