Cloud Cheerleader Keeps His Own Systems On-Premise

Cloud Computing is in the news and in our lives. Businesses small and large are moving some applications to 'the cloud' -- or at least thinking about it.  Sometimes, not enough 'thinking about it'.

Like all technological shifts, there are rewards and risks. Even bright and fluffy clouds have an underside. At MBSG, we help clients evaluate and deploy systems and technology to manage their business. These days, strategy sessions include a discussion of Cloud Computing--if/how/where it makes sense.

I was intrigued by a recent post from Doug Sleeter, a well-respected advocate of Cloud Computing. In his post, Doug discusses the evaluation of new systems (accounting and other) for his business. Surprising himself and many who know him, Doug opted to upgrade his systems on-premise, rather than in-the cloud. You might be interested how and why Doug came to this decision

Yahoo! Groups  -  sleetergroup

Message #35162 June 24,2011

Hi Group,

I have a confession to make. Although I espouse the virtues of going to the cloud, and I do really believe in taking "almost everything" to the cloud, we just completed an installation of a new LAN server with MS Small Business Server 2011 (SBS2011) here at The Sleeter Group headquarters. It is an amazingly improvement over Windows Server 2003, so if you're considering upgrading, I highly recommend it.

Why install a server locally vs. getting a hosting company for everything? Believe me, I really debated about it and spoke with many experts including our local IT people at Ontara.net, Mario Nowogrodzki, and Randy Johnston.Here are the reasons we did it. It's not a recipe for everyone, but we decided on a "hybrid" approach to the cloud vs. desktop. We might change our mind in a
couple years, but for now, it's hybrid for us.

Our reasons for installing a new Windows SBS 2011 Server include: 1) We already own all of the expensive Microsoft software, due to our annual subscription to the Microsoft Action Pack. For $400/year, we have all the Microsoft Server operating systems (SBS 2011, SQL Server, Exchange 2010, SharePoint), as well as 10 client access licenses for all of them and 10 licenses of all of the Microsoft applications including Office and the other popular MS apps. So the SOFTWARE cost was essentially zero for us.

2) We have several line-of-business applications that need to be installed and run locally. For example, we are currently using Legrand CRM on SQL Server, SharePoint, OneNote, and Office. To deploy all of these in a hosted environment would be expensive, and we would probably have to purchase a separate software licenses through the hosting company for at least some of that software.

3) We do not have clients logging into our systems, but we do have many remote workers and contractors who need access to our business applications such as OneNote, Outlook/Exchange, and SharePoint. For all of our client work, we use hosted QuickBooks at CPAASP.com, Cloud9Realtime, or Right Networks. There are 9 hosting companies, and we like them all, but these are the ones we've used.

4) We have several Macs in the company, and the new SBS2011 allows Macs to participate fully in the network.

5) Mobile devices such as iPhone integrate well with Exchange 2010, including the ability to use SSL encryption, so that alone was enough reason to upgrade to Exchange 2010. Exchange 2003 does not allow an SSL connection to the iPhone, so email was not encrypted until now. Yikes!!!

6) We can now easily provision new users to our network, including contractors by simply having them log in to our network via a web browser. They can see our company internal web site (SharePoint), and browse files, and even log in to a virtual machine or our terminal server through this single logon to our network.This takes away lots of complexities for working with remote employees and contractors.

7) The next phase of our project will focus on defining password policies and implementing a complete security management system. That part is nearly as big a project as the basic infrastructure, so if you're not thinking about passwords and security for your own systems and your clients, start learning, and start securing things.

If you have clients who are struggling to keep their Windows 2003 servers alive, it's high time to get them upgraded
We'll be talking about all these things at the conference in November.

Doug Sleeter