Cloud computing is the way of the world today. The term ‘cloud’ is thrown around a lot these days, but many people have no idea what it really means – or what it can mean for your business. Unfortunately, this not-knowing seems to create a bit of fear.
You Are Already on The Cloud!
It’s likely that each and every one of you is computing in the cloud somewhere, somehow, every day. If you have a smart phone, social media account, email, or online banking, you have touched a cloud, but you may not realize it.
What is The Cloud?
All ‘The Cloud’ means is that your data is housed on an external server and you access your files via the web, instead of your local hard drive.
There are many types of Clouds that exist online, some good, and some not so good. Before your jump into The Cloud, you need to do your research. Allowing Joe Schmo down the street to host your applications and data is not usually safe. However, using reputable, on-brand service providers is safe and smart.
Cloud Computing vs. Cloud Software
Cloud computing means you house your locally-used applications onto a server that is located outside of your physical location. If managed by a reputable company, all the heavy lifting is done for you. There is also cloud software available, where the manufacture of the product is responsible for maintaining the servers necessary hardware, essentially doing all the work for you (e.g.: Google Drive).
When faced with the prospect of moving to The Cloud, we often hear the same excuses people have used for decades about going paperless: What about power failure? What about security? What about..?
But what about questions like: What about a fire? What about a water damage from flooding? What about those files stuck behind the cabinet lost for years?!?
The Benefits of Cloud Computing
- Power, or Lack There Of – One of the most common concerns about cloud computing (and going paperless in general) is “what happens if the power goes out?”If you are running cloud software, and the power goes out, you will likely still have battery power on your laptop and e a cellphone you can tether to the internet. Likewise, Cloud-based software can be accessed through Smartphones and tablets, both of which can be linked to the web via a 4G connection or other data plan (you’ll have to do your homework on what tablets will do this, and have a plan in place that allows for it). Ultimately, as long as you have a device with some internet connectivity, you can keep running with your records at your fingertips.With traditional electronic management systems (those that are housed on a local server), when the power goes out you may have a battery backup, but that is only designed flast the 5-10 minutes you need to properly shut down your server. Likewise, your files will only be on your servers, which will be inaccessible until power is restored. When that battery is done you are as well.
- Disasters, Natural or Not – If a disaster occurs, it’s likely that your facility will be out of commission for the foreseeable future. However, with cloud based computing, setting up shop across the street, or taking your practice mobile, is as easy to logging onto the cloud with your connected device (a phone, tablet, or tethered laptop) and logging onto your files. Plus, you won’t need to worry about rebuilding your server, no expensive downloads from your backup provider (only to find out that no one has performed a backup for 3+ months), or rebuilding your patient and client files.
- Security – Another common question is, “What about security?” In most cases, you will need to check the cloud software you are using to see what security is built in and what security protocols are in place. Most reputable Cloud services are virtually air tight (pun intended) and completely safe to use.
- Internet play – You may be thinking, “If we are in the cloud, then my staff will have internet access all day…” And it’s true. If you are having a problem with staff doing things they shouldn’t be doing online, there are a few ways to handle it. One, you deal with the employee, and that’s that. You could also use that facebook-junkie employee to become your social media liaison within your practice. You can also find an employee version of parental controls that will limit what sites your staff has (and doesn’t have) access to.
No matter your objections, The Cloud is where the future of smart practice information management will be, and that’s OK. Better still, the freedom and simplicity Cloud-based management provides you and your staff will revolutionize the way you do business. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call or attend one of our free webinars with your questions about The Cloud and how BeeFree can help your practice.