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Kids play with building blocks so they can build whatever their imagination conceives. Similarly, use of public cloud computing services enable an enterprise to select what it needs, when it's needed. It can select an intranet as a platform, and add email and CRM, email marketing tools, financial services and any number of other apps. Use and pay for only what the company needs with little or no hardware necessary.

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Evens the Playing Field for a Small Business

The public cloud gives a small business the same tools that Fortune 100 companies use, yet the business only pays for what it needs. Think of all that capital-expense saving.

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Brings in Skilled Vendors

Who do you trust to manage and protect your data? There are an increasing number of established cloud-based application providers with brand names and credibility to match. Those include such providers as Salesforce.com, Amazon, IBM, Rackspace, GoGrid, and, yes, InfoStreet, which has more than 16 years' experience serving enterprise clients.

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Ease of Implementation

For your private cloud, an IT consultant has to set up your entire system and you may find that it works most of the time. He has everything networked and is available within two to three days to fix whatever is broken. In two to three days, you could be out of business if your apps don't work. This problem is nonexistent with 24/7 cloud-based applications.

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Disaster Relief

Disasters come along infrequently, so why worry about the occasional flood, storm or hurricane? It's true that the cloud safely stores everything on secure data centers, accessible anywhere employees have an Internet connection. On the other hand, if your PCs and servers are safely tucked away in your old coat closets, your business has nothing to worry about, right?

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Remote Access

The cloud allows your employees, partners and clients freedom to access and update information wherever they are without having to run back to the office. It's not as easy to access all that data with non-cloud IT systems.

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Automatic Updates

Your company has been using the same software for years, and the vendor sends CDs for every update. You then get to use the extended quality time to bond with your staff while you plow through upgrades. Then there is always the possibility that some application upgrades will break other applications or other parts of your IT system. The cloud eliminates the need for IT to worry about paying for your future updates in terms of software, hardware and downtime. Once you move to the cloud, the biggest problem becomes what will your staff use for drink coasters, if not CDs?

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Cloud-based apps enable enterprises to scale their data storage needs seamlessly, using and paying for only what they use. There is no worrying about provisioning for future capacity needs. It all just gets stored in the cloud.

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Reduced Costs

You've spent considerable expense on computers, servers, software and IT services over the years. While it's true that much of your system may be outdated and that many new apps won't work on older machines, it still works well enough, you say. It's clear that cloud computing reduces hardware costs and networking management. But why improve on what works "well enough"? Let's think about that for a moment.

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And Finally ...

The most important reason not to build your own cloud: Because a services provider like InfoStreet or Salesforce.com can do the job better and a lot less expensively. If they don't do it for your company, they may end up doing it for your competitors, which might make it even harder to stay in business in a highly competitive market.

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