To Infinity and Beyond: The Power of the Cloud in IT

IT

To Infinity and Beyond: The Power of the Cloud in IT

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As we hit refresh on a new month, new year and new decade, it makes sense for us to look back on the road that brought us to where we are currently. When we think about all the changes that have taken place in tech over the last decade, one of the biggest shifts has been the presence and increasing power of the cloud.

To examine the impact of the cloud and cloud-based solutions on the IT side of our business, I recently talked with Regional IT Practice Lead Scott Matlock and Systems Engineer Tim Rhymer about the progress the cloud has brought to tech and what we can expect for the future.

How the Cloud Has Changed IT

How has the cloud changed the landscape of tech?

SM: Ultimately, it has boosted accessibility. Everything is much more universal, centralized and streamlined. Updates are more streamlined and often automated in the cloud, which reduces the worry of programs growing out of date and suffering from poor performance. Practically speaking, when dealing with physical hardware, the migration and update processes are time-intensive and hard on storage capacities. In contrast, when utilizing the cloud, those headaches are removed with automatic updates and storage being limited only by budget. One of the first things we shifted to the cloud was email. It’s convenient, easy to use, benefits us from a financial standpoint, and we can continually manage and monitor it without the stress.

What are some of the biggest benefits of harnessing the power of the cloud for IT?

SM: In moving to the cloud, many of the worries of hardware are alleviated. You don’t have to purchase, maintain or house as much hardware. Cutting down on things like servers, licensing, network pipelines, networking and switching saves money and streamlines processes. Hardware never gets old when everything is kept in the cloud. Ease of expansion is also increased thanks to the cloud. If you need more storage, you click a button and get more. You’re not limited by space; the only limit in the cloud is your budget. This opens up even more possibilities for the work you can do.

TR: In addition to eliminating hardware headaches, the power and resilience of the cloud is a huge advantage to users. There is a menu of options you can choose from to meet your needs, guaranteeing your satisfaction, rather than having a setup built for you and reworked or added onto every time you need to expand or incorporate a new option. The speed of the cloud has also changed the game. The reality of upgrades and migrations being completed in hours rather than days or weeks frees up resources for organizations and their personnel, allowing more opportunities to go out and do the real work.

The future is nearly limitless thanks to the cloud. It allows us to grow beyond what we could if we were just sitting around and running server environments. The cloud is possibility, and the prospect of harnessing its potential more and more in the future is exciting.

What are some historic concerns with the cloud? Have these concerns been resolved?

SM: In the beginning, “cloud” was a buzz word, and people didn’t really understand it. There were fears it would make tech professionals obsolete and take their jobs from them. But once we grasped that that wasn’t the case, and instead the cloud was taking things to the next level, the notion of the cloud became a lot less scary.

One thing that’s always a concern, especially when deploying new solutions, is security. Moving from physical objects that you can see and have sole control over to the cloud, which is more intangible and ultimately puts you at the mercy of someone else, can be a daunting prospect. But this fear can be assuaged with things like backups or hybrid approaches to data storage.

Another consideration in tech is that when you’re on the cutting edge of something, it’s difficult to know what its vulnerabilities are. There can be missing pieces or vulnerable areas that haven’t been seen yet. This is a general challenge, not unique only to the cloud, but at InterWorks, we strive to overcome this by learning every best practice we can and vetting every new solution as thoroughly as possible. But sometimes you do have to go back and offer other services to address some of those missing pieces. It’s just part of the process.

The Power of Cloud-Based Solutions

When did cloud-based solutions become prominent in InterWorks offerings?

SM: Our first real venture into the cloud was with email, which was kind of a no-brainer. Antivirus programs have been in the “cloud” for a long time, and over time, cloud-based offerings became more and more prevalent and viable. Eventually, we found our way into partnerships with companies like Rackspace and AWS, partners that we really trust and believe in enough to endorse them ourselves and offer to our clients. Now, offering solutions through some kind of cloud interface is commonplace, and new developments arise every day.

What are some interesting cloud-based solutions currently offered by InterWorks?

TR: We’re able to host Tableau Server in virtually any cloud (AWS, Azure, GCP and Rackspace). Our ServerCare offering works well on-prem and in the cloud. We’re seeing more and more people beginning to consider a shift into a hybrid architecture, where some things are in the traditional data center while others are in the cloud. InterWorks can help in both of those areas. Office 365 has replaced Exchange as an email provider for many customers, and when it comes to security and backing up data, the Global Data Vault is a great solution capable of replicating on-prem or other cloud backups.

How have cloud-based solutions changed the work we do and how we do it?

SM: Beyond the accessibility and scalability inherent in the cloud, offering cloud-based solutions has given us more opportunities to serve clients in new and different ways. When a client reaches out to us about migrating a server environment or hosting something in the cloud, we’re able to support them in that, and many times, this leads to a relationship we can build upon. It’s rewarding to be able to take on these kinds of cloud-based projects, but when a client comes back and needs something more—like migrating email, networking or other services—we’re able to be that consistent partner who can keep meeting their needs, both in and out of the cloud.

The Limitless Future of the Cloud

How do you see cloud-based solutions growing and evolving in the future?

SM: One thing that will have to improve is the speed and reliability of the internet. It’s frustrating when a poor internet connection interrupts your work in the cloud. I anticipate that companies will move toward having fewer local networking solutions, potentially having only an internet line. At that point, really nothing is being maintained other than operating expenses. Hopefully, this will simplify the ways people can manage their IT environments.

Why does the cloud matter? Where would we be without it?

SM: It matters because it’s here, and it’s not going away. Whether it’s Alexa or Siri, that’s all the cloud. It’s our reality. Without it, we would be stagnating drastically as far as IT innovation is concerned. The cloud has opened up virtually unlimited amounts of expansion, storage, compute power and more. Things you couldn’t really do or maintain on your own—now you can do those things.

Ten More Years of Progress and Possibility

The future is nearly limitless thanks to the cloud. It allows us to grow beyond what we could if we were just sitting around and running server environments. The cloud is possibility, and the prospect of harnessing its potential more and more in the future is exciting.

Are you interested in learning more about the cloud? Maybe you need support navigating some of your current cloud-based solutions or you’re looking to migrate. InterWorks can help! Reach out today, and let’s talk about how we can help you step in the future you want.

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Andrea Avey

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