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#AskEntech: Top Questions from our Twitter Chat

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Today we hosted our first Twitter chat and addressed some pretty good questions that we received from businesses. If you were unable to attend the chat and aren’t exceptionally Twitter savvy, here’s what you missed:

Q: How secure is it to backup your computer to a cloud?
A: It is secure to backup a computer, server or anything to the cloud. The key is to understand the service you are using and make sure its only accessible by authorized persons.

Q: What happens to your information when you discontinue the relationship with the service provider?
A: Your contract should stipulate the handling of any data and confidential information such as passwords, but you should be sure to discuss with the incoming provider as they will likely have experience dealing with this.

Q: Can you transfer data in the cloud from one service provider to another?
A: Definitely. This is a very common scenario we deal with. It’s all about what type of data and how much.

Q: What performance guarantees and SLAs do most cloud providers have? (That’s service level agreements)
A: Most cloud providers will guarantee at least 99% uptime. The best cloud hosting providers will offer 99.XXXX uptime.

Q: How do vendors charge for cloud services?
A: Almost all providers user a per user or a per resource model. The resources are typically CPU, RAM and GB of storage. That’s actually one of the main benefits of hosting servers in the cloud, you pay only for what you need.

Q: In the most basic terms, what is the cloud?
A: The “cloud” is really a term for any service that lives on the internet. This can be lots of different things.

Q: Can you give an industry-specific example of cloud services in an organization?
A: Web-based EMR systems, Dropbox for file storage and Google Apps for business are all considered to be “cloud” solutions.

Q: How does the cloud make organizations more efficient?
A: In many ways, actually. Employees have access to resources from anywhere, executives can collaborate via hosted services and video conferencing, and multi-site facilities have access to information they need to communicate effectively and share resources.

Q: If I’m a business facing a server upgrade, what steps do I need to take to get to the cloud?
A: Businesses should have an expert evaluate their system and provide a detailed cost analysis of the options.

Q: With all this cloud buzz, is there ever a scenario when the cloud wouldn’t work for an organization?
A: Certainly. Just like any technology, there may not be a fit. It all comes down to the specific applications and uses. For example, certain applications require a local server presence.

Q: What types of applications will not run in the cloud?
A: Almost all applications will run in the cloud. From a technical perspective, a cloud server is no different. The one thing I always preach is to understand the resulting workflow for employees and executives. It has much less to do with the application itself and more to do with how the organization uses it.

Q: Is my data safe in the cloud?
A: Security is only as good as both the technical and human elements. A good security plan encompasses both. To answer more directly, yes it is. Ensuring you have the correct provider and policies in place is key.

Q: How plausible was the issue in the recent movie depicting an unwanted share of a video to devices given as a gift?
A: Unfortunately, when it comes to personal cloud services, it’s very easy to have this happen. Personal cloud services are something to be careful with. If you have the username and password, then you’re in. I always recommend taking a business approach to personal security as well.

Q: I’ve done preliminary research, I think the cloud is a viable option. What are my next steps?
A: Evaluate workflows, understand user needs and consider your business strategy and the impact it will have on your organization.

Unfortunately we only had an hour to cover the questions, but we’ll be covering the cloud in our coming blogs, so stay tuned and we’re looking forward to our next Twitter Chat!