Cloud vs. Physical – rent or buy?

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

‘Piracy!’ – A word all of us have heard mentioned in regard to several industries over the last decade. More often than not, piracy is a term used in relation to the illegal downloading of tv shows, films, music and games. A few years back, as a final year student at University, I wrote my dissertation based on the effects of illegal downloading on the global music industry. The figures I found after research were quite alarming. In 2012 a reported 70,000 job losses and $12.5 billion in lost revenue devastated the music industry… This was in the USA alone!

So what, you might wonder, does this have to do with Microsoft Office? Well, speaking realistically, for the past decade or so many small businesses have been culprits of piracy for Microsoft Office software. All IT professionals are aware of this, most of us turned a blind eye to it, and some of us may have even welcomed it. A quick search on any torrent website can reveal product keys for a whole host of software.

When we consider how widespread this piracy is, it’s no wonder that companies like Apple, Microsoft, Adobe etc. have pushed cloud computing into the limelight. At the moment, Microsoft are selling Office 365 licenses direct to the client, which from a business point of view delayers the industry significantly and reduces the bargaining power of distributors, resellers and support companies alike.

A master stroke… Not to mention the fact that in a few years, users will no longer own a physical product of anything. Moving back to a broader industry perspective, look at Apple’s iTunes match service, Amazon’s Kindle e-books, Google docs, Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. What do these have in common? All of these products can be used with full functionality without any physical ownership of the product. Say goodbye to CD’s, DVD’s, and even ‘semi-tangible’ digital copies of MP3’s.

We are moving into an age of rental as opposed to ownership, whereby users will log in to web portals to access hosted applications on servers in distant locations. In real terms this affects the user very little, Word will still look like Word, you can still download and listen to your music anywhere in the world. Also, increasing global broadband speeds will eventually mean the functions available to users will soon exceed physical copies as they’re not as limited to hardware requirements.

It truly is a time for revolution in the IT industry however frankly, the changes to end users are minimal and are not a cause for concern by any stretch of the imagination! The only real cause for concern would be the security of data in foreign datacentres, which are not subject to the same data security laws as the UK market. For business owners, this is of partular concern and as such, if you are thinking of moving to Office 365, but want a reliable method of data backup, visit

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