For some it’s an abstract concept, for others it’s tangible. Here’s the lowdown on the cloud and what it can do for your business
By Dwayne Bragonier
Illustration: Frank Viva
Technology has always been front and centre for Goebelle MacAdam Alexander LLP, a public accounting firm with two offices in southern Ontario, four partners and 30 staff all particularly strong in their computing skills. For years, the firm maintained its own on-site servers, purchased server software licences and looked after its data security and backup. It even had an uninterruptible power supply unit to protect itself in the event of a blackout.
About five or six years ago, the partners took stock, decided they were not in the computer infrastructure business and started to look for a viable alternative. Cloud computing, which is a set of services delivered via the Internet, was still in its infancy and none of its capabilities was being marketed. So the firm did the next best thing. It decided to work with a company that would host the firm’s servers remotely. It would also perform software installation, set security, run backup protocols, and so on — all services now readily provided in the cloud.
Today, Goebelle MacAdam Alexander runs and controls its practice entirely in the cloud. David Alexander, a partner in the firm, wouldn’t have it any other way. “We’ve been in the cloud several years now,” he says. “There is no question that this is the only way to go. The poor little guy who is out there in the middle of nowhere has no clue of any of this. Without question it is the way of the future, delivered today.”