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Perceptions – Losing Control of Your Data When Moving Into the Cloud

One of the most common and very relevant points brought up by potential pcCentral customers is the issue of control.  It’s a logical thought process and one that should be brought out into the open immediately.  Here’s the most common thinking and we see the points.

  • I have a server here in my office with my own harddrives.
  • I back up that data to the drive(s) itself then take a copy off site every week or so. (Maybe you’re more diligent but we find that most businesses are less strict with their back up schedules.)
  • I might use a file back up solution that takes folders I identify and copies them offsite into the cloud.
  • I don’t really have a server room but do have a closet where we have our equipment which serves its purpose.
  • I have security in place to ensure that outsiders don’t break in and see my data.
  • I use a local guy I know and trust to manage my hardware and network issues.
I have control.

So if I switch over to pcCentral or another cloud computing arrangement, and say those companies go out of business or “go down” for a couple days, I’m in a world of hurt and therefore have lost control. 

Consider the following alternative customer view when contemplating control.  I will put the following in the context of pcCentral’s world, i.e. a local provider with its own data center vs. piecing together globally disbursed resources that you the customer wouldn’t know about like using mail from one provider, storage from another, application hosting from another, etc.

  • I have many redundant servers with tremendous on demand computing power as well as limitless storage.  I have 30 full minutes of battery power and the building I’m in has a generator which will keep me humming even if the power fails.
  • My data is backed up 3x daily to redundant back up drives and that data is then backed up to tape and taken offsite at a set regular interval.
  • My data is backed up to the cloud but more importantly, my complete working environment is backed up meaning that my programs, connectivity to my printers and other hardware, etc. so if a computer dies, I go get another from any store and I’m back to productivity immediately.
  • I locate my data in an unmarked floor of a hardened building with multiple levels of  human and biometric security and fire suppression protection.
  • I have advanced security, firewalls, and encryption methods which ensure that outsiders cannot get into the data.  The data integrity/security meets HIPAA and more security specs to be released soon.
  • I use a local company to trust and manage my I.T. infrastructure and network in the cloud so I’m completely mobile, can access my windows work environment from any device including my ipad, have synchronization between my mobile phone and my outlook, and am no longer worried about “my network” inside the office.  One visit to the support website might help me help myself. If not, I can call an 888 number and speak with a human without a menu system.
Which has more “control”?

There is an idea that holds a lot of water in this cloud vs. local equation and that is, “what if you close your doors and I’m stuck with no way to get at my data.”  While pcCentral has been around a very long time as is very stable, I understand where this could be an issue of trust.  To address this, we’re working out an arrangement right now with an attorney to provide them with legal access to our data (your data) would there ever be a reason.  So, since we’ve been in the cloud and virtualization business for almost a decade, have a growing customer base, no debt, etc…it’s always best to address customer and future customer concerns head on.   Your comments are welcome.

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