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Where Did All These Clouds Come From?

10/01/2018 1:45 PM | CAI Rocky Mountain Chapter (Administrator)

By Clint Larson, 303tech 

What is the cloud even about?

The “cloud,” as it was originally described, was meant to define the space between the owner of the data, and where the data was physically stored. Many were skeptical of the viability and longevity of this emerging technology.  Almost 20 years later, there are “clouds” almost everywhere: iCloud, Google Drive, Drobox, OneDrive, SharePoint, AWS, and several others.  Now, cloud services are becoming common place and even sought after by business of all shapes and sizes for several good reasons.

Why should the data be moved to the cloud?

Security, Reliability, and Expandability.  Companies like Microsoft are spending more than $1Billion dollars per year in security and security related areas, every single year.  The very best datacenters (the physical location for the data) have redundancies built in at every possible point.  Multiple locations in the United States, multiple internet connections, multiple power sources, routers, firewalls, and especially multiple servers.  All this redundancy so the data can be accessed at anytime from anywhere on any device.  When more space is needed, it can just be added.  No need to purchase additional servers or buy more hard drives.  The storage systems are almost limitless. 

Are all clouds created the same?

No, these clouds are not created the same, there is no water cycle here.  There are many different options and tons of ways to connect and develop these options.  People have used the analogy of a tool in a tool box.  When you first start looking at cloud services and options, it is like going into a lumber store for the first time.  Hammers and nails and boards, Oh My!  It can be overwhelming, intimidating, and even daunting to figure out what pieces and parts are needed to build the proper cloud solution.  Choosing a great technical partner is essential in finding and deploying the proper cloud service that will provide a long-term solution.

How does this relate to the community or Management Company?

For Home Owner Associations and Management Companies alike, the data that is generated and the records that are created are the second most important asset to the association, the first being the physical property itself.  Just like the physical property, the digital assets need to be protected and maintained as well. When you look at the total cost of ownership of the other options available, the numbers just don’t add up.  Cloud services can provide better security, reliability, and expandability than owning and managing any physical device.  In the proper cloud solution, the Association’s data can exist on several different servers, across several different data centers, around the United States.  This ensures that the Association’s next biggest asset is being protected and maintained properly at all times.

How to get started with the cloud.

First you need to get the right cloud and choosing a great technical partner is essential.  Choosing a cloud provider is a marriage of sorts, and there needs to be confidence that it’s a relationship that the community can live with for the foreseeable future.  Secondly understand that it is more about the people than the process.  Adoption to the cloud can be challenging for some people.  Simplification and proper training will go a long way to help organizations use and get the benefit of cloud services.  Getting over the psychological barriers of not “owning” the data.  It is not true.  Owning a physical server in a building does not allow any more “ownership” of the data then storing it in the cloud.  Hackers and viruses can more easily breach the security on a small business than one that is spending more than a billion dollars a year keeping the data secure.

Changing servers to cloud services or changing board members or management companies, the end goal is to keep the association data safe.  Emails and documents alike contain important and valuable information about the community and this needs to be protected.  Proper cloud services can eliminate many of the challenges and allow the community, the Board, and the Managers to be confident that the assets are being protected and secured.

Clint Larson is the principle of 303tech and he is a Microsoft Certified Silver Cloud Solutions Provider for Small and Medium Business.  Clint is currently serving as the President of the IAMCP chapter for Colorado.  He has served the HOA community as a technical specialist and board member for more than 15 years.  To find out more please visit 303tech.com

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