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Virtualization is the act of taking a physical IT component, like a server or a desktop, and storing it in a virtual environment for access through an online interface. This is the interface through which users access applications or data storage clients. When you access information through the cloud, you?re basically accessing the virtual server where your data is stored through a software like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive.

Therefore, you can think of the cloud as a computer that?s hosted off-site and (hopefully) maintained by trained IT professionals. The main benefit of using cloud-based storage, especially that which is stored off-site, is that your business isn?t responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the hardware used to store your data. Of course, if you have an internal IT department, the option for a self-hosted cloud is available, but if you want to get the best return on investment for your cloud, you?re better off letting a managed service provider host and maintain your cloud solution.

Here?s where most business owners get held up on cloud adoption; they don?t know what their business needs, and get hung up on the details of implementing a cloud. The issue at hand here is that the cloud has so many variants that businesses don?t really know what they want or need from the cloud. While it?s recommended that you communicate with an IT professional to figure out your cloud strategy, you can make the decision easier by asking yourself a few key questions.

To make things simple, ask yourself how much control you want over your data, and whether you want to take care of your own technology solutions. If you want to maximize control over your data, a private cloud is the right choice for your business. If you?d rather get started quickly without focusing too much on customization and IT maintenance, the public cloud is a better option. What type of cloud solution you?ll implement is, more or less, largely dependant on these two factors. A hybrid cloud solution is good middle ground for a small business that wants to maximize control while maintaining a hands-off approach to management. Either way, the cloud you?ll implement will undoubtedly need to reflect your business?s specific needs.

Worse yet, talking about the ?cloud? inevitably leads people to discuss cloud computing, rather than the actual act of virtualization. The fact remains that cloud computing is only a small part of virtualization. Instead of limiting your business?s scope to just cloud computing, you should consider the other savings that can come from virtualizing your networks, servers, and desktops. Doing so allows you to simplify your IT infrastructure and remove unnecessary costs. Since your technology will be handled by trained IT professionals, you can remain confident that it?s being maintained properly.

For all of your business?s cloud computing and virtualization needs, you only need to make one phone call. To learn more about how the cloud and virtualization can improve your business model, contact White Mountain IT Services at (603) 889-0800.

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