In simple terms, when we talk about Cloud Computing, we are talking about the use of a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to run software, store, manage, and process data. Tradition computing is the use of local servers or a personal computer to run software, store, manage, and process data. Today, most of these applications can be accessed virtually by connecting to them across the internet negating the requirement for use of local servers or personal computers.
For those of you who feel you are not fully comfortable or tech savvy, you may well be using cloud computing every day without knowing it. Perhaps the most common form of cloud computing is accessing and updating Facebook. Other common cloud applications would include internet banking or using email applications on your smartphone on the go. The chances are you are most likely already cloud computing in one form or another.
In reality, cloud computing is already in standard use by practically every business in every industry large or small.
So why is cloud computing becoming so popular?
It is Flexible
We operate in a very competitive environment with a need to scale up and down rapidly to match the bandwidth requirements of ever-changing parameters. A business using its own office based servers would need to ensure they have over capacity at all times to cope with surges in demand. Accessing the cloud enables the required bandwidth and capacity to be used ‘on-demand’ as the remote servers are shared by multiple users with you only paying for what you actually need at any given time.
It’s Got Your Back
One of the most devastating events to hit a business is an IT crash. A very real disaster where all of the data and operating information is lost. Companies spend vast sums of money on their disaster recovery plans copying and storing data off-site on back up servers or even on portable data storage devices. Cloud based back up is eminently more flexible and accessible and allows businesses of all sizes to benefit from the most comprehensive and robust data backup and recovery services possible. The redundancy facilities and back-up options available to remote cloud servers are on a scale that few companies would have the budget or capacity to provide. This is made possible by sharing the redundant capacity of the cloud servers between companies, thereby ensuring that these servers are running at optimum capacity.
It Does it for You
The responsibility and process of updating and backing up data is taken off your plate and is built into the cloud provision. Updates to your software and data are applied automatically as the providers of the servers roll them out regularly as and when required. This saves you both time and money (particularly in resources) in keeping up to date with new releases or enhancements as well as security updates.
It Reduces Cost
Not only does cloud computing offer pay as you go type plans that are cash flow friendly, they also remove the need to expend considerable upfront costs in terms of hardware, thereby reducing cost as you pay for the computing power you need. IT updates and improvement projects become far more accessible with greatly reduced risk (whereas historically such projects would have been quite daunting to say the least)
It Helps Your People Work Together
Having access to work documents, information and projects from anywhere at any time creates a 24/7 virtual office. Not only does this allow your teams to collaborate, update and work on documents locally, it can, of course, be accessed by your people all over the world in different time zones. This flexibility and accessibility can deliver considerable benefits of efficiency in terms of both real cost and time. Simply put, if you have access to the internet, you can work together with whoever is authorized to access the systems with you.
It Improves Consistency
Anyone who has worked with document control will be familiar with the mess that was easily created with multiple versions of the same document being updated by multiple users. With the cloud, the documents are centrally stored allowing visibility on all amendments ensuring only one (the most recent) version can be maintained correctly. (Don’t panic, as the amendments are also done and recorded at a single point, reversing amendments is also far simpler and consistent).
It Secures Your Intellectual Property
Stories in the press often highlighted the serious nature of data lost on portable devices such as laptops where data was being stored on local drives. Using the cloud for storage removes the need to store the data locally, thus protecting your intellectual property or data falling into the wrong hand as a result of accidental loss or theft of devices.
It Allows You to be at the Cutting Edge of Technology
The reduced cost, the flexibility and ease of updating and embedding cloud technology makes keeping up with new systems far more accessible. The pace of technological development is ever increasing the ability to adapt along with it is crucial to staying ahead of (or even keeping up with) your competitors.
These are some of the general advantages driving the revolution in cloud computing. To understand how you and your business can get the maximum benefit, why not speak to a specialist who knows and understands how these applications can apply to your industry.