Technology is truly a modern wonder. We’ve gone from dial-up internet to the equivalent of a supercomputer that fits in your pocket in the span of three decades. What once seemed like something you’d only see in science fiction has become a reality.
Listening to people talking about technology these days often makes references to cloud services. It’s not weather-related; however, it’s the name given to the online storage systems that are becoming increasingly popular. To understand the cloud, viewing it more as a concept than an actual tool is best.
It begs the question, which is better? Having physical servers that hold all of an organization’s information in a physical location? Or using that space for something else and storing that information virtually in the cloud?
Some organizations will want to stay with their tried and tested traditional IT, and some may want to innovate and try a new way to implement their data and services. Which will work best depends solely on the organization.
What is the cloud?
Cloud computing cervices is a virtual server that is accessed over the internet. It includes the software and databases that run on those virtual servers.
This virtualization distributes the capabilities of a physical machine among many environments by connecting physical servers maintained by a services provider. Cloud infrastructure is a virtual data solution that enables businesses to access applications and information online, regardless of where they are in the world.
The modern application of cloud computing has been around since the mid-aughts and has steadily been growing and becoming more user-friendly and popular as time goes on.
What’s considered traditional IT?
Traditional IT is everything physical. That includes hardware, like external drives for storage of data and files, as well as software for the programs on the computer. Even the computer itself, be it a desktop to a laptop. Traditional services are the physical servers and systems that an organization will have on site. Facilities, data centers, servers, networking hardware, and enterprise application solutions are all part of the traditional model.
You’ll find a lot of businesses will have a ‘server room’ that can have a single computer to run the server or an entire wall of servers, wires, and more. The size of the business and what it does will depend on what sort of server system it will have and how much space it will take up.
How did it shift?
At the dawn of the new millennium, floppy disks were still considered a decent way to store information, and CDs were starting to make their way as the prime way to store software info. As technology advanced, floppy disks didn’t have the capacity for storage beyond a few Word documents, and while CDs had quite the heyday for downloading music and movies, eventually, even they were not enough.
USB drives, often called thumb drives, were small, compact, and had storage space so far beyond what their predecessors were capable of. While USB drives are still around today, they are starting to go by the wayside as new technology rises to take its place.
The thing is that most new computers aren’t made with certain drives anymore. You can’t buy a new laptop with a CD drive anymore, and USB ports are being phased out as a way to eliminate the bulk. So there are a lot of traditional techs that are going by way of the floppy disk.
Ultimately, technology is evolving. Just like we don’t store data on cassette tapes anymore, we don’t have to use hardware that can be lost or stolen or corrupted. The internet has revolutionized our day-to-day lives; it’s not that surprising that we’re using it to revolutionize the way we do business.
Traditional IT itself has evolved a lot since those halcyon days of the early 2000s, and cloud services is just a continuation of that evolution.
Is one better than the other?
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, as it really depends on the needs of your organization. If you’re an established business that has all the traditional IT infrastructure in place, you may not want to scrap it all and go completely virtual. It’s a case of if it’s not broken, why fix it? It’s something that may have to be considered in the long run, but knowing data is stored on-site adds a piece of mind for a lot of organizations.
With traditional IT, the organization has full control over their IT environment, they are able to access the data on their servers if there’s an internet outage, and they can customize their services to meet their needs.
On the other hand, if you’re starting a new business that doesn’t have—or need—the room for traditional servers, then going virtual could be your best bet. It’s considerably more cost-effective, which is a huge bonus if you’re starting out. It’s a much more flexible option, especially in a post-pandemic world that is embracing remote work. You can access company data from anywhere with an internet connection.
Is info safe stored on the internet?
You’ll often hear stories about some celebrity who had their cloud hacked and info stolen, but these instances are few and far between, as long as you properly protect your cloud servers.
Organizations should encrypt data before sending it to the cloud, use two-factor authentication for access, and use firewalls to prevent unauthorized access. As well they should also ensure to keep their systems up-to-date with the latest security patches and software updates. Cloud service providers take security very seriously since their livelihood is on the line if the security fails.
This isn’t much different from how it is for traditional IT; you still need to ensure your on-site servers are secure and data encrypted so it can’t be stolen. You still need to update systems and keep tabs on phishing scams and malware that can infect your system and cause your organization’s data to be stolen.
What are the downsides?
When it comes to the cloud, an internet connection is vital. If, for some reason, your internet service provider goes out for an extended period of time, you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to accessing your data. While you can get data off a physical hard drive without the internet, if the main power goes out, then you are out of luck as well.
Traditional IT is susceptible to human error and isn’t particularly accommodating to remote work. It doesn’t guarantee a consistently high-level server performance and can be a time drain when you have to physically upgrade the servers and manually upload software.
Cloud services gives users limited oversight; as it’s part of a larger network, there’s less control a business has. Organizations will also need to do a proper security risk assessment to see where their vulnerabilities are in order to prevent any data loss.
The way of the future
While for many folks of a certain age, it can feel like saving information to the cloud isn’t really saving it, for the younger generations, it’s become so common that any other way is inconceivable. Why keep stacks upon stacks of external hard drives that take up space when you could just send it to the cloud and access it anywhere?
While cloud computing may not completely eliminate traditional IT services any time soon, it’s something to consider when looking at updating your organization’s storage and server solutions. It’s become more popular as businesses and people use the internet in their day-to-day operations. For example, you may have noticed a lot of newer businesses without a cash register but using a tablet and contactless card reader. These do all their transactions over the internet, and this is just one-way cloud computing is making a name for itself.
Being able to access data from anywhere means businesses can be more innovative; taking resources directly to their clients where they work shows your business is willing to go the extra mile, which can mean better client retention. It can also help your business reputation; happy clients tell others about your services, bringing in more clients to help grow your business, all thanks to innovation.
Not having servers on location can also drastically reduce a business’s energy consumption, which means saving money on energy bills. Anything that can help an organization save money and the environment can’t be a bad thing.
IT solutions that work for you
Whether your business or organization uses traditional IT or cloud computing, we at Carpathia IT can help you get your system where it needs to be. If your traditional system needs maintenance or upgrading, or if you’re looking to move to internet-based servers, we will find the set-up that works best for your needs.
If you’re in the market for a quality IT service, call Carpathia IT at 236-361-9074, and we’ll do everything we can to help.