By Susan Bradley
Home-office and small-business users once had few network server options, but now we’re awash in offerings.
With a bewildering number of choices such as data centers, storage in the cloud, and new local-server hardware, deciding what is right for your business is harder than ever.
Vendors hard-selling online business servers
As a small-business owner who manages her own IT and as a regular columnist for Windows Secrets, I’m well versed in server and security issues. But even I have been overwhelmed by the hype over cloud-based services and the number of vendors pushing this relatively new form of data storage.
These vendors make the enticing pitch that my life will be so much easier once I’m no longer maintaining my own servers. They tout advantages such as better data security, better backups, and easier updates and upgrades — since they’ll do those tasks for me.
But with tech journals and forums telling tales of downtime problems and other woes, I’m inclined to tread carefully — especially when looking at business solutions. In his blog, CloudBzz pundit John Treadway called the overabundance of cloud-service providers the era of the red ocean, in which many of these vendors will not survive a future shakeout.
When I’m looking for a safe place to store my firm’s data, I need a high level of confidence that my cloud-services provider will not fold up and vanish in the night. I also need to know that, should this happen, I can quickly and easily move my data to another vendor.
Internet connection speed a reason for worry
How fast data moves over the Internet is the highest hurdle for a workable cloud-based server solution. Slow or unpredictable connections won’t cut it. For example, although cable provides the fastest connections in my area, I’ve run into one of those wacky problems that have dogged telecommunications companies for years: even though the business office for the local cable company is right across the street from my offices, I’m unable to get business-quality service.