“Cloud Computing” – Should You Start Doing Business in the Cloud?

Cloud computing has gained a tremendous amount of attention over the past several years. The cloud service industry is projected to reach $148.8 billion through 2014. So what does this mean to us, the professionals, as well as to our clients?

What are the benefits and risks and do we trust them with our data, and should we consider switching to a cloud environment.

The first item that we need to understand is that basically cloud computing is as if you are doing business on the Web, therefore eliminating most of your in-house technology infrastructure.  Instead of purchasing servers, software and applications to run our software, we use vendors that offer cloud products. Many of these vendors offer their applications on a leased subscription model instead of purchasing the components.

Is doing business in the “Cloud” worth making the switch and how safe is the data. There are several reasons one might switch:

Quick implementation of the process – applications can be up and running in just a matter of minutes because there is no installation process. Regular upgrades occur automatically without interruptions to your business.

Internet access – you can access the internet anywhere and your employees can work remotely.

Lower costs – you may not have to pay for the cost of hardware and the IT personnel to support the software. Vendors can offer their products at a lower cost since there are more customers sharing in the infrastructure. The vendor fronts the cost since it is responsible for maintaining the servers and software.

Backup capabilities – vendors have backup systems in a separate data center. You don’t have to remember to backup your data or hire an outside contractor to provide this service.

If you decide to switch to the “Cloud” environment do your research. Most vendors undergo an examination in which their systems are evaluated for different components. Also use a third-party monitor to test the reliability of the vendor’s Web applications such as McAfee Secure or AVG Internet Security. You want to know that your data is safe and secure in this environment.

Tom Scanlon has over thirty years experience in public accounting with an extensive background in the areas of financial, tax, and estate planning. He prides himself on providing in-depth and customized solutions to privately held businesses and their owners. He is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner®. Tom is a frequent speaker for area organizations and has  recently been quoted on CNBC, Fox 61 News and AARP's blog. Tom also has been a guest columnist for numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Money Magazine, The Hartford Courant, The Hartford Business Journal, and The New Haven Register. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Financial Planning Association. Active in the community, Tom supports a variety of not-for-profit organizations.

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