Should You Move InOrder to “The Cloud”?

Clients often ask us if InOrder is “in the cloud.” The answer is yes . . . and no. First, a clarification of terms. Although people sometimes use “cloud computing” and “software as service” interchangeably, they mean two different things.

Cloud-based computing, or cloud computing, simply means your network isn’t tied to a physical PC in your office. Instead, you outsource your entire network to another company and access it through a service, such as Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, or iNetU. The hardware that runs your network – and lots of other companies’ networks – is managed by the company that owns it. The benefit of outsourcing your network is that you don’t have to manage or replace the hardware – freeing you up to focus on other business issues as well as saving you money in IT costs, hardware, software, etc.

Software-as-service is when you pay a subscription fee to use a software application that’s hosted “in the cloud.” This means you log into the application via your Internet browser. The information stored in the application resides on the application’s servers; the company that has developed the software manages all updates, hosting, etc.

InOrder is software that’s installed on physical servers whether they’re in your office or somewhere else. Because it doesn’t matter where your servers are, you can use InOrder “in the cloud.” We fully support cloud-based computing and have partnerships with companies like Rackspace and INetU.

Cloud computing doesn’t necessarily mean your problems go away. In March 2012, for example, Amazon Web Services went down – an outage that affected many popular sites including Pinterest and Instagram. AWS was down again on December 24, 2012 – and took Netflix with it.

If you’ve been thinking of moving your network – or InOrder – to the cloud, and are wondering if it’s the right thing to do, ask yourself these questions:

Are you an expert on maintaining your servers? If you’re not an IT expert, then you’ll need to hire an IT person or an IT company to help manage your servers. The latter option is a particularly good one for small companies.

Do you replace your hardware every three years? If yes, it may make sense cost-wise to consider cloud computing.

Is your business Internet dependent? If yes, hosting your site in the cloud versus your own physical servers is probably a good idea. This way, if your town or city loses power due to a natural disaster or other reasons, your online business isn’t affected. (Generally, companies like Rackspace have redundancies that ensure their clients’ networks keep working even if power is out in a local area.) In addition, having your site hosted means you can log on to it through other means, such as a mobile device.

What’s been your experience with cloud computing? Have you been thinking about it? If so, give us a call – we’ll be glad to help answer any questions you may have.

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