The Cloud – Part 1

<CSI Onsite will be closed on July 3 in celebration of Independence Day>

As our nation recognizes and commemorates its independence, we look up to the clouds to watch the lightshow with fireworks. Pyrotechnicians are trusted to help ensure the safety and satisfaction of all spectators…   As we are looking forward to our celebration in the sky, we thought it would be a good time to talk about “The Cloud” from a technology perspective.  Should it be avoided like bad weather during fireworks?


First, some definitions:

“The Cloud”

It is important to understand what it means to be in “The Cloud.” A Cloud Based environment entails having yours or your company’s data in a location that is accessible from anywhere you have Internet connectivity, and is typically considered the delivery of computing via a SERVICE vs. a PRODUCT.

Typical characteristics of Cloud Computing include:

  • Agility
  • Reliability
  • Scalability
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Ease of Maintenance

The deployment model of Cloud Computing can be “Public”, “Private”, or a “Hybrid” Combination of both.   The reality today is if you use a music streaming service, online backup, email from your internet service provider, or any other service that isn’t located directly on your computer at home – you’re probably already “in the cloud.”

This discussion focuses on business-level cloud services – these are showing more value for clients because of their lowering costs, “set-and-forget” approach, and general public adoption.


Utilizing applications provided by a 3rd party vendor, such as Office 365, is considered to be in the “Public Cloud.” The servers utilized to provide these services are shared among many companies – in other words, your data is stored on servers with other companies’ data. Most all Server Hosting services are considered in the Public Cloud.  The primary advantage of this is the shared cost of the servers.  It is also prudent for the hosting provider to keep a close eye on these servers as any outages resulting from server/hardware failure would result in unhappy customers.


Private Cloud refers to infrastructure provided specifically for one organization.  This includes having an infrastructure located on-premise at a company’s location that is available via the internet to remote (outside) users.


This is a mix of public and private cloud options where a sub-set of a company’s infrastructure is in the Public Cloud (IE Office 365) and the rest of the environment is in a Private Cloud (data/applications, etc.)

When choosing between Public vs. Private Cloud options, it is important to evaluate the following:

  • Are there any regulatory issues involved that would prevent your data from being stored in a shared-hosting environment?
  • What applications can be used via remote environments?
  • What is the need for Desktops?  (Are Thick or Thin clients needed?)
  • Is cost a consideration? Public Cloud computing can be less expensive, however if moving an entire environment to the cloud can be equally as costly, if not more, than standard on premise servers.


Asking questions like:

  • Do you use a database server for your business?
  • Where is your email server and does your business require physical possession?
  • How does HITech or HIPA compliance impact your needs as a business?

What this means is there is no “cookie cutter” answer to “The Cloud.”  Like launching fireworks has many variables needing to be considered for a safe show, moving systems to the cloud requires some thought and architecture.

Let CSI Onsite partner with you to navigate the unknowns of this ever changing technical climate… and just like you trust the team managing the show of fireworks to keep you safe, you can trust CSI Onsite to work with you and your team to find the best solutions (“Cloud” or otherwise) for your organization.

Next time we will continue our Cloud discussion with considerations when looking at a cloud solution for your business.

Have a great holiday weekend!