Why the Cloud?
Everywhere you turn, you now find IT companies promoting Microsoft Office 365, but very few of these companies support this product with a help-desk or tell you much about it in advance.
Early next year, Microsoft will cease to support their XP operating systems and Office 2003, and Windows 8.1 becomes the preferred platform for business use. This has become the driver for the most radical change yet in IT systems.
Traditional business IT systems (PCs connected to in-house servers) are now rapidly giving way to internet-based systems where business users log on to remote servers in secure data centres, and it is this new technology that enables you to work at will from any location and from any of your various devices (PC, tablet, phone, etc). It also enables larger organisations to manage BYOD (bring your own device). For some strange reason this has become known as “cloud computing”.
Cloud computing brings many benefits:
- You do not need ever more powerful hardware as new operating systems and software need ever more memory and storage space.
- You do not need to own your own version of the software you use.
- Software is constantly updated at no extra cost to you.
- You do not need your own separate operating system and software licenses.
- You do not need to back up your data.
- You do not need separate anti-virus and anti-malware software for data stored in the cloud.
- The servers you are using are maintained 24/7 and your data is secure.
- You have the option to increase or reduce your requirements on a month by month basis, ie pay as you go.
- You pay for cloud services on a month by month basis by credit/debit card.
As a “smart” business user, you should now use the cloud, and you should subscribe to professional software, including:
- Microsoft Office 365. This is the new state of the art cloud-based replacement for previous versions of Microsoft Office and is a fundamental element in the transition to cloud computing.
- FreeAgent Pro. This is currently the leading electronic book-keeping software and is now available on a free one month trial.
- AVG Cloudcare. This enables your IT support company to monitor the health of your various devices (PC, tablet, phone, etc).
All the products and services referred to above are available immediately through Hub IT.
The total cost depends on the version of the software you choose and whether you work as a sole trader or through a limited company, and ranges between approximately £25/month and £50/month.
To put it simply, like it or not, this is the way forward!