Top 4 Myths About ‘The Cloud’

Even in 2013, ‘the cloud‘ is still confusing. I guess that’s what we get for using such a wispy term to describe what pretty much is ‘the internet’. But when people reference ‘the cloud’, it’s usually in relation to things like software, storage and computing. So it’s fair to consider ‘the cloud’ and ‘cloud computing’ to be virtually the same thing: software that is passed over the internet.

Understandably, with the confusion comes myths and doubts. For community organizations considering switching from desktop software to hosted (cloud) software, here are 5 myths you’ve probably heard floating around out there:

1. Hosted applications are not secure

Reality: Current providers of outsourced technology solutions need to meet certain requirements that are determined and enforced by an independent global forum called the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standard Council. Due to these strict regulations, the level of security from hosted technology providers is robust with firewalls, unique system passwords, data encryption, and regular testing. Hosted data servers are typically protected at a high security storage facilities and your provider will have to meet the strictest security guidelines for these. Hosted applications can, in fact, sometimes be a safer bet than non-hosted, in-house systems which aren’t held to the same standards.

2. Hosted applications are less reliable

Reality: Hosted applications are run on much bigger, off-site servers with whereas traditional applications are usually run from a small server in your office. Additionally, hosted technology providers typically have layers of backup servers to ensure that downtime rarely occurs. Because of this difference, hosted applications are generally more reliable than traditional ones.

3. Hosted applications give someone else control of your data

Reality: It’s true that your data will be hosted off-site. However, this setup actually allows you even more access to and control over your private information. Traditional applications are usually run on one server, one computer, and by one person in your office. In contrast, hosted applications are run on many servers and can be accessed from any internet enabled computer or device, by many levels of users. Therefore, hosted technology gives you more control of your data because it’s so much easier to access and manage.

4. Hosted applications save costs, nothing else

Reality: Outsourced technology solutions definitely save costs—financial burdens from infrastructure, hardware, servers, and software go away when you turn to a hosted provider. However, just as importantly, hosted technology saves time and resources. Community organizations no longer need to rely on their IT departments for software support, maintenance and development; staff and administrators can easily access and update current systems that help them work more efficiently.

The technology world is moving to the cloud. Even the parks & recreation industry is in full transition. And as people overcome the myths and start to feel more comfortable with the perceived lack of security, only the benefits will remain. Does your organization use cloud computing?

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