You’ve no doubt heard about “The Cloud”, but what is it? How is this something that can help your business?
What is The Cloud?
Put simply, cloud computing services allow you to use software and computer resources online as a utility, allowing you to pay for those resources when you need them, provided via the web, usually on pay as you go style models.
This means moving away from considering software as a product, being replaced by online services.
To truly be considered “cloud computing” the actual work of any applications is actually performed in the cloud, rather than on the user’s machine. Users are using an interface where they can access the data that is being processed online.
This allows for more complex tasks that would traditionally have been seen as beyond the scope for traditional budget computers to be performed online, with the customer gaining the results they need at more affordable prices.
So, where historically you may have installed Microsoft’s office suite when you purchase a new computer, many users are opting for cloud based alternatives, such as Zoho and Google Docs. In fairness to Microsoft, they have been making moves to the cloud offering a host of collaboration options with Office 365.
Google’s push on its Chromebooks as well is another example of the move to the cloud. With this, these laptop operating systems have been tied to the cloud, with all your apps, documents, settings and other files all stored there.
How Can Cloud Computing Help Your Business
The number 1 consideration is cost. As more functionality is taken off site, through needing less powerful machines, you can reduce your physical technology costs.
Disaster recovery is equally important. If you have all your local servers at the physical location of your office, running your email and information storage, what would you do if there was a fire or other natural disaster? Do you have off site backups?
Accessibility of the data is also vital. Business is rarely conducted just in the office these days, and being able to access everything you need remotely wherever you are working is important.
If you are using the cloud, you can avoid the technology purchase required to hold all that data. Equally, emails and information storage can be reached seamlessly from multiple locations, allowing things to be more accessible as well as cost less!
Scalability is also an important factor for choosing the cloud – resources are supplied and paid for on-demand, rather than having excess redundant capacity.
Of course, security is a concern when considering this migration. This is something that is constantly being addressed by providers of cloud hosting services, and whilst not completely infallible, the vast majority of the services are secure. There have been some headline grabbing gaffes from providers like Google and SalesForce over the years, but these have been small isolated issues.
By not getting your business ready to use the cloud, you run the risk of being left behind by more agile competitors, who will be improving efficiency, ensuring the security of their data and reducing their costs.
Can your business afford to not be moving to the cloud?
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