One of the first three letter acronyms (TLA for short) I learned in the business world was “FUD”. The term refers to a tactic used by some Sales and Marketing teams to instill Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt into the minds of potential customers about a competing product or service.
When I joined the Fellowship One team in 2004, I quickly realized that we were on the receiving end of the FUD treatment. It was exciting to be working for a software company that was an early adopter of new technologies and a provider of cloud computing solutions to churches. We were the first to provide web-based solutions to churches for services including: Check-in, Online Donations, Contact management, Event registration and more.
Initially we weren’t surprised to hear from the naysayers about these newfangled technologies. However, 7 years later we still hear skeptics that introduce FUD into the conversation despite the overwhelming evidence in the business world that cloud computing is here to stay. Over the last few years we’ve all begun to store things in the “cloud”. Your address book, bank account, emails, music library, medical records, photos and more are now available wherever and whenever you need it.
So rather than introduce more FUD, let’s focus on clarifying some popular myths about cloud computing.
1. Your data is not safe
This one strikes right at the core of our primal fears, our safety and security. Companies that offer cloud computing solutions take security very seriously. They know that any breach in security would be extremely damaging to their reputation. You should ask every company for details about their security infrastructure, encryption methods and disaster recovery plans. I can assure you that the security measures we take meet and/or exceed all regulatory standards and are far beyond what any church could afford to offer themselves.
2. Your Internet connection may go down
This concern was particularly relevant a decade ago but access to a fast, reliable Internet connection is now nearly ubiquitous. Today, an Internet outage is as rare as losing electricity. Losing access to electricity during a critical time would be even more disruptive than a temporary Internet issue.
3. Cloud computing applications are not reliable
A cloud-based system can be highly reliable if properly constructed and monitored. Years ago companies were still learning how to build fully redundant, self-healing infrastructures. The hardware, tools and monitoring systems that are now available can greatly minimize the risk. No system is foolproof but it is reasonable to expect 99.95% uptime from today’s cloud computing systems.
4. Cloud-based applications are slower than a local system
There is no reason that web-based systems cannot be just as fast as a locally hosted one. There are many factors that can contribute to speed, from your local network configuration, to the Internet, to a performance issue within the application itself. If your web-based system is slow, then something is wrong and should be easily corrected.
5. You lose ownership of your data in the cloud
Simply stated, your data is well … your data. In cloud-based systems your data is stored offsite in a highly secure location. A far safer option than any church can provide. One look at churches destroyed by fires, floods and tornadoes will convince you that storing your data offsite is an absolute MUST to ensure the long-term security of your data.
6. You cannot integrate with other applications
Unfortunately not every cloud-based system provides an Application Programming Interface (API) but the best ones do. Our API is free to anyone who wishes to integrate their custom or commercial application with Fellowship One. It’s built on open standards with an emphasis on speed and security.
7. Cloud-based systems are more expensive
Not necessarily, you have to consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). When comparing a cloud-based system to one you host yourself, you need to be careful because it’s like comparing apples to oranges. To host a system yourself you need to factor in all of the costs related to extra personnel, hardware, backups, security, redundancy, maintenance, upgrades, and more. With a cloud-based system, these features are built into the access fees and are provided for a far lower cost in comparison to doing it yourself.
Hopefully this blog helped clarify many of the myths of cloud computing. I’ll provide additional detail about each of these topics in future posts.