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Learn how the cloud can help protect a business' long-term future in the event of a disaster.

As the famous saying goes: preparation is the key to success. And in terms of safeguarding your business’ future, the term couldn’t be more applicable. Every business strives for continuity, but how would yours cope in the event of an unexpected disaster?

Security is obviously the main theme we need to think about here. However, I’m not just talking about the guard that might protect your business’ entrance. I’m not talking about insurance that might cover the cost of a piece of equipment but is useless in terms of the loss of data. I’m talking about valuable technology that’s readily available in order for you and your business to protect any confidential data that you might possess.

The current buzz service on the market is, without doubt, cloud computing. A flexible option to traditional data hosting, cloud services allow businesses to tailor plans around their respective budgets.

Cloud or colocation

Colocation has been the traditional solution to data hosting for businesses that wish to house its computer systems off-site for a fixed monthly fee. With this service, a business will place its server into the provider’s rack, enabling it to reap the benefits of the provider’s power and cooling technologies. It is a tangible service that allows the customer to visit the site in order to install or remove its own hardware.

The cloud is similar in the sense your data isn’t stored on your business’ premises, but rather it’s all accessible through an API – an online library. This is a completely intangible service because everything that you want to do with your computer system is done virtually.

Can the Cloud Safe-Guard Business Continuity - Secure CloudThe system is particularly useful in the fact that it allows businesses to scale the product to their requirements within a number of minutes. It also possesses a ‘pay per use’ aspect that allows all types of businesses the opportunity to utilize its service.

Both services place an emphasis on security, which eliminates the risk of data being stolen as it’s kept within secure, off-site locations. Your data is protected via highly secure data centres that are often based worldwide. UK-based data centres should be used if possible in order to prevent the risk of infringing any data protection laws should it leave these shores. Not only is the data secure, but if you use a provider which possesses a network of data centres, then businesses have the option of backing up their data at another location should a disaster happen. This service is more succinctly defined as failover.

What’s the difference?

The difference cloud can offer in comparison to colocation is the fact that it is virtual. So while its primary function is to protect your data, it can also help the continuity of running a business when severe weather conditions are encountered. In the UK last year, we experienced a prolonged period of harsh weather which left many business’ employees unable to attend their respective offices, resulting in a loss of productivity.

The cloud helps overcome this problem by offering remote access to a business’ mission-critical application and servers from any given location – providing the user has an internet connection. As already mentioned, the cloud’s impressive security features, enable businesses to send confidential files over the internet over secure servers, meaning the majority of working tasks can be continued.

Don’t forget maintenance…

Maintenance packages are another valuable service on offer which should be considered, especially for businesses that use large telephone systems. Many providers offer 24/7/365 availability of their engineers which significantly reduces the risk of long-term damage, as help is on demand.

These packages often possess a degree of flexibility that allows your business to tailor your maintenance system to any financial budgets you may have in place. Time is crucial for businesses, so choosing a provider that you trust and one that has a good track history is essential in purchasing a service which will deliver.

About Andrew Frost

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