Friday, March 4, 2011

Clouds to the rescue

It's now been over week since the horrendous earthquake that devastated Christchurch and despite the best efforts of a small army of volunteers and professionals, it will still be quite some time before normality is restored to this city.

Amidst so much sorrow and human tragedy it can be easily forgotten that those who survived will now have major problems to contend with.

Many of those who survived the quake will now be without work, the companies run by their employers having been put out of business, at least temporarily.

Within the precincts of the CBD, most of the computer systems on which valuable and essential debtors, creditors and other accounting data is stored, remain "out of bounds" to business-owners and their staff. Nobody knows for sure whether their PCs will have survived intact, or whether they've been crushed by falling mortar, drenched by the rain that's since fallen, or stolen by opportunistic looters.

It is perhaps a disaster like this that may encourage many businesses to look more closely at the benefits of moving much of their IT operations to "the cloud".

Those companies who already kept their accounting records and systems on cloud-based services may well be able to process invoices and payments, re-jig their budgets to allow for the costs of the quake and even continue most of their day-to-day clerical operations.

For those cloud-based companies to continue, all they need is another computer and an internet connection.

No need to reinstate their previous computers or restore a myriad of backups -- simply log-in and carry on as usual.

With insurance companies looking to cut their losses and reduce risk I would not be surprised to see policy discounts being offered for companies who opt to use cloud-based accounting and database systems in future.

Perhaps clouds do have a bright future, especially in a world where natural disasters are becoming an increasingly common and expensive event.

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