back to article Computers cost money. We only make them more expensive by trying to manage them ourselves

Welcome to the latest Register Debate in which writers discuss technology topics, and you the reader choose the winning argument. The format is simple: we propose a motion, the arguments for the motion will run this Monday and Wednesday, and the arguments against on Tuesday and Thursday. During the week you can cast your vote on …

  1. sitta_europea Silver badge

    This sounds familiar.


    Employees who worked with company assets were told in 2000 that Jeff Skilling believed that business assets were an outdated means of company worth, and instead he wanted to build a company based on "intellectual assets".


    In case you can't be bothered, the company in question was called 'Enron'.

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: This sounds familiar.

      "intellectual assets"

      And to top that all off, his testimony before Congress was that he had "no knowledge" of what the people under him were doing. And that's how we got the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The "I know nothing" defense has been relegated to Sargent Schultz.

  2. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Free to get locked in?

    > Do we really need the “freedom” to choose whatever you want on your desktop, or laptop, or indeed, your data center?


    Not to be free to choose (that can be done on a cloud based operation, anyway). But the freedom to decide when to change supplier, when to find a better price and when to re-architect stuff as the business changes.

    As for capex / opex, those arguments are bogus. It is quite easy to get external finance for capital purchases. Thus replacing the monthly cloud costs with monthly loan repayments.

    1. nematoad

      Re: Free to get locked in?

      As someone who has worked in IT at an oil refinery, a steel works and at a financial services call centre amongst other places, the thought of someone else having control of the servers at any of these places leaves me cold.

      The point is who do you trust? The people on the ground or some faceless entity located miles away? If the oil refinery was to blow up, and at the site I worked it had happened. Not all of it of course but part of the cat-cracker landed in the chemical site's canteen about half a mile down the road. If it had been caused by a cloud based IT failure who would be to blame? The same goes for the steel works. Remember these are potentially dangerous places.

      As for sites handling peoples financial details I don't think that regulators would look too kindly on anyone outsourcing their IT, conceivably to another legal jurisdiction.

      There are good reasons for keeping IT in-house and the issue of trust is one of the main ones.

      1. SW10

        Re: Free to get locked in?

        Even the Zuckerverse has in-house disasters

        Then there's BA, NHS (WannaCry), TSB, HSBC...

        Your own kit is still subject to software written by other people, chips manufactured by others (Meltdown, Spectre), and your own daft employees who will be writing Who Me? columns 20 years hence...

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Free to get locked in?

        The railways works close to where I grew up, at one time had its own power station and made its own electricity whilst supplying some to the town. I wonder how they felt when they gave up power generation to a power station dozens of miles away.

        1. Dave 15

          Re: Free to get locked in?

          The accountant probably bullshitted for days about how much better off they were without the maintenance etc etc etc The top dog probably paid himself a bonus and a payrise despite a smaller company and more beholden and at risk to someone else. The whole lot is probably closed now because the power from down the road is so damned expensive its cheaper to make in China and ship it across

      3. low_resolution_foxxes

        Re: Free to get locked in?

        Pembroke Dock? An old haunt of mine

        1. nematoad

          Re: Free to get locked in?



  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just like a crack dealer, the wares are always cheaper at the start to draw in new customers but rise with dependence. In life sciences, the most expensive cost of running a genomics lab is the cloud service to process the data, and these costs are not coming down over time with the hardware.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "For the rest of us, it's a case of doing our homework"

    Sorry, you can't have it both ways.

    You can't say that companies have cupboards full of broken laptops/screens/keyboards, then say that the solution is "doing our homework" and choosing a rental service.

    If a company is not doing its homework managing its laptops, what makes you think it's going to do its homework choosing a rental scheme ?

    It's a management issue. IT does have managers, you know, it's not just peons running aound and ignoring tickets. If management is on the ball about managing capex hardware, then it will also be on the ball managing opex rentals.

    Besides, I've never understood this obsession with capex. You're paying either way, and don't try and make me think that a company with 1000+ users is going to save money and helpdesk resources just because the laptops are rented.

    On top of that, there's the argument that computer hardware is no longer progressing at the phenominal rates we witnessed from 1985 until, oh around 2010. These days, six years is a perfectly reasonable lifetime expectation for a laptop, whereas in 2005 I know of several large Luxembourgish companies who had a 3-year replacement plan.

    Heck, I only just replaced my own work laptop that I got in 2012.

