What Is the Cloud? - Cloud Myth Busting From Virtual Cabinet

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What Is the Cloud? Myth Busting Around the Cloud From Virtual Cabinet

In the age of digital transformation, we hear an awful lot about cloud technology, cloud applications, storing in the cloud, and switching to the cloud, but how many people actually know what they mean by the term?

Woman accessing her documents from a mobile device

Because the term 'the cloud' isn't particularly descriptive of its function, we thought it would be a good idea to help our clients and the wider universe understand what it means. By most people's admission, the future of tech is in the cloud so it's high time we all understand what that means and de-bunk some of the misconceptions about cloud computing.

What Is the Cloud?

So, what is this oh-so-mysterious cloud? Well, to start with, we're talking about computing clouds, not the vindictive type that patrols the sky looking for someone without an umbrella to rain on. A cloud server is a server (where computer software and applications live) that isn't located in your office. It's a server that is somewhere else and is accessed over an internet connection.

Unlike an on-premise server, when you use a hosted cloud provider, you don't need to worry about maintaining and updating the server. You just put your systems on it and away you go. So, you see, unlike the name suggests, The cloud is nothing intangible or mysterious. It's the same as a server you could have in your office, but it's taking up physical space and electricity elsewhere and running cloud applications as well as storing them.

What Do People Mean by 'the Cloud'?

Is the above definition what everyone means when they talk about the cloud, though? Not always, in our experience. We often find that what people mean by wanting things 'in the cloud' is that they want to access their systems anywhere from any device. While many cloud applications do offer this, they don't have the monopoly on flexible remote working solutions. Software, such as ours, can be accessed from anywhere on any device without being stored in the cloud.

Cloud Myth-Busting

As we said, there are a whole lot of assumptions and misconceptions about what the cloud is and what it isn't. Here are some of the cloud-based myths that need debunking right now.

Myth Number 1: The Cloud Is Virtual. It Has No Physical Hardware

Cloud server towers

We admit the name is not helpful, 'the cloud' makes it seem like something barely there, ethereal and magical, but cloud infrastructures are very much made up of hardware. You might have heard the term virtualisation regarding cloud computing, but that does not mean cloud servers are actually virtual. They exist, just not where you are. Your data is not actually stored in the sky or a parallel universe. It is simply stored and managed elsewhere and retrieved via an internet connection.

Myth Number 2: The Cloud Is More Eco-friendly Than an On-premise Server

This can be true in the right circumstances. In terms of power use, servers use a lot of it. If you switch from an on-premise server to a cloud solution then you will likely notice a reduction in your energy bills, but your hosted server is still using electricity somewhere, just not yours. So, if you use cloud providers that specialise in powering their servers with green energy or that use the most energy-efficient systems (like our cloud partners Cloud2Me) then it's likely your cloud server will be kinder to the environment than your on-premise version. It completely depends on your cloud provider.

Public cloud solutions might be a genuinely greener alternative for SMEs or companies that don't require much digital space to house their tech stack. Instead of paying for a whole lot of space in a private cloud that you don't need, you can share the costs and the energy consumption of a server or data centre with other businesses. Think of it as powering one TV by splitting the screen into four so four people can watch what they want without powering more screens. Under the right conditions, cloud servers can be an energy-efficient alternative but they aren't automatically greener.

Myth Number 3: The Cloud Has Infinite Storage

This is not true. Just like traditional servers, cloud servers have a certain amount of space available to the user before you need to extend your digital real estate. Just like with rented storage space, you only have the space inside the container. If you need more space then you have to rent another one. When you have several servers acting for the same organisation, it's called a data centre. The more floor space and power you need from a cloud vendor, the more it'll cost. Whereas, on-premise servers will take up more of your own office space and resources so it's a balancing act between necessity and cost whichever way you go.

Myth Number 4: Cloud Servers Are More Cost-effective Than On-premise

This is not exactly a myth but an assumption. Just because it's cloud-based, it doesn't mean it's necessarily going to be cheaper. Areas, where you could possibly save when you switch to cloud services, are:

  • Office space - Servers take up a lot of room, just like your old filing cabinets. If you choose to eliminate them, you'll see the space you have spare. You could utilise that space or move somewhere smaller and cheaper.
  • Power - Powering and cooling servers on-premise consumes a lot of power, but do remember with a cloud service that just because you're not paying for it out of your utility bill it doesn't mean you aren't paying for it. It's factored into the costs of your hosted server.
  • Personnel - If your internal IT was taking care of your server and infrastructure until now, then their resources and time could now be diverted and used in a more effective way to make your business more profitable.

With any type of server, the thing to remember is that the more space you need, the more expensive it can become. As the scale of your business grows, so too will your costs. When that happens, it's wise to re-evaluate to ensure you're getting the right deal for your current situation.

You should also consider that depending on your cloud vendor, your physical server might actually exist in a different part of the world to you. This shouldn't affect your using the service, but it's prudent to be aware that some nations don't have the same GDPR and data privacy laws as where you live. With Virtual Cabinet Cloud solutions, you can be assured that we are fully committed to all Data Protection regulatory requirements that are in place in the territories where we operate.

Myth Number 5: Virtual Cabinet Isn't in the Cloud

Says who? Virtual Cabinet's signature Document Management System is a server-based software, however, there are a couple of "buts" you should be aware of.

  1. VC has to be installed on a server BUT it doesn't need to be your server. If you have an on-premise server then great, VC can sit there. If you don't have an on-premise server, then VC have multiple cloud solutions to suit any type or size of business on your journey to the cloud, including a hosted version of Virtual Cabinet, known as Cloud4VC. Therefore you absolutely can have Virtual Cabinet in a private cloud, hybrid cloud, or on-premise. It's up to you.
  2. Some think that moving to the cloud is the only way to have access to your document management system from anywhere BUT that's why we have VC Go. Our app gives you mobile access and visibility of what's going on in VC from wherever you are, on any device. So even if your software isn't in the cloud, it doesn't mean you can't get the same mobile benefits.
  3. VC is server-based, BUT our integrated client portal is a cloud application that allows your clients to access the documents you share with them from anywhere, securely.
  4. Some clients have asked for a fully cloud-based version of VC even though you can already host VC in the cloud. But, now we do have something extra special for current clients or as a standalone SaaS cloud-based product. Find out about ourcloud content management- Document Management re-imagined, today.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, now you have a better idea of what the mysterious cloud is and can hold your own in any cloud-based conversation you might find yourself in.

If your interest was piqued by our pure SaaS solution, VC Cloud then you can find out more here. We've built it with our client's needs at the forefront and it contains amazing features such as digital wet signatures, tasks, reminders, and no sign-up client communication among other things. If you're interested in our Document Management System then find out more here and let us show you how we can help you can increase your business' productivity and unleash your potential.

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Is Virtual Cabinet in the Cloud?

Virtual Cabinet is a server-based Document Management System that automates time-consuming document filing, email capture, and archiving. While VC is software that needs to be installed on a server, it doesn't need to be your server. Our Cloud4VC service allows for our document management system to be installed in a remote cloud server, and data can be securely accessed via an internet connection. Virtual Cabinet Cloud is another product we offer which is a fully cloud-based SaaS solution - where documents, communication, and workflow interchange seamlessly in one place, with equal focus on internal and external collaboration.

Our secure Client Portal is also a cloud application where you can send documents from VC to clients and request approvals and digital signatures with ease. We also have the VC Go app for mobile devices to give you control over your data and tasks from wherever you are. So, even though Virtual Cabinet is a server-based system, it has all the functionality of a cloud system in that it can be installed on a cloud server and you can access it from anywhere across all devices.

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