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The cloud: the only way is up


Most of us have worked in companies where, like Mulder in the X-Files, the ‘IT guys’ would inhabit the windowless basement of our office building. We’d occasionally call for their help, at which point these pallid professionals would materialise in Metallica tee-shirts and jeans to sort the problem. After trying to explain the fix in a language that few of us understood, they’d descend again to the belly of the building. There, they tended columns of humming servers, fed by an array of tangled wires. And, crucially, they seemed to be able to make sense of it all. Back in the day, computers required this bulky hardware backstage to keep all our businesses running.

Move to 2016 and such caverns filled with servers are becoming a thing of the past. And what is making that possible is ‘the cloud’. Amongst other things, the cloud allows us to store data and access software – securely – via the internet. Companies no longer need to bear the cost of ranks of servers and the air-conditioned rooms to keep them in; nor do they need the requisite computer experts to keep them ‘up’. And in the same way, personal computer users are moving away from using storage media like additional hard drives, disks, or memory sticks to store all the data they create from all the software they use. More and more of us are choosing to store data and use applications ‘in the cloud’. Most smartphone apps these days make some use of cloud storage – from Angry Birds to Instagram: you’re probably using cloud technology in day-to-day life already.

The terminology is, admittedly, unsettling.

The ‘cloud’ all sounds a bit smoke and mirrors, transient, unpredictable and elusive. But that’s not really the case. Simply put, cloud storage means that, instead of storing information in your computer or in another piece of local hardware like a disk or stick, you save your stuff to a secure off-site storage system that someone else worries about making work. From word documents and spreadsheets to massive corporate databases, there are loads of benefits to storage – and indeed running software – in the cloud. Aside from cash savings, perhaps the most important is that the cloud removes most of the risk from storing data or software ourselves. Think about it: If you save documents or software to your laptop’s hard-drive, it means that, to use any of it, you physically need the laptop. Spill your coffee on it, drop it, or leave it on the train, and you’re screwed. You’re physically tied to the hardware. Similarly, with additional storage items like discs and USB sticks. Lose them, and you lose your info and applications. Game over.

Wouldn’t it be better to give the problem to someone else?

Especially when that someone can do it more cost effectively, more securely and, indeed, with greater business resilience. Cloud is, by its very nature, removed from your premises. It is removed from your fire or flood and made resilient by your data being constantly backed up – often in near real-time – across several locations.

In addition, running software in the cloud means that just one version of software application is in use, and it’s always the most up to date one too. This means that all of your organisation uses the same version, all the time. Your people will never again have to run around every computer or device ensuring the latest version is installed.

And that’s why isCompliant is cloud-based – so you can access our most up-to-date version from wherever you are, on anyone’s computer or laptop. At any hour of the day or night. So that all the business-critical information you enter into isCompliant is constantly backed up. So that all those confidential files you store on isCompliant are safe. No matter what happens to your business hardware or premises, isCompliant is both secure and accessible.

Wherever there is internet, there is the cloud. And there is isCompliant.

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