cloud-computing-podcast

Episode #8:
Cloud Computing for Atlanta Small Business

IT Help Atlanta Podcast Presented by TeamLogic

The following is a transcript of Episode 8 of the IT Help Atlanta presented by TeamLogic IT podcast. All episodes of the podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Announcer: Broadcasting from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, it’s time for “IT Help Atlanta,” brought to you by TeamLogic IT, your technology advisor. Now, here’s your host, Rick Higgins.

Rick: Welcome, everyone, to the “IT Help Atlanta” radio show, the show that profiles small businesses and highlights how those companies use technology to succeed. “IT Help Atlanta” is brought to you by TeamLogic IT, your managed services advisor. Specializing in cybersecurity and cloud solutions, TeamLogic IT leverages cutting-edge technology to solve all types of business problems for the Atlanta market. Go to ithelpatlanta.com for audio archives of this show and to learn more about our sponsor, TeamLogic IT. I’m your host, Rick Higgins, and today’s special guest is Scott Bechtold with Agility IT. Good morning, Scott. How are you?

Scott: Good morning, Rick. How are you? Great.

Rick: Oh, man. Amazing. Just really glad to have you on. And one thing I wanted to start with was I saw that you put down your title as chief problem solver. Why did you pick that for a title?

Scott: Well, you know, as you know, IT is one of those things that that’s pretty much all we do. You know, we solve problems every day, and I think that’s part of what makes both…I think part of what I do so enjoyable. You know, the instant gratification of helping people every day, and bettering their business, and making them more efficient, effective. I mean, so, that’s, kinda, why I chose that because at the end of the day, that’s what I do.

Rick: I like it. I like it a lot. I used to work with a guy who wanted the title chief bottle washer and, kinda, makes me think of that. So, Scott, you are here this morning as a subject matter expert for cloud computing for small businesses. And for us, it’s small business in the Atlanta area, in particular. And I want to start off with the first question. Why is cloud computing important to small business in Atlanta?

Scott: Well, I mean, cloud is important to all businesses, not just necessarily in Atlanta, especially in these unprecedented times. You know, everyone needs to take a look at their business and say, “How can we be more effective moving forward?” I think the landscape of how businesses run and how businesses conduct is going to be changed forever. And as a part of enabling that for companies to run smoothly, you know, the cloud, especially in Atlanta where there’s so much going on, the cloud is a critical component for everyone to not only be as effective as they were, but more effective moving forward.

Rick: So, let’s talk about some of the highlights and reasons why a small business would wanna do that. Are there things like, you know, scalability, security, accessibility, how does that come into play? And also isn’t it reliant on good bandwidth or internet connectivity? How do you deal with a cloud solution if you lose your connectivity?

Scott: That’s…both great questions. Let’s start with the first one. You know, the first concern that most people always come up with about moving to the cloud is security. And while that is absolutely valid, more often than not, the data centers that…you know, there’s data centers right in Atlanta. You’re hosting cloud right there in Atlanta that people can use in Atlanta for their small businesses.

And what’s interesting about it is most people are concerned that they don’t have access to their data where they can touch it or something of that nature. And what they fail to realize is, with it being in a data center, where you have to give, you know, not only ID to go into the data center to access the data, but you know, they have guards and things of that nature, and the encryption and everything for a data center is so much higher than someone normally has in their Comcast router in their office, that they’re so much more secure in a data center. And the last thing is, you know, a few years ago, one of the things that really started…when I started my MSP, really started a number of companies moving to the cloud, and it was, in some of the smaller office parts, people were breaking into the offices and just cutting the cords of the computers and running away with them. But you and I both know that if someone steals your computer, even though you think that password is protecting everything, all someone has to do is take that drive out of the computer and they have access to all your data. Why would you ever risk that when you can put everything into a data center, into the cloud, and not only have, you know, have… The data center has a fiscal responsibility to the small business owner to make sure that it’s encrypted, safe, and always available.

So, now let’s jump to your second question about internet bandwidth capabilities, things of that nature. The cloud has come so far that, on average, what most people need is about one megabit per second to access the cloud effectively. More than not, all companies have that availability, and especially in Atlanta, moving to the cloud in Atlanta is really beneficial because you have such a great infrastructure there and it’s already built the speed. So, I really don’t think that’s too much of a concern. What you really have to look at is, what else is on that network? You need to work with a provider that is not just saying, “Hey, we’re gonna move everything of yours to the cloud, and it’s going to work fine.” You know, take a look at what else is running on that network. Do they have VOIP? Do they have, you know, something, security cameras, maybe an RFID system, something of that nature that you have to take into consideration also?

Rick: So, you, kind of, alluded to it and you talked about providers. You know, that’s the thing in our business, especially here in Atlanta, where it’s extremely competitive. Not all managed service providers are equal and not all cloud service providers are equal. Could you talk about the differences and what a typical client should be looking for in a cloud services provider?

