Running Prevail in the Cloud

Cloud computing has become mainstream because of the increased availability of internet connectivity combined with cost-effective mobile computing. It’s become a heavily pressed, over-hyped techie term, and many internet service companies are attempting to jump on this bandwagon.

What is it?
Cloud computing refers to the storage and/or processing of data on a computer which is hosted on the internet. That’s it, there’s no need to overcomplicate this.

Do I need it?
That depends on your current circumstances:

  • If you travel, or maybe you are out of the office a great deal and you are unhappy with your current remote access to your main office, then yes, you should consider moving to a cloud provider.
  • If you wish to eliminate the worry of backups and have someone else maintain your computer hardware and be responsible for patches, upgrades, anti-virus and other such technological nightmares, then you might want to consider the cloud.
  • If your existing computer hardware is antiquated, migrating to a cloud provider might dramatically improve your computing performance. When you’re on a cloud server it will be providing the processing power and disk space. Only video traffic is sent across the internet.

Sounds great, why wouldn't I migrate to a cloud provider?

  • It requires the internet at all times. You will not be able to access Prevail (or your other hosted applications or data) without an internet connection.
  • It’s passing your data to a third party vendor. Some law offices are uncomfortable about involving a third party. Check your contract carefully, check the liabilities, up-time, security measures and guarantees. Get references, do your homework. We recommend that you automate a regular backup of the data to your local network (from the cloud) for your own peace of mind. After all, it’s your data, you should always have a copy.
  • Costs. Cloud providers typically run on a subscription (per user, per month) pricing model. Pricing is usually scaled for the amount of data, the number of concurrent users and size of the practice. Although, arguably in the medium-to-long term you will actually see savings since you will not have to maintain a local server or hire a local IT professional to the same extent.

Cloud Windows Servers and Cloud web servers, what’s that all about?
A web server provides a web resource, so the data contained within will be accessible via your internet web browser. Prevail cannot be hosted on a web server and has no web front end. If your cloud provider only provides a web interface then it is not a suitable provider for Prevail.

A cloud Windows server must be used to host Prevail in a cloud environment. Your cloud provider must be able to provide a Windows platform for Prevail and its database component, the Advantage Database Server.

What about cloud storage? Can I hold my Prevail on Dropbox, SugarSync or Google drive and access Prevail from anywhere?
No. Cloud storage is exactly that, storage. Cloud storage providers will not allow a third party program to operate on their server at a component level. You cannot install the Advantage Database Server onto Dropbox (or similar) – you will need a Windows Server that you can access over the internet.

Cloud storage may be suitable for data backup purposes but live data should never be stored on a cloud storage provider like Dropbox.

Okay, I’m in. How do I do this?
We can work with your existing or proposed cloud provider. Have them call us directly on your behalf and we’ll be glad to explain what is required for Prevail to run on a hosted server.