    I think it has returned its investment in a perfectly satisfactory manner.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or getting an efficient dog.

      "Besides, I've never understood this obsession with capex. You're paying either way, and don't try and make me think that a company with 1000+ users is going to save money and helpdesk resources just because the laptops are rented."

      Because CapEx appears as a large upfront cost that has to be written off over time, while OpEx simply appears as a smaller operating cost. Accountants prefer to see the latter as it makes the balance sheet look nicer.

      (Caution: I am not an accountant, nor do I play one on TV)

      1. DougMac

        Re: Or getting an efficient dog.

        It allows them a _one_ time shift of the column from capex to opex and make them look spectacular.

        10 years down the road, they no longer have that one-trick pony in their stable.

        1. Naselus

          Re: Or getting an efficient dog.

          "10 years down the road, they no longer have that one-trick pony in their stable."

          No, but 10 years down the line they'll announce that they can achieve an astonishing reduction in the projected 5-year opex costs with a one-time large-scale one-time capex outlay...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Or getting an efficient dog.

          10 years down the road?? What makes you think the accountant (or manager) cares that far into the future. It's the balance sheet today that has to look good, and they likely won't be around 10 years hence to take the heat, if it ever appears.

          ...Which was kind of the point of my post - you might not see the difference between upfront cost and deferred cost, an accountant has a different perspective.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "For the rest of us, it's a case of doing our homework"

      "These days, six years is a perfectly reasonable lifetime expectation for a laptop, whereas in 2005 I know of several large Luxembourgish companies who had a 3-year replacement plan."

      I have had the same PC for over 20 years. Of course in that time it has had a few new motherboards, CPUs and graphics cards, RAM, storage & OS upgrades and a new case.

      Apart from that, the same machine.

      1. Dinanziame Silver badge

        Re: "For the rest of us, it's a case of doing our homework"

        You are Rhys Rhysson, and I claim my £5

        ...or Theseus

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "For the rest of us, it's a case of doing our homework"

          Or Trgger!

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        A PC is not a laptop

        It's a lot more difficult to upgrade a laptop's motherboard or graphics card, for one, and you just simply can't upgrade the CPU itself.

        Plus its an expensive pain to change the screen on a laptop.

        I've been upgrading my PC for over two decades as well, but it's a PC. I was talking about my work laptop.

      3. Allan George Dyer

        Re: "For the rest of us, it's a case of doing our homework"

        I kept the case... including the growing row of stickers saying what the CPU was.

    3. oiseau

      Re: "For the rest of us, it's a case of doing our homework"

      ... just replaced my own work laptop that I got in 2012.

      I still have the Atom 280/2Gb/500Gb netbook I purchased used/newish in 2010.

      Still going strong, has paid for itself many times over.


      1. Snapper

        Re: "For the rest of us, it's a case of doing our homework"

        I'm kept busy upgrading Unibody MacBook Pro's of all sizes from 2006 onwards. Built like brick-outhouses!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Maybe it's different in a bigger, more competitive marketplace than NZ but from what I've seen outsourcing hardware just means that you're trading iffy competence at managing hardware in-house for iffy competence somewhere else. With no real power to enforce the promises made by the outsourcer once you don't have the hardware or control over it, or even the KPIs. The outsourcer can have you by the short and curlies.

    1. Ken Rennoldson

      Re: Overpromising

      The answer is figuring out at the start how you walk away from the contract. And some organisations will be better at that than others. Key is ensuring there is as little data held locally as possible - Dropbox, OneDrive etc will go along way here. So if replacing an individual laptop is as simple as sending out a new one, changing contracts becomes easier.

      But then I'm writing from the UK - not NZ and I can appreciate the local market may not work like that.

  6. Persona

    The time for it has arrived and departed.

    There was a time when most rented their TV set because they were expensive and broke frequently. Most small towns would have 3 or 4 TV rental shops with their associated repair teams. As the cost of TV's fell and the reliability went up the TV rental business evaporated.

    Computers used to be relatively expensive and go wrong very frequently. Now they are cheap and comparatively very reliable. The rental market for PC's never took off possibly because in those days the data was stored locally so the easy fix of reinstalling and starting from scratch would never be a customer pleaser. Now we are in a position where the data can be stored in the cloud the rental market could work for the supplier but computers are now reliable and unlike with phones, customers don't want/need to change them every few years so there is little in it for the customers other than forcing good data management on them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The time for it has arrived and departed.

