In the early days, companies had “dumb terminals” for data access and applications. These terminals were located on servers in the huge computer facilities of just a very few companies. They didn’t own the software themselves but leased it from these companies. Then came the Personal Computer, and now almost every company can afford an internal networking system.
Today a company’s data and the programs that access it are under the physical control of the companies themselves. Most companies I have dealt with like this arrangement, especially because the business data that resides in your business applications is your asset and may contain proprietary information.
The latest buzzword is “Cloud Computing”. In this model the applications and data reside on huge server farms provided by several large companies. Typically a web based user interface is provided to access the applications. In many cases the software applications can be leased rather than purchased. Does this sound familiar?
There are some real benefits to many companies using this model. They don’t need to have an IT department and it can provide flexibility to an organization. Upgrades and backups are handled automatically. Security of data is extremely high.
Or is it? In the last few months there have been issues with the Blackberry. The data was actually lost! There have been other instances where the server farms went down, and some data was lost. Even when data was recovered, the companies depending on the service for access to critical business applications had to go without for hours, even days. (This is a reminder to all companies, regardless of where your data resides, that you should have adequate back-up processes in place.)
What about your company? Have you considered using this model for your applications and data? For those companies using this today, tell me about your experience – would you recommend it?
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