Skyrope's Business Transformer Blog
Last week I received a call from a colleague who runs a computer forensics company. It was a real fire drill. A client of theirs, hundreds of miles away, which shall remain un-named, had to fire their IT Director on the spot due to some disturbing allegations.
On that very day, we needed to lock down their network and secure their data. We changed passwords, blocked access, discovered and patched holes that could allow this person or others back into the systems if they decided to delete data or do anything else to compromise the company’s assets.
Whether you call it a hosted phone system, virtual phone system, or cloud-based telephony, getting rid of that “thing on the wall” in the phone closet may be just what the doctor ordered if you are a small business. Not only will you get all the benefits of a modern day phone system, but you will have removed another technology asset from the balance sheet and turned an essential business function into a true operating expense.
So how did we get here? Here’s a short history of the business telephone system that won’t make your eyes glaze over. When Ma Bell first offered telephone service to businesses, every person in your office received a physical phone and a 7-digit number. All calls were routed through a central office in town that was connected to many other central offices all over the state and eventually the country. This was called a Centrex system and offered many of the features of a PBX (Private Branch Exchange, or phone system) system that you would buy for your office. It was essentially renting a piece of a giant phone system located in the center of town.
If you run a small business or buy technology for one and have not been in a cave for the past couple of years, chances are you have heard of cloud computing. Very briefly, cloud computing means technology sold as a remote subscription service accessed over the Internet. You do not have to own hardware or software or employ tech staff. You do not have to keep up with new versions or compatibility, or amortize assets. You pay as you go, and pay as you grow.
So the exuberance is understandable. But should you transition everything you have to the cloud next year? No — not even if you have the money and a competent small business IT provider — and you have already adopted managed services and enjoy the benefits. Because the rarely mentioned problem of bandwidth latency promises to cramp your style on the cloud.
If you are a businessperson — not a technologist — and you are only going to remember one thing about cloud computing, here it is: Cloud computing promises to finally take IT out of the balance sheet and put it squarely into the income statement. How? By turning all business technology into pay-as-you-go services provided remotely, all the tech spending in your increasingly technology-dependent business becomes an operating expense — resulting in big savings, reduction of daily headaches, mitigating risks, and simplifying your life in a way that few business ideas ever have.