I just got an email from Microsoft this morning advertising their new Office 365 product… the Microsoft Office version that’s “in the cloud”.
I will choose not to sign up for it, and retain my desktop version isntead. Here is why:
“The Cloud” is just a neat buzz word for … “letting someone else have complete control over your data on a server somewhere that requires internet access to get at it, and over which you have ZERO control”.
For all the consternation over security and hacking these days, I don’t understand why any company or individual would want to move all their critical data OFF their computers and networks back OUT to what is essentially a re-packaged idea that was the only way to do computing 40 years ago… the mainframe.
I barely experienced the mainframe personally… with a little Nexus Lexus at my university library, but in my professional opinion (I keep having to remind my mother… this is what I do for a living Mom!) moving your mission critical OUT of your control into a place that requires an internet connection to get to it, is a BAD idea.
Why do VPN’s exist? VPN (virtual private network) is a technology that came about so that remote workers could access their corporate networks through the internet through a secure tunnel, which apparently shielded them from prying eyes (hackers) or other threats related to doing sensitive things on the internet, like banking, accounting, project management etc. etc. This came about because of the internet and public wifi’s… because these options for doing business are less secure than being safely inside your own corporate network behind a firewall. Imagine if everyone in your company and I mean everyone had to sit in a cafe and use the cafe’s wifi to get to your accounting apps, timesheets, crm etc. to do business. That’s essentially what you’re doing by moving your stuff out into “the cloud”.
So why would any rational thinking human want to move back out to a less secure architecture?
The pro argument for “the cloud” is two fold:
1. If you’re a small company the expenses of acquiring hardware, installing software, maintaining and supporting it can make it difficult if not impossible to have access to the more powerful ERP systems. Thus, having a hosted solution or a cloud solution where someone else takes care of that expense (not to mention hiring the IT staff necessary to maintain the framework) is an attractive idea.
2. In a cloud environment, scaling up to a larger hardware set (number of servers) is easy if the cloud gives you that capability… this is great for high-traffic websites or biz apps that have bursts of bandwidth need at peak times but then scale down on average… meaning the cloud supposedly gives you an average cost rate that reflects your actual useage instead of having to buy to accommodate the maximum load.
However, the cons far out weight the pros for me. Especially in the case of Office 365 (or any ERP app as well)… I don’t want to HAVE to have internet access to get to my resume to update it… or to any other office document for that matter… read spreadsheets, any word doc, pictures, slide shows, email etc. etc.
Same goes for mission critical business apps… letting someone else manage your servers and software for your mission critical business functions does not seem like a good idea to me… and requiring internet connectivity to run your business same.
Can you imagine if you’re trying to print payroll checks on Friday and for some reason the “cloud” accounting system you’re using is not accessible because Comcast or whoever supplies your internet pipe is having POP issues that day? If you enjoy the idea of being the captain on the Bounty… then go for it.
As for me, I’ll pass.
If you want to know my idea about other ways to solve the issues in 1 and 2 above, the pro reasons for “the cloud” then comment below or contact me in some way.