      “… and comparatively very reliable…”

      Microsoft is working hard to change this.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: The time for it has arrived and departed.

        Working on it? They've been the masters of unreliable for decades.

        Equipment has become crazy reliable. Not 100%, but well over 90%. But Microsoft? Same old Microsoft.

        1. Dave 15

          Re: The time for it has arrived and departed.

          As long as you dont buy lenovo. Have a couple of them as doorstops, the power control chip gave up now they cant charge the battery and they cant run from the mains (stupid design if ever there was one) so they are stuff all use as a laptop. Incredible design decision which makes the brand seriously avoidable

        2. andy gibson

          Re: The time for it has arrived and departed.

          Five years ago I introduced my then new employer to the world of refurbs. Significant cost saving over new for a suite of 30 machines. We planned a 3 year lifespan for them.

          Five years on all still running, with only one PSU failure in that time. We're going to keep them another year with SSDs because they perform exactly the same as the latest kit.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two unmentioned benefits

    The things that seemed most compelling to me about using a cloud platform went unmentioned during this debate.

    1. Scaling: Cloud providers allow you to scale your computer or data capacity to meet your current demands and only charge you for what you use. This can usually be done in terms of seconds. That allows you to scale your hardware up by 10x or 100x to meet the needs for a new product launch or a Black Friday-scale event. Even if you screw up horribly and you need far more resources than you expected, cloud providers can usually get you those resources within a day.

    a. You can also take advantage of that to use hardware for small one-off projects. If you want to try out some GPU computing for a few hours, you can and you just pay for the resources that you used. No need to buy, set up and maintain the hardware for years.

    2. Location: Cloud providers allow you to put your code and data almost anywhere in the world, and heavily encourages you to replicate that code and data in at least two places. That makes upgrades go smoother (you can run one last test in one location before rolling out to others), your service is more reliable (it's very unlikely to go down even if a data center blows up), your service is faster for your users (your service can be placed close to them), and it's easier to handle data sovereignty issues (data can be limited to specific cloud data centers).

    Obviously those aren't a solution to every problem. They're great if you're building a web-native application for customers. But that's not everyone's use case.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two unmentioned benefits

      I have seen different....

      For your first point, I have experienced first hand an inability to scale on demand. This was due to the provider following an 'expand hardware on demand' model! Not a small provider either. I was extremely surprised to be told that hardware is only bought when demand requires it.

      For your second point, that's fine if your particular workload is suited to it, but there are many workloads that don't. I have multiple customers that are unable to take advantage of multi-regional locations because data mirroring is just not adequate for the stated requirements.

      Accountants don't care - they just see the money side. No amount of technical argument seems to make a difference. Add to that a lack of management and you see (quite often) server sprawl and spiralling costs.

      Cloud computing is just another tool in the tool box. Unfortunately most c-suite PHBs see it as golden opportunity to get rid of their IT staff in the mistaken belief they are no longer needed and convert capex to opex (for reasons stated in other posts).

      But hey, other people may have had a better experience. Each to their own.

      1. a pressbutton

        Re: Two unmentioned benefits

        "I was extremely surprised to be told that hardware is only bought when demand requires it."

        Why: does your $employer buy hardware or services for which they do not foresee a need for in the short term?

        Like any other outsource or not issue, there are four questions

        1 Do lots of other people have the same / similar need

        (is there a market to buy from)

        2 Are my needs well defined / definable and 'standard'

        (can I clearly state what I want)

        3 Can the good / service be reliably delivered, is the good / service reliable

        (can I rely on it being delivered and working)

        4 Are my needs unlikely to change

        (will the business process I am supporting change over the life of the good / service)

        100% yes = outsource

        100% no = buy it

        There is a fifth

        5 Is the cost of buying via a loan < cost of outsourcing over the useful life of the good / service.

        But this one is a bit unneeded as if it is outsourceable (1-4 = mostly yes), it probably is cost efficient to outsource.

        If this is really not so, I suggest you start touting your expertise / product.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Two unmentioned benefits

          You ask:

          Why: does your $employer buy hardware or services for which they do not foresee a need for in the short term?

          It wasn't the employer, it was the supplier who was unable to scale on demand - and it was surprising because it's one on the "benefits" touted for the service they were selling. The customer had the need but that need could not be met.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Two unmentioned benefits

        “… I have experienced first hand an inability to scale on demand. This was due to the provider following an 'expand hardware on demand' model! Not a small provider either. I was extremely surprised to be told that hardware is only bought when demand requires it...”

