With the rapid development of the internet-related platforms for supply chain, running a business from an online outlet has become easier than ever. Entrepreneurs can now rely on the popular concept known as the “Cloud” and not worry about the accessibility of their data. An individual who has witnessed this change slowly take place over the past two decades and was not afraid to challenge the idea is Robert Tweed.Also known as Rusty Tweed, he is a business owner who has grown projects across countless markets. During most of his endeavors, however, the common denominator was a push for moving the operations to a cloud network that will enable employees to work remotely. Given the experience characterized by a successful track record, Rusty Tweed now aims to clarify some of the common questions that cause small business owners to be hesitant to the principle of cloud computing.
What is your history with cloud-operated networks and how did you become familiar with them?
I started my first business many years ago when computers were more like the first-ever ENIAC model than they are today. Over the years, I witnessed things like the development of smaller hardware, anti-virus programs, social platforms, built-in analytics, and more. Somewhere along the way, I picked up the necessary information to become knowledgeable about the so-called “cloud”. Originally, I thought it seemed pretty silly to consider replacing traditional systems of operations that were based on an identifiable paper trail with an online alternative that would run everything through a computer. In retrospect, I had never been more wrong. Eventually, I started using cloud-based networks in my operations and noticed a significant improvement in the efficiency and utilization of my workers’ chargeable time.
Was the increase in efficiency simultaneous with the installation of the new software or was there a learning curve for the employees?
It was a little bit of both. Generally speaking, every time that I would bring a new software like cloud computing to the company, senior employees would have to go through extensive training. This is because they were the ones that were going to push this change and it was important to teach them all the ins and outs of the project plan. Consequently, their learning curve was very steep while the low-level employees were given more time to get acclimated to the change.
Can you describe the training stages that your businesses underwent to become qualified for cloud computing?
It somewhat depends on the characteristics of each case. One of the companies that I led used to take advantage of hand-written mailing systems that involved paper requests and hand-signed confirmations. After consulting some of the individuals from the upper management, we decided to install a cloud system that would track all the mailing requests and automatically send updates that do not require a sign-off from anyone. Since this project was outsourced, the training involved a week-long seminar that all employees had to complete online as well as a few meetings to answer common questions.
How would you describe the safety of information placed online and thus accessible to anyone who has the necessary credentials?
I think that it is just as safe as the information one can find in companies’ file rooms that have thousands of papers hidden behind a locked door. Ultimately, anyone who has the key or a code will be able to get in. Similarly, those who obtain the credentials for the online cloud could technically get to the data, yet there are additional measures in place to prevent information mishandling (safety questions, e-mail confirmations, and so on). Additionally, online information is not susceptible to physical damage like the paper-based data is. I mean, you could basically lose every paper trail in your company the moment that there is a fire or a flood.
Have you identified any areas of improvement when it comes to cloud computing?
Of course. As with everything else, the cloud computing has a plethora of shortcomings that will hopefully be addressed in the future. One of the biggest worries for businessmen is the question of data safety that you previously mentioned. People are often skeptical about taking advantage of cloud computing because there is an on-going risk of information leaks that have caused a lot of firms many financial issues over the years. Nevertheless, although these stereotypes attempt to create a negative connotation to the term “data sharing”, it is hard to deny all the benefits of being able to work from anywhere and access data at all times.