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Options for Computing in the Cloud

There are many options for moving all or part of your computing operations to the cloud. The particular options chosen by each business is dependent of the particular needs of your business, the people working for the company, the current computing environment, and your competition. As with any major decision, the extent to migrate to cloud computing needs to be based on solid business reasons.  This post will discuss two of the more basic options - web site and backups and archives.

In many cases, your company's web site is an easy function to move the cloud. Web sites that do not directly access company databases can be hosted on a server with an external vendor. The external vendor provides all of the support services, including security, power, network connections, and server maintenance; freeing up existing staff for other company efforts. Hosting companies provide this service for a lot of clients and are typically able to provide a higher level of 24x7 service for less cost.

Web sites that directly access company databases can usually be partitioned into by extent of database access. Those partitions that need access can be hosted on company servers. Partitioning the web site functions provides the opportunity to increase security where it matters without incurring the additional overhead where there is less risk or potential loss.

There are several companies that provide backup and archive cloud support including big-name players such as IBM and Iron Mountain and newer companies such as IDrive and Barracuda. All provide remote storage of your backup or archive files. It can either be done as continuous backup of company-critical data or on a regular schedule. The advantage of using a cloud backup/archive service is business-continuity. In the case of a major disaster with your data-center (or server room), you can restore all of your data to new servers and be running in a day.

It is important to ensure that the data is protected when it leaves the company. This is done with encryption, both during transmission and while the data resides on remote servers. All of the leading companies in this area of cloud computing offer various levels of encryption and security services. It is important to choose the level that meets your needs and allows you the access to your data when you need it.