Interestingly, many organizations today are utilizing cloud computing and don’t even know it. A lot of this has come from the consumerization of IT, which is the process of emerging technology in the consumer market spreading into businesses and organizations (Think: mobile devices, social media, online services, etc.). At other times, cloud usage can help drive huge benefits – and is only a step away for most organizations. 

Case in Point

Let me share a quick story to illustrate the usage of cloud computing in daily life. A senior manager in our Cloud practice here at CDW was on a boat tour in our lovely city of Chicago with his wife. These tours highlight the Chicago architecture through the river downtown and culminate with a tour out to Lake Michigan to view the city in its entirety. It was a gorgeous day and by the time the boat entered the lake harbor, the sun was setting, leaving a panoramic golden glow across the vista.

His wife viewed it as a perfect opportunity to be the queen of Facebook and Instagram for a few hours. With her iPhone out, she started snapping pictures of the gorgeous skyline. Before she knew it, the boat hit a wave and in one quick instant, her beloved device was floating down to the bottom of Lake Michigan to swim with the fishes. Her initial response was terror! How could something so precious be taken away!

Her husband quickly assured her that they would get a new one quickly and all would be well. They were able to order a new phone that day, and it arrived in the mail the next day. She must have been near a cell tower, because most of the pictures she had taken were intact when she did a restore from iCloud. Twenty-four hours and $500 was all it took to get her critical hardware and its contents back.

Now, I know this was just a phone that was ruined, but what if it was your data center? What if you lost your critical applications that your business runs off of? Disaster recovery in the cloud requires replication, a failover platform, run books for DNS/Apps/DB’s/MX/etc. and a few other components to run smoothly. Many organizations have several of these components already in place, so taking the next step to a cloud option like Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is closer than you may think.

Cloud Computing and Your Business

If we were face-to-face, I’d ask for a show of hands and rattle off this quick list to ask who utilizes these in part of your business today:

As our recent Cloud Computing 401 Report showed, the top three cloud use cases for places that have implemented any cloud are email, storage and web hosting. The services are in-place in over 40 percent of these organizations. This aligns well with the quick list we looked at above and shows further the cloud services already in place at many organizations.

When a rough examination is done of the services that IT delivers or supports today, there are many offsite applications and platforms already used that most don’t even recognize as the cloud!

Afraid of the cloud? Don’t be. They’re big, fluffy, and can save you in a disaster. #CDWSolutionsBlog

Is there end-user use of personal file sharing platforms? The resounding answer is, yes. This is a chance to provide the tools your users want (and already use), but execute it in such a way that is secure and allows administration of group policy and permissions within the company’s risk profile.

Do you utilize virtualization for a majority of your applications today? DRaaS is closer than you think. Virtual machines can be recovered via cloud DR in as little as 15 minutes – and you don’t have to buy hardware, software, lease space or manage it. If virtualization is in place, you can also easily move those workloads to an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform, too.

Do you pay an organization to maintain your phone system? Taking this one step further, you could have your voice system run out a tier 3 or 4 data center where that maintenance and engineering expertise is available 24×7 for your system. No more hardware, monitoring or maintenance needed.

There are many more places that you already are utilizing cloud and don’t realize it, as well as even more where you are just a small transition away from reaping the benefits. I’d encourage every organization to take the next step and see where cloud and hosting options can help them deliver the services that drive revenue and business value, rather than just keeping the phones (and lights) on.

Curious to learn more about how cloud computing impacts your daily business life or how to get started? Check out CDW’s collection of cloud-related white papers, articles and reference guides for more information.

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