What is Cloud Computing? And What Are The Benefits?
Traditionally, you load software or programmes for applications such as backup, email [ie Outlook] and websites [ie Frontpage, Dreamweaver] on to your computers or internal server, and run them locally. Patches and upgrades have to be added manually, and this often involves having to uninstall the old software first, restarting your machine and all the hassle and aggravation that goes with it.
However, cloud computing means that the entire process is Internet based. Instead of managing servers, infrastructure and software locally on your computer or server, the software is hosted online – in the cloud, and patches and upgrades are added by the server managers without you even knowing it has happened.
This is called SaaS [software as a service] and means there is no expensive maintenance or backup worries as the computing infrastructure, software applications, business processes and collaboration and information capabilities are hosted on secure web portals [the cloud] and users simply access these applications from anywhere; be it at home, in the office, on the road, or anywhere else with an internet connection using computers and other devices (such as smart phones, tablet computers [iPads etc] and [iPads etc].
A simple example is email, in which you currently use a programme like Outlook to send and receive. At present, Outlook is loaded onto your computer and sent and received mail goes in and out via the Internet but is actually stored on your computer or on your in-house server. With the cloud, the application/programme runs online. You can do everything you currently do with email, contacts and calendars, but you can now do it from anywhere – and it will automatically be backed up online to give you peace of mind if your computer is lost through fire or theft. If you have a Gmail, AOL or Hotmail account for your private email you’ll already understand the concept, but cloud based email lets you do this with business mail via your own domain email addresses.
Similarly with cloud backup, instead of backing up to an external drive in the same building as your computer [which is hopeless in the event of fire or theft], your data is backed up offsite. Whenever you amend or add a file on your computer, it automatically gets backed up online. It’s safe, secure, foolproof and easy to set up.
Cloud based solutions give you access to the latest applications for a low annual subscription fee, rather than having to buy, install and manage the software yourself. It also means that you will not suffer if your premises are the victim of fire or theft as the hardware and software is hosted in the cloud. In short, you can simply take specific services that you want on demand as you need them, and configure them as if you owned the infrastructure, but with the resilience and features of a larger enterprise.
We believe that there is much more to the Internet than email and websites. They only play a part in the overall process of finding new customers, and servicing them along with existing customers. Cloud computing is a huge growth area and is undoubtedly The Next Big Thing in the development of the Internet. We are convinced that the cloud will save you money, help you generate revenue and generally make you and your staff more effective by making the features that you have come to rely on more accessible wherever you are working from.
October 25, 2012 12:00 am