        This. 100% this.

        On-demand could scaling is largely a joke. They give you more VMs but running in the same constant pool of hardware. Oh, and charge you more.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Two unmentioned benefits

          "On-demand could scaling is largely a joke. "

          We had an issue with Azure a couple of years ago. One of our clients was using Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop in Azure. When you setup VAD in Azure, you have to specify the Azure VM type you are using in your VAD machine catalog and build a template. VAD will then provision the required number of VMs from this template, requesting the required number of the same VM type. Adding more should be easy, you just say you want to add machines and VAD requests them from Azure and provisions them.

          However, when they needed to scale this up and tried to add more of these machines, they found that the Azure VM type they had selected for the VAD catalogue were in short supply until more capacity was added at the Australian Azure datacenter. All the remaining VMs of this type had been reserved for preferred customers. Our client wasn't on that list so had to use a different VM type. Basically the response was "Too bad, so sad. You are not big enough for us to care about you."

          This meant they had to build a new template VM for a new catalog with a different VM type. What should have been adding capacity with a few clicks turned into a couple of days work.

          1. Dinanziame Silver badge

            Re: Two unmentioned benefits

            A couple of days work still seems far better than buying you own new machines and installing them in your own premises, though.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Two unmentioned benefits

          Had the same here, had some VMs, required more processing power, had to add more VMs as it wasn't possible to add more cores. We provisooned more, the service ended up slower, couldn't understand why, back and forth, them saying its the code etc. After weeks and deploying it locally, which provided the additional processing power needed, we got access to the underlying hardware and hypervisor, first thing we saw, the hardware was 100% utilised for RAM, the VMs that were provisioned with 48 cores, were running on 48 core hardware. The VMs were also sharing the hardware in the cluster with the other VMs we deployed, which is why things went slower the more VMs were deployed. Especially when the new ones shared the hardware with the currently deployed which we were trying to speed up.

          The amount we were paying for the service we could have bought the hardware after 3 months. But..

          We were deploying in their 'cloud' as it was closer to where incoming data was and we had an SLA on processing time being under 300ms, meaning every ms counted.

          The provider, a hint, 2001.

    2. HeadPlug

      Re: Two unmentioned benefits

      Would you get the first benefit if you have your own hardware in general, and some cloud for things like Black Friday, and offload extra traffic there?

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Two unmentioned benefits

      Both those benefits are real, but I don't think they really work with this debate. Those are reasons that the cloud product could be technically superior than physical servers you run. These articles were talking more about rental or ownership of hardware. Some of the articles only talked about desktops, and even when they were talking about servers, they didn't say they would necessarily be running in a cloud provider's DC. While the debate isn't clear, I'm taking the arguments as including desktops issued to staff--three of four articles have unambiguously included mentions to them. In that case, the topic is much broader than "Use cloud" and I must answer the poll accordingly (I voted for because I think desktop rental is in most cases inefficient).

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Two unmentioned benefits

      For the odd experiment what you're suggesting is like renting a truck for moving or a marquee. The problem with the cloud for day-to-day is that you will always end up paying for what you provision.

    5. gratou

      Re: Two unmentioned benefits

      > data sovereignty issues (data can be limited to specific cloud data centers).

      Unsure what you include in sovereignty but unless you use a small local operator your data is subject to the CLOUD act regardless of its location.

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Two unmentioned benefits

      "But that's not everyone's use case."

      And that's exactly why the whole motion and the arguments for and against are a bit pointless. There are use case for rental and use case for buying. It's up to the individual person/group/company/organisation to chose one, the other or a mix of both that works best for them.

    7. Dave 15

      Re: Two unmentioned benefits

      Worked for one company that used this approach for the gitlab build servers, we could get our builds done very quickly without having massive servers idle most of the time, the cost was pretty fine

  8. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Pulling the wool

    Most services can easily run on one or two modern dedicated servers. You don't even need any microservice nonsense that complicates things for most use cases without bringing performance benefits.

    I've seen apps servicing millions of users just from a single dedicated server.

    However, many VCs require that before getting funding platform is migrated to AWS or similar. Interesting ;-)

  9. MisterHappy

    Apparently there is no middle ground in this debate

    Own your own equipment but use Cloud computing where appropriate?

