While not every office can throw away their server and still function smoothly, it is true that many small and medium-sized offices no longer need the extra expense of a server. Cloud computing has advanced to a level that many offices work even better in the cloud environment.
The Cloud went through a few growing pains in the early stages of its development, but these have been eliminated. Most data centers are now PCI compliant, ensuring they are even more secure than your building or office.
They use biometrics and background checks to protect their users from theft. You can even encrypt your data BEFORE you upload it, so that even the data center personnel can't read it.
They have worked to provide a reliable, always on guarantee, so you don't have to worry about not being able to access your data. Also, when using the Cloud, you don't have to suffer downtime or the drudgery of slow connections due to a failed VPN. Each person's connection is always as fast as their Internet speed. Now, all your remote locations and home offices can be connected and share data without the hardware, expense and frustration you are used to dealing with.
Managers love the easy budgetability of knowing how much their IT expenses will be every month. You pay a small monthly fee for what you actually use, and the system is easily scalable as your business grows. You get a private control panel that allows you to add email accounts and other services as needed. You can increase or downsize your account as needed.
How much is a "small monthly fee?" Most small offices can use all the services below combined for less than $100 a month.
Email in the Cloud
Now, with Hosted Exchange, or better yet, Hybrid Exchange, you can get all the functionality you love out of Outlook, without the huge price tag. You can share contacts, calendars, tasks, get push notifications to your phone. With Hybrid Exchange, you can lower your monthly cost by using Hosted Exchange for key employees who need the extra functionality, and Hosted Email for those who don't. This is a first! Previously, everyone had to use the same system. You can set the mail up on all your devices and always have the current information with the new sync technology.
Collaboration in the Cloud
There are two options here. You can go with Hosted SharePoint or CloudFiles. Both of these offer anytime, anywhere access (even on your phone), but each has specific features based on different needs.
With SharePoint, you can integrate your changes and updates with Outlook, set access rights to individual files, utilize versioning (so you see a trail of changes to each document) and have a private web portal you can use for private company news, updates and discussions.
CloudFiles also offers individual access rights on files, and versioning, but it adds the ability to have more than one person using a document at a time. It does not have the customizable access portal. It has a log in screen and then directories and files listed.
You have two options here, as well. There is the QuickBooks Online, provided by Intuit, and there is the regular desktop version you are used to, with the data stored in the cloud.
- no loud servers
- no email server nightmares
- no expensive hardware or software upgrades
- no expensive IT charges
Instead, you get:
- a greener footprint
- easy, secure access to all your data anywhere, any time, on any device
- integration is a dream!
- always the latest technology
With all these options, the server has become obsolete in many offices. Contact us if we can help in any way.