IT teams across the world live in day to day hope that their servers and networks hold together and pray that the disaster recovery schemes will be adequate in the event of catastrophe.
Most business managers don't know it but this is very close to the truth.
IT people are highly professional and, of course, their server networks do deliver. Massive and expensive failure is surprisingly rare, provided that the IT department gets what the IT department needs in terms of budget. But, where budget is restricted, where the IT manager fails to make the business case for upgrade, then performance and security start to become threatened.
In addition, a complex IT infrastructure brings with it the penalties of restrictive practise where a department head can't get the software, services or technology required for a lean department because what is needed will not fit with the current IT infrastructure.
So, what's the answer?
The cloud beckons, but many business are unsure of what a migration to offsite data processing and storage means. There are many cloud platforms, how do you chose the right one and what are the risks?
Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 lead the market and the pros and cons of each are loudly proclaimed. Obviously, the right solution for any business can only be determined by the people who know the business best, its management team.
As always with marketing the offerings, while not actually misleading, do tend to minimise the failings of the product being offered and overstress the importance of strengths and it is all too easy for a business lead with inadequate knowledge of in-house corporate data needs to make the wrong choices.
Many of the cloud offerings deliver the promise of managers being able to grasp the control of the data that thier teams process, to make better use of it, to increase efficiency and reduce costs. In short to move away from having business choices restricted by the legacy of change being confined by systems and software in place.
Platforms such as Drop Box and Google Apps offer an easy change to a familiar cloud storage structure, copying the local file storage to the Internet and maintaining the old file and folder structure. Office 365 moves away from that, delivering more extensive document management functionality and extensive departmental work flow tools which reduce the need for software, applications and plug ins.