Are the big clouds drifting away?

For several years now, everybody that is in any way related to a computer is talking about things like “the cloud”, “cloud computing” and “cloud storage”.

Obviously it is a buzzword, a hype, but what do we actually need to know about it?

Let us start with some very simple explanations. Every self-proclaimed computer expert will say that I am painting a much too simple picture, but that is exactly my intention.

Traditionally, we have always had our computers in-house in our own offices, with our own programs and our own data running on those computers.  We were controlling everything ourselves, from access and security to consistency and backup of our data. Unfortunately, in this situation, sitting at the airport of Miami or in a board meeting in Paris, it was not so easy to make important decisions, without being able to look at relevant figures of our sales, inventory and cash flow. It would be nice indeed to have this information at your fingertips, without having to call your secretary.  Also reducing the cost, complexity and time to deploy new workstations or other IT components would bring great benefit to any organization. Along came the cloud.

What is the cloud?

We speak about the cloud, basically whenever we are doing something with, on or thru the internet.

New technologies made it possible to no longer have your software, like for instance your accounting package installed on your own computers, but they were offered by the developers/owners of the software “thru the cloud”. So the software is actually running on a server somewhere else in the world and it is presented to us thru the internet, using our web browser. Cloud computing.

Or, you could have the software still on your own computers, but your data was actually on the cloud.

Or, you still have your own software and data, but you are just using the cloud for storing your backup, cloud storage. The most commonly known models of cloud computing services are known as software as a service, platform as a service, and infrastructure as a service.

There are obvious advantages here, the so called low hanging fruits.

The information is readily available, as long as you have some kind of an internet connection. You do not have to worry anymore with things like security, backups, disk space and so on. That is all provided to you by your “cloud-provider”. Maybe you don’t even need internal IT staff anymore.

Sounds great.

But then why is Caribbean not completely on the cloud yet?

Early Adaptors

First of all, we must admit that our region can hardly be called an “early adaptor”.  We prefer to look at the States and Europe, see how things go, before we actually decide to follow.

There are some accounting firms that try to get their customers enthusiastic about doing their day to day accounting in the cloud. Or as it is also called, online bookkeeping.

Despite all efforts, this is not really going very fast.

Based on what we hear form our many hundreds of clients on Caribbean, Bonaire and Curacao we must conclude that “we” still have a lot of fears, which are partly emotional, but also partly factual.

This is not so strange, if you just spend a few hours surfing the internet for security disasters over the last few years, you will find an astonishing list.

We all remember millions of Linked-In accounts leaked, information of KPN (the Dutch Setar) leaked, Credit Card accounts, the digital ID’s in the Netherlands (Dig-ID).

So actually I am not so surprised if I hear my customers say: the cloud? Yes sure, for my facebook pictures, but not for my confidential company data.

But maybe it is not so much a problem that we are not early adaptors. We can learn from what happens elsewhere.

In the meantime there is something going on in Europe and the States with these clouds. More and more people are leaving the clouds and shift to what we call “private clouds”.

Private Clouds

What is a private cloud? Again, in simple terms, a private cloud is when you decide to indeed put certain things, your software and/or your data, on the internet, but you will do the hosting of this yourself.

By doing this, you  can still achieve many of the advantages of cloud computing, like having the information at your fingertips anywhere anytime, but at the same time you can eliminate some of the risks (perceived or actual), because that “cloud” of yours is actually running on your own servers, you are in control of access and security.

After all, who would like to find out today that his cloud is currently being hosted on a server in the Ukraine, or even better, in Crimea?

We are confident that the Caribbean business community will for a greater part benefit from the lessons learned elsewhere in the world and make the transition to the private cloud directly, instead of first playing around in the big public clouds.

VCC International offers Private Cloud

We at VCC are clearly aware of this shift from public clouds to private clouds and we are fully geared towards this with all our software and developments.

Just to name a few of the Private Clouds that we develop for our customers, we can mention

  • Our document management system of M-Files, where we provide both webclients and mobile clients for any smartphone, so you can always and anywhere work with your private documents
  • Our Payroll Pro system, in which we can provide our customers with a so called Employee Portal, allowing Employees for instance to download and reprint their own payslips, LB-Cards etc.
  • Our ERP system of Exact, for which also different portals, supporting Tablets and Smartphones have been made to either retrieve information, or enter transactions.

Again, this clearly shows our demanding lead on the islands when it comes to quality of software, quality of service and quality of support.

That is why our slogan “Real Software, Real Support” is carried in the hearts and minds of our hundreds of clients.