You can’t go far in today’s IT world without hearing about the “cloud.” It seems like every week a new cloud service is released and making waves. Beyond the buzz, what is the cloud and why do you need it?
Well, there really is no singular cloud. The “cloud,” is a blanket term that refers to data, applications, and IT infrastructure that is hosted and supported by a third party and is accessible via the internet. The cloud provides a way for companies to operate all of their applications and access their data without maintaining any physical infrastructure – like it was being pulled out of a cloud.
If the data isn’t hovering in the stratosphere, where is it? The true home of the cloud is in secured data storage centers across the world connected with high speed fiber optic cable. I understand that there is something naturally reassuring about being able to walk from your office towards the dull humming of the server room, open the door, and see where all of your data is kept and where your IT dollars are going. And while it may seem safe to keep your data and run your applications onsite, they are vulnerable to natural disasters, power outages, burst pipes, fires, and security breaches – not to mention the specialized staff and knowledge required to keep and maintain them. Keeping your data in the cloud eliminates (or drastically mitigates) all of those risks.
Whether you are a multi-million dollar franchise or a small mom-and-pop shop, your company could benefit significantly from cloud computing. In addition to the added security, cloud-based technologies can reduce IT costs, specialized staffing needs, and on-site infrastructure of small and mid-sized businesses.
Other benefits of cloud computing include:
- Decreased IT overhead and specialized IT employees
- Scalability and disaster recovery capabilities
- Ability to focus on your company’s core competencies
- Flexibility across computing platforms and geographic locations
Many companies do not have the time or capital to maintain an IT division capable of supporting their quickly growing and ever-changing technological needs. The recent push to the cloud has allowed companies to cut back, if not completely eliminate, their on-site IT staff and infrastructure. By adopting cloud-based solutions, companies are able to operate with agility and keep pace with the market as it moves toward data driven decisions and remote interactions.