Your future technology forecast is very cloudy

Monday, October 18, 2010 10:56
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Your future technology forecast is very cloudy

Migrating to “cloud computing” has become a major trend among many advisory firms. It’s important to understand that cloud computing can be more effective for some programs than for others. The list of programs that are better off hosted in the clouds changes almost every day.

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“Cloud computing” simply means “not hosted here.” Cloud providers lease equipment and provide software and IT services so multiple businesses can access the programs and services they need through the Internet. Key selling points for cloud hosting are the cost savings of the equipment, maintenance, backup and an IT team to address issues of their hosted technology.
 
This “multi-tenancy” model allows an advisory firm to avoid purchasing servers and software that are more powerful than their office needs. For instance, some advisors own their own exchange (e-mail) server that can handle thousands of mailboxes even though they only need five. This is the equivalent of buying a 50,000 square-foot apartment complex for a family of five, which of course would be silly.
 
Your only real requirements to get the most out of cloud computing is to have a fast and reliable Internet connection and maintain healthy PCs, scanners and printers.
 
Here are some issues to consider:
 
  • Migrating to the cloud is not an “all or nothing” proposition: You need to make individual decisions on each component of your practice. For instance, you may prefer to retain a local client database but access your imaging system online.
  • You can be your own cloud. For firms that have multiple locations and enough users, it may make since for that firm to host some technology themselves.
  • You should do your due diligence to make sure you are choosing a solid provider that is set up to provide effective and secure services. A good way find quality providers is to ask your broker/dealer, other advisory firms, or a consultant.
  • Be aware that you may lose control over the upgrading process, which can cause compatibility issues with other integrated applications. You may also lose some ability to write your own custom code.
  • Cloud computing is a rapidly changing field, with new capabilities and services emerging every day. Stays informed, and start thinking about how this new industry can best serve your practice.
 
If you are interested in finding out more about some aspect of cloud computing, add a comment below and we will consider addressing your question in an upcoming article.

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