Is a Private Cloud Right for Your Management Company?

Posted by Andrea Drennen, CMCA on September 18, 2014

private-cloud

By now, you’ve heard all about cloud computing. It’s the buzzword that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue. At its heart, cloud computing is simply the use of computing resources over a network (the Internet). Let's dig a little deeper.

We use the cloud all the time in our daily lives

Every time we access data on our smart phones for social networking, checking email, sharing files, and so much more. The cloud is a fluffy, soft, easy place. Hence the name, cloud. Right?

But the cloud is scary too. Just last week my bank issued a new debit card for me because I shopped at Home Depot in the past few months. In fact, we hear scary stories about cloud services getting hacked with more and more frequency these days.

So as a management company responsible for other people’s sensitive data, (like the home and accounting data you are tracking for the homeowners in the associations you manage) you wouldn’t be sensible if you did not have legitimate concerns about the security of moving your business to the cloud.

Enter the private cloud

No, it's not a gated community in Heaven! A private cloud is a secure virtual machine that is exclusive to your business, meaning it is not accessible to the general public. Enterprise level companies may build a private cloud within their own corporate network, but it is not uncommon for small to medium businesses to engage a third party cloud host to manage their private cloud.

With the private cloud, your management company can gain all of the benefits of being in the cloud without most of the downsides that come from the public cloud.

Benefits of the private cloud for CAM management companies (in their words)

  • Provide secure, remote access to your data
    I have access to all of the association’s accounts on my iPad, so, I’m not carrying around file folders of rules and regulations, rosters and vendors. And, I’m not coming back to the office to spend an hour and a half on the computer documenting everything I already wrote down!
    — Jennifer Senffner, Classic Community Management
         View the case study
  • Control access to authorized personnel
    With a cloud-based system, I can bring [new employees] on-board remotely and provide them everything they need. I’d like to have the collaboration between everyone without a big corporate office.
    — Mike Bono, Bono & Associates
         View the case study
  • Automated disaster recovery tools
    The Internet back-up systems—all of that is automatic now with the Cloud. I am on TOPS all the time at my house.  On the weekends I don’t have to drive into the office to do something.
    — Scott Muir, Amelia Island Management
         View the case study
  • Expand your business to satellite locations
    I could add another office within days. All I have to do is buy another user, a phone, and a laptop and they’re up and running in a town 200 miles from here.
    — Mike Bono, Bono & Associates
         View the case study
  • Allow your staff to telecommute
    If I’m at home, at work, out doing a drive-thru, or at a board president’s house, I’ve got full access to the entire TOPS system on my laptop or PC.
    — Mike Bono, Bono & Associates
         View the case study
  • Access key systems 24/7 (even through natural disasters)
    Being on the coast with hurricanes and storms, it gives us confidence knowing we can get off the island and access our back-office system from anywhere.
    — Jeff Chapman, Amelia Island Management
         View the case study
  • Eliminate internal IT hassles and hardware needs
    I don’t need to have special cooling or any kind of special environment, I don’t have servers running 24/7, which means less energy consumption too.
    — Mike Bono, Bono & Associates
         View the case study
  • Focus on your core business
    My time was more important than shopping for servers. I have more faith in someone else managing the technology.
    — Jennifer Senffner, Classic Community Management
         View the case study
  • No capital expenditures
    I’m saving money all over the place. And, I’m paying about half of the usual IT budget.
    — Jennifer Senffner, Classic Community Management 
         View the case study
  • Enable managers in the field
    People can actually be in the field doing inspections, taking pictures, uploading work, generat- ing reports, letters or whatever it might be. The data is wherever we are. It certainly allows our Managers to be much more effective and efficient.
    — Jeff Chapman, Amelia Island Management
         View the case study

 

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