On-Premise IT: The Bad, The Good, and the Ugly

We do not hate or dislike Microsoft.  But, looking at the company and its products, Microsoft often provides us great examples for some of the issues with in-house systems for small and mid-size enterprises.

Case in Point: According to ComputerWorld, Microsoft will issue 12 security updates for 57 vulnerabilities across Windows, Office, and Exchange.  In an extremely unusual move, 2 of the updates are for Internet Explorer (IE) from version IE6 through IE10.

The Bad:  The scope and severity of these updates are the largest since April, 2011:

  • 5 of the updates are “critical”, the rest are “important”.
  • The vulnerabilities addressed are in every version of Windows from XP Service Pack 3 and Vista through Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows RT.
  • Updates are needed for all current versions of MS Office and for MS Exchange.

The Good:  Microsoft is able to fix the vulnerabilities found, even though some of their products continue to fail security tests.

The Ugly:  While these updates make on-premise IT environments more secure, they come at a huge cost, particularly small and mid-size businesses.  Applying these updates means touching every server, workstation, terminal server, and Windows RT tablet — some more than once.   While larger companies may use images to update workstations, applying these updates still requires building and testing the image before distribution. Hours of work and multiple reboots mean time and money — even if the work is done after hours.

Perspective:  One of the major drawbacks of on-premise IT solutions for small and mid-size enterprises is exactly this kind of maintenance.  For hosted and cloud solutions designed for large-scale multi-tenancy, like Google Apps and others, pushing out updates is automated, fast, reliable.  And, these updates rarely if ever require local updates.

Moving to a cloud or hybrid computing environment can save you time, money, and aggravation, while providing a more secure, more reliable system.

Interested in learning more, read what companies that have moved to the cloud and Google Apps have to say in this white paper.

Is this how your IT department spends its time?

As reported today in ZDnet, Microsoft’s August Patch Tuesday is the largest ever, with 14 major patches, 8 of which are critical.

Why do you care?

Because if your IT dept is good, they are first going to spend time evaluating your business’ risk and will try to determine if any of these updates will break anything running on your network.  This means time and money that could be better spent on IT activities that improve business efficiency and profitability.

One of the advantages of cloud computing, and Google Apps in particular, is that updates can happen at anytime without disrupting users.  Critical updates can be deployed globally to all customers within hours.

Cloud computing is a more efficient means of managing the infrastructure underlying your applications and your business.