In today’s traditional small business office, the best managed in-house servers are still a liability. Unmanaged in-house servers are time bombs. Why do I say this? Because the hardware used to manage your business is still onsite. From my experience, most hardware is unfortunately sitting unsecured in a closet that also houses cleaning products and printer toner or somewhere under a desk with a Post-It note on it stating, “Do Not Power Off.” With LOB applications and other SMB services such as hosted email, compliance archiving, and file sharing in the cloud; your business has nothing onsite to own, update, maintain, or repair. This makes your availability and accessibility to data and services accessible from any Internet connected device.

Availability of Data and Services

No matter how redundant you think your onsite technology is, your efforts will pale in comparison to the most basic Tier 1 data center requirements, standards, and uptime. Consider this: There are 525,800 minutes in a year. Tier 1 data center are required to maintain an uptime of 99.671%, or 523,870.78 of those 525,800 minutes. That means that the lowest tier data center (Tier 1) cannot exceed a downtime of 1,729 minutes annually. For those of you converting the number into hours or scared of math, this equates to no more than 28 hours a year of downtime. While you may be thinking a day plus 4 hours is a lot of downtime, the majority of this time is scheduled maintenance that would be needed anyway regardless where your equipment was located. Even with a minimal guaranteed uptime of 99.6%, your company is still minimizing downtime by utilizing cloud services.

What if the onsite equipment started to fail. If you are a company with no one on staff dedicated to technology issues, you now have to add additional hours to your downtime to locate and schedule professionals to diagnosis, repair, and test a fix. This doesn’t include any additional hours for physical equipment that may need to be order to complete the repair. If you’re an I.T. professional, wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about monitoring, maintaining, updating or repairing in-house servers on a consistent basis? Imagine the time you could then dedicate to working on your business.

Accessibility of Data and Services

I, like many others I know in various industries, work remotely. There are times when I’m summoned to the office for special events, meetings, or conferences; but other than that, I work in the cloud. From my home office and using something as small as my iPhone, I can access tickets in our support portal, make and receive business calls, send and receive company email–and if necessary, even compose a blog post. Although the majority of time is spent performing these activities on my iMac strictly out of comfortability, point being our company can operate anywhere with minimal technology. Traditional desktop and LOB applications are being redesigned to operate in a cloud environment–thus breaking the symbiotic relationship between software and desktops/servers. With cloud computing, gone are the days of blue screens, random restarts, and incompatibilities between OS and applications.

If you are a Trusted Advisor in technology for your clients, you can no longer afford to carry around the liability of maintaining data or services on a retiring platform. The wheel has been created. The cloud is here to stay. You can’t continue ignoring the future and pushing your clients on technology you are only familiar with, i.e. SBSers. You have to relinquish the “Admin” ego and implement the best solution for your clients need. Today, those needs no longer involve bloated expenses for hardware purchases. By offering cloud services, you can offer your clients a worry-free environment where their data is available and easily accessible.