You likely use “the Cloud” on a regular basis at work, in school, and within your personal life. Wondering how you can leverage it for your business? Here is what you need to know as you consider this question:
What is “Cloud Computing”?
This term simply means storing and sharing information via the internet. Common examples include OneDrive, phone apps, online gaming, online video streaming services (like Hulu and Netflix), and web-based email programs (such as Gmail). Through cloud computing, the user has the ability to store and send information across the web efficiently and effectively.
How can this technology add value to my business?
In general, cloud computing enables colleagues to collaborate quickly and effectively. In addition to boosting workplace productivity, cloud computing costs are low and data storage is secure in comparison to hardware storage options.
While physical data storage technology, such as USB drives, may never disappear completely, cloud computing provides a secure, time-efficient, high-capacity, flexible, and cost-effective storage alternative to traditional computing.
Consider what areas of your business need to be improved – maybe you would like lower operation costs, more efficient collaboration between team members, or greater data storage capacity, as examples. Next, check out cloud computing application options for these specific need-areas.
Are there different kinds of cloud computing? Which one should I choose?
Yes, cloud computing takes on three different formats: public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud. Your business is likely already using cloud computing in one form or another. Therefore, when selecting cloud computing options and tools, examine the needs of your business and the needs for the particular application you would like to incorporate. As you consider these needs, take a look at the basic pros and cons of each cloud type:
- Public Cloud options are generally cost-effective and often allow users to pay as they go. However, the public cloud provides a shared space with all “tenants” of the space. Therefore, data stored is not as secure.
- Private Cloud options enable greater information security for you and your business organization. Firewalls “surround” the cloud to protect your information from outsiders. The potential down-side is that private clouds are built either in-house or by a third party contractor. While larger entities may be able to either gather an internal team to create the cloud or foot the bill for a third party team to do so, small companies however may find this undertaking to be a challenge.
- Hybrid Cloud options are exactly as the name suggests, a combination of private and public. These options can provide a happy median, in that hybrid cloud applications offer control over your entity’s internal database, but provide flexibility for scaling and transferring information from the private cloud to the public cloud as needed.
Does cloud computing require any hardware?
Yes, cloud computing does require servers to run. However, this does not mean that every cloud user must have a physical, on-site server. Rather, users of the cloud application simply need an internet connection in order to run the application. Cloud applications often run through multiple servers in a variety of locations over virtual networks.