Hosting an application may seem overly complicated and troublesome to some businesses. They assume that a hosted application requires companies to hand over control of their data and processes to an external provider. Data has to be painstakingly migrated to the new storage centers. Companies that switch from on-site to hosted applications sacrifice performance and security. Additionally, some businesses view the “cloud” skeptically as a gimmick or empty buzzword. From their perspective, the cloud requires several more years of development and testing. Those businesses that adopt cloud technology now will be guinea pigs for the more prudent enterprises after them, suffering all the early growing pains and enjoying few of the later benefits. At the same time, on-site and online applications provide the same advantages as hosted applications and share none of the risks. The hassles and dangers associated with the cloud offset its undeniable cost savings.
These assumptions about hosted applications do not hold up to the facts:
-Switching to hosted alters the physical location of a company’s data but not the control or ownership of the data. Companies can access, edit, delete, and move their hosted data at their discretion. Companies can also migrate their data back to on-premise hardware or to the servers of other hosting providers when their initial contract expires.
-Data migration is not a difficult process. Regardless of the type, size, or original locations of the data, with today’s technology migrating the documents of an entire organization takes only a few days at most. The process will not interfere with the operations of a business at all, with the hosting provider taking care of the vast majority of the work, using techniques that leave the original data temporarily in place.
-Hardware, bandwidth, and prioritization will determine the performance of a hosted application. Some may perform better than applications installed on the client or a local machine; some may perform worse. The cloud at least lets organizations prioritize the performance of applications by renting the corresponding amount of resources or utilizing software that artificially limits or optimizes certain applications, users, or tasks. With local applications deployment organizations remain stuck with the hardware they’ve already purchased and their applications will all receive the same priority. This situation can lead to costly inefficiencies such as: 1) underused hardware; 2) overused hardware; 3) important applications running at critically slow speeds; 4) unimportant applications running at blazing speeds.
-Like performance, the security of hosted applications depends on the quality of the hosting and can be less or more secure than on-site applications based on certain conditions. Encryption, antivirus, firewalls, and the stability of the application can increase or decrease the security level of hosted apps. Companies should not submit to the illusion that because their servers or other data-containing hardware are located inside their offices that they have increased protection or control over their apps. Data breaches seldom occur through interception of data sent over the Web and even less through burglary of the physical hardware. On-site servers, also connected to the Internet, can themselves be victimized by the same malware infections and directed attacks as remote servers. In contrast, hosted applications offer the unique and tangible security advantages of 1) having one multi-user instance of the application instead of multiple single-user instances, allowing for increased centralization, complete access control, and more effective management; 2) having the hosting provider’s trained security experts monitor access to and fine-tine the protections of the applications, as opposed to on-site IT staff that do not have the time, knowledge, expertise, or tools for in-depth protections.
-The technologies behind cloud computing—virtualization, web-based hosting, and resource prioritization—have been around for years, but the cloud became feasible only after hardware and high-speed bandwidth had become sufficiently cheap. Hosting providers could now afford to build data centers advanced, large, and flexible enough to support the operations of hundreds of small-to-medium-sized businesses. SMBs, in turn, could afford to rent computing resources the scope and power of which were formerly outside of their budget. Hardly guinea pigs, the businesses that have so far adopted cloud-hosted solutions and infrastructures have realized measurable benefits in costs, efficiency, and severity.
-The cloud has been proven to be a cheaper hosting option than on-site. One Microsoft-sponsored study determined that switching to the cloud lowered IT costs up to 80%. The cloud maximizes hardware resources and electricity and creates economies of scale with hosting providers.
IronOrbit hosts applications. We host productivity applications like Microsoft Office, financial applications like QuickBooks and Peachtree, and medical applications like EHRs and EMRs. In addition, we can host any application that our clients request. With 15 years’ experience hosting apps and infrastructures, we know what works. Hosting applications for our clients and for ourselves, we have seen first-hand the benefits of the cloud in cost, efficiency, and security. Free your applications from the inefficiencies of on-site applications—send them up to the clouds of IronOrbit.