    8000+ PCs in the estate, these are now on a 5-7 year renewal so we can sweat the assets. If required a PC or Laptop can be replaced outside on the refresh cycle but mostly they are bought with a 5yr warranty and after that expires they are replaced when they break.

    On site VM environment that it running near to capacity & extra hosts are bought when needed. If there is something that cannot be run on the hosts because of graphics requirements etc then buy that from a cloud provider.

    Two thirds of the staff needing to work from home? Off to Azure to spin up a load of WVD hosts that scale up and down depending on usage.

    As with all of these debates, the actual answer is probably that both have benefits and use cases need to be addressed and applied properly.

    CapEx vs OpEx? A CapEx cost of 20K is fixed, an OpEx will probably go up in line with inflation and/or supplier decided cost increases, if you are looking at something over the next 5 years then a definite up-front cost is much preferred over a "Maybe 4k a year, might go down but will probably increase a bit every year."

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Apparently there is no middle ground in this debate

      Renting is never cost effective if the units are to be kept until obsolete. The justification for renting is purely accounting, you push the capital cost onto the rental company. You might get a break because the rental company can bulk buy or has better maintenance faculties but its likely that the rental company will prefer to keep those savings rather than pass them on.

      I think the real problem is that the modern business likes to run too lean. Its already leveraged itself as much as possible but not for capital expenditure but rather to pay the principals (and potentially shareholders) forward. This already strains the capital budget so there's a reluctance to take on any more debt than absolutely necessary. This is what makes renting attractive; you can reduce headcount and facilities costs with the savings directly impacting the bottom line while any inefficiencies are spread among the workforce who are not only saddled with servicing the debt but also coping with any inefficiencies and shortages the lean model introduces. (Meanwhile politicians and pundits will rail on about how uncompetitive we all are.)

      The end game is invariably outsourcing, or what we could call 'BaaS'. A business may need a local presence due to the nature of the business or regulatory issues but the "back end" gets shipped off to wherever the labor is the cheapest.

      1. BrownishMonstr

        Re: Apparently there is no middle ground in this debate

        I can see renting and the cloud being good for startups, who need to deploy websites but don't want to spend a lot of money up-front.

  10. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

    It's called work

    "Whether at a corporate or domestic level, most of us are simply not very good at maintaining kits, getting it repaired, and ensuring it’s fully utilized."

    Just do it. Your competitors have to, you have to, it's not even that hard. The only hard part is listening to techies tell you things about the real world that you don't want to hear.

    "So surely it makes more sense to put the responsibility on someone else and getting on with our real jobs."

    (A) No, you are still responsible. (B) The only way to be better than your competitor is by doing the necessary steps faster, cheaper, whateverer. If everybody outsources everything then there is zero differentiation. So if "getting on with our real jobs" translates to "sitting on our asses all day strategizing" then fine, outsource all the actual work. But in the real world, "our real jobs" is all of it. No cutting corners.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love how everyone gets on a soap box about From My Perspective, which is but one of many perspectives on what even the terms used in the title of the article refer to, precisely. There are arguments for and against on virtually all things in life, and the deciding factors and weights are entirely subject to the needs of the individual or business making the decision.

    Banks, for example, have much greater regulatory need to maintain tight control over data access and historical records than most industries, so they lean to on-prem distributed clusters with their own private fault-tolerancy built in. Joe Blow's Fish shop doesn't need that and can't afford it and doesn't want the technical baggage, but still needs accounting services of some kind, so just goes to an SaaS provider that gives them the full applicaition for all their shops.

    There is no point giving more than two examples because the examples are as infinite as the real world. There is no "right" and "wrong", only "right for the information we have about our options at this time."

  12. Torquemada_131

    Are you buying an asset, or a liability.

    Anyone who has shelves and cupboards of technology with fixable errors or faults needs to review their priorities.

    I used to deal with a certain Borough Council somewhere around Havant which had exactly that problem... They explained this by saying they had a problem finding a partner who could offer a "green" recycling service for the hardware using "confidential" practices.

    My current laptop is an i5 Laptop from around 2013, to which I've added memory and replaced the Hard-drive with a 1Tb SSD drive and it's a better PC today than it was on the day it left the factory. If a component "breaks" which is fixable, I'll do it myself or pay the local guy who provides a great service at a reasonable cost.

    From the reseller community, we all understand the great rush to "recurring revenue", having made good money from selling HP printers for years,..