Scott: Yeah. The first thing that you wanna look for is references from that cloud service provider. And not just references that they’ve moved someone to the cloud in the last year. Now, as an example, I started moving people to the cloud in Atlanta in 2007. So, you’re gonna wanna look for someone that’s been doing this for a few years. Number two, you’re gonna want to see a breadth of experience. And what does that mean? In the cloud, you know, not all clouds are built the same. There’s public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. That’s probably a whole different show, Rick. But you wanna make sure that the provider that you select has the capability and experience to work in all those environments. As an example, from Microsoft Azure, you know, if they are looking to move you to Microsoft Azure, as most MSPs are, because there’s a benefit as a Microsoft partner to do that. And Atlanta having Microsoft right there is also critical. I just lost my train of thought. So, if they’re moving Azure, make sure that they have someone that’s Azure-certified on staff. That’s critical.

Rick: I mean, that’s the whole that area of expertise in and of itself, right? I mean, a whole career for people that just do that.

Scott: Absolutely. And, you know, it’s similar to AWS and GCP as well. But if they don’t have that experience and they’re just thinking they’re gonna move your current infrastructure to the cloud and that’s it, and if… Now, here’s the one thing, Rick, it’s really important, that I hear all the time, being told to small businesses that’s not true. We’re gonna move you to the cloud and all we’re doing really is just moving your on-premise equipment into the cloud, nothing really changes. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only from the standpoint of the responsibility of the MSP of the work that they have to do, and the cost management, and everything of that nature, because now that’s built per minute, it’s not just a physical one-time cost.

Rick: Right.

Scott: So, it changes the perspective of the cloud service provider on how that partnership works. And so, that small business owner needs to ask me those questions.

Rick: So, that’s great. And you mentioned Azure, you mentioned Amazon, and we’re seeing a lot of ads and marketing for those two solutions, and Google Cloud, etc. Those solutions are public cloud. I’m not sure that our audience understands the differences and options between public and private cloud. Could you talk about that a little bit?

Scott: Yeah, sure. So, the big three public cloud providers are Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Microsoft Azure, and Google, Google Cloud or Google Compute platform is what it’s called. And those are all public cloud. So, what that means is everyone, you know, every small business owner or any cloud service provider has access, the entire public has access to that cloud platform. Now, that said, those three cloud platforms are also some of the most highly regulated, highly governed by compliance, and highly restrictive available. So, just because the forefront of that says public, by no means think that that doesn’t mean they’re secure. They’re probably the most secure environments that you can go in.

Rick: Right.

Scott: Private cloud, you’ll see regional providers say, you know, like you’re a U.S. Signals and there’s a few others out there that basically have their own data, their own setup in a private data center that they provide to their customers. While it’s no better or no worse than a public cloud environment, it’s different. It offers a different level of support. You can get better support with a public cloud and it offers a better level of interaction with the direct provider. As you and I both know, getting in touch with Microsoft, or Google directly, or Amazon for anything can be slightly difficult.

Rick: So, just to clarify, it’s better support with private or public?

Scott: Private.

Rick: Private. Okay, just wanted to clarify that point. Gotcha. Gotcha. Let’s talk about scalability between the two. Is there a difference?

Scott: I would say I have seen a difference, yes. And I’m just going by what I’ve seen. In Azure, the availability and that’s my primary workspace, in Azure, there’s the availability to scale beyond any scope we can imagine.

Rick: Right.

Scott: Yeah. And do it immediately. That’s not always necessarily true in private data centers. Sometimes you’ll run into a situation where that private data center, because they are basically paying for their own infrastructure, don’t have any additional machines available, don’t have any additional cores available to build machines on, maybe not have the bandwidth that’s necessary as your company grows. You know, there’s a lot of considerations that you have to make. While the support is direct and it’s better at a certain level in a private cloud, more often than not, if a company is going to grow over the course of the next 5 years, 10% to 50%, they’re going to outgrow private cloud.

Rick: Yeah. Scott, what question would you like for people to ask your clients or partners or otherwise, but that no one ever does ask?

Scott: I wish they would ask me, “Do I need to move to cloud?” Everyone, you know, with all the marketing and the hype that we all hear, everyone just assumes that they need to go to cloud. We all need to go to cloud to do this. And nothing could be further from the truth. You know?

Rick: Right. It’s not for everybody, right.

Scott: No. No, it’s not. And that, again, going back to our discussion about the right provider, the right provider is the one that tells you it’s not right for you.

Rick: That’s right. Yes, for sure. The one that tells you the truth, come on.

Scott: Yeah, exactly. And, you know, anyone can throw anyone into the cloud and it work, but, you know, do they need that expense? The other thing is people always assume that the cloud is cheaper.

Rick: Right.

Scott: Best case scenario is you and I both know it’s a breakeven, but there’s a lot of other benefits that come along with that. So, those are the two that I think I’d like to clarify the most. And, you know, with regard to, does the small business owner need to move to the cloud in Atlanta? Absolutely, get a second opinion. You know, the sponsor of this show would be someone I would trust to reach out to and get a second opinion on any move that someone’s making to the cloud.

Rick: Thanks. Thanks for that, Scott. And Scott, I think that’s a wrap for us. I wanna go ahead and wrap up, but before I do, tell the audience how to get in touch with you, your email, your phone number.

Scott: Sure. If anyone has any questions or would like to bounce any cloud proposals or ideas off me, you can reach me at scott@agility-it.com. My cell phone number, 404-642-5401.

Rick: Folks, that’s a wrap for my guest, Scott Bechtold of Agility IT, the chief problem solver of Agility IT. I’m Rick Higgins. Join us next time on “IT Help Atlanta” podcast show. Thank you.