Moving Businesses to Cloud Complicates IT

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 12:00 am  

From left: Robert Lindley, president of Innovative Systems Inc. and Ted Clouser, executive vice president of PC Assistance.

The relationship is just more complicated, he said.

“The relationship with Microsoft ends up being a managed relationship,” he said. “When we have full control of an exchange server on-site, changes would be something we had total control over,” he said. “Now we’re making calls to Microsoft, and it takes longer for us to resolve the issues.”

That means ISI’s expenses go up, Lindley said.

“It’s requiring more time dealing with the vendor,” he said. “We’re further from the source, so it takes more time to make repairs and figure out what’s not working with the service. The other thing is when we move everyone to Office 365, and Microsoft has a hiccup, and the exchange server goes down, how many clients are affected? Now the phone starts ringing off the hook and it’s out of our control.”

It’s not all bad for the smaller firms, though. Some firms, like Little Rock’s PC Assistance Inc., use larger cloud services for other operations:

“We typically leverage the cloud for spam filtering because we don’t ever want that to enter into the network,” said Ted Clouser, executive vice president of PC Assistance.

“Additionally, we do some cloud backups for additional protection. And for any business that doesn’t have ‘brick and mortar’ already, the cloud is ideal because they don’t have to invest in IT infrastructure when they have no actual building to put it. For any business without office space, cloud computing has great value.”

But he was quick to add that “cloud computing isn’t a ‘silver bullet’ and likely never will be.

“For some of our clients that have embraced public clouds, there have been some challenges with getting to the cloud, reliability and availability, and, should they ever desire, there will likely be issues getting ‘out’ of the cloud, or moving elsewhere.”

Lindley said a good option for a smaller IT firm is to build the relationship with both the client and the cloud provider.

“Maintaining a high relationship with Microsoft is very important with us,” he said.

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