    Personally, I have an aversion to spending capital on hardware, then following this with an annual subscription service which allows the manufacturer to switch this service OFF if someone forgets to pay the bill, or worse still, when a COVID type event strikes and reduces everyone's revenue so heavily that they have to choose between paying staff or continuing service availability from a wireless access point or cloud based CRM.

    We sell support contracts for all the hardware we sell,.. but if the client lets the contract lapse, the hardware doesn't stop working.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Quote: "The cloud has shown us that consumption-based models work."

    Quote: "So surely it makes more sense to put the responsibility on someone else..."

    Both these quotes imply that users of computing can subcontract some (maybe all) of the responsibility for user activity to someone else.

    Ask yourself a couple of questions:

    - Who is responsible for data management, data security, backups? Answer -- "the user".

    - Who is responsible for application availability? Answer -- "the user".

    The ultimate responsibility for the use of an application and its data rests with the end user. In the old days, the user had some sort of face-to-face relationship with an IT organisation, and the subcontracting of specific tasks (availability, data security, backups) to the IT organisation had clearly delineated boundaries. Today, if the user subcontracts these things to a "cloud" supplier, the relationship (and the the technology) is MUCH more "cloudy".

    Just look at the MegaUpload farago. Just think for a minute about "cloud": user equipment, network supplier(s), cloud suppliers -- all these have to be reliable for an end user to get a reliable service. If the user chooses "on premises" service, at least there's someone to hold accountable. It's seems clear that this is NOT true in the "cloud".

    I'd love to hear stories which show that "cloud" is ALL OF: cheaper, more reliable, more resilient, more flexible, more secure.......than traditional arrangements.

  14. Downeaster

    Middle Ground

    I also like the middle ground approach. Owning some hardware such as laptops and desktops but "farming out" things such as a company firewall or a cloud office platform. Laptops are good hardware wise for 5 to 7 years and sometimes beyond. Macs are supported with OS upgrades for about 5 years after they are new. PCs are generally longer. The difficult part of this when the bar is raised for OS upgrades such as the new requirements for Windows 11. Macs will be M1 chip or above in around 4 years. So as long as the hardware requirements for an OS is relatively stable like Windows 10 and Windows 7 it is cheaper to own your own desktops and laptops. Also taking into consideration is to how easily they can be fixed and the ability of parts. Laptops are getting less and less easily serviced.

    Cloud platforms such as Google Apps and Office 365 are better managed outside the company. I still prefer having software on my machine such as an office suite, photo apps, and my choice of web browsers. I will use online software for certain things but prefer it on my own for privacy. Business should be the same. Things at work such as my firewall and wireless networks we contract out. Companies, governments, and schools are probably a mixture of owned and leased hardware and also internally managed and externally managed services. Custom apps that are managed by a company for governments are another discussion. Examples are things such as customs between borders at countries, systems for national health care, etc. Many of these are "legacy systems" and may need to be managed outside of their organization.

  15. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    "So surely it makes more sense to put the responsibility on someone else and getting on with our real jobs."

    But, uh, what if our "real job" actually IS maintaining a fleet of servers or desktops/laptops? This is the same argument as the "outsource your IT department to XYZ Managed Services to save money AND allow your IT staff to tackle higher-value tasks". Having been a casualty of THAT battle, my response to the "real jobs" and "higher value" arguments is a very tepid "meh".

    Not to mention, the flip-side of this is the unspoken suggestion that those of us with the knowledge and the interest to maintain these beasts should be working for an MSP instead of directly working for a company. I've got friends who have worked at MSPs, and, to the man, they say they are horribly horrible environments to work in.

  16. Libertarian Voice

    52 vs 48 again

    Wow 48 vs 52 again; 48 percent of the population really are dumb aren't they? Imagine you keep your accounts in the cloud; HMRC want to audit you but rather than going to you they just contact your provider and request access to your accounts and audit you without you even knowing about it. Now imagine that you had a trainee make some catastrophic errors that were subsequently corrected. HMRC rock up at your reception armed with a ream of data that surely makes you guilty and you have very little time to conduct your own investigation.

    Now imagine a world in which you keep your accounts on your own servers and HRMC have to make an appointment to audit you, giving you the chance to check your figures and gather together any evidence to support questionable transactions before they even have chance to ask their first question.

    If you seriously think the first option is in your best interest then there is clearly more intelligence lurking in the bottom of the fishtank.

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