Unless you’ve been living under a rock (I know you haven’t!) you have been hearing a lot about the cloud recently. Large enterprises have gone to virtual technologies, and more and more small businesses are considering virtual technologies and cloud-based solutions, or starting to move in that direction.
By virtual technologies, I’m talking first about virtual servers that reside somewhere other than your facilities. But virtualization can also refer broadly to online data storage and cloud based software. In our shop, we handle much of our technology virtually.
For instance, for hosting our websites we use a virtual hosting environment, instead of trying to deal with physical servers at our facilities. It is much easier for a small team. We avoid a lot of hardware maintenance headaches by leaving it in the hands of experts. In the event of a natural disaster touching our locations, it’s not our headache to worry about keeping the servers going. Our IT Manager has secure access over the Web and can even perform certain activities through his smart phone, to manage the server configurations, address database issues, schedule backups, move files, and so on. He doesn’t have to be physically in the same location with a hardware box to manage it.
Hand in hand with the remote servers, we are moving much more of our data storage in the cloud. It is more convenient with a distributed team spread out over multiple locations. As a team we can access files securely through the cloud. And we use literally more than a dozen cloud-based software applications, another way we are moving away from localized IT.
But as we do more virtually, security is something we are paying much more attention to than ever. Even basic security issues such as passwords become magnified when you must manage things remotely through password-enabled dashboards or applications.
Perhaps you are in the same situation as we are, or considering it.
If you’d like to know more about going virtual with your technology and how to ensure security as you do it, please join experts from Symantec and me for a Twitter chat about the topic. Bring your questions! Here are the details:
Title: Going Virtual with Your Technology—What SMBs Need to Know
Date: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Time: Starts at 1:00 pm Pacific time / 4:00 pm Eastern (New York) time
Length: 1 hour
- Dan Nadir, senior director of Product Management, SMB and Symantec.Cloud, Symantec – @SymantecSMB
- Elias AbuGhazaleh, director of Engineering, Backup Exec, IMG, Symantec – @BE_Elias
- Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends – @Smallbiztrends
Where: On Twitter.com. Follow the hashtag #SMBchat
For background reading, check out the 2012 Symantec Disaster Preparedness Survey which revealed that SMBs and small businesses are beginning to implement virtualization technologies but the majority still have not … yet.
Anita: I look forward to the chat! I will read the survey. What is the biggest challenge with going virtual? Is it a psychological thing to see the hardware at your place, compared with having it in the cloud?
Thanks, Martin! I enjoy your participation in these chats.
To answer your question, I think there are several potential roadblocks for small businesses going virtual.
(1) Some have already invested in quite a bit of hardware, and may feel it is not cost effective to go virtual. For them they might consider migrating in stages.
(2) There’s still some distrust about having things out of your control, although I think that objection is mostly going away. Business people have gotten much more comfortable with the idea of data and business processes being handled in the cloud.
(3) There may be a feeling of lost of control. However, you really do have pretty full control, if you choose the right cloud vendor.
Anita: Thanks for your kind words and for your response.
Do you know if vendors could help you with the migration in stages during the virtualization process?
I’ll be there.
Awesome! This is going to be great fun. I really enjoyed the holiday Twitter chat so I know that this one is going to be just as good, if not better. I’ll definitely be there! 🙂
I look forward to participating in this chat. As a Virtual Assistant, I know the advantages and some disadvantages of virtual technologies but one thing is for sure. That is where we are headed in the business community.