The ‘cloud’ and ‘cloud computing’ are two terms which are being used increasingly in a business context, but what is it and what are the advantages to converting to the ‘cloud’. In a sense, the cloud is a metaphor for the internet, and cloud computing is the delivery of computer services on a pay-per-use basis over the internet. It allows you to store and access your data through the internet, creating a means for you to access your data globally at any necessary time.
In the past, software needed to be downloaded onto a physical computer or server before you were able to run an application, meaning as well the software was confined to that computer. Cloud computing operates on the same concept, except everything is operating through the internet and is accessible through multiple computers and other smart technology. Applications like Facebook and online banking operate through a cloud based system, with the majority of persons interacting with some form of the cloud daily.
For a business, embracing the cloud has numerous advantages, particularly in terms of efficiency.
Flexibility and Scalability
Businesses which have fluctuating bandwidth needs are able to scale their cloud capacity to reflect their needs. If the situation requires, on the cloud, your business can scale operational and storage needs, which allows flexibility. This means that rather and purchasing and installing expensive upgrades yourself as it’s required, this can be handled through the cloud service, which frees up your time for running your business.
Running your business through the cloud is more affordable than running it in house. The staffing costs is one aspects, as when you move to the cloud part of the money you pay for the service accounts for the providers staffing costs, however it still a lower amount than you would be paying if you did the work in house.
On top of that, if you run in house you also have to consider the costs of hardware and software. In running your own servers there is up-front capital costs, a fees for the maintenance of the system as the cost of IT support. This is in comparison to cloud computing, where you only have to pay a single monthly fee and the rest of the cost is absorbed by the provider. Further, the fact you that you no longer require an in house server saves you money in operational costs in the form of power and administration.
Security and Availability
Regardless of whether your run your server through the cloud or in house, the protection of your data is essential. Data in the cloud is protected, regardless of whether you experience a natural disaster, power failure or other crisis which would otherwise wipe your hard drive and destroy your data. As the data on the cloud is always available, across numerous devices, even if something happens to the original device the data can still be accessed. This also minimises the impact to your business, as you are able to resume business as quick as possible with minimal loss to productivity.
If you wish to run your servers in house, you also have to bear the cost of more hardware to prepare for potential failure. You need to duplicate all files, and have hardware sitting around idle as back up. This unused hardware is an expensive way to ensure the security and availability of your data, especially compared to cloud computing.
The ability to access all your files from any device, regardless of where you are in the world is a huge advantage of cloud computing, especially in this new world of work, which sees more freelancers and contractors who seek the flexibility of being able to move around.
If staff get caught out of the office for any reason, or if the devices in the office are not working, the mobility and flexibility of being able to log into the cloud through another device maximises productivity. It allows you to connect to and access your data while you are offsite, connecting you to your virtual office quickly and easily.
Cloud computing also uses less electricity that servers. Idle servers waste energy, and when you run your own centre there will be periods where the server is not being utilised to its capacity. However the cloud server shares server infrastructure with other organisations computing needs, which means that the cloud provider is able to optimise its hardware needs in their data centres, resulting
Further, cloud computing may allow you access to automatic updates for your IT requirements included within your service fee. This means that your system will regularly be updated with the latest technology, including software and upgrades to servers and computer processing power, increasing efficiency for your business.