Clearing up customer misconceptions is part of my job. It’s part of every consultant’s job, in fact. Without overwhelming the client with too much information, our job is to explain the why and the how of technology in order to meet their business objectives.
The problem is that there is a lot of information floating around on the web, in the trade journals and even in television advertising. Some concepts aren’t fleshed out enough for the standard business owner to grasp. This is where we come in. Nothing has been more confusing to my clients over the past few years than the concept of ‘The Cloud’. Everyone has heard of it, but you would be surprised at the answers you would get if you asked your clients to explain what this ubiquitous term means.
Here are some of the answers I’ve received:
- Doesn’t Microsoft own the cloud?
- You store your files a little bit here and a little bit there on multiple computers
- This is where you use the extra computer power of everyone’s home computer
Where do I begin to help unravel this for my customers? I have a simple explanation of what it means to use the cloud, usually when explaining the concept of online or cloud-based backups.
Q. Where is the cloud?
A. Not here.
It’s amazing how a simple answer such as ‘not here’ explains the cloud concept to my customers. It opens the door to explaining that the cloud isn’t a specific place, isn’t owned by any one customer. It’s simply a concept used to describe something happening outside of their business network.
Online backup is the best example. I explain to my customers that their data is stored on their servers, on their network. Everyone else’s network out there in the wild world is cumulatively called ‘the cloud’. Most of the reactions I receive are really based in disappointment. Dreams of this mystical ‘cloud’ are shattered and the reality sets in. The cloud is just ‘out there somewhere’. Bummer.
Online backup, which is more and more often being called ‘cloud backup’ is simply the process of storing the data somewhere safe outside of the original network. This is where I can explain the bare bones truth that backups stored on site are subject to the same disasters as the original data and that the common practice of rotating backups to a warehouse or other safe place are going the way of the 8-track.
Why not store the backup offsite in the first place? Online backup provides safe, reliable and automated backup of data at costs businesses can afford.
If you’re trying to sell online backup or similar solutions, the first step is to blow the fog off the cloud.
— The Backup Master